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Ways To Boost Your Business Development In 2008
To win new clients, you must emphasize benefits and solutions. Here are steps to help fine-tune your focus.
With so many lawyers competing for the attention and business of clients and prospective clients, it is challenging to differentiate yourself from the pack. At the same time, buyers of legal services are increasingly discerning about the value of the services they need. The result: Focusing on features is not enough.
Traditionally, lawyers and their firms have promoted their services from a features-oriented basis. In other words, they have tended to focus on capabilities offered, lawyer credentials, the history and size of the firm, office location and similar factors. Whether in a self-introduction or a description of a practice area, this approach is firm- or lawyer-centric and does not make the case for why a client should hire you instead of someone else. And in many cases, it does not even give clients a clear idea of how you can help them.
When you focus only on features, the client or prospect is wondering “How does this help me?” or “How is this any different from the firm I already use?” What you need to do instead is put the client or prospect first in your focus and define the benefits and value you can provide.
You need to articulate tangible, and where possible quantifiable, examples of the advantages and results you can bring to a particular situation. Discussions in which you describe your expertise should focus on the specific ways you help clients do one or more of the following:
Your value proposition should speak to the concrete results and solutions you will bring to their pressing challenges. When possible, every feature should correlate with a benefit. Here are examples.
An elevator speech is by definition concise and should last no more than 15 to 30 seconds (i.e., the length of an elevator ride). It is your opportunity to explain to people you meet in business or social settings not just who or what you are, but what you do. And you need to succinctly explain it in a way that is meaningful to them, so they will want to know more about you.
To make your elevator speech effective, you need to provide an interesting but short and focused description of the work you do and the solutions you provide, as well as the types of clients you serve and the general geographic market. Remember, your aim is to convey tangible benefits. You should be able to articulate value and solutions so other people can easily understand, especially if you are speaking with a nonlawyer. Try to relate what you do to current events and to reflect passion for what you do. Here are examples.
The elements of your elevator speech will vary depending on the person and the venue. If you meet someone in a truly neutral place, your introduction will be like the examples above. If you are at a more targeted event—such as a conference on a legal or business issue, a niche industry program or an event geared to a specific topic area—you want to modify your introduction to make it resonate with those attending the event.
Do your bio and practice descriptions truly reflect the advantages you provide to clients? Your bio should include only information that you honestly think matters to clients—bar activities may be less relevant than business, industry or charitable activities. In your practice descriptions, consider how best to convey the benefits of your services by revising the following:
Be sure to regularly update the information to reflect new successes, experience with trends and emerging issues, and recent speeches or articles on topics that are timely. (If you include client names in your transactions or representations list, seek written permission from the clients first.)