Do you know where your money is currently leading you?

Now is the time to take stock of your practice accomplishments to determine if you are on the business track you want to be following.

Look at your year’s hours, break them down by matter, type of work and client and determine how you have been spending your time. If you spent more than 60% of your time doing a certain type of work, how newsworthy is that for you?

Do you like that type of work and working with those clients?

Your communication or leadership style is your personal stamp. The more aware you are of how your communication values contribute to your success as a leader, the more likely you will be to succeed. There are two interconnected values you want included in your leadership stamp: using judgment and being accessible.

Sound judgment helps you earn and maintain trust. As so much of what you do depends on messaging and ensuring that your signals are clear and targeted, it is vital that you use sound judgment with each communication.

If you are someone who prides themselves on getting work but then has a tough time delivering, you may be a procrastinator. You are easily distracted. You thrive in crisis-mode and continuously put out fires of your own making. You are constantly in a time crunch and get a rush from being able to complete tasks at the last minute. Knowing that you can usually get away with doing things just before they’re due, you will continue to procrastinate until something horribly goes wrong and you get exposed.

Cross-selling is all about leveraging.

The key value in cross-selling is to unite with others to go after the same target.

You can leverage and deepen your client relationships by introducing your colleagues and their expertise to your key clients and leverage and deepen your colleagues’ relationships by introducing your expertise to their contacts.

Cross-selling is about internal marketing and alignment. When you cross-sell, you can select specific colleagues with whom you can market complimentary legal skills. This is particularly effective when you marry a very different practice area to yours and become even more valuable to your clients and contacts.

Being contacted through a referral source will give you extreme satisfaction. What better testament than a client, friend or contact who, being impressed by your work and brand, feels motivated to recommend your services to someone else.

Sometimes the most unlikely source or contact can deliver a lucrative or once in a lifetime mandate. As every opportunity, client or contact is a potential referral source, you want to be on your mark with every interaction so you always display your personal best.

Marketing is the overt branding piece within the trilogy of networking, marketing and sales. Networking will always get you through the door. Marketing will provide the hook to explore the discussion, enabling the sales piece to close the deal.

When you market, this is the opportune time for you to promote and focus on your brand. You strategically select ways to share your message and expertise in order to further leverage your relationships. Your contacts and clients are all different, their needs and wants vary and their expectations in terms of your services are unique to their circumstances.

It is a safe claim that you, like many lawyers, get eighty percent of your work from twenty percent of your clients, aka whales.  As the image depicts, having one or two whale clients who anchor your practice and consistently refer meaty or voluminous work will effectively provide your legal practice with value, industry and knowledge expertise, stability and economic success.

To maximize your profitability, you want to have at least one whale in your influential twenty percent of clients. Too frequently, you might not analyze your work in terms of having whales and, at worst case scenario, take your steady and lucrative mandates for granted.

Practising law is a business and time should be your biggest ally as it is one of your dearest assets. Regardless of which billing structure you use per client matter, one of your mainstay responsibilities and motivations in your practice management should revolve around spending and tracking your time and efforts effectively and precisely.

Your hours reflect a comprehensive canvass of your practice: new clients and work that you have brought into your firm; your work ethic and loyalty to the firm; your expertise, leadership and business development efforts; and your ability to service the needs of clients and other lawyers in your firm.

It is fair to say that you do not originate work by simply asking for it.

Instead, having a business plan that includes a section on new business is an effective platform from which to build your business and keep track of your originations.

It is no small feat to land a new client. To underline your efforts in business development undertakings, you want to ensure that you share and highlight appropriate information when listing your current origination status, enabling you to exhibit your expertise and experience when forecasting your future wins.

This first video in the new After It Rains blog will focus your efforts on how to act like a rainmaker, regardless of where you currently sit in the making rain cycle.

Business development is no longer the special domain of a few skilled partners.

The economic downturn effectively exposed law firms to the reality that all lawyers need to actively take responsibility for their role in their business and client development initiatives.

Developing business is not an anointed rite of passage or a time-stamped phase.