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Marketing and Business Development

Two Easy Ways to Make Business and Client Development a Habit This Year

By Julie Savarino

Do you have an MVP list? Julie Savarino says setting up these two things now will help keep your client development on track this year.

client development

Are you ready to make business and client development a habit? Use these tips.

1. Automate It!

Do so by scheduling an auto-recurring client development meeting with yourself in your automated calendar or schedule auto-recurring reminders to regularly follow up with your key clients, referral sources, prospective clients and other valuable contacts.

  • In your customer relationship management system (CRM) if you have one, or in your Outlook, Google or Apple calendar, create a meeting with yourself every week, every other week, or once a month. Choose a day and time that will work best for you.
  • Make the meeting auto-recurring — schedule the recurring meetings yourself or ask your assistant to create these for you.
  • Make each meeting between 10 minutes and one hour in length and use the available time you have that day to reach out and stay in touch with one or more of your most valuable contacts.

Why use auto-recurring meetings with yourself and reminders? Because:

  • Most lawyers and other professionals get bogged down in the day-to-day demands of getting urgent and important work and tasks done. While many of us have all the best intentions to regularly stay in touch with our valuable colleagues, clients, referral sources and friends, the reality is that actually doing so often falls by the wayside given all our other work, family and life demands.
  • Many professionals think they remember everyone they should keep in touch with on a regular basis, but most of us simply forget some key people — especially past clients and one-off referral sources whom you have not worked for or with or heard from in a few years.
  • In this still mainly remote environment, we do not see people face-to-face as much. So reaching out virtually is more important than ever for staying in touch and top of mind.

2. Document Your Most Valuable People in a Usable List!

Instead of keeping all your most valuable people (MVPs) mainly in your brain, make a concerted effort to get all your MVPs out of your head and into a single, organized (preferably automated) document or list, and insert it into your recurring meeting with yourself. Doing so will allow you to be more thorough and consistent in staying in touch. This will increase your success at client development, because business (and business and client development) is all about relationships with people.

Here are some key sources for compiling and creating your MVP list:

  • Your holiday card and gift list (if you have one)
  • Your LinkedIn connections (download a CSV file and review the list)
  • All your formal Outlook contacts and those who may currently be email-only contacts in your Outlook
  • The contacts in your cellphone
  • Fellow members of committees, boards and associations
  • All your favorite past clients
  • Past attendee lists and emails
  • Your desired new clients and referral sources
  • People you met at seminars, conferences and events

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Categories: Business Development, Law Firm Marketing
Originally published January 10, 2022
Last updated July 28, 2023
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Julie Savarino 2019 Headshot Julie Savarino

Julie Savarino holds an MBA, a JD, and is a licensed attorney. Over her 30-plus-year career, she has built a reputation as a leading business developer and client development and service strategist, trainer, and coach for lawyers, law firms and other professional services providers. She has been named a Top Thought Leader on LinkedIn for several years and has served in-house in client and business development positions for the law firms Dickinson Wright and Butzel Long and the accounting firm Grant Thornton. Connect with Julie on LinkedIn, contact her at and follow @JulieSavarino.

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