Read a post on the Cordell Parvin Blog about the reasons your client development efforts may not be working. I’ve heard lawyers complain over the years how they are doing “stuff,”, but nothing seems to happen.
I’ll put a different twist on Parvin’s post by suggesting ten tips (using his thoughts) you can use to improve your business development efforts:
- Do more than good work. Clients may not fully appreciate what the value of your work product is (most didn’t go to law school afterall). So, you need to let clients and potential clients know about you and your firm, and what you could do for them;
- Prepare a plan. You need to prepare your very own personal, focused business development plan;
- Implement the plan. Maybe it isn’t fair you have to both sell and produce the work product. Well, that’s life in the personal services business. Keep the pipeline fed, using the tools at your disposal or the work eventually will not be there (ask many partners let go by law firms). Look at Kane’s Top Ten Markting Tips for some ideas in getting started;
- Educate clients vs. selling them. Nobody likes to be sold anyway. Personally, I sell myself, after being educated about the product or service, and why I should be interested in it. So, educate clients and prospects about the reasons and benefits of hiring you;
- You need to be very focused. That is the reason for having a thoughtout plan you will implement. That doesn’t mean you can’t take work that comes over the transom, or change it. But, don’t lose sight of the plan. You can change it as long as part of a thoughtful refocusing process;
- Be client-centric vs. self centered. That begins with understanding the client’s business, industry, and goals of the organization/client contacts. Clients have told me how frustrating it is to have to educate lawyers all the time about their business, and the context within which the legal issues come into play;
- You need to raise your profile. Work on being more visible to your target audience through writing, speaking, and networking with trade groups, associations, or community organizations where your desired clients hang out;
- Leave your comfort zone. It’s easier to eat lunch at your desk rather than to implement your plan, particularly when you have billing pressures. But avoid taking the comfortable out. You need to stretch yourself and not forget the importance of the other half of your job;
- Be a team player. Within your firm and with client contacts with whom you deal, look at your job as a joint team effort; and
- Provide extraordinary service. Go above and beyond just good work. That is the minimum in today’s competitive marketplace. which is vital today in the highly competitive market. Clients want more value so consider ways to give it to them.
Be positive, and look for ways that your business development efforts will work for you. Remember, rainmakers don’t get fired.