Gary Mitchell's Biz/Dev Coaching Blog
Whatever and however you celebrate this season, I wish you and yours all the best. May 2014 bring you health, happiness and continued success.
Sure you’re already networking. But are you meeting the right types of people? Here are a couple of quick tips to ensure you are meeting more of the right types of people. Firstly, you want to make sure you are going to the right events. Simply ask your ideal clients and best referral sources where they hang? In other words what professional associations do they belong to and what events do they attend.
Then before attending your next event, reach out to the organizers to see if they will give you a copy of attendees. Target 2-3 people from that list to meet. And, circulate that list amongst your network to see if any of your existing contacts know people on the list. Have them make an email introduction of you before the event. Follow up with your own email inviting them to meet at one of the networking breaks. Finally, ask the organizers if they would introduce you to people they know. Follow these three strategies and watch your network grow.
The final installment of this three-part blog series is all about “Where is your target market?” If you know who you wish to serve and what kind of practice you want to build, then the next question to ask yourself, is “Where are potential clients and referral sources?”
This question is easy to answer. Ask your current ‘ideal’ clients and best referral sources, “Where do they hand?” In other words, what associations do they belong to? What events do they attend? What publications do they read? if you want to find more of them, start with them. They will tell you everything you need to know about how and where to market yourself to your target market.
Another area to consider before working to build your practice, is what kind of practice do you want? I often think lawyers and accountants get started in their careers without taking the time to really examine what you like to do. What is the types of files you like working on? What are the types of people you like working with most? What are you best at? What are your strengths? You certainly have several choices in building your accounting or legal practice. And just like Part One, when I spoke about values, this is about aligning what you’re good at with what you would like to build.
Some people are more suited to litigation, and others more of the high-volume solicitor work. There is no point working hard to build a practice if you don’t feel fulfilled. I once had a client who, at 5 years in decided he hated being a litigator. So our work then was to reboot his career in a different direction. And he did and went on to be not only successful, but also fulfilled. But do you want to effectively waste five years of your career?
Before you get out their and marketing yourself, your practice or your firm, the first question you should ask yourself, is “Who do you wish to serve?” I advise you start to answer that question by taking a look at your own values. What are they? What’s important to you? Do most of your current clients have similar values? Align your values with the people you wish to serve.
The reason I suggest this is after working with several well-established lawyers who were stuck in building their practice. WHen I got in there and went deeper, more often than not, they were stuck because the people they were serving were not aligned with their values. So save yourself the time and heartache and have that aligned from the beginning. No matter where you are in your career, it doesn’t hurt to ask yourself these kinds of questions.
We use our proprietary TSD system in teaching lawyers and accountants how to get more clients and grow their practice. TSD stands for Targeted, Strategic and Disciplined. As professionals if you are anything less than that, you are likely not getting the best results from your marketing and business development efforts.
Targeted in who and how you are in front of people. Strategic in your approach. And disciplined in that you keep doing it even when you are busy. Being more targeted ensures that whatever you do in business development, you are doing it in front of potential clients or referral sources. Being Strategic means planning ahead for everything you do from speaking at an event, to having a coffee follow-up meeting. The part of this system is Discipline. That is often the hardest part to get in the habit of. But if you follow this system, you will get more clients. You will grow your practice.
Do you fix your own car? How about re-shingle the roof of your home? Do you call a plumber when you have a flood or try to fix it on your own? Do you try to perform surgery on yourself? For most, if not all of you, the answer to these questions should and will be no.
So it doesn’t make sense that being a professional service provider with little or no experience in marketing, you would try to go it alone. Does it? That would make about as much sense as your clients going to court to argue their case, or writing a crucial legal document on their own. About as much sense as them defending themselves to the CRA or trying to make sense of all the complicated income tax changes.
So do what you do best and look to others for the rest.
Change in the legal industry is all around us. I point to two recent articles. The first, written by Matthew Grace, Senior Editor, The Lawyers Weekly, in the In House Counsel supplement. Matthew explains how the role of In House Counsel is evolving. He suggests that In House Lawyers get up to speed with Business Development-now that’s change. The other article was written by Jordan Furlong, Edge International, in the October 25 issue of The Lawyers Weekly. He talks about how we are approaching the dawn of ABS (Alternative Business Structures), in Canada. If that isn’t change, I don’t know what is.
It’s an exciting time to be a lawyer and especially if you are running a law firm. More than ever there are opportunities to really stand out from your competition. Are you up for the challenge?
Today I received an email from a client I just wrapped up with. These are her words.
“The professional relationship that I have developed with you over the last year has been truly monumental in my career.” She topped that compliment by asking me to be her mentor. I of course agreed.
Wow. I am just off the phone conducting the last session with a client I’ve worked with for the past year. She was so thankful for our work together and appreciative of her transformation. I can’t say enough about her. She was like a sponge soaking it all up. She did the work, and now she has tons of results to point to. It is a pleasure working with other professionals who value the coach/client relationship.