Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, May. 31, 2012
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Law Practice Management Tip

When it comes to generating business, forget your ABCs and remember your ABGs

In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, actor Alec Baldwin schools his salesmen on the ABCs of business conversations (i.e. Always Be Closing). In Alec Baldwin's world, every business conversation should steadily move the prospect in the direction of making a purchase.

While this may be an effective tool for consummating the sale of investment property, ABC is probably not the best tactic for lawyers who want to sell legal services. That's because people hire attorneys they know, like and trust.  And pressuring someone is generally not the best way to build trust. Instead, trust is built through a series of small acts over time. By investing in relationships, we build trust.

There are many ways to build trusted relationships. The most important way is to do what you say you are going to do. If you meet someone at a networking function and agree that you would like to meet for coffee, follow up within 24 hours to schedule coffee. If you promise a referral source to send them an article, forward the article when you get back to your office.

There are many other ways to build trusted relationships. Some of them are highlighted in an article I published in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. The common theme in all of these trust building activities is that they involve doing something for the other person. So rather than focusing on closing when you are relationship building, focus on your ABGs (Always Be Giving).

In other words, you should always be looking for ways to give value to your business relationships, whether it is with prospective clients or with people who might refer you work.

If you want to build a law practice, never forget your ABGs. If you focus too much on your ABCs, people will understand that you are just in the relationship to get something out of it and that will hurt your opportunity to build business and referrals.

Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal Consulting and Coaching.

Published May 31, 2012

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To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice Chair Stephen Seckler.
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