Five Barriers to Business Development Success

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Every year law firms spend millions of dollars in marketing, client development, training and technologies to attract more clients. Law firm leaders understand that business development is the life blood of the firm. Or do they? An argument can be made that a law firm that puts business development as one of the top drivers of the firm’s growth would do a better job of addressing the most common challenges that are obstacles to the success of most attorneys. Many law firms survive on the client development effectiveness of a small group of the firm’s partners making law firms generally extraordinarily fragile. But eliminating these barriers could produce significant returns and spark faster growth in the firm.
What are these obstacles? This is the first in a five part series outlining the obstacles to business development in most firms.
Obstacle One – A wing-it mentality towards client development
Most law firms have a poorly defined sales process. Even where attorneys have been instructed in effective sales techniques, they typically fail to follow the process consistently. A sales process is analogous to a professional football team playbook. Without a consistent offense, a consistent defense and a consistent agreed to set of plays, what you have are great players who can't get the ball in to the end zone because they just don't know what their next move is. They become purely reactive to the opposing team, in this case the prospect!
Many firms have enjoyed extraordinary growth for the past several decades. This growth has primarily come from increases in work volume which is quickly receding. The next decade will surely be a decade of market share competition and growth will have to come at the expense of other law firms. Firms which take a more proactive approach to business development will undoubtedly win out over the long run.