Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Will the 2017 “Shiny Penny(ies)” Develop New Work for Lawyers and Law Firms?

Law firm leaders, lawyers, marketing and business development staff members should be beware of the “shiny penny syndrome” to which many human beings inadvertently fall victim. The “shiny penny syndrome” manifests itself within the unconscious brain whereby human beings are often attracted to the latest trend, gimmick, gadget, i.e. the "shiny penny". Then, the majority of their time and attention is focused on the latest "shiny penny" until a newer, shinier penny comes along and first penny is largely or completely forgotten about.

The “shiny penny syndrome” plays out regularly within most law firms. For example, a few years ago when social media came into its own, many lawyers (who by nature are generally introverted) started spending the majority of their limited, non-billable marketing/business development time engaged in social media, simply because for most lawyers being on the computer is more comfortable to them than communicating directly with people. For a few lawyers, social media works to get new business, but not for the majority.

No matter what the latest trend or development is – the fact remains that the vast majority of new business that any lawyer or law firm gets comes as a direct result of a one-to-one or small group conversation or meeting with a client, prospect or referral source. So, in-person, live conversation and follow-up skills, and having a related strategy is still what works best to develop new legal work. But what about the latest and greatest “shiny penny”? Every January, there are several “trends in law firm marketing/business development” type reports that are published for law firms. In this rapidly changing legal environment, it is critical to review these to stay up-to-date on trends and developments. This year’s hottest trends and developments include: automation, process and project improvement, video, other social media developments, and others. Links to several 2017 trend reports are listed below.

But, before jumping full-bore into the latest trend, consider – how well does your law firm do the basics regarding business development and marketing? Prove-to-work basics include: using individual attorney business development plans and an associated process; having a proactive and skilled in-house (or outside) business development staff and coach; and most importantly – how well does the firm encourage, develop, prepare for, and fuel the success of one-to-one and/or small group meetings between the firm’s lawyers, clients, prospects, referral sources? If going after the latest trend or development takes significant time, focus and attention away from these basics, you may want to consider re-evaluating how your firm may implement the latest trend(s) and development(s). About the Author: Julie Savarino is an attorney, rainmaker coach, and one of the world’s most highly recommended "sales" and business development coaches and consultants for lawyers and law firms.

Links to some 2017 law firm marketing and business development trend reports:

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