Business development comes from learning about the industry in which you want to practice law, understanding what the industry’s legal needs are, meeting people and developing business relationships. Without that, all the knowledge of the law and positioning of the firm will do you little good. Law is a service business and service is about relationships and perceived value.
In order to learn about the industry, you need to read about it, attend industry events, and meet people in the industry. Preferably, you want to join organizations and become involved in them, such as on committees, as a speaker, writing articles, or on the board. This type of involvement develops your visibility and demonstrates your expertise.
Read what is going on in the media that reports on the industry. Knowing the names of the “players,” the jargon, and the issues that affect the industry helps you develop a clear understanding of what people will need from a lawyer. There is a great deal of information on-line as well as what is at the newsstand. On-line information is much more in-depth than what is available in libraries, and it is quicker to review.
Attend events where you will make contacts and learn about the industry. Seek out methods for developing these relationships. As always the best way to meet prospective clients is through referral sources. People who already know someone they can introduce to you. Find the people who serve this industry – their bankers, suppliers, accountants, in-house lawyers, etc.
Relationships are built not by focusing on you, but by focusing on the other person. If you always put the other person first, you will develop strong relationships. Ask yourself, “What do they need?” “What are their problems?” “How can I help them?” This help may not always be law-related. Maybe they need to meet someone you know, etc. Relationship marketing is the process of developing and managing on-going, collaborative business relationships, which creates value to all parties through mutual cooperation and interdependence. Key concepts of relationship marketing include:
- Continuously driving value to the client
- Providing total problem solving capability of the firm
- Leverage relationships to create value
- Solve client problems – not just legal problems People do business with people they like, trust and respect. Relationship building is not easy. It takes time and effort. But the more you put into it, the more reward you will receive.
- Learn about the industry.
- Join industry-related organizations and become involved.
- Identify the people you want to meet.
- Once you meet them, develop the relationship.
The Collision Principle:
Just get out there. Get in opportunity’s way. Let it hit you.