Tuesday, September 4, 2012


“How can you not be romantic about baseball? Love that line from Moneyball. In the movie, Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, opines after being dealt huge budget cuts, another tough year, and the same competition that has unlimited resources and seems to always win.  Faced with finding a way, he employees a metrics man to find the key to success with a budget a fraction of what other successful teams have.  

Baseball and client development success can be reduced to one number and it’s not what you think.  Conventional wisdom says better players hit more home runs.  Beane went for on-base percentage.  Homeruns are great but they are quick.  Repeatedly getting on base puts pressure on the opposing team that leads to errors, it creates opportunities to score in bunches, it wears pitchers out.  Getting on base consistently involves discipline at the plate, taking the walk, fouling off pitches.

On a daily basis, I speak with attorneys that I can put in 3 categories: Rainmaker, Utility Players, Service Partners.  

Rainmakers may hit homeruns, but they get on base better than anyone.  Their pipeline is full of deals.  Some homeruns, some triples, some doubles, and lots of singles. Keep their heads up as they round first and know when they can stretch a single into extra bases.  They go to the plate every time with a plan.

Utility players are good but not great at client development.  They peaked at some point and have found a range.  They wish that they made more money and had more business, but hitting .250 is good enough to keep management generally happy and every once in a while they get a big hit that they can point to, but struck out a lot for that one big hit.

Service partners get paid more than they bring in.  Good attorneys that have never had to, or never wanted to deal with building a client base.  During a rough patch, their salaries are the easiest to cut to make room for someone else on the roster.  They aren’t very marketable to other teams and they have an expensive contract that they are playing under.  Tough spot to be in when dealing with firms that are looking at bottom lines and each persons metric.

One of my favorite movies is Bull Durham and a classic scene about metrics that you can apply to client development:

A gork, a ground ball with eyes, a dyeing quail.  “Just one more dying quail a week and you are playing in Yankee Stadium.”  Not the homerun.  The one more thing a week is the difference between being cut from a roster spot or being a rainmaker.  One email, one lunch, one call, one seminar, one trade show, one blog posting… 

Going into the week with a plan on how you will get on base just one more time a week.

Please contact me about how you would like to further develop your client base at: 850-893-8984, Andrew@Wilcox-legal.com