Not long ago, should you be inside a relationship plus it became apparent it wasn't going anywhere, you needed a choice of strategies to end it: tell them with their face or phone them up. It was actually never pleasant, but no less than one had to provide you with the news personally, unlike dating couples today. Speaking with my 14-year-old nephew enlightened me towards the joys of text and e-mail brushoffs: just a few keystrokes as well as the deed is done, secure in the knowledge that in the event the dumpee fails to get the message, one can open a new Hotmail account or get a new SIM card.
We live in an era of texts, video conferences and voice mails. Never has it been so easy to have a message to someone. Yet with all of this communicating happening, we've actually stopped speaking with one another. The lawyer's pursuit of new clients is actually a prime example.
The legal profession has, for any decade, attempted many clever and increasingly expensive approaches to get in touch with both existing and prospective clients. Initially, there was Yellow Pages. When lawyers were first allowed to advertise their services, Yellow Pages reps smashed their sales targets as partnership after partnership registered for the boxed ad here plus a quarter-page there - some even had colour. Even you can see that directory awash with photos of various fee-earners all promising "a tailored and individual professional service".
Next into the partners' car park was the rep from your ad agency because of the answers by means of a business brochure. Partnership meetings were convened, Pantone colours and artwork examined and fonts mulled over. New brochures emerged, detailed with photos of specialists, the workplace along with the compulsory sheet of expensive tissue paper just inside of the front cover. Marketing mailed out a copy to every single single client around the database and partners sat expectantly, awaiting the phones to ring themselves out of their cradles with new clients saying: "We surrender! You might have all of our business, as that rather flattering photo of 'Simon - head of commercial property' won us over." Unfortunately, using the initial enthusiastic mailing, most brochures sat inside a cupboard, with a lot of fee-earners never actually handing one out, being unsure of when was appropriate to achieve this as being the felt awkward and pushy.
Salvation for your gauche, it appeared, might include the chance to lure new clients with a website. Once again, the ad agency sprouted, this time around in threes - account manager, web-designer and creative type. Laptops were sprung open and a confection of colours displayed. Icons were dragged, cursors moved, menus dropped down and Adobe, Flash, Quick Time and Java were included in the sorcerer's brew. Yet still, the hordes did not come.
Then appeared the mom of all the solutions - a "thing" that did every one of the client stuff for you. Lawyers could spend time at their desks and do what they studied for several years to complete - practise law. The equipment would do this soft-skills, airy-fairy business plus a techie could sort everything out - no more ethereal conversations with marketing. Again, a left-brain logical solution was the solution, instead of the woolly right-brain stuff: Customer relations management (CRM).
This time, it was software reps making a killing with budget-stretching systems to monitor each and every little bit of details about every client that ever was - and can ever be.
But here's the rub. CRM is based on Harvard Business School like a system that "aligns business processes with customer strategies to build customer loyalty and increase profits over time". Note the text "technology" and "software" are conspicuously absent.
So even before you think about law, you have to find what a client's strategy is. The only method to achieve that is to sit down, talk to them and request. The beginning point for establishing or making a relationship using a client is to talk to them. No technologies have ever designed a meaningful relationship with anyone.
Within the last number of years, many firms have used technology such as a drunk utilizes a lamp-post: not for illumination, just support. That is certainly changing. Firms are realizing they 32devwpky been found wanting in the "soft" skills of communication and know honing these will light their strategy to new and profitable relationships. Aside from having been an attorney, I actually have recruited, coached, trained and dealt with lawyers whatsoever levels for longer than seven years and i also know them to function as the most charming, considerate and quite caring lot of people I've met inside the commercial world. Their integrity is undoubtedly and it also saddens me countless find talking to clients quite awkward.
It do not need to be similar to this. Communication skills can be found. An ability to start conversations, be comfy exchanging small talk and build a rapport could be learned. Put in practice it can add personal and cash value.
A partner in a firm recently explained that since he have been with a course teaching co-operative, non-confrontational negotiating skills, he felt significantly more relaxed about entering negotiations and, in one year, had brought in one more GBP 20,000 as a result.
One time i asked a professor of law why he thought lawyers lacked interpersonal skills when it arrived at speaking to clients. He stated universities take highly intelligent young people and over 4 years, make them learn the body in the law. They get them to dissect what the law states, explore its intricacies and delve deeply into the way it works and connects to each part to create this "body". They may be taught to analyze cases, examine judgments and question decisions. They leave university and enter into the commercial world with an intimate understanding of this body of law, to get started their legal career. On their first day with their new firm, they sit at their desks and the entire body suddenly sits up and says hello - and so they haven't a clue to what to mention in return.