I am frequently asked how to make your friends, your clients. There are only a few ways to do it. As explained in the true story below, one way is to learn as much as you can about their needs and provide something the other lawyer/law firm is not providing without any expectation of getting anything in return. You have to give to get.
Scott is a lawyer from Houston. His coaching group, Looper Rain, created a list of Philosophies based on what they learned in the coaching program. Prior to the credit crunch, Scott successfully applied two principles.
KNOW YOUR CLIENT
– Listen; don’t talk
– Learn client industry and business needs, as well as personal information
– Find value and provide it now, and never appear greedy or hungry
Here is his story:
One of my long time friends owns an oilfield equipment and service company that primarily operates and sells in the U.S., and has operations in India and China. Based on our conversations, I knew my friend was “not unhappy” with his existing corporate attorney. But I could also tell my friend was looking for something more. Before Looper Rain coaching, I would have tried to “sell” him on hiring LRM and why we were the right firm for him, and probably tried to convince him to use LRM instead of his existing attorney.
Based on what I learned in the coaching program, I first set out to find out more about my friend and his company. I learned more about his background, and more about his company operations and opportunities in China and India. He let me know he wanted to expand his company by acquiring a Canadian company. When he said he was hiring a New York firm to help obtain financing for a $1,000,000 fee, I asked him to give me 30 days to help him find financing at a lower cost.
In the next 30 days I introduced my friend to consultants, several bankers, an investment banker, and a private equity firm. He let me know he was extremely thankful and impressed. While he said that he liked his attorney, he was impressed that we went far beyond just focusing on the legal work.
After he got the financing for the acquisition, our firm became his law firm.
I don’t think I would have obtained this client before Looper Rain because I would have tried to talk instead of listening, and I would have tried to sell our firm rather than demonstrating how we can add value.
So, what is the point of Scott’s story? It is really pretty simple. When you go from thinking about how you can get hired to thinking about how you can add value without expecting anything in return, good things happen. Scott asked questions, listened and uncovered a need where his firm could add value.