If you are a regular reader, you know I like to have lawyers I know and with whom I have worked write guest posts on their client development ideas. Scott Badami is a Fox Rothschild partner. He writes the Fair Housing Defense Blog. I never handled a fair housing case, but I enjoy reading Scott’s blog.
In our last one-on-one coaching session I asked Scott what he got out of our coaching. He said:
You’ve got to have SSP to attract, retain and expand relationships with clients.
Like you, I had to find out what was SSP. When Scott explained what he meant, I asked Scott to share the concept with you. Here is his guest post:
How do lawyers get clients? If only there was an easy answer. Then everyone would indeed do it.
You are not going to get clients by writing one article (or one blog entry). You are not going to get clients by attending one conference, or by giving a single speech. Sure, lightning might strike, but don’t count on it.
In my experience, attracting, retaining and expanding relationships with clients requires what I refer to as SSP — Sustained, Superior Performance.
So, how do you demonstrate SSP to potential clients? First, particularly for more junior lawyers, find an area of the law you like (or regularly work in). Learn it. Live it. Write about it. Speak about it. In short, become an expert.
Will it take some time to ultimately become an expert? Sure. But remember, you are working as a lawyer on various cases, matters, and deals right now — use that experience to build familiarity and then expertise.
Then, market your expertise. In his blog, Cordell shares ideas on a variety of platforms to get your message out. Among many things, you want your name to come up early on Google in your specialty.
Next, presume that all the lawyers in your chosen field do excellent work. (They don’t — but for your business develop purposes, assume they do). Excellent work, particularly when clients pay law firm rates, is a prerequisite. Most of the time, clients hire lawyers with whom they have a relationship rather than law firms. Build your relationships as you are becoming an expert.
As best you can, keep in touch with friends, college roommates, and law school colleagues. Get to know the parents of the other kids at your children’s school. Join a committee. Serve on a board in your community. Get your name out there to local business leaders. You never know where you will meet your next client.
Once you get your clients, you must be responsive, more responsive than any other lawyer. Promptly answer their emails and return their calls. Even if you are out of the office, let them know you got their message.
Give SSP a shot. Work hard. Become an expert. Establish your relationships. And build your book. Oh, and if you don’t, do it, another lawyer will.
Just A Thought.
I like the phrase “Sustained Superior Performance.” I might design a magnet for lawyers I coach to put on their refrigerators.