August 28, 2012 Articles

Cultivating the Courage to Ask for Business

Expressing your interest in working with someone can make a difference.

By Debra L. Bruce

Many lawyers, both men and women, blanch at the thought of having to ask for business, and I don’t blame them. In my opinion, it’s often a mistake, and it should be scary to do something clumsy or annoying. Common advice about “asking for the business” may drive sales in low-risk transactions but drive away potential clients with complex and risky issues.

Nevertheless, lawyers do need to develop business, and expressing your interest in working with someone can make a difference. How do you drum up the courage to do that? In short, it’s a lot less scary if you have laid the right groundwork beforehand. To help illustrate what potential clients want to hear from lawyers, I did an informal survey of a number of in-house counsel about how they like to be approached for business. My thoughts and their responses are intermingled in this article.

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