A few months ago Heather Townsend, co-author of 'How to make partner and still have a life’, explained the 10 lessons that every prospective partner needs to learn to an audience of over 200 tax, finance and legal professionals. The 6th lesson was the need to have a consistent business development routine.
As a follow on to this talk, in this article, Heather shares 3 signs that the consistent business development activity you are doing is not effective.
One of the great things about working with talented professionals is seeing them achieve their potential and overcome their insecurities. I was, therefore, somewhat surprised to have a call with one of my most successful clients and hear he was worried about his billing. He was understandably concerned that his pipeline was looking light after the Brexit shock and the summer months. So, I started to prepare my normal advice about what to do when your pipeline looks a little light. As with all of these things, between worrying about the problem and speaking to me, 3 new chunky matters had landed on his desk. Therefore, in this blog post, I will share the key things to check BEFORE panicking about your pipeline.
1. It isn’t that time of year
When I used to work as a learning and development manager for BDO, I learned that the firm didn't want to know our team over summer or the peak audit months. It doesn't matter whether you are an auditor or lawyer, there will always be busy periods and quiet periods. However, if you not yet aware of the rhythm and flow of your type of practice, it can be very easy to get anxious when the phone doesn't ring. Before you worry about the phone NOT ringing, talk to the more experienced people around you. Are they quiet too, and is this normal for this point in the year?
2. Are you being a busy fool?
Everyone has a comfort zone when it comes to business development. If you are interested, mine is blogging. I can always write a blog if it means I can avoid doing something in my "too hard" box. As a result, it is possible to be consistently marketing, but not doing enough of the right stuff.
The right balance of the "right stuff" will be different for different practices. The marketing plan for a litigator will look fairly different to the marketing plan for a Company Commercial Lawyer with a loyal set of long-standing clients. But typically, the "right stuff" for most professionals in practice means a consistent business development routine which you implement weekly. (I.e. the 6th lesson in Heather’s 10 lessons) The routine has you keeping in touch with your existing clients and introducers, maintaining a high profile where your clients/introducers hang out online and off-line, investing in producing high-quality valuable content which you are sharing with your network.
3. Are you well known within your marketplace?
Many of my clients start off as their firm's best-kept secret! Is it any wonder that they can the reputation of being a safe pair of hands who isn't future partner material. If you have spent the time building up a strong brand in your firm and external marketplace, work will come to you. Of course, there is no guarantee that this work will come to you in a consistent manner!
If your business development routine is targeted, measured and implemented consistently then new leads will come your way. Be aware that seasonality may mean that they don't come in a regular manner across the year.
Heather Townsend is a best-selling author and executive coach who helps people make partner in the legal, accounting, and consultancy professions. Click here to download Heather’s FREE ebook containing all of the 10 lessons. She blogs on the How To Make Partner website, where you can read many more articles about winning new business.
The new edition of the best-selling How To Make Partner And Still Have a Life is out in September 2016. It’s been called ‘an absolute must-read (and potential life saver) for anyone pursuing a professional career.’
Buy your copy now and get 20% discount with the code H2MPG20