Eleven weeks from tomorrow, Wednesday, November 23, the end-of-year clock starts ticking as people travel the US to be with family and friends for the (US) Thanksgiving holiday. What does that have to do with business development?
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Law firms are paying more attention to, and investing more money in, business development, but many lawyers still aren't sure why all this is happening and why they should do things differently. The answer: The legal service market has undergone a basic and permanent economic shift from a demand market to a supply market.
Some lawyers declare this openly. Far more say it implicitly through their avoidance behaviors. Most relegate business development to the last item on their list, to be dealt with when everything else is done and they have some extra time. I've been coaching lawyers for 25 years and I've yet to see one who had extra time.
Have you ever noticed how politicians manage to turn any question they're asked as a platform to say what they really want to say? Politicians are focused. Lawyers trying to develop business can apply their own version of this technique. Consider this the next time you invest your time in a networking event.
In a 2015 Altman Weil survey, 65% of respondents said equity partners weren’t busy enough, and 79% said non-equity partners were insufficiently busy. As a result, for the last 18 months, law firms have been laying off lawyers, counseling partners to leave and closing entire offices. Here's what that means to you, and how to protect yourself.
A third of lateral partner candidates deliver less than half their promised book of business, and only 54% of laterals hired in the previous five years were regarded as a ‘break-even’ on the firm’s investment.” Here's what firms should do to turn things around, and what laterals should insist on before moving.
Most lawyers are comfortable in a neatly labeled box known as a "Practice Group." Such labeling is typically the first step into the world of Silo Selling. This may provide some context and perhaps even comfort for you. However, most businesspersons think in terms of business challenges or opportunities. These perspectives are not lawyer-centric. Here's how to be more client-centric.
The biggest marketing and sales obstacle lawyers face is unconscious incompetence. It means you don't know what you don't know. That's one of the four stages of competence. This matters because one characteristic of that stage is overconfidence about your innate ability to generate business, based on ignorance of what it actually takes to generate business. If you want to learn a new skill, get some professional help.