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I often quibble with the term “rainmaker” because I think it too often describes lawyers more interested in getting new clients than in keeping current ones. However, because “10 Rules for Business Development,” and “10 Rules for Keeping Clients So You Don’t Have to Replace Them” don’t have the same nice ring as “ 10 Rules of Rainmaking,” I’ll use the term here. Let me know what you think:
1. You’ll never be passionate about rainmaking until you start searching for clients you’ll be passionate about serving. Remember, a great client is one for whom you’d work for free, but one who’d never ask you to.
2. The best way to get new clients is to impress old ones. Measure the happiness of your existing clients with the same diligence you measure your time, so you can work less on developing new business and more on deserving it.
3. While there are hundreds of “strategies” to get new clients, there’s only one strategy to keep them: serve them well.
4. When meeting a potential client, don’t sell your competence, sell your compassion. They must know you care about them before they’ll care about you.
5. The single best way to get new clients is to ask your best ones, "How do I get more clients like you?"
6. A client will never be as surprised by great legal work as they will by by good service.
7. Your new client’s definition of a “great” lawyer is probably far different from yours. You must understand their expectations before you’ll ever be able to meet them.
8. Recognize that while it is usually easier to ask for new business from prospective clients than it is to ask for more business from current ones, it is rarely more profitable.
9. If your answer to “What kind of clients are you looking for?” is “Ones who pay,” you’ll get paying clients. Terrible paying clients.
10. The best thing you can promise a prospective client is more sleep. Ask what problems keep them up at night, and build your practice to solve them.
I'd love your input, and feel free to add any of your "Rules" in the comments. If you enjoyed these, check out my other posts in the series: Ten Tweets about Twitter, Ten Resolutions for the New Year, Ten Rules for Law Students, Ten Rules for the New Economy, Ten Rules for New Solos, Ten Rules of Legal Innovation, Ten Rules of Legal Technology, Ten Rules of Hourly Billing and Ten New Rules of Legal Marketing.
Also, if you'd like to get more ideas like these in real time, follow me on Twitter.
Some of you may know about Kendeo, the design and strategy consulting company I own where I do all my ‘non-legal’ work. I often tell people that “we draw pictures of hard-to-understand things,” and that’s pretty much true.
We had some fun with our Holiday card this year and I really wanted to share it (albeit belatedly) here on the blog. The whiteboard sketches are actual pictures from our office’s whiteboard (it should show a bit larger if you click on the image.)
If you still can’t read the text, here it is:
It all begins when our meddlesome elf throws a plane at an axe perched on a shelf, tripping the axe and cutting the sting, causing the smelly old boot to swing.The boot kicks the next and wakes up the hen; she squawks in surprise, lays some eggs, and then … a basket of fruit is tipped from the back, falling into the train on the track.The train scares a squirrel who, heart all aflutter, begins jumping and churning a tub full of butter. The squirrel, still frightened, leaps with two legs, which adds baking soda to the butter and eggs.That cat on a treadmill’s providing the power to mix fruit and batter, along with some flour. The heat from the furnace, while warming the room, also bakes our concoction and makes it go fwoom! Out comes our fruitcake, thick as a log. It hits the TV, falls onto the dog.It bounces off Fido and picks up some spice from an old can of Lysol that still smells quite nice. The jack-in-the-box flings it through the air, and onto the table into Kendeo’s lair where we gather to draw, to think, and to play and hope you and yours have a great holiday!
I’m going to be re-sharing a few dozen of my favorite posts from this blog over the next several weeks.
1. Resolve to be better to everyone. Start with yourself.
2. Resolve to choose your customers as carefully as friends, knowing that you’ll work best when they’re one in the same.
3. Resolve to know your business better. Recognize that being good at what you do is unimportant if you’re not good at being in the business you’re in.
4. Resolve to stop doing the things your customers don’t pay you to do, unless you love doing them so much, you’d do them for free. Because you are.
5. Resolve to value your life by the things you experience instead of the things you possess.
6. Resolve to eliminate the things in your life that wake you up in the middle of the night — unless you’re married to them, or they need to go outside for a walk.
7. Resolve to become more useful to your customers. Stop thinking about what they expect from you, and focus instead on what they don’t expect from you.
8. Resolve to help the people who work with you (and for you) become better at what they do. Give them what they need to excel at their jobs, and you’ll find you’re more likely to excel at yours.
9. Resolve to understand the difference between what you do for clients and how long you take to do it. They care about the former, and can’t understand why you charge for the latter.
10. Resolve to do the work you long to do, instead of the work you’ve been doing for too long. Follow your passions, honor your principles and strive to add value to every relationship you’re in. “Next Year” begins now. Get started on making it great!
I’m a fan of Haiku, and have been doing an exercise based upon it for several years now at conferences and law firm retreats. Instead of the 5-7-5 syllable format, I ask my audiences to answer three questions, using just five words for the first question, seven for the second and five again for the…
This resolution is for nearly every solo and small firm lawyer out there (including those with computer science degrees): Resolve to Fix Your Technology Less. How many times has a quick technology fix turned into a day of un-billable time? Trust me on this one, no matter how much (or little) work you have, your…
If you’re a lawyer who only surveys your clients once the engagement’s over, you’re leaving a lot of information on the table — information that will not only help you serve future clients, but your current ones as well. That’s why, in 2010, you should Resolve To Ask Current Clients More. Institute a regular, ongoing…
I’ve been using my “You Decide” fill-in-the-blank invoice, for over a year now. In that time, I’ve found time and time again that my clients pay me more than I would have charged them. And, in situations where clients demand a fixed price, I’m quoting them much higher prices (coupled with a money-back guarantee) than…
Over a year ago, I wrote 15 Thoughts for Law Students. It was one of my first “Rules” posts, though I wasn’t calling them that at the time. Since then, it has been one of the more popular items on this blog, and was even republished in the Canadian Bar Association magazine. I’ve revised it…
Keith Ferrazzi shares a few simple “Relationship Rituals” that should be on every professional’s weekly checklist: 1. First thing every day after you turn on your computer, ping one friend and one acquaintance. 2. Every weekend, invite someone else into an activity that you normally do alone (walks, gym sessions, gardening, shopping trips). 3. Pick…
Here’s a tech-related tip from this post: How many times has a quick technology fix turned into a day of un-billable time? Trust me on this one, no matter how much (or little) work you have, your time is better spent building your business and serving your clients than it is crawling around on the…
“Innovative Lawyer” shouldn’t be an oxymoron. Lawyers — who are constantly applying their creative, problem-solving skills to help clients — too often turn their innovation engines off as soon as their “billable” work ends. If you’re a lawyer, and willing to set aside some time to innovate, I am happy to help you. Until then,…
Do you have Shiny Shiny Syndrome? I do. Here’s a post from January 2012 about a technique I still use: Many of the attorneys I work with suffer from the same thing I do: Shiny Shiny Syndrome. You suffer from S3 when you regularly give in to an overwhelming urge to start working on something new…
Do you know all the kinds of things your firm does? Perhaps you should take a page (literally) from the restaurant industry and create a “menu” of your services. Though you may not decide to use it with clients, merely deciding what goes on the menu — and what gets left off — makes you…
Legal Marketing has changed. It used to be enough to keep an ad in the yellow pages and belong to the Rotary Club. Not anymore. Times are tough, so I present to you Ten “New” Rules of Legal Marketing. Let me know what you think. 1. “My lawyer can beat up your lawyer” isn’t a…
You have just enough time to send out Thanksgiving cards to your clients this year. Why Thanksgiving cards instead of other holiday cards? Here are a few reasons from this 2008 post: Thanksgiving is a holiday about giving thanks. Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to offer your clients a genuine “Thank you for being our…
Clients crave predictability. They find comfort in knowing what to expect — especially in stressful situations like the ones you handle for them everyday. But how can you deliver more certainty to your clients? After all, outcomes are impossible to predict and matters ebb and flow from beginning to end. You keep your clients “in…
Almost every lawyer has a “big fish” they’d like to land. Whether that fish is an individual client, a corporation, an insurance company or even a great referral source, your big fish isn’t going to catch itself. And what better place to find advice on catching “big fish” than on a website called TakeMeFishing? Some…
After my Law Firm Website Venn Diagram got such great feedback, I thought I’d do another highlighting one of my big pet peeves: lawyer bios. Here you go:
In A Manager’s Primer on Asking Better Questions, Marty Baker at Creativity Central shares several dozen open-ended questions designed for various situations like Anticipation, Assessment and Clarification that serve as a valuable reminder that “yes” or “no” questions don’t always get you the information you need. Here’s the suggested questions on “Exploration” from the post:…
Had a great day with the associates from @BryanCaveLLP in their business academy. Can't wait to see their hack-a-thon pitches tomorrow!!
- Friday May 22 - 12:56am
Would your clients applaud your business's strategic plan if they heard it? They should.
- Thursday May 21 - 5:28pm
What do you think have been most innovative leaps in law? http://t.co/tsirVW4c4x
- Thursday May 21 - 4:07pm