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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Professional Blogs:

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


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

Pre-Conference

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

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


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

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

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

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


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