5 Strategies for Business Development Without Networking

Long before the coronavirus (COVID-19), I wrote an article offering five business development activities for those who don’t like networking events.

Without stating the obvious, a lot has changed since then.

Networking, client meetings, and hospitality-based events (at least the way we’ve always organized them) have been largely impossible to organize or attend over the past 24 months.

One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the need for business development.

In fact, one could argue that it is now even more vital for lawyers to do business development, as clients have become more cost and value conscious, and our new ability to meet via Zoom and Teams has made location (and even time) largely irrelevant.

The good news is that business development is not just about formal networking yet.

I’d like to share five more business development strategies that will position you to win new jobs and raise your profile, in the new hybrid work environment we find ourselves in today.

1. Build on the relationships you already have

The quickest, easiest and most direct route to a new job will always be the people you already know.

However, it’s easy to sit back and think that because you know them and they know you, they’ll come to you when they need legal advice without you having to do anything.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Your competitors covet your customers, so you need to make sure you’re doing everything you can to stay as close to them as possible.

This simple template will get you started:

  • make a list of clients and contacts you need to be visible to
  • find a relevant reason to get in touch. It could be an article that reminded you of it, an offer to meet someone of mutual interest, something you posted that should be interesting, or a gossip from industry that might interest him.
  • invite them over for a catch-up by phone or video call, or, depending on restrictions, in person over coffee or a bite to eat
  • at the end of the call, agree what you’re going to do next (and do it!)
  • repeat next quarter. And the next quarter

As you speak, pay attention to their world. Ask what’s going on, what they have planned, what they want to do next.

You will be amazed at how many of these conversations will lead to an opportunity.

This opportunity could be a new instruction. However, it will just as often be an introductory offer to someone they know, or an invitation to an event with potential clients, or an industry insight that you can use in the development of your business.

2. Write (for the right reasons)

One of the most effective marketing channels we’ve had since the pandemic began is content; write blogs and articles to promote your specialties and provide practical advice.

It’s easy, it’s free, and it can be done at home, so it’s rightly something most businesses have jumped on as they’ve looked to find ways to stay visible while working at distance.

However, do you write with a purpose?

The reason to write isn’t to win the Pulitzer Prize or satisfy your craving for creative writing. It is to generate results.

This means that you need to take a close look at current research trends relating to topics that currently affect your area of ​​practice.

If you can match your blog titles to the most frequently asked questions and provide the answers in your blogs, you will immediately increase the likelihood of being found and generating new requests.

As to how to do this, there are a whole host of tools online that will do this for you, but I find the “People Also Asked” results that Google provides when searching for a question are a good starting point.

3. Organize more participatory online events

Everyone quickly got tired of webinars after we were forced to take our business development online.

Since then, we have learned a crucial lesson.

If we run educational sessions for our customers and contacts, they should be valuable, interactive and engaging.

This means you need to look at how you structure your online events.

Instead of hosting the same seminars and workshops, consider hosting roundtables and moderated discussions for a smaller group of clients, targets, and contacts.

This format, which works both virtually and in person, gives your guests the opportunity to discuss issues that matter to them, learn best practices, share gripes, and most importantly, network more effectively with their peers, by particularly when the alternatives are thin on the floor.

And as a host, this gives you the perfect opportunity to not only hang out with your guests (which, of course, will have its own comic benefit), but also to highlight your credentials as the central person for your market, rather than just another professional trying to get billable work out of it.

4. Find new audiences

Once you have published a few blogs on your company website or your own social media channels, why not contact the editors of the specialist publications and websites that your customers read, to offer them an article dealing with similar subjects .

Since their readers will be similar to your customers, you can reasonably expect them to be interested in the advice, suggestions, and solutions you offer.

Alternatively, you can send your papers to the conference producers and ask if they might be interested in meeting to discuss your suitability as a speaker for a future event.

Speaking at conferences and editorial spots in relevant publications will put you in front of a new audience that you would never have reached otherwise. Even better, it can position you as a go-to expert because you’ve been asked to write or speak.

5. Spend more time on internal marketing

Because acquiring new clients is considered the sexy part of business development, many lawyers mistakenly view it as the only type of business development.

Like I said before, the easiest route to a new job is with people you already know. It’s as much about your colleagues as it is about your customers and contacts.

Tell people about other departments in your business. Take an interest in their work, explain what you’ve been working on, and shift the conversation to exploring possible ways to work and market together.

Another very effective method of internal marketing is to offer to speak at other department meetings, so you can explain what you do, who your customers are, and how your services might fit in with the group you’re talking to. .

It doesn’t have to be a tedious task.

If you ask for 5 minutes under AOB, all you have to do is show up at the allotted time and speak. You don’t need to waste valuable time sitting down for the rest of the meeting.

This will keep you in mind for future opportunities and allow you to facilitate introductions to other clients of the firm, all of whom may very well need assistance related to your area of ​​practice in the future.

The two will finally achieve a law firm’s most coveted marketing goal, cross-selling!

The opinions expressed in our blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Law Society.