At a recent LMA New England chapter meeting, I listened intently to David Ackert discuss motivating attorneys to consistently use business development in their practices. It was a great program and I gained lots of ideas to implement. However, one thing David said really stuck with me. It is very similar to something I often tell my clients. Marketing and business development is a learned behavior for many of us. It doesn’t just happen naturally without any effort. People often declare that they will make a commitment to business development once or twice a year but never act upon it. How about this: instead of making an annual commitment to business development activities, let’s try starting with a daily 10 minute commitment each week? Instead of starting to market your practice or business in January or September, don’t wait. Start Now…. yup, on February 19th. Nothing special about today. But it’s a good day to begin taking small steps towards your success. So, what kind of marketing can you get done in 10 minutes? Here is a starter list:
- Update your bio. Make any edits that add interest, value or credibility.
- Call your best referral sources and thank them for sending you business.
- Connect two people you know who may benefit from knowing each other.
- Look up the next networking event at a bar association, trade group or other business organization and sign up for the next event. Put it in your calendar and commit to attend it.
- Email a referral source and set up a lunch date.
- Set up a time to visit a client on their location.
- Use social media. Follow clients, post status on Linked In or Facebook and Tweet a few times.
- Walk into one of your colleague’s offices and ask them what kind of work they are doing right now.
- Start a post/article to use on the firm’s blog or website or in your social media outlets.
Whatever activity you choose to undertake isn’t really the focus. The idea is to make a 10 minute weekly investment in developing your relationships, building marketing communication tools and giving yourself visibility. Once you have this habit in place, build on it. Add 10 more minutes each week, either consecutively or on an other day. By doing something routinely, you will see the cumulative effects. Good luck!
As many of you may know, we are in the middle of a blizzard here in Massachusetts! It is very exciting to get 2-3 feet of snow in one storm, especially if you get to keep your power! While I can’t promise the power will stay on, I can promise that I am happy about being snowed in for the next 24 hours. I have batteries, firewood, food, ice, a full gas tank in my car and an army of shovel-bearing kids. What does this have to do with marketing and business development? Perhaps not much, but the topic of preparation has a lot to do with successful marketing.
Being prepared is all about having the right items for a predicted scenario. What you need to be prepared certainly differs depending on what you want the final outcome to be. But almost anyone needs to have the following components at the ready in a marketing scenario:
- A solid network. Creating your networks and keeping your connections close is very important so that you may be opportunistic on a dime. Use a range of tools to maintain your network… social media, in person meetings, email contact or phone calls. They all build relationships that support your business development efforts.
- A quick pitch. I have posted about creating a quick pitch in the past and encourage everyone to draft a few versions of their pitch and practice them until they are perfect.
- An updated database. Whether you have a formal database program, or simply use your outlook, make sure your email addresses are up to date so that you may communicate in a timely fashion. Nothing worse than having something important to share and no way to do it.
- A follow-up strategy. Sometimes the most important piece of the sales cycle is the follow-up. Effective follow-up will always help you win a pitch.
Of course there are so many more tools that you will want to draw upon for successful business development, but these are definitely the essential items to include in your marketing preparation kits!
We all have skills, albeit some stronger than others. Some skills we use more frequently, some with more success. I often get asked to look into the future and determine what is needed to remain relevant in such a fast changing environment. But, what are the key skills for succeeding in marketing your practice or business? The more I think about what makes successful people tick, the more I realize that a few essential components rise to the top. In my opinion, the common denominators boil down to a very straight forward trio:
- Relationships. Building and maintaining solid, long-term relationships is possibly the most important skill anyone can employ. It is vitally important to add new people to the mix while maintaining long-term contacts. It is no secret that people keep business moving and changing. They make buying decisions based on trust and refer business based on proven success.
- Technology. There will always be a new technology to help us perform in our jobs. Today, we live in a social media driven world. Last decade, we lived in an email age. The technologies will always come in and out of fashion. It is our jobs to embrace new technologies in a way that keeps us relevant. If you don’t, you will find yourself quickly outdated and unable to communicate on a very basic business level.
- Persistence. Good, old fashioned ‘elbow grease’ will continue to drive you towards your goals. Working hard, being aware of what is happening in the world and employing stamina to perform will help you outshine those who wait for things to happen to them.
Of course there are many other skills that individuals need to use in their specific jobs, but relationships, technology and persistence are common threads for all successful professionals. There is not a doubt in my mind that if you continually craft your skills in these areas, you will continue to be relevant and successful.