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Imagine You Couldn’t Prospect

My thanks to David Ward, a colleague who helps lawyers grow their practices, for this week’s hypothetical, which applies to all professionals:

Imagine that a law were passed today, to take effect in three months, prohibiting you from purchasing and using lists, outlawing advertising or promoting yourself on social media, banning seminar-hosting or writing about what you do—a law mandating that all of your business would have to come through existing clients.

Imagine further that under this law, you could serve your existing clients all you wanted, and if they referred you to a friend or family member, you would be permitted to take on that prospect as a new client—but that would be the only way you were allowed to bring in business.

What would you do during the next three months, until the law took effect?  What would you do after it took effect?  Would you continue to have success, or would your business fail?


First, I would imagine, you’d want to do everything you could to grow your existing client base through whatever means were available during the next three months.  What steps would you take that you hadn’t been taking already to quickly expand your client base?

At the same time, you’d want to strengthen your relationships with your best clients.  If there were ways in which you hadn’t yet served them, you’d want to start enacting those types of services immediately—even if the extra work would not generate any immediate income.

You’d want to let them know how important they are to you, by astonishing them with just how thoughtful and giving you could be.  After all, once our imaginary law were to take effect, they’d be all you’d have to work with.

Could you survive and keep growing your practice solely on additional and repeat business from your current clients, and their referrals?

Of course you could!

Even if you only had 15 clients right now, you could make your practice work—unless all 15 were hermits, with no interest in helping anyone they’d ever known.

When you had finished serving each of your best clients in every way you could, you could safely ask them to introduce you to people who weren’t already getting the same kind of support and attention.  One introduction from each of 15 people would give you 15 new, highly qualified leads.  Five introductions from each during the course of the year would give you 75 highly qualified leads.

This is all very figurative, though.  Or is it?

What would happen to your practice right now if, instead of focusing on cold calling people from targeted lists, or on doing seminars or increasing social media efforts, you made your primary effort to upgrade your relationships with your best clients and to parlay those relationships into great introductions?

Make your own new law today: throw away your chilly “lists”.  Start stretching further the warm, rich resources that are right in front of you, and keep REACHING…


*Image courtesy of

16 Disciplines

I suppose it would have been more fun if I called them 16 “hot tubs” for advisors, or less intimidating if I called them “practices,” but after 17 years of working with and observing how the most successful advisors, it's clear that there are branches of knowledge involved. 


Practice these simple 16 disciplines daily and watch how quickly and easily your practice grows.

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