“The calendar never lies”, Tom Peters.
You might think that business development (“BD”) is far more prosaic than this.
BD is a combination of:
- A fantastic website;
- Great off-line material (brochures etc);
- Hitting the network circuit;
- Hosting client events;
- Lunching with some prospective clients;
- If you are lucky enough, being asked to speak on radio or TV;
- On-line bidding.
The foregoing gives you a good flavour of the usual things that you should be undertaking as part of the BD mix but how much time are you dedicating to these? Be honest. More than 10% of your week/month?
The trouble is that most lawyers behave like a firework. You know the type: They explode into life and then piffzzz… it all fizzles out. Or perhaps a Catherine Wheel: something spinning on its axis but not making any (zippo) progress.
Yes, you have a BD plan that you clutch close to your chest but that is likely to talk in rather ethereal terms about undertaking more of this or more of that but it doesn’t tell you how much of this stuff you have to regularly commit to. But that is not so much the problem as being consistent and making sure that the work doesn’t get in the way. You heard me.
If you are struggling to engage with BD because you are too busy then you have got your priorities all wrong. I am sure you have heard the cliched story of the best time to undertake BD being when you are most busy but it is true. If you want to be truly successful then you simply have to make time for this stuff. Also, give yourself some metrics. If you are giving up or putting it off to do fee earning work then this means you have to take things more seriously. Don’t go networking and forget that this is work. It is not some social outing, even if it is a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with some old flames.
You have to commit to BD in the measure that you want your practice to grow. If you need to grow your practice by 25% then you need to spend the same amount on BD. It has to have the same priority and you need to review your progress on a weekly basis. Count back and see how many new client appointments you have conducted, how many networking events you have indulged with, how many face to face meetings you have had; and as regards the planning stuff, how much time have you set aside to make this happen?
Don’t get down-hearted or dispirited by this activity. It is all about the drip drip effect and making sure that people grow to know what you do and more than that they see you as the portal for other networking opportunities.
Start doing some proper planning. Don’t trust to your memory. Make sure you have you To Do list set up correctly.
I would make sure that I had at least 10 calls to make each day. They can be from old clients or prospective ones but just make sure that you have someone to call and you have got your message straight.
Likewise with your emails or letters. You need to have something to follow up in the coming week. Also, don’t let those brochures sit and fester. Send them somewhere. Make sure you have at least one networking event lined up. You need to network like a demon thinking all the time how you can connect one business or individual with one another. In other words to become the connector.
Above all commit to this shopping list of items. Review your progress on a cyclical basis and if you need inspiration go and hook up with one of the firm’s rainmakers.
For more on developing profitable business, innovating in professional practice and implementing social media, subscribe to the RSS Feed of my Blog. Follow me on Twitter at @0neLife, or @Ju_Summerhayes connect to me on LinkedIn or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your practice, check out my coaching and consulting firm via LinkedIn, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 075888 15384.