On Monday, February 11, no one outside the dog-show world knew of “Banana Joe,” the affenpinscher who won Westminster Dog Show’s platinum crown – “Best in Show.” Two days later,the five-year old super-pooch is ubiquitous, appearing on all the major networks and in every brand name online and print news publication.
Jason Gay, the popular sports writer for the Wall Street Journal, penned an article for the February 14 issue in the style of a call-in radio show. The article, entitled “Longtime Listener, First-Time Barker,” scripts “calls” from listeners named Snickers, Biscuit and Peanut Butter, among others, who happen to be Labrador Retrievers. (These dogs made the point that Labs are the number-one most popular dog in America – the most owned and trusted canine among all breeds.)
The Labs are in an uproar about losing at Westminster year after year, especially in light of their dominance in the popular vote. Dog after dog gets on the line whining about how unfair it is – they even wonder if they should hire Phil Jackson to help turn it around for them.
Then Banana Joe calls and weighs in (a/k/a/ trash talks). When asked by the radio show host, ” . . . what do you make of this whole Lab controversy?”
Banana Joe says, “Champions win. Talkers talk.” . . .” I am sick and tired of the Labs just whining on Westminster. Same goes for the golden retrievers, too. All they do is talk . . . “
So what can lawyers and law firms learn from this? There is more talk among lawyers about business development and rainmaking than there is actual rainmaking. I do advocate effective planning, and not going out willy-nilly to try to expand your client base. But, if lawyers spent more time doing it and less time talking about it, I know the success rate would be greater. And I am confident it would be more fun.
Too much planning and talking is paralyzing. It sabotages the self-confidence that a lawyer needs to effectively engage in a conversation that will matter to a client or prospect. Find out what truly concerns your buyer, what his horizon issues are – hear his opportunities and challenges. The best rainmakers know how to gently guide and facilitate this discussion – with very little talking – so the person making or influencing the buying decision senses the lawyer’s authenticity and sees her brainpower uniquely applied to his issues.
Let the prospect do the talking and you get to be the champion.