Posted by allan on December 9th, 2013
Since so many firms are still managed on a consensus or collegial approach, decisions often take too long and follow-up is all too frequently missing. It is the job of firm management to hold practice area leaders, partners-in-charge of offices and professional staff accountable for following up their assigned activities and tasks. In corporations, accountability is measured by such tangibles as profit, timely actions and quality control.
This same view needs to start with the managing partner (a la CEO), insuring that each member of the management team has a specific set of tasks to manage (a la business unit executives in corporations). They, in turn, set timelines for each task assigned to a practice, market place leader, business development strategist, professional development leader, cross marketing chair, website refinement director, attorney sales performance review committee, etc. The managing partner institutes a review of each task at each management committee meeting.
Posted by allan on December 4th, 2013
In our last column, we discussed underutilized assets. Today let’s focus on acknowledging non-performing assets and eliminating them and their costs. How many of those firm brochures or printed e-alerts are being used and viewed? Who reads the volume of reports produced by the accounting department? Can they be simplified and re-focused on predicting marketplace and service area trends? Can an outdated phone system be replaced with one that includes contacts, email access, internet meetings, video conference calling, etc., thus providing more internal efficiencies and improved responsiveness to clients?
Posted by allan on December 2nd, 2013
Now is the time to determine if assets are underutilized. For example, can accounting metrics point to major changes in top clients from three years ago? Is a practice area strength being marketed in a region where the need for this expertise is growing? Can multi-skilled paralegals assist in focused prospect research on a target’s business, competition, new products and services in their marketplace? Are attorney articles and speeches posted on the website news section or blog to create higher search rankings and more client and prospect contact opportunities?
Next column on successful attorney sales will focus on non-performing assets.
Posted by allan on November 26th, 2013
“Where Ethics, Marketing and Practice Development Connect” is approved for CLE/Ethics credit in several states and eligible in many more. If your attorneys need this year-end credit, contact me now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by allan on November 21st, 2013
This is the last in our series on questions to consider before setting a sales meeting. The final step in effective business development is being able to answer specific questions bout your company or firm. Clients are interested in determining how compatible your firm would be with their business and how well you would be able to work together.
Be prepared to answer the following in a meeting with a prospective client:
* How do you typically provide information to your clients?
* How can you support us in our dealings with the
executive, board of directors?
* Have you ever done proactive or preventative work?
* How do you bill?
* Can you provide public relations and crisis communications?
While you may already have answers to these questions, reviewing them with your team for consistency and updates is good practice. In your answers, it’s important to be forthright. Your answers should assure them of your abilities and dedication to the work. By taking these steps to prepare for the CLOSING ZONE, you’ll be one step closer to closing the deal.
Posted by allan on November 11th, 2013
In the last few columns we have dealt with questions critical to making that sale. Today let’s talk about dealing with the future. Through answering clients’ questions abut them and your firm, they’ll get a good idea as to your commitment to the engagement and abilities to serve their needs. The next set of questions you should be prepared for are about the future and what will happen next:
* Can you describe the risks I’m taking if I hire your firm?
* How can I measure your results?
* As you think about staffing, who are the professionals you will assign to the project?
* What are your expectations about the project?
* Tell me three reasons why you are the best choice for us?
* How can you protect us from new government regulations and other forms of liability?
These are the tougher, harder-hitting questions that require more effort in developing succinct answers. While what you do is important, what you will do is more important-especially to the client. Laying out a roadmap will instill a sense of direction while building the foundation for future work. In doing so, you’ll get closer to the closing the sale by leaving a solid impression.
Posted by allan on November 5th, 2013
Here at the Closers Group, we often tell our clients, “stop planning — start closing.” The reason for this is simple; marketing strategies are an essential step in creating awareness about your firm or your practice, but you must take action, engage with your prospects and close more business.
That doesn’t mean that there isn’t some planning that you need to do. One often overlooked area of new business development is taking the time to identify your prospects’ needs so that when you meet them face-to-face, when you are in the CLOSING ZONE, you are ready.
* What internal pressures are they facing?
* What services and activities do they consider vital?
* Who else do they use and how does you compare?
When we work with our clients to help them prepare to close more sales, we take the time to explore and fully answer these and other questions. Having a list of prospects is great: validating each prospect’s potential and having a customized game plan for each meeting is even better.
Posted by allan on October 29th, 2013
When preparing for a prospective client meeting, it’s important to not only prepare your sales pitch, but also to prepare your answers. Doing your homework on the client/prospect is the most important research you can do before you are in the CLOSING ZONE, ready to make your best sales presentation.
Be prepared to answer the following:
* Do you know what’s happening in our market place?
* Do you understand the pressure we are under?
* What do you know about our competitors and their
* Do you understand how we communicate internally?
This effort will not only impress the prospect, but will foster profitable business development and ensure more new business closings.
Posted by allan on October 22nd, 2013
Relying on a few equity partners to “make rain” is a thing of the past. Every lawyer is a rainmaker in the future of legal business development. Will this likely obliterate the way law firms have been compensating their partners for decades? Probably. Will this be complicated and messy? Yes. Highly successful companies in many industries figured out long ago how to compensate, retain and value their top salespeople. Firms also have the advantage of business development consultants who understand both law and business to guide them through the process.
Posted by allan on October 15th, 2013
Professional services marketing should stop presenting themselves as a cost center and demonstrate their ability to bring in revenue. Of course, this assumes that business development should be their marketing strategies goal and not just “keeping the firm’s name out there.”
As Mario Castenada stated in a recent LinkedIn post, “CMO’s do not measure or provide evidence of the ROI on marketing efforts and activities.” All too often, marketing professionals see themselves in a support role and are treated s such by firm and company executives.
Marketing needs to be a profit center, not an expense, when demonstrating success in supporting attorney sales teams.
Next column – Solutions.