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Lawyers love to learn about rainmaking, or business development, or marketing, or whatever you're most comfortable calling revenue-generation. They love when their firm offers a marketing seminar during the annual retreat.  Even better, when the firm hires a guru to conduct a series of "lunch & learn" sessions.  

Unfortunately, when it comes to getting out in the world and doing it, i.e., applying what they learned, too few love that. For these lawyers, learning is a way to defer or delay the doing.

"I can't call that prospect yet. I'm still learning how to do it."  

It's as if they were engaged in a certification process similar to acquiring their J.D. and passing the bar. I doubt that many lawyers think this consciously, i.e., that there's a literal certification process. I suspect it's more that education, particularly if it's structured at all, is often a good enough excuse for avoiding the doing. To watch them, you'd think that people who need legal service will only speak with lawyers bearing some sort of business development imprimatur, like a Good Marketing Seal of Approval.

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Just as you can't make money as a legal practitioner while you're in law school, you can't make money as a sales practitioner while your mind is in "sales school."

Don't use learning as a substitute for doing. Don't wait for some mythical validation point.

Begin the doing, now.

While you're doing, learn more about what you should be doing and how to do it. Learning is for getting better at doing, not for merely knowing more than your competitors know.

Lawyers, don't feel bad. This same task-avoidance is common among full-time salespeople, who spend a big chunk of the day researching and preparing call lists, writing phone scripts, learning more about the products/services they sell, etc.  Basically, they're always preparing-to-prepare-more. "Call-reluctance," as it's called, can be paralyzing, but ultimately you'll have to get out there and interact with the market. 

Think about the law classes of lawyers who got their J.D. during the Great Recession, many of whom were forced to hang out solo shingles because there are no law jobs. How many of them do you think are delaying hustling up work until they've learned all there is to know about marketing and sales? The answer is "only those who are OK with going out of business."  They don't have the luxury of waiting until conditions are perfect for business development.  They have to do it now, prepared or not.

Embrace urgency

Do it now, and then invest time and money learning what you don't know, and getting better at what you do know but lack experience at. Experience is impossible without the doing.

If you're a law firm leader, invest your money and influence in whatever will get your lawyers out into the game to gain experience and produce results. Don't waste your capital on putative training that's really standalone education, i.e., that has no "doing" component; the doing is the training.

Mike O'Horo

RainmakerVT lets lawyers learn by doing, in small bites, at their convenience. Learn, practice, make mistakes and get virtual coaching, all from the privacy of our virtual world.

If you've ever purchased or participated in any kind of business development training, you know that much of the training you're asked to devote time to feels like "just in case." You can't see any immediate application for it, so you put it in the "get around to it when I have extra time" column. (We both know when you'll have extra time.)

RainmakerVT can help you develop the rainmaking skills you need to succeed amid real competition. This is not your grandfather's training. There's no program to follow, no big commitments, no nagging.

This is just-in-time training. That means you buy only the course you need right now to prepare for what you'll face in the next week or so.

Take a look at our course list, and then read what lawyers like you said about RainmakerVT in user-feedback interviews.