Don’t let what you’ve always done or what everyone else does hinder your business development … or your choice of coffee!

25 Apr 2017

Given the itinerant nature of our world I am a frequent visitor to the coffee shops of this emerald isle. 


Being a nosey (not to mention impatient) sort I increasingly find myself looking over the shoulder of the person in front to see what they’re having.  Partly this is because I want to make sure no one is getting anything more interesting than me (though without doubt - as a died in the wool double espresso man with an occasional lapse for a cortado - they undoubtedly are) and partly because I’m wondering why a simple hot drink is taking so flipping long.  The answer in almost every case boils down to one word – cappuccino.


Almost everyone else in any coffee shop at any given time is ordering a cappuccino.  Having come to this conclusion, almost subliminally I have started to make mental note of just how many people do order cappuccinos.  Although I have no hard and fast figures I assure you we can safely file the answer under V for the ‘vast majority’


Why is this?  I think it’s a compound of imagined aspiration (for the same people who insist on calling a sandwich a panini) and good old social proofing (“well if everyone else is having one ….”).  However before I look at this in any deeper and even more unnecessary detail – or heaven forbid get on to those who ask if they can ‘get’ rather than ‘have’ a cappuccino – you are absolutely right.  This is a business development blog for lawyers, accountants and barristers.  What has all this got to do with the way you win new work for your firm or Chambers?


Well, last week I was talking to a senior associate at a London law firm.  Having discovered she had been brought up under that all too widespread illusion that BD-means-networking-which-means-formal-networking-events, we talked about a few other things she could be doing instead; things that were a much better fit for her personality and preferences and things that in all likelihood would allow her to make a much more significant contribution to her law firm’s marketing.


At the end of the session she thanked me  and then said “I think sometimes we get too caught up with what we think we should do rather than what we should be doing.” 


As I walked back to the train station those words kept coming back to me and the more I thought about it the more I realised she was absolutely right.  Too much business development for solicitors, patent attorneys, barristers and accountants is born out of what has always been done and/or what they saw their partners doing when they were more junior.  However the world has moved on and networking, newsletters and a sporadic nod towards corporate hospitality just won’t cut it anymore within the increasingly sophisticated, increasingly demanding and increasingly competitive client environment you face.


When you are looking at your personal business development plan think about new ways of introducing what you do in front of the clients you want and new ways to stay visible to and in conversation with your current clients and professional contacts to maintain a flow of new work and new introductions. 


Don’t just settle for a cappuccino because everyone else does or because you always have.  Explore the menu and find out what works best for you.


If you need some ideas you can click here to see my recent column for Law Practice Manager which looks at a few alternative ways to do BD or help yourself to more information on a whole range of different marketing options from Tenandhalf’s resources page … or you can take the easiest route and just email me and I’ll be happy to help.

Posted by Douglas  |   0 Comments

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