Three CRM Tips for Attorneys On “Working” Relationships

Here’s an excellent article from Stuart Goodman, “7 BD Tips for Deepening Relationships with Existing Clients and Prospective New Client Executives. I’ve known Stuart for over fifteen years and he’s one of the best sales rep I’ve ever known. His most important skill is understanding how to build and nurture long-term relationships. He makes it look natural, but I know that his success is underpinned by lots of hard work honing his craft. So, when Stuart offers up tips on relationships, I pay attention.

Stuart’s tip #6, “Don’t give up,” has a direct tie to attorneys using CRM systems for business development;

 “Often, executives will only take meetings through trusted connections. Work your way up through lower-level contacts or other trusted relationships.”

Working their way up through other trusted relationships implies that the attorney “works” relationships and not simply rely upon intuition and luck. It’s natural to work hard at maintaining close contacts, those where they already have a strong relationship with frequent touch points. But it’s more difficult to form and nurture new, unknown connections to grow their network. Yet this is the way to create new business opportunities. The firm’s CRM tools can provide tools to make this process easier to manage.

So here are my three tips on how attorneys can use a CRM to implement Stuart’s tip that will help them focus their efforts in a more structured approach to save time and effort, and let them focus on implementing Stuart’s tips on deepening their relationships.

  1. Create a targeted list of who you want to meet.
    Most CRMs will allow attorneys to segment their contacts into lists for easy access and tracking. Having their key contacts segregated lets them view and report on them more easily. For example, they can run a daily activity report all of their targeted contacts each morning. Remember that that there may be activities generated by others  by other attorneys that may know the same person, or there could be changes in contact information, such as job changes or email updates that the CRM system automatically generates activities.
  2. Use CRM tools to connect and research.
    Both internal and external tools are helpful to identify possible paths to those contacts. Your internal CRM is the first place to start as connections identified through your colleagues will have the most relevance to your business objectives. Then use LinkedIn and other social media to ferret out other ways you can connect. Attorneys wishing to connect should pay attention to their comments, articles, and groups to which they belong to identify their interests and any common ground they may share. This will help facilitate Stuart’s tips number four, “Resonate personally, emotionally,” and number five, “Lead masterful conversations.”
  3. Leverage the CRM’s tools for scheduling and tracking.
    CRMs provide tools to track and schedule attorney’s business development efforts. Journalizing their activities, such as emails phone call, and meetings, as a way to aid their memory, especially with infrequent contacts. It’s helpful for the attorneys to be able to look back at what was discussed or covered during their last contact. And the data can be useful for their year-end firm memo. Most CRM systems have features for reminders to help you make sure no one falls through the cracks. CRM reminders are tied to the CRM contacts and are more permanent than Outlook pop-up reminders that tend to more of a nuisance than an aide.

Many attorneys are not aware on how to make use of CRM tools to help them with their business development efforts. Employed properly, CRM tools can assist attorneys to “work” their way up to develop and maintain valuable relationships. The best place to start is to work with their Business Development/Marketing department to develop a game plan and schedule some time for one-on-one instruction of the CRM’s tools that will help them implement their plan.

 

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