What makes a Rainmaker? Five tips to mastering business development in law firms
Business development is a key part of any lawyer’s practice. To keep the practice running, there is always a need for rainmakers to cultivate new business. For some, this process comes easily, and for others, it proves to be more difficult. Business development can get overlooked due to other requirements but keeping your pipeline full is a necessity.
Throughout my time working at law firms in marketing and business development, I have found five factors make up a successful business development plan, in addition to one overarching theme that ties them all together.
- Thought Leadership: Content is king right now and should be incorporated into every business plan. Whether it’s a blog, a white paper, or a virtual speaking engagement, creating your own content will help solidify you as a trusted and knowledgeable advisor for both current clients and prospects. While evergreen topics can be a useful way to build a portfolio for you to continually reference, try to jump on timely and relevant topics as well. Writing a blog on a trending subject can attract more readers and possibly even result in press recognition.
- Top of Mind: In connection with becoming a thought leader, staying top of mind with the right demographic is essential to business development. Using social media is a fast and simple way to continually reach your curated network. You can share your own content, share content from others, comment on a connection’s accolades or even just “like” a post from a connection. Any one of these options will help put your name at the forefront of those you want to touch base with.
- Client Contact: While staying top of mind is important, establishing a deeper relationship with current clients should also be added to your goals for the year. Make it a priority to schedule multiple touch points with your top clients. This can be a call, a lunch, emailing something of interest to them, sending a gift or requesting their feedback. Forming a trusted bond with clients is what will differentiate you and hopefully generate client referrals.
- Responsiveness: This might not seem like something to incorporate into a business development plan, but it is one of the number one complaints lawyers see from clients. Setting out a plan for quickly responding to clients and potential clients on a day-to-day basis is crucial. This could mean making sure your legal assistant responds within a certain amount of time to calls or emails, proceeded by a follow-up from you personally. It can involve receiving feedback on responsiveness and client interaction experiences as well. Taking the time to evaluate your responsiveness regularly will push you to maintain that original goal you set. When the client feels like they are a top priority, it forges loyalty to you and the firm.
- Cross-Selling: Collaborating with others internally to find gaps within practice areas where you serve clients is invaluable. It is always great to bring in completely new business, but you could be leaving money on the table with clients that already exist within the firm. Your objectives should always include reaching out to different groups within the firm for introductions, collaborations on speaking events or writing materials, and the opportunity to learn more about their practice area. You may find their resources extremely supportive to your goals.
These are the key factors that can serve as guidance for an initial plan, but the theme that will connect them all together is consistency. The best rainmakers are those who consistently keep up with all these items throughout the year. It is not enough to write one blog and then expect business to start rolling in. Setting aside time for marketing and business development on a regular basis is what will garner the results lawyers are looking for.
At Objective Manager we understand that individual business development plans are what will ultimately sustain the firm’s revenue because your lawyers are your brand ambassadors. Our technology allows for more than just that initial plan. Our plans allow for accountability, tracking, due date reminders, collaboration and identifying opportunities to bring your plans to life. Contact us today to schedule a demo.