This is the time of year when many lawyers belatedly begin thinking about the year. Perhaps your firm requires you to submit a business plan, marketing plan, or both. No matter what spurs you to do so, most lawyers struggle with (and dread) this basic function. The result is a last-second slapdash list of random marketing activities with no underlying goals, strategy, or structure. It becomes a piece of paper that allows you to check off the planning box and forget about it until the next year. It's time to rethink this exercise.
Last week, we showed you five things that make up the essence of business development. Here's how to apply those to your plan.
Q: What will your business development practice do for you this year?
A: Exactly what you plan for it to do for you.
Conversely, having no plan guarantees frustration, wasted time and money, and a persistently uncomfortable feeling that your marketing and sales efforts are reactive, rudderless and out of control.
The late Hall of Fame basketball coach, John Wooden, was fond of this quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." For our purpose, let's change one word, which gives us:
"By failing to plan, you are planning to fail."
Forget all the elaborate, complicated planning that you may have seen or read about. A legitimate, useful plan requires only that you go through a logical exercise that begins with your goal and engineers backward:
Goal: What you're going to accomplish, expressed in specific, measurable terms
Deadline: by when will you accomplish each goal
Source: Where/who that business will come from.
Specific market segment: description of your buyers
Why those companies will need to hire you (Door-Opener problem)
Who the buyers are within the companies in the sector you'll target
Strategy: the essence of how you'll go to market and accomplish the goal
Marketing tactics: the activities you'll engage in to generate enough legitimate sales opportunities to accomplish your goal
Sales activity: ratios to assure that you have enough activity to succeed. The only number you have to pay attention to is the last one.
8 clients, which requires
24 legitimate sales opportunities (33% closing), which requires
200 relevant conversations, which requires
2000 call attempts, which requires
40 call attempts per week for 50 weeks, which requires
5 call attempts per day
Budget: This won't happen by magic; you'll have to commit sufficient resources or forget about succeeding
Time: total hours per week
hrs per day outbound phone calls during prime time
hrs per week writing/publishing during off hours
hrs per week maintaining marketing/sales systems, info
hrs per week developing, polishing biz dev skills
Yes, this is what it takes. It's simple, but neither quick nor easy. If it was quick and easy, everyone would already be doing it. To borrow from Bob Knight, another Hall of Fame basketball coach:
"Everyone wants to win, but not everyone is willing to prepare to win."
Now that your eyes are open, start your thinking engines.
For detailed, step-by-step guidance to create a working plan, get RainmakerVT's Marketing Master program, which includes among its 15 video courses and simulations:
Expand Your Network from Your Desk, which teaches you how to manufacture a network of the prospects you most want -- without leaving your desk
Door-Opener: Associate Yourself with Problems that Drive Demand for Your Service, through which you'll learn how to identify and exploit a problem that reliably drives demand for the work you want most