You didn’t become an attorney by learning how to sell legal services; you became an attorney because you learned how to provide legal services. You know the law and how to serve your clients, not necessarily how to get clients. Yet here you sit, in an economy and environment that makes not just learning but mastering the art of law firm business development a must. You must become comfortable with the very same nuances of professional salespeople: opening dialog with prospective clients, developing strong relationships with clients and strategic partners, and closing the deal.

As I’m sure your heart is pounding from the bad news I just delivered, let me give you the best news of all: Real rainmakers are just pros at finding friends with whom they can do business. They take budding relationships and nurture those into something huge.

How to Amp Up Your Legal Sales Skills

Let me explain, in the form of true-isms you can identify with:

  • Identify your ideal client: You are friendly, if not friends, with your best clients. (Nod and smile.) Use one or two of your favorite clients as a model to create your Ideal Client Profile. This will serve to help you take on more ideal clients, and turn away folks you know will be hard to work with or won’t pay. In addition, it is a great idea to get to know the clients better from whom you would like more work and to work with for a long time. Take your relationship to the next level in your next conversation by asking questions about their families, avocations, recent trips or even goals. The more information you have, the better you can serve them.
  • Provide quality client service: Your best clients refer new business to you. When you do a great job, and you’re approachable, reachable, responsive and personable, you’re a prime candidate for referral business, which will mean you eventually have a true referral-only business. Do you need to improve on being approachable, reachable, responsive or personable? Then get on it, because it can and will mean the difference between someone who generates “some business” and someone who is a truly respected rainmaker. 
  • Don’t be afraid to assert yourself: Your best clients give you all of their business. How many of your clients use another law firm or firms to do some of their work? You want all of their legal work, across all of the different disciplines of law that your firm offers. As you prove your worth, ask who else they rely on for their legal work. Step through the fear and ask for that work. Introduce them to your colleagues, and let it be known your firm will happily serve them in all areas whenever they are ready.
  • Make new friends: Having said everything above, doesn’t it stand to reason that you need to get out and make more friends? Find people you like, get to know them, earn their business and expand your relationship with them. Rinse and repeat.

Rainmaking isn’t rocket science. It is a series of logical and intentional action steps you take on a consistent basis to bring more and more business in the door. Start with the steps above, and soon you will be known as a real rainmaker.

Author, executive coach and Personal Transformation Expert Honorée Corder gives seminars and conducts training programs for service professionals on generating business, creating strategic partnerships, rainmaking, sales and practicing exceptional business courtesy. Honoree's most popular program is the Rainmaker Business Bootcamp, which she has taught in more than 100 accounting, investment banking and law firms throughout the country. For more information, visit http://www.coachhonoree.com.