Somehow, the year is half over. Have you completed 50% of the business development tasks you planned on for 2015? Or have you been focused only on billable hours? If you are like most of my coaching clients, you probably have a long list of calls you meant to make, meetings you need to schedule and events you should attend. Some people might call this a “time management” issue, but more often, I find that my clients don’t take action because they don’t feel confident about the outcome. They compare themselves to the rainmakers they know and are sure that other lawyers have biz dev figured out, or that the process is simply easier for others. I can assure you that it’s not easier. The difference is that rainmakers have a biz dev plan in place, and they are committed to taking action. If you read my last CMCP blawg, you may remember that one of the most effective ways to increase your confidence is by taking action.
In April, when I wrote about the book “The Confidence Code,” I didn’t realize that it would be an important part of the conversation at the third annual “From Having it All to Leaning In” event sponsored by the Santa Clara County Bar Association on June 10. The attendees were encouraged to read the book before the event. I was a co-presenter for the rainmaking session with Heidi Keefe, a partner at Cooley. Heidi and I discussed ways to engage in business development and she shared stories of her own success at landing clients because she maintained long-term relationships with a large network of contacts. She also talked about the importance of being herself and she encouraged the attendees to be authentic. In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”
As I said above, confidence is about taking action. By a fortuitous coincidence, biz dev is also about taking action. More accurately, it’s about taking many actions every year over the course of your career and being diligent about following up with your contacts. Perhaps you can keep these tasks in your head, but my coaching clients have found that it’s easier and more effective to capture them in a written marketing plan. (Yes, I know I keep saying that you have to have a plan. Trust me. I’m right about this).
You might be thinking that the summer months are a bad time for biz dev because so many people are on vacation. Let’s be realistic. Not everyone will be taking vacation, and those that do will probably only be gone for two weeks. Even if you can’t schedule all the meetings you want to have right now, you can start setting up your September calendar, and start planning the rest of this year. It is not too soon to add the CMCP Annual Business Conference to your calendar (Oct. 22-23 in Los Angeles). If you have attended previous conferences, you already know that this is one of the best networking opportunities you will have all year.
Committing to Your Plan
If you are ready to get started and need a framework for your biz dev plans, call me at 415.336.8755 and I will send you the Personal Marketing Plan template that my coaching clients use. Some sections may not be relevant to your practice. Focus on the ones that make sense for you, and commit to completing at least one biz dev task every week. If you develop a weekly habit, you will quickly realize that every month of the year is a great time to be engaged in your biz dev practice. And a year from now, you will be far more confident about your ability to generate business.