Ask Friday! The Social Media Tracking Edition

This week's Ask Friday! takes a bit of a turn - I'm asking the questions this time!  Check out my video below to see what it is I want to know...


Ask Friday! The Building Relationships Edition

This week's Ask Friday! is a special one because it's my first video blog post! I hope there will be many more to come...

This week's question comes from Barry Camson, who wanted to know five tips for building relationships. So without further ado....


Ask Friday! The Business Development Books Edition

Recently, when I was seeking out Ask Friday! questions, Cordell Parvin suggested that I answer the question of "What would you recommend busy lawyers be reading on business development and what will they get from it?"

Nothing immediately popped into my mind, and Cordell was nice enough to share his list with me, as well as what's on his Kindle. Then, coincidentally, the same question appeared on the Legal Marketing Association's listserv.  Those who responded were gracious enough to be included in my post, so without further ado, here is the recommended reading straight from legal marketers and business development coaches!

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Ask Friday! Superstars Edition by Cordell Parvin

For this week's Ask Friday! we welcome guest poster, Cordell Parvin.  I've gotten to know Cordell through Twitter, and have been fortunate to see the excellent advice he has for lawyers through webinars and his upcoming video coaching series.  

According to his website, "Cordell Parvin has practiced law for more than 36 years. He has developed a highly successful national construction law practice. During his career, Cordell has been a rainmaker and taught, mentored and coached young lawyers on their careers, work-life balance and rainmaking. Cordell also has been a Practice Group Leader and worked with other Practice Groups helping them to develop their business plans and strategies."

Today's Ask Friday! question is "What separates super achievers from achievers?"  Huge thanks to Cordell for guest posting this week! 

"A few weeks ago I spoke to a group of first year lawyers during their orientation. As I neared completion of my presentation I asked for questions. One young lawyer asked a thought provoking question: “What is the difference between lawyers who are superstars compared to lawyers who are stars?”

"In my career I have been blessed to work with some really outstanding lawyers. I have also had the opportunity to witness differences between the super achieving lawyers and those successful lawyers who do not reach that status. Here’s my take on the differences.


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Ask Friday! Business Travel Prep Edition

Today's Ask Friday! question comes from our very own Executive Director, Alan Griffiths, who asked me to share with you some tips for getting ready for a business trip.  We've all got our own lists and prep routines, but this has been on my mind this week while we're getting ready to head over to Lisbon for our Annual Meeting.  

So here are my Top Ten Tips for Business Travel Prep - feel free to add yours in the comments!

  1. Check the TSA website- you can see what the travel conditions are, what you can and can't bring in your carry-on, how to get through the line faster, and what to do if you're traveling with a medical condition. 
  2. Check the weather at your destination - it always surprises me when someone shows up at a destination thinking it's a tropical one, but it's cool or rainy at the time of year they're there, and they've got all the wrong clothes in their suitcase.  A quick check of the weather saves a lot of packing faux pas.
  3. Get the necessities together - Make sure you have your passport or ID (don't forget that you need a passport to go back and forth to Canada from the US now!), information about your tickets, hotel confirmation, any cash you need on hand, etc.
  4. Put any medication you'll need in your carry-on - you might be tempted to put this in your checked luggage, especially for a shorter flight, but don't do it.  It's always when you think the airline won't lose your bag that they do, and you don't want to be without anything you might need.
  5. Along these lines, either wear business attire to fly, or have something you can wear in your carry-on.  If the airline misplaces your bag and you've got to meet clients or colleagues, you'll feel less flustered if you're not wearing stretchy pants or jeans.
  6. Put a photocopy of your passport in your checked luggage - and even in your carry-on.  Leave a copy at home too.  If your passport is lost or stolen during your trip, it's FAR easier to handle it if you have easy access to a copy.  It may also be advisable to keep a soft copy on your laptop and smartphone so you're covered no matter what.
  7. Check that you've got all your electronic bits and pieces - I forgot my mobile phone charger when traveling once, and had to scramble once I arrived to pick up a new one.  It was a big pain and stressor.  If you check beforehand that you have your chargers, phones, iPads, Nooks, laptops, cameras, batteries, and any power adapters (if you're traveling abroad), this will save you a lot of anxiety.
  8. Review your itinerary - I like to go through what I'm scheduled to do each day of a trip, and what I might need to wear, while I'm packing. It gives me the opportunity to get my schedule straight in my mind, and helps me avoid forgetting to pack something essential.
  9. Bring snacks - depending on where you're traveling to and from, you might not have easy access to the snacks you like (even at the airport), often leading you to end up with a bag of gummy worms that's just not satisfying or good for you.  I find if I pack some snacks both in my carry-on and checked luggage, I've got food that I want to eat and don't have to pay for snacks on the plane if I don't want to.
  10. Check your flight information - You'll want to make sure that your flight is on-time and not cancelled before leaving for the airport, and it's a good idea to see what the individual airline's policies are for checked baggage fees, carry-on restrictions and anything else that might hold you up when you are trying to get on the plane.  Keep the flight information handy as well (including the airline's phone number), so you can get in touch with them quickly if your flight is cancelled or you need to make alternate arrangements.

And I'm going to throw in one more tip, because it's rather a big pet peeve of mine...

  1. Before you board the plane, but once you know they're going to start the process, take out anything you're going to want in your seat during the time that the plane is taxiing, taking off and reaching altitude.  Please. Then, when you get on the plane, you can put that stuff on your seat, toss your bag into the overhead compartment, and any smaller items under the seat and sit down quickly without building a huge line behind you.  It saves everyone so much time, and means you don't have to keep popping out of your seat during the boarding process to get one more thing, or put one more thing in your bag.  This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but I was recently on a flight of almost entirely business travelers, and it was by far the longest boarding process I've ever experienced - so it applies.

Happy travels!

Ask Friday! Asking for Business Edition

Today's Ask Friday! question comes from legal client/business development coach and teacher, Cordell Parvin, who suggested today's post focus on "How to ask for business."

To answer this, I went back into our archives to find LegalBizDev'sJim Hassett's thoughts on this very subject.  Since Jim's an expert in this, I'll give you his suggestions for how to ask for business from our 2009 webinar series with links to some resources on his site (we'll start with some planning tips):


  • Selling is a numbers game (let's say for argument's sake that "selling" isn't a bad word here).  "In order to succeed, sales professionals need a lot of contacts to make a small number of sales." 

  • Meet the Right People: Jim suggests that the attorneys start with a plan, which should include defining their niche, defining their ideal clients, meeting the right people, and then qualifying the prospects into who will buy, who will buy soon, and who will buy from them.  

Once you have your plan in place, you can start working on getting that new business.


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Ask Friday! Marketing Budgeting Edition

This week's Ask Friday! question comes to us from Jennifer Herendeen, the Marketing Manager for Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton.  She asks "What are typical items included in a marketing/business development budget? I'm trying to create a first ever budget at my firm."

I think this is a question that a lot of marketers will face at some point in their careers. Since I've never worked in-house, I asked Jennifer Smuts, the Director of Marketing at the ILN's Delaware firm, Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz for her thoughts.

Jenn says:

Depending on your law firm, Marketing and Business Development budgets vary. How is your department structured? What is Marketing & Business Development responsible for? For instance some budgets include staff salaries, firm retreats and professional training. As you can imagine, these specific items fluctuate and create a top-heavy affect. In general, mid-sized law firms tend to exclude these items and core budget categories include; Advertising, Business Development (new client development), Charitable, Client Development, Conferences, Consultants, Directories, Photography, Printing, Professional Memberships, Sponsorships, Promotional Products, Web (Interactive) and CRM/ Database.

The budget is a blessing, not a burden. Use it to prioritize key projects. Allow it to keep you accountable. Your successes will may even afford you a larger budget next year!"

Jenn, thanks for your excellent comments and good luck to Jennifer at Wyrick! 


Ask Friday! The Blogs I Read Edition

This week's Ask Friday! answers the question of what blogs I read.  I'll break this down into three categories - ILN member blogs, the blogs I read for professional reasons and growth, and the blogs I read for fun - feel free to add your favorites to the list in the comments!

Professional Blogs:

  • Above the Law - often funny, always irreverent, they're often at the forefront of legal news.
  • Bad for the Brand - after I got back from LMA 2011, I started religiously reading Jonathan Fitzgarrald's Bad for the Brand. Every time I see a new post, I drop whatever I'm doing just to read it - they're that good.
  • Bill's Blog - written by Bill Pollak of ALM, it's a helpful look at the legal publishing industry from an in-house perspective.
  • Case in Point - a cartoon series that "illustrates the lighter side of eDiscovery."  Those of you who know me well know I'm a sucker for legal cartoons!
  • Corcoran's Business of Law Blog - I read this not just because I know Tim, but because he's always got thoughtful, thorough insights that push me to be a better legal marketer and not just go with the status quo.
  • Escaping Mediocrity - if you've ever wanted more than where you are right now, Sarah's blog is the one to check out - she'll push you and get you thinking.
  • Patrick Lamb's In Search of Perfect Client Service - who can't use tips on better client service? 
  • In-house ACCess - I admit to mostly scanning these in-depth posts, but the insights from in-house counsel who are part of the ACC can't be beat.
  • Blog - always touching on topics of interest to me as a legal marketer.
  • The Matte Pad - after making a splash at LMA 2011, I wanted to see what else Tom Matte had to offer. His posts are thought provoking and always useful. 
  • Myrland Marketing - you already know I'm a huge fan of Nancy Myrland, and her blog is a great reason why - Nancy always has actionable tips not only for strategic social media, but also for legal marketing and business development.
  • Outspoken Media - not a legal blog, this was recommended to me during the Social Fresh conference I went to last year in Portland - it's a fabulous blog on internet marketing that gives me great food for thought in all areas of my work.
  • Real Lawyers Have Blogs - I'm always interested to hear what Kevin O'Keefe is thinking about and seeing in the legal sphere, and he doesn't hold back.  Plus, the blog showcases their tops blogs of the day, which helps me see what else is out there.
  •  Social Media for Law Firms - Sam Collier gives the Canadian perspective on social media for law firms, and often gives step by step tips and tutorials for how to make the most out of your social media efforts.
  • The Legal Watercooler - Heather Morse's Legal Watercooler was the first legal blog I started following, and it's never disappointed.  Heather ties in whatever she's thinking about or going through with how we can make ourselves better legal marketers in a way that inspires me.
  • The PR Lawyer - great posts from Furia Rubel on public relations and strategic marketing in the legal world.
  • The Virtual Marketing Officer - Jayne covers a variety of topics focusing on marketing and business development strategies for law firms - definitely a must read!


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Ask Friday! Conference Attendance Edition

With our Annual Meeting coming up in just a few short weeks, I wanted to dedicate this week's "Ask Friday" to the question of "how can I make the most out of attending a conference?"  You might think that just showing up and attending the events is enough, but with a little bit of strategy, your pre, during and post conference activities can really make a difference in your experience.


Before heading to the conference, take a few minutes to look over the agenda and the attendee list (if it's available).  The agenda can give you an idea of what topics will be discussed and where you can contribute - when you contribute to a discussion (especially in a conference like ours where the main purpose is to develop relationships), it can help people to identify you with a certain area of expertise, and make you a thought leader who is sought out for later conversations.  It also makes you easier to remember.

Review the attendee list and identify who you'd like to build relationships with.  This can seem a bit "icky," but you know where your clients are doing business, so it's a good idea to connect with possible referral partners so that you start to build that level of trust necessary for referring work.  You may even see someone on the list that seems to have a cool job, or a unique value proposition - meet these people just to expand your horizons if nothing else.  When we stretch our comfort zones, that's when we really learn and grow.


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Ask Friday!

Here at Zen I've decided to start a weekly post called "Ask Friday!" where I'll take a reader question and answer it.  You can leave your questions in the comments for any post, if you'd like, or message me on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

Today's question comes from Larry Bodine, of Larry Bodine Marketing, who asks "What tips do you have to motivate lawyers to do business development?" 

My number one tip to motivate lawyers is to share success stories.  I've found that showing how other lawyers have gotten business through various types of business development activities give attorneys the comfort that someone has tried it before, and they've been successful.

But it's not always enough for me to be the one sharing these stories - it's often more helpful to get the attorney who's been successful to do the sharing.  For example, as you know I'm a big fan of social media.  I give presentations to our attorneys at each of our Annual & Regional Conferences, and recently, my presentations have focused on social media.

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