Rely on the most comprehensive, up-to-date legal content designed and curated by lawyers for lawyers
Work faster and smarter to improve your drafting productivity without increasing risk
Accelerate the creation and use of high quality and trusted legal documents and forms
Streamline how you manage your legal business with proven tools and processes
Manage risk and compliance in your organisation to reduce your risk profile
Stay up to date and informed with insights from our trusted experts, news and information sources
Access the best content in the industry, effortlessly — confident that your news is trustworthy and up to date.
Find up-to-date guidance on points of law and then easily pull up sources to support your advice with Lexis PSL
Check out our straightforward definitions of common legal terms.
Our trusted tax intelligence solutions, highly-regarded exam training and education materials help guide and tutor Tax professionals
Access our unrivalled global news content, business information and analytics solutions
Insurance, risk and compliance intelligence using big data, proprietary linking and advanced analytics.
A leading provider of software platforms for professional services firms
In-depth analysis, commentary and practical information to help you protect your business
LexisNexis Blogs shed light on topics affecting the legal profession and the issues you're facing
Legal professionals trust us to help navigate change. Find out how we help ensure they exceed expectations
Lex Chat is a LexisNexis current affairs podcast sharing insights on topics for the legal profession
Discuss the latest legal developments, ask questions, and share best practice with other LexisPSL subscribers
As a lawyer, if you develop your skills in each of these areas, you should be well positioned to keep generating new work in these challenging times. Professional services business development (BD) consultant and coach, Kevin Wheeler, provides some key areas to focus your efforts:
Undertaking lots of networking among existing clients, potential clients and referrers is crucial to ensuring a flow of new business opportunities. There is no substitute to wearing out shoe leather, getting out and about talking to those who may give you work directly or who may recommend you to others. Face-to-face contact is the key to building trusting relationships with users/buyers of legal services by understanding their problems and suggesting solutions to these. Therefore, the more people you talk to, the more opportunities you will unearth.
However, your networking needs to be structured in order for it to be most effective. In other words, you need a strategy. This needs to be formulated on the basis of: “What am I selling, to whom and why should they buy from me/my firm?” Randomly bouncing around the marketplace handing out business cards to all and sundry is unlikely to be a fruitful approach to BD.
We all remember those who we meet who create a great first impression with us: a firm handshake, a warm smile, an engaging personality and an interest in us are all factors which help to leave an abiding memory of someone who we enjoyed meeting. The same applies to BD. You only have one chance to make a good first impression and those that are good at BD usually have these great interpersonal skills, which leave those that they are meeting with a good positive first impression.
The only objective of networking should be to set up meetings with those who you think are in a position to buy your services. It is unlikely that you will be instructed until you have sat down and met with those who are in a position to give you work. All your marketing should be geared towards engineering opportunities to have meetings with decision-makers. Only by having formal meetings can you really understand an individual’s needs and put forward your proposition for addressing these, or in the case of the "challenger sales model", challenging the client’s thinking by teaching them about an aspect of their business that they had not previously recognised/understood.
Most organisations and individuals already have lawyers that they instruct. If you are to be instructed, you need to displace the incumbent legal adviser. This means that you need to demonstrate benefits which the incumbent cannot match. Usually, this means having better expertise, delivering better service or providing better value for money, or any combination of these. If you cannot articulate a differentiated proposition to potential clients, they are unlikely to instruct you.
Building credibility with a potential client usually means demonstrating an understanding of their business and industry sector. Therefore, building and maintaining comprehensive industry knowledge is a key component of effective BD. This knowledge can be obtained by reading the industry press (often these days through daily online news updates), attending industry conferences and reading (or even commissioning yourself) research reports into industry trends and developments.
Through their deep understanding of an industry, great business developers use their insights to become thought leaders. In other words, they look into the future and predict issues that will impact on their clients and proactively present solutions to these issues, often before the client is even aware of the issue or the risk that it poses to their business.
Finally, although all good marketers and business developers will have a strategy and plan, a lot of opportunities come along that were not foreseen. Being opportunistic and taking advantage of these is another aspect of excellent BD. These triggers – a change of decision-maker, a change in client ownership, an acquisition or merger, a company crisis like a product recall, etc – all represent opportunities to approach the potential client with a view to displacing the incumbent lawyers to advise on that issue.
Business development strategy
Drafting a business plan
Pitching for business
Free trials are only available to individuals based in the UK
* denotes a required field
Kevin Wheeler has been advising professional services firms on all aspects of marketing and business development for more than 30 years. As a consultant he helps firms to manage and grow their key clients as well as to win new ones. As a Meyler Campbell qualified coach he works with partners and those approaching partnership to improve their BD skills.
0330 161 1234