Monday, December 21, 2009

Client development and the Earth's rotation

Client Development and the Earth’s rotation

Let me be the first to say I have no idea what relation the Earth’s rotation around the sun has on client development opportunities or exploration of career options.

However, it seems like decisions and planning are always made at the end of the quarter, end of the year…

As we approach that turn I am having several conversations with attorneys daily about planning. Not Y2K the world is ending planning, but what will 2010 look like. More importantly, how folks want it to look.

It can look the same or worse than 2009, or you can use the Earth’s rotation to your advantage.

5 tips on client development planning:

1. Develop goals with what you want the end of 2010 to look like and work backwards. How many seminars do you need to do per month? How many calls or emails to prospects do you need to make weekly? Who can you set up a referral network with inside and outside of your firm (think complimentary practice areas.) Most attorneys that I speak with that do not have a book of business, do not have a business plan.

2. Commit to taking a client to lunch. At least once a month. Things have been tough on everybody. Everybody is looking at bottom lines. What better time to reset a relationship. Bring a notepad. Find out what “business” issues they are dealing with. Take notes. If the issues don’t match your practice areas, what better way to provide a referral to someone in your network.

3. Referral networks are like the holiday season, better to be in a giving mood. Nothing will kill a referral network quicker than a group of people that are together to take and not give. Always be listening for opportunities to feed your network.

4. Go outside of your profession to create a network. Financial planners, doctors, real estate agents, engineers, IT, business leaders. Amazing how much you can learn about how a business works and the issues that business people deal with when you hear from them first-hand. Possibly facilitate the deal between business people.

5. Establish success metrics for yourself and qualify opportunities in or out as quickly as possible. Time management is so tough. There are two winners in a deal. The one who gets the business and the one that gets out first without commiting time, money, and resources toward a prospect that you know you will not represent.

Whether you sit on boards, give seminars, join groups, spend the time up front to determine if it is something that you can be passionate about. Do they have contacts that you can leverage, but more importantly develop strong long –term relationships with? Nothing is less inspiring than someone that is going through the motions in a chase for the dollar.

Andrew Wilcox
Wilcox and Hackett, LLC
(850) 893-8984