Sharpen Your Axe

Just as you readily consult with other lawyers who specialize in areas outside your own, it's wise to consult with sales experts before engaging in sales activities. Coaching and guidance are your axes in the sales game.

Go Bite-Sized

For many lawyers, the thought of business development is the very bane of their existence. Even the most "gifted" rainmakers occasionally experience a sense of "Oh, my gosh, another year, another mountain to climb." As the legal business becomes more fiercely competitive, it can be daunting--and darn right discouraging--to face the challenge of meeting and exceeding 2017's business goals. 

There's hope, provided you're realistic.

T​he Mental Game

The primary determinant of business development success is how much mental energy or “think time” you devote to marketing and sales. Yet few lawyers allocate much time to their mental game. The result is often short-changing your most important client: You.

Weather the Storm

The past eight years have been tough on lots of lawyers and those who support them. The recession strained finances and kicked off a sea change in client expectations. New categories of competition emerge almost daily. Clients' BigData investments mean they often know much more about your performance than you do. It can feel like a struggle. If you’re feeling lost at sea, here are a few navigation aids that can help you find your course and get back to enjoying your career and your life.

We have an office in [your town]

"We have an office in [your town]," implying that this geographic fact has inherent value to a buyer or anyone else listening. What if your prospect were to ask you "So what?" How would you answer? In an age of instant, simultaneous communications, virtual locations and cheap air travel, what specific, compelling business value does physical proximity convey?

Get paid faster: show progress vs. budget

Collecting your fee is an integral part of sales. In the commercial world, every salesperson lives by the dictum, “The sale isn’t complete until the last dollar is collected.” Lawyers are much more lax about this, and it costs them. Here's a simple way to speed things up.

Why responding to RFPs makes no sense

For years I've counseled my clients that responding to RFPs is usually a waste of time, especially when compared to what you can accomplish with the same amount of time and money by pursuing tightly targeted business. Here's why. 

Creative price negotiation

Lawyers struggle to negotiate pricing with prospects and clients. Part of this is the product of lawyers’ personalities,. Part is based on the fear that inartful price discussions could cause them to lose the business. However, a large part comes from having a singular focus on money. Besides a price reduction, what else can you offer that your client might accept in lieu of money?

Is it a discount? Or the new market price?

Sales trainers have long taught us that “price” actually is code for “value.” Discount requests have always been a signal that your value is perceived as out of line with what you charge. However, when discount requests become the norm, that’s a larger, more ominous signal.

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.