There’s no gentle way to say this, so I’ll just lay it on you directly: A couple of hours per week isn’t going to get it done. Unless you’re the rare exception, you’re probably not investing enough time, and you’ll have to ramp it up quite a bit to get where you want to go.

When I begin coaching a lawyer, once he or she has established a revenue goal, I’m always asked how long I think it will take to achieve it. To which I offer the lawyerly reply, “It depends.”

For most lawyers, marketing and sales are new disciplines. Sure, they’ve probably already dabbled a bit here and there, but when they decide it’s time to get serious, it becomes a discipline, and they want to know how long a journey they’re embarking on.

Progress occurs in three phases:

  1. Learning new skills

  2. Proving the skills

  3. Scaling the effort

Learning new skills

There are two key skill sets:

  1. Lead generation

  2. Lead conversion

Lead conversion is qualifying the opportunity and facilitating a decision. It’s pretty straightforward, easily taught, and since it aligns with lawyers’ existing skills, if you honor the rigor you can get pretty good at it quickly.

Lead generation is much more complicated, takes a lot more time, and requires a broader array of skills and the discipline to sustain. Few lawyers have a well-defined market or strategy, so most are beginning very near zero.

We use a combination of electronic learning (Dezurve and RainmakerVT) and personal coaching to teach the skills and enable lawyers to practice them safely in a risk-free virtual environment.

Proving your skills

There’s no substitute for doing it. You have to test your demand-triggering problem thesis by speaking with people who match your target profile, getting them to confirm or modify it, and refer you to others for informed comment. After about a dozen calls, you’ll be good enough at it to be confident. The more you do, the better you’ll be.

The elapsed time to accomplish these two stages varies greatly, but most lawyers can get there in six months or so. Some faster, some slower.

Scaling the effort

Once you’re sufficiently skilled, the hard part begins. While you were learning, we didn’t worry about how much you were doing, only how well. Even the most avid student, though, only sends out a handful of will-you-share-your-views emails per week, and has about 1-2 outreach calls per week. That’s fine as a skill-development exercise, but to generate real revenue, it’s nowhere near enough activity. For those few attempts to produce what you want, you’d have to be the greatest salesperson ever born, and extremely lucky.

Just as a startup company with a new product has to test customer demand first, then scale up once the thesis is validated, so, too, must you be able to scale your sales effort to a level that will produce the desired result.

In a previous post, The importance of “BD activity ratios, I showed how much activity it could take to produce enough Exposure to yield enough Suspects, how many Suspects it takes to yield enough legitimate Prospects, and how many Prospects it takes to yield enough sales and revenue.

Mike O’Horo

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