Gary Mitchell's Biz/Dev Coaching Blog
I will be speaking at this very timely conference on October 23, in Toronto. Motivated by the rapidly evolving legal landscape, this program will provide a unique forum for senior legal industry stakeholders to come together and discuss developing trends, innovative concepts and related issues, domestically and globally, that will directly affect your profession.
What you’ll get:
Leave equipped with multiple perspectives from managing partners and general counsel who are successfully navigating this evolving legal landscape as they deliver insights into what is working for them, including:
- Practical guidance on implementing Alternative Business Structures
- Assessing and improving law firm fiscal management
- Insights from the Legal Innovators
- Understanding your role in the fight for access to justice
- Creating and maintaining a cross-generational team
- Expert advice on what the in-house client really wants
- Proven strategies to increase profitability using different billing guidelines
- Learn how to preserve your corporate legacy through succession planning
REAL-WORLD APPLICATION! Deep-dive into building a pricing framework from both a private practice and in house perspective, to achieve client satisfaction and derive value at our Pricing Workshop.
Reserve your space today by calling 1-877-927-7936 or by faxing your registration form to 1-877-927-1563 or online. Mention my name, Gary Mitchell and receive a $200 discount. See you in Toronto.
I am very pleased to chair “Raindance: The Business Development Bootcamp for Lawyers” to air September 24th. This Bootcamp is especially geared towards solo practice and small to mid-size firms who are looking to grow. Working closely with the conference organizers at The Commons Institute, we’ve put together a stellar group of presenters including legal practitioners and legal marketers who are leading innovation in today’s marketplace. You will hear from a Law Clerk who will share what she did to grow her network and bring in clients to her firm; a 4th year M&A Lawyer who will share her approach to business development, and a Managing Partner will share how he continued to make rain, lead the firm, manage his people, engage his team in business development and grow his firm. We also have Jana Schilder, my Co-Founding Partner of Legal A Team, who will cover the value of media relations in growing your firm, and Susan Van Dyke of Vandyke marketing, who will cover off effectively using Social Media.
In addition to the amazing content we will cover, each participant of Raindance will receive a copy of my 2nd book, “Raindance 2: A Blueprint for Growing Your Practice”, and a one-hour coaching session with me to follow the conference. If you are looking to grow your practice or firm, this webinar cannot be missed. GO to The Commons Institute and sign up today. Early bird rates are still available. I look forward to working with you to grow your firm.
When it comes time for business development you seem to have a habit. That habit is not making time for some of the most important tasks. If you want to grow your practice or your firm, you have to make time. How much has that habit cost you over the years? I know times are tough and you are challenged with time. It could start with looking at your priorities and making adjustments to allow more time for business development.
You attend conferences and listen to webinars. You read books on marketing and business development. You even get a little excited on these webinars. But then you go right back to your old habits and create an excuse or excuses for not to jump into action. I challenge you right now to think of one action or strategy that you’re learned recently and run with it. Run with it all the way to the bank. Just one thing. That will start a chain reaction of results and motivate you to try more and different things. As I tell my clients, “Nike”-just do it! If you want help, call me. That is what I do; help my clients get into action. Do the work, and live the results.
More than ever lawyers who want to thrive and not just survive in their careers should take steps to entrench themselves. And with all the doom and gloom in legal media today, I have one sure-fired way to do just that. Become really good at bringing in business. Whether you are solo-practice or at a large firm, being able to bring in clients will give you more power. And if you are at a larger firm, it will make yourself more valuable and protect you from the invariable lay offs we will see coming in the months and years to follow. If you do good work and can go out and find it, your job is much safer than if you only do good work. And this is only going to increase over time with more and more competition.
‘Do the math’ has become one of my favorite expressions. So more lawyers graduating from law school. Fewer clients in the market. Senior partners working later in their careers. Fewer jobs. Add all that up and the picture is pretty lousy. So to stand out yo must be doing things differently. The one thing you can do to stand out is to become known as a rain-maker.
You’ve likely heard the loosely translated definition of insanity, ‘doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results’. Well I can certainly point to a lot of insanity in the legal industry right now. We are seeing an unprecedented disruption in the legal industry, and disruption is here to stay and in fact will only increase. Heenan was the first and there are likely others to follow. Lawyers at firms at all levels, shapes and sizes are experiencing more turbulence than we’ve ever seen before.
There are so many things wrong with the typical law firm business model. Starting with the billable hour, compensation models, lack of talent development, partners not pushing work down to associates, too many committees, not fully leveraging the skills and experience of your C-level professionals (you know, the ones who went to school to learn how to run a business), like you went to school to learn how to become a lawyer? Yes, I know I’m being a little harsh. But this is crazy. Your clients know it. Some of your junior lawyers know it. And your management knows it. This is not the time to wait to see what the other guys do. It’s time to do things differently and break out of the pack. If you don’t you’re not only foolish, you could be insane.
T= Targeted S= Strategic and T= Tactical This is what and how I teach lawyers to approach business development.
Targeted in that everything you do is in front of your ideal target audience whether that be potential clients or referrals sources. When you speak, you know your audience has the potential to either hire you or refer clients to you. When you write an article, you know the readers have the potential to hire you or refer clients to you.You are targeted because you did your homework to find out where to be in front of your target audience.
Your strategic approach comes from creating a plan for your practice and your marketing efforts. Your plan should include market analysis, competitive analysis, a SWOT analysis of your practice and your own skills, goals you wish to accomplish, and an audit of what you are currently doing to market yourself and your practice, what is working and what is not.
You are tactical in that every step or approach you take can create the outcomes you set in your plan in the goals section. And each and every step or approach is also practical and attainable.
Are you ready to be TST(TM)? Get targeted, strategic, and tactical, and get more clients.
So now you have several strategies to get out there and find more people who need your services, find more referral sources and how to make it easier for them to find you. One last thing to wrap it all up.
You are a busy professional. You want to ensure that you get maximum efforts for your business development efforts. When you create content for a presentation, you likely have about two or three articles you can publish. Use the articles to send to contacts or include them with your newsletter. From those articles, you have several blog posts. Link your blog to your social media, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts and get your content out to an even broader audience this year.Post your articles on your website and link to them from your blog. In fact if you just did this one thing and considered where you can leverage all of your efforts, you will see better results.
Everyone networks whether we like it or not. And networking is still one of the best ways to find more people who need your services, find more referral sources and make it easier for them to find you. How about if you had a sure-fire way of getting the conversation started in a genuine and meaningful way? One of the best questions you can lead with is “What brings you to this event?” You’ll be amazed at the amount of information you can begin to gather about the other person when you start with that question. This is also a perfect opportunity for you to continue with your ‘soft’ target market research by asking them, “What other events do you attend and why? What publications do you read? And, What topics are of interest to you? You can gather market research, learn something about them, and keep the process natural and genuine all at the same time.
In addition to speaking at conferences and events, putting on educational workshops is another excellent business-building tactic. There are many applications for this. You can offer workshops to current clients as a value-add, and it’s a great way to strengthen your relationship. It’s also and excellent way of building more relationships in your prospects company or organization. One of the reasons I like this tactic so much, is that you’re not asking your contacts for anything. You are providing them with valuable content and knowledge.
Speaking is another way for you to get in front of potential clients or referral sources. The more you can do to make it easier for them to find you, the more successful you will be with your business development efforts. Here’s a few tips to follow:
1. Do your research with your best clients and referral sources to find topics of interest. You can also do this when networking and meeting new people in your target audience.
2. Approach organizers of appropriate events (again, you’ve done your homework and asked you clients and referral sources what do they attend?)
3. Even if you have to go through an RFP process to be chosen to speak, following this advice will increase the likelihood of being chosen.
4. Make sure the organizers sign off on your content. As you work to build a solid reputation as a speaker, they will appreciate this. They don’t like surprises. An added benefit of doing this is that you can walk into the room fully confident that your content will hit the mark.
5. Arrive early and great people as they arrive. Ask them what they would like to take away from your presentation. Get their business card. Now you have a reason to follow-up with them.
6. Do the same thing following your presentation. Some people don’t like to ask questions in front of their peers. Make yourself available to them. Get their business card.
7. Follow-up with the people you’ve met.