8 good reasons for starting client acquisition early – and never stop doing it

von Marion Ehmann

Many young, and also some not-so-young lawyers find client acquisition somewhat scary and intimidating. Many are clearly out of their comfort zone in this area and prefer receiving work from partners or more senior lawyers in their firm or through the sheer power of the firm´s trademark. Understandable as this may be, it is not a good idea, since it makes you pretty dependent. Instead you should engage in client acquisition activities at a very early stage in your career and constantly develop your activities into a systematic and regular approach. I will give you eight reasons for doing so: the first three are probably pretty obvious, while the rest is a bit more unexpected.

Your client acquisition activities today decide on your career opportunities and your salary or bonus tomorrow. Client acquisition is a skill that can, and needs to be, learned and practiced. The earlier you start and the more you practice, the better you will become. (BTW: Successful client acquisition requires some talking, but, most of all, it requires listening. Active listening leads to informed questions and builds relationships. Read more about the power of listening and how to train this skill in this earlier article.) Attracting clients is a game of numbers: You need to meet a lot of people and be seen and heard often in order to get results.

The problem with the above reasons is that the pay-off in each case is something that happens in the future, sometimes even years from now, while the pay-off for doing billable work today is immediate: Your billable hours go up, your boss is happy and you feel the satisfaction of having done a good job and helped a client. This is the classic dilemma between delayed gratification – waiting for a later, but larger reward – vs. immediate gratification – the temptation of an immediate, but smaller reward ...

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