Myth Buster: Asking for Business


[author: Martha Newman, J.D.]

asking for businessThe Simple Way to Get Clients to Ask for Business

If you're a lawyer who hates asking for business - GOOD NEWS!

You don't have to!

The most common misconception about asking for business is thinking you must ask for work in an initial meeting or early in a relationship-building stage.

According to Mark Maraia, author of Rainmaking Made Simple, it is almost always inappropriate to ask for work during a first or second meeting. It's the equivalent, Maraia writes, as walking up to a total stranger and asking if he or she would marry you.

Also read: How to Build Better Business Relationships

This approach screams of DESPERATION and AGGRESSIVENESS.

Instead, take the time to develop the relationship; focus on continuing it in some tangible way rather than directly asking for business.

For example, suppose a prospective client is unhappy about how he was represented during a real estate transaction. Instead of offering a knee-jerk sales pitch, ask the prospect why he is unhappy.

Use empathizers during the conversation,  listen to his answers and offer ways to remedy the situation. Keep asking questions until you get to the root of the prospect's concern.

An appropriate question might be: "Can you give me an example of your attorney's lack of responsiveness?"

The answer to this question will give you insight into what the prospect specifically expects from his lawyer.

These tactics will enable you to hone in on the prospective client's needs - and gain trust.

Also read: Tips to Make Sure Clients Call YOU for New Work

Once you've established trust and determined the prospect's needs, it is now YOUR JOB to get the prospect to suggest the next step.


At the end of a meeting ask the prospect: "What do you think the next step should be?" or "Where do we go from here?"

Either question will give the prospect a chance to decide how to move forward.

While this may not immediately result in new business for you - it could eventually.

The more respectful you are about the relationship, the more the prospect will be attracted to working with you in the near future, or down the road.

Adapted from: Mark Maraia, Rainmaking Made Simple.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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