Once you’ve managed to get that all important BUY IN FROM THE TOP and across the firm, you’re now ready to start with your BD Coaching program. You’ve identified which partners and fee-earners will go through the program, and have your firm-wide objectives set. The next stage is to get started with the BD Coaching itself.
Many firms will dig out their partner or service area/team plans and use this as a starting point. After all, why wouldn’t you? It seems perfectly logical to do so. However, many of these plans are created annually, sometimes barely even updated from the previous year, and then filled away safely and never looked at again. Well, until they need to be submitted again in a year’s time.
Instead, everyone should really start with a blank piece of paper and commit to creating a clear plan that will feed into the BD coaching program. That means looking at clients, markets, and BD activities you will carry out to grow your revenue and win new work. Of course, it helps to have a clear template to follow, which is why I created this BD CLIENT ACTION PLAN that you can download and use to get started.
So, what do you need to do to make your BD Client Action Plan, something that you will actually commit to, and deliver on? The following 5 steps give you the basics of what you need to do.
1. Make sure your BD plan’s achievable
There’s a whole host of acronyms around planning, such as the very well-known SMART goals. However, what is key, is to not overdo it. Therefore, focus on three or four goals that you can realistically achieve in the year ahead.
One of your goals may be getting a speaking slot at a specific virtual conference. Or it might be winning your first matter from an identified prospective client. Whatever it is, the goals need to be both measurable and achievable.
2. Identify who your top 3 clients/3 prospects are
This is the easy part, you would hope. However, understanding which clients or prospects you want to be working with is just the starting point. Next, you’ll need to identify who within that organisation you need to speak to, to win the work you want to win. My advice is always target speaking with someone as high up the organisational chain as possible.
For existing clients, this is even more crucial. If you want to grow revenue from your clients, then it is highly likely that you’ll need to speak to more people than who you currently speak to. This means building new relationships, without harming your existing ones. That isn’t easy, which is another great reason why you need a plan.
3. Only commit to what you will deliver
If you are completing your BD plan because your Managing Partner or CEO told you to, or because your colleague did one, then there’s no point in doing it.
To make your BD plan one you successfully action, it has to be a plan that you want to deliver against. Only commit to actions that you will follow. After all, in most cases in law firms, and for most legal service providers, you also have to deliver the work that you bring in. Therefore, only put in a level of BD activity that, given your other time commitments, you will actually do.
4. Map out your BD activities, in full
This is where highly detailed people can get very granular. List the number of meetings or video calls you are aiming to make throughout the year. This should be a mixture of existing clients, and also prospective or target clients. Define who you need to meet with in these organisations, and how many times.
If you’re going to run webinars, speak at events, or write content, then add this into your plans. Make it specific and commit to deliverable dates. This will help keep you on track throughout the year. It also makes your BD plan a document you refer to, and track your actions against.
5. Find someone you trust to hold you to your BD commitments
It is important that you respect and trust this person. And it needs to be someone you are comfortable receiving direct feedback from. Make it clear this is what you want from them, and ask them to hold you to account. These conversations will help keep you on track when you start to procrastinate, or when you have to do some activities you find uncomfortable.
Of course, if you’re undertaking a BD Coaching program that means sharing it with your coach. However, it also pays to share it with a colleague too. Great coaching comes from a formal and informal approach which, when combined, really helps to imbed it into your firm’s culture.
Your BD plan should guide your BD efforts and coaching support
Therefore, to succeed in the business of law, it is vital that you invest time and thought into your BD plans. If you get it right, your BD plan will guide you from the start of the year to the end of the year, safely.
Even in these strange social and economic times, with the right plan that you relentlessly execute, your practice should grow, or at least come out the other side a great deal stronger. Many jurisdictions are seeing an increase in demand for legal services, and it is in these boom times that it is vital that you invest in a structured and consistent BD program. Otherwise, when the market turns, your revenue will most likely fall off a cliff!
READ FIRST ARTICLE – BUY IN FROM THE TOP