I have been coaching lawyers for almost a decade on how to generate more opportunities from their existing networks. Through that process I have seen lawyers achieve great success, including clients who increased their business from $4M in bookings to over $12M.
In working with so many successful lawyers, I started noticing certain patterns and habits. In this post, I want to share what I have observed.
These are the five habits, mindsets, and strategies shared by the best lawyers.
1. Successful lawyers accept that they must be salespeople.
Many lawyers I work with have told me they went to law school to avoid having to go into sales. Ironically, these same people often realize later on that the lawyers with the largest practices are – surprise! – great salespeople.
To be a successful partner in a law firm, one of the most critical skills is being able to bring in business. In other words, lawyers must overcome any reluctance they have to sales. But while this might seem a sour pill to swallow, there is good news.
You are most likely in a referral-based business. If so, your success will be driven by getting people to think of you whenever they come across a need that you may be able to fulfill. The ability of them to think of you is highly driven by how top-of-mind you are with them, or how much mindshare you enjoy in their brain. So, staying top-of-mind is a critical skill in your ability to generate referrals.
One of the best ways to stay top-of-mind as a lawyer is to interact with these people more often. One effective way is to simply be helpful—in other words, be good at helping people around you. This is not only great for business but also incredibly rewarding, because helping others is likely one of the core reasons you became a lawyer in the first place.
Essentially, coming to terms with having to “be a salesperson” is more of a mindset issue—and shifting your thinking toward accepting that “sales” is simply about being one of the best at helping others. If you become good at that, the growth of your law practice will take care of itself.
PRO TIP: To stay top-of-mind, help those in your network who have the highest likelihood of generating referrals for you. Stay in touch with these people on a regular basis, and ensure that any interaction you stage is seen in a way that is meaningful, relevant, or valuable.
2. Successful lawyers are focused on the right people.
Who has seen you do your best work? Or who would inherently trust you, because someone they know has had an amazing experience working with you?
To be a sought-after lawyer, you need the ability to properly identify and focus on the people in their network who:
- frequently come across legal needs you want to fulfill, and
- can talk highly about your abilities and work to others.
So who are the people you should focus on? Consider:
- Current and former clients. These people with first-hand experience will confidently recommend you to others whenever the opportunity comes up.
- Other lawyers and their clients. These are the people who literally sit across the table from you: lawyers who may need to refer outside their own firm because they are “conflicted out,” and clients of other lawyers who have seen you in action.
- Your client´s network. Think of all the people who have an influence on your clients—for example, Board members or service providers. This is often the largest group of anyone’s network.
PRO TIP: Use relationship management software like Contactually to create “Buckets” or categories of people you want to focus on.
3. Successful lawyers know what to say.
Knowing who to reach out to isn’t normally the biggest challenge for lawyers; it’s knowing what to say to them without coming across as sleazy or spammy.
It’s easier than you think. By knowing people’s professional challenges or personal interests, you can always come up with ideas to reach out in a way that feels good to the people being contacted.
PRO TIP: Learn how to deliver meaningful experiences to people by downloading Mindmaven’s 5 freebies ebook. (It’s free!)
4. Successful lawyers proactively manage the relationships that matter most.
Proactive people are successful people. However, being proactive can be challenging for lawyers because their business model requires them to be in constant reactive mode. It is easy to fall into reactive mode because it’s so comfortable.
The most successful lawyers find ways to free themselves from this mode of operating—such as carving out time to pursue proactive projects that help them move their needle forward.
One of the most profitable ways to use this time is by proactively reaching out to people who otherwise would not hear from you—allowing you to maintain and deepen relationships, and develop new ones.
PRO TIP: Set up personal reminders in your CRM when it’s been longer than 45 days since the most important people in your network last heard from you.
5. Successful lawyers increase velocity and productivity by leveraging their assistants to the extreme.
The most prominent lawyers are exceptionally good at building:
- a practice in which they hand off work to service partners, associates or other team members; and
- a delivery engine that can scale as client needs increase—allowing them to service many more clients than one person alone can handle. This is how these lawyers get the most out of their existing business model.
Due to better technology being available, I’ve personally seen many law firms scale back the use of legal secretaries or executive assistants. But some of the best lawyers I know are turning that around: they are changing these people’s roles to Engagement Managers and working more with them (not less!), to help them get in touch with dramatically more people in a significantly shorter amount of time.
Successful lawyers know how to use assistants to not only manage client demands and issues—but to build and maintain relationships, ensuring the firm stays top-of-mind with these people, and continuously driving referrals out of these connections. Essentially, they no longer see assistants as administrative overhead but more of a marketing expenditure. And if done right, we perceive this to be one of the most profitable marketing expenditures you could ever make.
PRO TIP: Read our blog post on the Top 10 Reasons To Start Leverage Practice Today. Then, learn how Mindmaven’s Engagement Manager Service can help you deliver exceptional experiences to your network.
Take your business to the next level
Alright, let’s review. If you want to join the ranks of the most successful lawyers, you must:
- Embrace your inner salesperson,
- Focus on the right people,
- Communicate authentically,
- Proactively manage your network, and
- Leverage your assistant
You’ve got the knowledge you need, but are you prepared to turn that knowledge into action? If you’re ready to scale your practice exponentially over the next few years, let us help.
At Mindmaven, we’ve worked with some of the top law firms (including Fenwick & West, Latham & Watkins, and Gunderson Dettmer, to name a few) generate breakthrough opportunities from their network; and I know we can do the same for you.
Let’s get started with a free 30-minute assessment call.
In this call, you’ll:
- Learn how industry leaders are streamlining their practices,
- Receive an unbiased assessment of your methodologies and strategies, and
- Gain access to tips and tools you can begin implementing immediately to
leverage your network
If you’re interested in this no-pressure, no-obligation opportunity, click here to book your assessment call now.
Good luck out there!