Keeping business development simple

Simone Hughes
Make it Count
There is so much complex coaching on marketing and business development that we want to run and hide. But don’t despair — you can keep it simple and make it count with these simple steps.

The world is so complicated today. You don’t get one email a day, you get 100. You don’t get one piece of advice — you get 10 books of wisdom. Consultants, friends, colleagues and family are continuously offering up their suggestions for your improvement. Everyone’s telling you how to talk, walk and act. You are being bombarded with information and being buried by it. We are all being carried away by complexity and I think we need to step back and keep it simple.

The simplest way to build business is still that one-to-one connection — talking with people. It is the most efficient thing you can do. We all love to hide behind email, excuses or blaming the marketers! But it is really all about you. You have to give to get. The good news is there’s a ton of opportunity at your fingertips.

You have three viable sources of business through people you know — your own firm, your networks and LinkedIn.

Your own firm — Do you know all the people in your own firm? Do you know what they do and what special things they can offer clients? Do you have multiple offices? Do you know what they offer? Have you connected with your practice and industry area colleagues across your firm? Do they know you? Do you probe your clients for their needs and refer work to your firm colleagues?

Your networks — You have a lot of private, legal and public connections: family, friends, school and workplace alumni, community, sports, present and past clients, associations and more.
Is your firm a member of a legal network? Do you know the name of it? Do you know the member firms of that network? Do you know your counterparts across that network? Do they know you and your firm and what you can bring to their clients?

LinkedIn — Your clients check on you. They use your biography on your website and they check out your LinkedIn profile. Have you made the most of your profile and your LinkedIn services? Are you connecting and following colleagues and clients?

Simone’s Simple Steps for Success

1.    Find two people a week (or month) to contact from your three sources — one internal person and one external person.

2.    Prepare for contact. Look these people up; review their profiles, experience and backgrounds. Note some things you have in common and interesting parts of their experience. Note what your clients might find valuable.

3.    Call them (or leave a voice message). Pick up the phone and say something along the lines of “I’ve done a little research on you and I would love to refer business to you. Would you mind if you let me know more about yourself so I can refer the best-fit clients and business to you?” (In doing so, they are going to think about you and refer business to you.) If they don’t answer the phone, leave them a voice mail and send them a followup email. Some people prefer to talk on the phone and some prefer to communicate by email. Why leave your chances with one method and 50 per cent? Use both methods.

4.    Track your progress and success. Make yourself feel good measuring your success in incremental steps. Just measuring whether you receive a file or not is very depressing because things don’t happen that quickly. Call first and then follow up with an email. Create a tracking sheet like the one below. It will build out to a personal referral program over time.

Simone's Simple Steps for Success                                
Referral Tracking Sheet  
    Research contact Prepare t-5 talking points Call contact Send followup email Receive response Note contact's key experience Stay connected 4x per year Referred business out: Received business:
Week 1 Internal contact                  
  External contact                  
Week 2                    

Try it today: Find, prep, call and track.

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