Recently, I shared the first five steps that you can use, as an attorney, to improve your law career by creating a culture of business development within your firm. In summary, you need to make sure that you:
- Strategize, by having a clear plan with targets and metrics.
- Collect Information, by learning from your rainmakers and creating a system of knowledge.
- Are inclusive, by engaging everyone to participate in executing your strategy.
- Ask “how,” and make the shift towards creating a culture of service that facilitates the sharing of information.
- Support your team, by providing resources to all and paying special attention to your high-performing rainmakers.
Below, I share the next five steps that you should take to take your rainmakers to the next level.
Step 6: Get Personal.
At the end of the day, business is all about relationships. The most skilled lawyer-rainmakers are able to use their own passion to inspire their colleagues and clients. This means supporting individuals on a personal level. Pay attention to the activities of your rainmakers. Rainmakers generally:
- actively participate in organizations that include their target clients;
- stay visible;
- take the initiative to visit clients; and
- develop an extensive and growing referral network.
Whether they are speaking in front of crowds, writing articles, or serving on boards, individualized support (e.g., coaching, sponsoring initiatives, or mentoring) goes a long way towards furthering legal careers. Help them, help you!
Step 7: Build Relationships.
View rainmaking as relationship building and not as sales. Promote a culture where attorneys are genuinely interested in the success of the client’s business. Business development opportunities should serve as avenues to learn about the prospective client so that your team can deliver more meaningful value. If your team builds strong relationships, the business will follow.
Step 8: Promote.
There’s a fine line between bragging and promoting. Do not be afraid to share the truth about your skill set and accomplishments—and do not be ashamed to connect the prospective client to another lawyer if you do not have the desired skill set.
Step 9: Work as a Team.
It might be easier for others to talk you up than for you to talk yourself up. Remember that you can promote the entire team (and the team, in turn, can also promote you).
It is weird for anyone to walk into a room, alone, without knowing anyone and start building relationships. Forming those critical business relationships is much easier to accomplish when you have an ally in the room. Engage opportunities as a team—divide, conquer, and share information.
Step 10: Stay in Contact.
The most valuable form of business development is staying in contact, and touching down with the client or potential client individually.
You have to touch the tree several times before it bears fruit. During early contacts, establish a positive rapport, build trust, show interest, and share your experience or skill set. Then you can start asking how your team can add value to their business. It is these early interactions that lay the foundation for closing the deal.