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Play to Win

To Win Over Clients, Show Some Passion

By Sally J. Schmidt

Anyone who knows me (or follows me on Twitter) knows that I love sports, particularly my beloved Golden Gophers. So it should come as no surprise that I watched the press conference with our new men’s basketball coach, Richard Pitino. After 40-some minutes, this 30-year-old coach with precisely one year of head coaching experience had won me over.

Was it his appreciation for the University of Minnesota and its facilities? How he handled questions from the media? His promise to run an up-tempo offense? Sure, all of these things factor in. But the real reason I was sold can be boiled down to one word: enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm Must be Genuine

No one likes rah-rah, phony, car-salesman enthusiasm. But I assure you, a little more passion will go a long way in helping you develop business because it conveys both interest and confidence.

There are many instances where you can demonstrate excitement about your work. It’s important to put these words into your own style—be authentic, as people say. Here, though, are some situations where you should demonstrate enthusiasm, with examples of how you might convey it:

  • Talking to someone at a cocktail party: “I really enjoy helping business owners figure out the best ways to transfer their businesses and assets to their kids.”
  • Discussing a new project with a client: “That kind of issue is something we are so well suited to handle and we would love to help you with it.”
  • Looking for opportunities to get more active in an organization: “This industry is so interesting to me and I would enjoy getting more involved. How can I make a contribution?”
  • Cross-selling a colleague: “My colleague is remarkable. She literally wrote the book on tax and gets great reviews from our clients.”
  • Setting up a meeting with a contact: “I’ve really enjoyed learning about your business. May I come out and talk to you about the things that have made you so successful?”
  • Pitching a prospect: “That kind of issue is right up my alley. I would love the chance to help you with it.”

Obviously, young Coach Pitino will need to prove himself on the basketball court in the years to come, much as you will once you secure the business. But your chances of getting the business will be much improved if you show some passion and act like you want it.

Sally J. Schmidt is President of Schmidt Marketing, Inc., which offers marketing services to law firms. Sally was a founder and the first President of the Legal Marketing Association, and one of the first inductees into the LMA’s Hall of Fame. She is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and author of Marketing the Law Firm: Business Development Techniques and Business Development for Lawyers. Sally writes Attorney at Work’s “Play to Win” column. Follow her on Twitter @SallySchmidt.

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Sally J. Schmidt Sally J. Schmidt

Sally Schmidt, President of Schmidt Marketing, Inc., helps lawyers and law firms grow their practices. She was a founder and the first President of the Legal Marketing Association, is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and was one of the first inductees to LMA’s Hall of Fame. Known for her practical advice, she is the author of two books, “Marketing the Law Firm: Business Development Techniques” and “Business Development for Lawyers: Strategies for Getting and Keeping Clients.” Follow her @SallySchmidt.

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