I'm in Atlanta, Georgia and it's great to be listening to the session "Driving Growth: Building Your Ability to Lead the Lawyers to Bring in More Profitable Business" which is being led by Mo Bunnell, CEO of the Bunnell Idea Group and author of the book "The Snowball System" who is joined by:
- Aleisha Gravit, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
- Lindsey McReynolds, Chief Client Relations Officer at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt PC
It's the one session I was really keen to attend on my three-day trip because it looks at "Hallmarks of the Modern Rainmaker" and that is very close to what we help lawyers achieve and indeed, our annual event is called "Rainmaker"
We are coming towards the end of the two-hour session and I would love to summarise it all but it was simply too deep in content for me to be able to do it any justice (so maybe buy the book in the link above!) but I have done my best to take out my key headlines:
1. Rainmakers are not born, which is what many people think. You can teach lawyers (and anybody else) how to do BD. I used to head to the US every summer when I was a university student. We would land in New York, be sent to states all over the US and then go through a three-day intensive training session on how to sell aerial photographs of peoples' "subdivisions". Then we would be hit the streets and sell. The one thing we were told was that anyone could sell by following the right processes and using the right tools. If you were willing to commit to it then it worked and there were so many people you met at sales training who you thought "there is no way they will make it" and then they would turn out to be the top sales people.
Mo and the panel talked through the "Whole Brain Thinking Model" and the importance of understanding how different people think. When you understand more of how they think, then you can tailor the approach to selling to them.
2. When preparing materials for a potential client, you can tailor the information you provide them if you understand the way they think. This ties in very closely with what we talk with our clients about with it comes to creating client-centric insights. Anyone who is client-facing, whether that be a lawyer or someone from the BD team, has to be a part of the insight process. They are the people who understand the client, the issues they face, what's keep them up at night. If they can feed that back then the Subject Matter Experts in the firm can create insights that help to solve and answers those issues and ultimately help to educate the potential client.
No longer are your insights something created by a central marketing and comms team which you hope will be relevant and helpful to your clients. Instead, every insight has your clients at their heart. We have a simple, robust process for doing this:
3. Lawyers have to be more valuable than just the law if they want their clients to become a "Raving Fan". Once they become a Raving Fan then they will start to refer you to other people and more business comes your way. The speakers talked through the steps to becoming the Raving Fan and the step before is the "Trusted Advisor".
4. Create an "Asset List" as part of your business development strategy to "...systematically create repeated, sustained, positive interactions to move your Protemoi people along the path to raving fans." This Asset List ties in very closely with Account Based Marketing strategies we see at our clients or "Expert-to-Expert Marketing" as we call it at. This is all about adding value to the client (or potential client) by continually providing them helpful information that will help them do their jobs more effectively or indeed it may be about sport, exercise, hobbies, social media or even parenting!
The great news is that people have always thought it can take years to become a Rainmaker for your firm. However, Mo talked about how this can be done in as little as three months (sometimes days in the glamorous world of aerial photograph sales!). We have seen this as well with lawyers becoming "Go-To" experts", "Trusted Advisors" and "Raving Fans" in a matter of months. We interviewed a lawyer in the UK, Nicola Gooch, at our Rainmaker event last year about how she has used expert insights to become a Rainmaker for her firm. It's a great listen if you have a couple of minutes and she really simplifies exactly what she has done to become a Rainmaker.
Nicola Gooch - Senior Associate & Planning Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell gives us her answer to the question "What do you do in your firm to build valuable relationships with your customers and prospects?"