How Are You Investing in Business-Building Relationships?

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment” – Jim Rohn, international business management expert

Some things appear to be so simple that we assume (dangerously) that everyone gets it.

For lawyers, it is imperative to consistently and persistently cultivate and nurture their relationships within their network; with clients, to receive more work and strengthen the loyalty bond; with referral sources, to receive more referrals; with prospects, to develop new work; and so on.

Why, then, is it that a significant number of lawyers either have no system — formal or otherwise — for getting and staying in touch with these people or do a dismal job of staying connected?

Getting and Staying in Touch

In my experience of more than 25 years as a lawyer business strategist, I have worked with very few lawyers who realistically understand, as a practical matter, the fundamental principle of this phrase.

It is widely known known that it takes seven to 10 touches to achieve top-of-mind awareness status. Lawyers are implored to develop a consolidated contact list, including:


industry and professional contacts

referral sources


friends and family

classmates — law school, college, high school

co-workers and former co-workers

contacts from former clerkships

association contacts

community contacts

holiday card recipients

and so on

Though it may be arduous to assemble all the business cards, old Rolodexes, database printouts, etc., it is important to have all your contacts in one system, known today as a Contact Relationship Management system or CRM

What does this mean to you?

For purposes of communicating regularly with your various constituents (clients, referral sources, prospects, etc.), no single communication message will be of interest to everyone on your contact list. If you develop an e-newsletter or legal update on the importance of social media policies for the workplace and send it to your human resource clients, that topic may be of little interest to your charitable organization contacts, unless they are involved in employment law issues. There is great efficiency and merit to tailor your message to an intended audience and there is no better way than to develop categories of contacts.

When it comes to knowing how, when and how often to reach out, most attorneys do not want to be perceived as too pushy, aggressive or otherwise annoying. One principle is that most people are so involved in their own world, business, family, etc.; you are not capturing 100 percent of their attention most of the time.

That’s precisely why, to adequately register on your targets' radar, there must be regular, consistent and persistent touch points, be they via e-mail, phone call, face-to-face contact or social media outlets.

Check Motivations

To build and grow a healthy practice, it is imperative to develop a system of getting and staying in touch and doing so with the appropriate mindset. In short, It’s not about you.

Reach out with a service mindset and with authentic intentions of checking in on your contacts’ businesses. See how they are making out with a recent transition or starting a new position, or a company move, etc. The universal sowing of seeds of goodwill will ultimately reap only good things. Or, employing Newton’s Laws of Motion, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The more goodwill you sow, the more it will come back to you … usually multifold.

Leverage Technology

In our digital age, it has never been easier to get and stay connected via a host of technological tools (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogging). Contact a professional who helps clients connect, perhaps . a certified social media specialist. Further, tools such as Hootsuite can be a viable vehicle to establish a consistent social media presence by scheduling social media posts.


In the fiercely competitive legal services arena, cultivating strong relationships is more important than ever before. As a successful lawyer and business owner, you must find a way to get and stay in touch with your desired audiences, targeted constituents and those folks who ultimately can help you grow a healthy practice. It is most easily done when you:

  • Commit to making it happen.
  • Seek buy-in from your support resources (internal and/or external) so everyone is on the same page.
  • Develop a viable and workable system for gathering, categorizing and maintaining contacts on an ongoing basis.
  • Schedule dates/calendar regular communication with your contacts in addition to the other regular touches, for example:
  • On Mondays, review last week’s business development actions. Schedule two blocks of 15-minute increments to follow up with each contact, offering something of value to them…a copy of a new relevant report, a link to an interesting article, a professional announcement about a mutual acquaintance.
  • On Tuesdays, place three phone calls to inactive clients to check in on their business. Offer something of value, as above, and also ask if there is anything with which you can help them.
  • On Wednesdays, invite three referral sources to schedule a coffee in the next month. Mark your calendar and make it happen.
  • On Thursdays, research upcoming targeted networking events in an industry you serve, a bar association event and/or other relevant organization.
  • On Fridays, consider which concrete steps you’ve taken during the week, plus next steps to nurture the relationships you’ve cultivated. Take the afternoon off to recover from a busy week.

Rinse and repeat for a healthy, growing practice.


Kimberly Rice is President and Chief Strategist of KLA Marketing Associates (, a business development advisory firm focusing on legal services. As a legal marketing expert, Kimberly and her team help law firms and lawyers develop practical business development and marketing strategies, which lead directly to new clients and increased revenues. Kimberly is author of Rainmaker Road: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Prosperous Business. She may be reached at [email protected] and


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