In November 2017, BTI posted: Law Firms to Add Big to Marketing Budgets in 2018—Here’s How to Get Yours. It began :
13% of law firm CMOs are trying to hide their smiles. They snagged big increases in their budgets—just over $1 million per firm.* Their goal is simple—keeping clients, growing clients, and getting new ones. Their success in justifying their new budgets comes from emphasizing the risk of not spending the money.
More recently I read: 5 TOP TAKEAWAYS FROM ACKERT’S 2018 LEGAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT TRENDS STUDY.
So, what are those business development strategies and which ones generate the most revenue?
Number 1 on the list was Sales/Business Development Coaching.
The unanswered question is how can client development training and coaching produce more revenue. Here’s how:
One-shot business development training will not produce more revenue because it will not change the actions lawyers should take to produce revenue.
Business development training should be combined with individual and group coaching. Your firm can either hire an outside consultant, or create your own internal program. Either way, to produce more revenue the firm, the lawyers and the coach must make commitments and keep them.
The Law Firm Commitments:
- Select lawyers who have the inner drive to be more successful. Your lawyers who need coaching the least, will put the most into it and get the most out of it.
- Leadership commitment and involvement. When your firm leaders are champions for the program, there is greater energy and a buzz around the firm.
- Aligned and active involvement of professional development and marketing professionals. Client development training has both a training component and a marketing component. Your professionals from both groups have a role to play.
- Sharing unique firm strategies and issues with the coach. Each firm is different. For an outside coach to be successful he or she needs to understand your firm’s goals, strategy, and culture.
- Funding for the program. Shows you are investing in your lawyers.
The Lawyer Participant Commitments:
- Active involvement in the group and individual coaching activities.
- An open mind to change.
- Create a business development plan with goals.
- Willingness to be held accountable.
- Preparation for coaching sessions.
- Monitoring client development activities.
- Sharing best practices and successes with the group.
- Identifying challenges and working to overcome them.
- Commitment to spend around 20 non-billable hours a month on client development activities.
The Coach/Consultant Commitments:
- Helping participants with planning and goal setting.
- Pushing each member and the group to attain group and individual goals.
- Role-playing and experiential learning.
- Ideas for client development.
- Teaching and applying client development techniques.
- Referral to source materials on career and client development.
- Team coaching.
- Creating opportunities for teambuilding.
- Providing candid feedback and suggestions.
- Making firm leadership aware if any participant is not meeting his or her commitments.
I know from my experience leading a program in my old firm and working with lawyers and law firms for 13 years that if your firm, your lawyers, and your internal or outside coach/consultant makes and keeps the commitments described above, the firm will generate a return on investment that is a multiple of the program cost.