For some people selling yourself and your expertise comes naturally. For others not so much. It’s not controversial to say that many lawyers don’t fall into the ‘natural salespeople’ camp. And let’s face it, even if you do, business development can still feel like an incredibly daunting challenge – especially if it hasn’t been a big part of the day job until now. And this is often how people can start their career in legal consultancy.
So, whatever your comfort zone, here are some golden rules to business development for lawyers that will accelerate your growth and have clients knocking at your door.
Keep it simple and have a business development plan
Sometimes it’s all about your approach and having a bit of a mindset shift. Business development doesn’t have to mean heavy-handed cold calling. It’s much more about getting to know your clients, being curious and asking the right questions about what they need help with. With the right approach, you can produce and execute your own effective legal marketing strategy.
Start with a clear and concise business development plan. Who are you targeting? What can you offer them and why do they need your help? What actions are you going to take every week to reach your goals? By getting it all down into a plan (ideally a one pager!) you are committing yourself to take action to grow your legal practice and being crystal clear about what you are trying to achieve. And, who doesn’t love it when a plan comes together?
What’s keeping your clients awake at night?
When you’re helping a client with a specific piece of legal advice or just having a conversation with a contact at an event, make a point of asking about the bigger picture. What’s the next stage of their business growth? What are the challenges they can see coming down the line in two years’ time? What’s the vision for the future they are trying to achieve?
Everyone loves to talk about themselves and by getting them to open up about what success looks like for them (or what they are struggling with) you can spot the opportunities to work together. This is a much more natural and client-centred way to sell your services as it’s all about asking the right questions, listening to the answers and identifying where you can meet a genuine need.
Optimise your marketing
Be generous with your legal insights and knowledge and share your expertise on the right channels for the audience you’re trying to reach. Having expert comment pieces or podcasts published on your website and LinkedIn profile means more evidence that you know what you’re talking about for any potential client that is looking. It makes you findable and instantly credible.
Make sure any articles have a ‘call to action’ for the reader so that the link back to how you can help is clear. Use key words and phrases that people are likely to use when searching for information on that topic so that your content is relevant and easily found.
Use technology to your advantage
There is a huge range of technology you can leverage to support your business development in the legal industry. Make sure you harness the power of digital marketing with your web presence and that you are on a website that is well designed, easy to navigate and full of great content. Any website you are part of should also be visible and easy to find, with investment in SEO.
Are you a sole practitioner in the legal industry with no budget, time of expertise to create your own website? No problem. LinkedIn offers you all the functionality you need in terms of being able to promote what you do and who you do it for, gain social proof and recommendations and also publish posts, articles and newsletters. It also has high authority on Google making you easily findable.
Stop, collaborate and listen to other experts
Building up your network of expert advisers who work with the same client base is a great way to bring more business in. You’re often looking to work on different elements of the same transaction or deal and being able to bring another reliable expert into the fold can greatly endear you to a busy client. Plus, they may well return the favour. Make yourself and your network useful – or ideally indispensable!
Think carefully about which events will be best for your networking. Does your business actually ever come from other lawyers, or do referrals tend to come from other professionals working in the sector? Can you collaborate with other advisers on marketing activities?
Don’t give up when you fall at the first hurdle
Yes, some conversations won’t go anywhere. Some people will sound like they are really interested in working with you but will never commit. Some clients will defect to other lawyers and you’ll never know why. But some of your business development will hit the mark and it’ll feel great. As Richard Branson said ‘Business opportunities are like buses; there’s always another one coming.’
How Carbon Law Partners help self-employed lawyers with business development?
Carbon Law Partners provides you with everything you need to accelerate your business, helping you to become an expert in business development in the legal industry. You will receive administrative, financial, operational, logistical and marketing support when you join allowing you to concentrate on building your business.
Find out more about joining Carbon and how we can help you create a business development plan for lawyers by getting in touch today.