Therefore, the game of business development is a zero-sum one. Increasing market share will come from the business of competitors.
Yet those key business development strategies, explains David Lat at Abovethelaw.com, are fairly prosaic. He had attended the panel "Business Development Coaching from Chief Marketing Officers" at the Practicing Law Institute. Here is Lat's article.
The five key strategies are:
Develop relationships, both externally and within the law firm. In so many professional services business comes through other people. Those could range from former/present clients to a colleague. As Lat puts it, the game is relationship-driven.
Know your clients and their industry. The current client requires the lawyers representing them to already have a deep understanding of their particular company and the industry as a whole. They are no longer willing to pay lawyers to acquire that knowledge. For years, smart lawyers have been saying that they are there to solve companies' business problems. The tools they are using are legal ones.
View business development broadly. The chief marketing officer has to focus on more than stand-alone tactics such as creating pitch books. They can create new value by analyzing and improving every factor which attracts interest in the law firm's services and moves prospects to the close. Those could include niches of specialization and pricing.
Leverage social media. There can be a large payoff in this for niche lawyers. Through long-form blogging and a presence on LinkedIn Updates, they can establish powerful brandnames as experts and become influencers.
Learn how to manage media. Being quoted in media as an expert on a point of law can become a magnet attracting new clients. However, media relationships can get tricky when a client is involved in high-profile transactions or litigation. For those the law firm, as do many Fortune 100 companies, should centralize media relationships. Everything goes through that gatekeeper. That includes what media invitations to accept and the general scripting of the law firm's position.
To the five, I would add two recommendations:
Monitoring what the competition is doing. That could be as simple as tracking their search engine ranking and what key words they use.
Creating an ecosystem. This is how Disney got to dominate family entertainment. And it was how Barbie controlled the doll world. The genius of the late Steve Jobs was transforming Apple marketing into an ecosystem. Tech became Everything Apple.
As I explain in this article, it's necessary to expand the brand beyond its own borders.
The push-outs could include foundations, high-profile annual conferences, presenting TED talks, media-worthy pro bono work, and partnerships with other companies in other industries.
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