How can lawyers and accountants get in to new markets in a hybrid working environment?

The good news is despite some cynicism early on, I’m glad to say lawyers and accountants definitely can get in to new markets in a hybrid working environment.  It just needs to be done a little differently and here is the Tenandahalf 4-step model which you are more than welcome to use.

Step 1: Focus

Choose which areas you want to focus on 

The reason for this is if you set out with a scattergun approach trying to reach every potential client by all means necessary, you will end up spending a lot of time (and potentially a lot of money) without accomplishing very much at all. 

Instead, you need to start by working out who would make the best new clients for your practice and the best way to choose the new markets you want to get in to is to look at:

– Where you have a demonstrable track record

You’ll need to convince your targets you know them well and use the right language/examples/points of reference when you get in front of them.

– Where you have a personal interest 

You will always come across so much better if you are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the subject you’re talking about.

– There is growth potential

Which of the areas you know and like are actually growing?  For example, it’s probably better to target renewable and sustainable energy sources rather than fossil fuel-based businesses.

Step 2: Create your ‘murder wall’

We’ve talked a lot about this in our blog and in our videos so I’m not going to ask you to picture detective dramas again.  Instead, I’ll just remind you your BD will be so much more effective if you know:

– What is going on and what you targets are talking about

– Which publications they read

– Which websites they use

– Which groups they belong to

– Which events they attend

I know that at the moment we’re probably leading more towards virtual than physical BD here so publications, websites and trade bodies are probably the easiest routes in to new markets in a hybrid working environment (and, to echo the late great Marvin Gaye, ‘what’s going on?’ will always be a crucial component of any conversation) but events – even if there’s only limited numbers involved – are starting to happen so don’t discount them.

Step 3: Just do it!

Once you know who you are targeting and how you get your message out to them, the next step is to put those two things together.

At this point it’s probably a good time to admit that – like you – I know far too many people who try to make marketing far more complicated than it actually is so let me tell you what  marketing and BD really means …

… if you were to take a piece of paper and draw two circles at either side then write ‘what I have’ in one and ‘who needs it’ in the other then draw a line between the two circles, that line is marketing and BD. 

Marketing and BD connects what you have with who needs to buy it. 

But how do you turn that static line into an active flow of information from you to your target markets.  Well first off, you need to do something.

You can have the strongest product in the world, the best defined market in the world, a list of the most direct routes into that market but no one is going to bite unless you – to borrow a phrase from someone much cleverer than me – cast your hook in the right ponds. 

You need to do something.

You need to take action.

You need to just do it.

If you’re only starting to get into BD, please don’t worry.  Taking action could be as easy as choosing a few colleagues you like working with.  They have relationships, they can introduce you into these relationships and they can make the whole process so much easier for you.

However, there is one final selection criteria to bear in mind. 

Good business development is about doing what you like with who you like so ask yourself honestly if you’re a networker, a writer, a speaker, or a researcher.  All these roles have a vital role to play in making BD work so make sure you volunteer for what suits your personality and skill set best.

Step 4:  What gets measured gets done

Once you have a plan you need KPIs (key performance indicators) for example:

– How many clients do you need to reconnect with?

– How many new contacts do you need to meet?

– As a group, how many articles do you need to write? 

– How many phone calls do you need to make? 

– How many coffees (online or in person) do you need to organise?   

– How many panels or Q&As do you need to be involved in?

Once you have a target, it is easier to track progress and see what you need to do next.  And it also allows you to see what you have accomplished so you can actually sit back and give yourself a pat on the back for starting to get into new markets in a hybrid working environment!  

This review process is even more essential in the hybrid working environment as it will keep you on track should restrictions tighten up, should new options become available or should certain tactics either stop working or cease to be a viable option. 

Knowing where you are doesn’t just show you where you’ve been, it will also show you the way forward while providing the structure and personal accountability required to make any plan a success.

If you would like to discuss new marketing initiatives or how to launch a sector focus or how to put more structure around your marketing and business development, please get in touch today and we can find a convenient time to talk.

Published by sizetenandahalfboots

Douglas is a director of Size 10½ Boots, a specialist business development agency that works solely with the professional services, helping firms grow by winning more new clients and more work from the clients they already have. Although every project is different our work generally falls into one of three camps - strategic marketing support, BD training and 1on1 coaching and independent client research.

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