You may think your personality is fixed from the moment of your birth. As a lawyer coach, I doubt it. I have seen clients change key aspects of their personalities in order to accomplish their rainmaking goals.
About 20% of top rainmakers are born with charisma that clients love. But the vast majority of us do not possess such innate ability. Despite that fact, lawyers can learn ways to enhance their personalities for rainmaking purposes through coaching.
What are the personality traits that lawyers need to draw clients to them? After years of coaching aspiring rainmakers, I have found that the following traits are crucial to successful business development.
- Appearance of self-confidence
In this first article of a three-part series, I am going to talk about WARMTH, one of three personality traits that will boost your chances of landing clients and keeping them.
How to Show Warmth (even if you don’t think you can.)
If you are a reserved or shy person, there are specific things you can do to come across as warm. Those actions principally center on body language, facial expressions, and voice tone.
As you stretch your comfort zone and practice being warm, your personality will evolve gradually into that of a natural rainmaker, and warmth will become second nature to you.
• Relax your facial expressions.
We all have a tendency to mirror the facial expressions of our conversational partners. We feel the emotions that the faces of those around us are conveying, as if we ourselves are wearing the same expressions on our faces.
What this means is, people feel the way your face looks when they talk to you. If your face is tense, people feel tense around you. If your facial muscles are relaxed and open, however, others feel relaxed and open around you.
How do I relax my face if I don’t feel relaxed?
1) Breathe deeply at least 3 times before meeting your prospect.
2) As you walk to the meeting or before the prospect arrives at your office, make yourself smile despite your anxiety. Brain science tells us the smile will travel inward and boost your confidence. (I have done this many times and can attest to its positive effects.)
3) At the meeting, don’t knit your brows. Worried looks are not warm.
4) Move your eyebrows somewhat up, as though you are slightly curious.
5) Make your eyes open up and look bigger (but not bug-eyed,) and
6) Put a hint of a smile or a hint of concern on your face as you listen to your prospect.
Caveat: If you are talking to a prospect who has a current, legal problem and is considering hiring you to solve that problem, greeting the prospect with a smile is clearly inappropriate. Your smile belies the seriousness of the problem. As the meeting goes forward, take your cues from the client’s face and voice, and mirror his/her expressions.
• Use warm body language.
1) Leave your arms open while standing with the prospect.
2) Fold your hands together, intertwining your fingers.
3) Do not put your hands in your pockets. Concealed hands suggest you have something to hide or that you are uncomfortable.
4) Point your feet in the person’s direction.
5) Never turn your torso away from your prospect whether standing or sitting.
6) When seated, put your hands with intertwined fingers on the table.
Hands in your lap project insecurity and signal you have something to hide.
7) Try to avoid sitting behind your desk because that sets up a barrier.
8) Always sit to your prospect’s right because 80% of people prefer that.
9) If your legs are visible to the person, leave your legs uncrossed, so as to appear open to what your prospect is saying. On the other hand, if the prospect crosses her legs, cross yours, but do not swivel to one side with your hip facing the client. That’s a barrier which the client subconsciously feels.
(10) Now and then, tilt your head slightly, nod your head, and make quiet, verbal acknowledgements while listening. This will reassure the prospect that you are listening with full attention and concern.
(11) Lean forward slightly whether standing or seated to demonstrate your full focus on the prospect’s problem. And remember, good posture conveys self-assurance.
What you will find is that your prospect, who may be uncomfortable with talking about a legal issue, will begin to mirror your relaxed body language and gradually loosen up. Since the prospect now feels better, you are the one who gets the subconscious credit! The prospect feels comforted by being in your presence. Voila! You have established instant rapport with your prospect.
• Make your voice inviting.
Your voice is a powerful tool in projecting your warmth to others.
1) Lower your voice somewhat. Let your voice envelope the client with its warmth.
2) Slow down your delivery. A conversation is not a race. To avoid having to speak rapidly, allot enough time for the meeting.
Your slower pace conveys self-confidence and calm which communicate to the prospect that you are in command of your emotions and can handle yourself in high stakes situations. The prospect absorbs your confidence and feels comforted.
• Focus your eye contact.
(1) Focus on the spot between the person’s eyes. Be aware of focusing on that spot and not the face overall. When you maintain that eye contact as you are listening, people feel that you care about them…and that gives them warm feelings.
(2) Remember to break eye contact only when you are talking, not when the other person is talking to you.
• Direct the conversation away from yourself.
(1) Keep the focus primarily on the other person.
You can demonstrate warmth by asking questions that cause people to talk about themselves. You radiate warmth when people feel that you are genuinely interested in them.
Try to find areas of common interest to build rapport. People want to be with others who are like them, and they warm up quickly if you can find a connection with them beyond business.
(2) Use the person’s name periodically during conversations. Our names are our favorite words.
(3) Say you more than I.
(4) If you meet a person during networking or business events, talk about 20% of the time. Use that time to provide value to your prospects by speaking knowledgeably about the law applicable to their problems, about current trends in their industries or professions, and by offering advice or guidance at no charge. You convey warmth by your willingness to share what is potentially useful to your prospects.
Disregard your self-doubts. You can develop a rainmaking personality with the help of an experienced coach. By…
- Working together with me to bring out your best self,
- Role playing rainmaking conversations during our sessions, and
- Putting the techniques you have learned into everyday practice, you will begin to project the warmth clients and prospects desire. Your personality will take on a new dimension that enables you to be a successful rainmaker.
I welcome your comments and questions about how to develop a rainmaking personality. Share stories of the rainmaking successes you have achieved through getting out of your comfort zone and using the power of your personality to attract clients. I will include them in my next article.
Email or call me if you want to receive 40 minutes of coaching, by phone or in person, at no charge and with no pressure to engage me.
Email me at Newman@TopLawyerCoach.com