Let's begin with a definition. In his Bottom Line Performance blog, Steve Boller suggests that we "think of 'mastery' as a core skill that is repeated over and over and 'mediocrity' as a general awareness of compliance procedures."
With that short description, Mr. Boller captured the essence of why lawyers struggle to learn marketing, sales and other business development skills.
The curriculum mentality they brought along as baggage from their advanced education traps them in mediocrity. When offered simulations and other tools that give them the opportunity to repeat a core skill over and over to achieve mastery, they go through the "curriculum" once, gain Steve's "general awareness of compliance procedures," and stop, deeming themselves trained.
The irony is that they spent three years in law school acquiring a general awareness of legal procedures, and had no illusions that they'd learned how to practice law. That required doing many things over and over until one day, they discovered that they were actually qualified and approaching mastery.
By whatever name you prefer--marketing, sales, business development--getting clients is a profession. You're not going to learn it in a few hours, or in a seminar, or at a retreat, or by any other shortcut method. Successfully getting clients defines not merely whether you're a master or mediocre. It will determine how and where you can afford to live, and, in the harshest analysis, whether you'll keep the lights and heat on.
In the recently ended boom market for legal services, the mediocre actually did reasonably well. Those benign conditions, however, are gone, permanently. Now, the mediocre will go out of business.
To get an eye-opening understanding of what it takes to be a rainmaker, take a look at this model of a rainmaker's time commitment.
As you've discerned, consistent, effective performance requires an array of skills. You can learn these on your schedule, for less than you probably spend at Starbucks each month.
RainmakerVT is the most innovative, effective, convenient and affordable business development training you can get. And you don’t have to commit to a long, drawn-out training program. RainmakerVT is just-in-time training. That means that In 15-30-minute chunks, available from any computer or tablet 24/7, each course teaches you a concrete, practical skill you can apply right now, to the immediate challenge in front of you. Buy only what you need, only when you need it.
By the way:
In a report released by LexisNexis and Am Law Daily affiliate ALM Legal Intelligence, 'Thinking Like Your Client: Strategic Planning in Law Firms,' nine out of 10 leaders of AmLaw 200–size firms said their firms have partners at risk of being de-equitized or 'put on performance plans.' As one firm leader responding to that survey said ominously: 'Our attorneys need to be become client development experts rather than expense-cutting experts.’"