Thursday, December 17, 2015

3 (More) Ways to Jumpstart Your BD in 2016

Want to do better in 2016? Give your business development a boost. Here are three ways:
1. Talk To Your Colleagues. 
Although you pass each other in the hallway 12 times a day, how often do you stop and talk business development with your fellow lawyers? Why not set aside one lunch per month to get together with one or two of them and talk business development? It doesn't have to be formal, you don't need to bring your BD plan as reference, you don't have to justify what you did or didn't do last month. You just have to talk about clients and opportunities and ways you might be able to get new work. 
2. Drop Your Clients a Line. 
You know it's true: most of the correspondence you send clients is about work – status updates, compliance questions, filing deadlines, and the like. But it doesn't have to always be that way. What if you made an effort, again once a month, to find one article or blog post that one of your top clients will find interesting? Perhaps it's an article about their alma mater, or a ground-breaking development in their industry, or even news from their home town that you can forward along with a "this made me think of you" cover note.  They'll appreciate it.
3. Make an introduction. 
No matter how long you've been practicing, you probably know several people who would benefit from knowing each other. Perhaps your accountant and your biggest client both like to sky dive. Or maybe two clients in complementary industries went to the same college but have never met. Whatever the connection, what if you made the effort to figure out who would gain from an introduction and then put them together? Wouldn't your contacts appreciate it if you made three or four introductions over the next 12 months? 
Make 2016 a great year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

3 Questions As You Rewrite Your BD Plan for 2016

The end of the year is always a good time to take a hard look at your business development efforts of the last 12 months: what worked and what didn't, where you want to spend your time and effort next year, etc. If you're going through that exercise – and you should be – here are three questions you should ask yourself:
  1. What do I like to do? No, I'm not talking about horseshoes or hang-gliding (though there are no doubt many lawyers who have turned these and similar interests into BD tactics). Instead, you need to figure out what you enjoy, what you're most comfortable doing, and what you don't like, so that you can shape your BD efforts accordingly. Put another way: if you're more at home in front of the keyboard than in front of a crowd, you probably should put public speaking lower on your list than starting a blog. Because you're not going to actively engage in BD activities you don't like to do.
  2. What makes me special? Obviously, you wouldn't be a successful lawyer if you didn't bring something special to the table. Something tangible for your clients. Something that makes you stand out, that makes them continue to give you work. Once you figure out what that is – you might even consider asking one or two of them – you can start figuring out a way to exploit that strength, to determine who will be most interested, to articulate that which sets you apart from the competition.
  3. What is the market telling me? Staying on top of trends in the market – what regulators are doing in your key clients' industries, what's going on in China, how the presidential election is likely to change the way your clients do business – is essential at all times. But as you're trying to figure out where your biggest opportunities will lie in the coming year, you should be paying closer attention. A good place to start is BTI's recent Mad Clientist blog post reporting on a survey of more than 300 General Counsel on the areas in which they plan to spend their legal services dollars in 2016.
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