Lawyers: 3 Keys to Becoming a Master Rainmaker

10/30/2017 10:51 am ET

Article courtesy of Pamela DeNeuve, Law Firm Strategist

When Plan A Fails

A famous quote by Thomas Edison emphasizes the importance of never giving up. Edison admits that his Plan A did not work when he said:

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

Business development and rainmaking for lawyers is the test of moving beyond Plan A.

Many lawyers become paralyzed with anger. They become disappointed because their Plan A did not work out.

Ask any successful lawyer, "Does your success come from your first plan, Plan A, working out?

Most attorneys will say, “No.”

Building A Book of Business After Plan A

Success depends on lawyers moving on to Plans B, C, D, E to increase their book of business if Plan A did not work out. Everything in life depends on how well we handle disappointments and failures.

After a disappointment, it is perfectly acceptable to catch your breath. Then you must dust yourself off and move on to the next step. Do not give up on increasing your client base.

Law school trains lawyers to practice the law. Lawyers as a group are not marketing superstars. And this fact can be a big problem for small and large firms.

The Challenges Lawyers Face With Business Development

Business development is full of disappointments. Without proper preparation or even expecting a curveball, many lawyers give up. I’ve heard too many good lawyers say they can't-do it.

Dustin, a partner, had this reaction:

“I do not have time to deal with business development. It is a waste of my valuable time. I spent over two months meeting with a key decision maker at a corporation. Then, the person retired, and I have to start all over again. I need to practice law not babysit potential clients.”

Remember, the legal profession is experiencing more competition than ever. Lawyers must invest a considerable amount of time in business development to succeed.

Why Many Lawyers Dislike Plan B

Since lawyers cannot bill for their business development time, rainmaking seems to detract from billable hours.

When Plan A doesn’t work out, some lawyers bill what they can and will skip business development. They will focus on how they can make life easier by billing for the firm. The problem is when there is no new business coming in the door, the law firm suffers.

Edgar, who owned a boutique Intellectual Property practice moaned, "Business development is too slow and unfulfilling. I don't like it."

However, when Edgar lost a big client, he realized that he had to commit to a regular schedule for rainmaking.

Don’t Waste Valuable Time

When Plan A does not work out, there are a few things you shouldn’t do.

Don’t:

A. Sit around venting anger or frustration because Plan A didn't work out

B. Kick around who is to blame.

C. Spend too much time judging and evaluating what went wrong and why it went wrong

D. Feel like a failure.

Tools To Achieve Your Goals

Having only one tool in your kit won’t serve your needs.

Get your name out there by using social media, LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook are a few.

A professional video is an excellent way to bring in new business.

Video has proven to be hugely successful for many savvy attorneys. Be sure you hire a video company that teaches you how to build your brand and business using videos and social media.

Support yourself by hiring a coach, consultant or find another like-minded lawyer. This kind of support can motivate you and help you stay inspired.

When trying to build your book of business, a lawyer who is not a natural marketer might get discouraged. But with the right tools, support and tactics, Plan B doesn’t have to be a hassle.

3 Keys to Be A Master Rainmaker & Build Your Book of Business

Key No. 1:

Schedule time to make a strategic plan. Use this plan as your roadmap. Your project must include Plan A, B, C, and D.

You want to be prepared and ready to take alternative steps. Do not skimp on the planning stage because things rarely go as planned. Make time to research the organizations and write down the key decision makers names.

Key No. 2:

Be flexible and alert and willing to make necessary changes.

Pull out your calendar and make a roadmap. Schedule dates for specific actions. Write the activities and followup dates down. Too many lawyers procrastinate. They miss out because they get busy practicing law. It is easy to forget to take steps consistently to bring in more business.

Key No. 3:

Be persistent. Because Plan A didn't work, don't waste time beating yourself like up or feeling like a failure.

The reason many lawyers fail in business development is that they get a great start, and then they forget to follow-up.

The Tennis player Bjorn Borg says it masterfully,

"My greatest point is my persistence. I never give up in a match. However down I am, I fight until the last ball. My list of matches shows that I have turned a great many so-called irretrievable defeats into victories."

What is Your Plan B?

It is essential to make a strategic plan of action and make sure to follow through.

When discouraged, seek out support. Sometimes admitting that we need help is the best decision we can make.

Be sure to use available tools, utilize social media. Hire a professional video company to let potential clients know your skills and why you are better than your competitors.

The winners are those who master moving on to Plan B, C, D and so on with calm assurance, a positive mental attitude, and enthusiasm.

You can have a significant book of business, a prosperous income, and a very successful practice by becoming a Master of Plan B.

About Pamela DeNeuve:

She knows lawyers, solicitors and law firms. She understands the demands, the stress, burnout, addictions, and problems that lawyers face. She has advised and counseled since 1992. She knows you cannot understand why you have no motivation and things look bleak. Pamela can help you get back on track. Learn more about Pamela at http://pameladeneuve.com/

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