Top 8 Tactics in Business Development

Michael DowneyI sat next to author and lawyer Michael P. Downey of Chicago yesterday at the West LegalEdcenter Midwestern Law Firm Management Conference in Chicago. We were discussing his new book, Introduction to Law Firm Practice, newly published by the ABA, and we discussed what works in business development.

"There are no clear 'sure-fire' ways to develop clients," he says in the book. "Certain activities, however, are consistently identified as being good ways to develop business."

Michael is a litigator and partner in the legal ethics and risk management practice at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP. His law practice focuses on advising law firms and accounting firms on legal, ethics, and risk management issues.

He quoted  a survey of corporate law firms by my friend John Remsen on the the business development activities that are most successful. Here's what the respondents said:

  1. Visiting clients - 61%
  2. Organizational involvement - 12%
  3. Other - 10%
  4. Firm-sponsored seminars - 9%
  5. Speeches - 3%
  6. Newsletter - 3%
  7. Website - 2%
  8. Bylined articles - 0%

I agree that nothing beats meeting clients face-to-face at their premises.  The clients love it and appreciate that a lawyer took an interest in their business. I recommend you call a client you haven't seen lately, and ask for a tour of the factory or offices. If the client is 1,000 miles away, call up and find out the next conference they're going to and meet them there.  It really is the best business development tactic there is.

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Content Marketing - September 22, 2010 6:33 PM

The numbers from this survey were actually surprising, having been involved in internet marketing for some time now. Most certainly I agree, face-to-face is ultimately the strongest connection to have with prospects, but if you can leverage you website to become a resource for clients, you can ultimately generate more traffic (and business) as people use your site as a resource for great, relevant content. Thank you for the post!

Tahnya Ballard - September 30, 2010 5:37 PM

Wow! Surprising that writing articles yielded nothing. Is this akin to blogging? Blogging is just writing articles on one's own website/blog. I wonder what went into "Other".

From Larry Bodine: One problem with articles is that there is no face-to-face interaction. Also, business executives and general counsel are getting more information from the web than from print sources. So I suggest if lawyers want to write, they should write for websites and blogs and include reasons to have the reader telephone or visit them.

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