Tuesday, April 07, 2009

If Your Competitors Are Better At Business Development - They Will Win!

Many attorneys and other professionals are scrambling to discover the "news" about networking, referral partnerships, and creating their personal brand. While not really "new", some have ignored these important business skills that are key to success.

But tough times are making many hunt for more effective ways to gain the visibility necessary to win more business.

The economic crisis has left professionals in the "white collar" industries feeling vulnerable. BIG LAW firms continue to lay off staff, associates AND partners, leaving others in search of their personal business development plans. Nobody is safe, and the message is being heard by all but those who are choosing to live in denial.

I have begun coaching attorneys on creating their personal business development plans. The senior associates and junior partners with whom I am talking are deciding to be proactive. They realize that their careers now require them to be active in their business communities and go beyond just the minimum marketing requirements imposed by their firms.

I spent four years as the business development director for two AM LAW 100 firms. In my work I witnessed those who embraced having a "rainmaker's heart" and those who felt their profession was "above" other businesses who had to "market".

Recently I participated in a discussion with a lawyer who said "the [legal] profession used to be above marketing. Advertising was prohibited. Now it's just a business,... like a car dealership". Ouch.

Just a business? As an attorney is this the message of contempt you are sending toward YOUR clients? If so, you many never reach the levels of success you desire in the new world of corporate relationships and transparency. Sales and marketing professionals are held in places of honor in most successful organizations. It is not seen as an option or something that is "below" the rest of the corporate team. Additionally, top CEOs are often salespeople at heart. You can be too!

Today clients expect more than just good work, they want to feel a connection with those whom they do business. Here is where I can assist a professional to expand their practice beyond just being viewed as one of the pack. Discovering how to stand out and make in impact with clients and prospects at a deeper level is the key to success. Just doing good work will not produce the results you desire in this highly competitive marketplace. (Doing good work is a MUST, but it is not enough).

If your competitor is better at business development that you are.... they will win.

Feel free to contact me directly if you or your firm wants to explore this topic.

Have A Great Day.


1 comment:

Beth Bridges said...


I have a very good friend who is an attorney. We talk endlessly about networking.

He has told me over and over again that the most "successful" attorneys he knows are not the best attorneys; but they certainly are the best marketers.

In fact, he had some rather scathing opinions of some of the most popular and successful attorneys, but still admired their marketing and networking abilities.

It was one of the reasons he became deeply involved in local networking groups including my Chamber of Commerce and even developed his own group.

You may be the best in your field, but it's worthless if no one knows about you.