LDF Marketing Consulting LLC

Maximizing Personal Business Development Efforts

While many attorneys understand both the requirement to develop business and the upside associated with success – partnership, compensation, control of one’s destiny, etc. – they are not comparably aware of how to go about the process itself. After all, they didn’t take a “How to” class at law school. Nonetheless, adherence to these simple practices will get you started and moving in a positive direction.

For the sake of this discussion, assume that a referral source recently identified a client who may be in need of your services. Before turning your attention to pursuing the lead, make a note of the referral, promptly send a quick note of thanks, and remember to reciprocate. Now, where to begin?

1. Do Your Homework. Research the client, the industry and the contact with whom you are meeting. This is a crucial first step and, ultimately, it is what will enable you to connect with the client. If the client perceives that you don’t understand the business, how it makes money, what challenges it faces, etc., your effort will fail.

2. Anticipate Needs. Freshly armed with intelligence, identify needs that this client is likely to have as a result of industry-specific developments, trends and economic news. Position yourself as both an educator and a problem solver.

3. Engage the Client & Listen. Prepare a series of open-ended questions designed to elicit meaningful responses from the client that will enable you to learn more about operations, issues, opportunities, challenges and strategic vision. The client will appreciate your interest and insight, and the overall exercise will permit you to make a solid connection so long as you actively listen. Don’t make the critical mistake of talking and not listening. First impressions are lasting and you don’t want to miss out on receiving important information.

4. Express enthusiasm. Demonstrate your excitement about the prospect of working together. Convey that you are interested in the business. Ask how you may best provide value. Thank the client for taking the time to meet with you.

5. Follow up. Find a non-intrusive way to reach out following your initial meeting to remain top of mind. Invite the client to a social or professional development event, add the contact to a firm mailing list to receive alerts and publications, send timely articles of interest, etc. Finally, reconnect with your referral source to report on efforts and communicate appreciation once again.

Like it or not, business development is an integral part of practicing law today. By adopting the right approach, you will maximize the effort and increase your likelihood of success. For more information, please contact info@ldfmc.com.