Let’s Get Personal
By Paula Davis-Laack • April 28, 2010•Mentoring and Networking
If you are an attorney working in a law firm, you know the importance of thinking like a business owner. If you aren't already a partner, many of you will want to become one. In order to do that, you will have to show, among other things, that you're able to bring in new business. Today, building lasting relationships with clients and customers is more important than ever. In the fast-paced world of business where so much gets done by texting and emailing, re-visiting some relationship basics will set you apart.
- Get to know your clients. This means going deeper than knowing a name. Two of the salespeople that called on my dad’s company often drove several hours to attend family graduation parties and several of my brother’s baseball games. That was time away from their families and personal lives done to express a genuine interest in my dad and our family. How do you think this impacted their relationship? Very quickly, these salespeople became family friends, and clients give repeat business to people they know and like.
- Visit your clients. It might not always be feasible to travel across the country to see your clients, but many of them are within driving distance. You may lose a few billable hours during the week or the month, but remember that this is an important part of your work. If five lost hours during your week translates into a new deal or some new work, then that is a good return on your investment.
Find a way to promote your clients and customers. Many cities have organizations that give awards or recognition for entrepreneur of the year, manufacturer of the year, or best business. Use this as an opportunity to nominate one of your clients. In addition, include your client’s logo or company information on visible marketing materials, with their permission. Finally, take a client with you to other meetings where you think their services might be compatible with another company or user.
The persistent billable hour and bottom line focus found in many law firms makes business development a more difficult task; however, if you want to be a business owner, it is required. Adding the above tools to your professional development toolkits will help you stand out among the serial e-mailers.
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