The event season is upon us, providing us with a deluge of human interactions. Imagine if every interaction led to a future business opportunity. You can make this happen in small achievable steps.
Push yourself to accept event invitations, family get-togethers and community happenings — anything. Go with one simple goal — to reach out and talk to someone. Practise asking them questions and actively listening to their answers. Your goal is not to sell them your legal services but to understand their situation.
Set yourself a goal of approaching one or two people per outing.
Start a journal (either digital or physical) so that you can track your progress and celebrate your success. When you feel comfortable chatting people up and listening to their stories, do something to reward yourself. For example, go out for a nice meal or buy yourself something. You have done something big and you are on the path to becoming a business development professional.
Move to the next step.
Step 2: Interact + interest
Now that you are more comfortable probing people and listening to their issues, you have probably started to think about how you can help them. Now is the time to think about stories you can tell that relate to the ways you have been helping clients through similar issues. Write down some of these client stories and fine tune them in a way that flows with a beginning, middle and end. Practise them on friends or watch yourself in a mirror.
Set yourself a goal to find the right opportunity to tell one of your client stories. When you do, note your success and ask yourself what went well and what you could have done better. Fine tune your story.
Go back out and continue to practise this step and, when you are comfortable, reward yourself and move on to the next step.
Step 3: Interact + interest + intention
You are comfortable now with probing potential clients and telling relevant stories that pique people’s interest in you and your services. The next step is about assessing their intention and need for legal services. Developing your “elevator speech” is a key component in advancing the conversation.
You are honing in on an identified need that a potential client has expressed and framing yourself as the helpful solution. This is the time to start to “ask” for the business.
Step 4: Followup, followup, followup
Timing is the most probable obstacle for the potential client to engage you and so it is on you to develop a contact plan and followup.
Insert a reminder for yourself in your calendar to follow up at least twice in the near term and then semi-annually or annually with each person who has the highest potential of needing you. You probably have to identify the obstacles that are blocking them from hiring you and figure out how to remove them.
Step 5: Engage
Imagine that after only one year of setting the above goals and actions and following through on them that you will have more potential clients journaled than you would have if you never set out to systematically break the big task of engaging a client down into achievable steps. You will also have built a group of influencers who will recommend and refer you.
Small achievable steps over time lead to success
Breaking things down into smaller achievable steps, learning, modifying and celebrating success along the way inspires success.
Finding and engaging clients are not easy and natural tasks, especially if your clients are large, complex businesses. But by breaking the process down into smaller steps and pausing to congratulate yourself along the way, you will keep your motivation going and ultimately achieve success.