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I picked-up up the above recently because I don’t love selling and although over time I have realized the central role of rainmaking in building a law practice, let’s just say I came to that realization reluctantly and a tad slowly. My experience is that most lawyers tend to fall in one of three categories when it comes to rainmaking:
*1. Lawyers who view “selling” as beneath them and “not something that Professionals do.”
*2. Lawyers who engage in rainmaking but approach it in an inconsistent and disjointed manner.
*3. Great, natural and consistent rainmakers.
So if you’re in category #3 you’re probably all good and if you’re category #1 I’m guessing you were graduated from law school prior to 1980 or you probably need a more fundamental shift than can be obtained from some 200 page marketing book. But if you’re in category #2 like me, I think The Reluctant Rainmaker can provide some smart, long-term organization to your rain-making efforts.
Author Julie Fleming is a former patent attorney and currently provides attorney coaching development over at Life at the Bar.
Here are my 5 favorite “take-aways” from The Reluctant Rainmaker (get the book for more!):
1. The RIGHT Business Development Priorities. Meaning, what client prospects should be the focus of your Rainmaking efforts…a) Current clients; b) Former clients and referral sources; c) “Warm” potential clients and referral sources; and lastly, d) Strangers. Without being too emphatic it’s hard for me to think of a situation where small law firms should spend much time at all marketing to strangers. I ran an advertisement for some 6 months early in my sole practitioner days in a Chicagoland senior publication with the only return on that investment being one initial client meeting. The critical point: It’s SOOO MUCH easier and more efficient (meaning cheaper) to generate new business from people who know you versus strangers.
2. Create Your Business Development Plan. Creating this sort of a roadmap for your marketing efforts is likely what most of us stuck in category #2 are missing. Checkout The Reluctant Rainmaker Business Development Plan Generator.
3. Make a Great Biographical Sketch. Why is it that something like only 15% of attorneys have real client-friendly/focused biographies whether on the Web or in written materials? When I get a new case or transaction I’m always curious about the opposing counsel and checkout their profiles on the Web and I sure think potential clients are doing the same before retaining counsel. The Reluctant Rainmaker suggests including a photograph, areas of practice, wide-ranging narrative (including things like practice area description, special skills, leadership roles, and personal interests), and a separate section listing representative clients, articles written and/or speeches given, and bar/industry/community memberships.
4. A Simple Classification System for your Marketing Activities. So is what you’re planning and doing a high/medium/low yield activity & is it fast or slow yield? For example, a law review article may be high but slow yield whereas a “legal update” newsletter to your list of clients/former clients/referral services is probably high/fast yield. And you probably want a mix of high yield slow and fast since like in the example above although your legal update might bring in some business quickly a law review article likely has more staying power and reputational benefit long term.
5. 5 Great Elevator Speech formats. This is golden and something every lawyer needs a better grasp of…the big 5: a) The benefits-focused description; b) The practice, client-centric description; c) The Unique Selling Proposition intro; d) The provocative statement; and, e) The “you know how” introduction.