Need to bring in clients but don’t want to be “salesy”? Try thinking of it this way instead

Many lawyers and accountants (and many others too) know this conundrum….. For so many years you are assessed on your technical capabilities and then as you approach the path to Partner, you are expected to be able to uncover opportunities to attract more clients, and therefore revenue, to the business.

To counter this, many professional firms take the approach of sending people on a 3 day business development course and then expect the participants to be magically rolling in new business on day 4.

It’s a totally different set of neural pathways

Unfortunately it not quite that simple. The main problem with that idea is that business development is a completely different skillset and mindset, and neuroscience will back up that it’s just not possible to do a 3 day business development course and expect your neural pathways to be all rewired that quickly.

Fun fact – a study was done on London taxi drivers which looked at the structure of their brains compared to other people who weren’t taxi drivers. You probably know that London taxi drivers do a knowledge test and need to have an insane memory of London streets. Hence their memory is unbelievable. The main part of the brain involved in memory is the hippocampus and this study showed that the taxi drivers generally had an enlarged hippocampus compared to control subjects.

Even more interestingly, when they retired, their hippocampi shrank back to a similar size to the controls. Your brain literally behaves like a muscle and therefore you need to train it to specifically meet your goals.

Redefine your goal

The first step is to think deeper about what your actual goal is. Sure you may be required to bring in more business, but it goes deeper than that. In most cases the goal is to identify client needs and then to meet those client needs so that you are adding massive value to them. And isn’t aiming to add massive value to others a fairly noble goal?

Let’s face it, if you know someone has a need and you can help meet that need, isn’t it rude to keep your services to yourself? Would you want to add value? So redefining the goal to adding massive value or a variation on that is probably a good place to start rewiring you brain.

What’s really holding you back?

When we do this exercise with teams, we ask them what is really holding them back from doing more client-focused activities. And the answers are generally all limiting beliefs.

Common limiting beliefs in this case include:

  • Our fees are too high and the client won’t want to pay them
  • They think I’m too young to have enough technical knowledge
  • I don’t have enough technical knowledge
  • The client is really busy – I don’t want to bother them
  • They will think I’m trying to be “salesy”

And the list goes on. Notice that all of these limiting beliefs are about you. When your goal is to add massive value, the focus is on the client and their needs.

So it’s important to acknowledge these beliefs (your current neural wiring) and start to think about whether those beliefs are actually true (probably not) and what beliefs would be better aligned to your goal of adding massive value.

So go forth and think about redefining your goal. Personally I’ve never seen anyone go too far awry with the goal of adding massive value to other people.

And once you’ve redefined your goal, then think about all the ways that you can add massive value to clients, and see how they become very keen to want to do more business with you.

Naturally this is a much bigger topic than this blog so if you would like more people in your business to feel comfortable bringing in more clients, then please get in touch.


If you’d like to find out more, join the conversation in our next open workshop.