Set Realistic Goals – The Business of Law VIII.

Posted by allan on July 23rd, 2014

SETTING REALISTIC GOALS is the 8th in our series of tactics to hone your business development skills and develop your personal book of business. The series is from a Bench & Bar Minnesota article co-authored by David Mylrea, Managing Partner of Zelle Hofmann’s Minneapolis office, and me.

CONSIDER OPENING a new file for an existing client, perhaps, or originating a new client relationship each month.

UNDERSTAND that while it all takes time, you must also maintain a sense of urgency.

REMEMBER, your future is what’s at stake!

KEEPING YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR will be the subject of our next column.

Be Persistent – The Business of Law VII.

Posted by allan on July 21st, 2014

CLIENT DEVELOPMENT is a very time-consuming endeavor. Allocate a specific amount of time each day, or per week, and keep to the schedule. It is always easy to put some pressing matter ahead of business development.

BUT DO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT with yourself and don’t break it.

8 POWERFUL TOOLS TO CLOSE THE DEAL is the subject of our CLOSING ZONE newsletter tomorrow. If you are not on our mailing list, let me know at www.

The Business of Law VI.

Posted by allan on July 16th, 2014


WE ARE NOW more than half way through the series on business development strategies. And this one is often frowned on by attorneys – “what, give away something for free???”

THE ARTICLES you publish should be of interest and value to clients. Ditto updates. Pass information you find in the news with a note saying “thought you might be interested.”

IF NOTHING ELSE, you’ve defined yourself as a resource. The “free” resources you provide represent an investment, a way to make money by spending a bit of time and money.

GOOD BUSINESS PEOPLE know that, and at some point they also know you’ll need to make good on the investment.


For more tactics on growing business, go to our blog on

The Business of Law V.

Posted by allan on July 14th, 2014

THE KEY TO SUCCESS: FOLLOW UP AND FOLLOW THROUGH is next in our series of 10 tactics to win more business.

IF IT’S WORTH your time to make the initial contact, it is worth your time to follow up after that initial contact.

IF YOU DON’T remain in contact, you will never break through.

DON’T BE A PEST but do be persistent.

NEXT COLUMN – Occasionally Provide Useful Information at No Charge.

The Business of Law IV.

Posted by allan on July 9th, 2014

SET YOURSELF APART is the fourth in our series from the “Bench & Bar of Minnesota” article co-authored by David Mylrea, Hinshaw and Culbertson Managing Partner of their Minneapolis office, and me.

SETTING yourself apart means do something unique and personal. In this age of impersonal emails, text messages, smart phones, you need to set yourself apart from the rest of the herd.

CONSIDER writing formal letters or short, hand-written notes. They may take more time to put together, but they will be recognized as different. Personally signed cards and well-written letters will draw attention.

GET TO KNOW a few personal facts about your targets because special occasion cards and notes will be noticed.

NEXT column – The Key to Success!

The Business of Law III.

Posted by allan on July 7th, 2014

START EARLY AND STAY LATE is the 3rd in our series from the “Bench & Bar of Minnesota” article co-authored by David Mylrea, Hinshaw & Culbertson Managing Partner of their Minneapolis office and me.

THIS 3RD STEP involves a higher level of commitment because it requires more hard work and sacrifice. Understand that decision makers usually do that, and after all, these are the people you need to communicate with.

DECISION MAKERS are usually at work early (or late) and they will appreciate that you are also doing that.

NEXT COLUMN will cover the 4th tactic, ‘SET YOURSELF APART.’

The Business of Law II.

Posted by allan on July 2nd, 2014

Continuing our series from the BENCH AND BAR OF MINNESOTA article David Mylrea (Hinshaw & Culbertson, Minnesota office) and I wrote — the first step in developing a book of business is “asking questions and listening to answers.”

THINK IN TERMS OF HOW YOUR FIRM CAN PROVIDE A BENEFIT TO THE CLIENT is step number 2. Too many attorneys launch into a conversation by discussing the services their firm offers.

THE ONLY THING that a prospective client cares about is “what will you our your firm do for us.”

SPEAK to the client in terms of how you can help them achieve a specific goal or set of goals (i.e., help them solve a specific problem), not purely in terms of what services your firm provides.

STEP 3, “start early and stay late” will be covered in our next column.


The Business of Law I.

Posted by allan on June 30th, 2014

The following series of columns is sourced from an article David R. Mylrea (Partner in Charge of Minneapolis office of Hinshaw & Culbertson) and I wrote for “BENCH & BAR OF MINNESOTA.

COMPETITION for business is intense, time is short, and there’s no time like the present to hone your business development skills and develop your personal book of business.

WE NEED TO KNOW what to do right now, in order to build our personal books of business. There can never be too many practical suggestions to support client and practice development. Such specifics come naturally to some lawyers. For others they can be learned and, to that end, checklists like the ones provided below may be useful.

NOT EVERYTHING works for everybody. You should feel free to pick and choose the strategies with which you are most comfortable. The list is potentially endless but here are a few specifics to consider:

1. ASK QUESTIONS AND LISTEN TO ANSWERS. If you want to present services that are of value to potential clients, you must ask questions. ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS and potential clients will tell you what they want from their counsel.

YOU MUST LISTEN. A lost art? Lawyers are certainly not alone in this and tend to spend far too much time talking and not nearly enough time listening.

NEXT COLUMN – Benefits for clients and Timing.

The Miami Heat and Law Firms

Posted by allan on June 26th, 2014

Eric Dewey posted a very interesting article on “What the Miami Heat Can Teach Law Firms.” One of the key lessons is that “more talent improves team performance, but only to a point.”

INSTEAD sponsored a team of psychologists to analyze this question. After examining a decade of NBA play they concluded that

UP TO SOME POINT they found that adding talent is a bonus. But a critical point exists after which team performance is hurt.

LAW FIRMS must do a better job when deciding whether to add rainmakers or build the business development skills for existing attorneys.

Business Development Training for Lawyers

Posted by allan on June 23rd, 2014

WHETHER your firm is looking for support with client retention, closing skills, sales or network development, or your partners and marketing leadership are looking for additional business development support, our training sessions pave the way to results.

WHETHER yours is smaller firm or you have multiple offices, one of the key elements of a successful marketing strategy is the ability to ensure that all of your professionals are on the same page. Even though our rapid assessment and strategic action plans are straightforward, THERE IS OFTEN ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT BY INDIVIDUALS.

THAT’S WHERE our business development strategy and training phase begins. For details,

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