Given that we call our regular blog "The Kiss", I thought it only right that I take the opportunity when working in Paris this week to visit the Musee Rodin and see the famous marble sculpture by the same name. Utterly stunning. How Rodin achieved such beauty and a sense of warmth and passion in white marble is testament to his genius.
Kissing has featured a lot in these past few days. How can it not when in Paris! Not for me personally of course - I am here without my wife and children! I've been working with an international law firm. But I have sat back in little cafes and restaurants in my free time and observed many kissing encounters between business people as they met and greeted each other. One, two, three, sometimes four - they do like their kissing.
Kissing also featured in the discussions I had with the groups of senior associates for whom I was running sessions on business development skills. Let me explain...
I was talking about how business development is essentially a numbers game. Not everyone that you meet in the course of your networking will be interested in forming a business relationship with you. Not everyone with whom you do manage to form some sort of relationship will buy your lovely, high-value legal services straight away. In fact they might never give you any work. Sometimes you will manage to convert your contacts into clients but it might take months or even years of work - keeping in touch, building the relationship, offering them some help here and there, keeping yourself interesting and relevant and front of mind until the right moment arrives and you get your chance. And sometimes you will never get any work from someone. You simply can't win them all.
So you have to learn that "no" rarely means "no - never". It usually means "no - not at the moment, because....". And if it really is "no - never" then that's great. You know where you stand. Exit gracefully and graciously. And then move on. Next please. It's a numbers game. Nobody died.
The session with the associates talking about all of this all seemed to go swimmingly well. Until I handed out one of our worksheets that summarises my thoughts on this point. One of the French lawyers asked, as he scanned the notes, whether I was trying to be funny and had produced a version of the worksheet specially for them in Paris.
Why? Because (and I'd forgotten this line was included) it says "You have to kiss a lot of frogs". Eek! I was somewhat embarrassed. Luckily they all saw the funny side and didn't seem to be offended. Phew!
I wish you bon chance in your own business development efforts.
And if you do find yourself in Paris then you absolutely must visit The Kiss!
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about the author
Michael Fleming is our Head of KWC Legal. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop him an email and we will be in touch.