You’ve likely heard this many times before: “Out of sight, out of mind.” And it might be the simplest way to describe how clients feel about the plethora of lawyers they work with or could potentially hire.
Clients have many choices when it comes to hiring lawyers. You need to be compelling, be valuable and understand their business and industry for them to want to hire (or rehire) you.
I am not aware of any Am Law 200 firm that is not interested in deepening and expanding its current client relationships, growing revenue or obtaining new clients. In fact, most firms have significant initiatives and trainings to do so. We are fans of training and providing lawyers with the tools to have strategic client conversations and provide proactive insights. Yet far too often, as lawyers, we let the need for perfection or fear of being bothersome stop us from doing something simple and valuable.
You need to be top of mind to be hired for more work.
Yes, clients are busy. But they are never too busy for you to help them be more productive, effective, proactive and better at their jobs. A recent interviewee highlights this best:
“If I don’t talk to anyone for three/six/nine months, they are essentially completely off my radar. Or if you are going to make the effort to fly to see me, you need to follow up and keep following up, introducing and highlighting why your lawyers are a good fit for our needs. We have 20 firms we need and want to feed. They may be shocked to know this, but I don’t know what everyone does well or remember everyone at each firm. I appreciate they want to be respectful of our time and I don’t want to be bombarded in any way with lunches or introductions that don’t make sense, but more follow-up and staying top of mind and aligned with our business would help them tremendously.”
Yes, you need to have something of value or a meaningful reason to reach out, but every busy lawyer doing work has important insights to share (market trends, wider lens perspective, industry insights, lessons learned from recent work and trials, issues to share that sped up or slowed down a deal, etc.)
If you are not talking to your clients, someone else is.
We are in a highly competitive marketplace. Complacency or discomfort in engaging are dangerous mindsets. Stop overthinking, stop beating yourself up, stop worrying it has been too long, stop assuming they will call you if they have work and stop coming up with excuses why you don’t have time. And when you call, do not make it about you, tell them you need work or waste their time. Remember these tips instead:
- Invest in the people, clients and businesses you want to work with. Pick up the phone or schedule a visit to share insights, understand their priorities or provide value (introductions, information or insights) to help them succeed internally.
- It takes seven to nine touch points to stay top of mind. Don’t let more than six months pass without engaging the clients you value and want to keep.
- Fall is the perfect time to schedule a year in review and start planning, budgeting and focusing on prioritizing for the next year. Initiate the conversation because your clients are already talking about these topics internally.
- Follow the 80/20 rule. Talk less, ask more questions and listen more.
- Genuine resonates. Clients love lawyers who love what they do and enjoy working with them. Don’t be afraid to tell your clients how much you value and appreciate the work and relationship.