To win the business development battle, you first have to make sure you are aiming at the right targets. Each one you miss wastes valuable, and limited, business development time and resources. As a result, the most effective targeting involves aiming at the targets that you have the best chance of hitting.
Start with your current Clients. Presumably they are already your allies, since they are currently writing you checks. To effectively develop more business with existing Clients, first prepare a plan of attack. Identify areas where they have needs that are not currently being served by your firm. Next, divide and conquer. Have your troops spread out and make new contacts within the Client’s company. Learn about their issues and approach them proactively with valuable ideas and information.
Next you may want to join forces with referral sources who may already be on your side. This could include other professionals with complementary practices such as accounting firms, consultants or lenders. It’s likely that you both have a number of Clients who could benefit from each other’s services. Putting together joint events such as seminars or roundtables on areas of interest to joint Clients can be a good plan of attack.
Only then should you consider prospects, who may be hostile, or at least less receptive, to your advances. Because you don’t have working relationships, it can take a long time and a lot of ammunition to overcome their defenses, resulting in protracted business development battles. To improve your odds, start with prospects with whom some of your attorneys may have existing relationships. Additionally, Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM) software can help you hone in on these relationships and point your top guns in the right direction.