Match Lawyers’ Business Development Efforts to Personality Traits – Part 1

Attorney Business DevelopmentLawyers are smart people. Most lawyers have attended presentations on how to develop new business and enhance their practices. As a result, most of them clearly understand the theory behind business development. Most of them sincerely want to get more work and better work.

So, why do most lawyers fail to achieve their business development goals?

The two primary obstacles are fear and lack of time. Fear is generated when lawyers are asked to step outside of their comfort zones and engage in new activities. Lack of time causes lawyers to push business development to the back burner, never giving it the chance to mature into habit.

“The best way to overcome these obstacles is to develop a customized marketing plan and tactics that fit a lawyer’s unique personality (thus overcoming fear),” said Craig Brown, “and to develop good business development habits (using a pipeline) that keep these activities front-and-center.”

Brown discussed how to motivate lawyers to engage in business development at the monthly educational meeting of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association, held Sept. 10 at Sullivan’s Steakhouse in LoDo Denver. Brown is a former lawyer and principal consultant with LawVision as well as founder of the Motivera Group and Modena Seminars.

“Lawyers will be successful when they are comfortable with and get satisfaction from business development, and when they develop the habit of regular engagement in business development activities,” said Brown.

Lawyers are not “designed” to sell

The average lawyer who is asked to sell differs from the average sales professional in many important ways. In a well-known study, Dr. Larry Richards used the Caliper Profile to discover the personality traits common to various successful professionals – including lawyers.

Richards uncovered certain personality traits that set lawyers apart from non-lawyers. Lawyers score high on abstract reasoning (82 percent), which is no surprise.

Richards found that lawyers score high on skepticism (90 percent), autonomy (89 percent) and urgency (71 percent). “The skeptical lawyer will question everything; the autonomous lawyer will resist being managed; and the urgent lawyer will be impatient and want to see immediate results,” said Brown. “None of these qualities is particularly helpful when it comes to business development.”

Richards also found that lawyers score low on sociability (7 percent) and resilience (30 percent). “Lawyers with low sociability scores are reluctant to open up their personal lives to others,” said Brown. “They play it close to the vest. The less-resilient lawyer is unable to bounce back easily from criticism or rejection. These qualities hinder lawyer efforts at business development.”

In a related study, Richards focused on lawyers in particular — comparing a group of lawyers, all rated as excellent lawyers by their peers, who differed only in their business development skills.

“The biggest differentiators between the rainmakers and less successful lawyers were ‘ego drive’ and ‘resilience,’” said Brown. “Ego drive is the desire to persuade others for the sheer joy of getting someone else to agree with them.”

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from criticism or rejection. When a prospect says ‘no,’ a lawyer with low resilience takes the rejection personally and wants to quit. A lawyer with strong resilience feels challenged and just wants to try harder.

“Lawyers as a group differ from other professionals in their personality traits,” said Brown. “Plus, lawyers who are successful rainmakers differ considerably from lawyers who are not. This does not mean that lawyers as a group cannot be effective rainmakers. They need to be aware of their natural tendencies, discover what works for them, and then work harder at it.”

 

Janet Ellen Raasch

Janet Ellen Raasch is a writer, ghostwriter, copyeditor and blogger at Constant Content Blog who works closely with professional services providers – especially lawyers, law firms, legal consultants and legal organizations – to help them achieve name recognition and new business through publication of newsworthy and keyword-rich content for the web and social media sites as well as articles and books for print. She can be reached at (303) 399-5041 or jeraasch@msn.com.

 

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Janet Ellen Raasch

About Janet Ellen Raasch

Janet Ellen Raasch is a writer, ghostwriter, editor and blogger at Constant Content Blog who works closely with professional services providers – especially lawyers, law firms, legal consultants and legal organizations – to help them achieve name recognition and new business through publication of keyword-rich content for the web and social media sites as well as articles and books for print. She can be reached at (303) 399-5041 or jeraasch@msn.com.


Website: http://www.constantcontentblog.com
Email: jeraasch@msn.com
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