To remain relevant to clients and prospects, get informed and stay informed

Study after study reinforces that one of the main causes of client dissatisfaction--and departure--is not knowing their business, which can mean being perceived as not having sufficient context for your legal advice to maximize its value. It also means that you won’t be able to proactively approach them with fresh thinking that will differentiate you from all the other lawyers whose expertise and experience equals yours.

If your conversations are largely limited to discussions about legal work in progress, or trying to get them to reallocate their current legal spend in your favor, you’re part of the problem. Here’s how to reposition yourself.

Don't be tempted to write a clever lead-generation email

It’s frustrating to send emails trying to prompt people to agree to a conversation with you that might lead to a sales opportunity, only to have them unopened or ignored--not only by strangers or weak connections, but especially if they’re people you’ve previously done business with or have known for a long time.

After enduring enough of this, it can be tempting to try to be clever with your email’s Subject line to induce people to open your email, or to play a little fast and loose with body copy, all in the hopes of getting them on the phone. However, don’t. Just don’t.

Lawyers: It's past time to track your sales activity

If you don't know what it costs to get a client, you'll waste a lot of time, effort and money drilling dry- or low-yield wells. It's important to track your sales activity so you can discern real opportunities vs. mirages, invest properly in the former, disinvest in the latter, and recognize when your sales process isn't working and needs to change.

How long does it take to become relevant to your clients?

Somehow, it continues to be news that companies want -- and are beginning to require -- their outside law firms to be relevant, i.e., to understand their industry, business, products, and the overall context within which legal advice is formulated and rendered. How long does it take to acquire that perceived relevance. Here’s your answer.

58% of sales meetings are not valuable to buyers

In a recent post, I shared research showing that 82% of B2B decision-makers consider commercial salespersons to be unprepared. I speculated (with confidence based on almost 30 years coaching lawyers) that lawyers might not fare even that well on the “prepared” scale. Yes, it’s that bad.

Escape price pressure: Create your own "Blue Ocean Strategy"

A “blue ocean” is a market where there is no competition or much less competition. It means searching for an emerging problem with which very few lawyers associate, and for which the impact is so significant that solutions for it have no pricing pressure.

Relatively unexplored and untainted by competition, blue oceans are vast, deep and powerful in terms of opportunity and growth. You’re better off searching for ways to gain "uncontested market space" rather than competing with similar firms and lawyers.

Your bio: Focus on outcomes, not output

Your bio’s job is to cause visitors to conclude that you understand their problems and the context within which they must solve them, and why they hire lawyers. Unfortunately, too few lawyer bios do any of that. Most focus on the work they’ve done, i.e., their output. Here’s how to do better.

How to apply "Challenger Sale" principles to ramp up your success

Gartner research found that a company’s brand, products and services, and pricing are no longer the main drivers behind customers’ purchase decisions. Instead, the greatest differentiator between B2B sellers is the sales experience. Buyers said they want to be challenged to think about things more creatively. As explained in the book The Challenger Sale, the challenger approach is one in which the seller:

  • actively teaches their prospect,

  • tailors their sales process, and

  • takes control of the customer conversation.

How to develop a marketing communications channel strategy

As you work through your 2019 plan (you have one, right?), you have to balance your time limitations against having a robust distribution network for your thought leadership and positioning messages.

Here’s how to get all this organized so you’ll have greater reach than your schedule would otherwise permit.

Business Development: Step 1 is always “Google it”

Lawyers know they have to stay in contact, or risk missing out on work that a client or prospect is willing to award them, but doesn’t simply because too long a gap between communications has made them forget you. Too many lawyers struggle to generate relevant, welcomed conversation with clients and prospects. Here’s a better way.

How to run a great meeting

Too high a percentage of the meetings we attend are largely a waste of time. So say the lawyers, CMOs, BDOs and COOs with whom I’ve spoken about the topic. If it helps at all, the law biz is not alone in that experience and perception; the whole world suffers from “death by meeting.” Here’s how to make life better for everyone, every time.

Do your BizDev coaching sessions feel like “Groundhog Day”?

Many lawyers pretty much create the Groundhog Day experience with their biz dev coaches. They fail to get the maximum value out of coaching, or waste it outright by not being fully committed and engaged, instead merely going through the motions every week. Here’s how you can tell if you’re doing that.

Want to halt progress on your sale? Send information about your capabilities.

How many times have you ended a call with someone you’re trying to cultivate as a prospect with them asking you to send materials describing your firm’s capabilities in a broad practice area, e.g., IP litigation? How many times has an email exchange ended with this same next step? If your answer is “too often,” here’s what to do instead.

"Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Lawyers detest creating business development plans. They delay and resist as long as possible, and when their firm finally brings down the hammer, too often they create something pro forma that lets them check the required box, but is of little practical use, and never gets looked at again. Here’s why you should view this differently.

No more to-do lists (reading time 5 mins)

The biggest business development obstacle that the lawyers I coach report to me is finding time for it. Too often, our weekly progress calls feature a rehashing of action items from the previous week that weren’t completed due to lack of time. In response, we make To-Do lists. They’re easy. Too easy, and mostly useless. Here’s a better way.