Um, why did you send this article to me?

Before composing any marketing communication, eliminate the "Why did he send me this" question by establishing a clear goal for that specific message, and that specific recipient. Ask yourself what specific response you're trying to elicit from that reader.

Who’s on Third? Your Team?

Throughout the Summer, we see lots of highlights of individual baseball stars performing amazing feats on the field. But as we begin the playoffs, we're reminded that the best team wins the championship, and that means getting contributions from everyone on the team.

Let's examine the team that supports your clients. What value does each teammate bring to your business development efforts?

The importance of having a "growth mindset"

Why do some lawyers take full advantage of business development learning and training opportunities, while others pooh-pooh them or delude themselves that it’s not important to improve their knowledge and skills? Why do those who admit that better BD skills are important nonetheless procrastinate forever, promising themselves that they’ll get to it when they have more time?

10 steps to getting a decision

It’s rare that a single person makes a buying decision. There are almost always multiple people with a role in making it. However, groups of people don’t know how to make decisions. It’s not an intuitive skill, and everyone struggles with it. In fact, “no decision” is always your biggest competitor. Here's how to defeat no-decision.

Only ten weeks from now...

Summer is over. It's time to get back in Prime Time business mode. Ten weeks from today, Wednesday, November 23, the end-of-year clock starts ticking as people traverse the US to be with family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday. That means that you have less than three months to take meaningful steps to reach your annual revenue goal. 

3 steps to business development simplicity

Many lawyers have told me that the biggest barrier to getting started with serious business development is feeling overwhelmed, not knowing what to do, or how to begin. One significant cause is complexity. Here's how to simplify everything.

Market Change Requires Change in Lawyer Thinking

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.

Time management? Nope. It’s actually "choice management."

The reality is that we can’t get, make, find or have more time. Time simply passes, inexorably, day by day, minute by minute. We can, however, choose how we spend our time. Indeed, “time management,” is a misnomer; I prefer to call it Choice Management.

The Old Single-Generation BD Model Is Obsolete

Most law firms focus their business development efforts, time, and training investment on partners. Little thought is given to a strategic approach to enabling contributions from the entire generational spectrum. The perpetuation of this caste system comes at a price.

"I don't have time for business development."

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.

Expose a burning platform

When you’re on an oil platform that’s burning, you have no choice but to jump. Salespeople use the expression to describe a problem whose consequences are so serious that even the most reluctant or risk-averse buyer must act. You can’t persuade someone that their platform is burning; you have to expose one that’s hidden. The key is not to try to persuade.

BD: Do you do it only for the money?

Why do you avoid the business development activity that you know is essential to having the practice you want? If you're doing it primarily for money, you may have found the culprit. Here's how to take a healthier approach, get better results, and (gasp!) enjoy it.

“Pocket Lint”

Every three months you go through your paper and electronic "pockets." You'll find notes, phone numbers, etc. Ask yourself, "If this was the most important thing in the world right now, what would I be doing about it?" This question forces you to assign an action verb to the item, which is how you'll get something done.

How to be on time (and raise the odds that others will, too)

Punctuality is a basic social contract. It’s a visible demonstration that you do what you say you’ll do. Or that you don’t. An appointment is a promise to answer your phone or appear at a meeting on a specific date, at a specific time. Not 10 minutes late. Or five. Or even two. At the appointed time. Here's how to guarantee it.

The importance of having "empty space" in your day

For many lawyers, their professional day is measured by how much they get done. As a result, they speed through the day and slow down their improvement rate. Instead of squeezing your days for maximum productivity, do the opposite. Create slack in your day so you have "empty space" for learning, creativity, and doing things at a higher quality.

Why Your Prospect Lost Interest Almost Immediately

It’s hard to imagine that anyone places greater importance on the words they choose than lawyers do. However, in business development, successful communication often depends less on the words you say than on your tone of voice.

Read your way to BD success (well, part-way)

Tom Peters has persuaded me that it’s important to escape the linear thinking for which lawyers seem hard-wired, and which makes it hard for them to absorb seemingly unrelated information and synthesize fresh ideas from it. Perhaps this is what people mean by thinking outside the box. You can’t think outside the box if everything you’re exposed to is inside a single box.

Enough about “relationships,” please

The legal marketing and sales literature is inundated with a single word: “relationships.” We’re urged to deepen, strengthen, or expand them. Whichever, it’s always about relationships, whether with suspects, prospects, clients, or former- or dormant clients. Whoever they are, whatever their circumstances, we need to have a better relationship with them. Not. Here's a contrarian view.

"...one needs to make partner every year."

For lawyers who don't generate their own clients, billable hours have no bearing on your own financial- or professional security. (If you doubt that, try to change firms with "billable hours" as the asset you're selling.) Relying on billable hours provided by others keeps you in a precarious position. Here's what it will take to earn your independence.

What does it mean to "be involved" in something?

Being "involved" communicates absolutely nothing. Yet, lawyers' bios are rife with such empty verbs. Your bio may be the first substantive exposure many legal service buyers have to you (aside from whatever the source of a referral said about you). Don't waste the opportunity to make the impression you intend.