When it comes to business development for lawyers and accountants there are no lines to blur

15 Jun 2017

I wouldn’t be as bold as to say that when it comes to marketing and business development lawyers, barristers, patent attorneys and accountants still think if it’s fun it can’t be ‘proper marketing’ but it’s a statement that can sometimes be pretty close to the truth!


At Tenandahalf we have worked long and hard to rally against the all too common default that BD is networking and networking has to mean formal networking events.  We have also staunchly advocated that the best BD is based around what you are comfortable with, what you like doing and who you like doing it with. 


However we still come up against phrases like “I guess I can force myself to go” or “I will if I have to.”  My answer?  Don’t go!  You won’t be comfortable and you won’t be engaging which means you won’t achieve your objective, i.e. to meet people and get on with them (note: that’s get on with them; not pitch to them, not regurgitate your elevator script to them, not to badger them for referrals).


This week I have been working with a family law firm and was asked a new and very interesting question separately and in slightly different words - by two of their solicitors:


“Where is the line between it being business development and just something I like to do?”


I thought for a second (it was a new question and I’m getting on a bit) and it immediately struck me, there is no line … do what you are comfortable with, do what you like doing and do it with who you like doing it with.  There can never be a line between ‘enjoyable’ and ‘proper’ when it comes to BD.


As long as you are engaging (a bit of a clinical word I know but I can’t think of a more illustrative one in this context) with a relevant audience of could-be clients or could-be referrers, then it is BD irrespective of whether you are enjoying yourself or not.  The only thing is, wouldn’t it be less of a chore and ultimately more productive if you were enjoying it?!


Here are some examples of things we’ve seen work really well but things you probably wouldn’t see in a traditional business development manual:

  • Being on the organising committee of various local community based events
  • Running an annual treasure hunt around local pubs (one we were involved with had different pub games in every stop, another was based themed around the Pamplona Bull Run)
  • A Winter Olympics … in the height of July in the Trafford Centre
  • Hiring out a South London velodrome then capping of the physical exertion with a pizza picnic in the middle
  • Countering the firm’s men only 5-a-side team by setting up a netball team so the female fee earners can get their netowkring done too
  • A group of professionals that meet in a tapas bar just off Fulham Broadway before Champions League games at the Bridge (OK, I might have a vested personal interest in that one)   

There are literally no limits to what you can come up with if you think a little more laterally.


I now have to crack on as I’ve a few things to finish off before the weekend when I’ll be going to the Ryman League dinner with a client …. BD but BD I know I will thoroughly enjoy safe in the knowledge I have crossed no line because there is no line to cross.



Posted by Douglas  |   0 Comments

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