Most attorneys don’t have solid plans for business development. In fact, they would rather not think about such planning, or engage in it at all. Most enjoy the mechanics of practicing law, just not the act of getting the work. Understood. However, the reality of the situation is this: The power is in the purse. That means you must originate matters to rise in the ranks of your firm, as well as enjoy an increase in your own personal prosperity. To effectively develop business, you need a plan.

Ensure your rainmaking success by integrating these strategies into your personal marketing initiative:

  1. Have a plan for business development. Create an Ideal Client Profile so you know your target clients when you meet them. Identify the top three marketing activities that can put you in the path of your target clients, such as lunch-and-learns or golf outings. Know it takes time to create positive momentum from your marketing efforts, so give time the time.
  2. Take advantage of your “low-hanging fruit.” Have you asked your college and law school cronies, former employers, family friends, and in-house counsel you know for their work? Why not? Why wouldn’t they want to have their legal work in your capable hands? There is gold in your Rolodex. Even if the work isn’t your area of practice and you must introduce a partner who will take on the matter, it still works (you’ll get origination credit and be a hero). Start in the As and call everyone. Say hello and see what develops from there.
  3. Set annual goals. Your goals should include an annual increase of 25% or more of new originations from referrals of thrilled clients. Do a fantastic job. Return phone calls. Have a professional, but warm, “bedside manner.” Make your clients comfortable about uncomfortable situations, to the best of your ability. An attorney who is competent and capable and friendly is an attorney whose dance card is always full.
  4. Keep your current clients happy. You should know why most clients leave, so you can proactively prevent yours from going. The number-one reason clients leave is they feel that their attorneys don’t care. If your clients feel that way, they will leave. But if they know you’re a skilled and experienced attorney whom they can rely on to handle their work, and they consider you a trusted advisor (if not a friend), you will have a client for life.

Planning takes time and effort. Success will not happen overnight, but consistent and intentional marketing can and will put you in the enviable position of having enough business for yourself and quite possibly for your firm.

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.