Rainmaking Recommendation #266: There’s No Such Thing as a Former Client

In the last Rainmaking Recommendation, I discussed seven reliable ways to build your book of business. One of the ways was to contact your former clients.

But, what I didn’t say is that there really is no such thing as former clients – only former matters. 

A true rainmaker keeps in touch with everyone regularly and continues to build relationships with the people for whom they have worked in the past. In addition, they never lose touch with someone with whom they’ve done business.

Therefore, you must reach out to your former clients. And while this may seem time-consuming, it doesn’t have to be – there are so many ways to connect with people nowadays:

  • Call
  • Text
  • Email
  • Connect on Social media
  • Direct Message
  • Slack
  • Via Zoom

If you are in a mid-market or large law firm, here are the steps for you to try to reach out to former clients:

  • Obtain a list of all of your former clients from your firm’s CRM or create that list from your records
  • Supplement this list with any other former clients whom you may have worked with in the past
  • Have your assistant or marketing department ensure you have all of the correct contact information. Remember, people may have gotten new jobs, been promoted to new positions, or started their own businesses. 
  • Once you have the most up-to-date information, you can reach out to them.

The question I usually get is, “but what do I say?”

It’s easy. 

The first thing you say(or write) is, “Your name came to mind.” 

Do not say: “I was just thinking about you.” 

The difference between the two sentences is that one focuses on the client (Your name came to mind), and the other focuses on you (I was just thinking about you). And for Rainmaking purposes, it is always about them

After that, it is about communication. Catch up with them if it has been a long time:  just ask them how they are, how they have been, how’s business, what they have been up to, how’s the family, and how did they survive the pandemic. It doesn’t matter what you say as long as you start to rebuild (or continue to build) the relationship you had when you worked for that client.

When I have taught this technique to my clients, one of the former clients inevitably has something legal that needs addressing. And even if the work is not in your practice area, you have colleagues in your firm who may be able to help them.    

What you then become to that person is their advisor, not just their attorney. And becoming a trusted advisor is just one of the ways to become a Rainmaker. 

The one thing you never want to hear from a client, whether they are a past or current client, is, “I didn’t know your firm did that.”

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