We have all ‘been there’ finding ourselves too busy with client work to breathe and then the rollercoaster heads downward and we’re searching for new projects. It can be challenging to devote any time to developing new work when your plate is already full. But, what happens when we’ve eaten what we’ve killed, proverbially speaking?
I work with law firm clients consistently who voice the same complaint: “I’m so busy, until I’m not.” This common thread began my wheels turning on how to stabilize the perennial ebbs and flows of business development and how, if at all, can lawyers take proactive steps to get and keep momentum in their practices.
At the outset, I will directly state that those who engage in random acts of marketing such as sporadically reaching out to their network; infrequently scheduling coffee/meal dates with top clients; and other high impact business development initiatives need to just stop it – - – now. It’s a waste of all your resources and, in the end, doesn’t reflect well on you as a business owner. Instead, I offer a better approach: development and maintain a balance approach by creating momentum to your business development efforts. Read on to learn what you need to know.
Word of the day: momentum. Webster defines it as the tendency of an object to continue movement in a single direction. And, the speed of the movement increases in exact proportion with the degree of momentum. If the speed is very slow, there will not be much momentum, period.
When lawyers genuinely invest in building a prosperous practice, one of the quickest ways to get there is by focusing your time and energy on the concrete steps that matter most: delivering extraordinary service to existing clients (to sow the seeds for recurring assignments) and targeted relationship-building to develop new clients and referral sources.
By taking concrete action in a meaningful and purposeful way, you will generate a certain momentum which must be sustained to build traction with your business development efforts. The more you can ‘just do it’, the more and more momentum you will build, the more comfortable you will be with doing that activity or task, and the more productive and effective you will be – closer to reaching your end goals.
What we often see with clients if they may begin on a high note, commit themselves to one or two business development initiatives, then they really struggle with sustaining the momentum and follow through which is critical to building a prosperous practice.
In short, the momentum is stunted and whatever traction the client created is lost. Among the value that we bring to clients, guiding them along in the business development strategy and execution process and holding them accountability is highly rated, according to our client feedback.
Below are steps lawyers can take to create momentum in building a prosperous practice and sustain it over the long term:
1. Plan for Success
Once and for all, stop the random acts of marketing that waste valuable resources and, most likely, ends up making you feel like you are failing. Develop a 6-month plan by writing down concrete action steps you will take on a weekly, if not daily, basis to meet your goals (sometimes, getting crystal clear on your goals is the first place to start).
Then, schedule these concrete action steps (such as reaching out to 2-3 referral sources every week for either a coffee date or lunch/dinner; draft a blog post twice month, etc.) in a calendar, whether that is paper or digital, do what works best for you. These should become “non-negotiable” commitments that you will honor and discipline yourself to take. Don’t be shy to reward yourself after each action that you take.
By taking consistent, persistent action on a regular basis, you will create momentum; it’s not good just making an activity a ‘one-off’. One must take purposeful action regularly to build and sustain momentum to carry through to your goals. To make something happen routinely we need to be persistent. Persistence is what separates the men from the boys. Education is great, high intelligence is better, but, it takes a persistent approach to build momentum and build a business.
2. Get Moving
Start reaching out according to your action steps. Begin researching blog topics. Research your LinkedIn connections for prospective introductions. Choose one action item that will contribute to one of your goals and take immediate action. Get moving, today. This means no postponing, no delaying, no procrastinating, no excuses.
3. Stay Focused
Remind yourself of your goals every day and stay focused on them. Post visual reminders on your mirrors at home, on your computer screen at work. When you find yourself distracted by something that is not directly in line with your goals, ask yourself, “Why?” Identify how you will manage future distractions and look for ways to eliminate them.
4. Stay Active
Do something every day that will bring you closer to your goals. It need not be big – it must be consistent and persistent. If too many days pass between actions, momentum will dwindle and eventually die.
5. Avoid Paralysis by Analysis
Nothing slows momentum more than indecision. Decide as quickly as possible and then take some immediate action to support the decision – no matter how trivial it seems.
6. Seek support
Many successful rainmakers say that you must have an insightful coach and trusted advisor to guide you along the way. Build a strong team of supporters to help you to get and stay focused and to support your desire to bring cohesion and build a strong momentum to your business-building vision. All things are possible, if you keep your eye on the goal.
Remember, my mantra – marketing success comes only through the consistent, persistent massive amounts of action over a prolonged period of time. There are no magic bullets or shortcuts to success!
Image courtesy of Zuzzuillo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net