11 Ways to Strengthen Your Existing Relationships Today and Bring in More Business

by JD Supra Perspectives
Contact

In a relationship-driven business like law, the vast majority of legal work goes to those lawyers who understand their clients’ businesses inside and out, make their clients look good both internally and externally, and are the kind of people with whom clients genuinely like working, which if we’re being honest, doesn’t always come easy to every lawyer.

Relationship building takes patience, persistence and a personal touch.

I’ve put together some tips for lawyers at any level to increase their books of business by focusing on cultivating and strengthening relationships. I hope they inspire you (and lead to new clients)! 

1. Everyone is important 

Remember that every single person you ever meet is someone who is in or will be in a position to be a client or a referral. That means that the person sitting next to you on the train or on the buffet line at a family function could be a potential source of business. So, be friendly and kind to everyone. Treat everyone with whom you come into contact as if they could be a future client. Because you never know. And always put your best foot forward: carry business cards and do not drink too much at events where you think there could be a business prospect.

Trust me on this one – one lawyer I know went to a bar mitzvah and started talking about what he did for a living and wound up walking away with two clients as a result. Another lawyer I know drank too much and walked away with nothing but a hangover.

2. It’s never too early (or too late) to build your network

Maintaining strong professional relationships is the major key to a lawyer’s success because relationships open many doors to new clients, referrals and other business relationships.

Keep in mind that a powerful source of prospective business will often come through those individuals with whom you went to school or worked early on in your career, so find ways to keep in touch with these contacts and focus on building those relationships for the long term. Also, join alumni networks of your former educational institutions and firms – these can be prime referral sources because they often have online directories with a wealth of leads as well as events throughout the year where you can reignite relationships. Track the movements of key alumni contacts so you know where and when these contacts move. Stay in touch and be helpful to them.

...one lawyer is receiving regular referrals from his first- and second-year associate office mates from 20 years ago

I want to take a minute to quickly underscore the power of keeping relationships with former law firm colleagues “warm” because a lot of firms scoff at the idea of inviting competitors to their events or keeping them on their mailing lists, which can be short sighted. At my current mid-sized firm, lawyers at other firms are prime referral sources – big, small, mid-sized, we’ll take them all – and I’d recommend that your firm consider the same if it makes sense.

Think about this example – one of the lawyers at my current firm is receiving regular referrals from his first- and second-year associate office mates from 20 years ago. These have led to major matters for this lawyer – all because he stayed in touch with his buddies from their days together in the trenches. These shared experiences were formative and bonding – don’t underestimate them – and use it as a reason to reach out to former colleagues.

3. Connect electronically 

In the digital world in which we live, networking online is just as important as making in-person connections. LinkedIn is the most important social media channel for business development. Spend the time to develop a strong LinkedIn profile that highlights your professional attributes and background.

Your LinkedIn profile is one of the top Google search results when someone looks you up online. Create a dynamic LinkedIn headline – that's most important line of your profile because it gets pulled into Google. LinkedIn provides great reasons to reach out to those in your network through its job moves and work anniversary notifications. Use these professional milestones to reach out to VIP contacts – I have seen this lead to new business numerous times. You can read my recent JD Supra article on how to Build a Stronger Professional Network Today with These LinkedIn To-Do's for more ideas on how to maximize LinkedIn.

4. Don’t forget the human touch 

While online networking is incredibly powerful, nothing can replace in-person human interactions for true relationship building. Just be strategic about with whom you choose to spend your time and money on networking and social events. After all, time is money.

I encourage our lawyers to keep notes in their Outlook contacts with important information such as who is a Yankees fan, a theater buff or a die-hard U2 fan – this way, the lawyer can personalize a future invite to an event that is appealing to the contact when the time comes. 

5. Partner together 

Even better than sending an article to a client or inviting them to an upcoming event, why not offer to co-author an article with them, invite them to speak on a panel with you? Invest in your clients in a way that enables you to help them showcase their talents while building the relationship is a surefire way to cement the relationship.

6. Promote by listening

The key to creating lasting professional relationships is not to tell someone how great you are at what you do, but rather to listen to them and make them feel important.

...always remember to listen vs. talk (the 80/20 rule)

Don’t hijack the conversation and talk about yourself too much – always remember to listen vs. talk (the 80/20 rule). Another way to build a strong bond with someone is to connect on a personal level by finding commonalities regarding school, background, family, sports, a hobby or work (studies show that people will like you more when you have something in common with them).

In addition, giving someone an authentic compliment can create a strong connection. Remember that no one dislikes a compliment ever.

7. Make yourself first useful, then indispensable 

Make a note to regularly follow up with important contacts by sending them value-added content with a personal note. Perhaps it’s an article, blog post or industry study that you saw – or better yet – wrote yourself. Take this one step further and keep a content feed – for me, this is a spreadsheet of articles, studies and infographics from publications and other sources that I follow.

I regularly post this content to LinkedIn and Twitter to stay top of mind. Sharing helpful information to your network will position you as a thought leader and can lead to new business and referrals. Several of our lawyers sent a thoughtful note with a recent client alert to key clients on why they needed to read the alert and care about the topic. That led those clients to write back with responses that led to new engagements. Sometimes all it takes is the personal touch.

8. Become a superconnector 

One of the best ways to build relationships is by linking people to each other. For example, instead of taking one client or prospect out for drinks or dinner, why not bring several clients/potential clients together?

...instead of taking one client or prospect out for drinks or dinner, why not bring several clients/potential clients together?

People enjoy making new connections, especially when they have commonalities. They will appreciate you for introducing them, and you will strengthen your relationship to all of them in the process, which is a win-win for everyone, most importantly, you.

Plus, you will have shifted some of the one-on-one conversation burden off of yourself and gotten another night back on your schedule for something for yourself.

9. Ingrain “How can I help you?” in your head

We are in the service business and these words should be front and center at all times EVERY SINGLE DAY.

...think about ways in which you can help someone without expecting anything in return

I learned this concept from Karen Kahn and her terrific business development bible Daunting to DOable. If you think about ways in which you can help someone without expecting anything in return, you will build strong relationships over time. Giving before you get will pay you back beyond your wildest imagination. I have seen this translate into real business countless times.

10. Give it Away 

Offer to do in-house CLE programs for important clients and prospective clients. This is a great opportunity to provide clients with value-added content and showcase your expertise. You will rarely find a client who will turn you down if you offer to do an educational program on your own time.

Also, consider creating a top tips article as a takeaways piece from the session. It’s a great way to leave attendees with something substantial after the program as well as a great way to brand your firm (Tip – put your firm’s logo as big as you can on it).

Be alert to relationships around you...

11. Just do it 

In order to be successful at business development you simply must make the time for it. Effective business development efforts can be done in just five minutes each day if you are organized. So, be attuned to client needs at all times, but make sure that your head is not always “down” in the substantive work. Be alert to relationships around you. 

If you always remember that everyone you encounter is someone who is a potential source of future business and that being a successful lawyer requires the continual nurturing of relationships, you will be well on your way to building a more robust professional network. These tips can be applied to anyone, in any industry, at any point in your career. Try them out – at the very least, you’ll have built stronger connections and there’s absolutely no downside to that.

*

[Stefanie Marrone helps law firms effectively tell their stories and find their unique voices. Over the last 16 years, she has been working with some of the most prominent law firms in the world, developing and executing global revenue generating, business development, internal and external communications strategies, including media relations, branding, and multi-channel content marketing and thought leadership campaigns. She has a diverse range of experience in both Big Law and mid-size/small-law firms. Learn more.]

Written by:

JD Supra Perspectives
Contact
more
less

JD Supra Perspectives on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide

JD Supra Privacy Policy

Updated: May 25, 2018:

JD Supra is a legal publishing service that connects experts and their content with broader audiences of professionals, journalists and associations.

This Privacy Policy describes how JD Supra, LLC ("JD Supra" or "we," "us," or "our") collects, uses and shares personal data collected from visitors to our website (located at www.jdsupra.com) (our "Website") who view only publicly-available content as well as subscribers to our services (such as our email digests or author tools)(our "Services"). By using our Website and registering for one of our Services, you are agreeing to the terms of this Privacy Policy.

Please note that if you subscribe to one of our Services, you can make choices about how we collect, use and share your information through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard (available if you are logged into your JD Supra account).

Collection of Information

Registration Information. When you register with JD Supra for our Website and Services, either as an author or as a subscriber, you will be asked to provide identifying information to create your JD Supra account ("Registration Data"), such as your:

  • Email
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Company Name
  • Company Industry
  • Title
  • Country

Other Information: We also collect other information you may voluntarily provide. This may include content you provide for publication. We may also receive your communications with others through our Website and Services (such as contacting an author through our Website) or communications directly with us (such as through email, feedback or other forms or social media). If you are a subscribed user, we will also collect your user preferences, such as the types of articles you would like to read.

Information from third parties (such as, from your employer or LinkedIn): We may also receive information about you from third party sources. For example, your employer may provide your information to us, such as in connection with an article submitted by your employer for publication. If you choose to use LinkedIn to subscribe to our Website and Services, we also collect information related to your LinkedIn account and profile.

Your interactions with our Website and Services: As is true of most websites, we gather certain information automatically. This information includes IP addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp and clickstream data. We use this information to analyze trends, to administer the Website and our Services, to improve the content and performance of our Website and Services, and to track users' movements around the site. We may also link this automatically-collected data to personal information, for example, to inform authors about who has read their articles. Some of this data is collected through information sent by your web browser. We also use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect this information. To learn more about cookies and other tracking technologies that JD Supra may use on our Website and Services please see our "Cookies Guide" page.

How do we use this information?

We use the information and data we collect principally in order to provide our Website and Services. More specifically, we may use your personal information to:

  • Operate our Website and Services and publish content;
  • Distribute content to you in accordance with your preferences as well as to provide other notifications to you (for example, updates about our policies and terms);
  • Measure readership and usage of the Website and Services;
  • Communicate with you regarding your questions and requests;
  • Authenticate users and to provide for the safety and security of our Website and Services;
  • Conduct research and similar activities to improve our Website and Services; and
  • Comply with our legal and regulatory responsibilities and to enforce our rights.

How is your information shared?

  • Content and other public information (such as an author profile) is shared on our Website and Services, including via email digests and social media feeds, and is accessible to the general public.
  • If you choose to use our Website and Services to communicate directly with a company or individual, such communication may be shared accordingly.
  • Readership information is provided to publishing law firms and authors of content to give them insight into their readership and to help them to improve their content.
  • Our Website may offer you the opportunity to share information through our Website, such as through Facebook's "Like" or Twitter's "Tweet" button. We offer this functionality to help generate interest in our Website and content and to permit you to recommend content to your contacts. You should be aware that sharing through such functionality may result in information being collected by the applicable social media network and possibly being made publicly available (for example, through a search engine). Any such information collection would be subject to such third party social media network's privacy policy.
  • Your information may also be shared to parties who support our business, such as professional advisors as well as web-hosting providers, analytics providers and other information technology providers.
  • Any court, governmental authority, law enforcement agency or other third party where we believe disclosure is necessary to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation, or otherwise to protect our rights, the rights of any third party or individuals' personal safety, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or safety issues.
  • To our affiliated entities and in connection with the sale, assignment or other transfer of our company or our business.

How We Protect Your Information

JD Supra takes reasonable and appropriate precautions to insure that user information is protected from loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. You should keep in mind that no Internet transmission is ever 100% secure or error-free. Where you use log-in credentials (usernames, passwords) on our Website, please remember that it is your responsibility to safeguard them. If you believe that your log-in credentials have been compromised, please contact us at privacy@jdsupra.com.

Children's Information

Our Website and Services are not directed at children under the age of 16 and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 16 through our Website and/or Services. If you have reason to believe that a child under the age of 16 has provided personal information to us, please contact us, and we will endeavor to delete that information from our databases.

Links to Other Websites

Our Website and Services may contain links to other websites. The operators of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using our Website or Services and click a link to another site, you will leave our Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We are not responsible for the data collection and use practices of such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of our Website and Services and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Information for EU and Swiss Residents

JD Supra's principal place of business is in the United States. By subscribing to our website, you expressly consent to your information being processed in the United States.

  • Our Legal Basis for Processing: Generally, we rely on our legitimate interests in order to process your personal information. For example, we rely on this legal ground if we use your personal information to manage your Registration Data and administer our relationship with you; to deliver our Website and Services; understand and improve our Website and Services; report reader analytics to our authors; to personalize your experience on our Website and Services; and where necessary to protect or defend our or another's rights or property, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, safety or privacy issues. Please see Article 6(1)(f) of the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") In addition, there may be other situations where other grounds for processing may exist, such as where processing is a result of legal requirements (GDPR Article 6(1)(c)) or for reasons of public interest (GDPR Article 6(1)(e)). Please see the "Your Rights" section of this Privacy Policy immediately below for more information about how you may request that we limit or refrain from processing your personal information.
  • Your Rights
    • Right of Access/Portability: You can ask to review details about the information we hold about you and how that information has been used and disclosed. Note that we may request to verify your identification before fulfilling your request. You can also request that your personal information is provided to you in a commonly used electronic format so that you can share it with other organizations.
    • Right to Correct Information: You may ask that we make corrections to any information we hold, if you believe such correction to be necessary.
    • Right to Restrict Our Processing or Erasure of Information: You also have the right in certain circumstances to ask us to restrict processing of your personal information or to erase your personal information. Where you have consented to our use of your personal information, you can withdraw your consent at any time.

You can make a request to exercise any of these rights by emailing us at privacy@jdsupra.com or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

You can also manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard.

We will make all practical efforts to respect your wishes. There may be times, however, where we are not able to fulfill your request, for example, if applicable law prohibits our compliance. Please note that JD Supra does not use "automatic decision making" or "profiling" as those terms are defined in the GDPR.

  • Timeframe for retaining your personal information: We will retain your personal information in a form that identifies you only for as long as it serves the purpose(s) for which it was initially collected as stated in this Privacy Policy, or subsequently authorized. We may continue processing your personal information for longer periods, but only for the time and to the extent such processing reasonably serves the purposes of archiving in the public interest, journalism, literature and art, scientific or historical research and statistical analysis, and subject to the protection of this Privacy Policy. For example, if you are an author, your personal information may continue to be published in connection with your article indefinitely. When we have no ongoing legitimate business need to process your personal information, we will either delete or anonymize it, or, if this is not possible (for example, because your personal information has been stored in backup archives), then we will securely store your personal information and isolate it from any further processing until deletion is possible.
  • Onward Transfer to Third Parties: As noted in the "How We Share Your Data" Section above, JD Supra may share your information with third parties. When JD Supra discloses your personal information to third parties, we have ensured that such third parties have either certified under the EU-U.S. or Swiss Privacy Shield Framework and will process all personal data received from EU member states/Switzerland in reliance on the applicable Privacy Shield Framework or that they have been subjected to strict contractual provisions in their contract with us to guarantee an adequate level of data protection for your data.

California Privacy Rights

Pursuant to Section 1798.83 of the California Civil Code, our customers who are California residents have the right to request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes.

You can make a request for this information by emailing us at privacy@jdsupra.com or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

Some browsers have incorporated a Do Not Track (DNT) feature. These features, when turned on, send a signal that you prefer that the website you are visiting not collect and use data regarding your online searching and browsing activities. As there is not yet a common understanding on how to interpret the DNT signal, we currently do not respond to DNT signals on our site.

Access/Correct/Update/Delete Personal Information

For non-EU/Swiss residents, if you would like to know what personal information we have about you, you can send an e-mail to privacy@jdsupra.com. We will be in contact with you (by mail or otherwise) to verify your identity and provide you the information you request. We will respond within 30 days to your request for access to your personal information. In some cases, we may not be able to remove your personal information, in which case we will let you know if we are unable to do so and why. If you would like to correct or update your personal information, you can manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard. If you would like to delete your account or remove your information from our Website and Services, send an e-mail to privacy@jdsupra.com.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our Privacy Policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use our Website and Services following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this site, your dealings with our Website or Services, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: privacy@jdsupra.com.

JD Supra Cookie Guide

As with many websites, JD Supra's website (located at www.jdsupra.com) (our "Website") and our services (such as our email article digests)(our "Services") use a standard technology called a "cookie" and other similar technologies (such as, pixels and web beacons), which are small data files that are transferred to your computer when you use our Website and Services. These technologies automatically identify your browser whenever you interact with our Website and Services.

How We Use Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to:

  1. Improve the user experience on our Website and Services;
  2. Store the authorization token that users receive when they login to the private areas of our Website. This token is specific to a user's login session and requires a valid username and password to obtain. It is required to access the user's profile information, subscriptions, and analytics;
  3. Track anonymous site usage; and
  4. Permit connectivity with social media networks to permit content sharing.

There are different types of cookies and other technologies used our Website, notably:

  • "Session cookies" - These cookies only last as long as your online session, and disappear from your computer or device when you close your browser (like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Safari).
  • "Persistent cookies" - These cookies stay on your computer or device after your browser has been closed and last for a time specified in the cookie. We use persistent cookies when we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session. For example, we use them to remember your preferences for the next time you visit.
  • "Web Beacons/Pixels" - Some of our web pages and emails may also contain small electronic images known as web beacons, clear GIFs or single-pixel GIFs. These images are placed on a web page or email and typically work in conjunction with cookies to collect data. We use these images to identify our users and user behavior, such as counting the number of users who have visited a web page or acted upon one of our email digests.

JD Supra Cookies. We place our own cookies on your computer to track certain information about you while you are using our Website and Services. For example, we place a session cookie on your computer each time you visit our Website. We use these cookies to allow you to log-in to your subscriber account. In addition, through these cookies we are able to collect information about how you use the Website, including what browser you may be using, your IP address, and the URL address you came from upon visiting our Website and the URL you next visit (even if those URLs are not on our Website). We also utilize email web beacons to monitor whether our emails are being delivered and read. We also use these tools to help deliver reader analytics to our authors to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

Analytics/Performance Cookies. JD Supra also uses the following analytic tools to help us analyze the performance of our Website and Services as well as how visitors use our Website and Services:

  • HubSpot - For more information about HubSpot cookies, please visit legal.hubspot.com/privacy-policy.
  • New Relic - For more information on New Relic cookies, please visit www.newrelic.com/privacy.
  • Google Analytics - For more information on Google Analytics cookies, visit www.google.com/policies. To opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout. This will allow you to download and install a Google Analytics cookie-free web browser.

Facebook, Twitter and other Social Network Cookies. Our content pages allow you to share content appearing on our Website and Services to your social media accounts through the "Like," "Tweet," or similar buttons displayed on such pages. To accomplish this Service, we embed code that such third party social networks provide and that we do not control. These buttons know that you are logged in to your social network account and therefore such social networks could also know that you are viewing the JD Supra Website.

Controlling and Deleting Cookies

If you would like to change how a browser uses cookies, including blocking or deleting cookies from the JD Supra Website and Services you can do so by changing the settings in your web browser. To control cookies, most browsers allow you to either accept or reject all cookies, only accept certain types of cookies, or prompt you every time a site wishes to save a cookie. It's also easy to delete cookies that are already saved on your device by a browser.

The processes for controlling and deleting cookies vary depending on which browser you use. To find out how to do so with a particular browser, you can use your browser's "Help" function or alternatively, you can visit http://www.aboutcookies.org which explains, step-by-step, how to control and delete cookies in most browsers.

Updates to This Policy

We may update this cookie policy and our Privacy Policy from time-to-time, particularly as technology changes. You can always check this page for the latest version. We may also notify you of changes to our privacy policy by email.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about how we use cookies and other tracking technologies, please contact us at: privacy@jdsupra.com.

- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.