I read a terrifically useful article years ago titled How You Fail In Sales that still applies today. Before you discard its relevance because of the word sales, remember that sales is partly persuasion (of any kind—see Daniel Pink’s To Sell Is Human for more on this) and partly conversation designed to discover a match between a potential client’s need and your ability to help. Lawyers and other professionals sell every day, for business development and substantive practice purposes.
How You Fail in Sales is a nice checklist that will alert you to critical tasks that you may have let slide. And, of course, if you avoid these 9 mistakes, you’ll make significant headway in your business development efforts. The errors listed include:
- Failure to gain trust: our society today is suffering from a crisis of trust. When you build trust through your relationships, you pave the way for new business. If your clients feel unable to trust you, you’ll have difficult client relationships, you won’t experience client loyalty, and you won’t get many referrals.
- Failure to create value: your objective must be to create value for every person who encounters you. One important way to create value is to curate information and to provide commentary and insight in addition to the simple sharing of information.
- Failure to ask for the business: if you don’t ask for the business, your potential client may think that you don’t want to handle the matter, that you aren’t interested in working with him or her, or that you’re just being nice in talking about a legal issue. You can ask for business in many ways, but you must ask. (See this blog post for some suggestions.)
Don’t let unrecognized mistakes undermine your success in business development. Read How You Fail In Sales now.