Header graphic for print

Innovate

Under pressure?

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

“Pressure is what you feel when you don’t know what you are doing.”
- Peyton Manning

This quote stopped me in my tracks. My first inclination was to disagree, because I sometimes feel pressure because of a deadline or because of the importance of some activity, even though I know what I’m doing.  Digging a bit deeper, though, I think Manning has a point.

When it comes to business development, the lawyers most under pressure are those who don’t have a cohesive plan, who aren’t implementing their plan consistently, or who haven’t fully committed to one or more activities that are likely to help them secure work.  Although they know what they’re doing on certain levels, there’s a disconnect between intellectual knowing and buckling down to do the work. If you know that you should request an on-site meeting with a client, for example, and you expect that you might well land more business or receive a referral or even deepen a valuable relationship, but you don’t ask for the meeting, you’re going to feel pressure. Continue Reading

How to Make the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

LinkedIn is, de facto, the preeminent social media platform for professional purposes. As of May 2014, LinkedIn featured over 300 million mostly professional users, growing by two new members per second. (Read this article for 100 staggering statistics about LinkedIn.)

How can you construct a profile that stands out? I happened across a really nice infographic this week that offers 10 Tips for the Perfect LinkedIn Profile. I’m planning to review and revise my own profile this week, based on some of the suggestions—how about you?  Continue Reading

A mentor’s legacy…

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

My first legal job was serving as a clerk for the Hon. J. Owen Forrester of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. I knew I wanted to be a litigator, and so working for a trial judge was my idea of the perfect job. Sure enough, I learned lessons that have lasted the test of time.

Judge Forrester died on July 1, and while attending his funeral, I asked a number of his other clerks the most important lesson he taught them. Interestingly, every person alluded to exactly the same lesson:

To be effective, solve the root problem rather
than spending time on peripheral, non-dispositive issues.

Tweet: To be effective, solve the root problem rather than spending time on peripheral, non-dispositive issues.

Continue Reading

Fear can be good news!

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers, Uncategorized

I’ve been talking about fear with my clients quite a lot recently. (If you’re feeling fear, trust me, you aren’t the only one!) Sometimes it’s the fear of taking a step–more accurately, the fear of making a misstep. The fear of losing what you have (either material belongings or a reputation or self-identity) can be paralyzing, even if you know that you can’t get the next thing you want without giving up something you now have. And the fear of missing out has become so commonly identified that it has its own acronym, FOMO. Neither last nor least is the ubiquitous fear of rejection, which nearly everyone feels at some time.

Years ago the title of a popular book proclaimed, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. While the title is attractive, in my experience it’s hard to follow. In fact, given the typical risk resistance that most lawyers have by nature and/or nurture, it may be tougher for lawyers than for others who spend less time thinking about what might go wrong. Continue Reading

Implement these ideas today

Posted in Business Development, Client development

What would it take for you to catch up on all those articles and emails you put to the side (physically or digitally), promising to read them later but almost never actually doing so? For me, it was spending the last two weeks sitting in the ICU with a very ill family member. (He’s now out of ICU and doing well, happily.) And while catching up, I ran across a few articles and resources you can’t afford to miss.

1. How do GCs really view lawyer marketing? This article, summarizing a panel of Fortune 500 GCs who spoke at the Legal Marketing Association annual conference, is well worth a read if you’ve ever paused in the midst of business development activity and wondered why you’re bothering. The big take-home for me? Fortune 500 companies pay attention to client alerts and blogs as well as speaking engagements. Holiday cards and directory listings, in contrast, ranked low.

Bottom line? Providing relevant and timely content to potential clients establishes your credibility and makes you a viable candidate for retention. (Note that these conclusions may not translate directly to consumer clients.)
Continue Reading

Not enough time for biz dev?

Posted in Business Development, Client development

The #1 objection I hear to undertaking business development activity is time. Nobody has an overabundance of time, and when there’s plenty of billable work on your plate, it’s often hard to free up time to bring in yet more work. (Willingness may be an issue, too. As I discussed recently in this article, in addition to the time crunch, you may unconsciously be resisting new business if you’re already very busy.).

Lack of time is a real concern, but it’s also illusory since we all make time for our top priorities. As Larry Winget has written, “Your time, energy, and money always go to what is important to you.” If you say you want to grow your practice and yet you never seem to have time for the requisite activity, you should reconsider your level of commitment.  Continue Reading

How can you reach them?

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

You have competitors, and depending on your area of practice and your geographic area, you may have lots of competitors. How can you stand out? I’ve covered some options previously here and  here, for example.

One of the key ways to distinguish yourself is to go where your ideal clients and referral sources are and to deliver something of value to them. That often means speaking, writing, teaching seminars, and so on. All true, all potentially effective (especially if strategically selected with proper follow-up in place), but it all starts to sound a little wah-wah-wah, like the teacher’s voice in Charlie Brown TV specials and the NON-MOBILE version. Continue Reading

Get more productive and connected!

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

This week, I’d like to share 3 things I’ve found recently that have been tremendously helpful.

  1. My 1-3-5 List I recommend that you maintain at least two task lists: one that covers everything you need to do, broken down by task, project, and due date, plus one for today’s tasks. (Why “at least” two lists? If you sort your overall list effectively, a single comprehensive list of tasks is enough, but you might find that you prefer to maintain separate lists for individual projects or domains.)

    Continue Reading

Do you really want more clients?

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

Good news! The hard copy of Legal Rainmaking Myths is finally available for purchase. You can pick up your copy here. And if you’ve read Legal Rainmaking Myths or the second edition of The Reluctant Rainmaker, please share your review here or here, respectively.

It seems obvious that growing your practice means you want to bring in new clients and new business, right? Without the consistent flow of new business, practices not only don’t grow: they die. Continue Reading

How your holidays can help you grow your practice

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

We celebrated Memorial Day in the US on Monday, marking the unofficial start of the summer holiday season. Children are out of classes, or will be soon, and many of us are thinking about slowing down a bit to enjoy more family time.

It’s always a challenge to balance billable work with business development work with personal life, and a lot of my clients seem to find that even more challenging over holidays. But here’s the truth: if you drop back on business development activity because of the season, growing your practice will be that much harder. Continue Reading