Wednesday, April 16, 2008

For Law Firms: Marketing Programs Give Way to Formal Business Development - Coaching is the New Branding

A few years ago, it was all about "branding" for most law firms. Huge investments were made in high priced advertising, marketing communications and branding campaigns. Now, the pendulum had swung back to "relationship marketing" - better know as "sales" in most circles. This recessionary economy coupled with the intense competition among and between major law firms and alternatives for a relatively flat amount of legal work, it is no longer enough to wait for business to come in the door and/or hope it does. Branding, marketing and advertising campaigns (if well done) can certainly re-enforce an existing relationship or buying decision, but do little to get the business in the door. That is accomplished one-to-one or in small group settings i.e. the "sales" process - by definition is what happens once personal contact is made.

There is a linear, systematic and somewhat predictable process to effective "selling" of legal services. Too many lawyers think effective selling amounts to some combination of: random acts of lunch; attending conferences; doing articles and speeches plus a little luck. This approach demonstrates a lack of complete knowledge about the "sales" process for lawyers. Recently, to support their lawyers' efforts to sell effectively and ethically, most firms have had some client development training programs. Some programs are very successful, others not so much. The latest trend is to support quality bus dev training program content with personal business development coaching (making what was learned stick with consistent application/action). Lawyers with interest in becoming better rainmakers can benefit by utilizing qualified, proven coaches experienced at buying and selling legal services. Lawyers who do not have a personal business development coach and/or have not participated in a solid "sales" training program for lawyers are falling behind the competition. If you want to hire a proven bus dev coach and/or trainer for your firm, please consider my services.

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