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Monday, January 13, 2014

Information vs. Knowledge

“I have only come here seeking knowledge. Things they would not teach me of in college..” The Police

My daughter walked in to my office the other day and asked a question. “How far is it to the center of the earth?”

My first instinct was to Google it. Then something struck me. If I had an random question at her age, I would have had to get on my bike, go to the library, sorted through the Dewey Decimal system, find books on the earth, scan through various chapters and FINALLY get the answer to my question. In the process, I would have stumbled upon what the earth’s crust was made of, the percentage of water, micro-climates, theories on what formed the earth. It gave me knowledge, not just the answer to a question that will quickly be forgotten.

So, we got in the car and went to the library. 2 hours later, we got the answer, and she wanted to bring home a couple of books on Lincoln and Florida history. (Be honest you already Googled the question didn’t you..?)

I hear a common refrain from hiring partners and recruiting directors at firms. They seek attorneys that seek knowledge with a curious mind, and are having a tough time finding it. Not just with younger attorneys that grew up in the digital age. It’s part of the process that makes for a successful partner. Rainmakers are curious about a customers business, and dig deeper than their website. Seeking knowledge is going beyond the questions into the theory. The how and the why. The “what’s next” and how can you be useful to them.

Since early 2009, I have spoken with thousands of attorneys about their client development practice. The increase in their books of business directly correlates to the types of questions that they asked about how they develop clients. Prior to the economic collapse, many just did their thing and business came in. Billing pressures, leverage, clients closing or merging, and several other factors changed the landscape. The nimble attorneys adjusted by asking how those changes affect them. What types of clients to call on, what changes need to be done in approaching them, guarding against losing clients. All kinds of questions they asked themselves and asked their clients.

If you are not where you want to be with your client development goals, question everything and everybody.

Or to quote the great Parrothead poet:
“Answers are the easy part, questions raise the doubt”, Jimmy Buffett

How many miles you ask…? Take 2 hours with your kids and email me with the answer..:)

For more information on client development best practices contact please call Andrew Wilcox at (850) 629-9073, or

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