When you get right down to it, fear is probably the biggest obstacle to marketing success for most professionals. No one likes rejection and if you plan to ask anyone for business or referrals, the odds are very high you will experience a significant amount of rejection. In sales, for example, it may take 15 phone calls to reach five prospects which may result in two meetings. In other words, you may have to experience 13 rejections just to get two meetings.

And even if you get two meetings with potential clients or referral sources, it still may take 20 meetings to generate a significant piece of work. So if you do the math, you may need to make 150 phone calls or send 150 e-mail messages in order to set up those meetings.

That may seem like a daunting number. While that number will vary a lot based on the type of practice you have and the quality of the relationships you call upon, the bottom line is that in order to build a practice, you have to prepare yourself for a lot of rejection.

So what are some of the strategies you can use to soften the blow of the unanswered e-mails and phone calls? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Set a finite goal for the number of calls you will make in a day. Lower your expectations about how many responses you will get on a given day.
  2. Use your LinkedIn network to find second degree contacts who can make introductions on your behalf. Making cold calls is a tough way to build relationships. By leveraging your second degree contacts, you can overcome the trust issue much more quickly and find other professionals who are more inclined to speak with you.
  3. Measure your activity rather than your successes. You can’t control the outcome of your efforts to connect. But you can measure the number of calls you make. Focus on that number and reward yourself for your efforts, not for your actual successes.
  4. Start early in the day and make connecting a regular habit. If you think of relationship building as something that should be part of most work days, you will achieve the volume of contacts you need in order to find the opportunities you are trying to uncover.
  5. Try not to take the “rejection” personally. In many instances, it may take a few efforts to reach your prospect because he/she is already dealing with a high volume of e-mail and voicemail messages. In other words, remind yourself that it is not you. Your pleasant persistence will help cut through the noise and get you on his/her dance card. And he/she will appreciate your repeated efforts to connect.


This excellent bit of advice from our Director of Attorney Recruitment & Career Advancement Stephen E. Seckler, Esq. to solos and small firms on marketing their practice applies just as easily to your job search! Create a strategy and stay consistent. Building relationships within the thriving, highly-interconnected Boston legal community is a key component in not just finding a position, but in building long term opportunities for a successful career!