Helping Lawyers Build Relationships and Sell

Peter Kane, business development training

What is it about the nature of some professionals that stops them being great in business development? UK marketer Peter Kane examines 10 of the big issues – and at the same time suggests ways to help. The areas are also song titles on his  iPod.

"I’m willing to give you an insight into my muddled musical taste in the hope it will provide an easy way for you to remember each issue. Let’s kick-off with a classic..."

Strangers In The Night – Frank Sinatra

One myth around business development is that you need to constantly reach out to people you have never spoken to before – something which quite understandably scares the pants off the average cautious lawyer. But, the reverse is true. People should start by selling through their best contacts and clients.

Exhaust those first. Then and only then, begin the arduous and expensive journey to engaging cold prospects.

Not only is it easier and more natural to invest in relationships with people whom you already know – it is also a lot quicker. Developing deep personal trust and credibility takes years. If someone has no awareness of you or your firm at the moment, chances of winning work from them are slim.

The Only One I Know – The Charlatans

Many lawyers have deep expertise in a particular area which is a big plus when delivering technical work. However, when valuable conversations require breadth to focus on a clients’ business – rather than simply a particular specialism, the lawyer can feel exposed, so retreats into their comfort zone leaving the client frustrated.

As Catriona Tulley, who has worked in business development with 3i and KPMG, notes, “Sometimes it’s better to know a little about a lot rather than a lot about a little. Combine this with a fear of being exposed, and some people cling to the comfort blanket of what they know.”

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