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When I suggest to corporate lawyers that they consider making cold calls, most react as if I’ve invited them to attend a human sacrifice. Their expressions range from shock to disbelief to utter contempt. In a historically sales-phobic profession that only now is comfortable with advertising, working the telephones to get clients can seem like the most offensive form of sales activity.

But as sellers in other businesses have known for years, the telephone is the most powerful business development tool ever invented. Nothing more effectively connects you with people who can hire you. Lawyers, too, can work the telephones tastefully, ethically and profitably. The trick is in knowing what to say when the general counsel says, “Hello.”

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