Becoming Indispensable is Key to Earning Business

Posted by dscaringi on February 2, 2017

Positive relationships should be at the core of every hiring decision. This holds true across all kinds of hiring… from adding employees to bringing on outside legal counsel. When it comes to business development, it is pretty common knowledge that gaining new work from existing clients is usually easier than unearthing a brand new piece of business from someone who has no experience with you. It just makes sense– presumably you have provided an excellent service for a reasonable rate, producing solid results. It’s a great model… build trust with clients today and it will lead to new business from the same client. Sounds like a slam dunk? Sure… but, sorry… not guaranteed. So how do you gain a little more security in your ability to expand work from existing clients? Make yourself indispensable. Sounds exhausting, but arguably, it is this kind of depth that makes work satisfying.

Particularly in the legal industry, it has been a common practice for clients to require outside lawyers to understand their businesses deeply. Becoming indispensable goes further than this, however.  Here are a few things you can do to start developing your relationships and achieve ‘indispensable’ status.

  • Be the first to identify challenges and risks for the client’s business and develop solutions before they become problems.
  • Bring opportunities to the client that they may not have anticipated or otherwise accessed.
  • Be proactive as often as you possibly can, anticipating roadblocks without being overly negative.
  • Use efficiency to save the client money.
  • Be nimble and willing to change.
  • Provide thought leadership in your area that has impact on other areas of the business.
  • Make your clients’ lives easier whenever possible.
  • Add value every step of the way without charging for it.
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Sometimes Things Don’t Go Your Way, But You Have To Keep Trying

Posted by dscaringi on November 10, 2016

This year’s Presidential election was quite an experience for many people regardless of their preferred candidate. As election night unfolded, anxieties rose about what many people thought was a ‘done deal’ for Hillary Clinton. There were many reasons Americans voted the way they did, which I won’t get into here. But what I think surprised Hillary Clinton supporters along the coastal states of this country, was that something they thought was so sure, well… wasn’t. What does this have to do with marketing and business development? A lot. Here are just a few take-aways:

  • Nothing is a sure thing. There are times where you feel confident that you have connected every dot and secured back-up plans to your back-up plans to earn a piece of work. However, the outcome is very different than you expected. You scratch your brow, muttering, ‘how can that be?’ The reality is, if you are prepared from every angle, anticipate the possible hurdles and put your best foot forward, most times, things go your way. You hope for the best that all of the other pieces will fall into place. However, hope is not a strategy.  It is a very singular experience. Business development is definitely not only about you.
  • There is always an other opinion. Part of a good sales process includes doing your homework and trusting your instincts. What is overlooked in the sales process, is an open conversation with people to get perspective along the way. Ask someone you trust (but who may not see things the same way you do) to provide honest feedback on your sales strategies. Perhaps most importantly… take their input seriously and be willing to adjust if you need to.
  • Keep on going. We all have moments when we need to stop and tend to our wounds, and we should honor those moments. In your reflection, remind yourself that you will lose sometimes and that is ok. But, most importantly, keep trying. If you lose a piece of business to a competitor, review your sales effort with a critical eye and look for ways to improve or adjust your approach.

As President Obama stated, “no matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning, and America will still be the greatest nation on earth.” Likewise, if you keep striving to build the strongest relationships and genuinely help solve problems, you will be successful over the long haul and be the best version of yourself possible.

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5 Days of Ten-Minute Activities to Market Your Practice

Posted by dscaringi on October 7, 2016

It is hard to believe that we are already a week deep into October. This is a busy time of year for many professionals. Unfortunately, the end of the year push sometimes translates into a drop in marketing initiatives. Resist the pull! I understand there are only so many hours in a day, but remember the mantra… the best time to market is when you are busy. Here are 5 days of ten-minute activities that help you hold on tight to the momentum you have built all year.

  • Book 10 minutes on 1 day a week to contact people in your network. During that 10 minute slot, send out emails to check in, book coffee dates, schedule lunch meetings or have quick phone conversations. In 10 minutes, you have time to identify and send at least one email that will deepen your relationships. Aim to send out 2 each week.
  • Book 10 minutes on 2 days a week to interact with social media. Set a timer for this one, as social media can be a time eater. Make sure you are using this 10 minutes to interact with your business contacts– this isn’t the time to be checking in on your kids’ social media activity. Go through Linked In, Twitter or Facebook feeds and check out what your business networks are up to. Like, follow, share and comment on a range of posts.
  • Book 10 minutes on 1 day a week to connect with a mentor or colleague who can help you further your internal relationships, make connections or act as a sounding board.
  • Book 10 minutes on 1 day a week to work on content. Jot down ideas, create an outline, draft a paragraph or edit something you wrote earlier.
  • Rinse and repeat!

Each of these actionable items will help you incrementally further your marketing initiatives so that you build and maintain relationships and visibility for the long haul. If you break large tasks into small steps, you will find it easier to commit to and you will build a habit that helps you get results.

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