Development Strategies for Associates - A Webinar Recap

On Tuesday, we had the pleasure of welcoming David Ackert of The Ackert Advisory for a special webinar presentation on Development Strategies for Associates. 

David began by sharing the agenda for the session, which included looking at: 

  • Getting a head start: why business development at the associate level is so critical
  • Leverage points: playing to your strengths
  • Networking strategies
  • Mentorship
  • Establishing credibility in your niche: this is a key way associates can start to differentiate themselves as they're going about business development

Getting a Head Start

Business development for associates is all about getting a head start. David mentioned that the techniques that he'd address are designed to be as efficient as possible, because lawyers don't have a lot of time at any level to do the kind of business development exploration that they might have in a more idea setting. They have to get there quickly. 

This is in part due to the shifting landscape of the legal marketplace. There was a time, not too long ago, when business development strategy was about answering the phone, partners kicking down work, or work coming your way when you made partner. Those days have changed.

Today, the landscape is more competitive. There are more lawyers, but there are also more people competing for legal services that firms once handled. This includes work being commoditized or being brought in house.  Lawyers now find themselves in the position of having to learn business development skills, and that's uncomfortable. 

The good news is that the new generation of associates are more entrepreneurial - this is good because pursuing business is no longer a luxury; it's a necessity. Lawyers have to be able to contribute financially to the firm, and it's important to get a head start, because business development is not an overnight endeavor. 

You want to begin the process as early as possible, so that you can plant the seeds to germinate into the results you've been looking for. One of the ways to do this is by finding your leverage points. 

Leverage Points

Everyone has a different personality, practice group, network, and series of business opportunities before them, so it's impossible to tell lawyers that there is one business development tactic that will work for them. Instead, David advises designing a strategy around your strengths.

Some people are more introverted, and will be better one-on-one than in a big room. Others will be more comfortable sitting on a panel than writing, while some will be the other way around. Everyone is different. 

The key is to recognize that regardless what your leverage point might be, you can build a business development strategy around it. For example, you may be more comfortable with blogging - you can start now, develop an audience and a dialogue, interview people and take a journalistic approach. That's a type of relationship development technique that takes your leverage point and turns it into a business development endeavor. 

David offered some examples of leverage points that he's seen be effective for lawyers over the years: 

  • Group setting
  • One-on-one meeting
  • Public speaking
  • Teaching/mentoring
  • Writing (blogs, articles, OpEds)
  • Social Media
  • Committees (boards, roundtables)
  • Networking groups
  • Meeting facilitation
  • Social events (block parties, fundraisers)
  • Family-oriented activities (kids' soccer, PTA)
  • Client environment (site visits)

From this list, take a moment and write down the ones that really resonate for your - those will be the doorway through which you place your business development energy. David also advised against trying all of these - instead, he suggested limiting yourself to two or three that have the highest likelihood of being sustainable. 

Part of the challenge for associates is that they get a lot of advice from different places, but they have to know what works best for them, in order to focus on that and make it sustainable. If you don't like getting out there and doing a lot of networking in big groups, even if the firm forces you to do it, it's not going to last or be effective. It will only be a sustainable tactic if it's aligned with your personality. 

Networking Strategies

Whether you're networking one-on-one, or through groups, it's all about other people. Ultimately, you can't have a book of business if other people aren't involved, so you have to find a way to network. David offered a few recommendations. 

Maintain contact with your existing network

Your existing network is going to be one of the most powerful resources that you have in years to come. Because of this, you want to make sure that you have some sort of CRM tool in place. Some may use Outlook for this, but it has some limitations around its ability to keep your relationships top of mind. There are other CRM platforms that you may want to consider - your firm may already have one, or you can explore alternatives as well. 

You want a shortlist of 20-30 people who you consider to be your existing network. This can be fellow law school alums or that cousin who's a serial entrepreneur, but they should be good people to stay in front of and make sure you're offering them as much help as possible, so that they start to see you as a trusted resource and advisor. Even if you're an associate, and you don't yet have the confidence that you will in years to come, if your intention to help them is clear, and your interest in what they're doing is developed at an early stage, that will send a clear message about who they should call when a legal issue comes up. 

Routines are also critical here - if you wait until you feel like reaching out, or until they reach out to you, you may be waiting a long time. You stand to gain the most out of staying in contact with the people who may have a business opportunity for you in the future. So establish a routine - maybe once a quarter, or once every five months, you reach out to these 20 people in your network. Technology can be helpful in that effort. 

Seek out your demographic for peer networking

David noted that you'll find that you are taken most seriously by your peers, and not so much by people who are 10-20 years your senior. So when you're in a setting, and you recognize that there is someone in the same age demographic as you, that is the person you should reach out to. You will immediately find that you have things in common, and an easier time relating to them, than if you try to develop a relationship with an older GC.

Even if you make friends with the CEO of an organization at an event that you're attending, they probably won't send you significant matters any time soon. David mentioned that he'd discuss a strategy that can help with that, but generally speaking, you want to seek out the people who are similar to you in terms of their circumstances because as they develop, and you put them on your short list, you will find that they're a better investment of your time. And we're focusing on time-efficient strategies that lead to the best results. 

Expand your network beyond law

Lawyers prefer to network with other lawyers, and it's reasonable that that's the case, because of common interest, passion and profession. But lawyers aren't always going to be the best source for business. Non-lawyers will. 

So make sure that your network includes other kinds of advisers, business owners, and people who are stakeholders in the business community, because ultimately, those are the people who hear about someone having legal trouble, and who need to engage you directly or refer work to you. They can't take care of it, because they're not a lawyer. When you're looking at your short list, make sure it's not a list of 20 lawyers, because you want variety there. Your network should be a dynamic pipeline for a variety of opportunities. 

Build professional networks around social activities

One of the easiest and most time-efficient ways to develop relationships is around social activities. David offered the example that he and a group of friends get together monthly for dinner, and talk about various issues, both professional and personal. The group includes business owners and a couple of lawyers, and they share ideas, get advice, and share their struggles. 

This is an excellent opportunity for those lawyers, because when David has a legal matter or business challenge, they're hearing about it first. They can suggest calling him the following day to discuss further, and see if the firm can help him more formally. 

This can work for you as well - maybe it's a wine or cigar club, poker, watching the game, or a book club. Match these activities to whatever you have a passion for, and you'll want to stay engaged over time. Then, be strategic about who you invite to the table. Invite people in your demographic who share your interests, and make sure they're business leaders, people in legal departments, investors, entrepreneurs, or non-competing lawyers. Then, you'll have a regular way of staying in touch that doesn't feel like networking. 

Mentorship

David next spoke about mentorship, noting that internal mentors are very common at law firms. However, they're not normally business development mentors, so he recommended seeking out someone for that role. This person should be: 

  • Mid-level partner who has done well at developing a book of business
  • Not too much older than you, so that you can relate to them and their advice will seem relevant
  • Someone you respect & admire, and aspire to be in some way

Internal mentorship will be most effective if your mentor's approach is compatible with your leverage points. They should provide advice and encouragement, and will understand the politics and culture of the firm, so they can speak to those issues and help you navigate them. They may be able to introduce potential allies to you, such as referral sources.

However, the main challenge with an internal mentor is that they won't introduce you to potential clients, because they have their own book of business to build. For that reason, you may want to think about fostering an additional business development mentor relationship.

This person should be: 

  • External to your firm
  • Willing to shepherd a smart, ambitious professional
  • A business leader in your warm market (someone you already have some connection to)

There are a few steps to go through in order to develop this relationship: 

  1. Identify an external business development mentor:  They are in a position to help you (have elevated status in an organization), but they're unlikely to be in a legal department because that feels too much like a client development relationship. This person shares some commonalities with you, and should be older than you. Consider those in your network now, and see if you can identify someone who may fit these characteristics, and you could either ask them now, or ask for an introduction through someone else. 
     
  2. The Approach: Don't just ask them to become a mentor - take them out first, and say you're looking for advice from them. Tell them you're an associate, and in this day and age, you're expected to develop business. You don't have formal sales training, so you'd appreciate learning from them how they've developed their business. Ask if they're open to a half hour discussion over coffee. Most people will say yes if they have some connection to you, because it's flattering. Once you've had this conversation, you can move into Step 3.
     
  3. Inquiring: At the end of coffee, ask what they would do if they were in your shoes. You've given them a sense of your challenges as a business developer, you've seen some principles that may be relevant, so ask what they would do. They will give you advice that will hopefully be helpful, and you should look to apply this as much as possible.
     
  4. Maintain: Step 4 is about following up and maintaining contact. Whatever advice they give, follow it and report back. Be honest with them, and let them know what worked or didn't, and ask for their insight. Now you're entering into a dynamic where they're invested in your success. You took the trouble to follow their advice and follow up with them, which shows you're reasonable, professional, and invested in a successful mentorship. When you share successes, it will make them more likely to meet with you again. 

    Now the ball is in your court - you want to be the person maintaining this. Put them on your shortlist to contact, and share your challenges and seek advice. 

This notion of mentorship is the only way that David knows to bridge the demographic divide when it comes to developing relationships. Unless they're invested in your success, you will find it difficult for senior people in a business community to invest a lot of time in an associate who's at a junior level to them. 

Now that you have this mentor relationship, develop it around advice sharing. Over time, they will continue to give you helpful advice and you will develop business acumen, In some cases, they may also start to send you relationships that you can engage for work. And when a business leader endorses you and suggests someone engages you for a company or matter, that carries weight. 

Mentors can easily become someone who lead to work opportunities for you, but only if you invest in them first, and only if you leverage the fact that you have this advice that you're looking for from them, in order to develop a real, authentic connection. 

You also want to make sure to let them know that you'd like to meet more regularly, so they can get used to hearing from you. 

Establish Credibility in Your Niche

The final area that we covered is the idea of establishing credibility in your niche. David observed that some of the participants may already have a market niche, sector or specialty practice that distinguishes them from their competition. If you don't, start thinking about that as soon as possible.

If you're a generalist, it's difficult to set yourself apart from other lawyers who are also generalists - opportunities will not seek you out as easily as if you have some sort of specialty or niche component to your pra 

Even if you are a generalist, you can say something like "I do business litigation, but I have experience in food and beverage. Food companies seek me out." Then, you've communicated both that you have the general experience, but also that if someone has a food company referral, they should send it to you first before a generalist.

Once you've established your niche, you need credibility so that people are paying attention to what you have to say. You can develop this in four ways: 

  • Authorship: write articles around the niche or industry that you have so that people can read about your expertise. It's demonstrating the evidence of your unique capabilities.

    David suggested looking to co-author articles as well. Speak to a busier partner in the same niche, and propose that you'll write an article together, and you'll both be credited. You're raising your credibility because of your associate with that more established partner (that's also true of mentorship relationships). Consider co-authoring an article with a CEO - you've now associated yourself with the CEO of a company, which sends a strong signal to your network about the company you keep, and the relationships you're looking to foster.  
     
  • Speaking: This can take a few forms, including on panels at trade associations, and through channels to deliver CLE, and it's an excellent way to establish credibility. If you're less comfortable with speaking, a panel may be more suitable, and can easily be put together by reaching out to others in your network. This may be an area where your marketing department can be helpful as well. 
     
  • Attend Trade Shows: Making appearances alone at trade shows communicates to your network that you have an investment in that niche or industry.  David feels that attending trade shows is one of the best ways to start to develop connections with potential clients and referral sources who operate within your universe.

    The firm may not want to fly you out somewhere to attend a trade show, so you may have to get creative. Look for regional trade shows, or spend your own money to attend - it's a worthwhile investment. 

    Trade shows can be some of the most time-efficient and focused networking that you can do, because you're spending two or three days with key industry leaders who are speaking, and you can connect with them. Go to their presentations, speak with them afterwards to give them your commentary on what was valuable and exchange business cards. 
     
  • Winning: Winning a matter or case is something that will help to establish your credibility - nothing speaks volumes like results. When you win or are affiliated with a win, make sure you promote it to your network. Sometimes your firm can do this on your behalf, but you shouldn't be shy about it. You've made sure to be part of a winning team, and when that works in your favor, you want people to know that they're hiring a winner. 

Practice Boomers/ Practice Pipeline

David ended with a few points about Practice Boomers, a business development e-learning platform that provides law firms with a curriculum of business development videos. Each video is only about five minutes long, and builds on some of the themes that were touched on during our presentation. 

The program also includes coaching, and the lawyers David has worked with really thrive in an environment where they can have a discussion with each other and a coach/facilitator who helps them to problem solve and vet objections. The program also offers performance tracking, which can be helpful to law firm management, and they provide ROI to firms that shows that lawyers increase their book of business significantly over the nine month program. For more information, take a look at the Practice Boomers website, and their demo video. 

Practice Pipeline is more about business development management. David recalled discussing the 20 key relationships, and using CRM to keep track, and Practice Pipeline is one of the tools that you can use for that. They have a high adoption rate for lawyers because of the way it's designed, and it includes a coaching component. For more information, take a look here

Thanks to David for an incredibly informative and substantive discussion, which has given our associates a lot of food for thought! 

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: An Attitude Adjustment

Today's post from Jaimie Field, Rainmaking Coach and Trainer, is the perfect follow-up to our second Two for Tuesdays' Tip about being more open-minded. Today, she talks about attitude, and that anyone can learn to be a rainmaker if they have the right mindset!

***

Recently, a few articles, one in the New Jersey Law Journal and one in the ABA’s Law Practice Management section’s Magazine, were written about Rainmaking Coaching. They asked whether rainmaking can be taught (as you know from my tag line, which I have used for almost 15 years, “Rainmakers are Not Born, They Are Taught sm”, I believe they can and the attorneys with which I have worked can attest to this).

While the articles are mixed on the what it takes to be a rainmaker, it is agreed that they can be taught. After working with hundreds of attorneys, I have found that the most important factor of whether or not you can become a rainmaker is the belief that you can.

 

You have to have the right attitude to become a rainmaker:

  1. You have to want to be taught, coached or mentored;
  2. You have to want to move past the fear of rejection;
  3. You have to find the activities that work with your personality;
  4. You have to be willing to do the work necessary to create relationships which will morph into business; and
  5. You have to have patience to understand that Rainmaking isn’t always instantaneous.

An introvert will never be a extravert and vice versa. But there are activities well suited for each personality that can bring in new business – find the ones that work for you and do them consistently and constantly.

___

PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO A COLLEAGUE WHO YOU THINK WOULD BENEFIT; IT MUST BE FORWARDED IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. ALL INFORMATION IS THE COPYRIGHT OF MARKETING FIELD, LLC © 2014

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month. They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq. If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog.

Lawyers: Reach Out and Touch Someone

If you're a regular reader of Zen, you'll know that I love to look outside of the legal industry to find ideas for how we can market and develop business differently. With that in mind, I'd like to share a story with you - bear with me, and I'll explain the legal connection.

If you read my Twitter profile, you'll see that one of the ways I describe myself is as "crazy about my bassets." I have two basset hounds (Barney and Oliver), and like any good pet parent, I love to take photos of them. I share a lot of these shots on social media, and have been tagging them with various hashtags (such as #bassetboys, #bassets, #bassethounds, and #dogsofinstagram). 

I don't have children yet, so I dress my dogs up for Halloween - basset hounds are very particular looking dogs, and seeing their faces when they have on hats, sweaters, costumes, etc. always gives me a good laugh. 

So on Friday, I shared a couple of photos of my dogs, in their costumes (including the one above), which led to a conversation with Purina. It played out as follows: 

 

My initial tweet:  

Purina (who I don't follow) reached out with: 

I responded:  

 And they sent back: 

 Key things to note here: 

  • I'm not a Purina customer.
  • I don't follow their twitter handle.
  • I haven't tweeted to or about them before.

But someone over at Purina is monitoring hashtags and keywords, and looking to engage with customers and potential customers. SMART.

Purina reached out and engaged me on a subject I'm interested in - my dogs. They made the interaction about me and my dogs, instead of about them, or trying to sell me something. They used my hashtag in their responses, and not a self-serving one.

The result? They've created some loyalty in me (and I'm not even a customer), and I'm going to consider both purchasing their products and endorsing their brand....all for the cost of a couple of tweets! 

What does this have to do with lawyers and law firms? Plenty! Here are just a few of the lessons we can take away from this story:

  • You can be using social media to monitor keywords and phrases that are important to your clients. You don't even have to be using Twitter - head over to LinkedIn, and start "following" the company pages for your clients and those companies you'd like to become clients. Check in periodically and see what's new with them, and the things they talk about. 
     
  • But if you do use Twitter, set up automatic searches for keywords, hashtags and phrases (you can learn what these are by trying a few of your own to see what works, or following clients and potential clients to see what they typically use). When you have these searches set up, monitor them periodically to see who is using them and may not be connected with you already in some way. 
     
  • Use these as opportunities to "reach out and touch someone." Purina saw that I was tweeting about Halloween, and they used that opportunity to engage with me. Perhaps a client or potential client tweets some exciting piece of news out - send an email or social media message to congratulate them, and ask how they're celebrating. Maybe their company wears jeans on Fridays to raise money for a charity they care about - you could offer to have your office participate one week as well. The idea is to find out what they care about and engage with them. 
     
  • But as importantly, the engagement has to be about THEM. It's not an opportunity to sell, or to talk about your strengths. It's just about having a conversation that serves as a building block in your relationship. If Purina had tweeted a message to me that included a link to their foods, or suggested that I feed my dogs something that they offer, I would have been turned off immediately. It would have felt icky, and I would have ignored the tweet entirely. But because they humanized their brand, and reached out to have a conversation, they automatically made me more interested in their products - without ever mentioning them. 

    Yes, legal services are not like dog food, but human interaction is the same regardless of the products or services offered - build relationships, and the rest will come. After all, how memorable would it be if your company is celebrating good news, and a lawyer offers to buy a round of drinks for your team's celebration? Or sponsors you in a bike race to raise money for a charity you care about? Or just notices that certain things are important to you, which may have nothing to do with the legal services they offer? 

    All of these things serve to create these individual links in the chains of our relationships, and the more links we have, the stronger the relationships, and the more top of mind that person becomes for when we DO need help. 

So today, ask yourself, how can I reach out and touch someone? Find a client or a potential client, and find a way to engage with them - authentically - that has nothing to do with you and your legal services. You may just be surprised at the business development progress you'll be making!

Two for Tuesdays: Networking Negatives

Despite a lingering migraine this afternoon, I am bringing you a Two for Tuesdays post! Last night, I got thinking about some of the negatives that I've heard from my lawyers about networking, and how to combat those. Today, I'm bringing you two of the top complaints I've heard and some suggestions for solving them.

Networking Negative One: Awkward Silences

There are some people who can talk with anyone - my brother-in-law is like that. Put him in a room with a bunch of people he doesn't know, and he excels at connecting with them without awkward silences.

But for many of us, that is unfortunately not one of our strengths. I'm a prime example of that. Raise your hand if you've ever been speaking with someone, only to have the conversation taper off and leave you standing there wracking your brain to come up with something to say? 

*Hand raised*

But this doesn't have to be a bad thing! Let's consider two ways that we can turn this around: 

Solution One: The Graceful Exit

In some cases, the person that you're talking to isn't the right person to be networking with - either you're not finding that chemistry that tells you that you're making a good connection, or you realized once you started speaking with them that they may not be a good future resource for one reason or another. 

A silence can offer you the perfect opportunity to make a graceful exit from the conversation, because it's a natural stopping point. Tell the person you're speaking with that you're going to grab a drink, or just say that it was nice speaking with them, and shake their hand. Then, you are free to move on! 

Solution Two: Mental List of Topics

The other solution to an awkward silence is coming prepared. If you're like me, and your brain draws a total blank when there's a conversational pause, it can be a lifesaver to have a list already prepared. Come up with five possible topics that you can introduce at this point - it can be anything from asking about the event you're at ("Is this your first time at an XYZ networking event?") to talking about sports ("Did you see the NFL team game this weekend?").

The key here is that if you introduce something not related to the event at hand, it should be something you're passionate about. Otherwise, it will become clear that you're not well-versed in that area, and the conversation will likely die off quickly. 

Another key here is to ask open ended questions that will invite further conversation - while the above two suggestions are really yes or no questions, they invite follow up that will help to drive the conversation. If someone has been to an event before, you can ask them when they last attended, or what brings them back. If they haven't, find out what they hope to gain from it, or what drew them there in the first place. 

Similarly, with other topics, ask what they like or dislike about something, follow up with probing questions (while not being too nosy!). It can help to write a few of these down beforehand, so they're in your mind and will be fresh when you run out of things to say. Being prepared like this can help you get over the awkward silences more quickly, so that you can keep the conversation progressing! 

Networking Negative Two: I'm Not Getting Business/This Person Doesn't Benefit Me

This networking negative is one I hear more frequently, and the issues are linked, which is why I mention them together.  Let's look at the second complaint first - "this person doesn't benefit me." 

I've heard this before - someone invests time in speaking with someone and learning more about them, only to find out that they're in another unrelated industry. It feels like the networking effort has been a waste - but I'm here to tell you that it's never a waste. 

If you connect with someone and get along with them, it doesn't matter what industry they're in, or whether they can give you business. You are enhancing your reputation simply by speaking with them, and you never know where your next referral will come from. 

Consider the following scenario - you speak at length with someone that is not in a position to give you business (and vice versa). They really like you as a person, and you exchange information, but you doubt it will be useful. Later that evening, the person is speaking with someone else at the networking event, and finds out that he or she needs a lawyer with your qualifications. Your new friends becomes a connector, and says, "I just met Bob, who is the perfect person to help you with that. Let me introduce you, since he's here tonight too." 

We can't predict where our next introduction, referral, or even reputation amplification will come from, so every connection we make is valuable. Plus, it's just not very nice to go through life wondering what people can do for you - think about what you can do for them, and you'll be happier AND find yourself with business! 

Related to that is the idea that you're not getting business through a networking event or organization - and this complaint requires digging a bit deeper. 

There are some cases where this happens because you're not in the right organization, and no matter how much effort and care  you put into it, you will never get business from it. If your main purpose is business networking (and not, say, volunteering), then you've identified that it doesn't work for you, and you can move on to investing your energy elsewhere. 

But to do so, you first need to ask yourself some key questions: 

  • How long have I given the organization/event to work? Did I go to one event and leave without business, and now I think it doesn't work for me? Or have I been going to events regularly for years without success? If it's the former, you need to give it more time - networking is a marathon, not a sprint. You will rarely, if ever, go to one event and come out with business. 
     
  • Did I speak with multiple people at the event, or just one? Did I introduce myself to new people, or stick with the same group that I'm comfortable with? 
     
  • Did I arrive late and leave early? Or did I come early, chat with the event organizers to see if they could introduce me to key people after I shared my goals with them? 
     
  • Did I arrange to follow up with the people that I met at the event, by connecting with them on LinkedIn, arranging to meet for lunch or to have a phone call with them? Did I send them something after the event to remind them of our conversation? 
     
  • Did I set goals for myself for the event (such as meeting five new people) and meet those goals? Or did I stay a wallflower wondering if someone would introduce themselves to me? 
     
  • Did I talk about myself and my practice the entire conversation, or did I ask questions that could help me identify where I could perhaps be the solution to someone's problem? 

We all like to think networking is as easy as walking into a room, chatting to some people and being friendly, and walking out with more business. Unfortunately, that's not the case. 

But if you put a little bit of extra thought into the before, during and after of any networking event, you can make it work for you, and address these negatives of networking easily! 

Does anyone else have any networking negatives and solutions they'd like to share? Post them in the comments! 

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Time Pickpockets

As we seem to get busier and busier these days, this post from rainmaking expert Jaimie Field rings especially true. What are your time pickpockets? 

***

Way too many times have I heard the sentence, “I don’t have enough time for rainmaking and marketing activities” (Rainmaking Recommendation #62).

I have proven through mathematics this isn’t true (Rainmaking Recommendation #91), I have told you that you don’t need to spend inordinate amounts of time on rainmaking activities to make a difference to your book of business (Rainmaking Recommendation #5), I have even told you to plan your time (Rainmaking Recommendation #92).

Yet, I still hear that phrase over and over from clients.

 

Here is the crux of the problem: we are distracted by so many things during the day – meetings, email, interruptions in our offices, the coffee-klatch in the break room, social media, and the list could go on. 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, a half an hour somewhere else - all of this adds up to time you could use to grow your books of business.

Your productivity cannot stand up to all of the distractions unless you take control.

On a great personal development blog that I read, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, there was a post on how to be efficient. One of the greatest lines in the blog is that all of the disruptions that we have during the day to can be likened to pickpockets:

It’s like we’re surrounded by scheming thieves: thieves of our time, thieves of our attention, thieves of our productivity. . . And how do pickpockets steal your stuff? Distraction.”

How you manage these distractions, how you avoid these “time thieves”, will provide you with the time you need to do the activities which will bring in more business.

Remember, there are only so many hours in a day. Use them wisely.

___

PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO A COLLEAGUE WHO YOU THINK WOULD BENEFIT; IT MUST BE FORWARDED IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. ALL INFORMATION IS THE COPYRIGHT OF MARKETING FIELD, LLC © 2014

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month. They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq. If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog.

"Meet Me at Starbucks" - What We Can Learn

The truth is, I'm a BIG fan of Starbucks, so I'm predisposed to love this commercial.  But I think there's a very important message that we at law firms can learn from this ad, and communicate through our own marketing (without even needing a commercial of our own). 

Watch the spot, and see if you can guess what I mean: 

Actually, there are two lessons we can take from this. Have you guessed them yet? 

Lesson One: Unify Your Culture and Sell It

What do we learn from this commercial? That no matter where in the world you go to a Starbucks, the experience will be the same. Yes, there are cultural differences (in this case, I'm speaking about national culture, and not corporate culture), but there are universal themes that human beings experience, and you can find them at Starbucks. 

Starbucks recognizes that, and they show us in a unique way that they offer the same experience to their customers worldwide - Starbucks-wide. 

At your firms, can you say the same thing? Is there one firm culture that you have which is universally offered and delivered to your clients? When someone hears "XYZ firm," do they automatically think "excellent client service" or "amazingly responsive" or "solid business partners"?

You don't have to be creating a commercial to look at this concept.  Right now, I'm taking my own advice from last week, and reading Tony Hsieh's book about the beginnings of Zappos. The chapter I'm reading at the moment focuses on their ten core beliefs, and Tony talks about how many years ago, branding was an exercise undertaking by a group of businessmen in a conference room to decide what and how to sell their company's name. 

Today, it's instead about identifying what the company's culture is and represents, and how to communicate that - and then constantly refining and working to bring everyone at the company more and more in line with that ideal. For Zappos, it's excellent customer service above all else. Truly, above all else - they empower their phone operators to help point a customer to competitor if they don't have the stock on an item; all of the employees (even their in-house counsel, by the way) have to spend two weeks in the call center answering phones. At all levels of the company, they live and exude the customer service excellence that they also promote. 

What is that "thing" at your firm? What is the characteristic that makes you special? 

Find out, and then look at how you can share it with your clients, potential clients, amplifiers and influencers. You don't have to put together a commercial - but it should underlie every business development and marketing decision you make...and every hiring decision. 

Lesson Two: Give People What They Don't Even Know They Want

The best thing about the Starbucks commercial for me is that Starbucks is giving people something they don't even realize that they want - an experience. An experience that is filled with human connection and stories. 

You just thought you wanted coffee, huh?

Instead, you get so much more.

That's true for law firms too - you're not just offering stellar legal services. You're offering comfort, security, relief, and much more.  So what's your secondary story? 

Look at the other side of what you offer. Of course, you offer legal services - so do all of your competitors. But what is the thing that you offer that they don't? 

I remember sitting in a session at the LMA Annual Conference last year, coincidentally, during the Zappos session. Someone in the audience commented that while people are usually happy to see a Zappos box show up on their doorstep, they wouldn't necessarily be happy to see their lawyer show up on their doorstep - so how can we compare the two? 

At the time, I disagreed that there was no comparison, and I still think so today. Sure, someone may not be "happy" to see their lawyer show up, but they may be relieved. Are you the superhero who swoops in to save the day and averts legal disaster? Are you the first line of defense against future issues that means that clients save millions? 

What is YOUR superpower? 

Identify what the underlying story is here - what are you really giving to your clients, that they don't even know they want? Figure out what that is, and how to communicate it (with everything you do - again, it's not a question of coming up with a commercial). 

What other lessons do you see in this Starbucks commercial that lawyers and legal marketers can use? How can you use the lessons described above in your own firms and practices? 

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: How do you want to finish the year?

On this rainy Wednesday here in New Jersey, it's only appropriate that we bring you another kind of "rainy" post - a rainmaking recommendation from expert Jaimie Field

***

Can you believe it? Today is the first day of the last quarter of the year!

Why is it when we were kids the time between September and June felt interminable, yet as an adult you wake up and all of a sudden it’s October 1st?

How do you want to finish the year?

All of those New Year’s Resolutions, all of those ambitions you promised to achieve, it’s still not too late to achieve your goals you had planned for the year. You can still accomplish what you would like before December 31st.

 

First, you need to look back on what you have been doing over the past 9 months and make the decision to do things differently than you have been doing. There is an oft repeated cliché which says “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If what you have been doing with regard to your Rainmaking isn’t working, then change what you are doing. More importantly, if you aren’t doing anything at all, then do something!

Second, you need a plan. If you wrote your Rainmaking plan, which I hope you did, at the beginning of the year but stuck it in the drawer, then pull it out, dust it off and determine what you can reasonably get accomplished in the next three months. If you don’t have a plan, then take the time to write out what you want to attain and the steps you are going to take achieve it.

And finally, get going! You have to take action. Just sitting around waiting for potential clients to find you doesn’t work. If people don’t know who you are, or what you do, they will never hire you. Start today to market your services, meet new people both on and off line, and reconnect with your referrals sources to create the relationships which will lead to new business.

To sound like a Nike commercial – “Just do it!”

PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO A COLLEAGUE WHO YOU THINK WOULD BENEFIT; IT MUST BE FORWARDED IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. ALL INFORMATION IS THE COPYRIGHT OF MARKETING FIELD, LLC © 2014

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month. They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq. If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog.

Let's Get Networking!

It's September, so you know what that means...it's prime time to re-ignite your networking efforts! For many ILN members, they'll have the chance to do that this week, as our European Regional Meeting kicks off in Oslo on Thursday. 

While we've covered a lot of networking tips in the past, I'm always on the hunt for new ideas and advice to switch things up.  I recently came across this post that offers seven tips for networking success, Let's look at a few of them, and how they apply to lawyers and law firms. 

There's More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

There's more than one way to skin a cat, as they say, and there's more than one place to do your networking.  As the post suggests: 

Attend events at professional organizations that relate to your expertise or industry, but don’t be content with that."

 

The truth is, networking happens anywhere and everywhere - you may meet an in-house counsel at your son's next football game, or your daughter's soccer match, just because you're open to chatting with the other parents!  The key here is to be open - be ready to network wherever you are. 

That doesn't mean that you don't have to find events that are designed for networking - you do.  Attend your practice/industry-specific events, but also see what else might work.  Are there reunions for your law school that you could be attending, or local interest-driven organizations that you might find fun and useful? 

You may find that the events you regularly attend have gotten a bit stale, or you're always running into the same people  - there's value in continuity of course, and building those relationships, but changing the organizations that you're investing your time in may give you the boost you need to refresh your networking efforts.  

How can you find different events? Let's look at a couple of suggestions to get you started:

  • Check your local paper: Newspapers often give you a list of upcoming events in the town, which can include professional networking opportunities.  Even better, you may find some things that match your interests, and you can attend for fun (and find some networking possibilities as well!). 
  • LinkedIn: Find out whether there are groups on LinkedIn with events in your area - many groups are geographically-specific, and would help you to combine some online networking with some in-person networking. 
  • Join an organization: Is there another organization nearby that you can get involved with - a chamber of commerce, for example, or a special-interest group? Perhaps volunteering for a local charity or for your political party of choice would be a surprisingly good source of networking contacts. 

Set Realistic Goals & Expectations

As the referenced post indicates: 

It's just fine to speak with only a key handful of people the room."

One of the complaints I often hear from lawyers is that they do this work of networking, but they don't get any business from it - and that's where managing your own expectations is key.  The likelihood that you will attend an event or conference and walk away with business is close to none. It's just not the way that it works.

That doesn't mean that networking doesn't work - it just means that you need to reset your goals.  The purpose is to meet new people and start a relationship with them.  From there, you build the relationship through additional business development tactics, and that will ultimately lead to business.  Think of it like dating - you're not likely to meet someone at a party and marry them that same night.  But you might meet someone, get their phone number, and then call them to go out on a date, and the relationship progresses from there. Business networking is the same. 

So set some goals for yourself that are reasonable when it comes to networking: 

  • Tonight, I will speak with five people and get their business cards. 
  • I'll review the attendee list in advance, and choose three people that I'd like to get to know better.
  • I'll talk to the conference organizers to have them introduce me to someone I don't yet know. 
  • I'll write down one key fact about each person that I talk to, so that I have a reason to follow up with them. 
  • I'll commit to setting up five phone or in-person meetings with the people that I've met within a week of the networking event. 

Focus, Focus, Focus

I cannot tell you the number of times that I've been talking to someone and they are looking over my shoulder to see who their next networking target is.  I can count on one hand those who have been genuinely interested in what I have to say, and focused on me as I'm saying it - they're that memorable. 

No matter who you are talking to, that person is valuable to you (we could go into why it's just polite and good manners, but I'll refrain from getting on a soapbox and stick to networking value).  Whether you're speaking with someone who could be a potential client, or you're speaking with someone who may never give you business, that person is valuable.

Why? The former, for obvious reasons, but the latter is as well - every interaction you have with someone impacts your reputation. If you are polite, interested, and a good listener, you will be developing relationships and loyalty with everyone you meet.  

You may think that someone isn't going to be of value, because they're not a potential client - but what if that person works for a publication that would be able to use you as a source, and that would get you in front of potential clients? What if that person is with a conference organization, and looking for speakers who could present in front of potential clients? What if that person is married to the in-house counsel for a client you've been dying to work with for years? 

What if you make such an impression on someone that the next time they're speaking with a friend or colleague who has a professional need, they immediately think of, and recommend, you? 

There's age-old professional advice that because you never know who is in earshot, you should always be careful of what you say - have you ever been critical of a friend, only to realize that her husband is right behind you? This is true for networking too - you never know who you're speaking with, or how they're connected. It's just good business to practice your excellent networking skills on everyone you meet, no matter who they are - at the very least, you're refining your skills for when you do meet a potential client directly.

Never Speak At Someone

And finally, let's look at the recommendation that you never speak "at" someone - this can be a deal breaker.  In the interviews we've been doing with general counsel, we've learned that a regular complaint is that lawyers lead with their expertise.  You may be exactly what a client needs, in terms of expertise, but if you don't listen to their individual concerns and problems, they will never let you in the door. 

Even at networking events, where you could possibly assume that the purpose is to toot your own horn and show how you can help someone, the *best* way to network is to listen first, digest that information, and only then suggest if and how you may be able to help.  If you are smart, talented, and an excellent lawyer, that comes through naturally - you don't have to tell anyone. 

From experience, I've seen that the most impressive people are the quietest, and the ones who never tout their own accomplishments. I know several lawyers who will chat first about social things, who remember details about those they are speaking with, who listen almost exclusively and add their thoughts seldomly, and they are some of the most successful, smart, talented people I know. It's human nature to listen more closely to someone who is humble and makes you feel like an equal, than someone who is telling you how accomplished they are. 

Take a read through of the other recommendations in the 7 tips for networking success post, and consider how they might apply to you. And when you're out there meeting and talking to people, keep these in mind, and you just might be surprised as how vibrant your networking and business development becomes! 

 

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: A LinkedIn Rant

Today's rainmaking recommendation from Jaimie Field is a little bit different - it's not strictly one of her recommendations, but is a rant she published via her LinkedIn publishing platform yesterday, with some advice on what NOT to do when trying to sell your products and services. 

Since I wholeheartedly agree with her, I wanted to share this with you today - it's great advice to keep in mind when you're reaching out to someone for the first time, whether through LinkedIn, on the phone, or in person! 

***

Have we met?

Have we connected in any way on Linked In?

Do I even know who you are?

Do you even know who I am other than looking at my profile?

 

If not, please do not send me a solicitation email about your services through my LinkedIn account.

Sure we may have a group or two in common, but if you have not taken the time to “introduce” yourself to me, what makes you think I want to do business with you? There is an oft used phrase: “People do business with people they know, like and trust.”

I don’t know you. So what makes you think I trust or even like you?

Over the past two weeks I have received more than 8 Linked In messages from people trying to sell me their services – some of them trying to do this even prior to connecting with me. Today, I even received an email to connect WITH a solicitation for my business.

Do you think this is any different from picking up the phone and cold calling me? Cold calling no longer works. Hell, just “selling” doesn’t work anymore either. The fact is that nowadays when people need a service or product, they do research on the internet. When they find out everything they need to know about that service or product, then they will take the time to find the best provider for that need. Often, this best provider is found by asking for referrals. Your referral sources, the people with whom you may have created a relationship with on Linked In, will happily refer you if the fit is right. If you have taken the time to begin creating a relationship with the potential referral sources or clients, they will remember you as the person who can help them and potentially call you.

Social Media Networking – and the key word here is NETWORKING – is about creating relationships. Linked In was created so that business people could connect with others and begin to form relationships.

Form a relationship with your potential client, find out about your potential client's needs, then ask them if they need your services.

......Rant officially over......

The End Zone of Business Development

In less than a week, it will be September 1st. I like to think of September as a brand new start, much like the school year used to be. It's a chance to begin again and look at your goals and plans with a fresh set of eyes. 

I want you to consider these last four months of 2014 as the "end zone" for your business development efforts this year. Yes, business development is an ongoing effort, and it doesn't end simply because the calendar year wraps up.  But I've found that when I have ongoing projects, giving myself firm deadlines to complete them motivates me far more than having some abstract end date. 

There will likely be three groups of you reading this post - those who started the year with business development plans and goals, who split them up throughout the year and made progress on them; those of you who had those plans, but who may have only made some inroads here and there; and those of you who had no plans or goals set at all. But no matter where you are, think of September as your do-over month, and the opportunity to plan for the remainder of the year. 

With four full weeks in September, let's create some deadlines to meet that will get us set up for the remainder of the year. 

Week One: September 2nd-5th

September 1st is Labor Day here in the US, so I know that will be a vacation day for most. Rest up, because we're jumping in with a bang on September 2nd.  The key to setting up business development goals and action plans, I've found, is to make sure it's in manageable bites, so there's never too much that you have to do - if you've got something without a firm deadline (even if you assign one, we know in the back of our minds that it's not *really* a deadline) and it seems insurmountable, you'll likely forego it in lieu of something more pressing or immediately lucrative. 

So for the first week, if you're in the camp of having no plan, I want you to take fifteen minutes to write down your goals, and two or three actions for each that can get you there. Your goals may be things like: 

  • Get more work from current clients.
  • Bring in x new clients in a specific practice or industry area. 
  • Develop relationships with media in a specific practice or industry area. 

In order for these goals to be solid, you want to make them measurable - the goals above are purposefully vague, because it will depend on your area of expertise, what your individual goal in, and how much time you are willing and able to put in. 

Once you have these goals, you'll want to jot down a few action steps for each that will help you to get to that place: 

  • Meet with my top ten clients for lunch before the end of the year. 
  • Shadow a client  or two for an afternoon, at no charge to them. 
  • Identify one to two conferences in my practice or industry area where potential clients will be. 
  • Start a LinkedIn group dedicated to an area of my practice or an industry I'm involved in. 
  • Set up a Twitter list with the names of journalists that I'd like to get to know better. 

There are many more, but set a timer for yourself so that you come up with some quick ideas in those fifteen minutes. 

If you already have a plan, take those fifteen minutes to review it. Look at your goals and activities, and make a list of what's worked - either from a successful point of view, or it has been an enjoyable activity for you - and make a list of what hasn't (and why). When you identify what isn't working for you, that helps to refine your plan, so that you're less likely to waste time on the things that aren't helping you meet your goals. Perhaps going to a large networking event is just incredibly painful, makes you super uncomfortable, and no matter how many times you do it, you still hate it...and end up with no new connections. 

Instead, it would be better to spend your time doing something else - perhaps you connect more easily with people through social media, like LinkedIn, and you can get to know them a little online first before you invite them to lunch or out for coffee.  Reviewing your plan and goals will help you to learn what type of business developer you are, what you are most comfortable doing, and where you should be spending your time. 

My advice is that however you control your to-do list, mark down this fifteen minutes (and the activities that will follow) in your calendar - I use a physical agenda (it's my one non-tech holdout), and so I'll write down, for example, that on Wednesday, I need to spend fifteen minutes focused on reviewing my networking plan. Do whatever you would normally do, and then once you've completed that fifteen minutes, check it off your list and pat yourself on the back. 

This would also be a good time to find someone to be accountable to - grab a partner you're friendly with in the office, and tell him or her what you're doing. Form a buddy system, and agree to meet for a break every Friday in September for a few minutes to check in. Or post your goals and action steps on a social network - you don't have to be specific, but the idea that someone will be expecting to hear results from you is a great motivator! 

Weeks Two & Three: September 8th -12th 

In the second and third weeks, you want to flesh out your activities a little bit more with some research. I'm giving you two weeks on these, so you can divvy up your goals and action steps into shorter increments. You may want to give yourself thirty minutes per week to do this, or enlist your assistant to help you - a note here, if you're going to enlist your assistant, I recommend walking through your plan with him or her first, so that they understand your motivation and goals. It isn't busy work you're looking to have them do, but targeted, specific research to help you in your business development and networking efforts. 

Start by taking your goals and deciding how you will prioritize them - if you have one or two goals, it's fairly easy, and I recommend keeping your list of goals down to no more than three. We're not trying to reinvent the wheel here and because networking IS an ongoing process, you can always revisit other goals next year or later once you've met your top three. 

Take goal one, and assign yourself two days in the first week to do some research for your action steps.  Let's say your goal is to get more work from current clients, and two of your action steps are to have lunch with your top ten clients, and to shadow one or two clients before the end of the year, at no charge. 

Use the time you've assigned yourself to identify who those clients are, really. You may think you know them off the top of your head, but actually write them down, write down how much you currently bill them for, how much work you estimate you should be doing for them, and what a realistic goal might be for how much of that work you could get in the next few months. Keep this information to yourself - you're not sharing this with your client; it's just to know it for your own peace of mind. 

Now you have your list of top clients - identify which of those clients are going to be the top priorities for shadowing. Ideally, they'd be in your same city, but if not, that will take some advanced planning (more on that in week four). They may be clients that you know enough about, but would like to know more. They may be clients that you feel you know pretty well on an interpersonal level, but you feel you should know better. They may be clients who just need that extra hand-holding and attention that a longer visit from you would provide.  There may be one or two clients who give you some work, but wouldn't be considered a "top" client, and shadowing might help you to bring in more of their work. Make note of which one or two clients you would like to shadow, and give yourself one or two others as backup, in case one of the others bows out.

From the remainder of the list, group them by location - put those in your city in one group, and the rest in another group. For those outside of your city, identify which are driving distance, and which would require a flight. Take a look at your upcoming travel and see what might overlap well. You don't have to schedule anything in weeks two and three, but have an idea of your schedule and the different players involved, so you can more easily lay out a sensible plan once you do start scheduling. 

Repeat this with goal two for the second week, again blocking out time to dedicate to research and planning. Give yourself just a limited amount of time each day that you work on it, so that you are  taking incremental steps while not overwhelming yourself with the enormity of the task.  If you have three goals, you'll have to juggle a bit to fit in all of them, and maybe devote a bit of extra time - but the mandatory scheduling here is key. If you leave all of your "business development" planning until Friday, or the end of the two weeks, it's much more likely that you'll just scrap the whole thing all together. 

Week Four: September 22nd - 26th

Week four is all about scheduling. This is the week when you start setting up your various action steps.  If we continue with the example above of getting more work from current clients, with the two action steps we mentioned, this is the time you start reaching out to schedule your lunches and visits. 

Start with the shadowing opportunities. From your research, you should have an idea of the amount of time you want to spend with those clients, and a rough idea of your schedule, so you know when the best time would be. Since this is a big ask, and there's opportunity for miscommunication here, this is not the time to use email - instead, either pick up the phone and speak with them about it, or arrange for lunch, so that you can talk about it in person (obviously, this will depend on whether they're in the same city as you). Don't mention that you're hoping to get more work; but focus on talking about wanting to get to know them better and checking in to see how they and their business are doing. 

Once you've got your shadowing appointments set, start booking up lunches - and here, you want to set goals for yourself again.  None of us has time to have lunch out five days a week. If it's realistic for you to have two lunches each week for the remainder of the year, great. Maybe it's just one. No matter what your schedule looks like, start booking up those lunches.  

Begin with those outside of your city - if there is an opportunity where you are already traveling, and you have firm dates, reach out to the client or clients in that city and see if you can meet for lunch or dinner. Next, arrange lunches for the local clients - you can even book these a month or six weeks in advance, so that they're on your calendar (and harder to beg off from). If you have a long list, and it will take a while to meet with them all, schedule about half, and then make a calendar note to schedule the rest in about six weeks' time. Again, the key here is to break this up into short, manageable chunks of time, so that before you know it, you're blasting through your business development goals. 

There are many more scenarios and plans, and each of them will be (and should be!) very individual. If you're struggling with where you want to go, or how to get there, meet first with your marketing director and work with him or her to set up a plan and goals (and some accountability). There are also many coaches who work on this very thing, who are a worthwhile investment.  

So rather than think "Oh well, business development is just something I'll get to *next* year!" break down your tasks into measurable steps for September, and schedule them for the rest of 2014. You'll be surprised by how much progress you make before the end of the calendar year! 

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: The Rainmaking Habit

My friend & rainmaking coach and trainer, Jaimie Field, is back with an excellent post today on why you should be motivated to create some new rainmaking habits! 

***

Recently, I have been trying to develop some habits which will have a positive effect on my life.

One of them may seem a bit silly: Make my bed every day.

This is a task that has always eluded me since I was a child when my mother, who was a bit OCD, 
would insist upon it. I think I rebelled against it and have had an issue doing so. However, as Gretchen Rubin wrote in her blog-turned-book: “The Happiness Project” the most popular resolution for happiness is making your bed. One of the reasons, she thinks, is because it is one small step that causes you to feel like you accomplished something. Besides, I don’t know about you, but it only takes me 1 minute and 34 seconds to make my bed – I actually timed it the first day so I wouldn’t have an excuse – and I like coming home to a neat place.

Another habit, with a much more profound effect on my health, is drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day. I realized that my energy level was so low because I was truly dehydrated. This resulted in being too tired to do the things I wanted to do, and the things I knew I should do. Since I have incorporated this habit into my life, my energy has skyrocketed!

So, I downloaded an app to my smart phone (Habit Bull) which reminds me every morning to make my bed, and every hour to drink a glass of water. The app allows me to track my progress (by the way, I am 10 days into the challenge of making these habits stick and I am proud to say I have been successful in achieving these daily goals to-date).

There will come a point where both of these tasks (and the others I will start to add on to my habit list – including business related habits) will become automatic and I won’t need a reminder to do them. Some say that it takes 21 days to make a habit stick, others more than two months.   Regardless, if you keep doing something, it becomes deep-rooted in your habits and you begin to do them automatically.

Why am I bringing this up in a Rainmaking Recommendation?

Because becoming a Rainmaker is just about forming good habits which you do on a constant and consistent basis till it becomes almost rote. A good Rainmaker doesn’t think about picking up the phone to create a relationship with a client, prospect or referral source. It is just their habit do to so. A good Rainmaker doesn’t think: “Ughh I have to post to social media or write a blog”, they have made it a habit to post something on a regular basis. A good Rainmaker doesn’t think “follow up” – it’s become ingrained in their daily activities even when they are “too busy” to do so.

Whether it is conscious or not, Rainmakers have developed certain habits which, used consistently, have helped them create their books of business.

What Rainmaking Habits do you think you can begin to cultivate to get more clients?

My next blog – which will be posted this Friday – will be about the specific habits you should consider creating in order to build your book of business.

____
PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO A COLLEAGUE WHO YOU THINK WOULD BENEFIT; IT MUST BE FORWARDED IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. ALL INFORMATION IS THE COPYRIGHT OF MARKETING FIELD, LLC © 2014

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month. They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq. If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog.

Two for Tuesdays: Business Lessons from The Giver Movie Premiere

Before I get underway with this week's Two for Tuesdays, I have to say how saddened I am over the loss of Robin Williams. My thoughts are with his friends and family at this impossibly difficult time.  He brought us such joy, showed us how to be kind and giving, and will be so deeply missed by so many.

***

On a much lighter note, last night, I had the good fortune to be able to attend the New York premiere of The Giver, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name from author Lois Lowry.  I've never been to a movie premiere before (I was able to get tickets by fundraising for arts charities through the Weinstein Group), so I was keen to see how it all would go.

It was a lovely event, and I was tickled to see the stars up close - Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift, Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush, and Cameron Monaghan were all there (missing, unfortunately, was my main reason for being there, the handsome and charismatic Alexander Skarsgard, who is currently filming in England. So if you know him, please feel free to give him my number. I am not joking.). 

At first, I couldn't identify what lessons we might be able to take from the premiere to apply to our work in the industry, but two tips struck me this morning. 

Tip One: Be Accessible

Taylor Swift is in The Giver for only a few short moments. But her fans made up the majority of the audience at the premiere, as well as those waiting in the crowd outside for a glimpse of her. And while there are those who dislike her (not me, I like her, I enjoy her music, and think she's sweet), she really impressed me last night. That girl knows her audience and her business.

Taylor manages to make her target audience feel like a friend, and that creates loyalty. The kind of loyalty that has people standing outside of a movie theater from 10am on a summer day just to maybe catch a glimpse of her. Is it magic? No, she's just good at being herself and making that self available to her fans.

How does she do it?

  • She's accessible through social media. Taylor herself leverages Twitter and Instagram brilliantly, using both to offer glimpses into her life and sharing teasers for upcoming albums and projects that make her connections feel like they're in on the "secret," and thus part of her circle.
     
  • She knows what the fans want and delivers. These screaming teens were desperate to connect with Taylor, and she patiently signed autographs and took selfies with many of them, always being genuinely friendly and kind. She even spent a couple of extra moments with a girl who was crying because she was so overwhelmed. 
     
  • She writes about things we've all been through - heartbreak, the hormonal teenage years, etc. Taylor is living a life that most of us can't even imagine, with famous friends, amazing experiences, and first class living, but she connects to people on common ground. She acted just as excited as any of us would if we were acting in a movie with Jeff Bridges, although she herself holds an impressive amount of fame. She makes you think, "I'll bet Taylor Swift and I would be great friends if we knew each other." 

I know what you're thinking (and if anyone can name the television show that line was used in regularly, I will be mighty impressed). 

You're thinking, what does Taylor Swift have to do with the legal profession? 

It's about what your clients want - accessibility. 

  • Make yourself accessible to your clients in the places that THEY are. Taylor's fans are mostly teens and twenty-somethings who use social media. So she's on social media.  Where are your clients? Are they on LinkedIn? Do they read trade magazines? Do they go to your local golf club religiously? Do they ride the train with you? Find out where they are, and be in that place. Make them feel as if they have access to you. 
     
  • Know what your clients want, and deliver. Do they want you to return their phone calls, even if you have nothing to update them on? Same for emails? Do they want to see you in person for periodic meetings, just to reassure them? Do they want you to ask them to co-author articles, or share their successes for them? Do they want you to invite them to speak at conferences? Do they want you to mostly leave them alone, and just do good work? Each client is different, and will want different things. But are you delivering what your clients want, or just what YOU think they want? 
     
  • Work to share common ground. When you write an article or a blog post, are you writing it from your perspective, or are you sharing the pains that your clients have? When you meet with them, or talk on the phone, are you connecting with their pain, or just giving your advice? 

Why does this matter? We see with Taylor Swift that these things create loyalty among her fans. They create buzz around her brand - people want to know what she's up to, and since she shares more than just the things that they can purchase from her, they're already sold on those things when she does share them. Right now, Taylor has been sharing hints on Instagram for something upcoming (likely her next album). Her fans are SUPER excited, reporters are asking her about it, and everyone is talking about it.  When that album hits, people will already be convinced that they should buy it. She won't have to try to sell it to them at that point. 

That's because she's creating loyalty, and making her brand about her fans...who are her customers (clients).  How are you doing the same with your own clients? 

Tip Two: Be Yourself

I really wanted to write "be authentic" here, but I know how everyone feels about that buzzword. But it's an apt descriptor. 

Last night, just before he arrived on the red carpet, Jeff Bridges received word about his friend, Robin Williams. He could have pushed that to the back of his mind when he reached the interviewer, and talked only about the movie, this project that has been his goal for 18 years. 

Instead, he choked up, and almost wasn't able to get the words out. He was shocked and heartbroken, and you could see it all over his face and hear it in his voice. It wasn't an act; it was just Jeff Bridges. Those of us watching in the theater already hushed - some people hadn't yet heard, and you could hear the shock ripple through, and those of us who had felt heartbroken right along with him.

Jeff Bridges may be a huge movie star, but in that moment, he was a person who had lost his friend. And now I like him more than any movie could have convinced me to.  I'll continue to have a soft spot for him, because I know he's sensitive and real. 

How does that apply in the legal industry? We have to be ourselves. 

People connect with people, with shared experiences and ideas. We connect over humor and sadness; through laughter and tears.  Simply because we are talking about legal issues doesn't mean we have to throw away our personalities. 

Now, I'm not suggesting you burst into tears at work, or share all of your inappropriate jokes with clients. But there is a balance between professionalism and personal connection that exists in business, and lawyers can (and do!) develop that too. Share yourself with your clients - tell them about your family, your pets, the funny thing your in-laws did when they were there for the holidays. Share a worry about something - it doesn't have to be a deep, personal thing; it could be as simple as being worried that your favorite baseball player will be traded this week. 

But give them a glimpse into who you really are. Allow them the opportunity to share themselves with you too, and see where you have common ground. Even in business, we develop a fondness for each other, a level of comfort that makes us more likely to return to that person again and again when we need them professionally. 

Take my dry cleaner for example - I don't dry clean clothes very often, but when I do, he always remembers my name. We chat about my travels (the clothes I bring in warrant those types of questions), his Korean roots, his business, and my business.   He's a nice guy, who takes a real interest in me, not just my business and how much money he will make. I wouldn't go running to him with a personal crisis, but he will always have my business because I genuinely like him and want him to do well.  I also recommend him frequently, for the same reason.

Do your clients have that same soft spot for you? Will they always give you their business because they genuinely like working with you? Will they refer you to others for the same reason? Or do they consider your services just a necessary part of their business? 

Bonus Tip: Be Careful When Famejacking

I normally end with two tips (it is TWO for Tuesdays after all!), but the end of the interview with Jeff Bridges provides a lesson that I just can't ignore: you need to know when to famejack a story, and when not to (also, how not to).  

As he was speaking and trying to compose himself, Jeff apologized to the interviewer, who told him that there was no need (agreed), that he was showing us real emotions. Fine, no problem. But then, he said, "Just like in The Giver..." and you could hear the audience collectively groan. 

This man is crying on the red carpet, over the loss of his friend, and the interviewer breaks in to tie it back to the movie in question. Icky.

Jeff ended the interview by actually patting this guy on the back of the head, with a bit of an incredulous look on his face, and the attendee next to me suggested that he thought the interviewer needed to write a letter of apology. Sounds about right.

I mention this, because someone on Twitter today shared an article they'd found on LinkedIn that offered five business development lessons we could learn from Robin Williams (the person sharing was disgusted). Attempting to capitalize on his death by using his name in the title, and relating it to a lighter subject that is so out of place at the moment puts a pit in my stomach.

I hesitated to even mention it in the post, for fear of doing the same thing, but I genuinely feel badly about his death, and I'm very purposely not using his name in the title of the post. 

We've talked several times about famejacking here on Zen - tying in your area of expertise to something that is culturally popular to ride the wave of attention.  And there are times (and ways) you just don't do that. Peter Shankman (@petershankman) mentioned a few of these in his recent LMA webinar, like the tweets suggesting people bake New England related recipes in the wake of the Boston bombing. (I mean, honestly??)

That's the same here. A person has died, and in our humanness, we should pause and take a moment to mourn, to support his family and friends in their mourning. I would have been horrified (and maybe a little confused) had someone offered five business development lessons that my grandmother had taught them in the wake of her passing. Now, if she'd been a business woman who mentored someone, and that someone was sharing a memory of her that was important to them, that would have been fine, even meaningful. 

But when strangers try to take tragedy and use it to their gain, it's just, well, icky.  Are there ways that this story can be used? Yes, the discussions of depression, addiction and suicide in the wake of his death are important and necessary. I also foresee a slate of estate law posts to come in the weeks that follow, and perhaps others. But it's a fine line to walk between rubbernecking a tragedy and honoring the loss, and learning lessons from it. So please, be careful when famejacking. 

That's all for this Two for Tuesdays. As always, please share your thoughts and comments below! 

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Back to Basics

It's the first Wednesday of the month, so you know what that means...a rainmaking recommendation from rainmaking coach and expert Jaimie Field!  Jaimie posted her 100th rainmaking post today - congratulations! - and it's a great one on getting us back to basics. 

***

Wow! 100 Rainmaking Recommendations! Thank you for being a part of this journey and here’s to many more.

But for now, let’s get back to basics. This is just something to think about. In the next few months there will be many more blogs on how to use various marketing and rainmaking tactics to grow your visibility and book of business. (Please keep an eye on the blog. There’s some changes-a-comin’…..)

There is a huge difference between marketing and rainmaking. It is a difference that many attorneys seem to forget when they try to become rainmakers. They launch a website, have a Facebook or Linked In page. They write blog posts and give seminars. 

They publish newsletters and even books.

Then, they sit back and say “it doesn’t work” or “I never get any clients from this!”

Marketing is about creating the visibility you need to generate the interest for people to contact you. If people do not know who you are or what you do, then there is no chance they will hire you for their matter.

However, marketing is only one step in developing the prospects you want as your clients.

The next step is to create relationships with these prospects. You have to connect with these people, and referrals sources.

Rainmaking is about creating relationships which turn into business and referrals.

____
PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO A COLLEAGUE WHO YOU THINK WOULD BENEFIT; IT MUST BE FORWARDED IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. ALL INFORMATION IS THE COPYRIGHT OF MARKETING FIELD, LLC © 2014

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month. They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq. If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog.

Two for Tuesdays: Make the Most out of Your August

Well, August is finally here - this gal loves the cooler temps of the fall, pumpkin spiced lattes, sweaters, and falling leaves, so August is not my favorite month.  But it's a good one to take advantage of.  A LOT of people take their vacations in August - and for those of us with a lot of European clients, August can be a pretty quiet month if you're stuck sitting at your desk. 

So now is the time to tackle anything that may fall to the wayside once September hits and things pick up again.  And that's where this week's Two for Tuesdays comes in.

Tip One: Make a Change

August is a good time to look around you and see what may not be working so well, and this can take a number of different tacks...

Business Development & Networking

Review your business development plan - are there things in there that just haven't been working for you? Maybe you've gone to several events at a local organization you're involved with, and you haven't felt comfortable, or you haven't really met anyone.  Change it up - if you're sure that the organization is the right one for you to be a part of, see how you can be more active. Get on a committee for the fall, or offer to get involved with organizing and hosting an event.  It will change who you've been interacting with, and help broaden your involvement in the organization. 

If you feel you've been meeting the right people, but just not connecting, grab their contact information and find other ways to get to know each other.  Perhaps you're a golfer, and you can invite them to join you for a few holes (or even just at the driving range). Maybe you're a fisherman, and you can take a day out on the water.  Grab lunch at a new hot spot in town.  If you're nervous about whether they'll like the same things, do a little research on social media to see where there is some crossover, and invite away! 

If the organization isn't the right fit, do some research now to see what might be better for you.  Perhaps there's something that is more in line with your practice area, or perhaps you see an organization in an industry that you'd like to get more clients from.  Give that a try instead - line up your calendar for the remainder of the year with a few events you'd like to attend, so you don't have to scramble come September to adjust your schedule.

If you're not a natural in-person networker, start somewhere else.  Find some new LinkedIn groups to join, or check out Twitter. Maybe you're more comfortable speaking or writing - put together a portfolio of presentations or articles that you can share with a few key publications or organizations that showcase who you are. See if you can line up an article submission or presentation for September with a group you've never been involved with. 

The key here is to shake things up a little bit. Some of what you've been doing will be working well, and you should keep doing those things.  But if something doesn't feel right, or it hasn't been working for you, that just tells you that you don't need to focus your energy there.  So shift your focus elsewhere! 

Around the Office

August is also a good time to see what is and isn't working at the office.  Pretend that you're a client one day (or get someone you're meeting with to help you out with this).  With fresh eyes, see how the receptionist treats you, how the office looks, where they put you to wait, how your assistant handles the interaction.  Review how incoming phone calls and emails are handled, and whether you have processes in place for thank yous. 

You may find that everything works very smoothly, and the client experience is positive from the moment they step through your doors.  Or you may find that there needs to be some adjustment. August is a great time to tweak what's not working, so that come September, anyone walking through that door has a completely professional welcome experience. 

Take a look at your individual office management as well - is there something that can be improved? Are there files you've been meaning to deal with that you're not working on any more, or shelves where you could make room for more necessary items? I know a few attorneys who thrive on clutter, and know where everything is around them - so I'm certainly not suggesting that you clean your office!  

But it may be valuable to consider what isn't serving you well anymore and just move it somewhere else. Take a few minutes to consider some kind of visual change too - hang a new picture, or bring in a bright plant.  Move your desk to a different part of the room.  Sometimes, a change in our environment can give us an unexpected fresh look at everything else around us as well. 

Marketing

Yes, I know, the dreaded "m" word.  But marketing, to me, is an essential support system for the business development that you'll be doing.  And August is a good time to take a look at your own personal marketing materials to make sure you're communicating the right message. 

Start with your website bio - is it up-to-date? Does it include any recent changes to your practice areas, new articles you've written, speaking engagements you've had, etc.  Is your headshot from within the last 18 months, or is it the same one you've been using for ten years? Consider how you might refresh it a little, so that anyone taking a look at your firm's website before meeting with you is getting the best impression of you.

Use that time to do a little social media housekeeping as well. Check LinkedIn, and any other sites you may be using, to make sure that your email address is the most current, your photo is recent, and any information that needs updating has been changed. Review the groups you're in and remove any that may no longer make sense, and add those that do.  See if you have any connections you can add.  Get yourself ready for lots of engagement once the fall comes! 

Take a look at your paper materials too. We've moved away from these in the last few years (whew!), but they are still around.  We all still carry business cards - are yours as updated as they could be? Has the firm moved to a different card, but you're still carrying your old ones around? Do you have social media links that you could include? Maybe you want to add your mobile phone number to the card.  We don't have to reinvent the wheel here, but pretend that you're seeing this card for the first time, and make sure that it represents the type of lawyer and person you want to communicate to those you give it to. 

Same goes for any other materials you may have on hand - many of us are no longer using typical brochures, but make sure your e-brochure is up-to-date, or any individual sheets that you include in a brochure-like folder have the most recent information and showcase you and your firm appropriately. 

Tip Two: Start Something New

August is also a good month to start something new.  Remember that business development plan we talked about? Review it again, and see what tactics you HAVEN'T been using.  Have you been avoiding networking events? Rethink that for the fall.

Schedule one or two things for September - maybe one is a full-on networking function for an organization.  You can ease into it by starting with social media - look for ways to connect with people attending the same function in advance, so that you don't feel as if you're walking into a room where you don't know anyone.  Maybe another scheduled event is coffee with a potential client, or a new client.  If you schedule them now, it will be harder to convince yourself that you're too busy to do them once September rolls around. Do it.

Maybe you've been considering expanding the type of work you do.  Start your research now. Look at LinkedIn to see what companies in that space are up to, and start following some of the clients you'd like to have. Put their industry events on your calendar as you see them. Identify and highlight the work that you've done in this space already on your social profiles and your firm bio.

Sign yourself up for RSS feeds for the top blogs and news publications in that industry, and start commenting when you have something valuable to add. August is a good time to start building. 

August is also the perfect time to start a new habit.  It has been said that you need 21 days of doing something to make it a habit, so if you start today (or tomorrow), you'll be ready by the time September rolls around! 

  • Start taking the train to the office instead of driving, and use this time to read industry news. 
  • Force yourself to take a coffee break each morning away from your desk (it doesn't have to be away from the office). Read a blog post as you sip your coffee. 
  • Change scenery each afternoon for ten or fifteen minutes - maybe take a walk around the office, or around the block. Get some fresh air. Do something that will break the afternoon slump, so you'll come back to your desk refreshed.
  • Tell yourself you're going to check LinkedIn first thing in the morning for five minutes, and engage with two or three people in some way each day. 
  • Find one new person on Twitter to have a conversation with each day. 
  • Start "crazy tie Tuesday" - yes, that sounds silly, but it will be a conversation starter, and you may even get to know people in your office you rarely talk to. They may even give you work someday. 
  • Make yourself take a younger partner to lunch every Friday. It can be the same younger partner, or a different one. Do it to remind yourself what it was like when you were starting out, and to be a mentor to someone. 
  • Do an ice cream run - one of my favorite ILN attorneys (now retired) always loved ice cream, and would check around the office each afternoon in the summer to find out if anyone wanted some.  He'd then do an ice cream run.  It's a great way to meet people you may not usually talk to, and to take a break. If you don't have the time to do all of that, arrange for ice cream to be available in the conference room if the temperature rises above a certain point (a firm I presented at once does this).  You can then chat for a few minutes in the conference room while getting your scoop! 

By doing these things, we'll be ready to rock and roll by the time September rolls around with its "back to school" mentality. It will freshen our outlook and mindset, brush away the summer cobwebs, and give us the reboot we need! 

What are some of your August tips?

Let's Be a Little More International in Our Networking

This afternoon, I was reading an article on four suggestions for rules to follow when networking internationally.  The tips are good ones (and we'll go into more on them in a moment), but it occurred to me as I was reading that they're actually quite good tips for all types of networking - whether you're meeting people from other cultures, or just two blocks away. 

The author of the article, Pierre Brais, puts these in a certain order, but I'm going to prioritize them a bit differently. For me, everything starts with "Do your homework." 

Do Your Homework

Whether you're meeting someone in your own city, or from a city halfway around the world, it pays to do your homework: on the individual, on their business, and on the culture. With so much information available online these days, there's no excuse for not being adequately prepared.  Before meeting someone, take some time to search for their name online - look through their LinkedIn profile, and find out what outside interests they might have, the types of responsibilities that fall under their purview at their current position, and what other organizations they may have worked for and with. 

This can also tell you who you may share in terms of connections. Perhaps you have a mutual friend or acquaintance, and you could call this person to get a bit more insight into the person you'll be meeting with. Take a look at other social media profiles they might have as well - this can give you further insight into their personality and interests. And don't forget to review their company bio, to see how they present themselves professionally. 

Also do some research on their company. Take a look at the corporate website and read about the history of the organization and its goals. Look at the types of clients they service, if available, and what their latest news items may be. LinkedIn can be helpful here again as well - take a look to see if there is a company page that offers additional insight. 

If you are meeting someone from a different culture, it's also essential to do your homework on their cultural norms. Yes, we live in a very global world, and often anyone you do business with these days will be familiar with a westernized way of doing business, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take some time to learn more and show respect for other cultures. 

Respect is the key here - in my years of working internationally, I've seen many Americans run roughshod over those from other cultures, acting as though they have all the answers and that their way is the only way to do business. Taking a step back, learning about how someone else does business, and making an effort to include different kinds of etiquette shows that you put a premium on valuing the other person and their culture. 

Is it likely that you'll make a mistake at some point? Yes, but that's where the global marketplace comes in handy - your international business partners will understand what you're trying to do, and will appreciate the effort. The effort is what speaks to your level of respect for them.

Build Trust Through Personal Connections

This is something we talk a lot about here on Zen, and it's the author's primary suggestion - for me, it's just good business sense. People do business with those they know, like, and trust, and those relationships are developed through personal connections.

This is another time when cultural knowledge will come in handy - for example, most Asian cultures will not do business with someone that they've never met face to face.  One of our Chinese lawyers told me that he will not refer work to someone that he's never met.  Because of that, he works incredibly hard to meet as many people as possible, and travels substantially, always including a visit to our local firm. 

Many Americans would assume that just being vetted by our group would be sufficient for anyone to refer work to them - we've done the due diligence of making sure they are of high quality, and will service one another's clients impeccably.  But without that personal connection, there will be many cases where they will never see that work, no matter how excellent their firm is.  And that's why attending our conferences and networking with each other are so important, particularly during the social functions.

Having an understanding of how and why another culture does business will help make sure that business can happen.  There aren't many cultures that don't place a premium on personal connections (exactly how these occur, and in what form differs from culture to culture).  

Importantly too, the American culture tells us that if we're not focused on business and discussing business, then we're not working - but building personal relationships, without ever talking about your area of practice, or the types of cases you handle IS work. To be effective networkers internationally, we need to refine our definitions of "work" - and I'd further wager that this will also help us to become better at domestic networking as well.

Make a Relationship, Not a Sale

This tip is directly related to the last one, in my book.  Sure, being focused on the "close" can result in a sale, but it's not going to result in a long-term client relationship.  Instead, we need to focus on what's best for the relationship in the long run.  The author reminds us that it's a marathon, not a sprint. And interestingly, 

Trying to push a sale or business transaction too early in the relationship can smother any social capital you may have gained. Furthermore, most cultures interpret speed as an indication of instability and underhandedness."

If I'm honest, even I agree with that. Have you ever gotten one of those sales phone calls, where the person won't let you get a word in edgewise, because they're trying to convince you that their product is the best? And then end by acting as if they've already convinced you and sold you the product? Every time that happens, I get that queasy feeling, and have NO interest in either making a purchase, or hearing any more of what they have to say. 

Here again is where having that cultural knowledge comes in handy, but I'll go a step further and say that it's equally as important to have the ability to read social cues.  When you meet someone who could be a potential client, listening should always be your first goal - you can do that by asking probing questions (which you can form based on the research you've done into them and their company) and then concentrating on their responses rather than trying to think of what you'll say next. 

This will help to guide the conversation - you'll get a sense of whether they want to talk about business right away, whether a comment or question you've asked makes them uncomfortable, and more. Body language is equally important here, and again, you'll want to have an understanding of what different kinds of body language means in different cultures.  Something that may be quite common to you and have one meaning could mean something completely different in another country - for example, you may think you're giving a backwards peace sign with your index and middle fingers, but in many European countries, it's the equivalent of offering them your middle finger. 

My general rule of thumb here is to be prepared and be sensitive. Do your homework, and then watch and listen to the person you're with for their physical and verbal cues. That will help you to build a relationship, rather than just push through a sale. 

Be Clear and Consise

Here, the author talks about avoiding slang, which is a good rule to abide by - I've often found myself trying to figure out how to explain a phrase I've used to a non-native English speaker, and realizing how silly a phrase it is. 

But I also think it's more than that. If you're speaking with a non-native English speaker, and they have trouble understanding you, do not speak in a louder voice. They may have a more limited vocabulary, or have misunderstood your accent, and speaking the same words in a louder tone is equally unhelpful and offensive. 

I'm also careful to try to avoid complicated words - the people I'm speaking with are very smart (after all, they speak at LEAST two languages, whereas I speak mostly one), but again, they may not have the same vocabulary as a native English speaker would.  More than once, my attorneys have also asked me to speak more slowly.  They can understand me, but when I speak at my usual pace (which is northeastern caffeinated), even Americans can find it hard to follow along. 

So again, this is a good rule of networking in general - when you're speaking with someone, speak clearly and concisely, and treat them with respect. 

Don't Assume

I'm going to add in a fifth rule here, and that's this one: Don't Assume.  When I was in high school, a friend's mom informed me that assuming makes an "a** out of you and me" (a** + u +me = assume).  I am not an expert by any means at international networking, but almost a decade of watching people interact abroad has given me a lot of experience in what works and what doesn't work. 

And the number one rule that I've learned is that you can never assume you know everything (or even anything really).  No one culture is "the best" or has the "right" answers, and if we come blazing into a room with that mindset, we're going to leave wondering why no one wants to work with us.  

Traveling and working abroad is an adventure, and a luxury, one that we can learn and benefit from immensely (both personally and professionally).  Staying open minded about not only what others do socially, but also in business, will make us better professionals and people in the long run.

I've seen dozens of people (of all cultures) say that they love to travel abroad, and then when traveling to other countries, expect that things will be done as they do them at home. And then they return from those trips lamenting that the other cultures don't do things correctly.  Instead, let's be open minded about what we're experiencing, roll with the punches (sorry for the metaphor!), and it will enrich our lives immensely.

 

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Forget "Time Management"

I'm officially back in the office, but I'm working on catching up on all of the emails I missed while I was on holiday! So I'm bringing you the latest rainmaking recommendation from expert Jaimie Field, which she published last week.

***

I hate the term “Time Management”!

I may have said that before, but it’s true.

There are only 24 hours a day – if you can “manage” to turn that into more then you are a magician.

Instead, I’d rather have you think “Productivity Management”.

 

Are you using your time as efficiently as you can? Can you be more productive so that you can have the time for everything you need and want to do?

Many of my clients tell me that they don’t have time to do Rainmaking activities because they are “too busy”. However, when I ask them to do an exercise in which they actually write down exactly what they do each day (without judgment), there is much time that is wasted with activities that do not add to their lives or their business. Each little interruption, each minute you schmooze when you don’t have to, each second adds up to time that you could use for rainmaking to build your business by writing a blog, connecting with someone on social media, grabbing a cup of coffee or lunch with a referral source, getting work done for client for which you can bill.

I’ll leave you with one of my new favorite quotes (it is a bit lengthy but worth the read) about time by Marc Levy, from If Only It Were True:

Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course? Each of us has such a bank, its name is time. Every morning, it credits you 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off at a lost, whatever of this you failed to invest to a good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no over draft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against "tomorrow". You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and health. The clock is running. Make the most of today.”

PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO A COLLEAGUE WHO YOU THINK WOULD BENEFIT; IT MUST BE FORWARDED IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. ALL INFORMATION IS THE COPYRIGHT OF MARKETING FIELD, LLC © 2014

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month. They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq. If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog.

If you have received this email from a colleague or friend and want to receive Rainmaking Recommendations to your email, sign up at www.marketingfield.com

Two for Tuesdays: Successful Content Marketing Strategies

A post came through my reader last night, with 7 Tips for Starting a Content Marketing Strategy. Now, I know what you're thinking, that the idea of crafting a "strategy" around delivering valuable information to your audiences is a bit icky.  But I promise that it's not - this is about identifying what is of most use to your clients and potential clients (and influencers and amplifiers), and making sure that you're not committing what we call RAM (Random Acts of Marketing). 

I'm also sensitive to the use of "marketing" here - I am a marketer myself, and have a great deal of respect for legal marketers, in no small measure because we've had to adapt and develop into much more robust and significant roles in recent years. But I know there are some who think of marketing as a necessary evil, or just "those guys down the hall who put together our brochures." (That's not true, by the way). 

True legal marketing, in my book, is identifying how you translate the skills and experience of attorneys to clients, potential clients, and others who will trumpet this information, in a way that those people care about (as well as working with attorneys on how to do this themselves, how to engage and build relationships with all of these individuals, and how to keep their current relationships vibrant and healthy, etc and so on. But I digress). 

For me then, "content marketing" is about how we add value to those we work with, and those we want to work with (and those who influence those we work with and want to work with). In order to make sure that we're adding value properly, we need a strategy, or we're wasting our time and our audiences' time (and none of us has the time for that!). 

The above post offers seven tips for creating this strategy, but I want to focus on two of these that I think are particularly important. 

Tip One: "Tailor to your Personas"

What does that mean? Essentially, know your audience. We recently had a post from rainmaking expert and coach Jaimie Field, in which she talked about how you can clone your ideal client. When you're identifying what kind of content will be useful, you first need to know who your clients are, and who you want your clients to be. 

As the post says: 

A persona is a fictional representation of your ideal client. You can create different personas by bucketing ideal clients based on common characteristics, needs or problems." 

Once you know who your ideal clients are, it's much easier to figure out what matters to them, because you understand their goals and needs. 

Tailoring your content around your personas will help ensure the right people are finding it, help increase engagement, and help build a loyal audience of the exact types of people you're trying to target for lead conversion. Without clearly defined personas, you will simply be shooting in the dark with your efforts." 

Don't be too put off by the phrase "lead conversion." We're just talking about making sure the valuable information that you put out is getting in front of the people you'd like to be your clients, in a way that will reinforce their decision to hire you at some point.  

Let me note two things here - first, clients hire people they know like and trust. Yes, there will be times that a client will need to hire someone from a big name firm, simply because that firm has a big name and reputation (those are the "bet the company" cases). Those cases are not the most common matters out there, so rather than focus on that, we need to focus on building relationships. Which leads to my second point...

The times when a client will find something you've written (or a video you've produced, a webinar, etc.) and hire you because of that piece are few and far between.  It happens, but it's rare.

However. If someone recommends you to a client, or they hear about you through your word of mouth reputation, and they find valuable content that you've produced, which showcases both your expertise and your personality, helps them to connect with you, AND gives them the confidence that you have the know-how to handle their work, that will reinforce their decision to hire you.

Alternatively, if you're a specialist in a particular area, and you're regularly speaking on that subject, you have a blog that reports on the latest changes and information in that area, you produce videos with timely and actionable information for clients, etc., you'll be on the radar of anyone who also cares about that particular area, such as clients and potential clients. You'll be the "go-to" guy or gal. (Psst...and all of those "things" - videos, presentations, blogging - are all content marketing)

Marketing is all about giving potential clients (and existing ones, for that matter), as much information as possible to help them feel that the decision to hire you over anyone else is the only decision they could reasonably make. 

But, rather than just throwing information at them about how "great" and "smart" you are, it's far, far better to show them with substantive content, such as that you're producing as part of your content marketing strategy. And to make that strategy effective, you have to start by knowing who it is you want to work with, and what they care most about. 

Most of you will know from working with those clients the types of information and goals they have, as well as the questions they regularly ask. If you're not sure what's most important to them, what they'd like to see more of, and how they'd like to get that information, go ahead and ASK them. 

Tip Two: "Look at it as an investment" 

We all want our efforts to be immediate successes - I see it all the time, when an attorney works hard to put together a new blog or a comprehensive and thought-provoking article, and then is surprised when the phone isn't ringing off the hook with new matters within the week.

But as the post says it's a "marathon, not a sprint." I know that's not what you want to hear, but as with most things in business, you have to treat content marketing as an investment. 

For example, wouldn't it be nice if you met someone on the plane next to you who was the GC for the biggest company in your area of expertise, and he had a matter that he offered to you after speaking with you for a few minutes during the flight? 

Yes, of course. Has that ever happened? Sure, once or twice. But it's not normally how it works, right? 

Even if you're in the right place at the right time, it takes work to build up the kind of trust that will make someone want to hire you. There has to be the right chemistry. Content marketing is about building and reinforcing that chemistry with valuable information. And it takes time. 

In order to stay focused and dedicated in the beginning, continuously remind yourself that each blog post and each content offer is an investment in your marketing 'assets' and in the business."

For me, providing content is just a part of my daily business - in the same way that it's valuable to my attorneys to find ways to connect them and facilitate their relationships and to find people and other organizations that will support their work, it's valuable to them to filter through all of the noise out there and tell them what I think is important for them to pay attention to in the legal industry. Does it simultaneously reinforce the decision of our member firms to be part of our Network? Absolutely. Will it also result in potential members finding us and becoming convinced we are the right network for them? Yes. 

But my purpose in providing the content is to be helpful - it's part of the investment into the relationships that I have with our clients, potential clients, influencers and amplifiers that I make on a daily basis. And the effects are cumulative - as the article says: 

It will not be an overnight success, but instead builds up momentum over time, ike a snowball rolling down a hill."

Takeaways

This all can sound like a LOT of work, which is why it's best to break it down into manageable pieces. 

  • Make a list of your favorite clients - the ones you love to work with, and the ones whose work inspires and drives you. 
  • What do those clients have in common? Make note of their goals, the issues that crop up most often, the questions that they ask.
  • Reach out to those clients to ask them what they care about most when it comes to their work. What kinds of information can you be providing that would be useful to them? How would they most like to get that information? Breakfast briefings, webinars, blog posts, articles in their favorite journals, interpretive dance? (Just checking to make sure you're still reading!)
  • Do one thing each day that is content-related (without an expectation of immediate results). Some ideas are: 
    • Set up an RSS reader if you don't already have one, and include blogs, news outlets, and search terms for the areas you're involved in. 
    • Send yourself links to articles that you'd like read later, or might be valuable to your clients. 
    • Read those articles on the train, or while you're watching tv, or over your morning coffee. 
    • You could send the link to your clients with some comments on why it matters to them. 
    • Instead of limiting your audience just to that client, why not create a blog post with a link to the article, and your comments on why it matters to clients? 
    • Join a LinkedIn group talking about this area, and see what the clients are talking about. 
    • Maybe answer a few of their questions (if it doesn't enter into a grey area of client confidentiality).
    • Take some of those questions and answers (being careful not to identify anyone) and share those in a blog post. 
    • Take five of those top questions and create a presentation for your next industry conference. 
    • Do a webinar of the presentation for those who couldn't attend. Record it so that you can also share it with clients (and even in your LinkedIn groups and on your blog!).

You get the idea. Yes, content marketing can take time. But you don't have to do all of those things every day - just pick whatever you have time for, and incrementally, it will make a huge difference! 

As always, we only have time for two tips, so feel free to add your comments on the other tips below, or tell us what your tips for content marketing are! 

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Halfway There

Not only am I bringing you a rainmaking recommendation from expert Jaimie Field today, I also got to see Jaimie in person this afternoon at the Legal Marketing Association lunch for the NJ City Group Meeting! Jaimie has been battling bronchitis, among other things, so we're reaching back into the archives again today for a post, which is particularly apropos.  Jaimie will be back with new rainmaking recommendations in July! 

***

Not to frighten you, but this year is officially half over. What have you done to advance your Rainmaking skills?

Do you have a written Rainmaking plan? If not, why not?

Do you set schedule time, every day, to do at least one Rainmaking Activity?

As a Rainmaking coach and a trainer, I cannot force you to do what you need to do. I can only motivate and educate you. You need to find the motivation to do the tasks necessary to advance your practice.

Motivation comes from having goals. These goals must be worthwhile to you. Whether your goals are to make partner, earn more money, make enough to go on more vacations, create a life that you are looking to create, or whatever reasons you may have, they have to have meaning to you. target

Just use the oft-quoted acronym: SMARTY when determining your goals:

S = Specific: Be very specific about the goals you want to achieve

M=Measurable: Can you put a number or some other measurement to this goal?

A= Actionable: Is this something that you can take action on?

R = Realistic: Will you be able to achieve this goal? If a goal is not realistic you will have a tendency to beat yourself up if you don’t achieve it.

T = Time Bound: Your goals must have a deadline. If they don’t then it becomes only a dream.

And

Y = You: Is it YOUR goal or is it a goal you think you should be accomplishing because someone else thinks you should. This is a surefire way to have a goal languishing because you will NEVER have the motivation to accomplish it.

It’s not too late this year to start. Start by writing down your goals and then motivate yourself to accomplish them.

What’s your motivation? Use the comment section to tell others how you motivate yourself to achieve your goals.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO A COLLEAGUE WHO YOU THINK WOULD BENEFIT; IT MUST BE FORWARDED IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. ALL INFORMATION IS THE COPYRIGHT OF MARKETING FIELD, LLC © 2014

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month. They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq. If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog. If you have received this email from a colleague or friend and what to receive Rainmaking Recommendations to your email, sign up at www.marketingfield.com

 

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: How to Clone Your Ideal Client

We're digging into the archives today for our latest rainmaking recommendation from Jaimie Field, and it's a good one. If you're looking to make all your clients an "ideal" client, read on!

***

Who is your ideal client? Do you already work with him or her?

Whether you do or don’t, you can create clone after clone of your ideal client (barring conflicts of interest) by taking the following actions:

  1. Write down exactly what your ideal client looks like. Be specific.
     
  2. Research where these clients hang out. Join the associations they join, be where they are as often as possible. This can include social networks online.
     
  3. Communicate with them. Most people will tell you everything you want to know about them or their business if you ask them about it. People love to talk about themselves, their business, how they got started.
     
  4. Talk to your current “ideal client” and find out who they know who are like them. Ask them to introduce you to these new people and provide the new group with information in the form of email correspondence, blog posts, and articles written.

The more often you perform these action items the more chances you will have to meet those who meet your criteria for the “ideal client.”

As always, you must be proactive. Just waiting for the phone to ring is not going to bring you the clients you want or need.

Please use the comment section below to tell us what your ideal client looks like.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO A COLLEAGUE WHO YOU THINK WOULD BENEFIT; IT MUST BE FORWARDED IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. ALL INFORMATION IS THE COPYRIGHT OF MARKETING FIELD, LLC © 2014

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month. They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq. If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog. If you have received this email from a colleague or friend and what to receive Rainmaking Recommendations to your email, sign up at www.marketingfield.com

 

Takeaways from "Quick Fixes: Innovative Solutions in Law Firm Business Development"

On Friday, we had an excellent, excellent panel following lunch with some truly brilliant people - moderator Nancy Mangan of Wicker Park Group chatted with Paul Malanowski (@pmalanowski) of Saul Ewing, Melanie Green (@melaniegreen) of Faegre Baker Daniels, and Dave Bruns (@dbruns) of Farella Braun + Martel about some of the innovative things they do to combat the most prevalent problems in business development. 

Whether you're at a large firm, or a small firm (or a service provider), there were a lot of tips in here that we can use to better drive business development. 

Key Takeaway: Talk to your Clients

When I use the word "clients" here, it has different meanings for different people: 

  • For attorneys, it's your clients. 
  • For marketers, it's your attorneys. 
  • For service providers, it's your clients. 

 

The panelists emphasized that we need to understand what our clients' goals are, so that we can help them to reach them.  To find out what these are, we need to regularly talk to them - this both helps us identify their goals and build trust. 

For those of us in marketing, when we talk regularly to our attorneys about their goals and their clients, we'll be able to make connections - they might not know that their partner down the hall is working with the same client, or hoping to pitch the same potential client, but you will. Helping them to connect will strengthen the client relationship. 

For attorneys and service providers, although it may not always lead directly to business for you, helping to connect clients with similar needs with each other will build goodwill that will ultimately lead to giving you a reputation of a true advocate, who is looking out for the best interest of your clients. And that will build loyalty, and lead to more business. 

Key Takeaway: Do as I Do, Not As I Say

I said it in yesterday's post, and it was said in this session as well - in the work that we do, we have the opportunity to model the behavior that we're asking our clients to do. We're advising our attorneys to meet with their clients, to find out what's important to them, and to understand their business, so we as marketers must do the same - we need to meet with our lawyers, understand their business, and find out what's important to them. 

Key Takeaway: Build Relationships Internally

Once again, it all comes down to relationships - and these relationships need to be built internally at law firms, as well as externally with clients You'll remember a person before you remember their practice, so relationship-building is essential. 

The panelists had some unique ways that they fostered these relationships: 

  • Internal "trade fair" - this event helped the practice groups to get to know one another within the firm after their merger.  They used a little competition to encourage the attorneys to get to know one another and to develop a list of action steps for following up. The marketing department collected these, typed them up, and then sent them to their business managers so that they would be sure to follow up. 
  • Limited programming - they don't over-program at partner/attorney retreats so that the attendees have time to get to know each other. 
  • In-house general counsel networking group - made up of mostly clients, with only a few lawyers. The clients choose the topics that they'd like to focus on. Getting access to the clients can be difficult, but if you use what the clients want to get the ear of your attorney, it may be more successful. 
  • Speed dating - this is the next undertaking for Faegre, and is something that's worked well for ILN lawyers. 

Key Takeaway: Don't Cave in at the First Sign of Skepticism

My favorite moment was when Melanie said that she's heard so many times from her attorneys "Wow, I didn't think that would work, but I loved it!" I've heard that from our ILN attorneys too - sometimes the most unique and risky social exercises can be the most effective for relationship building. 

So how can you get projects approved and move forward with them if you're facing rampant skepticism?

  • Identify champions in the firm for new programs, and involve the managing partner. 
  • Use client feedback to drive programs - if the clients ask for something, it's easier to sell it to your attorneys. 

These are some great lessons for all of us, and I'd like to add a couple of other comments from the panelists that might be helpful: 

  • "Cross-serve" not "Cross-sell" - we all know "cross-sell" is a dirty word these days with our lawyers, so change the language to get them thinking about serving their clients better. 
  • "Keep 'time vampires' busy" - there are sometimes attorneys who monopolize a lot of the marketing department's time, without generating a lot of business ("time vampires), and the recommended solution for dealing with them is to keep them busy so you can focus on other attorneys. 

Thanks to the panelists and moderator for a great session! 

Social Media Works for Lawyers...But It's Just a Tool

Last week, Kevin O'Keefe (@kevinokeefe) caught my eye with his post "Social media for business development by lawyers is a big lie?" It was written in response to Conrad Saam's (@conradsaam) post "Every Social Media Consultant is Lying to You.

Regular readers here will know that I'm a big fan of social media, for lawyers and other business professionals. So I know you'll expect me to refute the points in Saam's post and support those in Kevin's (and I will...maybe). 

But I want to start with this statement - I do not think social media is the be all, end all of business development or marketing tools. 

I never have. 

I even tell my attorneys: the likelihood that you're going to start using a social media platform (like Twitter) and immediately get a client - or ever get a client - is incredibly small. 

But.

Social media is just part of the full package of tools that are available to lawyers for business development, to support the relationships that they're building. If I need an attorney, am I going to run to Twitter or Facebook to look for one? Of course not. Unless I know the attorney because I've been connected with him or her for a while, and trust them to handle my issue.

But what I AM likely to do is to ask friends or colleagues with the same type of needs for a recommendation. When I have that list of recommendations, my next step will be to Google them.

And that's where social media comes in. 

If I Google an attorney, and all that comes up is his firm bio, I'm going to wonder if it's true that he's really the "go-to" lawyer for that issue I need help with. 

But, if the search results come up with a well-written, thoughtful blog that covers the issues that I'm facing, a Twitter account that shows that he regularly shares his content and that of others in that same area, so that I know he's familiar with the most up-to-date information in the area, a LinkedIn account that shares recommendations from other clients in the same field I'm in and projects that the attorney has worked on, and a Facebook account where the lawyer is engaging and likeable, I'm going to be more convinced than ever that he's the right lawyer for me.

Will I hire someone only because they have a great LinkedIn profile? No, that would be silly. But would I hire someone because all of their online presence shows that they're intelligent, engaging, on the cutting-edge of the latest legislation and cases? Yes. Social media rounds out the information you have on your bio, and gives me the full picture of who an attorney is. 

Is it possible that attorneys with just a firm bio are actually excellent and talented attorneys? Of course it is. But I may not know that, or I may not believe that reputation because I can't locate the supporting information myself. 

Now, on to some of the pricklier points of Saam's post: 

With few exceptions, legal issues are extremely private. I’m more likely to publicly 'like' my anti-herpes medicine than my DUI lawyer. It’s not because I hate my lawyer – in fact I love her – its [sic] that I don’t want anyone to know that I need her because I’m facing incarceration, divorce, arrest, unemployment, deportation, or the IRS. And if I need a lawyer for one of these private issues, there is no way on God’s green earth I’m initiating that search on anything remotely public like social media."

You may be surprised to hear that I don't disagree with this.  He's right - if I need someone for one of those reasons, I'm definitely not going to be tweeting out "hey, does anyone know a good lawyer for...?"

But that's not the market we're talking about here. Many of the social media naysayers I've seen in legal don't realize that we're talking about business lawyers. While there will still be business lawyers who don't want to share the type of attorney they're searching for, to avoid giving away an issue they're facing, there are others who have built relationships online with people they trust, and so they would be happy to go to them with the question.

Truthfully, there's no client who's likely to announce on social media that they're looking for a particular attorney. But I don't know any social media consultant who's going around saying that (not the respectable ones anyway). 

But, as I noted earlier, after going to friends and colleagues for recommendations, they WILL do an online search. And if that search reveals that an attorney is regularly discussing and engaging in conversation about the very topic that the client needs assistance with, that will reinforce the recommendation to hire. That's the utility of social media. 

Another of Saam's points is this: 

Classic social media marketing – chasing likes and fans and pluses and followers simply does not apply to the legal marketplace. Let’s go back to the classic social media marketing strategy – identify key influencers and leverage them to broadcast your message and shower you with likes, pluses etc."

Although I'd argue against this definition being "classic social media marketing," otherwise, he's spot on. Trying to get likes, followers and connections through social media is an absolute waste of time for lawyers and law firms. I would never suggest that, and the social media consultants in the legal field that I know would also eschew it. 

But that's not how I see social media marketing, and never has been. For me, it's about engagement and finding the RIGHT people. It's better to have 25 followers on Twitter if all of those people are journalists for publications in your area of expertise, conference organizers, other thought leaders in your practice area, and maybe even a potential or current client, than it would be to have 5,000 followers (the majority of whom would likely be some kind of spammer). 

Yes, you need to identify key influencers. But not because they should be "liking" your posts or sharing them - because you should be engaging with them, to have thoughtful conversations around the hot topics in your area of expertise, so that you can stay up-to-date and also become known with those influencers. It's relationship-building. 

Further, if you're engaging with influencers such a journalists and conference organizers, when you show them that you're a thought leader on your area of expertise, you're more likely to be sought for quotes in articles on the latest topics and as a speaker for conferences. How else would you have gotten in front of these influencers to get that kind of press and visibility? 

As Kevin says in his post

The best lawyers get their best work from relationships and a strong word of mouth reputation. Not advertising or overt marketing. It’s always been the case and always will be the case."

Exactly. 

And I see social media as providing just a platform for developing those relationships. Not a platform to be used in a silo, but as part of a larger proactive marketing effort. You wouldn't just go to networking events, or just write articles, or just speak at conferences. 

You start with doing good, solid legal work. As part of being a good lawyer, you're reading the latest information about your area of practice (which you can find easily online, using social media and other sources). You're sharing this information with your clients, with your thoughts on how it may impact them (why not do this with a larger audience by sharing that information through a blog, with your comments?). You're going to the events and conferences that your clients and potential clients are going to, so that you can see them face to face and talk to them. Why not also talk to them online in between seeing them face to face? Why not engage with the influencers who could get you quoted in the publications your clients read and speaking at the events they're attending? 

Social media never will, and should not, replace face to face contact. But it can augment it. It's just another tool that can serve as part of a larger relationship-building effort. 

Kevin says

Social is all about relationships and reputation. If you’re not not nurturing relationships online, you’re going to lose opportunities for business. If you’re not building a reputation online that’s the equal of your offline reputation, you’re not getting that reputation in front of a lot of people that matter."

It's all connected - social media, in-person networking, writing, speaking - all of it. 

And is it the right tool for every lawyer? No. But it's worth considering for every lawyer. Look at the type of clients you have, and the type of clients you want. Identify how you want to get them, and consider how they source their legal work. Do you need to have a strong online reputation (as well as a strong offline reputation) for them to think you're a legitimate expert? Then it's worth taking the time to build it. 

Another of Saam's points that I happen to agree with is this one: 

Even if social media were effective in legal . . . it is simply impossible to outsource the joining of conversations, and demonstration of thought leadership."

Yes, yes and yes. If you want to build a reputation for yourself online using social media, YOU have to be the one building it. Again, the point is not to get a bunch of likes or follows - it's to engage with people. And you have to be the one doing the engaging - you wouldn't send someone else to impersonate you at a networking reception, so why would you do it online? 

If done properly, social media can help to boost your offline reputation online in a way that you wouldn't be able to do otherwise. A commenter on Saam's post described success that he's had professionally as a patent lawyer thanks to social media, and summed it up beautifully by saying 

The last few years have turned into a golden period for community interest in patent law, for a variety of reasons both good and bad. I now have over 1100 followers on Twitter, about 6000 unique vistors each month to my blog, and 500 subscribers on my email list. My blog has been cited in academic articles and submissions to government consultations. Most importantly, from a business perspective, I receive regular enquiries and leads from people who have found me, either directly or indirectly, as a result of my social media activity. I could never have built this kind of profile by traditional means."

And that's the key - when social media first showed up on the stage, I was telling my attorneys that it levels the playing field for law firms in a way that no other medium has - and this holds true today. Sure, you have people trying to game the system, but now, you have access to excellent attorneys online, at all size firms, who you might not have been able to be exposed to because they weren't with a BigLaw firm. But through their smart use of social media to boost the good work they're already doing (that part is key), they get exposure that would have been almost impossible to achieve through traditional methods. 

Kevin commented on Saam's post, with much of what he reiterated in his own post, and one line from Saam's response hits the nail on the head: 

What you describe is relationship marketing facilitated by social. Not the other way around."

Yes, exactly

But that's how I see all good marketing for lawyers - as relationship marketing facilitated by some tool, whether it be social media, or otherwise. That's why having a plan in place is so important, because you know what your goals are, and then you're just using the tools available to you to meet those goals, and not just jumping on the latest bandwagon that everyone is talking about. 

So while Saam's analysis is right in many cases, I disagree with him on two fundamental points, that all social media consultants are lying, and that social media doesn't work for lawyers. 

Those social media consultants who tell lawyers that social media is all about getting likes and outsourcing your content and relationships don't understand the legal market - but the social media consultants that I know and like aren't doing that at all. They're advocating Kevin's position, that social media is used to facilitate relationships. 

And clearly, social media does work for lawyers, when used as a tool, and not the answer to all of their marketing concerns. We've seen it prove true again and again. For those lawyers not finding success with it, they either don't understand how to use it, or it's not the right tool for their area of law. Let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater, simply because it's not the right thing for everyone. 

Agree? Disagree? Add your comments below! 

 

10 Wishes for 2014 - Taking Small Steps Can Mean Big Changes

We're back this cold, cold Wednesday with my next two wishes for you in 2014. For the first four, see here and here. Today, I'm looking at a couple of small steps that can add up to big results over the course of the year. 

  1. Do One Business Development Activity a Week: Some people are natural networkers and business development experts. I'm not one of those people. But what I've learned over time is that there are as many ways to network and develop business as there are people - and we all have our strengths. If you're not regularly doing any business development, let this be the year you start. Pick a few different activities and commit yourself to trying one each week - maybe one week you offer to author a blog post as a guest blogger for someone you like and respect; another week, you ask someone in your city that you're connected to through LinkedIn (but haven't met in person) to have coffee; another week, you go to a networking event that you've never attended before.

    By doing these things, you'll learn what you like and don't like - maybe you thrive at the social interactions you find at a cocktail reception, but you hate sitting down to write. Or you love discussions with like-minded colleagues and friends through Twitter or in a LinkedIn group, but you're terrified of public speaking. You won't know where your strengths are if you don't try different things first. 

    And if you already know what they are, make a list of four things you can do each month - just four small activities - and you'll be making huge progress before you know it! You can also make this the year you challenge yourself, and pick some new activities to try. I often learn that when I think I already know what I like and don't like, trying new things can either surprise me by showing me that there's something else I can add to the mix, or reinvigorate my existing efforts when I realize that I'm still not cut out for something else. 
     
  2. Add an Extra Day to Your Travel: Although there is so much we can do online and over the phone, a lot of us are still doing quite a bit of travel these days. And travel is a great opportunity to meet someone new in a city that you're visiting - you can add an extra day or even a few extra hours to connect face-to-face with someone. Perhaps there's a referral source or a LinkedIn connection that you could meet for breakfast at your hotel, or coffee near their office. You never know where your next new idea or client will come from, and just those few extra hours will make a huge difference. 

    And if you're not sure who to meet up with, social media can be great for that as well - just add in to your LinkedIn status that you're traveling to a city, have a few extra hours, and you'd like to see who you can meet up with. Even if you only meet two new people that way, it's two more people than you knew last year. 

    They can also be existing connections as well. While it's important to keep in touch with clients and referral sources online and by phone throughout the year, nothing takes the place of that face to face time - you may be in town for one client meeting, or taking depositions, or even just visiting friends, but add in those extra hours to meet with someone you're connected to in that city. They'll appreciate the effort and it will reinforce the bonds of your relationship. 

As you're reading my wishes for 2014, add in your own in the comments - how do you plan to push yourself this year? How will you challenge yourself to grow? 

 

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Building Visibility v. Building Relationships

It's a beautiful Wednesday morning here in New Jersey, and today, we're bringing you another wonderful rainmaking recommendation from expert Jaimie Field

***

I had an interesting conversation with an attorney who doesn’t believe that blogs, answering legal questions online ala AVVO, websites, social media or online marketing at all brings clients to the door. Instead, he believes in networking: meeting people everywhere and telling them what he does for a living and creating real life relationships with people who can refer him business.

Now, he has been practicing law for a while and learned that being out and about, networking with referral sources, current and potential clients, does create a book of business – something that I have been teaching for years. And he is very successful at what he does – he also has a great personality.

He is absolutely correct (and will get a big head when he recognizes himself in this recommendation); meeting people in real life will create a book a book of business as people get to know you, your services and your personality – remember, people do business with people they know like and trust.

However, online marketing is one way that people can get to know about you. Blogs, articles, websites, social media, are tools to let people know about you, your knowledge and services. Statistics say that 3 in 4 people will go directly to the internet to look you up even after they have gotten a direct referral from a friend or colleague. You want to be as visible as possible when
they do.

Unfortunate, but true - visibility is currently more important than ability.

You need to understand that both create visibility – one is just more “old school” than the other.

But, visibility alone without relationships will not bring in the quantity or quality of business that you are seeking. In fact it’s not about building visibility v. building relationships, it’s about doing both.

There is nothing wrong with either tactic. In fact, you should be doing everything in your power to make yourself, your services and your personality visible to people in everything you do – both on and offline.

Create a Rainmaking Plan that allows you do to both.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO A COLLEAGUE WHO YOU THINK WOULD BENEFIT; IT MUST BE FORWARDED IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. ALL INFORMATION IS THE COPYRIGHT OF MARKETING FIELD, LLC © 2013

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month. They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq. If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog.

Networking Tips for Lawyers

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with a Canadian reporter who is doing a series of stories about the importance of networking for lawyers. She wanted to get my thoughts based on my eight and a half years of networking experience with the lawyers in the ILN, and I thought I'd share some of those tips here on Zen too. These are all tips I use myself, as well as recommending them to our attorneys!

  • Have a plan: It's important to have an overall plan for your business development activities, but also one for each activity that you do. The overall plan should be a written one, that you check in on quarterly - this allows you to review what you've done over the past three months, as well as set up in your calendar the activities you'd like to commit to over the next three months.  For individual networking activities, you should set up goals for yourself for the event, so you know in advance what you'd like to achieve.
  • Use Social Media: I'm not saying this simply because I'm a lover of all things social media, but because I believe it's a great facilitator of relationships.  Let's say you're going to a conference for the first time - when you register, you should find out whether there's a conference hashtag set up for Twitter. You can then follow this hashtag, and it will give you an idea of who will be there - start engaging with those people, and it helps to create a relationship with them before you even arrive at the conference. Use the hashtag during the conference to arrange to meet up with people there for dinner or lunch or coffee. Use the hashtag after the conference to share any relevant blog posts or articles (your own and others) that you think would be of interest. Connect to conference speakers and people that you meet on LinkedIn. If someone is local to you, arrange to meet with them in a few weeks for lunch. Look for a LinkedIn group dedicated to the conference, and engage with people through that as well. 
     
  • Never Eat Alone: I'm an introvert, so my preference is to hide out at conferences and eat solo whenever I can. But this is a big no-no for effective networking, so it's something I strive not to do.  As an introvert, social media is a huge help here for a few reasons - one, you already share a common bond with someone when you meet them for the first time, so those initial introductions aren't as difficult. Two, you can reach out to people on Twitter leading up to a meal to make sure you have someone to sit with at lunch, or a group to meet with at dinner - everyone is very friendly that way, and it takes some of the awkwardness out of having to approach a table full of people you don't know. If you're an extrovert, you're likely already chatting with people you meet during the coffee breaks and in sessions at a conference, so keep the conversations going over a meal. 
     
  • Take Online Relationships Offline: We all travel these days, either for work or for pleasure. When visiting another city, I always instruct my attorneys to look up the local member there and have coffee with them. But this doesn't have to be limited to ILN members - if you're a member of an association, look up a local person in the city that you're visiting and reach out to them to meet up. Check your LinkedIn connections and see who might be nearby.  If you don't want to invest the time to research it, you can just put up a post that says when you'll be traveling to that city, and invite people to reach out to you if they'd like to get together. There's no reason not to add a networking component to all of your travel. 
     
  • Add an Extra Day: Along those lines, someone once suggested to me that adding an extra day to your travels is an excellent way to fit in some time for networking. Our trips are often so crammed with meetings that we don't have time to breathe, let alone meet with new people. But if you add an extra day to the beginning or end of your trip, it's a minimal time and financial investment that can pay big dividends in your networking efforts. But make sure to use that time for networking! 
     
  • Accountability is Key: For all of us, having someone to be accountable to can make a big difference - it's the reason why people post their workouts to Facebook or go to a trainer, and why weight loss companies like Weight Watchers are so effective. It can work wonders for networking too. If you know that accountability is something you need, you can either seek out the marketing professionals at your firm or a rainmaking coach to help you craft and stick to your business plan or you can arrange to bring together a group of your colleagues for monthly or quarterly networking progress lunches. These groups can give you new ideas for networking activities that you may not have previously considered, and they'll also motivate you to stick to your own plan. 

There were a number of other things that we chatted about in our hour long conversation, so I'll make sure to share the article when it's published. But in the meantime, what are some of your tried and true networking recommendations? 

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Dream Big

Happy Thursday all, and welcome to another one of Jaimie Field's excellent rainmaking recommendations - keep these in mind as you start to make your plans for 2013!

***

In Rainmaking Recommendation #67 – Conduct your Own Attorney Review, we discussed Performing your own Attorney Review by determining:

  • what you did this year that worked to bring in new clients;
  • what didn’t work ; or most importantly,
  • If you did ANY of the work necessary to build your book of business.

This “looking back” will you help you to look forward to create your rainmaking plan. Now that you know where you have been, you need to determine where you want to go.

There is an oft repeated proverb that says: “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”. But before you begin to plan, you have to determine what you want to achieve.

So take the time to start writing down what it is you want this year. How many clients do you want? How much money do you want to earn? Do you want to write a novel? Run a marathon?

Don’t worry about how you are going to get right this second, (we will discuss the how in the next Rainmaking Recommendation). Just write down what YOU want.

The key here is that it has to be what YOU want to accomplish. If it’s not your goal, it will never be accomplished because you will have no desire to the work necessary to achieve it.

Just remember what Ben Stein (yes, I am quoting Ferris Bueller’s Teacher, but if you didn’t know he was also President Ford’s and President Nixon’s speech writer) said: "The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want."


PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO A COLLEAGUE WHO YOU THINK WOULD BENEFIT; IT MUST BE FORWARDED IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. ALL INFORMATION IS THE COPYRIGHT OF MARKETING FIELD, LLC © 2012

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month. They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving  the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq. If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog.

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!

Beverly Loder of Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery in Chicago says: 

For associates, I always recommend The Law Firm Associate's Guide to Personal Marketing and Selling Skills by Beth Cuzzone and Catherine MacDonagh.

For introverted or otherwise reluctant lawyers, Selling In Your Comfort Zone by Bob Kohn and Larry Kohn is a good resource."

Jeffrey Silber of Silber, Vasquez & Associates in San Francisco says:

The best law firm Business Development books I have seen beginning in legal marketing in 1994 as an international life coach and BD coach for lawyers, are two new books by fellow LMA member David King Keller. The first is titled, 100 Ways to Grow a Thriving Law Practice which recently won an LMA Bay Area Chapter Practice Development Award.

Also, I've seen an advanced copy of his 2nd book, which is being published by the American Bar Association's book division in August, titled, The Associate As Rainmaker, Building Your Business Brain To Grow Law Firm Revenue. It's a perfect complement to his first book, and includes a foreword by LMA's President-elect Alycia Sutor with lots of contributions by Partners, CMOs, BD Directors, Client Relation's Managers and people like Cherie Olland, Global Director of Business Development and Communications for Jones Day.

My own article, Legal Marketing from the Inside Out, will appear in the August issue of Strategies and as you will see David's philosophy and approach to BD are entirely in sync with my own, which is why I am recommending his two books."

Michael Zolno of Zolno Consulting in Phoenix says: 

 These are items I have read & personally use. This is not a starting point or basic reading list. It is a "thinking-person's" bibliography. Not so much "How to" but "Why, what and for whom."

I would highly recommend starting with the items noted by **

** Baker, Ronald J. Implementing Value Pricing. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2011

** Dahut, Henry. Marketing the Legal Mind, LMG Press, 2004.

Derrick, John. Boo To Billable Hours. Podia Press, 2008

** Dunn, Paul & Baker, Ronald J. The Firm of the Future. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2003.

Durham, James A. & McMurray, Deborah (Editors). The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing Your Practice 2nd Edition. ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2004.

Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: The Story of Success. Little, Brown and Company, 2008 (Especially chapter 5).

Grella, Thomas C. & Hudkins, Michael L. The Lawyer's Guide to Strategic Planning. ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2004

Iezzi, John G. Results-Oriented Financial Management - A Step-by-Step Guide to Law Firm Profitability, 2nd Edition. ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2003.

** Kotler, Philip, Hayes, Thomas & Bloom, Paul N. Marketing Professional Services, 2nd Edition. Prentice Hall Press, 2002.

Lenskold, James D. Marketing ROI. McGraw - Hill, 2003.

Schmidt, Sally. Business Development for Lawyers: Strategies for Getting and Keeping Clients. ALM Publishing, 2006.

** Susskind, Richard. The End of Lawyers? Oxford University Press, 2008"

Thanks to everyone who offered their excellent recommendations - what books would you recommend to lawyers for business development (they don't have to be industry books!) and why?
 

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.

 

  1. Stars became content with their achievement. Superstars are never content and are always striving to get better. 
     
  2. Stars focus on what they already know. Superstars focus on what they do not know and are willing to reinvent themselves if the situation requires it. Stars do things that others enjoy doing. Superstars regularly do things that others do not enjoy doing. 
     
  3. Stars are focused on the short term. Superstars are focused on the long term.
     
  4. Stars persist to a point and then give up. Superstars persist until they succeed.
     
  5. Stars are extrinsically motivated. Superstars are intrinsically motivated.
     
  6. Stars stay within their comfort zone. Superstars strive to become comfortable outside their comfort zone.
     
  7. Stars have set and achieved several goals. Superstars have set and achieved hundreds of goals and have confidence they will achieve more.
     
  8. Some Stars quit doing the things that got them to $1 Million. Superstars do those things and more.
     
  9. Some Stars do not pay attention to their health. Superstars know their health is essential to their success.
     
  10. Stars are not necessarily focused and as a result they do lots of things. Superstars are focused and do the most important things each and every day.
     
  11. Stars wait for their clients and potential clients to call them with a legal problem. Superstars anticipate their clients’ and potential clients’ legal problems, create a solution and call them.
     
  12. Stars are outstanding lawyers. Superstars are both outstanding lawyers and trusted advisors.
     
  13. Stars do not plan their non-billable time. Superstars think optimistically and plan their non-billable time purposely.
     
  14. Some Stars get to the point that they take clients for granted. Superstars have healthy paranoia and never take their clients for granted.
     
  15. Stars quit trying to attract new clients. Superstars view everyone they meet as a potential client.
     
  16. Stars become cautious, like a sports team with a lead playing not to lose. Superstars are always playing to win.
     
  17. Some Stars refuse to share credit with their colleagues. Superstars share credit and build their team as a result.
     
  18. Many Stars do not look for opportunities to add value for their clients with work the firm does outside their practice area. Superstars are looking for other work the firm can do that their clients will value.
     
  19. Some stars hoarded associates. Superstars help associates become successful in their own right.
     
  20. Some stars make it difficult for associates and young partners to work with them. Superstars are great mentors for associates and young partners.
     
  21. Some stars let any disappointment or setback cripple them. Superstars look at failing as part of becoming a better lawyer.
     
  22. Many Stars fail to keep up with technology changes. Superstars are on the cutting edge of changes in the profession.
     
  23. Stars are frequently extrinsically motivated and compare how they are doing with others. Superstars are intrinsically motivated and compare how they are doing with their own capability.
     
  24. Stars frequently cannot find time for client development when they are busy. Superstars “make” time for client development when they are busy.
     
  25. Stars think they do not need help from coaches or mentors. Superstars are always seeking new ideas and feedback from coaches and mentors.

 

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.

I've included a number of success stories in these presentations, but what helps most is when our Chairman adds his comments - he'll tell the group that his firm has eight blogs, one of which he works on.  He'll discuss the time commitment and answer some of the regular concerns you hear, but he'll also share stories with them of how they've gotten clients because of their blogging.  

That has a much greater impact then when I share a success story from an attorney that they don't know.

A few other tips for motivating lawyers to do business development that I've learned include:

  • Help them identify where they're most comfortable: Not everyone loves public speaking, or should be doing it.  Some people are better writers.  Some are great at in-person networking.  When you can find out where an attorney is most comfortable and what his/her strengths are, business development can seem less intimidating.
     
  • Come up with a plan: For many people (myself included), when you're working on a project that's ongoing, it's easy to forget to take small steps every day.  But if you can come up with a plan with measurable steps, it's much easier to keep up with it.  
     
  • Competition: This isn't something that we've implemented in the Network, but I know of a few firms that have created contests for business development.  Set some goals that make sense for the firm, figure out how to measure them, and pick some prizes.  Most lawyers love competition, so this will be a way to spark their motivation for business development. 

These are just a few of the tips I've seen work - are there any other suggestions you have to add? 

Client Development 101 for 2011 & Beyond with Cordell Parvin - a LexBlog Webinar Re-Cap

Being a part of the LexBlog network means I'm fortunate enough to participate in the webinars that they host.  Today's webinar was with the fabulous Cordell Parvin, a nationally recognized career and client development coach.  According to LexBlog's invitation, Cordell "is a lawyer himself [and] his 37 years of practice set him apart from other client development experts. He has actually done what he teaches and coaches; he knows the challenges lawyers face and helps provide solutions." 

No greater testimony to Cordell's expertise can be found than from one of his attorney clients, who said "Nothing my firm has ever done for my development matches the investment that Cordell's program has made in my maturation as a lawyer, leader and person."

With those kinds of accolades, I knew we were in for some valuable information! 

Cordell began by saying that his presentation was designed to give young lawyers a road map to get started, and remind senior lawyers of the things that they need to be doing.  He said that the managing partner of a firm that he works with wanted to know who the best candidate for coaching was in the firm - Cordell answered that the lawyers who get the most out of it have an open mind, are passionate about becoming a better lawyer, and are willing to get outside of their comfort zone.

He played a short audio clip from one of his clients, who said that she saw that a lot of her colleagues had reservations and were skeptical about Cordell's coaching.  He asked them to push themselves and do things that weren't comfortable.  She said she tried to repress those feelings and make a whole-hearted effort to do everything he asked them to do, even when she wasn't sure where it would lead.  She threw herself into the program, and feels that's why she's so successful.  

Four Eras of Lawyer Marketing

Cordell then talked about his four eras of lawyer marketing: 

  1. First era: Do good work, get a Martindale AV rating, and wait for the work to come in.
  2. Second era: Unsolicited contact - sending brochures, email alerts, and other mass mail to people, regardless of whether they want to receive it.
  3. Third era: Websites and branding.
  4. Fourth Era: Cordell used Seth Godin to illustrate this, saying that it's not what you know, it's not who you know, it's who knows what you know.  He emphasized that attorneys need to be remarkable, extraordinary and memorable.  The market is very crowded, clients are no longer local or loyal, so lawyers have to search for ways to be more valuable to their clients.

Cordell said there is a progression to how lawyers get hired:

  1. Be visible: clients have to know who you are. 
  2. Build your profile: you have to be credible; people have to know what you do, and that you do it well.
  3. Relationships: the first two can lead to relationships. Cordell said that every matter he was ever hired to do came because of someone who was a "weak tie" relationship recommended him.  These first three steps are objective, and Cordell said there is much more expansion from weak tie buzz.
  4. Recommendations.
  5. Client meetings.
  6. Trust and Rapport: Does the client trust you? Do you have a rapport with them? 
  7. Getting hired.

Planning

Cordell next went into a discussion of planning, saying that he had done this program for four law firms towards the end of 2010, and he asked them how many of them had a written business plan for 2011 with written goals.  He was always surprised to find that so few lawyers have a plan.

He shared a quote from Jim Cathcart - "Most people aim at nothing in life and hit it with amazing accuracy" - to illustrate that a plan helps you to focus.  Steve Jobs is a great example of the idea that  "Super achievers think optimistically and plan purposely."  Cordell said that the lawyers who are the most successful embrace this philosophy by thinking big, thinking optimistically, while planning almost down to every single day. 

Why have a plan? 

Cordell said that the two most valuable resources we have are time and energy. So it's important to focus on those things that are going to bring the biggest return for the investment of time and energy.  Today, there are so many potential ways to develop business, that a plan will assist you in making better choices on where to expend your efforts.

With options such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, webinars, podcasts, and more, having a plan can help narrow down where your clients are. Cordell said that he's on Twitter, but if he were still practicing construction law, he doubts that any CEO of the construction companies who were his clients would be on Twitter.  He would still spend some time there, because construction associations, magazines and others are on Twitter, but he wouldn't be connecting with the CEOs of his clients there.

Who is your target market?

Cordell suggested beginning the plan by asking "who is your target market?"  He added that he reads a number of blogs on LexBlog, and is regularly thinking "who is this writer trying to attract? Who are they targeting this post to?"  So it's important to being with your target market, and narrow this down.  He said that if you market to everyone, you market to no one.

What do you want your target market to hire you to do? How can you become visible and credible to that target market?

The next question to ask yourself is "What do you want your target market to hire you to do?"  Then, "How can you become visible and credible to that target market? Where are they hanging out?" Cordell said that when he was practicing law, he had a column, and was able to speak at national and state construction meetings over many years. For him, this helped him to become visible and credible.  For other attorneys, it will vary - it depends on what you do.  

What associations should you be a part of? 

Next, ask yourself "What associations should you be a part of? What associations is your target market a part of?"  This may be school alumni associations, local charities, industry associations, bar associations, etc. 

Who will be your referral sources? 

Cordell said to ask yourself "Who will be your referral sources?" Using the example of the construction industry, this would be executives of those associations, but also bankers, insurance agents, accountants, equipment dealers and others.  Include this list in your plan in order to be focused on spending time with those referral sources. 

Showing a graphic, Cordell said he goes from goals to hours, and from hours to goals - to do this, figure out how many hours to spend on business development, and then figure out how your going to spend it.  He emphasized that putting this down on paper is key, and said that he has a template for a business plan, which Kevin O'Keefe will be sharing as part of his blog (link to follow when available).  This template is all-encompassing and includes everything that Cordell could think of for attorneys to do with non-billable time to use as a starting point for their own planning.

When he's coaching, Cordell said he'll ask his client to write down ten things that they could spend their time on.  Then he'll ask them if they could only do one of those things, what would it be and why.  This enables the client to focus their time and attention.  

As to how much time to spend on business development, Cordell suggested 500 hours of nonbillable time a year - this breaks down to 100 administrative, 300 client development and 100 personal development.

Larry Bodine later asked whether ten hours a week is really reasonable for a busy lawyer to spend on business development.  Cordell said that he didn't spend two hours a day on it - mostly it was 6-9am on Saturday and Sunday mornings, while his daughter was still asleep.  He added that when he was working on something billable, he was also looking at how he could use that to help other people - he was frequently re-purposing.  Cordell said that 10 hours was the average over a year - when he was in trial, he would be spending 12+ hours a day on that, and might spend only 20 minutes on client development.  But after the trial was over, he might spend a whole day of nonbillable time visiting a client.  He agreed that sometimes less is more, as long as the person is focused. 

Divide Your Time

Once you have your plan, Cordell said it's necessary to divide it - identify how much time will be spent on profile building, on relationship building? The internet has given us new tools, but even with these, it's more important than ever to get out from behind your computer and visit your clients in person. 

Goals

Look at your goals and figure out why they're important. Cordell said that if he doesn't have a good answer to why he wants to accomplish something, he's far less likely to do it. So it's essential to figure out why it's important and meaningful. If you don't have a good answer, it's not a particularly great goal.

Obstacles

Another important part of planning is looking at the challenges you'll face in achieving a particular goal and identifying who can help you to achieve them, both in and out of your law firm.  

The Breakdown

Cordell recommended breaking down the plan into 90-day increments. He said that every time he meets with a client, they come up with a game plan for the next 90 days. Breaking it down into these smaller parts makes it more likely you'll actually do it.

Then, take it one step further and plan each week. Sit down and ask yourself (maybe on a Sunday), what am I doing, how long will it take, when am I doing it?  Then put this on the calendar, just as if you were scheduling a meeting with a client.  

Cordell showed a pie chart of time in an average week;

  • 56 hours of sleep
  • 40 hours case work
  • 62 hours of free time
  • 10 nonbillable work hours

He said that how you spend your free time determines the quality of your life.  And how you spend the 10 nonbillable works hours determines the quality of your career.  

Have a "fitness partner"

Cordell recommended getting a "fitness partner" who you're accountable to.  He played an audio clip from Keith McMurdy, who said you get the most out of coaching when you're accountable. He said he was initially skeptical of this, and thought he didn't need to be told these things because of his level of experience.  But he found that having someone to check in with, having fellow team members was very stimulating for him, because he felt like he had someone to answer to.

Building Visibility and Credibility

Cordell moved on to talk about how attorneys can build visibility and credibility:

  • Website bio: Are you updating it? Your bio needs to be updated, and have the ability for visitors to download articles you've written, presentations you've done, etc.  Cordell said that clients will look at your website bio as a starting point. So if it's not up to date, you're missing an opportunity.
  • Connect: If you're a connector, you should be active in the community, never eating alone, constantly meeting people.
  • Writing and speaking: For this, Cordell had three main points to increase your visibility and credibility to the greatest number of weak ties: 

1. Valuable Content: He said he's often asked where you can find this.  On his Google page, he has a news page with the Wall Street Journal, CNN Small Business, Business Week Small Business, etc.  He peruses these looking for business articles that will impact clients from a legal standpoint in the future.  The idea is to try to see the future of what's going to be important to clients - that's where you'll find valuable content.  

Cordell said when you're writing, if it's not "sticking" then it's not worth writing. To be sticky, you must address clients' problems, opportunities, internal and external changes.  When writing a post, you must be able to answer why a client will care about it, or it's not worth spending your time on.  

2. Presented/Written Well: Once you've found valuable content by reading what clients are reading, and what they're not reading, and seeing what other people don't see - then present and write it well.  Cordell warned that clients will read the headline for your blog posts and then decide whether to read further, so you only have a short amount of time to connect with them.  If you write well, clients will read or listen to you.

3. Wide distribution: In the current environment with the internet, blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools, there has never been such great opportunity for wider distribution. Cordell said that he'd posted a blog a couple of weeks ago, and it took him five seconds to put it in a group on LinkedIn.  Another member of the group commented on it, and now he's up to 37 comments on that particular post - 36 or 37 people have read his material who had never seen what he'd written before.

Another audience member asked about the best ways to use LinkedIn to foster those weak tie relationships, and build relationships in business. Cordell answered that the most important thing is to have a well-done profile, including a photo.  He said that he's also enjoyed being a part of the groups on LinkedIn, where he's had the opportunity to meet people from all over the country who are experts in client development for law firms.  

Cordell talked a little bit about writing blog posts - he said that when he wrote his monthly column, if something were to happen today, it wouldn't be published for a few months.  But if he's blogging, he can write about it and publish it today.  Blogging has forced him to be a better writer, to care about the things that his clients care about - his antenna is always up looking for things that his clients will find valuable.  

He emphasized that in-house lawyers are looking at blogs, and judging whether a lawyer is right for them in part because of what they're writing. He showed the audience a picture of the ABA journal post and Kevin O'Keefe's post which illustrate that in-house counsel are increasingly using blogs in making hiring decisions.  

Cordell said that he's also a believer in writing guides and e-books.  He said that when he was a lawyer, he used to write far longer and more in-depth guides than he would today - today's in-house counsel want something quick, no more than 10-12 pages.  If it's an e-book, have some visuals. Make it easy for the client to get through - you can always link to more in-depth detail in the guide.

Speaking

In terms of speaking, Cordell said that when he goes to hear lawyers speak, he always hopes they're getting better.  Unfortunately, generally speaking, they need a lot of work - they have too many slides, and too many words on the slides.  They don't realize how people receive information.  Additionally, they need to practice presenting - body language, eye contact, and tone of voice are really important.

He suggested being like Tina Turner in Wembley Stadium - start strong, finish strong, and make them want an encore.

Cordell said that in the first 90 seconds, the audience will decide if they're going to pay attention - they want to know what's in it for them.  Some common presentation mistakes include: 

  • Slides: too many, with too many words.  The audience will fall asleep reading words off of slides.  The speaker loses their attention because they're trying to read and digest the information on the slide instead of listening.
  • Closing by asking "Are there any questions?" Cordell recommends saying instead, "Before I conclude, are there any questions?"  Then you can control the conclusion, have a call to action and offer a takeaway.
  • Not thinking outside the box: Cordell recommends re-purposing materials, saying that when he does a live presentation, it becomes a webinar and vice versa.  He puts his materials up on slide share - this lends itself well to the wide distribution opportunity that Cordell mentioned earlier in his presentation. 

An audience member asked whether in-house counsel are looking for blogs because of immediate needs, background information, or both.  Cordell answered that it's both - we know that they're doing Google searches. He used the example of a client firm who is well known in a particular area of law.  But when they went to Google and searched for that, they weren't listed on the first ten pages of results. 

Cordell convinced them to start a blog, and now they're the second listing on the page, right after Wikipedia.  Even those who aren't in-house lawyers are searching topics and want blogs to come up when the search results are listed.  

Building Relationships

As you know, this is one of my favorite topics - Cordell said that when he was practicing law, he used to like to say that he wanted his friends to be his clients and his clients to be his friends - it's all about relationship building.

Cordell quipped that in football, the first Green Bay Packers Superbowl was won by blocking and tackling.  And the most recent Green Bay Packers Superbowl was won by blocking and tackling - the only thing that's changed is the playbook.  It's the same for lawyers - it's all about relationship-building, and just the playbook has changed.  

Clients want their lawyers to understand their business, their industry, and them.  Cordell said that the first client audio testimonial he played for us was from a client who did so well with the business development program that one of her clients wanted her to come in-house.  She said "We are looking for counsel that knows our industry, our business, and is an expert in the niche area we need help in. Cost is an afterthought." 

You can demonstrate this knowledge by blogging, through podcasts, webcasts, etc.

Cordell looked at the universe of legal work and estimates that 30% is commodity work, where low price determines who is hired, 10% is "bet the company" work, where the best are hired, and 60% is where the real opportunity lies - this is where relationship-building comes into play.  

He believes clients hire lawyers over law firms.  Law firms are focused on creating teams, and that's great, but many times, clients come to a firm because of a particular lawyer at that firm.  They screen them based on reputation (the first four steps he mentioned earlier), but they hire them based on trust and rapport.  They make a judgment and it's subjective whether you're the right lawyer to hire for a matter. 

Cordell said that lawyers need to learn how to ask questions - he admitted this is a weakness of his, saying that he has seven or eight books just dedicated to asking questions.  He suggested that if you can only buy one, the best is SPIN Selling - SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implication, Need.  When you do these things when interviewing a client, you're in a position to ask for the business in a positive way.

Another of Cordell's favorite books is The Trusted Advisor.  The formula in this book is that Trust is Credibility plus Reliability plus Intimacy, divided by Self Orientation. He said that in talking to you, clients get a sense of whether you're in this for them, or for yourself. 

He said that one of the things that his firm did to show their clients that it was all about them was to create client service goals.  They interviewed their clients to find out what they thought was important from a service standpoint - Cordell said that the quality of work is already expected.  They were told:

  • Responsiveness
  • Expectations
  • Industry knowledge and experience.

In Conclusion...

Cordell left the audience with some action items for how to get started:

  1. Prepare some kind of plan. Even if it's nothing more than listing ten things you can do, and rating them.  
  2. Come up with a fitness partner to become accountable.
  3. Break down action items into 90 days, and plan next week.
  4. Look at your target market and decide how you can become trusted and credible. Identify how you can build relationships.

Cordell said that starting somewhere will enable you to achieve client development and success in 2011 and beyond.  

Kevin asked a final question, saying that a lot of managing partners and leaders who are pro-social media for building relationships are getting a lot of push back and questions from the top.  He asked Cordell to comment on how this can be addressed, and how we can encourage the use of social media.  

Cordell answered that law firm leaders want proof - lawyers have been trained to prove something.  He used the example of Kevin O'Neil who got tremendous push back when he wanted to start his podcasts and radio show.  Now, the leaders of his firm want to be interviewed on his show because they've seen his volume of business substantially increase.

One of the firms that he coaches has 29 blogs on the LexBlog network - they're so prolific that people are blogging about the fact that they're blogging.  They're having record years because of the visibility and credibility of the lawyers who are reaching out to weak tie relationships.  He added that those of us on Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. can tell stories about people we've met solely through social media relationships. 

He finished up by quoting Robert Kennedy, who said "Only those who dare to fail greatly achieve greatly."  It's important to be willing to take a chance, to get outside the box, to do something that other firms or lawyers are not doing.  Not everything you do will be a huge success, but be willing to try things and see if clients find them valuable.  Because it's all about clients, not about you.