As we have often seen, most lawyers are not natural rainmakers though all lawyers can be educated to become effective business developers in accordance with their unique skills, personality and practice focus – – by experienced trainers who know the legal profession well and ethical rules relating to client communications and confidentiality.
Even if a lawyer is primarily an internal service partner, he/she still must communicate and interact effectively with their partners and staff. To that end, every lawyer has a responsibility within the business development process, but the roles may vary. To effectively communicate is mandatory for lawyers and firms would be wise to consistently emphasize this fact as they evaluate their business development needs.
In today’s law firms, more times than not, in-house marketing staffs, as well-intentioned and experienced as they may be, are often not best suited to initiate training programs which will deliver measurable results. Despite their marketing backgrounds, internal marketing staff may not be the most effective trainers or coaches to help guide lawyers in their business development endeavors. They rarely have the resources or time to provide the one-on-one coaching support on an ongoing basis which is imperative to a successful training program. Don’t lose sight of your objective just to save a few dollars. In the end, you’ll get what you pay for when investing in training your lawyers and equipping them for long-term success.
Regardless of whether firms choose to work with outside consultants or keep their training in house, lawyers must recognize that they are the firm’s crucial sales team. All lawyers must have basic client relations and communications skills — whether or not they actually engage in the sales process. That is just part and parcel for being in private practice.
Keep in mind that a minuscule percentage of lawyers, typically 5-7% in a given firm, are natural rainmakers. Of the 93-95% remaining lawyers, usually a healthy percentage (60-70%) are eager to develop new work and have been trying on their own with limited success. That leaves the unfortunate 20 or so percent that are uninterested in developing new work and are not motivated to participate in any training efforts. Identify the second tier of willing players and focus on providing them with the practical tools and on-going support necessary for long-term growth.
Bottom line, with the reduced demand for many legal services and brutal economic changes, firms would benefit from a formal annual review and evaluation of their overall business development program regardless of whether they employ salespeople, if their program is facilitated internally or outside support is utilized.
To learn the requisite concrete habits you must develop to become the rainmaker you are meant to be, click the buton below for a free download of Top Habits of Successful Rainmakers. Do it today!