If you pick up a book on how to generate clients or if you talk to a coach about marketing, the advice you receive often starts with a laundry list of things to try: join the bar association, join the chamber of commerce, hold seminars, advertise, blog, put videos on YouTube. Very rarely, if ever, do the answers start with more questions. What do you enjoy doing? Where do you feel most yourself? What are your strengths?
The best rainmaking you can do, and where you will find yourself most successful, is doing those things that focus on your strengths. After much trial and error, and doing the work to figure out what my personality is (not just what I wish it was), these are the things that I have found work for me.
Start a Networking Group
I like to be in charge of things. A few years ago a colleague and I were unsatisfied with the groups that were available to attorneys in our small suburb of Boston, so we started our own networking group. I continue to run it to this day, and it has a been a great source of business for me, in addition to the wonderful fellowship it creates. It works as a marketing vehicle for me because I love to be the host of the group, and that enthusiasm comes through at each event. If you aren’t a natural leader, or don’t like to be the organizer, this type of work wouldn’t be a good choice for you.
Hold Seminars That Go Beyond PowerPoint
The estate planning world is full of attorneys who hold seminars for the public; they find an assisted living facility to host, invite the public, and get out their PowerPoint presentation on “The Ten Ways to Protect Your Assets.” I have done these, usually with little result. The audience often has little invested in the process, and I found they never actually got around to putting their plans in place. Then, one of my friends who holds workshops for people to think about their life’s purpose and their legacies asked if I’d attend to answer people’s inevitable questions about estate planning.
I felt so comfortable at this workshop. The topic resonated with me, and I’m at my best when answering questions or on a panel rather than standing and talking to a group. The people were very invested in the subject, and it showed in the way they followed through. I was able to connect with the attendees, and as a result they wanted to work with me. We all benefited—they found the right fit for an attorney to help them put their plans into place, and I found clients who were the right fit for me.
I like to write. It comes easily to me and is something I have always done, even before I became an attorney. It is also one of the ways that I attract clients. I write on my website, both the articles on my blog as well as the portions of my website where I describe my practice and the clients I work with. I write occasional columns for my local paper and magazines, and I write the legal agreements with my clients and letters to them about their cases. All these writings are ways that people get to know me. If they like my writing and it resonates with them, it helps them get to know me and then hire me.
If you don’t like to write, or aren’t able to express yourself clearly (in non-legalese) in writing, then don’t listen to the people who say “you should start a blog.”
Find Your Own Strengths
How do you know what your strengths are? They are those things you don’t dread doing. When you are involved with them, time stops and you feel as if you are doing what you were put here to do. For me, when I’m writing, or setting up to host another networking group, or talking one-on-one to someone after a seminar, I feel completely at ease. That’s how I know I’m doing what I should be doing. For you, a 7:00 am networking meeting where you can talk to many people might be what clicks. Or maybe you are a natural teacher and should be leading CLE classes. When people see you doing things that are truly the right fit for your personality, they will naturally be attracted to you and want to do business with you.