A survey by The BTI Consulting Group for Hellerman Baretz Communications LLC released today provides insight into how to distinguish yourself from other firms in landing new clients. According to the survey, which involved interviews with the “top legal executives” at 28% of Fortune 1000 and 15% of Global 500 companies, the best activities fall into 3 main categories: Personal Knowledge, Credentialing, and Awareness type of activities.

The top two activities are in the area of personal knowledge:

  1. Peer referrals are the most effective way to get hired (57% of respondents would consider hiring a lawyer after just one peer referral) , and
  2. Introduction via in-person scheduled meetings (it normally takes 8 telephone calls to get such a meeting, and 90% of attorneys give up after the first call ends in rejection, according to the survey).

The next most effective set of activities involves “credentialing” and include:

  • Being quoted as an expert in the media (interestingly, 3 such quotes equates to the single peer referral in terms of getting hired),
  • Educating in small seminar settings,
  • Practicing at a “well-regarded” firm, and
  • Publishing an article in a trade journal.

Rounding out the top 10 mentioned activities (and scoring less than 5 out of 10 in effectiveness) include: speaking at a prominent event, being featured in a media article, advertising, and a casual in-person meeting.

In planning your 2010 business development activities, this survey of the top ways to land new clients is at least worth a look.