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September 21, 2011

Free sample chapters from my new book on legal business development

My new Legal Business Development Quick Reference Guide will be published next January.  It is a companion volume to my Legal Project Management Quick Reference Guide, which describes how to deliver more value to clients.  This new book will explain how to find clients in the first place. To download free sample chapters and an order form, click here.  An abridged version of the preface – “How to use this book” appears below.

I know you don’t have time for marketing.  You can barely find time to go home on Saturday.

But you know that marketing is more important to lawyers than ever before. Whether you are focused on financial security, personal satisfaction, or becoming a great lawyer, the key to success lies in improving your service and your relationships.  That equals marketing.  So you know in your heart that you MUST find a way to fit some marketing time into your overcrowded schedule. 

I have good news and bad news. 

The good news is that lawyers can achieve significant marketing progress in as little as an hour a week, as long as they limit their efforts to current clients and referral sources.  This won’t produce new clients, but it may produce new revenue.  And even if it doesn’t, it will protect your most important asset: the clients you already have. 

The bad news is that finding new clients is the hardest work you can do in a suit.  If that’s your marketing goal, you will need to make a serious time commitment. 

But even here, there’s some good news.  You can substantially increase your chances of success by focusing on the tactics that best fit your practice and your personality.  And even if you’ve never thought of yourself as a marketer, you may find that you have the talent and interest to become a top rainmaker.

Whatever your goal, the keys to legal marketing success are prioritization and follow-up.  You must prioritize tactics based on how quickly they will work for you, and then follow up with efficient action items.  This book provides tools which can help you become more disciplined about prioritizing and become relentless about following up. 

This book is organized alphabetically to make it easy to find exactly the information you need, just when you need it.  Its checklists, samples, reports, and quick references will help you to increase new business more quickly.  Whether you need to create an elevator speech, improve networking, qualify a prospect, plan a meeting, increase client satisfaction, or begin another business development task, this book will provide ideas that will improve your results.

I wish I could say this Quick Reference Guide will make business development easy, but I can’t.  It takes a long time to build the type of relationships that lead a new client to hire a lawyer, and no one can build your relationships for you. 

So if you are looking for a magic cure, you should look elsewhere.  But if you are willing to put time into business development, this Quick Reference Guide will help you develop new business more efficiently by focusing on the activities that are most likely to produce immediate and practical results for your practice, your personality and your schedule.

If you get serious about business development before your competitors do, you may be able to bring in some new business relatively quickly.  When we started working with lawyers seven years ago, we were frankly surprised at how often a simple action led to new business with current clients.  For example, a number of early clients whom we coached decided to offer a free meeting to current clients, simply to learn more about their business.  A surprisingly high percentage of them have walked out of those meetings with new engagements. 

In twenty years of training sales professionals in other industries, we had never seen a free meeting lead immediately to new business with a current client.  But with lawyers, we saw it over and over. 

In describing that success in the first edition of this book, I wrote:

The activities we recommend are still relatively novel in the legal world, so there’s a lot of low hanging fruit.  As more and more lawyers learn how to pick that low hanging fruit, everyone will have to reach higher for what’s left.

Which is exactly what happened.  Many of your competitors have gotten smarter about marketing, and it is harder than it used to be to find low hanging fruit.  However, that does not change the steps you must take to satisfy clients.  Instead, it means that it is more important than ever to keep your clients happy, before somebody else does. 

Can every lawyer really learn to succeed at marketing?  Absolutely.  Only a few will develop into the great rainmakers who bring in new clients, year after year.  But any lawyer who has clients can learn, and must learn, to build stronger relationships. 

Do you need to do this yourself?  Yes.  Many lawyers have tried to hire people to market for them, so that they can spend all their time on the law.  This will not work in the current environment.  Mind you, I am a professional marketer, so of course I believe that people like me are an important part of any business development team.  But I also know that marketing professionals can’t do it alone. 

The only way to grow legal business is to grow personal relationships.  Your personal relationships.  If you need to exercise, you can’t hire somebody else to do your pushups.  And if you need more marketing, you can’t hire somebody else to build your relationships.

Do you want to devote time to developing new business?  Frankly, it doesn’t matter.  Sure, it would be wonderful if you loved marketing. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to follow up and succeed. 

But if you want to get paid for working as a lawyer, you must have clients.  Your competitors are getting better at marketing, and trying to take your clients.  The only way to defend yourself is to become a better marketer, whether you like it or not. 

Once you start having some success, I think you will like it.  Until then, just put it in the same category as exercising and do it.

To download free sample chapters and an order form, click here.


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