business development for lawyersThe business world today is hyper focused on digital connectedness, particularly during the pandemic. Lawyers are traditionally reliant on in-person business development, networking, and word-of-mouth. However, the days of entertaining prospective clients and referrals at restaurants and sports games are on hold. On the other hand, the resources normally spent on those activities can be reallocated to other means of networking such as boosting your social media presence. Even if you’re a pro at in-person networking, you may still struggle with virtual networking. In this article, we share tips on how lawyers can keep pace with business development in a digitally focused world. 

1. Leverage technology:

Lawyers can accelerate their business development through face-to-face digital interactions. Set up Zoom coffee meetings, host online seminars or webinars, etc. In addition to using technology tools to better automate marketing and sales efforts, there are plenty of technology tools out there that can help you to continue networking. Look into which tools will help you build more relationships digitally.

Related: How to Create a Law Firm Webinar: 10-Step Guide & Best Practices

2. Join industry LinkedIn or Facebook groups:

These groups help you stay connected to like-minded individuals, and are also a great way to stay up to date on what’s happening in your sector. LinkedIn is especially helpful for targeting industries through groups. Make sure you offer value by posting unique content and being active in conversations. There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to approach groups, and members tend to see right through self-promotional posts. In our past blog post, we dig into the proper way lawyers should approach LinkedIn groups. 

3. Optimize your social profiles:

Make sure all of your profiles are complete, consistent and on-brand. Optimizing your social media pages makes it easy for others to trust you and get in front of your target audience. Use keywords where appropriate, make sure you have a professional headshot, an impactful headline, etc. See: Social Media Bio Tips for Lawyers.

4. Share your knowledge and experience:

One of the best ways to build business is to offer something of value. There has never been a better time to create thought leadership. Use some of the down time you likely have to work on white papers or podcasts. 

5. Create a virtual education content plan:

Along with a traditional content plan where blogs and articles are promoted, consider coming up with a plan for more modern methods of educating your law firm’s target audience. Fortunately, technology has never been more accessible than it is today, making it simple for lawyers and legal marketers alike to lean in to podcasts and webinars. With no geographical barriers, both are great digital mediums for reaching and educating a wide audience.

6. Clean up your relationship tracking:

Many professionals do not take advantage of a CRM system, and that costs them time and deals over the long run. Use any spare time right now to learn a new system and start organizing your database within it. If you don’t have a formal CRM system, an Excel spreadsheet is better than nothing. 

7. Revise your business plans:

If you’ve never written a comprehensive plan for how to obtain more business, now is the time. Set realistic goals and evaluate different ways you can build credibility and brand awareness.

8. Leverage social media:

In today’s digital landscape, brand identity is strongly linked to your social media presence. By building your own personal brand and establishing a social media following, you can enhance your reputation as an attorney, build trust with current and prospective clients, and generate new opportunities to build your practice.

Many people don’t use social media to the extent that they are able because they’re not comfortable. Learn the basics and then invest time in posting content, joining groups, and reaching out to prospects. For more tips, watch our on-demand webinar, How Lawyers Can Use Social Media to Build Their Brand & Grow Their Practice.

9. Collaborate with other thought leaders:

Lawyers can accelerate their business development by reaching out to potential partners or other colleagues and co-author a white paper, put on a zoom webinar, or invite them on your podcast.

10. Focus on current clients:

The quality of the relationship is one of the more important aspects of choosing a law firm. Consider your most important clients and think about what else you can do for them. Go above and beyond such as sending a small gift or hosting calls to make introductions for them. 

11. Look for the silver lining:

This disruption will pass and eventually business as usual will resume. In the meantime, think about what you can learn from this time and how to carry over any new habits. Make a point to continue focusing on digital activities once in-person business picks back up. 

12. Block off time:

There are plenty of reasons not to focus on business development – specifically, delivering for clients! It’s important to be disciplined and set aside a little time every day to perform business development activities. Many people find mornings work best, before they have to put out the fires of the day.

13. Take action:

Every time you think “I should really give XYZ at ABC company a call”, but don’t do it, you’re letting an opportunity pass by. If you consistently tell yourself you’ll do things later, you’re likely missing out on a lot of chances to build business. Take action when you think about it. 

14. Delegate when possible:

Do you need to write every proposal or could a junior staffer do that? Do you need to spend more time polishing that presentation or could a virtual assistant help? Automate nurturing activities with email tools and receive automatic reminders with an efficient CRM system.

15. Hone your sales skills:

Your law school education focused on preparing you for your legal career, and you probably never received any formalized training in business development. Don’t be afraid to seek out resources that can help with sales skills, whether that’s a mentoring relationship or an online class.

Takeaway

As the digital world continues to cross over into the business world, successful lawyers will be those who are smart about developing business online. These tactics can help you spend your time doing the right things, but one of the most important aspects of business development is consistency. Business development is a long-term effort, not a short game.

Are your firm’s business development professionals looking for additional coaching training and professional development? Checkout our Business Development Coaching Certification for Law Firms. This live, online certification program provides training and tools to teach rainmaking skills to business development professionals at all levels.

Updated and republished from August, 2020.

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