Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Great session on “Practice What You Preach” today at #LMA17 #LMAMKT #Adam Severson!

Great session on “Practice What You Preach” today at #LMA17 #Adam Severson! IMPO, some fundamentals need to be in place before lawyers and non-lawyers can effectively “sell.” So, do we as law firm marketers/business developers practice what we preach by demonstrating these important fundamentals? Here are a few:

1.  At all times, treat all people with courtesy and respect — in person, on the telephone, in writing, and online.
2.  Be aware of and avoid conscious and unconscious bias.
3.  Avoid being distracted, rude, dismissive, etc.
4.  Listen attentively and respectfully.
5.  Embrace learning.
6.  Speak professionally.
7.  Exhibit self-control, tact, and diplomacy.
8.  Demonstrate integrity and trustworthiness.
9.  Arrive on time and work to stay on schedule.
10.Respond promptly.
11.Pay attention to detail in all you do.
12.Keep your commitments; keep all information confidential.
13.Be conscientious and take responsibility.

Work to become aware of and improve areas of weakness in the above because we all — lawyers and law firm marketers/business developers alike — represent the firm at all times. And one never knows from whom the next piece of business will come!

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Science of Business Development for Lawyers and Law Firms©

Lawyers, COOs, CFOs, Managing Partners, outside consultants, and law firm marketers continue to debate what works best to develop business. Sure, some of business development is common sense, opinions, and good ideas, but we now have science! Increasingly, law firms are taking a more scientific approach to business development.

Science is defined as a body of knowledge that has been systematically organized, studied, statistically (and as appropriate) financially analyzed through experience, surveys, studies, modeling, experiments, practical application, and observation. This article describes a few scientific disciplines that interrelate and impact the success and return on investment of business development efforts for law firms and lawyers.

The Science of Law About the time civilization began forming, rules of law were also developed. The rule of law has been around for thousands of years, continues to evolve, and is part science (statutes, precedents, procedures, etc.) and part art (how the law applies in each specific situation). All law is based on one major premise – to govern people and their behavior. Generally, the rule of law consists of codified common (and not so common) sense and is a body of knowledge and information organized to govern civilization – i.e., law can be considered a science. Key figures in the development of the rule(s) of law include Hammurabi, Flavius, Justinian, and Napoleon, among many others.

The Science of Business Development for Lawyers and Law Firms – Over the last 40 years since the Bates decision – Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977), a SCOTUS case that upheld the right of lawyers to advertise their services – a body of knowledge (or science) on the subject of business development for lawyers and law firms has been (and continues to be) systematically studied, analyzed, compiled, organized, and updated.

Just as one example, for 30 years my company and I have been engaged in the disciplined study and analysis of the science of business development and we teach, train, coach and advise on the specific tools, techniques, and communications that are proven to work best to develop new business and relationships (see my select bibliography). Below is a list of a few of the categories of related science (all of which also require a significant element of “art” to successfully implement). This science (or body of knowledge) includes (but is not limited to):
·           What works best to develop business for lawyers and law firms by type of practice
·           What clients want and look for in their lawyers
·           What constitutes excellence in client service for lawyers and law firms
·           Where the highest ROI can be attained from business development investments
·          Best practices and proven techniques for lawyers and law firms in such sub-topics as:
  1.  Targeting an industry or market
  2.  Making a presentation or pitch that will develop new business
  3.  Having productive conversations that result in new legal work
  4.  Cross-servicing/selling
  5.  Use of social media
  6.  Many others related to marketing and business development for lawyers and law firms

A few notable scientists in these fields include (in alphabetical order) Patrick McKenna, NancyMyrland, Michael Rynowecer, and me – Julie Savarino – among many other professionals and resources.
The Science of Marketing and Marketing Professional Services – Both are bona fide, disciplined sciences for which master’s degrees and PhDs can be earned. There are thousands of books, studies, surveys, and other empirical data on these subjects. To earn an MBA, I was and others are required to study and master numerous related topics on the subject. The most notable marketing scientist – or guru – is Dr. Philip Kotler; there are many others.

The Science of Communicating with People and Relationship Development – Skills used in communications with people – i.e., “people skills” – are often considered “soft skills.” Soft skills are a combination of interpersonal (people) skills, social skills, communication skills, character traits, attitudes, career attributes, personal style, habitual behaviors, and other factors. People skills have been studied and analyzed by behavioral scientists for many years now. Notable scientists in these fields include Dr. Deborah Tannen; Dr. Jay Conger; Dr. Gary Orren; other professors at Harvard, Georgetown, and other colleges and universities; and Dr. LarryRichard, to name a few.

The Science of Process and Project Management This science is used worldwide by many companies and organizations and increasingly by lawyers and law firms. It was pioneered as Total Quality Management (TQM) over 40 years ago by the legendary Dr. Peter Drucker, who personally wrote more than 50 books on related subjects (and by whom the author of this article was trained). Recent variants of TQM include ISO 9000, Lean, and Six Sigma. Both process and project management play large roles in producing and delivering efficient and cost-effective legal work and law firm business development support services. Only recently have law firms begun embracing these disciplines. Catherine MacDonagh is one leader in applying this science to legal work.

Several other disciplines (that also consist of part science and part art) impact the success of law firm business development including: strategy; financial, cost, and profitability analysis; human resource acquisition and retention; leadership and organizational development.

About the Author: Julie Savarino is an attorney who holds an MBA in finance and marketing and is a certified white belt in Lean Legal Six Sigma and Project Management. For 30 years, she has been engaged in and studies the science of business development. She helps the world’s leading and most profitable law firms, and lawyers and law firm marketers and business developers create and implement cost-effective and revenue-generating new business development programs, events, projects, and departments. Julie@BusDevInc.com.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

3 Ways to Win More RFPs & Pitches for Outside Legal Work©

1.      How well do the lawyers in your firm evaluate the opportunity before deciding to respond to RFPs or developing a pitch/proposal?
Create and use a “go/no go checklist” for lawyers to use (with or without the assistance of in-house marketing and business development staff) to evaluate key strategic issues before spending a lot of non-billable time and resources responding to an RFP and/or making a pitch. Below are a few key questions to include:
§  Are there any explicit or potential legal and/or business conflicts of interest?
§  Is this opportunity aligned with our firm/practice group strategy?
§  Can we offer strong competitive advantages?
§  Is the work a core competency of ours? Is it in our “sweet spot” – what we excel at doing?
§  Can we get the desired result (the win) for the client?
§  Will winning provide us with any competitive advantages?
§  Can we staff and handle this work profitably? Can we offer data-informed pricing options?
§  Do we know and can we contact the decision makers and influencers?
§  Do we know the issuer’s main reason for sending an RFP (e.g., to save on costs, to improve quality, to enhance results)?
§  Has the issuer or prospect already made a decision? Do the decision makers or influencers already favor an incumbent or competitor?
§  What are the main selection factors or criteria? Will cost be a major factor in selecting the winning bid? 

2.      Do key lawyers and/or firm representatives contact the RFP issuer, decision makers and/or influencers as appropriate before submitting a written response or pitching?
Numerous studies show that the chances of winning work fall exponentially when the respondents do not engage in some form of personal contact with the issuer, decision makers and/or influencers before or while drafting and submitting an RFP response or developing a pitch. Yet the majority of lawyers and firms do not engage in personal pre-contact by initiating a preliminary, introductory, appreciative phone call or sending appropriate emails before responding or pitching. Law firms in the U.K. and Australia have significantly higher RFP win rates than U.S.-based law firms, mainly because they do engage in pre-contact for almost every RFP or pitch opportunity. Listed above are several questions to ask and issues to raise during the pre-contact call or email, or (preferably) during an in-person, non-billable visit. Discussing these and other questions pre-pitch will greatly increase a firm’s chance to win the representation, work, engagement, case or deal. 

3.      Does your firm use a post-RFP/pitch protocol?
Worldwide, less than half of law firms have and use an established post-RFP and/or post-pitch evaluation process. Yet without such a process, it is impossible to know how best to use your limited time and resources to improve your win rate. Effective post-RFP and post-pitch protocols include a centralized method for contacting the issuer and/or relevant decision makers; a qualified person to make the contact, call or visit; a list of key and common debriefing or after-action questions; and copious notes and tracking of the response. Then, analyzing and using the information to improve. 

To learn more master-level tips to increase your win rate, buy "How to Get on Desired "Short Lists" for Outside Legal Work© webinar on demand .

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. If you like this post, check out and "like" Julie’s new Facebook page @therainmakercoach where she posts useful and valuable "sales" and business development tips and content for lawyers, law firm marketers and law firms.