Rainmakers: featuring business development's elite

Interview with Melih Aksan, Partner at Aksan Law Firm

September 26, 2020 Carl Grant III Season 1 Episode 4
Rainmakers: featuring business development's elite
Interview with Melih Aksan, Partner at Aksan Law Firm
Show Notes Transcript

Interview with Melih Aksan, Partner Aksan Law Firm in Istanbul, Turkey where he is an international rainmaker. Listen to hear his insights on how to be relatable with very successful CEOs and to hear what business development techniques are universal what is specific to region in which he operates.

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Carl Grant :

Welcome to Rainmakers. I'm here with Melih Aksa. He's a partner with the axon law firm out of Istanbul, Turkey. Thanks for joining us, Melih.

Melih Aksan :

Thank you for having me.

Carl Grant :

So I got to meet Melih over the summer when I was visiting Istanbul. And he was introduced to me. Now of a lot of people will not know this name, but there's a partner that works for my law firm named Mike link. And he head of the corporate group, and people know him in the technology business community, and you were introduced to me as the as the mike Lincoln of Turkey. Now, how does one become a Rainmaker in Istanbul, Turkey and how is it different than the US because I know you've spent some time in the US as well.

Melih Aksan :

Well, thanks once more for having me today. So I think think that there's some, some universal side to it. And there's some localized aspects into this, I guess. But my experience so far has been like I have, I had three things that I consider to be important in being this Rainmaker in a law firm.I don't know which which one should come first. But the first one I want to mention is something I learned during my coursework at UC Berkeley, which I had my graduate studies from. It is to establish a trusted advisor type of relationship with clients, rather than just being random professional service providers. You know, having this kind of a level of personal relationship with the clients and big businesses and becoming more than just a person who is consulted as you know, to just to provide an opinion on a certain parts of the contract or something. Rather than that I'm trying to build a wider, you know, a broader type of relationship with the client, where, you know, we talk about, sometimes even talk about our kids, you know, how life goes, and, you know, by moving a step inside the personal circle of the potential client, I feel like they also perceive you as how would you say, as one of their closest closer contacts, so in my experience, they, they later on, tend to, you know, even start consulting about other stuff as well. Well, okay, this has a business side of it, of course. I think it's creates, it creates better business relationships, because then the client becomes more tolerant to potential, not mistakes, but you know, you may, you may need to earn some credits for, you know, being a day late or, you know, missing good points, but later on, recover, you know, but later on fixing that missing point, whatever. So, having this person relationship makes the client more tolerant towards you in general. But, other than that, you know, it makes your life happier in my experience, because I just want to work with people whom I enjoy spending time with, I don't want to be tense or nervous all the time while delivering services, you know. Of course, you cannot do this with all the clients You can do it with the majority of them I in my in my experience. And to do that to become the trusted advisor, I guess, you need to be a person more like like a polymath type of person, you know, rather than an expert in very avant narrow legal fields, you gotta be, you got to train yourself in a way that you are wise in the same time in the general sense. It's not only about having knowledge in this very narrow specific field. So I want to comment the listeners who may be students or need need some kind of advice to you know, always have a perspective on training themselves in a broader sense, you know, like they would drink, they can read philosophy, they can have more interest in World News, whatever. So it makes you wiser in that regard. And another another thing is to always keep a broad network of people at your reach. You know, like, if you have a very wide, very broad base as part of your network, you increase your chance of having something coming up to you, Mo among that wide network of people. You know, in my first years, I was always outside attending events, you know, drafting newsletters, you know, whatever marketing metric marketing type of activity, you can imagine I was out there, I showed up. But later on, I realized that once I expanded my business network to such a degree, it's started creating automatically, you know, started Developing business on its own, kinda. So now, I can't find time to go out and show up at, you know, so many runs as I used to. Because, you know, every week something new comes up out of my network by its own. So I also want to hear about your take on these. But let me finish with the last point we can then talk upon them in more detail. One thing I experienced was that it is maybe this is specific to my region, which I'm not sure you get that make the potential clients feel like they are equals to you, in the sense of, you know, socially, economically, or intellectually, however we call it you know, why do lawyers wear suits or expensive watches or, you know, dry expensive cars whatsoever. I'm not that type of person at all. I don't give a damn about anything, anything, like showing off my stuff or whatever, but I get to do it to some degree because business people, owners of businesses, you know, those high elites people recall them, they just, you know, in order for them to open up or in order for them to take your advice seriously, or, you know, even talk to you, as equals, you know, in order for it to achieve that level of relationship, as a partner of a law firm should do. I think you need to have a little attain a level of bourgeoisie, you know, you gotta be you gotta show them that you belong to the same cast. I don't know how to tell. I don't think this is something even, this doesn't even happens at the conscious level, it probably happens more at the subconscious level. But it is it is something because, you know, just I, the listeners can, you know, imagine about themselves like they take they can think to themselves when they get into a social situation. And the first question we ask in a capitalistic society is like, what do you do? And if that person tells you, I don't know, I'm just as a public worker at the local water authority, governmental water administration, whatever. You would lose your interest at some point, you know, okay, he might be a good person. But what if they tell you that, you know, they're one of one of the sea levels of Google or You know, they come from an upper level of business life. Suddenly you feel like you're you have more to learn from that person or developing relationship could earn your stuff like as a human as a as a business manager in all aspects. So it's a similar thing you know, you need to make them feel like you're that you are equals to them. I think I would concentrate. This rainmaking skills are perspective under these three, three main headlines. Keeping a broad network being at being at 360 degrees polymaths person who is wise enough to be able to become a trusted adviser and make others feel like you're equal. To them in terms of social economic aspects.

Carl Grant :

I get to experience this firsthand with you when I was in Turkey. I got an invitation to your nice office, very nice office. And you took me out for a nice lunch. And we had a nice conversation. And even though I've just met you that one time I feel like I have a connection with you. Like you're my go to guy in Turkey, if I need anything, right, and I imagine that's the kind of thing that you do with others, when you meet them when you want to purposely you know, get a relationship with that person or that firm, right?

Melih Aksan :

Absolutely. And I just remembered one more point when you when you told this to me.I think it is also important to create value for whomever contacts you have not not not necessarily a potential client in terms of helping them Reach out to a specific person or you know, since you hold a broad network of people under your reach, what usually happens to me is that you know, a person it happens to be that I know someone who can create value for that specific person in targets. So, I make introductions, I create value for them. And they, how would you say once I get them introduced to this specific person who creates it creates value for that other person. They become you become go to person when they need something, because maybe is the guy who knows, you know, so many important people. He is a he's a resource. Yeah, I think it all comes down to being a good resourceful person in their contact list, you know, whatever they may need.

Carl Grant :

And now how do you translate that to being a connector then using your legal services because you need to build ours and as always make that that transition?

Melih Aksan :

Well, there are just different aspects to it. At least in Turkey, there's some people who get Commission's out of the relations they develop, which I honestly don't do, or I don't focus on earning money out of that. I rather, I'm rather trying to create a strong network of people who are who knows me as a good good person and a well connected person, a resourceful person. And then on the way this field, you know, this fertile fields would eventually provide fruits for me, that's the,that's the target I'm trying to reach. Sothat's the main targets. But of course, as a secondary targets, you know, all these connections eventually turn into some kind of business, which you can or you or someone from your team can advise for. So, you're also creating your own business, you know, like, because I know that law firms all around the world, they're like hubs kinda. They're like multipliers. So, so called. Because we, we have like, hundreds of retainer clients and, you know, hundreds of regular clients. No one else knows people from that many areas. united under one roof. So I don't know if this could be turned out as a separate business by itself. But it's kind of conflicts. It's the legal profession, I guess. Because if you are seeking to earn money out of, you know, earning commissions out of bringing people together, it kind of hurts the image of an independent lawyer, I guess. So if they don't unite well, but it happens occasionally. Yeah,

Carl Grant :

No, I hear you. I know people who do. So I do a little bit of headhunter type work. I do a little bit of investment banker type work. I'm not an investment banker or a headhunter, and I look at the fees that those guys get, and sometimes I wonder, should I be doing something different, but I, you know, I do that all to feed the law firm, which feeds me and in the end, it all works out. And so, like any, we're coming up on 15 minutes here, and I like to end on time, so any lasting things before we sign off?

Melih Aksan :

Any last thoughts? Um, I just want to hear if you think things work similarly in the US as well, when I had some experience, okay.

Carl Grant :

very similar, the only the only thing that you said that is a little different. And I think it's a cultural thing, as you mentioned, the caste system, you know, in the United States. That's, that's not you know, it's not a thing, right. But But yeah, you know, we did you do have business executives and you do have, you know, some of the same types of kind of rank, if you will, but but everybody, you know, even the guy who's, you know, working in office services can become CEO one day in the United States that's like the American dream. So, so you you treat everybody, you treat everybody with respect, but I understand what you're saying. I understand.

Melih Aksan :

Absolutely. So at Turkey is a transition so you know, but then Something to take take from today's conversation for listeners could be that if you're if you are going to do business in our region in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Central Asia. That's something you got to consider, you know, well, the only coming from West is enough, usually, but if not, or if needed, you gotta be at that level up at that level to establish this good relationship test they can keep in their minds. This is something maybe, as you said, cultural.

Carl Grant :

Well, I know you so I will be able to get to the right people if I need to in Turkey. Thank you so much for spending this time with us today. I think you were great. All right.

Melih Aksan :

Thank you.

Carl Grant :

All right. If you need anything in Turkey, call Mehlih, Mehlih Aksan, thanks so much. Take care.

Melih Aksan :

Thanks so much. Bye bye. Transcribed by https://otter.ai