The #1 Business Development Mistake that Lawyers Make

In this episode, I share with you the biggest business development mistake that lawyers make …and three tips on how to avoid it!

Alay Yajnik: [00:00:01] In this episode, I talk about the number one mistake that lawyers make while in business development meetings, it costs them clients and it costs them revenue. We also talk about three things that you can do to avoid that mistake from happening. Coming up next on Lawyer Business Advantage. Welcome to Lawyer Business Advantage, your source for biz dev tips, wisdom and inspiration. I’m your host, Alay Yajnik. We’re unleashing your inner rainmaker in 3…2…1….

Alay Yajnik: [00:00:49] My name is Alay Yajnik and I’m a business development coach and trainer for Lawyer Business Advantage. Now, I don’t believe in the mystical art of rainmaking. I believe that there is a rainmaker inside all of us, including you. The reason this podcast exists is to help you unleash your inner rainmaker through inspiring true stories, best practices and tips. Today, we’re gonna go through some tips. I’m going to share with you today the number one mistake that I see lawyers make over and over and over again during biz dev meetings and how to avoid it. You see, making this mistake cost lawyers more clients and more income than anything else that they’re doing in their practice. But here’s the good news: Just by avoiding this mistake, lawyers dramatically increase their chances of signing the client. And the mistake is super-easy to avoid.

Alay Yajnik: [00:01:39] Here’s the mistake when it comes time to ask a potential client for their business. This is otherwise known as “closing the client.” The lawyer completely botches the ask. Or worse, they never actually ask for the business. They just let the moment float right by the potential client. The P.C. says, you know, “I want to think about it.” And then they’re gone. Probably never to return. The thing about it is this situation is totally avoidable. You never need to be in this situation again if you follow these three tips.

Alay Yajnik: [00:02:12] OK, here’s tip number one: Memorize the ask. Look, you’re going to be asking them for the business. So memorize the words you’ll use to ask for the business. That way it happens automatically. And it just rolls right off your tongue. If you need to, you can even write it down in your notepad so you can refer to it during the client meeting. And bonus points, by the way, if you have your standard fee agreement ready for their review.

Alay Yajnik: [00:02:38] Now, I know what you’re going to say. You can’t do that because you have to customize your standard fee agreement for your client, et cetera, et cetera. I know. But here’s the thing: You can always update it later for their signature. But going through the standard fee agreement with them while they’re there -while they’re meeting with you- dramatically will increase your chances of closing the client.

Alay Yajnik: [00:02:58] So let’s get back to closing. My favorite way to ask for the business is using two sentences. Sentence number one: “Do you have any questions?” Look, if they say yes, then you answer the questions and then ask that again: if they have any more questions. When they say “no,” when you finally answered all the questions and they say, “No, I don’t have any questions,” Then I respond with sentence number two, which is, “OK. The next step is for us to review the fee agreement and collect the deposit.” And then we do and then we do just that. This is called the Assumptive Close. It’s really classy. It’s low pressure, but it’s incredibly powerful because we never asked for the business directly. We just assume they’re going to move ahead. And don’t worry if they don’t want to work with you…They’ll definitely let you know. The technique I just outlined is really powerful, but it’s not the only one. There are so many other techniques. A lot of them are incredibly effective as well. The key is to find one that you can actually use. Note I said one that you can use, not one that’s comfortable. Being comfortable is overrated in business development. We’re going to get back to that in a sec. But let’s get into tip number two.

Alay Yajnik: [00:04:10] So tip number 2. And this is especially useful if you’re one of those people that avoids asking for the business, right? You’re expecting the client is somehow going to close themselves and sometimes it happens. Sure. But tip number 2 is this: create an agenda for the meeting. The last point on the agenda should read, “fee agreement and retainer.” Send the agenda to the P.C. Now, they won’t be surprised to have that come up in the conversation now because it’s on the agenda. You have permission and you have a responsibility to go through it. OK, So that’s step number two.

Alay Yajnik: [00:04:49] Here’s tip number three: practice your closing script three to five times before the meeting with the client. Know it. Embrace it. You’re probably not going to love it. And that’s OK, because in business development, you have to be OK with being uncomfortable. So practice that closing script. Know it. Embrace it. Get used to it.

Alay Yajnik: [00:05:11] So those are the three tips we’ve covered. The number one mistake made by lawyers when trying to sign clients and three tips to avoid it. Tip number one: memorize the ask. My favorite ask is two sentences. Sentence number one: “Do you have any questions?” Sentence number two: “OK. The next step is for us to review the fee agreement and collect the deposit.” That’s tip number one. Tip number two: use an agenda that includes fee agreement and retainer as the last discussion point. And tip number three: practice your close three to five times before the meeting. Know it. Learn it. Embrace it, and be OK with being uncomfortable. Do these three things consistently and you’ll sign more clients.

Alay Yajnik: [00:06:00] And that’s a wrap. To get more episodes, webinars and free stuff, visit My name is Alay Yajnik. Thank you for listening. And remember, there is a rainmaker inside everyone, including you.

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