May 19, 2020
International Rainmaking for Lawyers
International rainmaking for lawyers can be divided into five steps. Rainmaking starts by randomly speaking to everybody you ever meet; progresses to networking in a targeted environment; goes on to developing strong personal relationships; incorporates confidence when discussing fees and results in winning the work.
STEP 1: Focus on people in three key groups who can and will pay
There are three key groups within which you may find your clients, contacts and referrers.
The first group consists of international legal organisations, which may be a source of reciprocal referrals and the base for forming cross-jurisdictional legal teams.
The second group comprises international industry and sector organisations to which your clients and contacts belong. Your involvement in these non-legal bodies demonstrates your commitment and determination to understand your clients’ needs and the pressures they are under, which enables you to give informed legal advice within their commercial context.
The third group is the wide range of formal and informal professional networks throughout every town, city and country. These include governmental advisory bodies, school governors, clubs, sports and alumni organisations.
STEP 2: Ensure your follow-up is personal, planned and persistent
Set time aside every day. If you charge in 6 minute units, then aim to spend three, 6 minute units per day on relationship building. If you charge in 15 minute units, aim for one 15 minute unit per day. But, like keeping fit, you have to maintain this programme. Choose the best time of day for you: first thing in the morning, immediately after lunch, or late afternoon. BJDI – But Just Do It.
All follow-ups should be helpful, creative and imaginative. These can include sending people articles; asking them to contribute a quote to an article you are writing; involving them in training for a marathon or introducing them to somebody.
STEP 3: Prepare for a successful new business meeting with a potential client
Be prepared for anything. The client may have asked you to come in for a “quick chat” with him and you find 8 people in the room, expecting you to give a presentation. Or, the person may have said they have 45 minutes and as soon as you arrive inform you, he only has 3 minutes. Be positive and do what will help the client most.
“People buy people first”. Therefore, carry out as much research as possible on the people you will be meeting: likes, dislikes, background, experience, history with your firm. Research the department of which they form a part; the organisation, its markets and the industry and sector and how well it is doing in the current economic, political and cultural environment.
Relish difficult questions. Anticipate, plan, prepare and practise answers to all the difficult questions you might be asked. If the people you are seeing have to justify choosing you to any other person in their organisation, you have helped them by provided all the answers to questions others might ask.
STEP 4: Discuss fees without embarrassment
Be proud of the services and value you offer. Make sure that you really understand what a client values so that your offer is what he appreciates and so he can justify to himself and others the fees that you are charging.
Be aware of the key elements which make up the fees for example, having a quarterly review meeting. This means that if the client wants to negotiate the fees down, you are fully briefed on the value of each service to the client and can negotiate accordingly.
STEP 5: Ask for and win the business
Many lawyers have lost business by not expressing their enthusiasm for it. Lawyers who end a meeting with, “We look forward to hearing from you” demonstrate indifference and lethargy rather than pro-activity.
Respond to the “closing signals” that the client gives, such as time, for example, “When would you be able to start?” Ask for the work. In an increasingly competitive world, it is important that you demonstrate your enthusiasm to help this potential client to achieve his objectives.
International rainmaking is a long-term relationship building process. It may take between 8-10 contacts, several years and relationships with more than 200 people before people become clients or referrers. These Five Steps and will help to secure your future as an International Rainmaker.
About Pippa Blakemore, BSc, PGCE
Pippa Blakemore is a leading international expert on business development, marketing and sales for law firms. Pippa will be presenting at the Annual Business Law Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja in April 2010. Pippa has worked over the last 25 years in Africa, Europe and the United States. Pippa’s book on “Networking for Lawyers” is to be published in March 2010.
Pippa is the Strategic Business Partner of the PEP Partnership LLP. For more details please see her website www.pep-partnership.co.uk