The most common answer I get when I ask lawyers and accountants what is difficult about business development, the most common answer is “lack of time”. I want to challenge this.
When I ask the same people if they have exercised in the last week the majority say they have and the reason that people have found time to run/go to the gym/do yoga is that far too many fee earners in professional service firms still place a higher value to their personal well-being than they do on business development.
Here are some of my thoughts on what you can say and do to make sure your and your colleagues’ BD doesn’t fall by the wayside:
– Simply being a good technical practitioner alone is no longer enough to be commercially successful.
– You must invest time to get closer to your existing clients and referrers and attract new clients too
– Time for BD needs to be ring-fenced to protect it … would you overwrite a client meeting? Exactly! Of course you wouldn’t and winning new work is just as important as doing your current work.
– The most effective approach to BD is ‘little and often’ (just as it is with exercising).
– BD activity should be matched to the individual’s interests, personality and skill-set, e.g. writing, speaking, networking and/or research & analysis.
– What gets measured gets done; set realistic BD goals, monitor progress and have clear accountabilities … and if you can monitor progress with your colleagues, that will make you all answerable to each other which will only help you make sure what needs to be done gets done.
If you’d like us to help your fee earners to address what is difficult about business development, please email us and we can find a time to chat. Or, if you’d like some more practical BD tips, why not catch up with our CoffeeCast?