Mid-Atlantic Program Recap: “Catapulting Your Career: Becoming Your Lawyers’ Trusted Advisor…By Helping Them Become the Trusted Advisor of Their Clients” (Part 2)

By Lisa Rory, business development manager at Venable LLP

Managing relationships while juggling billable work, speaking engagements, and board responsibilities is a challenge. As a trusted advisor, making the prioritization of key relationships is the only way to keep business. This webinar teaches you just how to do that.

On July 28, the Capital Local Group of the LMA Mid-Atlantic Region hosted the second in a four-part series giving “the tools to help you help your lawyers deepen relationships and bring in business.”

Mo Bunnell, founder and CEO of Bunnell Idea Group, Inc. and author of The Snowball System led this session. His insights laid the groundwork for how to prioritize relationships and how to identify and move contacts along the relationship spectrum.

Bottom line: Likability MATTERS!

  1. Find commonality, because people spend more money and are more likely to say “yes” to a deal when they like you. Want proof? Research has shown that doctors spend more time with patients they like, leading to better care. The more uncommon the commonality, the more powerful the likability.
  2. Connections that are mutually beneficial foster the deepest relationships. It is in your best interest to ask for help and provide it. Research has shown that when we help others, we think of the person we are helping, and we grow to like them more. This can take form in a few ways. Before a meeting with the general counsel, ask your contact: What’s the number one tip I can use to make you look good? Would you mind recommending me for this award? I need to read a good book; can you think of one that you have recently read that I might find interesting?
  3. Frequency is another way to promote likability. We like people we see and hear from most often. The added bonus is that they stay top of mind.

Remember, lawyers give up on these efforts faster than others in the service industry, so stick with it. The best way to connect with clients is to start and keep at it.

When marketing and business professionals help their attorneys to analyze which client relationships require the most attention, it is important to narrow the list to no more than 10 contacts, but ideally eight contacts. Refer to the worksheet attached to the webinar for a guide outlining stages of a relationship. The goal is to move clients along the spectrum from target, acquaintance, curious skeptic, new client, solid working relationship, loyal client, and ultimately raving fan.

It is important to identify client relationships by how the client acts; you should be objective in your analysis of the relationship so you can properly identify where the relationship is on the spectrum and can deploy tactics to move them along. Ideally, over time you would move your eight to 10 contacts into the raving fan category, where you have established strong working and personal relationships.

In sum, be radically transparent. Think about what you can do to help clients from a creative perspective. All parties should be invested in the relationship the way they would be invested in the care of their first home, as opposed to a home you are renting. Committing to each relationship for the long haul will benefit your book of business for years to come and those true raving fans will be yours for the lifespan of your career.

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