Martha M. Newman 2017-08-23 13:15:08
Take Control How to prioritize your schedule to get marketing results. The lament I hear often from lawyers who are solo practitioners and members of small firms is: “I just don’t have time for business development. I have too much work to do!” I reply as gently as possible, “Your pipeline is full now. Great! How much can you count on business always being this good?” Can you afford to neglect business development? Treat Marketing Like Client Meetings View your marketing tasks as you would appointments with clients. You wouldn’t decide to keep clients waiting in the reception area until you finish the rest of your work. The only way to create a business development habit is to honor the process of getting clients as much as you honor the energy you expend keeping them. • Designate specific days and times each week when you will do business development planning and implementation. • Calendar 30 minutes each week to decide which upcoming events would produce good networking opportunities and which connections you want to meet for lunch in the next several weeks. • If you are swamped with billable work, come in early one day a week to knock out your marketing tasks. • Have your assistant remind you to perform the marketing tasks you have scheduled for yourself. Conduct a Time Diagnosis If you’re struggling to make time for business development, find out where your time goes. You already record your billable hours, but what about the time you spend on non-billables? A time diagnosis will identify activities you can eliminate to make space in your day for cultivating referral sources and building relationships with decision-makers who could give you their business. Record how you spend that non-billable time from the moment you enter the office until you leave in the afternoon. Do this in 30-minute increments on a daily basis for one to two weeks at least twice a year. Once you find out the superfluous ways you spend time without making money, you’ll know how much time you could be spending on business development that will make you money. Prune Time Wasters Identify the time wasting activities and prune them out of your workday. Things like endless meetings, phone chatter, long lunches, reading funny emails, repeatedly checking your inbox, and answering every phone call regardless of who is calling. Learn to Say “No” Each time non-billable work and interruptions begin nibbling away at your day, prune relentlessly! Eliminate outside commitments that are expendable. Prioritize all your non-work obligations and decide which ones you can cut back so you can devote sufficient effort to marketing. Train yourself to confidently say, “No” to participation in outside activities that compete for your valuable time and do not qualify as priorities. The Rule of Two Plan a schedule for your work week, devoting 10 minutes prior to each day, either in the afternoon or early the next morning to identify the two most important billables for the coming day and figure out where networking and other forms of marketing can fit into your timetable. Get Set for Tomorrow Before leaving for the day, clear your desk. Then place whatever matters you must deal with first thing tomorrow in the middle. Next, get into your business development file and choose which specific marketing tasks you will perform the next day that will be the most beneficial to you. By placing your priority tasks—cases and business development— in the front and center of your desk, you will avoid mind interference when you walk into your office the next day, and you will get down to work faster. MARTHA M. NEWMAN is a former oil and gas litigator and owner of Top Lawyer Coach. Newman has been awarded the Professional Certified Coach credential by the International Coach Federation in recognition of her coaching excellence. She specializes in lawyer coaching, training, facilitating, and speaking in the areas of business development, career advancement, and law firm management. She may be reached at email@example.com.
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