This Blog is continued at the LawMarketing Blog, at http://blog.larrybodine.com.
There's a good article on page 26 of the July ABA Journal about how associates can contribute to client development. "They are the secret weapon--they unlock the market for you," said Rick Davis, the chief marketing officer for 150-lawyer Hughes & Luce.
The firm uses the contacts -- called "coaches" -- to learn about the company's businesses. Then they create a "pursuit path" with a partner to approach the company for business development. This reflects exactly the advice that Michael Cummings and I have been giving in our regular Webinars about law firm marketing.
"When the company managers see that the firm already understands and cares about their business, Davis notes, they are much more inclined to seek the firm's help on legal matters. "Stop talking about yourself and ask questions of other people," said Mark Beese, the director of marketing at 350-lawyer Holland and Hart in Denver.
Don't sit back and wait for a partner to feed you work. Find a mentor and watch a senior attorney in action, developing business, said Peter M. Ellis, a senior associate in Piper Rudnick's Chicago office.
"People hire lawyers, as opposed to law firms," Ellis said. "People need to like you first. And they need to want to help you develop, especially as a junior lawyer."
And don't approach a prospective client with a script or a pitch. "You're destined to fail." Ellis said. Instead, meet the client with a short list of intelligent questions, showing that you've done some research about the company and its business issues. That will get the prospect talking about their business and legal needs; all the lawyer needs to do is listen and say, "We can help you with that."
By Michael G. Cummings of SAGE PDI, Inc. in St. Charles, IL. He can be reached at 630-572-4798 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Mike is the co-Author: Best Practices In Building Your Professional Network for Attorneys, http://www.sagelawmarketing.com/networking_book.html
I recently had a number of occasions to talk in-depth with a dozen or so attorneys about their personal plans to grow their business.
Overwhelmingly, I found out that most of them secretly (and some not so secretly) wished that they never, ever had to market and sell in order to be a success. In fact, several detested the notion that they must be a strong business developer to make their way forward in the profession. Why?
1) They are already overwhelmed with work:
What I hear: I am already busy billing and trying to balance my work and life. Marketing and selling is just more work that I have to pile on top of everything else.
You are right. BUT, being a billing machine will only take you so far in the profession. And you will always be dependant on others for assignments and work. If you excel at business development, you can chose the clients you serve, do the kind of work you enjoy and be in control of your success. It is undeniable. Firms value the partners who attract clients, earn their client's loyalty and serve all of the client's business needs they can.
In fact, business development is a natural growth process for those who want to successfully practice law. You will simply leverage the work you currently do to other attorneys and take on greater responsibility for managing relationships and finding more clients to serve.
Actions to take: Start to do some business development each day. Build it into your daily to do list.
2) They didn't become an attorney so they could market and sell:
What I hear: I just want to do a superb job on my work assignments. This should be enough. Rainmakers and clients should seek me out simply based on the depth and quality of work that I do.
You are right. BUT, doing superb work is expected and the minimum threshold for satisfying clients. Clients tell us that an attorney's interpersonal skills, project management capabilities and business advisory prowess set them apart. You must know their business to earn a relationship with them. In addition, clients, allies and potential clients hire people not firms. So, it is up to you to build your professional reputation as well. Increasingly, relationship development, network building and reputation marketing are becoming part of your job description
Actions to take: Start by marketing to the clients that you are already working with today. Have a separate relationship-building "to-do" list.
3) They don't believe that can be good at business development
What I Hear: I'm not a rainmaker. I don't have the network. I don't enjoy networking. I'm just not a glib, self-promoter at heart. I don't enjoy meeting strangers and asking for their business
Now, we are getting to the heart of the issue. Many attorneys want to avoid business development because they don't see themselves as being competent in attracting clients. They feel that they have to change their personality to succeed.
You must realize that business development is simply a learnable skill. And superb business development simply leverages the skills that already make you a superb practicing attorney -- including being organized, working hard, listening, diagnosing client implications and finding solutions.
Rainmakers at your firm had to learn these skills over their career through mentoring, trial and error, discipline, persistence and hard work. The results you see today in terms of a rainmaker's prowess to attract clients and sell work is the culmination of years of skill building.
There is not a single type of rainmaker personality. You just have to learn how to bring in business with the personality strengths that you already have. If you are smart and driven enough to pass the bar and land a job at a top firm, then you are smart and motivated enough to be a business generator.
In fact, find a way to make business development fun.
Combine your personal interests with a business development purpose.
Actions to take: First find a mentor. Then have a CLE plan for business development. Start by downloading two free chapter(s) from the best book on rainmaking that I know -- "I Hate Selling" by Allan Boress - http://www.sagelawmarketing.com/salesmastery.html
4) They don't know what to do
What I Hear: OK, I know that I must market and sell. But, as an associate or new partner, what can I realistically do? Senior partners here just give me general advice like join an association, take a client to lunch, market myself inside the firm or stay in touch with friends from law school. What is most important?
The simple answer is to start to think and act like a rainmaker by developing your own personal marketing plan. This means deciding what you can do today, this week and this month to start growing your practice. Focus on 2 areas and build from there. First, market to the clients you already have. Second, develop a systematic plan to contact, nurture and expand your network.
Actions to take: Again, start by getting a mentor or coach to counsel you. Develop an action plan. If possible, get the help of your marketing professional to develop this plan. Start by downloading a chapter from our book: Best Practices in Building Your Professional Network.
5) They think that it is unseemly to market and sell
What I Hear: I feel that it just isn't professional to ask clients for business, seek out referrals or hawk business.
Let me ask you a couple of questions. Are the rainmakers in your firm unprofessional? Quite the contrary, rainmakers are among the most respected and influential people in the profession. Second, do you like to serve clients? If so, then somebody has to secure them as clients for your firm. If not you, then who? Do you want to work for a successful firm? Then you have to help make your firm profitable by adding clients and creating business. In fact, business development is a central part of being a true and accomplished professional.
Actions to take: Take a rainmaker to lunch. Pick their brain and see how they think about business development. Or sign up for our upcoming Web seminar with a panel of Women Rainmakers. http://www.sagelawmarketing.com/WebseminarA7
6) They think they are taking advantage of their clients, contacts and friends
What I Hear (especially from women attorneys): I often feel like I am crossing some boundary or abusing my friendships if I try to market and sell work to people I know. I feel like I am using them or betraying a relationship. What if they say they are not interested?
The root cause of this belief is that many attorneys see marketing and selling as convincing clients to hire them. And this translates into self-centered marketing and selling behavior. This is called bad marketing. Instead, true marketing and selling is helping clients to solve a source of their own business trauma, anguish or frustration. So, have a helping mindset, diagnose their points of "pain' and suggest solutions.
Actions To Take: In his book, I Hate Selling, Allan suggests that all professionals should market and sell as if they are "business doctors". Download a free chapter from his book to learn how.
The BAD news: Business development is no longer optional ...
The legal profession is at a tipping point. This is the conclusion that Lauren Stiller Rikleen reaches in her groundbreaking new book: Ending the Gauntlet: Removing the Barriers to Women's Success in the Law.
Demanding clients, maxed out attorneys, hyper-intensive competition, shifting demographics and increasing firm profitability pressures are causing massive pressures for change.
Her conclusion? The Sun Always Shines On Those Who Make Rain. All attorneys (especially women) must think and act like entrepreneurs. Increasingly, your success will be driven by your ability to bring in business. So, build your base of client relationships, establish teams of allies, grow your network of high value relationships, co-market with people at your firm and become a celebrated expert in your field. These results will help you to thrive in the uncertain times ahead.
Those who don't embrace these personal missions will be controlled by the whim of others and driven by the tidal waves of change.
Note: To learn more, get the CD of Best Practices of Personal Marketing for Women Attorneys.
The GOOD news ... You Can Do It!
Take the example of Jennifer Zimmerman. She was a 2nd year associate at a mid-sized firm -- and one of the few women working there at the time.
But, Jennifer thought and acted like an entrepreneur. She took the initiative and put together a program that created the economic results that her firm appreciates and rewards.
She decided to target local women entrepreneurs as clients. She garnered the support of her mentor who was a senior woman attorney at the firm. She lined up a team of firm colleagues (including the marketing director) as well as a few motivated women professionals at an allied financial planning firm. They formed an organization and put on series of programs for an elite group of women entrepreneurs. And she secured the backing and support of her firm's Executive Committee.
The result? The program yielded a new client per month for her firm. She established a strong reputation in the local business community and inside her own firm. She is the only associated to be named to the firm's marketing committee. And she received the origination credits that added to her compensation.
The good news is that there is nothing stopping you from doing the same thing. So, stop dreading marketing and selling. Embrace these skill sets as part of your job description and career success plan.
Start today by thinking and acting like an entrepreneur.
Best Practices Of Personal Marketing For Women Attorneys
10 Lessons To Learn From Respected
And Accomplished Women Rainmakers
Co-Author: Best Practices In Building Your Professional Network For Attorneys
Last week, I saw a headline in the New York Times that highlighted the fact that only 17 percent of partners at major law firms nationwide were women in 2005. I guess that I was a bit surprised by how low this number was.
So I decided to pick up a superb new, book over this past weekend, entitled: Ending the Gauntlet: Removing Barriers to Women's Success in the Law. It describes the institutional impediments to the retention and advancement of women in the legal profession. The author is Lauren Stiller Rikleen, a partner in the Framingham, Mass., office of the Worcester, Mass., firm of Bowditch & Dewey
Ms. Rikleen was appointed in 2005 by the President of the ABA to serve on the 12 member, ABA Commission On Women In The Profession.
On the basis of our training work as well as this recent reading and reflection, here are the conclusions that we can certainly draw:
1) Regardless of gender, marketing; selling and relationship management are vital professional skills for ALL attorneys to embrace for greater career success and satisfaction
As Ms. Rikleen puts it, The Sun Always Shines On Those Who Make Rain (whether a man or a woman). In fact, many of the problems highlighted in Ms Rikleen's book cut across gender lines. But, the basic answer is the same for everybody: excelling at business development puts you in control of your own success. By building these skills, you can attract the kind of clients that you want to work with; do the type of work you enjoy and take the action needed to build your reputation. If you land new clients and serve the full range of client needs then there is no question that you are creating value for the client and firm. Firms respect and reward these results and if they don’t, you can easily find a firm that does.
2) But, there is no question that women attorneys do clearly face some unique and daunting challenges (Ms. Rikleen's book contains a thorough analysis, review of implications and recommendations for change)
Over the history of the profession, for a host of cultural and demographic reasons, fewer women have either reached the pinnacle in the ranks of practicing attorneys or leadership roles in firm. Therefore, today there are fewer mentors and role models available to coach, develop and support current women attorneys. Also, it is no secret that the past male-dominated culture and performance measures have led many women to seek alternative career paths and opportunities. The book further relates the alienating perception among women that business development has long relied on the "old-boy" network and rewarded overt self promotion.
From our training work, I can certainly attest to the fact that women we work with describe a set of common challenges such as a) the time demands of business development, b) need to balance life/work demands, c) discomfort with being perceived as pushy, unseemly or overtly promotional, as well as d) not liking to "compromise" personal or socially based relationships for business development purposes
3) On the other hand, women attorneys are increasingly benefiting from market, client and personal advantages that they can capitalize upon. It is up to you (not your firm) to find and seize these opportunities. So, think and act like an entrepreneur.
The good news (for everybody) is that the times are changing. The market (both client and labor) is becoming increasingly diverse. Many major clients (e.g. Wal-Mart) value diversity and seek out diverse attorneys as a matter of policy. More women are buyers of legal services -- since a high and growing percentage of both general counsels and senior executives are women. And more women than men (11X) are starting their own businesses. In addition to these market forces, as more and more women enter and stay in the profession, firms are hopefully looking for ways to recruit and retain the best women attorneys. But, the bottom line is that both clients and firms reward results. Regardless of gender and pedigree, if you deliver business results for clients, you will earn your client's ongoing business, loyalty and referrals. And, if you make rain, law firms will reward you. So, for women attorneys, as Ms Rikleen advocates, perhaps the best thing you can do is to build the skills and entrepreneurial mindset you need to grow your practice.
10 Best Practices In Personal Marketing Suggested By Women Rainmakers
At SAGE PDI, we have been fortunate to train, coach and consult with many accomplished and respected women rainmakers (both in law and other professions).
So, in the rest of this newsletter, we will give you their advice and counsel. While the lessons learned apply to all attorneys, these best practices are especially applicable for women attorneys.
1) Create your own personal board of directors:
This idea was suggested by Jan Anne Dubin, Director of Client Relations at DLA Piper Rudnick, Gray, Cary at our last associate Web seminar. She suggested that women attorneys assemble an elite cadre of personal advisors to counsel them on building their practice. The team can include senior women (and men) who are colleagues, clients, professional allies and rainmakers in other professions. The prime benefit is leveraging their ongoing wisdom and practical advice based on their own experience and success. But their role and value includes support, fellowship, skill development and accountability.
2) Market and sell as a team with trusted colleagues
Regina A. McConahay, Director, Global Marketing & Communication of Interlaw Ltd. provided this suggestion from the Women Lawyers of Interlaw group. By teaming up with a colleague, women can reduce the time commitment they face in marketing, combine their collective networks and blend talents/interests. It also helps to remove any discomfort with meeting a client or prospect on an individual basis. As a final added benefit, both research and experience shows that team selling improves the personal chemistry, depth of diagnostic interviewing and ease of follow up. All of these factors combine to maximize your chances of success.
3) Put the client, their trauma and business results front and center in all business development
Marketing and selling is not based on telling people how great you are and convincing them to hire you. Instead, you put the entire focus on the client, their business trauma, the solution you offer and results they achieve. Your value to the client is not based on your resume, firm, gender or standing. This is the exact approach that Robin S. Lazarow of Mirick O'Connell, one of our 2005 associate marketing all star uses. She has become a prominent, celebrated expert in employment law as an associate in record time. By speaking to business groups and human resource directors, she focuses on the exposures and risks that their business faces based on recent or impending developments in employment legislation and court cases. Because she speaks on the potential points of business pain they might be facing, clients view here as an expert problem solver and business advisor who just happens to be a women and associate. Learn more about Becoming An Associate Marketing All Star (Web seminar recorded on CD)
4) Pick the right niche and focus ALL of your business development on serving these clients:
There are two lessons to be learned here. First, don't waste time doing any form of marketing that isn't completely focused on landing your ideal clients. For example, don't go to general networking events with few potential clients or bar association meetings with only other attorneys attending. Next, pick a niche where you like the clients and work -- and where your expertise and client track record (and you) will be relevant and respected. Jennifer Zimmerman, an associate with Rhoads & Sinon (and another one of our associate marketing all stars in 2006) is a great example of doing this right. She targeted high powered women who were leaving senior positions in the corporate or professional world to start their own business. She created a team of colleagues with the needed corporate, tax and estate planning expertise combined with 2 professional allies from a financial consulting firm (all women and all skilled marketers with an entrepreneurial mindset).Together, they created a series of programs on starting and growing a business aimed at these senior women.
5) See the marketing and selling possibilities in EVERYTHING you do already:
Linda Rikleen's work confirms that women attorneys face acute pressures in balancing work and rest of life demands. So, you need to see and seize the marketing possibilities in client work, participating in organizations and even social activities. Find a comfortable way to let people know what you do and the clients you serve. But, most important, have an antennae for opportunity in all aspects of your work with clients. Be attuned to any "trauma" that you hear or see when working with them. Suggest how you can serve to alleviate the problem. Realize that clients want you to bring them ideas and be proactive in letting them know how you can serve their needs. (Note: Come hear Linda Rikleen speak at our next Associate Web Seminar: Best Practices Of Personal Marketing For Women Attorneys)
Also, be relentless about making time for marketing. Set a daily minimum requirement of 2-3 business development actions (no matter what). Use your downtime for marketing and selling (e.g. send an e-mail to your contacts from your Blackberry when waiting for a meeting to start or call people from your cell when you are commuting). Use your breakfasts and lunches to market and sell.
6) Set "give up" goals
To find the time to balance work and life, as well as to do more business development, you have to prune away other work and professional activities. Simply put, if you want to do more business development, do less of something else. Realize that the choices may not be easy. For example, Robin Lazarow had to forego being involved with a charitable organization in order to accept a prominent role on the board of her regional Chamber of Commerce. But, business development possibilities and exposure to top notch potential clients and business influencers made the Chamber a higher and better use of her time. So, she recruited her replacement for the charitable group and invested her time in the Chamber.
7) Apply an empathetic and listening mindset when selling:
Allan Boress is a renowned business development trainer and coach of women in the professions. He teaches that professionals should "sell" by acting like a business doctor. Like a doctor, use your time in front of a prospective client to conduct diagnostic interviews, relate to the client's distress and listen your way to selling work. "Based on working with thousands of professionals at top firms over the years, I believe that many women are just naturally better at listening, empathizing with clients and asking insightful questions. When they harness these strengths, their selling performance goes way up. I found that the best women rainmakers are the best client diagnosticians, listeners and relationship stewards". (Note: To learn more, download 2 free chapters from Allan's book, I Hate Selling. Go to http://www.sageselling.com/products3 and hit the PREVIEW button).
8) Set ground rules with clients and colleagues
Very few human beings can read minds today. So, Allan suggests that women attorneys can in a friendly and assertive way agree on ground rules and boundaries with clients and prospects. And further agree on options and alternative ways of getting things done. For example, if you don't want to go to an after-work dinner or cocktail meetings, then buy breakfast the next day instead. Be firm in your limits, state your rationale and offer flexible options.
9) Get your firm to squarely support your personal initiatives
Give your firm a personal marketing thrust to invest in and support for YOU.. Don't wait for them to come to you or put in place a program for all women and associates. Create your own opportunities. This is what Jennifer Zimmerman did superbly. She approached her executive committee as if they were investing in a business venture. First, Jennifer worked with her mentor at the firm (who was a senior women partner there) to develop a plan, participate in the marketing program and sell it to the firm. They showed how they would attract high powered women starting their own business to programs co-sponsored by an allied financial planning firm. She also got the owner of the allied firm (a client of Rhoads & Sinon) to help sell the idea to the firm. As a result, she got the budget, time and promotional support she needed. And now colleagues are sending their own clients and contacts because of its stature in the women's business community. Learn more about Becoming An Associate Marketing All Star (Web seminar recorded on CD)
10) Get comfortable with asking your network to help you to grow your practice. Regina A. McConahay of Interlaw says that many of the women in their network have discussed their hesitancy to approach a casual, personal, or social relationship for conversion into business approach. They feel they are intruding or imposing on their relationship -- and crossing some boundary. Instead, remember that people like helping other people. Your posture can simply be to get to know the person better, understand any business trauma they may be facing and suggest a solution for them. You are not imposing, you are helping THEM.
The Sun Does Indeed Shine On Those Who Make Rain
In the same New York Times article I read, the writer profiled Haynes & Boone in Dallas. This 425-member firm has 38 female partners, about 25 percent of the firm's overall partnership base. It intends for that percentage to increase, adding that one thing that attracts a diverse group of lawyers to his firm is its compensation practices.
What is Haynes & Boone's big secret? They reward entrepreneurship. Lawyers at Haynes and Boone are rewarded for teamwork, not individual accomplishments. And compensation and career progression is also based on a number factors, including leadership, client service and business development activities, among which billable hours are just one component," says the Times.
My personal belief is that entrepreneurialism is the great equalizer. If you can attract clients, earn their loyalty & referrals, serve a broad range of their needs and make money doing it; then your position in the profession is assured and your life is more under your own control. If you don't land clients, keep them and sell work, your life will be more under the control of others and their whims.
The good news is that client service and business development are skills that you can learn and develop rather than solely a natural talent. So, regardless of gender, it is really up to you as an individual to improve these skills and reap the benefits. Whether you work at a big firm or a small one, be an entrepreneur and make your own way forward. By their very nature, entrepreneurs find ways around, over and through obstacles. But, stay motivated, be creative and press ahead. There is plenty of room for rainmakers at the top of the profession.
Holland & Hart's Mark Beese has an excellent summary of business development tips for associates, which he presented during today's Web seminar, "The Senior Marketer's Perspective: How Associates Can Excel at Business Development in 2006."
The program was presented by the Professional Business Development Institute ("PBDI"). Check out PBDI's upcoming programs at www.PBDI.org. Mark has 18 years' experience with architecture and law firms and is Holland & Hart's law firm's "Marketing Guy" (that's his official title!). He and Jan Dubin, Director of Client Relations for DLA Piper offered a feast of business development ideas. Mark identified 5 kinds of rainmakers that associates can become:
Example 1: Relationship Rainmaker: 1st attorney in firm to make 7-figure compensation. As an associate he made a list of 50 people he knew, or could know, who would be outstanding clients. He built relationships with them over time. Many became leaders in business, politics and community, who trusted him for both legal work and referrals.
Example 2: Specialization Rainmaker: Associate specialized early on in employment law for small and mid-sized companies in rural west. Started road-show seminars, e-mail newsletters, and built relationships with HR managers throughout state. He wrote, spoke, and attended SHRM and industry events to develop a reputation and build a strong book of business before he was a partner.
Example 3: Entrepreneur Rainmaker: Two associates saw an industry trend with low density of lawyers. They quickly developed an expertise in financing, permitting, etc and got very involved in industry events, resulting in new clients and matters for them, and the firm. Shows enthusiasm, energy, and focus – fast track to Partner.
Example 4: Networker Rainmaker: Associate gets very involved in local and state politics, community service, and pro bono work, developing a network of business and government leaders along the way. People trusted associate resulting in new work and clients for him and the firm.
Example 5: Roadie Rainmaker: Associate takes specialty to a different geographic location where the office and city has fewer lawyers, setting up meetings, seminars, and networking events with current and potential clients. She has two offices in two cities, growing work for entire group.
For the rest of his ideas, see the Leadership for Lawyers blog.
Register now for the April 30 program:
The Senior Marketer's Perspective: How Associates Can Excel at Business Development in 2006
Visit http://www.pbdi.org/pages/events.asp?Action=View&EventID=126 to sign up today.
||Sage Law Marketing and the LawMarketing Portal|
|SPEAKER(S):||Mark Beese of Holland & Hart and Jan Dubin of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary|
|DATE:||March 30th, 2006; 12PM - 01:30 PM|
|LOCATION:||Central time, on the Web: on your computer & telephone|
|MORE INFO:||CONTACT: Michael Cummings; (Tel) (630) 572-4798, (Fax) 630.282.0472 or Mikesage@sbcglobal.net|
In this session, veteran marketers at leading law firms Jan Anne Dubin, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, & Mark Beese, Holland & Hart LLP will profile several Associate Marketing All-Stars, review the Best Practices of Associate marketing and discuss how to get the support and coaching you need to make marketing happen for you in 2006.
These senior marketers have worked with hundreds of Associates over the years. They have seen how associates can leverage business development success to progress in their legal career. They will give you specific how-to tips and practical advice that you can use to grow your practice and build your professional reputation in 2006. Questions to be covered include:
• What role does business development play in the career progress of associates?
• How did marketing success propel some associates to partner?
• What role can associates play in the success of industry and practice groups?
• What are examples of associate contributing to the success of the firm through marketing?
• How are these associates taking the initiative to land new clients, sell additional work and build their personal reputation?
• How do they find the time to do marketing and garner the firm support they need to make their marketing programs work?
• How can associates find the internal allies they need to stand out from the crowd? How have these associates learned the ways to market and sell in the early stages of their legal career?
Today's New York Times carries the depressing news that only 17 percent of partners at major law firms nationwide were women in 2005. Two major evils have contributed to this statistic:
"One of the main bugaboos in this debate — and one that analysts says is increasingly cropping up as an issue for male lawyers as well — is the billable hours regime. Billing by the hour requires lawyers to work on a stopwatch so their productivity can be tracked minute by minute — and so clients can be charged accordingly. Over the last two decades, as law firms have devoted themselves more keenly to the bottom line, depression and dissatisfaction rates among both female and male lawyers has grown, analysts say; many lawyers of both genders have found their schedules and the nature of their work to be dispiriting," says the Times in the Sunday Business Section.
"I see a lot of people who are distressed about where the profession has gone," says Lauren Stiller Rikleen, a 52-year-old partner in the Framingham, Mass., office of the Worcester, Mass., firm of Bowditch & Dewey. "They don't like being part of a billable-hour production unit. They want more meaning out of their lives than that."
Kudos to Haynes & Boone in Dallas, which appears to have cracked the code for keeping women lawyers. "Mr. Boone, the Dallas lawyer, says that his 425-member firm has 38 female partners, about 25 percent of the firm's overall partnership base. He intends for that percentage to increase, adding that one thing that attracts a diverse group of lawyers to his firm is its compensation practices. Lawyers at Haynes and Boone are rewarded for teamwork, not individual accomplishments, staving off the dog-eat-dog competition for clients and assignments that pervades many firms. Compensation is also based on a number of other factors, including leadership and business development activities, among which billable hours are just one component," says the Times.
Compensation based in part on business development. Now that's an idea we like.
A Day In The Life Of A Rainmaker …
Excerpt from the Best Practices In Building Your Professional Network For Attorneys
What separates the top producers from average professionals? We asked this question of several of the best business generators in the profession. There is really no big secret … it comes down to 5 rainmaker attitudes and daily action that make the difference.
Let’s look at the day in the life of a rainmaker:
Rainmaker Rule 1: Plan out 5 business actions that you will take each day
Questions To Consider: Do you have a separate section on your daily to do list for business development? Do you set a minimum daily requirement of business development action? What actions can you eliminate today and substitute a business development initiative?
Example: Dave was a legendary business developer. One day I asked him the secret of his success. I was expecting an awe-inspiring motivational speech or groundbreaking sales and marketing technique to be revealed. Instead, he told me “Every day, I do five things that may result in business. Some days I do more, but I always do at least 5 no matter how busy I am. And I have been doing this same daily routine for 20 years. Why does this work? Several reasons: First, I hustle and stay hungry every day by putting my mind on business development. Second, business development is work so it has to be planned into your daily schedule like all work. Third, business development is a skill; the more you do the better you get. Finally, following this rule means that I do 30 actions a week for 50 weeks. This amounts to 1500 actions a year … and I know that this is a lot more than the typical professional does. What you see now in my practices is the result of doing this for twenty years and simply doing 30,000 things over the years to build a successful practice.”
Rainmaker Rule 2: Use breakfast, lunch and downtime to market and sell
Questions To Consider: Do you block out breakfast and lunch for business development? Have you scheduled out your meetings for the next week or so?
Example: Adam was a new associate who knew that he needed to build a book of business to be a success. But, he was just 2 years our of law school. On the advice of his mentor, he started a monthly lunch meeting with peers at a bank, investment bank and accounting firm. They met, discussed the focus of their work, shared contacts and invited each other to firm and association events, Now, five years later, they are all far more senior members of their firm and trade business back and forth. And they still meet for lunch once a month. Treat your breakfast and lunch as dedicated business development time.
Rainmaker Rule 3: See the marketing and selling possibilities in everything you do
Questions To Consider: What opportunities do you have today that put you in touch with clients, prospective clients or allies? How can you turn the delivery of work into a marketing and selling opportunity?
Example: Susan was just wrapping up an employment contract matter with a major client. Rather than simply sending over the document with a cover letter, she made an appointment with the VP of Human Resources and General Counsel to review the contract in person. As she prepared for the meeting, Susan identified 3 potential sources of legal “pain” that the company faced based on their unfamiliarity with some new state regulations in California. She brainstormed 3-5 questions she could ask to see if their exposure was significant. At the meeting the client engaged her to solve the problem she identified.
Rainmaker Rule 4: Always market first to your clients
Questions To Consider: What can you do today to strengthen you relationships with the clients that you are currently working with? Do you know what is keeping your top clients up at night? How can you help?
Example: Howard is the managing partner of one of the largest firms in Chicago. On a flip chart in his office, he has a list of his top 20-25 clients. Each day he looks at that list and identifies something that he can do to improve his relationship with 2 people. For example, today he 1) Wrote a personal, hand-written note to a CEO thanking him for the introduction the client made to a potential client 2) Called another client to alert her to a potential summer intern position that might be right for her son at an association that Howard worked with and 2) Sent the CFO of a large client a brief article on a specific supply chain improvement that the client’s top competitor was putting in place and suggested they get together with his firms supply chain expert.
Rainmaker Rule 5: Turn your allies into your personal marketing team and sales force
Questions To Consider: Who are the people within your firm that you should be co-marketing with? Which of your professional allies is best positioned to help you to grow your practice?
Example: Rachel was an estate planning specialist. Through her own experience, she had found herself overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities she faced when her elderly parents were unable to handle their won affairs anymore. So, she put together a team of female experts in all dimensions of helping adult children to take care of their aging parents – including health professionals, family counselor, financial planner and a tax specialists. Today, this group is putting on a seminar to over 45 of their clients who a facing this transition. And they mailed out a “Planning For Your Parents Transition” checklist that they mailed out to over 5,000 of their clients, contacts and referral sources.
To Become A Rainmaker … Change What You Do On A Daily Basis
The top producers face all the same pressures as the average professional – being chargeable, making time for firm management responsibilities, getting work out on time and building their professional skill. But, they find a way to do more business development – and do it more skillfully on a daily basis. To be a rainmaker, you have to do the same – each and every day.
This morning we talked with Marc Weintraub, a lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson, who arrived in Charleston, West Virginia, after living in Portland, Maine for three years. He went from not knowing a soul to becoming a well-recognized rainmaker in town. Plus the firm just promoted him to partner.
Click on the link below to hear our brief conversation with Marc, where he discusses:
To hear the podcast, click on this link: Download 200602070918_20050518134077.mp3