How do you make the ask? How do you sell? Last week, I had the opportunity to connect with dozens of law firm partners in Europe, engaging in insightful conversations about the challenges lawyers face in building their practices and how they network.
One recurring theme stood out— the universal concern of how to make the ask when it comes to business.
It’s fascinating that while lawyers are comfortable in marketing endeavors, from speaking at programs to writing articles and connecting on LinkedIn, many find themselves hesitating when it comes to that crucial step—asking for business.
Here are a few key takeaways from my own coaching work that you may want to consider:
1. Authenticity Over Formulas
There’s no magic formula or special set of words. The key is to use language
that feels natural and conveys your genuine desire to help. The best rainmakers
often use phrases like “It would be great to work together” or “I would love to help you.”
2. Long-Term Cultivation
Building client relationships is a marathon, not a sprint. Feeling uneasy
during initial interactions is normal, as timing is crucial. Sometimes, it
takes years or multiple interactions for the stars to align.
3. “No” Isn’t the End
A “no” isn’t a rejection; it’s the beginning of a conversation. Stay engaged, offer assistance, even on a small pro bono matter, and continue nurturing the relationship. Patience can turn a “no” into a future “yes.”
4. Have Your Own Strategic Plan
Plant many seeds; not every one will sprout immediately. Having several leads
and prospects in your garden, may mean that they will grow and develop at
different times. Some of this work is unpredictable – particularly when it comes to litigation. A well-thought-out plan that is executed even with a minimum of discipline can turn those planted seeds into fruitful business engagements.
Developing business is skill that isn’t taught in law schools. By taking small steps over time, and building your marketing muscle, it is possible to become a rainmaker.