April 2003  Volume 29, Issue 3
April 2003 Issue
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edited by Milton W. Zwicker
Techniques to measure and increase your marketing success. Plus, a how-to client relations guide for legal assistants and secretaries.
 

Rainmaking Made Simple: What Every Professional Must Know
Mark Maraia. (Professional Services Publishing, 2003.) $29.95. ISBN: 0-9724532-0-2. www.rainmakingmadesimple.com.

REVIEWED BY EDWARD OLKOVICH

A seemingly ceaseless question in many law firms is, how do we get more clients? Judging by my search of relevant Web sites, one common answer is to call for rainmakers to produce business results. Rainmakers market, sell, network, cross-sell, promote and groom associates to help in the process.

But do you automatically feel your anxiety level increase when these subjects are discussed? Do you worry that you cannot produce results like Johnson, the new lawyer in your practice group? Is your fragile ego frozen with fear of more rejection? The more desperate you are for clients, the more likely you are to be too aggressive. Being too passive is also a problem. If only you could get help. Well, you can. Mark Maraia coaches readers on all these subjects in his new book, Rainmaking Made Simple: What Every Professional Must Know.

Perhaps you are a nervous novice, or maybe you already have what it takes. In either case, you can benefit from this book. Maraia is a former trial lawyer, associate professor and experienced coach with a teetering stack of testimonials. You can avoid the shock of rejection by using his system. It's not therapy, but you will find techniques to help change your attitudes, increase client satisfaction and measure your success.

Many lawyers will resist Maraia's performance mode, given that it may be a bit unnatural at first. But if you are a practice leader, you will find this book a useful tool to overcome resistance and the awkward moves people make trying to master new sales skills.

Is that a little too crass for professionals who have a phobia about selling themselves or their services? If you think selling is unprofessional and beneath you, think again. Everyone is turning to selling, or should I say, "rainmaking." Your firm's survival (and your children's education fund) may depend on you shaking off old perceptions. Rainmaking is marketing; marketing is relationship building and the foundation for long-term clients.

The book includes sections on selling, networking and leveraging with others. In addition, an annual planning guide is available from www.markmaraia.com. You will find ways to overcome fear, block time, be realistic and get permission to call again to follow up.
I particularly like the sections on speaking, giving presentations, writing articles and being quoted as an expert. These marketing approaches often may not provide initial dividends. I know many lawyers who are discouraged after a few attempts. However, Maraia gives you steps for a bigger payoff before, during and after events.

Rainmakers are not always born, but they can be developed with coaching. Although you need to be yourself, you cannot wait for the marketing muse to make house calls. It is not enough just to think of getting new clients. You must take steps to advance to the next level of business development. Consciously look for positive feedback from prospects and clients. Ask clients what the next step will be and let them control the process and pace.

"Coaching is time-released learning," according to the author. Teaching the concepts also requires learning performance skills. This book gives you sample questions to ask prospects. Change your mind-set and results will appear, not necessarily instantly but with persistence and Maraia's formula for use in seminars, boardrooms or clubhouses.

Maraia wants you to go into every meeting prepared with written goals and questions. I would, though, hate to see hordes of zombie-like lawyers running around reading lists of questions to horrified prospects. You need to be yourself and at the same time learn new skills. Coaching may be the cure.

Looking for clients is like exercise-you do it constantly. It's a process you learn, not a result you achieve. No amount of plotting and networking can explain how marketing muses work. It may have more to do with where and with whom you play golf than with any material in this marketing skills volume. But with Rainmaking Made Simple, you can improve your potential to generate business with positive action steps that can be planned and measured.

Edward Olkovich ( edo@mrwills.com) is a Toronto lawyer and author.

The Law Firm Guide to Client Relations for Support Staff
Hollis Hatfield Weishar. (ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2002.) $9.95. PC: 511-0475. (800) 285-2221; www.lawpractice.org/catalog.

REVIEWED BY MICHAEL L. GOLDBLATT

Marketing and etiquette are important for legal assistants and secretaries who have contact with clients and potential clients. This 19-page monograph fills a void in the marketing literature, which usually focuses on marketing skills and strategies for lawyers.

The author is Hollis Hatfield Weishar, an experienced marketing consultant who is also a co-editor of The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Law Practice (ABA, 1999) and the author of Marketing Success Stories (ABA, 1996).

Her new publication draws on her 20 years of experience as a marketing consultant and trainer.

The monograph begins with an overview of the importance of legal marketing, quality and ethical issues. The remainder is a how-to guide for self-improvement that explains skills like accessibility, reliability, empathy and communication. The discussion of each skill set is illustrated with actions that can be easily undertaken by the reader. In the conclusion, readers will find a list of telephone tips to promote efficient communications and satisfied clients.

The monograph is available by downloading a single copy from the ABA Law Practice Management Section's Web site. Go to www.abanet .org/lpm/catalog/511-0475.html. By paying a discounted fee for additional copies, purchasers can photocopy the monograph for distribution to members of their support staff.

Paralegals and secretaries can read The Law Firm Guide to Client Relations for Support Staff to help their firms retain existing clients and attract new ones. Managing partners, firm administrators and marketing directors can use it for group training and self-study programs.

This is a concise, easy-to-read publication that's filled with ideas that can be put to work in daily practice by your staff.


Michael L. Goldblatt ( mgoldblatt@abanet.org) is Associate General Counsel, Tidewater Inc., in New Orleans.


Milton W. Zwicker
( zwicker@zwickerevanslewis.com) is a Managing Partner of Zwicker Evans & Lewis in Orillia, ONT, and the author of Successful Client Newsletters (ABA, 1998).