Business Development Client Relations Marketing

Best investment of non-billable time

The best place to invest your non-billable time?  With existing clients.  This is the rule, tried and true, which I learned many years ago as a fledgling legal marketer, and it has not changed since then.

Michelle Golden has a great post on this subject.  Here’s an excerpt:

As we coach professionals of all levels on their individual marketing efforts, it seems like we constantly need to emphasize the importance and benefits of spending a greater percentage of energy or effort on nurturing existing clients (versus new biz development). Existing clients should receive this heavier focus for many reasons:

    1. increasing the level of service to increase the level of satisfaction/delight;
    2. affect longevity in customer relationships;
    3. inspire referrals from current customers; and, oh yeah,
    4. increase the number of project opportunities relative to meeting customer needs–needs you won’t know about or be able to help them with if you aren’t TALKING with them.

I agree with Michelle and would just add that “talking” with clients means asking questions about their business and spending most of the time listening to the answers. 

Visit your client’s place of business.  If your client runs a pulp mill, then put on your hard hat and head down to the operation and have a look.  This is the best place to invest your non-billable time.  There is no faster route to new files.

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.