At its simplest, getting business is a three-element proposition:
- Being in front of the right people
- For the right reason
- At the right time
At minimum, most lawyers need and welcome help with the front-end task of defining the right people, identifying the reason why those people would want to be in contact with you, and pinpointing the right time, i.e., when their need for a solution intersects with their readiness to take action. Few lawyers are comfortable doing this on their own. However, almost all can do it when they're asked the right questions to facilitate their critical thinking.
Lawyers also tend not to have consistent business development habits. Since BD is always last on their list, their activity is sporadic and episodic, which makes their progress erratic (or nonexistent). They they need help defining and establishing habits that keep things moving forward, and most say they also need some form of accountability.
Three components to guiding you to achieve your practice-growth goals:
1) Strategic direction
Our collaboration is front-loaded due to the need to analyze your practice, set goals, and define the three legs of your BD triangle. Here’s what we’ll discuss and decide at the outset:
Right Reason: Define the highest-value problem that your expertise solves
Right People: Define the optimal market segment where that problem occurs frequently and has high impact. Define and profile the people who have a stake in that problem.
Right Time: Define the causal chain of human- or corporate behavior/activity from which the problem reliably derives, and associate ourselves with the earliest domino in that causal chain. In this way, you’ll already be in communication when the problem matures to the level of acuity that requires action and investment.
2) Progress monitoring
After the strategic, foundational work is completed, the regularly scheduled weekly calls shift to progress monitoring, creating productive habits, and sustaining momentum. These calls plant the business development flag in your week and establish accountability. Lawyers tell me that irrespective of the content of the calls, simply knowing that we're scheduled to speak gets them to take action because they don't want to report (to me and themselves) that they've done nothing. It eliminates the excuse-making that prevents progress.
To make these calls as productive as possible, you’ll report results, obstacles, and all other relevant information ahead of time, using shared files within Google Drive. That way, our call will be dedicated to using the information, not reporting it.
3) Just-in-time tactical coaching
I’m sure you shake your head when a client calls you to ask how to get them out of a jam they created, or overcome the negative consequences of actions they took without consulting you first. You can usually figure out a solution, but you’re thinking how much easier it would have been if they’d discussed it with you before acting, when you could have anticipated and avoided today’s consequences. You wonder why they act independently, it's due to Unconscious Incompetence, i.e., they don't know what they don't know, so they don't know that all considerations aren't obvious to a layman.
It’s no different with me. When it comes to business development, you don't know what you don't know, and I promise you there's more to it than is obvious. If you call me for help fixing something you broke, I can do it, but I can be much more helpful, and you’ll be much more effective, if we discuss it beforehand. In between our scheduled calls, call or email to request help preparing for market interactions, e.g., emails to, or calls or meetings with, Suspects or Prospects, speaking engagements, article-writing, etc.
As needed, I’ll assign you relevant courses from the RainmakerVT online learning suite.
Achieving your goals won’t happen overnight, so you should anticipate that you’ll need to invest for longer than you may be thinking right now. That’s due to two primary factors:
- Your current practice is probably the result of a random mix of serendipitous occurrences, which we’ll have to transform into a practice that one of my clients describes as “by strategic intent.”
- The time constraints of doing your work limit the time you can devote to BD, which limits your level of activity, which in turn limits the pace of progress.
If you'd like to discuss your situation and your options with The Coach, choose a convenient time using his booking calendar. Availability is adjusted for time zones; your choice is automatically confirmed when you click.