As an attorney, whether you are solo or AmLaw 100, success is more quickly accorded to the rainmakers. As you consider mastering the art and science of new revenue generation through business development, it is essential that you develop the desire and skills to network like a pro. If you are currently un- or underemployed, this information is even more important.

Your Value Proposition

To optimize any networking opportunity you must have a clear understanding of your distinct value proposition and a practiced elevator pitch, also known as your verbal business card.

Your value proposition is the unique value you and your firm offer to its clients and why a potential client will want to do business with you versus someone else. Your elevator pitch, in twenty to sixty seconds, states who you are, a brief summary of the firm’s value proposition, and an enticement. The enticement is designed to enhance your connection with that person.

The enticement is audience specific. It could be an offer of a free consultation for them or anyone they might know who could benefit from your firm’s unique expertise as you offer your business card and ask for theirs; or, it could be an offer to send them an article that is related to their business or industry.  You could offer to provide a free education seminar to their legal staff or C-level executives on new laws to be aware of that affect their industry or common legal mistakes to avoid when pursuing their business objectives. Or, it could be a request, like, “Please check out our website and let me know what you think.” Or, “Your situation is at a critical juncture, let’s compare calendars now and find a good time to speak.” Everyone you meet could potentially lead to new business, so, say something short and memorable, and create a next step.

3 Main Ingredients to Initiating a Relationship

To summarize the above: While looking the other person in the eye, smile, say your name, your firm affiliation, your value proposition (how you reduce pain, increase gain), and a next step.

Example one: Hi, I’m David Keller. I am a strategic advisor who makes lawyers happy by adding new revenue to their bottom line through training and contacts. I wrote a best-selling book for the American Bar Association on rainmaking. May I send you a copy?

Example two: Hi, I’m Carmen Sanchez with the firm of ABC. Our clients sleep better at night knowing we are protecting their intellectual property and trade secrets. I wrote an article titled, “The Top Five Reasons Firms Lose Their Intellectual Assets.” May I send you a copy?

Example three: Hi, I’m Mark Evans, a recent graduate of Hastings. I love family law and helping people resolve complex estate issues. I wrote a paper titled, “Top Ten Mistakes Families Make in Estate Planning.” May I send you a copy?

Notice the key ingredients are included: who you are, your distinct value proposition, and an enticement to advance the connection. You need all three. You do yourself an injustice if you just smile and give your name. Give the other person a compelling reason to want to know more. Create an easy and beneficial reason for the other person to initiate a relationship. Even if you think this person may not hire you, the odds are in your favor that they may know someone who can.

If you would like private and confidential assistance with your elevator pitch, you can hire a networking and business development coach. Alternatively, you can ask your firm’s Chief Marketing Officer to record the verbal business card of the firm’s top three rainmakers and provide a copy of those recordings to you. You can model the rainmaker’s approach or modify it to suit your own personal style.

About the author:

dkingkellerDr. David King Keller is the award-winning author of 100 Ways to Grow a Thriving Law Practice and the ABA best seller, The Associate as Rainmaker: Building Your Business Brain. Keller is an Ethics CLE instructor and delivers business development training within an Ethics CLE titled Ethical Business Development Strategies. Contact him at or 415-289-0544 by cell 415-444-6795.