Ten ways to improve your business development prospects

05/07/2021

Try these tips to win new business in a changed landscape.

 growing business pandemic

Growing in a pandemic

Covid-19 has changed how firms engage in business development. Face-to-face meetings and events have been reduced and severely curtailed, virtual online meeting and webinars have replaced the traditional in-person meeting and event, and online marketing has become a significant tool in engaging new clients.

In this article, we give 10 tips to improve your business development.

  1. Have a clear business development strategy. Start thinking about the expertise that your practice area has and align this with those current and potential clients which might benefit from them.
  2. Know your unique selling value proposition. Having a clear value proposition – what you do best – enables you to clearly communicate the value of your services to your actual and potential clients. This puts you at an advantage when justifying your fees.
  3. Conduct research. Before meeting a decision-maker or pursuing a new client, you should undertake research into their background, their business, and their likely advisory needs. Avoid pitching for work that you / your firm will never realistically win, as this will waste your time and resources. These resources could be more usefully spent going after other more suitable winning opportunities.
  4. Schedule time in your diary weekly. This is designed so that you can complete and plan your business development activity. Don’t treat business development activity like a tap: ‘off’ when you are busy and ‘on’ when you have no work on your desk. You should understand that leads usually take months or years to come to fruition.
  5. Focus on the firm’s existing clients. These are the best leads available to you, as they already know and trust the firm. Ask to have a meeting to discuss their current and possible future needs.
  6. Agree a next step. At the end of every client meeting, you need to agree the ‘next step’; the action that you can take to build the business relationship.
  7. Follow up. When you meet a prospective client or contact a decision-maker, the onus is on you to follow up rather than expecting the potential client to ring you if they need advice. Seek opportunities to reach out to them.
  8. Develop thought leadership. This collateral can be used to open doors or make presentations. If you have documented insights which are valuable to specific clients, preferably backed up by research, you stand a much greater chance of getting an audience with them to discuss how you / your firm might be able to help.
  9. Stick to your plan. After developing a business development strategy, stick to it. If you don’t follow your plan, your objectives and goals may become unclear, which may prevent you developing effective relationships with your potential clients.
  10. Build relationships. Focus on actual and potential clients over time. This is a continuous evolving process of building relationships with current clients and identifying new clients to target by having a clear business development strategy.

Despite the changes to the way that solicitors must interact with clients, these guidelines should help you yield results in winning business from current and new clients.

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This article originally appeared in the 29 June Member eZine. For more information, and to subscribe, visit eNewsletters.