Ben Paul: Moving Past Perfection into Action in Business Development

In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Ben Paul discuss:

  • Importance of just being active in your business development.
  • Taking action and executing on your conversations.
  • The three steps to building your business development successfully.
  • Top tips to improve your business development and the questions to ask to get referrals.

Key Takeaways:

  • Being active in business development will get you far. Having the right activity will get you further.
  • You can’t solve things at the moment – they need to sit and process with the other person.
  • Have the discipline to do the small actions that will build habits and carry your business development forward.
  • When you understand your reason and have the motivation to do your business development, be curious and listen well and you will go far.

“There is no perfection, but inaction is imperfection. Action is moving on to perfection in terms of developing client relationships.” —  Ben Paul

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Episode References: 

About Ben Paul: Ben Paul is CEO of The BD Ladder, a BD and marketing consultancy specializing in providing practical advice to lawyers and legal firms. He has over 20 years of experience in business development and marketing advice. Ben has worked in senior BD roles in several professional services and law firms. Prior to establishing The BD Ladder, he was the BD & Marketing Director at one of NZ’s leading law firms and oversaw their successful rebranding to Dentons Kensington Swan. Ben provides regular BD coaching and skills sessions to his clients which help them to grow their practices. One of his key strengths is that he brings active change to the way things are done, so that his clients can achieve the results that they aspire

Connect with Ben Paul:  









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LinkedIn: Steve Fretzin

Twitter: @stevefretzin

Instagram: @fretzinsteve

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Book: Legal Business Development Isn’t Rocket Science and more!

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Call Steve directly at 847-602-6911

Show notes by Podcastologist Chelsea Taylor-Sturkie

Audio production by Turnkey Podcast Productions. You’re the expert. Your podcast will prove it


[00:00:00] Steve Fretzin: Hey, everyone. Before we get to the show, I wanted to let you in on something over the next few months and starting on August 24th with the topic that taboo surrounding sales and legal, I’ll be providing some sales, free selling workshops for you to learn the basics of my methodologies. If you ever wonder what it’s like to work with a coach or go through incredible training, here’s your chance.

[00:00:20] Steve Fretzin: It’s easy to register. Just go to Fredson dot com slash events to register as my VIP guest. See you there and enjoy the show.

[00:00:36] Narrator: You’re listening to Be That Lawyer. Life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Each episode, your host, author and lawyer coach, Steve Fretzin, will take a deeper dive, helping you grow your law practice in less time with greater results. Now, here’s your host, Steve Fretzin.

[00:00:58] Steve Fretzin: Hey everybody, welcome to Be That Lawyer. I am Steve Fretzin, your host, and just so happy that you’re with us today. Be That Lawyer. Helping you to be that lawyer, someone who’s confident, organized, and a skilled rainmaker. The, you know, the thing that I really want to focus on today for all of you is, you know, the, the main topic, business development.

[00:01:15] Steve Fretzin: It’s something that lawyers don’t learn in law school. I, I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times. Hey, they never taught us this in law school. And I know that it’s a shame. And I know that there are some schools that are starting to kind of turn a corner and add BD and marketing into their Practice management curriculum and have it going, but look, it’s something you either have to be a student of on your own, or you need to hire a great coach.

[00:01:37] Steve Fretzin: You need to find some good processes. Winging it, not such a great option, Ben, right? No, never really worked. Not good, not good. So, um, welcome. How are you? I’m good.

[00:01:50] Ben Paul: Really, really good. As small as it is for me. Enjoying a rainy day here in Auckland,

[00:01:55] Steve Fretzin: New Zealand. Oh, I was going to say, it sounded like a New York accent.

[00:01:57] Steve Fretzin: I guess not. No, I know

[00:01:59] Ben Paul: my accent’s originally from the east end of London. So I’m a London born, uh, where I started my business career and then moved over here to New Zealand for, I could say a different pace of life, but let’s be honest, because I fell in love with a Kiwi woman and this is where I want to live.

[00:02:16] Steve Fretzin: All right. Well, it’s, it’s wonderful place. I’ve been down there years and years ago and, uh, I think a few times, but that’s a different story. We won’t get into that. No, I’m just kidding. I’m a goody two shoes. I would never do anything, uh, anything like that. But, um, welcome to the show, man. I appreciate it.

[00:02:32] Steve Fretzin: Now, let’s start as we do with the quote of the show, which I love to do. George Bernard Shaw, uh, this is, uh, the quote, people are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances, but people who get on, get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.

[00:02:53] Steve Fretzin: Thank you. I mean, that’s, that says a lot right there. So, so is that a quote that you’ve been either saying your whole life for a long time or came across recently? It’s certainly not

[00:03:02] Ben Paul: recently. So it’s actually quite an emotional one for me. My dad passed away last year. Unfortunately, he had Parkinson’s.

[00:03:08] Ben Paul: It’s a quote he gave me in my mid twenties. So being a super cool guy in London, I got headhunted out of, um, I was in a sales job selling IT training very successfully. So I have a background in B2B sales in the corporate environment. And then I joined a dot com startup because I was super funky and cool in the, in the early two thousands probably didn’t do the due diligence and then nine 11 happened and I actually got.

[00:03:33] Ben Paul: Made redundant because the recession parts that and the first time I kind of experienced that knock back of being made redundant and I sort of went to my dad as most of us would do when we’re kind of in that situation and reach out to our family and he gave me that quote and that quote stood with me and I think it’s almost like a salesperson or even a business person’s mantra because at any point there will be a piece in time where you get, you get a kick or as you know, the famous Mike, Mike Tyson quote, everyone has a plan until we get a punch in the face.

[00:04:01] Ben Paul: That thing will happen to you, right? But it’s how you react, how you get off the canvas, how you get out there and make the circumstances different. And that’s really, really held true. And that quote has always been my quote. It’s always when I look to, it’s one, it’s kind of what I try and pass on to my people I coach and to my kids.

[00:04:19] Ben Paul: And it’s, yeah, it’s really cool. And it’s something that’s really nice is the state of me, my, my dad’s passed on to me and obviously George Bernard Shaw. What an awful, what a man, and I would never try and paraphrase his words, superb.

[00:04:32] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, I mean, we’re, we’re trying to pass, you know, pass whatever knowledge or, you know, my, you know, my father, Larry, the lawyer, you know, had a lot of, he always said, if you can’t, you can’t make a deal, make a friend, you know, he’s, he’s got all that great stuff too.

[00:04:44] Steve Fretzin: You grew up in the projects in Chicago. And so like, you know, I think I grew up with great, just great work ethic. And I think a great attitude about, about, you know, what does it take to really become successful? And I’ve carried it with me and I’m trying to translate that to my teenager and get him, you know, and he, I could tell he’s a kind of a natural entrepreneur in some ways.

[00:05:04] Steve Fretzin: And I just wonderful. And so, so Ben, you’re the CEO of a BD, the Ben Paul CEO, the BD, the BD ladder. And we met, I’m trying to remember who we met through. I was happy that we did. I think maybe it might’ve been through LinkedIn. I’m not, uh, yeah, I think it was, it was LinkedIn. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:05:24] Ben Paul: I think, yeah, we put a lot of content out there all aimed for.

[00:05:28] Ben Paul: Professional services, but a lot kind of targeted primarily at lawyers as well, because they’re all branches of professional services, but in any given month or year, we’re about 60 to 80% in the legal industry. So we put something about

[00:05:46] Ben Paul: the client life cycle in a nice little diagram, and I think that caught your eye and drew you in to have a look.

[00:05:50] Steve Fretzin: It sure did. It sure did. Yeah. I’m always looking for. You know, not only talent, but I’m looking for people with fresh ideas or an angle that maybe is different than mine or would enhance anything that I’m teaching.

[00:06:02] Steve Fretzin: And so I, I was, it was, you know, we had a great, like pre interview chat and I’d love for you to share your background. I mean, you shared a little bit of the it and the B2B and all that, and leading into how did you get into professional services, legal and, and all that. Right. So

[00:06:17] Ben Paul: I was, uh, selling e learning financing on financial managers and project managers.

[00:06:24] Ben Paul: Quite honestly, it was getting to the point where it’s quite boring. It was such a, such a product sale and you could kind of rock up and sort of do the deal as you’re traveling back on the tube as it was then in London. And it was pretty easy, but it wasn’t kind of stimulating me and like most successful sort of business people or salespeople, it’s not about the money.

[00:06:40] Ben Paul: The money’s the reward that comes later. It’s about the intellectual challenge and the stimulation of kind of working with interesting clients and, and trying to shape a different kind of proposal and, and service. So at that point, I kind of scoured the market and then got this opportunity at Grant Thornton.

[00:06:55] Ben Paul: So global accounting firm that most people are aware of, and that time in London, in their kind of mid tier space, which in London is a pretty lively space, you know. Big businesses, they wanted someone to come in on their BD side to work and sort of coach and sit down with their partners because their partners had great, highly skilled BD pushback because they’d never picked up the phone.

[00:07:20] Ben Paul: They’d never had a sales call. They’d never done the things that they’re asking. Uh, the partners there to do so, yes, they hired me and of course, when was the last time you know, you spoke to CFO or had one of these calls, which was, you know, not warm. I know you can’t make cold calls over there. They kept, they can over in London or they could at that time anyway.

[00:07:39] Ben Paul: Um, and I would say, you know, well, two weeks ago and this is how it went. And then, Oh, okay. That’s different. Could you sit with me while I make a call? Could you make the call? Well, it was obviously going to come better. If it comes from you, you’re the partner in the business. If I had come as a BD manager, I’ll look like a salesperson.

[00:07:54] Ben Paul: This is a different business conversation now. So we kind of worked for that kind of. Really, really cool stuff. And that, that, that got us into there and, you know, various to and from between here and they then flew me over to BD function here. And then eventually sort of came back. And after a few, few iterations of different professions, got into working for Minter, Ellis and Rudd of law over here in New Zealand, really awesome law firm.

[00:08:21] Ben Paul: Probably when I joined. Was sitting in the upper mid tier, uh, and now is definitely in that top tier space there, that what they’ve done over the years and how they’ve approached it with their mentality as well as their skills. But I think the mentality is a really important part of it. You know, they’ve grown exponentially.

[00:08:38] Ben Paul: It was nice to be a part of that. I’m not the sole reason for that. And I never would claim that. Um, there’s lots of, lots of cool reasons at the top of a BD operatives in there that the partners themselves. But there is a, there’s a research firm here beaten that does research in the market and every year you can clients tell on the whole market, they will tell you that they are twice as active and twice as visible in the marketplace and any other law firm to the fact that they’ve basically doubled in size and more in about 10 years.

[00:09:08] Ben Paul: It tells you that yes, the right activity is key, but actually being active will really get you far and it, and that just backs it up that in that exact story. So yeah, that, that was a really good experience for me learning. We’re really highly driven people. You know, everyone in professional services suite, slightly different personality types, obviously every individual is, but on a kind of spectrum.

[00:09:32] Ben Paul: Yeah, that’s the first experience in law and it’s really, really cool.

[00:09:35] Steve Fretzin: And was that, I mean, and there was, there’s some experience that you had in law or just in general in your life that kind of turned a corner for you. And. How you approach either business development or just how you approach, you know, the, the industry that you’re in, I

[00:09:48] Ben Paul: think it’s a mixture of business and personal, you know, on the personal side, I think becoming a father actually just changes how you coach people, uh, your patience levels go, I

[00:09:58] Steve Fretzin: have a teenager, I’ve never been more patient with, with adults, you know, cause I’ve been trained by my teenager who, you know, thinks I’m a dummy half the time, you know, it’s like one, I think I tell people I get to help people that are very smart.

[00:10:11] Steve Fretzin: Anyway, he’s going to come back and guarantee you though that he’s going to come back to me in a few years and he’s going to be like, Dad, can you help me with this? Dad, can you help me with that? You know, because I did that with my father too, you know, Larry, the lawyer, smartest guy I know, you know, he helped me out of a lot of jams and helped me, you know, understand things I just couldn’t understand at the time.

[00:10:29] Steve Fretzin: But I think

[00:10:29] Ben Paul: there’s an important lesson in that as well as patient, right? And I think you’ve touched upon it. So. What you learn with kids is in the moment you can give them some great advice or you can have a really good conversation and then they’ll push you away and go off and do something else and you know, and then probably two hours later, it’s quite fast for kids.

[00:10:50] Ben Paul: It’s a bit slower with lawyers, but with these humans and busy lives. You’ll actually see them putting your advice into practice, which is the magic part, right? And it may not be acknowledged or whatever. Um, you need to let things sit. You don’t, you can’t solve things in the moment. And that’s one of the biggest learnings you get when you’re coaching.

[00:11:08] Ben Paul: You can’t solve things in the moment. And as your kids get older, and 11, so they’re. Of that, uh, age, I mean, they’re boys, so they’re starting to, uh, get a frontal lobe and a brain. But it’s that point where reasoning comes in. And then when reasoning comes in, can you ask the questions that gets them to self solve?

[00:11:27] Ben Paul: And it’s the same as coaching. And that’s, that’s the, that’s kind of the biggest lesson I learned when I came over to New Zealand from London and London’s much more direct culture, probably similar to some parts of the States where, you know, you can just tell someone some advice, they’ll go for it. Um.

[00:11:42] Ben Paul: Here in New Zealand where everyone’s very polite and I got what I called a lovely death by agreement. So I’d go around and see all the senior people and they’d agree to do stuff and then one month later I’d come, I’d come back and I’d say, how you doing it? Oh, well, I meant to do it. And then, and then, and so on the cycle would repeat until we got to the point of, okay, well, let’s actually just sit down and do something together.

[00:12:03] Ben Paul: You’re busy, let’s not, let’s not waste your half hour having a nice conversation. Let’s actually do something that gets you over the kind of hump of avoidance because you have to do it there and now yeah

[00:12:15] Steve Fretzin: So well indeed you ain’t doing it’s the doing I mean I was just on the phone with a client You know 20 minutes ago in executions the beast I mean we can all plan and get an all talk and we can all say things but ultimately if it isn’t done You know then nothing happens

[00:12:30] Ben Paul: As I say to people, you know, what’s the, what’s the perfect client email or perfect sales email, whatever you want to name it.

[00:12:35] Ben Paul: And you go, well, I’ll tell you what, the one that’s been sat in your inbox for four months, that hasn’t been, hasn’t sent is nowhere near as good as the poorly written clunky one that’s been sent by your competitors to everyone in their, in their database. And they’re the one getting the meeting. Right. So absolutely execution.

[00:12:52] Ben Paul: And you can see the penny drop, but for perfectionists and people who analyze stuff and don’t like making mistakes. When you’re dealing with, let’s be honest, things that touch on emotion. ’cause any client interaction in that relationship building has a more of an element of emotion than fact. You, there is no perfection.

[00:13:10] Ben Paul: Inaction is imperfection. Action is moving on to perfection in terms of developing client relationships.

[00:13:18] Steve Fretzin: Well, and I was gonna ask you about, you know, why it’s so hard for lawyers to, you know, sort of like, not just plan for BD but execute on b I think you just sort of answered it. It’s, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, but it’s when it’s not taught, Learned and it’s not something that they like, they know how to go to, well, how did they learn how to go to court and run a trial?

[00:13:37] Steve Fretzin: Well, they had to learn it and then they had to do it. And then they had to get told this was wrong. This is wrong. Do this, do this, this in BD. Where’s that. Right. So like, it’s not really happening for them very easily.

[00:13:49] Ben Paul: Anytime you go through life and try and pick up a skill later on the fear factor goes up for any, any normal human being.

[00:13:57] Ben Paul: By a factor of, I don’t know, 10, 20, it’s, it’s huge, right? So, you know, I remember trying to learn skiing over in Norway as a first year old. And now I’m really worried about my knees, my ankles. I still want to try and play soccer at the weekend, all this kind of stuff. So I don’t want to get hurt. So I’m like really, really poor and shit’s just hanging in, right?

[00:14:15] Ben Paul: Whereas you see, you know, the kids who are learning and you’re like, Oh, yeah, where are they off to? Right. Because the fear is not there and you learn it early. So to your point, you know, why isn’t it taught in law schools? Why isn’t a structured program through law firms in there? Something that I’m quite passionate about and we’re going to try and build some new services and products around in the beady ladder to try and help that gap in the market to try and make it easier.

[00:14:36] Ben Paul: Because what’s crazy about it is actually for most lawyers. Their cohorts that they went to university with and all the people they know in their circle are the ones when they get to the partner level who are the business and decision makers and entrepreneurs. So they don’t have to travel far, but they haven’t cultivated those relationships.

[00:14:55] Ben Paul: So then they have to start from scratch and it’s tough. It’s really tough. But you know, in the training room, we talk about when you want to learn these, these new skills, there’s only three parts to it. The first one is skills and everyone focuses on skills because it’s easy and tangible. The reality is actually, it’s probably the easiest part to get across.

[00:15:14] Ben Paul: And I say that if only the next two quadrants work. So the second one is motivation. You have to have some desire or drive to do this from within. So whether that’s to build the practice or law firm of your vision, and that’s, that vision is really, really important. Whether it’s to do the kind of legal work you want to do rather than the legal work that just comes through the door.

[00:15:36] Ben Paul: Again, all these facts you do there, unfortunately, and I say it’s in the training room, you can’t actually get a motivation drug that you can inject people with when they come into the

[00:15:45] Steve Fretzin: train. There isn’t that drug that doesn’t exist? No, no, and

[00:15:48] Ben Paul: even if it was, apparently, apparently doing it against people’s will might be borderline illegal.

[00:15:53] Ben Paul: Oh shoot. Yeah, I know.

[00:15:55] Steve Fretzin: Work around that. Yeah. But that’s it, and look,

[00:15:58] Ben Paul: in the nature of big firms, sometimes you’ll get people who love doing legal work, don’t want to do this stuff, and will sit there as managers, and maybe there is a route to partnership depending on the structure of your firm, or they say a very happy career at management level, and churn the work, and there’s no harm in that, because you cannot, you can try and help people uncover their motivation, but there has to be a switch that comes from within that works for them.

[00:16:20] Ben Paul: And the last one is discipline. And you know, it’s the same that most people experienced in lockdown, you lose a bit of discipline, you don’t go to the gym, you probably don’t walk past the fridge and then you realize that getting back into it is quite hard and you’re, let’s just say, let’s be kind to myself, a couple of kilos overweight.

[00:16:35] Ben Paul: Um, so, you know, a couple of pounds I should say for the American audience.

[00:16:40] Steve Fretzin: What’s a kilo? We don’t, yeah, we’re such a weird people anyway.

[00:16:45] Ben Paul: Ignition is pounds and now I’ve re adapted to kilos, but, you know, you put on some weight, um, and the same with BD, if you have a discipline of doing it once or twice a week, that ability to reach out to clients, then it sticks.

[00:16:56] Ben Paul: It doesn’t have to be a lot of time and a lot of what we do is talk about. How do you build the plans, the time you have to create the discipline because a discipline, then if you do it over like two months, three months, it becomes a habit. Habits fantastically in this area are hard to break because we all know habits are hard to break.

[00:17:15] Ben Paul: Then you can form a good habit. I like smoking or vaping. You’ve got a really good BD discipline going ahead for you. And that’s what you want to, that’s what you want to head to. So it’s all about doing little and Austin rather than big own the moment type movie Stark. I’ve heard that. Right. Beanie moments, but having that little to create discipline.

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[00:18:59] Ben Paul: Lawyers, there’s an easy way to boost your law practice.

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[00:19:24] Ben Paul: com and

[00:19:25] Steve Fretzin: stand out. Yeah. I would go so far as to say that I, I, one of the things I interview lawyers for when they want to talk to me about what I do. Is the motivation. And if the motivation isn’t there for me, it’s a disqualification. And I know that’s tough with law, with coaches. Well, but there are coaches that work with, I don’t work with law firms, then I only work with individual lawyers.

[00:19:46] Steve Fretzin: So I used to work with a law firm where they give me 10 or 15 or 20 people. And that was, my job was to motivate them and turn into Tony Robbins and walk on coals and everybody to make this thing happen. And. You know, over a month or two, right. As, as then they didn’t want to then, and they weren’t showing up for the group or they weren’t doing their homework or, you know, and have to babysit and, and, and the following.

[00:20:07] Steve Fretzin: Right. So, yeah,

[00:20:09] Ben Paul: that’s an interesting one. So we do similar stuff, but probably the, particularly the partner level is more one to one coaching

[00:20:16] Steve Fretzin: or, or, but they, but they have to be, even for one on one, if they’re not motivated to get coached, they’re not going to want to learn the skills. They’re not going to build the discipline.

[00:20:25] Steve Fretzin: So I think it has to start with that motivation to your, to like, that’s. That’s

[00:20:30] Ben Paul: it. I totally agree, totally agree, and look, we’ll sit with the booker, the managing partner, the BD director, whoever it might be, depending on the size of the firm, and look, we’ll, we’ll, I’ll be quite honest, say look, if you give us a group, we’ll work through it.

[00:20:40] Ben Paul: If after one or two months, we’ll know, we’ll have that conversation and say maybe, maybe just save your money. Yeah. I’ll take them out of the program. There’s no fun in me turning up and having a nice conversation. Or them avoiding it and you, you may know these people now, if you want to, cause there’s always an, yeah, an equality thing that goes on to give everyone access to this kind of learning, we can start it, but let’s have that honest conversation with them and with you and say, look, maybe this isn’t for you.

[00:21:07] Ben Paul: Maybe there’s something else you should be doing. Maybe it’s a leadership course. Maybe it’s that, maybe you have a different motivation. Let’s find the thing that works for you rather than carrying on down this path where, you know, you’ll say, Oh, I had a fun time with Ben for seven months and nothing changed.

[00:21:23] Ben Paul: So, you know, I changed from the golden handcuffs of a well paid corporate job to get into consultancy because consultants actively change what people do for the better and can lead to organizational change.

[00:21:36] Steve Fretzin: I think that there’s, and I talked about this on a previous podcast that, you know, while lawyers have one of the most, if not the most noble job and profession that, that exists, I mean, creating laws and making real change in the world.

[00:21:50] Steve Fretzin: I think consultants, coaches, uh, and people that can empower other folks to live their best life, to have their best career that ultimately leads to wealth, control, freedom, happiness. I mean, is there something more noble than that? I would, you know, there could be some argument made. I, I look, I think

[00:22:09] Ben Paul: it’s the buzz for me, a little bit like scoring a goal, which I do very rarely these days.

[00:22:15] Ben Paul: Um. That’s all. The buzz is seeing someone who comes in quite unconfident, you know, and seeing them come through the process and being just more confident in themselves, understanding that actually, and there is a truism in this. Most introverts do eventually make better salespeople and better rainmakers than the extroverts over a period of time, because that listening thing is just key.

[00:22:41] Ben Paul: Well,

[00:22:41] Steve Fretzin: and they, but here’s the thing too, you got the beady ladder. I’ve got my sales, free selling process. Well, what do introverts eat up? Digest and love it’s systems. It’s process. It’s ways of doing things. Give me step one. Give me step two and extroverts and the the the folks that are more outgoing Tend to be they tended to want to stick with their bad habits because it’s kind of been their jam I looked at and

[00:23:06] Ben Paul: they arguably they work quite well with those bad habits and look some really good Rainmakers in firms Are the worst people to ever ask to be sales coaches.

[00:23:17] Ben Paul: ’cause all they do in a firm is say, come and watch me and do what I do. Yeah. And it’s the most scary place in the world. ’cause they dunno what they do. They can’t decode it, they can’t

[00:23:25] Steve Fretzin: explain it. And as you’re watching and everybody, not everybody can do what they do. Like everybody’s got their unique style and it’s like you can’t mirror.

[00:23:33] Steve Fretzin: Someone I style if you’re not like them at all or or no, but I don’t know but it’s very

[00:23:38] Ben Paul: frustrating hard It’s really hard you start from a place you start from a base of no knowledge and no confidence You watch one of the best in the business, right? It’s a little bit like you’ve never picked up a picked up a basketball and someone says go on go and copy Michael Jordan and Go and play like him.

[00:23:50] Ben Paul: Yeah, I mean it would be mind blowing and impossible Yeah. So you wouldn’t do it. You’d, you’d go for the steps, uh, or go through the ladder as we do it, hence the name of our business. But that’s the point that you’re the clear process to get forward there as well. So, so let’s,

[00:24:04] Steve Fretzin: let’s kind of cut to cut to some of the goodies that we, that you talk about on a daily basis with the lawyers that you engage with.

[00:24:11] Steve Fretzin: What are, what are the, like the top two or three tips that you give them? Let’s say the motivations there, they’re taking in your skills and you’re looking to put that discipline in place. Sorry. So we got your three steps. But what, what are a couple of the, of the tips that you, that you regularly, you work with them on that helps them be better?

[00:24:32] Steve Fretzin: So, so the first

[00:24:32] Ben Paul: one is taking from watching the skilled rave makers at work, right? Which is have at least one or two times a week, uh, a spot in your diary. Where you do outreach work that makes meetings now most often, but there’s kind of three buckets in how, in how you do it, uh, particularly in the market we’re in, but, but two of the ones we really focus on.

[00:24:52] Ben Paul: So you’ve got your, your existing clients, and then you’ve got your referrers. So other law firms, accountants, people in that network, and then you’ve got targets. So people you don’t know that you’re going to try and target, which you can leverage your clients refers to, but that bit takes a lot of time and a lot of effort.

[00:25:08] Ben Paul: And that’s where you it. Okay, get your list of those people, write down names because when you’re a busy person you sit there, you’re not going to go, I’m going to go and reach out to Apple or Microsoft. You need to know who within that, that organization you’re talking to. So you get those lists and you put them in quadrants.

[00:25:26] Ben Paul: And then we build a plan of execution around the time you have, so, you know, I think I’m quite humorous. So we built this idea of doing BD in 18 minutes a day or three billable increments, right? So a little bit of fun with lawyers, but yeah, but if you put that early in your diary, whenever you start 8. 30 and you put that 15 minute slot in, because let’s be honest, we’re a slave to our calendars and they work in five minute units.

[00:25:53] Ben Paul: Can you send two emails in that time to the list you have that will get you a meeting in the next two weeks? If you, if that’s all the time you have and you do that twice a week, suddenly you’re building a really powerful program. The next thing we then work on is, well actually when you’re in that meeting.

[00:26:10] Ben Paul: How do you talk about stuff other than just the legal service you provide? How do you open up the conversation to find about everything that’s going on in their world that’s important to them and who within your networks could you potentially pass them on to do it helps them to me, the best sales meeting I ever have or, or new client meeting is when I go out and I’ve actually passed someone onto two or three really useful contacts to drive their business on and I haven’t sold anything.

[00:26:37] Ben Paul: Invariably, two weeks later, someone comes back and goes, Hey, that was great. Could you come and coach our people how to do this? But it’s not actually a trick. It’s just me generally wanting to help them being curious. You have that curious mindset. It drives a long way. And the next, the next thing we really work on is, is what is the proposed outcome of that meeting?

[00:26:57] Ben Paul: If it isn’t to close a salve, isn’t to send a fee, be there to how do you ask the right questions for the person you’re with? So there’s an obvious next step that you both agreed to. Ideally, a next step that they’ve defined, because if they define it, the client will then stick to it, which is where you have traction and the committed action, the committed action from them.

[00:27:16] Ben Paul: A little bit like we said in coaching, you get someone to self solve, but you need the client to tell you what they want next. So that’s, that’s a really important thing. And then within that, we also, probably the fourth one on the tangent is to save you doing outreach work and lessen the time you have to commit at your desk because you’re now at client meetings.

[00:27:35] Ben Paul: Can you get referrals in the moment? From the person you’re meeting with, which will then continue to come out of your diary because the cycle of meetings should be self sustaining to a point if people like you can build trust and demonstrate the right expertise and a good conversation, they will refer you to someone within the network quite readily.

[00:27:53] Ben Paul: You’re obviously referring them to that kind of quid pro quo kicks in and that’s a really effective way. So suddenly you can see people go, well, actually now I’m at a point of really full diary, lots of central client meetings. And then we get into the point of, okay, so how often do you need to see each client?

[00:28:10] Ben Paul: Which ones are most important and all that kind of qualification side of in the list. But the first thing is to build that activity pipeline and learn the skills and see how you keep developing it. I

[00:28:20] Steve Fretzin: mean, and just, just to add to what you’re saying, I mean, the biggest mistake I think of everything. Is the lawyers that have the clients and haven’t taken the moment to upsell cross sell yet a referral and just have a couple of good questions or a way of approaching it.

[00:28:38] Steve Fretzin: So you don’t feel salesy and just like I have clients that just in just getting in front of, like getting in front of clients, going in, like walking in and like visiting their warehouse or their manufacturing and walking around, they’re going to find. Things and they’re going to say, Hey, can you help me with this?

[00:28:55] Steve Fretzin: Can you help me with that? It’s like the business is there. You’re just not being present.

[00:28:59] Ben Paul: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s really interesting because what do people do to prep for a client meeting, you know, and they’ll go to their website and they’ll team up streams and streams information, and it all seems logical, but when you look at it.

[00:29:12] Ben Paul: It’s actually borderline crazy because you’ll never know as much about someone’s business as they know themselves. And the nuances and the things that are important, if you ask the right questions, they will tell you. And so realistically, the prep should be based on a bit of a knowledge of, sure, what questions should I ask them?

[00:29:30] Ben Paul: What’s my top five or six questions I need to ask in this meeting? Just write those down. And I’m done.

[00:29:36] Steve Fretzin: I want to run. We have to wrap up then. But I mean, I would love if you would be open to it, to sharing maybe just a couple of those questions. What are like the top two or three questions that you’re teaching lawyers to ask that helps them get.

[00:29:51] Steve Fretzin: Deeper in with the client or get the referral idea, the concept of the referral in their client’s head, or actually to bring it

[00:29:59] Ben Paul: out. Sell it. The referral was a fantastic one, right? And it kind of goes around the idea of, you know, where the control and the conversation goes. So if you say to someone, look, I really enjoyed the conversation.

[00:30:10] Ben Paul: I really want to beyond what we’re, what we’re doing, I’d love to help you in what you’re doing. Perhaps you could tell me who you’d like me to refer you to, or the types of referrals you’re looking for. The interesting thing is they might answer that, but more often than not, they’ll say, that’s a really good point, let me think about that.

[00:30:24] Ben Paul: But who would you want me to refer you to? They tend to throw it back. And what you, what you find with lawyers that works really, really well because they feel a little bit hashtag awkward asking for, you know, could you refer me to someone? But actually you’re not, but they will come back the other way.

[00:30:40] Ben Paul: You know, the other time is obviously the end, close a massive, it’s been a good job. Reaffirm the experience, say when it’s been good and then say like, Hey, I really enjoyed that as someone else I should speak to. And that could be internally within the organization that’s often missed, or it could be within their external network.

[00:30:56] Ben Paul: So they’re kind of the keys and, and the other question within the moment, cause that was in your, your question earlier, just thinking back, you know, quite often we get caught on the, the topic we’re talking about or an issue comes up. So we really focus on that. I think it’s a case of really analyzing, is this one of your biggest challenges or are there some other things that are equally or more important?

[00:31:24] Ben Paul: Suddenly the whole conversation opens up, right? And this is really important because I’m often called in by people saying, Hey, look, we’ve got a great bunch of clients. There’s no work out there. We finished the matter. We don’t know what to say to them. You know, we know they like rugby over here. Over there would be baseball or American football gridiron, you know, and you go, that’s really useful information.

[00:31:50] Ben Paul: But. Outside of buying them a ticket on the 50 yard line in a box, which they’ve probably already got because they’re quite senior people and they’d rather go with their family and friends. You have to start again and learn more about their business because you only know about the distinct matter you did.

[00:32:04] Ben Paul: You don’t, not even a hundred percent sure what fits in their whole business plan. If you haven’t shown that interest, it’s very hard to go back and have a business conversation. So again, it all comes down to that curious mindset. How much can you open up the conversation? How much can you learn it? And look, it’s tricky sometimes.

[00:32:19] Ben Paul: If you’re the heart of litigation, you’re probably not going to ask, is this important to you? Right? If someone’s on the bed, the file matter. But there’s always a point where there’s a, a different conversation can be opened up and it’s just picking that time and we work on that kind of timing aspect with clients as well.

[00:32:33] Ben Paul: Yeah.

[00:32:34] Steve Fretzin: Really insightful, Ben. I appreciate that so much. Um, we’re going to wrap things up with a game changing podcast and book. And we’ve got a podcast now you’re, I’m a big premier league soccer fan and you’re, it turns out you’re a West Ham guy and, uh, so, so what’s the, what’s the podcast that you love to listen to?

[00:32:51] Steve Fretzin: It helps you enjoy your team. So it’s called stop

[00:32:55] Ben Paul: hammer time. Um, I’ve been listening to it for well over a decade now. It’s just quite humorous and it kind of takes me back to the kind of, uh, the culture and it’s a bit of, bit of fun. Weirdly, the podcasts when West Ham are doing, we’re doing badly and having a poor season are more fun than when we’re doing well because there’s more humor in it for them.

[00:33:12] Ben Paul: Um, but the last few years, like I’m not going to lie, I’ve enjoyed being good and we won our first trophy in 43 years. So I’m a very happy person. Um, but look, it’s a really, really, really, really cool podcast on a kind of, uh, business point. I should point out that there’s a, another podcast I do listen to, which is this legal life by a company called Nexel.

[00:33:32] Ben Paul: I’ve appeared on it myself. That’s not the only reason why it’s great. And look, Nexel is a really cool organization that. Does CRM for law firms, for some of the bigger law firms out there, which is really cool and tries to, a little bit like we do, Steva gets the heart of what the issue is for those people and kind of make it as automated as possible, but the information in hand, what they need.

[00:33:54] Ben Paul: Um, but then they invite loads of experts on those kind of shows and, uh, interview them and just try and get. Wider, wider advantage for the legal profession. A bit like what? What you do, which I think is really cool. The more of this out there, the better it is for those lawyers out there

[00:34:09] Steve Fretzin: learning to develop.

[00:34:10] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. I mean, if they’re not gonna, I mean, look, it may lead to, to someone hiring a coach or finding a mentor, you know, just learning from someone else. But ultimately you have to be a student of the the bus, the business development game. Yeah. And the podcasts and the books and the videos and the things that are out there right now have never been, you know, more helpful.

[00:34:28] Steve Fretzin: So I would say, you know, search out. You know, whatever you can to, you know, understand like business development and marketing have become, you know, the second most important thing, maybe next to being a great lawyer. And if you’re not leaning into it, then you might end up becoming again, you know, challenged in the future versus the folks that, you know, are thinking ahead.

[00:34:49] Steve Fretzin: So, um, Hey Ben, if people want to reach out to you and they want to hear about the beady ladder, what, what’s the best way for them to reach you? Uh, best

[00:34:58] Ben Paul: way to reach me is email ben at beadyladder. com really, really simple. Yeah. Um, that obviously gives you the website address beadyladder. com as well. And you’ll find me on LinkedIn, Ben Paul on LinkedIn, uh, really, really simple.

[00:35:13] Ben Paul: They’re the best ways all time zones love to have conversation with people. Uh, if anything, any questions that come up from what they’ve heard today, then just flip them over.

[00:35:21] Steve Fretzin: Happy to answer. Yeah. You’re very responsive and I appreciate you being on the show and sharing your wisdom. And I have my usual, I’m showing everybody showing Ben my usual page of notes of all the things that I’ve loved that you said from skills and motivation and discipline to.

[00:35:35] Steve Fretzin: You know, there is no perfect fit. I mean, I, I, I love the sound bites because they’re, you know, you could take them and you can just learn a quick lesson from something and, and you may not pick everything up, you know, in 30 minutes, but you get a couple of good takeaways. That’s really, I think that’s what maybe we need to focus.

[00:35:50] Steve Fretzin: I was just like little bits and pieces. We can, we can get out of stuff, but, uh, Hey, just wrapping up with, um, thanking our sponsors. We’ve got GetVisible, just superstars in the legal marketing space, you know, doing the digital marketing, the pay per click and the SEO and everything you need to make sure that you’re getting found and getting that business in the door.

[00:36:09] Steve Fretzin: We’ve got Overture Law, who’s helping you not only get business, but also refer out business in an ethical way. And of course Moneypenny, who’s just awesome at helping you get rid of those stinking phone trees. I hate those phone trees. And so, of course, they’re going to be terrific to help you make sure you get to the right person and, um, and get the, get the intake going on that.

[00:36:28] Steve Fretzin: So check out Money Penny. Of course, if you’re looking for a copy of my book, Sales Free Selling, the, the death of sales and the rise of a new methodology, you can go to fretson. com slash sales dash free dash selling to pick that up. And that is sort of the juice right there, guys. Ben, thanks so much. I appreciate you being here, man.

[00:36:49] Steve Fretzin: Awesome. Loved it.

[00:36:50] Ben Paul: Thanks Steve. Been great

[00:36:51] Steve Fretzin: fun. Awesome. Awesome. And thank you everybody for spending time with Ben and I today.

[00:37:07] Narrator: Thanks for listening to Be That Lawyer, life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Visit Steve’s website Fretzin. com for additional information and to stay up to date on the latest legal business development and marketing trends. For more information and important links about today’s episode, check out today’s.

[00:37:29] Narrator: show notes.