What Did You Expect?

I had a fantastic conversation with some colleagues last week on the broad topic of business development.  We bantered back and forth about the challenges and rewards of our collective roles within and outside of law firms as we prepared for the panel discussion I will be moderating at the annual Legal Marketing Association’s New England Chapter conference on November 4th in Boston.  (For the record, we are charged with giving perspectives on best practices for business development within law firms of all sizes.  We plan to provide our audience with tips to increase law firm business development efforts with visible results.)

One of the most interesting conversations surrounds the broad topic:  ‘What results can you reasonably expect in a law firm and how do you measure those results?’ Without giving away the secrets of our program, each speaker provides fantastic insight into determining success that all look different.  The more I thought about this, I identified a few critical components that need to be in place before defining success, including:

  • Clearly defined goals. Before you can claim success, you must know what success looks like. Develop a crystal clear vision for your business and set some achievable goals for measuring before you even start out.
  • Who is your audience and what are you offering? Develop a profile of your ideal prospect and conceptualize the problems you want to solve for that individual so that you recognize the opportunities when they arise.
  • What sets you apart and can you articulate it?  Many businesses have similar views on their top-quality skills and services.  But how do you define your unique qualities?  It is really difficult to identify the true gems that set you apart from the competition, however, these differentiators are the key to selecting what you sell and to whom.  The qualities may not be gigantic in scale, but they will lead you to stronger relationships when you hit upon matching needs.
  • How do you build and maintain your relationships?  Success in business is all about the depth of your relationships.  Treat your relationships personally and continually give them the gifts of helpful information.
  • Are you providing extraordinary value to your clients so that they want to help you with referrals?  By carefully grooming your relationships, you open the door to referrals from truly satisfied customers.  Perpetuate the habit so that you see the string of positive results.
  • Do the follow-up!  It’s been said that “the gold is in the follow up.” If you’re not systematically following up on every business encounter, you’re missing out on a gold mine.