Strong relationships are the foundation of business development success in every industry during normal times and especially right now as we face the coronavirus together.

Lawyers especially need to invest in relationships to attract and keep their clients. This can still be done during the current pandemic through calling instead of emailing, online resources such as Zoom, Webex and others and asking how they are doing both personally and professionally. In addition, social media has never been more important than it is now to foster relationship building.

This is the time to get on social media – LinkedIn of course but also Facebook and Instagram (just make your personal social media accounts private and be cautious about who you accept into your network). The lines between our professional and personal lives are blurring by the day – especially as we have to work from home and we are getting a glimpse into each other’s personal lives  I think this is a good thing as it’s humanizing everyone and helping to build close bonds.

People will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.

Your goal is for clients to know, like and trust you, and is particularly important when it comes to selling legal services in a down market.

The attorney/client relationship is an intimate one. Lawyers are often privy to a client’s secrets, fears and aspirations. That’s why they are considered trusted business advisors.

Clients will pay a premium for the right legal service provider or go with a lawyer from a firm without a household name. What they want is to know is that they are in the best hands and that their lawyers truly care about them personally and professionally.

As my friend Jay Harrington so smartly put it, a service provider who communicates a calm and measured description of expertise, experience and the approach to addressing the problem increases your own confidence that you are speaking to the right person. You focus less on price than you would if you still felt unsure about the person’s abilities. After all, you likely care more about the outcome than you do the price, and you’re probably willing to pay a bit more if you trust that the problem will be addressed correctly the first time, without having to go through the process again.

While you may have to build relationships online and through phone calls right now, you still must. The world will go back to normal and you’ll be many steps ahead.