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 fourth in a five part series outlining the obstacles to business development in most firms.
Obstacle Four –Allowing "Self-Limiting Beliefs" to sabotage your efforts
Attitude is everything. Bad attitudes damage the individuals but self-limiting beliefs damage the firm. Everyone knows which attorneys in the firm have the bad attitudes. These attorneys are like pot holes in the road that most try to avoid. Self-limiting beliefs, on the other hand, are personal and much harder to detect and address. As such they can do more to inhibit the success of the firm and its attorneys than just about anything else.
Self-limiting beliefs manifest themselves in subtle ways, often bleeding into the folklore or culture of the firm. For instance, associates often complain that their mentors already know everyone worthwhile in town so there’s no way to build their own book of business. Or, attorneys equate ‘sales’ with used car sales people and, as such, close off all possibility of learning new ways to attract clients. Or senior partners warn of the unattractiveness of ‘self-promotion’ but fail to clarify what is self-promotional and what is important communication regarding the successes and achievements of the firm’s attorneys.
Each of these are ways that attorneys create obstacles and barriers prior to a fair assessment of the many strategies, tactics and skills necessary to develop a successful practice. I call this ‘contempt prior to investigation’ and it is incredibly limiting and destructive to a firm’s ability to develop substantive client development skills and processes.
If I can help you alleviate the obstacles to business development in your firm, call Eric Dewey at 502.693.4731. You'll find that I am an eager resource and that it costs nothing to talk.