With legal resources and services now available to anybody with an Internet connection, people are no longer compelled to hire a lawyer for their legal problems. While the market is increasingly competitive, many lawyers have never actually been trained on how to effectively and efficiently generate business.
Approach finding clients and business as a habit, not a chore. Like going to the gym, a disciplined routine yields results over time. The foundation for sustainable business generation can be achieved by developing three habits: 1) going above and beyond; 2) relentlessly building your profile; and 3) focusing on high-value activities.
Going above and beyond
While clients expect you to do a great job, your efforts will not necessarily result in a loyal relationship with return business. Loyalty requires trust and a personal connection. This is achievable, in part, by going beyond what is expected of you. Go the extra step to create value for the client or to support them in some way.
For example, if you hear a family member of a client has passed away, send them a card. Or be proactive in identifying areas of a client's life that may benefit from legal or other professional services. Connect clients with professionals that you trust to help them in other areas of their life.
Relentlessly develop and communicate your profile
Your profile is more than your reputation or accomplishments. It is the fuel that allows you to communicate your value to potential clients. It is how you demonstrate that you are truly engaged in what you are doing.
Your profile must be constantly developed and communicated. Actively and deliberately select opportunities to engage in your area of expertise. This can be done by being involved in the community, taking on speaking and writing engagements and being a leader in your field.
Focus on high-value activities
The Pareto principle states that 80 per cent of output comes from 20 per cent of input. When applied to generating business, this means that 80 per cent of your work will come from 20 per cent of your network. To maximize your business-generating potential, focus on high-value activities that target the 20 per cent. Avoid random or meaningless lunches or networking functions where you are aimlessly meandering. Target potential clients and networking opportunities that genuinely interest you, are in an area where your expertise has been demonstrated or where you can build referral sources.
Regularly analyzing the results of your efforts will allow you to narrow activities to high-value ones. This will help you understand the return on your investment of time and resources and allow you to allocate these more effectively. Unless you measure the efficacy of your efforts, you will never have an accurate sense of what your 20-per-cent most high-value activities are. High-value activities will differ from person to person. It will depend on individual character traits and their impact on approaches to certain activities.
The simplest way to measure your results is to use a spreadsheet to list your business-generating activities and how many clients each one generates. This exercise underscores the importance of always asking potential clients how they found you.
Generating clients is an endeavour that many lawyers are not taught how to do effectively. By making business generation a habit rather than a task, you will lay the foundation for better and more consistent results.