Still making plans for the best 2013 yet?
Struggling to get all your best intentions and great ideas into the perfect plan?
If you really want to make headway on your business development efforts in 2013, think small and focused. What good is an explosion of activity in 1Q if it only fizzles out by June? Below are 3 general areas that will likely provide a better bang for your buck in terms of marketing and business development time.
Make Client Service Your Top Priority
Start with your current clients first. Do you have a process in place to make sure you are regularly checking in with clients that have open matters? Lack of responsiveness is the #1 reason a lawyer gets fired. Implementing a simple system can go a long way. When your clients know that they receive this regular communication from you, they feel better about referring their friends to you. How can your staff help you with this?
Commit to Consistent and Realistic Follow Up
How about following up with clients once a matter has ended? When do you schedule time in your week to follow up with the contacts that you met at that networking event? How about getting your colleague the revisions on the PowerPoint slides so that you can participate in the speaking engagement he invited you to? All these actions are important to business development success, but often get put by the wayside. (For an interesting view on why we break promises, click here.) Keep your commitments realistic and deliver what you promise. Set time in your week for “follow-up activities”. Not only will you keep your promises and your reputation in tact, but the anxiety of wondering what may have fallen through the cracks or the guilt of the continuous thoughts of what you haven’t done will free up space in your mind for new ideas and initiatives.
Build Out and Monitor Your Online Presence
When is the last time you checked your LinkedIn page? Is everything up to date? Do you have a picture up? Are you in compliance with your state bar’s rules of professional conduct? LinkedIn is a powerful tool and the first place many people go when they are either referred to you or need an attorney. Make sure that your summary contains the “keywords” that a potential client might search when needing your services. Your LinkedIn profile is also one of the first things to come up in a Google search. What else comes up when a potential client “Googles you”?
For a wealth of information on LinkedIn for lawyers, I suggest Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs. Where can you find one hour in your week to focus your efforts in one of these areas? In 2013, I have made the commitment to arrive to work earlier and 2 days a week write for one hour so that I can consistently update my blog. Have I been perfect? No. (I got hooked on Game of Thrones over the New Year and HAD to finish the second season one evening instead of going to bed earlier so I could get up earlier, but I digress.) Sometimes though, we need to drop the desire to have the perfect plan and just jump in.
Say you don’t have an hour? Stay tuned for my blog post later this week titled “Business Development .20 (Point-Two-O) – BD Activities You Can Complete in 12 Minutes or Less.”