In yesterday’s blog, I told you that a firm partner had asked me some questions. His second was: How do you know how and when to make the “ask” — not in the one-off pitch context, but in the context of establishing a relationship where they see you as an expert resource and you’re poised to serve them? 
There are two great books that have good answers to this question. One is Trusted Advisor and the other is Clients for Life. I actually wrote an article about the points of the books which you can find on my web page. 
I never want to be perceived as selling. I also learned that I did not do as well when the discussion centered on me or what my firm could do. When I am talking I am not doing as well as when I ask questions and then listen. There is a time to jump in with a solution or a point but it is usually way later than lawyers think. I find ways to add value with no expectation of anything in return. I get to know as much as I can about the person and find a way to connect with them on a personal level. A friend of mine told me last week that his largest client’s contact is a young man who has three young children. They brought home a dog a few weeks ago. My friend sent a toy to each of the three children with a handwritten note on why he selected the toy for him or her to give to the dog. My friend has the dog’s name somewhere in his contact information and for sure has the names of each child and their age and likely their birthday. One of my former partners came up with the idea of buying dishes for her client contact after the Northridge earth quake. These kinds of touches build relationships.