If you had a coaching session with me, what would you want to talk about? This week has been filled with coaching calls. The two most popular agenda items were:

  1. How can I make time for client development when I am really busy and want to spend time at home with my family?
  2. How can I convert my contacts/ friends into clients?

How would you answer these questions?

I tell lawyers that when I was most busy I made time for client development because I had a nagging fear of waking up one day with nothing to do. I wanted to plant seeds that would come up six months later. I could usually make time to write. I made time early on weekend mornings. I know lawyers who make time late after their children are asleep. Beyond that, I always had a list of things I could do to connect with clients, referral sources and friends that took very little time. I wrote about it in my post: 12 Thoughtful Things You Can Do For Clients When You Are Busy. I urge groups that I coach to create their own list of client development activities they can do in less than 15 minutes.

I wrote a Practical Lawyer column answering the second question. In the column: How Your Friends Can Become Your Clients, I began by emphasizing that the main thing is to build the relationship without expecting anything in return. That means, among other things learning about their business, their industry and their work for their company rather than talking about your work and your firm. Beyond that I offered three strategies:

  1. Become the second firm when the first firm has conflicts.
  2. Become a subject matter expert in a subject area for which they need help.
  3. Find ways to add value that the client’s current firm is not doing.