The biggest business development obstacle lawyers face is time -- more accurately, the lack of it. That severely limits the number of legitimate sales opportunities you can generate, and the amount of selling you can do. But, what if you had dozens, or hundreds, or even thousands of people selling for you?
Sustained thought leadership in a focused space can do just that, i.e., create a large virtual sales force for you. They won’t literally sell your legal services directly, but they will share your ideas with others, which endorses and sells your thinking. If this sharing occurs in social media, as is most common, the network effect enables you to initiate and sustain “idea relationships” with their networks, and the networks of those in their networks, etc. You get the idea.
The prime mover in this network of networks is you having something to say that causes people to notice you, decide that your thinking is relevant to their circumstances and potentially useful to them. The key word in that sentence is “relevance.”
Relevant to what?
Depending on their professional role and responsibilities, they’ll focus on one or more of these considerations:
Strategy relates to the most important, general aspects of the enterprise, critical to the achievement of the main objective, and usually the purview of C-suite executives
- Operations are the actions to support the strategic objectives and plans of upper management. These are the everyday workings of the company, conceived, planned, and conducted most often by VPs, Directors and Managers. Most legal work falls within this category.
- Economic effects are the expression of the financial impact of the relative success or failure of strategy and operations. Everyone cares about these to varying degrees.
And everyone cares about a fourth: Personal. In the business world, that means the impact of all the above on all those people’s careers and personal success.
This is what people care about. If you’re not talking about these considerations (optimally within the context of an industry), you’re not relevant to their worlds, and they don’t have the luxury of paying attention to you.
But if you’re deemed relevant, and have something interesting to say, people will follow you so they can see what else you have to say. They’ll also share it with their networks. This carries with it their implied endorsement. After all, they wouldn’t have shared it if they didn’t think it was relevant, useful, interesting, and worthwhile. Dozens, then hundreds, then thousands of them are selling your ideas to dozens, hundreds, and thousands of others for you, 24/7/365, while you’re doing client work, vacationing, or sleeping.
Push over the first domino in this causal chain by writing something relevant and useful in an interesting way. Then, keep pushing that “Go” button as often as you can.