Rainmaker Vocabulary – Context and Relevance
Know Where You Fit When Building Credibility with Your Clients
Two of the most critical words in a Rainmaker’s vocabulary. Understanding where you fit into your client’s business allows you to offer value, increase your account size and deepen the client relationship. This also improves your client retention and referrability. Without context and relevance, you’re just another lawyer out to make money without delivering value. Rainmakers build relationship and deliver value, let’s talk about how….
You went to school to learn about law, not necessarily about business. And even if you have an understanding of business, academic understanding is vastly different than practical knowledge and the application of law in the day to day operations of a company. The Rainmakers I see have been typically business owners, practice group leader, managing partners – people who can read a financial statement or understand how people drive a company to success… or failure. This experience is tough to develop without a lot of ‘gray hair’ behind it. In this post I will talk to you about how to build that credibility with your prospects, talk their language and have them recognize you as a go-to partner they depend on to run their company.
Learning the Language
Business has a language all its own, and much like you touring a foreign country, without the right accent, inflection and body language, much of your message is lost in translation. Once you immerse yourself in the culture it begins to rub off on you and pretty soon you’re speaking like a native. Walking a ‘mile in the shoes’ of a business owner can provide you with the same experience.
How do you do this, you ask?
By getting into the world you impact. Meet with your clients regularly, subscribe to their industry publications, join (and attend) their associations. And pretty soon, you can begin to understand the challenges they face. This provides you context.
Now relevance. Get to know why your clients chose to work with you, what was it you provided that they weren’t getting from their former counsel? Have you continued to deliver to their expectations? Trust me, you really want to know the answer to that question, remember your best client is someone else’s best prospect. Ask about what areas they wish you had answers – then get them.
Now you’re gaining relevance.
Listen to their language they use, capture it. When someone asks what you do, don’t just tell them your practice area, relate a quick example of a client issue you solve, and rotate your examples based on current challenges facing them in their industry. When you share these examples at networking events, watch the change in someone’s eyes from the glazed over expression you get when you tell them you’re an attorney to a look of interest and questions about your example.
But remember that’s not how you build relationships, that is accomplished through gathering information and sharing insight that is relevant to their area of interest (there’s that word again!)
Practice Makes Rain
I have a quick homework assignment for you, spend 2-3 lunch meetings with your best clients and visit with them about their situations, why they chose you and continue to work with you, capture their language and next post we will talk about how to create a fabulous 30 second commercial that will help you stand out from the crowd!
Remember Emerson’s Law of Compensation is alive and well in your prospecting effort – To get what you want, you must help others get what they want.
Have a great day and I wish you Good Selling!
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Guest Blogger: Breandan Filbert has the ability to sift through the product or service ‘noise’ and get to the real basis of relationship building- the people. She partners with her clients to create long standing highly productive relationships with their clients and referral partners. She has worked with attorneys and other professional service providers to increase their book of business and attain ‘Top Rainmaker’ status within their firms. She is the founder and managing partner of SalezWorks in Kansas City.