What kind of attorney are you?

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When you hand someone your business card and tell them you’re an attorney, what do they typically say to you? They ask, “What kind of attorney are you?” or “What kind of law do you practice?”

They can’t tell from the word “attorney” and most attorneys don’t identify their practice areas on on their card.

If you simply answer the question and state your practice area(s), you’re missing out on a big opportunity. Instead, you should say something like this:

“I handle [whatever you handle]. I also know a lot of attorneys who handle other matters, and many other professionals and business owners in town. If you ever need a referral to anyone, for any reason, please give me a call, okay?”

You can modify this to suit your practice and the people you’re speaking to. If you know a lot of financial planners, for example, and you’re speaking to people you think might benefit from financial planning, you can add “financial planners” to the list of professionals you know.

So what does this accomplish? It gets the person to see you as a resource and a nice guy or gal. Not just someone with a service to sell, but someone who can and will help them. All they have to do is ask.

It also suggests that you are very good at what you do. If you know lots of professionals, then lots of professionals know you. That speaks to your success and reputation.

Finally, it gives them a reason to hold onto your card. And, because you added the word “okay?” to the end of your statement, whether or not they verbalize a response, it makes it a little more likely that they will call you when they need a referral.

It’s a simple way to make a good first impression, and it gets more people calling. When they do, not only will you have a new contact who is grateful for your help, the professionals you refer them to will also be grateful and primed to reciprocate.

There are other things you can do when you meet a new contact, especially if you think they may be a prospective client, but this is something you can and should do with everyone. When people need help, you want them to think of you and remember that they have your card.

By the way, when someone asks me what kind of lawyer I am, the first thing I usually say is, “A good one”. I do it with a little smirk and it gets a laugh or a smile and suggests that I’m not overly serious or full of myself as many lawyers are thought to be. I follow that with my “real” answer.

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