Tips For Young Lawyers

Tips For Young Lawyers

Get Business Booming! Time-Tested Tips from Successful Rainmakers

By:  Martha M. Newman, J.D., PCC, Executive & Professional Coaching, Gain Your Goals, Inc.

All of us are talented in some areas, weaker in others. However, instead of maximizing our talents, we tend to focus on improving our weaknesses.

This is wasted energy!

Big professional payoffs come from activities that play to our natural talents. And, this is especially true when it comes to business development and marketing.

Do you like to meet new people? Are you good at making small talk? Then, perhaps networking is your forte.

Think about what YOU are good at, then focus on capitalizing on your strengths to build your practice. You can:

  • Stop in and see your clients and prospects at their places of business.
  • Treat your clients/prospects to dinner, sporting or theater events.
  • E-mail, or ping, your clients/prospects regularly.
  • Participate in a local bar association, or online through social media.
  • Write for industry journals and newsletters.
  • Reach out to old friends and ask for referrals.
  • Speak to other practice groups in your firms.
  • Reach Out to Prospects and Referral Sources

Of course, in order to be a successful rainmaker you must have solid, long-standing relationships with prospects and referral sources.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone whom you haven’t spoken to in a while. While it may be uncomfortable at first, the benefits (and potential profits) will far outweigh the anxiety factor.

First, start with a phone call.

Begin the conversation by saying, "I was thinking about you and wondered how you were doing." Then, listen and let your friend respond. Nearly everyone who receives a call like this will be flattered.

Next, think of conversation starters and how to add value to the discussion.

Look for articles on the companies your prospects work for and then call. Or, send the article ahead of time and call.

Another variation: Search the Internet for information on your prospect’s company, then pick up the phone after finding something interesting. You're looking for a comfortable - interesting - way to begin the phone call.

Lastly, examine your motives before you make the call - especially if you haven't talked to the person in more than a year. If you are genuinely curious about how your contact is doing - then go ahead, reach out and reconnect! If you offer no ulterior motive for business, then chances are your contact will be happy to hear from you.

Get Serious about Referrals

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it - the most likely sources of new business, other than existing clients, are referrals. That means, you must keep your relationships with referral sources vibrant and fresh.

Make contact with sources at least once a quarter. Send an e-mail, letter, or pick up the phone. Be sure to tell your sources about some recent cases and issues you've had to confront.

Identify sources you’ve lost touch with. List your key referral sources over the past several years and determine who you haven't heard from recently. Make a point to reconnect with them by meeting for coffee.

Teach your sources to listen on your behalf. Think of the things your referral sources will hear potential clients say that indicate you can be of service. You could even alert your source to certain comments, or "red alerts," that may serve as cues for a referral opportunity.

Think about business you can refer to THEM. Don't forget, referral relationships are reciprocal. While it's important for you to keep your network updated about business, make sure you know what's going on with them as well.

Follow Up! Follow Up! Follow Up!

I can’t stress how important it is to follow up after every meeting with a prospect, regular client, or referral source. Failing to do so is, perhaps, the biggest business development mistake you can make.

If you don’t believe me, consider this:

Only 3% of all closes are made after the first contact. This research means that there's a 97% probability your first contact with a prospective client will NOT result in business - unless, of course, you FOLLOW-UP.

Contact has to be made repeatedly in order to land new business. In fact, research also shows that 80% of all sales are made after the fifth contact. That means that only 20% of all sales are made with fewer than five contacts!

Be Visible and Memorable

Successful rainmakers are seen and heard from often and remembered. They understand that timing is everything. They make sure that when clients have the appropriate matter, they are remembered as someone who can help them.

Be an effective rainmaker by building on your own strengths to communicate with prospects and referral sources. And when those conversations are over, pick up the phone one more time to follow up.

You have the power to be proactive about your business development success.

Martha M. Newman, J.D., PCC is a legal marketing expert and lawyer coach who guides attorneys through business development, career advancement, and transitions. She is also the author of Top Lawyer Coach, a dynamic Website devoted to lawyer marketing, networking, and professional practices.