Nobody has time to chase business development mirages. Yet salespeople of every description--not just lawyers--do just that, wasting scarce marketing/sales time, and frustrating themselves unnecessarily.
Many years ago, an Ohio State University study showed that, in 30% of selling situations, nothing is purchased. That means your major competitor is "No Decision"--not another lawyer or firm. After all, without a decision, nobody gets hired.
This no-decision figure is for full-time, professional salespeople. Since lawyers are relatively new to professional selling (vs. mere "pitching"), what would you estimate lawyers' no-decision percentage to be? 40%? 50%? Higher?
Since no lawyer enjoys a 30-50% market share, No Decision is your enemy.
No Decision primarily results from our selling against a problem of low priority, about which the prospect has the luxury of doing nothing. To expose this early, explore the Cost of Doing Nothing, i.e., the objective strategic, operational, economic and personal impact.
If, after you've facilitated a thorough discussion of the logical categories of negative impact, the prospect perceives that cost as very low, unless you have reliable information that suggests this person is misinformed, you should disinvest in that problem for now, at least until you find a better-informed stakeholder. Go back to the drawing board to find another Door-Opener problem that might have greater impact, i.e., a problem that the prospect MUST do something about. Not only will you eliminate No Decision as a competitor, you will also shorten the selling cycle, and raise the value of your service and the price the prospect is willing to pay.
To learn the "how" of this process, review this RainmakerVT simulation: The Cost of Doing Nothing.
Download the free e-book, No Decision: The Blind Spot that Prevents Lawyers from Doubling Their Income.