I am frequently asked for my “secret” to getting new clients. There really is no secret. As you will see below, you can get new clients the way I did it.
I came across a November 17, 2009 blog post by Tom Kane titled: New Survey: Top Activities To Win New Clients. What do you suppose the top activities are? A survey of inside general counsel of large companies on how they select lawyers concluded the two categories of top activities are:
- Personal knowledge-recommendations
- Credentialing-writing, speaking
Let me share an actual example with you. In the mid-80s I was asked to help a contractor recover additional compensation on a complicated segmental bridge project. During my engagement I learned almost every complicated bridge project being constructed in the US had substantial cost and time overruns.
I decided to spend time studying how the bridges were designed, how contractors bid to construct them and how they were constructed. I bought bridge design books and studied them. I even made a Freedom of Information Act request of the Federal Highway Administration so I could learn more.
I started writing about bridge design and construction. I spoke at industry meetings about bridge design and construction. The word spread that I was the lawyer to hire for cost and time overruns on complicated bridge projects. As a result, I was hired to help contractors recover additional compensation on segmental and cable-stayed bridge projects. Each time I worked on those projects I learned more about design and construction of bridges.
How did the clients find me? In several instances, leading bridge designers recommended me. The designers were “weak ties.” They had read my articles and knew of my presentations at industry conferences. They knew I worked on the most complicated bridge projects in the US.
Here is the take away for you: Credentialing by writing and speaking will give you the opportunity to develop more weak tie relationships because you will be considered a “go to” lawyer on a particular topic. Those relationships will pay off for you because your weak ties will be great referral sources.