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.

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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! 

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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!

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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.