1. Optimism - optimistic people are generally more pleasant to be around than their gloomy counterparts, so clients are attracted to upbeat lawyers. Lawyers may be trained to think in terms of worst-case scenarios, but the ones who exude confidence will retain and attract more business. There’s a huge difference between the lawyer who finds a way to win a case and the one trying not to lose. There’s also a great attitude difference between the lawyer finding a way to get a transaction done and the one searching for all of the problems with the deal.
2. Resilience - it’s the ability to hear no fifteen times before getting a yes. This may conjure up an image of a lawyer badgering a prospective client but I have never given up if an initial approach isn’t successful. In a law practice, winning a client can be a matter of timing. Some relationships take a while to develop, and the clients’ needs change. The business owner who didn’t need your services in January might feel differently in June or October, and you will be remembered favorably if you’ve kept in touch during the intervening months.
3. Self-motivation - some experts say self-motivation is difficult to teach, and this may be true when it comes to reaching external goals like a sales quota or billable hours. But everyone has a desire to meet personally devised goals that really matter to him or her. If you take responsibility for your future and design an action plan with your goals in mind, your internal motivation will propel you to meet those goals. You will also attract the clients whose needs are aligned with yours.
4. Personability - clients gravitate to lawyers they like. A friendly, sociable associate will attract more clients than a surly lawyer who finds meeting people an unpleasant chore. Although some people may be naturally more outgoing than others, anyone can improve his or her social skills through coaching or simply observing how others do it. Research has shown that top sellers come from every personality type, and the best of them work within, not against, their personality type. If you’re not a pit bull, it won’t serve you well to act like one. If you’re a nurturer, learn ways to successfully nurture your clients. Learning to genuinely enjoy your clients, regardless of how naturally outgoing you are, will also help you enjoy your work. And that is contagious.
5. Empathy - this is the underpinning of all Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills. Using emotional radar to discern what makes a person tick is essential. If you’re a good listener, you study body language, and you communicate well, you’re an empathic person. In Myers Briggs tests, the vast majority of lawyers are thinkers rather than feelers. For this group, listening and trying to see the world from the client’s perspective is even more important.