Extend Beyond Showing Up

One of the interminable bumps lawyers experience in their efforts to cultivate new clients and business is in following up with their new contacts, growing network and even their best clients. We examine how to introduce and tweak a follow-up plan. Read on to see what I mean.

As part of the business development process, lawyers must recognize and integrate into their “SOP” (standard operating procedures), action steps that extend beyond “showing up.” By leaving out the planning and following up components, lawyers are short circuiting the process, leaving money on the table, and becoming more cynical that marketing actually “works”, however one defines that.

To examine the first example above, the more effective steps of action would have been:

•Request an event registration list so that the lawyer could have identified several targeted folks “of interest” to seek out and engage. It would be very effective to gather some background information (a quick Google search) about the target companies to make conversations more meaningful.

•With a little research in hand, the lawyer arrives to the networking event with a plan of who she plans to engage, who she intends to connect, and how she will spend the next several hours. This is work, not an opportunity to have a few free drinks and yuk it up with firm colleagues whom she sees every day.

•Practicing effective networking techniques, this sociable lawyer knows that it is essential to be more “interested” than “interesting”, so she exercises active listening techniques by asking open-ended questions of her networking partners to learn more about their businesses and challenges. From this, she receives a number of “high impact” business cards which she will use to follow up after the event.

The steps described above take very little investment of time, but will yield a very different experience which can lead directly to new client retention or, at minimum, a new business connection for referrals.

Contrasting the legal profession with corporate America in developing new business, one only has to examine the models of each. Corporate America devotes billions of dollars every year to “sales and marketing”, to the process of cultivating and nurturing new prospect relationships leading to a “sale”. The typical sales process may involve innumerable “follow ups” before a sale is actually consummated.

The legal profession historically has played a reactive role wherein new clients (new sales) seek out the law firm to engage them. It is unwise in these ultra-competitive times and a poor business model to continue this practice. If lawyers are the ones seeking new business or even additional work from existing clients, the obligation falls upon them to pursue it and continue to make contacts until they are directed otherwise. Remember, studies show that it takes at least 7-10 “touches” to become top-of-mind with clients and prospects.

To learn the requisite concrete habits you must develop to become the rainmaker you are meant to be, click the buton below for a free download of Top Habits of Successful Rainmakers. Do it today!