The National Law Forum

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Ten Rainmaking Tips for Finders, Minders and Grinders

This past week, I was speaking at an IP firm here in Chicago. The Managing Partner and I met ahead of time and discussed the group dynamics. He said, “Steve there are three types of attorneys that you’ll be presenting to today; the finders, the minders and the grinders. The finders are out there looking for business. The minders are thinking about looking for new business. And the grinders are too busy and disinterested to even think about developing new business.”

While I had heard these terms and definitions before, it struck me funny because I have worked well with all three of these groups to successful outcomes. Whether you are indeed a finder, minder or a grinder, remember that all you need to be successful in developing new business is the right motivation and education. If you are interested in learning how to improve your business development skills and see value in doing so, there’s hope for you yet.

Regardless of what group you fit into, here are TEN solid tips to motivate and educate the finders, minders and grinders.

  1. You must become a great lawyer, before becoming a great rainmaker. Without understanding the law and how it applies to the real world, it is nearly impossible to speak intelligently about your services. I have worked with hundreds of attorneys and they all agree that selling legal services requires knowledge and experience of the law.

  2. Developing your skills as a networker right out of law school can dramatically help you in advancing your career 2-3 years ahead of your peers. Building new relationships and leveraging existing contacts can unearth all types of opportunities. Make sure you have a solid elevator speech or a few sentences that describe what you do and how you help people. Also, be ready and willing to find ways to help the people you are meeting with. Networking is all about reciprocation, so try to think strategically about whom you are helping and how that help might be reciprocated over time.

  3. While social media is all-the-buzz, the only one you need to really think about is LinkedIn. The reason I say this is because LinkedIn has become the Google for business professionals. Instead of going to google to find an attorney, people just use LinkedIn. So be sure to have a complete profile with a picture. Also, it’s incredibly easy to find good connections through LinkedIn if you know how to use it. If you are looking for introductions from your clients, connect with them on LinkedIn and search through their contacts to see who they know. It’s just that easy!

  4. One of the biggest mistakes attorneys make in trying to grow a practice is not having a plan for growth and success. This plan doesn’t have to be a fifty page MBA level plan, just a 2-3 page plan that outlines how you will focus your time on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. The key is to write a one sentence objective, followed by strategies and tactics. A strategy could be; develop quality introductions from my existing clients. The tactics would then describe how, when and what you are going to do in order to accomplish those strategies.

  5. Talking about your goals with your peers is another way to push yourself into achieving them. If you commit to losing ten pounds and never tell anyone, it’s easy to back out of it. On the other hand, you’re more likely to stick to the goal if you tell everyone because of the possible embarrassment of not following through. It also can be helpful to partner up with someone for accountability. Find a partner at your firm or a lawyer at another firm and share your goals. Speak or meet monthly to discuss progress and encourage one another. This works for losing weight and also works for building books of business. A little friendly competition never hurts as well.

  6. Hiring a coach or finding a mentor can change your life! Why do all the top athletes have professional coaches? Aren’t they already at the top of their game? The reality is that we can all learn from people more experienced than ourselves. I have personally hired 4 coaches over the past ten years and it has been the best investment I have ever made. Do your research and find a coach or mentor that is highly regarded and recommended.  Meet with the coach and discuss your issues and goals.  If it feels right, pull the trigger and give it your all.  Waiting for things to change on their own rarely improves one’s book of business.

  7. Finding a niche’ is another way to grow your book of business. Every lawyer knows who the top specialists are in different categories. How about the best generalists? Not so much. Find an area of law that you excel in and enjoy and start working more aggressively in that area.  Read the paper and try to find the legal issues that are trending.  If you are in health care law, look into medical marijuana laws right away.  You might have an edge in getting an article published or speaking on the subject.

  8. Stop those awful “pitch meetings” that you keep having. No one wants to be sold to and no one likes a fast talking blowhard. My mantra has always been “Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice.” This means that we should focus on learning about the prospect’s needs and wants before saying too much. Ask open ended questions and really try to listen. You’ll be amazed at how well the meeting goes. Plus, think about how good your presentation will be once you understand more about your prospective client’s needs.

  9. Always target and go after low hanging fruit. You may have clients, strategic partners and friends around you that could be referring business your way. Before investing huge amounts of time attending new networking events, think about your best contacts. Spending an hour calling them to set up coffee or lunch meetings will be a much better return on your investment of time and energy.  Once you’re meeting with your best contacts, be sure to ask for quality introductions. Some of my clients are amazed at how easy this was to accomplish once they actually did it.

  10. In addition to being a good attorney, it has never been more important today to be a resource for your clients. The Godfather had a consigliore, so why not be a counselor for your clients. This means helping your clients achieve their goals beyond simply doing the “work.” To have client loyalty you must go way above and beyond their expectations. I recommend finding them business, being a source of new information and investing time to know them personally.

By thinking about and using these ten tips, you can dramatically improve your practice. Whether you find, mind or grind, everyone needs to do his part in assuring your firm is successful today and well into the future. Try to select one or two of my top ten points to help guide you in your journey. Sometimes even small steps forward can produce a dramatic result for someone who is interested in learning.

Copyright @ 2015 Sales Results, Inc.

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