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By Felix Eckhardt, CFO and Law Firm Consultant, Whitehardt, Inc.

I like to compare a Law Firm to a Fishing Boat. Advertising is the net we throw in the water to catch clients.

More often than not, I go into law firms and observe the staff leaning over the side of the boat, peering into the murky depths and trying to discern if they’ve landed a fish.

I say, “Bring ‘em on the boat!” As the catch flops about on the deck, you will have no trouble deciding what’s worth keeping. If it’s a big fish, you’ll know because you will need help getting it on board.

Most firms panic and feel the need to make a quick decision before the fish dies. The fish won’t die, it will flip and flop around for quite a while, giving you the time necessary for an informed decision.

Most importantly, during the crucial 24 to 72 hours of decision making for both you and the potential client, that fish is on your boat – not the competition’s.

If you decide that this is not a fish for you, then lovingly release it back into the waters. That fish will swim home to friends and family and talk about this really great boat it was just on and how, should it need your services in the future, it will swim back to your net. Furthermore, that lovingly released fish likely will tell others to do the same.

Once you decide to keep a fish, it is yours to care for and yours to profit by.

Commercial vs. Sports

Fishermen come in two varieties: Commercial and Sports.

The Sports Fisherman can spend all day in the sun, drinking beer with his buddies, slapping backs, cracking jokes, and getting sunburned. He’s hoping for that big 100-pound beauty, but most days he comes home empty-handed. He may go many days without a trophy for his wall.

The Commercial Fisherman, on the other hand, is up early every day, tending his nets and angling the waters. He puts in long hours of hard work knowing this is a numbers game and he will profit daily from his efforts.

Most days the Commercial Fisherman will bring home 100 pounds of fish – not as a single trophy, but from many smaller ones in his net. Granted these fish must be gutted and cleaned, and, yes, that’s a lot of work to do for fish after fish, but his family never goes hungry because he provides for them every day.

Day after day, as the Commercial Fisherman trolls the waters for fish, he’s building relationships that lead to future referrals. Until one day, all the fish in the lake know the Commercial Fisherman’s name.

This Commercial Fisherman is confident that most days he’ll come home with 100 pounds of little fish. But every now and then, he will land a million-dollar commercial policy whale. That’s a good day!

The Sport Fisherman is picky and usually comes home with little more than a sunburn. His catch won’t feed his family or support a business.

It is far better to be the Commercial Fisherman.


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