If you’re an introvert like me, the thought of networking and business development is probably a little terrifying. The Law Firm Associate’s Guide to Personal Marketing and Selling Skills (Annex 316.5 A95 2007) is a great first title to inspire thinking about this part of practice. The book breaks down the process of building relationships and asking for business into manageable steps, and provides you with many tools (a CD with checklists, worksheets, and forms) to get you started. At just over 100 pages, this concise discussion is very readable, and it’s organized in a way that you can easily return to the appropriate chapter to refresh yourself on the tips and tricks when you’re at each stage of the marketing process.
The following are just some of the things you’ll learn:
- Marketing is not only for aspiring partners.
- “Learning how to develop and maintain relationships is at the heart of sales, service, and ultimately, your success.” (p. 7)
- Search engine optimization of your bio- choose the words you think clients will include in a search.
- When identifying “good” prospects, you want to think about not only who might buy your services, but also those people who can serve as referral sources.
- This reminded me of the movie, The Joneses, where the main characters exponentially increased their sales numbers by befriending the hair stylist and the pro shop employee, who recommended the products to their clients.
- Suggested conversation starters and effective networking questions
- It takes 6-8 contacts for a prospect to become a client.
- Follow up is essential for rainmakers!
In addition to all of this helpful advice, this title also provides a list of books and web sites where you can learn more about marketing and business development. One title they highly recommend is Bill Flannery’s The Lawyer’s Field Guide to Effective Business Development.
I can’t say enough good things about this title. Even if you’re too busy to read it right now, put it on a professional reading list to read before you start practicing. Check it out at the Annex, but I expect you’ll want to buy a copy so you can refer back to it as you court prospects. One thing you’ll notice as you read this book is how much research is involved in building relationships with potential clients. One of the certification classes this semester focuses on People Research, or how to find information about others through public records. You can learn more about this class and register here.