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Given all the above, it is perhaps not surprising that when presented with a range of statements to best describe performance with respect to sales and business development goals, 41 percent of the very successful (versus 12.1 percent of the moderately successful) chose the following: Exceeds or fully meets their business development goals.In terms of the hours they spend developing business each week, a third report devoting 15 or more hours and nearly a fifth report devoting between 11 to 14 hours. See Figure 1 for how the hours they invest compare to those of the moderately successful group.To meet prospects, the very successful engage in more activities with both other lawyers and non-lawyers. They follow similar strategies to meet and form relationships with referral sources, too. Overall, they take a planned approach. They draw attention to themselves by taking leadership roles in the nonprofit and other organizations that they join. They also network, offer sponsorships and do speaking engagements. Thus, they position themselves to meet people who can hire them or who can become referral sources. They also become known in their marketplace by publishing more frequently.The very successful are also more active at internal marketing than are the moderately successful business developers. They join client teams, take leadership positions, participate on committees, co-speak and work on pitch teams. They actively form relationships with their colleagues, are seen, get known and focus on business development activities with their peers.Relationships are the key to building a thriving practice, and the very successful women in the survey appear to be masters at relationship building. They freely and appropriately ask others-including clients, other lawyers and referral sources-for new work and to introduce them to people who are in a position to hire them.
The survey also found that the support of the firm, the support of colleagues and the use of teamwork are more likely to exist for very successful compared to moderately successful business developers. In fact, a significant percentage of the very successful participants report receiving resources from the firm to improve their business development efforts, as shown in Figure 2.Nonetheless, for nearly all women in the study, gender is reported to negatively affect business development. Women lawyers are coping with internal and external strains that exist between work and family obligations. They are dealing with hidden and not-so-hidden barriers to business development in their firms and in the marketplace. It is especially important for firm management to address such barriers. Regardless of their gender, all lawyers deserve their firms' support in helping the firm to grow and thrive.For example, the very successful participants in the LSSO survey report intentionally planning their business development goals and activities and following those plans to produce business. Accordingly, firms might supply all lawyers with a simple planning form to use, including guidelines for a planning process that includes goal setting.