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Winning work in today’s legal market is not easy: low levels of corporate activity and investment mean that demand is subdued; too many lawyers chasing too little work means that competition is fierce; and, to cap it all, clients have become much more discerning buyers of legal services and are shopping around to find the best value or, in many cases, just the cheapest price.
In the face of this increased competition, many firms have rightly identified the need to improve the business development (BD) skills of their lawyers, by which I mean their ability to manage and grow the work that they get from their existing clients, as well as to win new ones. To do so, firms generally bring in external BD trainers or get the in-house BD team to run such sessions. In my experience, such ‘sheep dip’ training usually fails to bring about the long-term behaviour change required from the lawyer to make him/her a more effective winner of new business. And why is this?
Firstly, ‘busy’ lawyers will always prioritise the files on their desks over ‘soft skills’ training. So, drop-out rates for BD courses are often high and, even if you manage to get the lawyers to attend, their attention spans are such that they often slope off at coffee or lunch to attend to matters back at their desks. Off-sites can help but a good proportion of attendees will always have one eye on their smartphones monitoring their emails or will be po
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Kevin Wheeler has been advising professional services firms on all
aspects of marketing and business development for nearly 30 years. As a
consultant he helps firms to manage and grow their key clients as well
as to win new ones. As a certified coach with WABC he works with
partners and those approaching partnership to improve their BD skills.
0330 161 1234