Lawyer Business Development: Focus on Client Needs First

The first and most important mindset a lawyer can develop in order to succeed at business development is to focus first on client needs.  Rather than thinking of your lawyering skills as superior (which they very well may be) – try every day to think about what clients need.  With this mindset, lawyers can succeed beyond their imagination at business development.

John Hogg, writing in Enlighten IC Blog, puts it this way:  “Effective business development happens when you know the types of company you want to do business with and then go out and try to find them.” 

Mike O’Horo, writing in Medium, explains that lawyers should “[p]rofile [their] targets in objective terms, e.g., those companies most like your best clients, who likely face similar problems you can solve. You may need some professional guidance at first, but it will quickly become second nature.

Focus your proactive marketing and selling effort only within your target range. Say “no” to speaking engagements that don’t reach your target audience. Don’t write articles for publications that don’t reach your target.

By targeting, not only will you increase the amount of business that you originate, but you’ll acquire clients that you really want. Because you’ll have a higher percentage of work that you love, and clients who love your work and appreciate you, both your clients and you will find your practice more interesting and rewarding.”

Look into the future when targeting potential clients

In order to be far ahead in your business development efforts – try to look into the future and identify who your ideal potential clients are – then identify commercial opportunities (or dangers) that exist in your jurisdiction for those potential clients and how your legal services can be leveraged to help them manage them effectively.

Find opportunities that are likely to be of interest to prospective clients

Some of the most effective approaches to breaking the ice with new prospective clients might include reaching out to foreign companies you believe from your research may be interested in strategic acquisitions in your country.  This places you far ahead of the curve in terms of business development timing.  You’re initiating conversation with companies long before they’ve perhaps even considered opening operations in your jurisdiction.  And your outreach (and likely continued engagement with them over time) – will not be forgotten when and if they do decide to enter your market.  And when they do – the original legal issues you may have identified as relevant for them in considering an acquisition – will blossom into a suite of services you’ll provide should they choose to expand into the country.

In other more instant cases – make yourself aware through your research that companies that are actively considering expanding into your country or have already made plans to do so.  It’s not too late to reach out to them with ideas about how you might be able to assist in concrete ways.  But develop what approach to take in these circumstances takes training and repetition to get right before deploying it.

A client focused mindset is the single most effective way to approach business development

These are just a few examples of thousands I could provide about how a legal practice might effectively target new prospective clients.  But the most important element here is ensuring your mindset it always thinking about client needs – how you can fulfill them – and actively and consistently reaching out to those clients with valuable, actionable commercial information which in all likelihood require your legal services to help achieve.

Lawyer Business Development Coaching

I help lawyers develop their capabilities to focus on client needs first — via one-on-one video or audio coaching sessions.  My experience includes hundreds of face-to-face meetings with prospective clients on behalf of law firms – where I helped clients realize how lawyers can help them achieve their objectives. These meetings first required me to identify client needs – reaching out to those prospective clients and securing meetings with them on behalf of my clients and succeeding in securing those meetings.  Just as I recommend in this post.  For more information about how I might be able to help you build your law practice, please complete the form below and I’ll contact you promptly. 

Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope to hear from you.

John Grimley

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