In today’s competitive legal environment, smart small and mid-size law firms are continuously exploring strategies for steady growth. While many believe that business development (BD) is primarily a responsibility of partners or senior attorneys, it’s essential to recognize that a team-oriented approach often yields the best results.
Every interaction—every touchpoint—holds the potential for growth. Building a BD culture requires not only recognizing these touchpoints but also ensuring that every member of the team, from paralegals to administrative staff, understands their role in this shared mission and is contributing in a meaningful way. Here’s how.
Touchpoints as Opportunities
Every communication, whether formal or informal, represents a chance to create a lasting impression. For instance:
- An email can be more than just a transmission of information; it can be a testament to your firm’s professionalism, efficiency and commitment.
- A meeting, even one that’s brief, can be an avenue to demonstrate expertise, attentiveness and genuine interest in a client’s concerns.
- A casual conversation in the hallway or over coffee might seem mundane, but it can be the foundation for a deeper relationship, building trust and brand loyalty.
The key is to train the entire team to recognize these touchpoints and approach them with a BD mindset.
Unified BD Role
While senior attorneys and partners often drive BD initiatives due to their experience and connections, it’s vital to understand that every team member impacts the firm’s brand image. Here’s why:
- Paralegals often have direct interactions with clients, gathering crucial information and providing updates. Their efficiency, responsiveness and understanding can leave a lasting impression.
- Administrative staff, from receptionists to office managers, often serve as the first point of contact for potential clients or partners. Their demeanor, helpfulness and efficiency can set the tone for the entire client experience.
Everyone, regardless of their position, plays a role in shaping the client’s perception and experience with the firm.
To cultivate a proactive BD culture, firms must invest in skills enhancement across the board. Regular training sessions, tailored to different roles within the firm, can equip employees with the tools and confidence they need to contribute to BD efforts. Consider the following:
- Workshops focusing on communication, client engagement and branding.
- Seminars detailing the latest trends in the legal industry, ensuring that everyone is well-informed and can contribute meaningfully in discussions.
- LinkedIn training programs – this is a win win for everyone involved – as employees learn how to use LinkedIn they can become brand ambassadors for the firm while also building their confidence and their own professional brands. (Reach out to me to learn more about the programs I provide to firms and individuals.)
- Role-playing scenarios that help team members handle various client interactions, ensuring they are prepared for real-life situations.
- BD isn’t Just for Partners: Every member of a law firm can and should play a role in its business development efforts.
- Recognize Every Interaction as a Potential Opportunity: From emails to meetings, every touchpoint can be a chance to enhance brand loyalty or cultivate new business relationships.
- Invest in Skills Development: Regular training tailored to each role can refine BD skills, fostering a proactive mindset throughout the firm.
- A Unified Effort Multiplies Opportunities: When every member of the team understands and adopts a BD-centric approach, the firm’s potential for growth magnifies.
By recognizing the potential in each touchpoint and engaging everyone in business development efforts, small and mid-size law firms can harness the power of a unified BD culture to pave the way for consistent growth and success.
Reach out to me for help creating a business development strategy for your law firm.
Stefanie Marrone advises law firms of all sizes, professional service firms, B2B companies, recruiters and individuals on the full range of marketing and business development consulting services designed to enhance revenue, retain current clients and achieve greater brand recognition. She also serves as outsourced chief marketing officer/marketing department for small and mid-size law firms.
Over her 20+-year legal marketing career, she has worked at and with a broad range of big law, mid-size and small firms, which has given her a valuable perspective of the legal industry. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, sign up for her email list and follow her latest writing on JD Supra.