There’s a story behind this week’s post. I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve been thinking about giving up this blog. A few days ago I looked through my book Legal Business Development: A Step by Step Guide for something I could post quickly for this week. When I re-read the info below, I realized that I had gotten so caught up in deadlines that I was ignoring what I’d written in my book. So I followed my own advice, and it worked.
Is this your top priority? People hire lawyers whom they like and trust. Even in the internet age, business relationships are built on face-to-face meetings. Maximizing results from these meetings is critical to success.
Meet with the right people. Almost any meeting can help you to network and find your way to potential clients. But since the time you have available for new business meetings is limited, it is important to prioritize. If in doubt, meet with current clients first, then with partners who are open to cross-selling, then with others who fit your client profile or may know someone who can help you.
The wrong approach to meetings. The most common mistakes in marketing meetings are talking too much, and pushing for too much, too soon. The most successful rainmakers are good listeners who adjust their pace to each individual’s comfort zone.
Do your homework. Before each meeting, spend a few minutes on the web reading about your client’s organization. Review bios, news items and more for one or two memorable facts. Work the facts into your questions or conversation, to show that you did your homework.
Remember to listen. Plan to spend fifty to eighty percent of the meeting listening. Prepare a few simple questions to get the person talking, based on your web research or more general questions. At the end, ask: Is there anything else I should know?
Define an advance. Before you go into any meeting, define the goal you would like to achieve. Research with over 35,000 professionals has shown that the best salespeople excel at getting “advances,” specific next steps that move relationships forward (see Chapter 3). Getting advances is an art; you must make sure each item is specific, and determine how quickly each client will move. If a prospect says “we should talk again,” it is NOT an advance until she sets a date and time.
Take the first step today. Schedule two meetings or lunches with current clients, or with partners at your firm who are interested in cross-selling, or with prospects for new business. Define the advance you would like to achieve at each meeting, and prepare a few questions to insure that you listen fifty to eighty percent of the time.