Do you want to be independent and have control over your business life? Or are you content to go with the flow and be subject to the whims of the senior lawyers in your firm?
Without your own book of business, your destiny is in the hands of others. You will be unable to plan for your future in a meaningful way because you won’t have a handle on where the next dollar is coming from. That’s why it’s imperative to develop your own client base. This is business that you have brought in based on relationships you have developed. They will be loyal to you and the service you deliver, and will help you to be successful as you advance in your career or change firms.
A common misconception is that you need to be lucky to develop these kinds of loyal, long-term relationships. Yes, being in the right place at the right time matters, but being aware of how you can serve people and listening for their needs is far more important. If you do these two things, you can show up anywhere at any time and make it the right time and place.
A second misconception is that relationships build themselves after you make the initial connection. That couldn’t be further from the truth. You must be disciplined and deadly serious. You must focus on business development every day. And you must be hungry to develop business.
I had a friend at another law firm who described a lawyer at his firm, “Billy,” who had wonderful contacts. Billy went to the largest high school in the city, was president of his college’s alumni club and taught Sunday School at the local church. But my friend said that Billy had no business. When I met with Billy, I learned that Billy rarely made the effort to tell his contacts how he could add value to their companies.
So how do you avoid becoming a “Billy?”
- Remember the adage: “Make your friends your clients and your clients your friends.”
- Make a list of the people you know and jot down possible connections and what legal services you might be able to offer them.
- Then try to reach out to one person a day from your list.
- Simply acknowledge the relationship – don’t ask for anything. Let them know you were thinking of them and you hope they are well. A communication after hours is just as effective as a live conversation during the day.
- Do not suggest lunch or dinner unless you truly want to have lunch or dinner. I can guarantee that your message is effective even if you don’t offer to have lunch or dinner.
If you want to learn more about how to attract new clients, please check out my Legal Ally Online Rainmaker Program. I have a great exercise to build prospect list.