...identifying and connecting with priority contacts now will lay the groundwork for a productive first quarter.

The holiday season is the time of year when we all reflect on what and whom we are thankful for. We’d be remiss not to include our clients, prospects and referral sources in that group.

Before it starts to look too much like Christmas, I suggest you embrace your inner Santa Claus: make your lists, check them twice, and then send your sincerest season’s greetings as a good business development practice.

Who makes it onto The List?

Let’s hope it’s mostly nice folks and not as many naughties, but you get to make that call.

Ideally, your list will be comprised of your key clients, prospects and referral sources. Can you come up with 30 contacts relatively easily? If not, don’t freak out like Rudolph’s parents did the first time they saw his nose light up. Take a deep breath, and consider these additional ways to identify priority contacts:

  • Did you write an alert this year, or speak at an event? Ask your marketing team to pull readership and/or attendance statistics to identify any reoccurring activity. Those individuals are clearly interested in what you are saying and thus make prime prospects for this outreach.
  • Are you a regular LinkedIn user? If so, did any of your posts get particularly high engagement rates? Dig into the ‘likes’ and comments on those posts and vet the contributors. If someone likes more than one of your posts and/or left an insightful comment, consider adding them to your prospect list.
  • Do you serve on a board or are you involved in a committee? Take a closer look at the board/committee composition. Is there anyone that could give and/or send you business? If so, they should be added to your list.

Don’t forget about your law school classmates, co-clerks, former colleagues/alumni and old friends.

You’d be amazed at the creative searches you can do to find where these connections landed on LinkedIn, not to mention the platform is a great and easy place to reconnect.

Check it twice

Now that you’ve got your list together, start to think through prioritization.

Which of these individuals has sent you business this year (your clients and referral sources)? They are Tier 1.

Which of these individuals could realistically give you business in 2022? They are Tier 2.

Everyone else falls into Tier 3. Considering limited bandwidth this time of year (because, hello, billable work) let’s focus on Tiers 1 and 2.

Send Season’s Greetings

Staying top of mind is of upmost importance to securing new business.

Not only are the holidays a lovely time to kick back with our loved ones, but they are also a great excuse to check in with your clients – a gift as sweet as pecan pie (my personal favorite holiday treat!).

Send a note to each of your Tier 1 and 2 contacts. If that sounds overwhelming, just think, if you start now with a handful a week, you’ll be done come New Year’s Day. Something as simple as the following would be a great start:

Hi Name,

I just wanted to reach out to you to say I have really enjoyed <the work we’ve done together/getting to know you> this year. Hope you have some time off planned <with your family/relaxing with friends> in the coming weeks. I would love to get together – either virtually or in person – come the new year to catch up. If you’re up for it, please send me some dates and times that work for you and I’ll handle sending a calendar invite before the year starts to fill up.

Sending my best wishes for a delightful holiday season,


A handwritten note – perhaps even a holiday card – would be ideal, but an email is just as good. As long as you are connecting on a personal level.

Taking time (perhaps while you’re sipping some hot chocolate or spiked eggnog by the fire) to identify and connect with these contacts now will lay the groundwork for a productive first quarter.


Rebecca Edwards is a senior marketing and business development manager at Williams Mullen. She helps attorneys grow relationships with their clients and works to streamline opportunities to build and enhance their practices. Connect with her on LinkedIn.