Without Sales Management, firms are limited to visible, anecdotal victories that might allow a general sense of well-being, i.e., that things seem to be working pretty well. But, how are you really doing? That answer requires more thought, and objective data.
For successful law firms and lawyers, polished business development skills are essential tools of the trade. Law firms who want to invest in teaching their lawyers how to generate revenue often face challenges in making business development education, training, and coaching available in ways that are both effective and perceived as fair.
Many lawyers struggle to learn business development skills, in no small part because they don’t embrace the need to get better at it. Oh, sure, they say all the right things, but when it comes down to setting aside time (and sometimes money) and committing to learning, applying, getting feedback, and practicing, they have lots of reasons why it can’t happen.
Everyone is familiar with the Law of Unintended Consequences, defined as “outcomes that are not the ones foreseen and intended by a purposeful action.”
In this case, the purposeful action is law firms creating business development training geared specifically for women. The potential unintended consequence is perpetuating the idea that BD is about the seller in any way.
That’s a pretty bold claim, isn’t it? I realize that it’ll ruffle some feathers, maybe even make me a few enemies, so I don’t make it lightly.
In the almost three decades that I’ve been the sales trainer and coach for lawyers, my client firms and I observed with great frustration that 80% of the lawyers in whom those firms invested serious money to have me train and coach them did little or nothing, constructively abandoning the firms’ investments.
There’s no demand for legal services per se. Nobody wakes up in the morning saying, “Let’s buy some ‘litigation’ today.” There’s no demand for legal service nouns.Demand is the byproduct of relevance, usefulness, and value. Those attributes derive from a client’s need to solve a problem or exploit an opportunity.
Successful law practice depends on asking the right questions, the right way, in the right sequence, in support of the right purpose. Likewise, astute salespeople must have the experience and judgment to ask the right questions that cause prospects to examine complicated or difficult issues in new, more useful, or more penetrating ways, leading the prospect to an optimal decision.
In an earlier post about the length of time it takes law firms to hire a Marketing/BD executive vs. how long it takes their clients to hire a CEO, I argued that the protraction was the product of a chain that begins with
a) lawyers' ignorance about marketing and sales, leading to
b) low perceptions of value from those functions, causing
c) low urgency to fill the role.
Lawyers will do anything, buy anything, embrace anything that offers the possibility, however remote, of getting clients without having to sell. All the money that lawyers spent over the past 25 years on the progressive iterations of marketing communication (brochures > PR > newsletters > events > websites > social media) have all been about sales-avoidance.
Corporations demand changes in law firm billing. A major shift is taking place as more corporations shop for legal services based on price, not brand. The old law game is ending; learn how to play the new one.
The late entertainer George M. Cohan is quoted as saying, "It doesn't matter what you say about me as long as you spell my name right." His point was that as long as the newspapers caused the public to know his name, he could live with any editorial negatives.
But what happens when it's the other way around, i.e., the (virtual) ink is positive but they spell your name wrong? Perhaps I just found out.
We all write articles intended to earn the attention of our target market segment, and to establish what has become known as "thought leadership."
The most recent online issue of San Diego Attorney magazine published my article All Referral Sources Are Not Created Equal. It’s about how lawyers can convert unproductive referral sources into fewer productive ones. I trust you'll find it helpful.
For me, the good news is that they published it, and listed it on the cover. (No, that young, good-lookin' guy isn't me.) The less good news is that, on the cover, the Table of Contents, and the article itself, they misspelled my surname as O'Horro.
Out of curiosity, I Googled "Mike O'Horro" (fervently hoping there were no ax-murderers among my ersatz namesakes). Happily, the few Mike O'Horros listed are probably more respectable than I am. The better news is that Google seems to have solved the problem for me.
A search for Mike O'Horro produces (drum roll) the same results as if you'd searched for Mike O'Horo. Maybe the takeaway is to publish often so that search engines will interpret misspellings as an intent to search for the correctly-spelled entity. Or, it was simply my lucky day.
Kidding aside, for those who publish relevantly and consistently, over a long period of time you become a relative fixture in the search engines, and you might just be able to overcome a human error that would otherwise have erased your effort.
Mike O'Horo (with only one "r")
You know you have to improve your business development skills to get the business you need. But most of the training you see offered feels more like a degree program with a someday/maybe payoff rather than the specific help you need right now.
RainmakerVT is the most innovative, effective, convenient and affordable business development training you can get. Take a look at our course list, and then read what lawyers like you said about RainmakerVT in user-feedback interviews.