What makes lawyers great at business development?

What makes lawyers great at business development?

I have spent more than 20 years advising law firms on marketing and business development (BD) and now spend a lot of my time coaching lawyers to become more effective at BD. Without this key skill, you will never make partner or, once there, move to the top of the equity.

During my time, these behaviours have set great business developers apart from the rest.

Doing lots of structured networking

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 for wearing out shoe leather, getting out-and-about and 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 and 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. 

Having great interpersonal skills

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.

By the way, this doesn't mean you have to be a complete extrovert, just someone who comes across as professional, confident, fr

Subscription Form

Related Articles:
Latest Articles:

Already a subscriber? Login
RELX (UK) Limited, trading as LexisNexis, and our LexisNexis Legal & Professional group companies will contact you to confirm your email address. You can manage your communication preferences via our Preference Centre. You can learn more about how we handle your personal data and your rights by reviewing our  Privacy Policy.

Access this article and thousands of others like it free by subscribing to our blog.

Read full article

Already a subscriber? Login

About the author:

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.