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We all aspire to have our practice fulfill our three critical needs:

  1. Interesting work
  2. Premium pricing
  3. Appreciated by clients

The key to getting this is to “own” a piece of the future in your clients' minds. So, what does the future look like for your clients?  What macro trends will have the greatest impact on them – and how?

One need not be Nostradamus to see that an aging U.S. population has already resulted in shortages of skilled labor in all categories and industries. As this problem exacerbates, what predictions might one reasonably make about this strategic factor?  

Will affected industries and companies:

  • Offer major financial inducements to persuade skilled workers to defer retirement?
  • Make large training investments to “repurpose” workers whose jobs are no longer needed? Might they even acquire training companies to control scarce training resources?
  • Sell off or simply shut down entire business lines because they can’t staff them reliably or profitably?
  • Make significant investments to automate a higher percentage of functions to shrink labor requirements?
  • Outsource more functions to offshore suppliers in lower-cost population centers such as India or Vietnam?
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Should your clients choose any or all of these, or other responses you've not considered, how will that affect their legal service needs? Remember our ascending value ladder. (If you can't see the ladder, click "Display images" at the top of this email.)

You're trying to remain relevant. To refresh your relevance, continually think, write and speak about your clients’ future. How can you get properly informed to do that? That's easy. Read what they read, follow who they follow, attend their must-attend conferences.

Even better: Get help from the lawyers who depend on you for work and professional development, and who recognize the importance of sustaining and growing those clients. (If they don't recognize these things, it's time to reconsider your association with them.) Have them digest that industry information and brief you. It's a way for them to contribute to business generation, and to learn valuable skills and habits.

How do you find out what clients read, follow, and attend? Equally easy. Ask them. Now, that's a good excuse to call or visit. You'll find that they really like when you're interested in learning about their business.

Mike O’Horo

Are you uncomfortable with the telephone outreach I encourage? No worries. Learn a bullet-proof method that's so easy that first- and second-year lawyers with no business development experience at all can do successfully. Get RainmakerVT's simulation, Expand Your Network from Your Desk. It will be the single most valuable thing you learn.