8 Essential Steps to Help Lawyers Build Business Development Plans that Prompt Action

Helping lawyers develop and implement business development plans is one of marketing and BD professionals’ most daunting tasks. However, doing it effectively is the key to a BD team’s success.  

Most lawyers are ill-equipped, hesitant, and often uncomfortable when it comes to business development skills, so cookie-cutter BD planning templates are seldom helpful. Marketing and business development professionals need strategic steps to take, explicitly tailored to lawyers’ unique personalities and challenges. 

1. Prepare Before Meeting

Research lawyers before meeting them to discuss developing a BD plan. Learn their specialties, interests, and desires, and get familiar with their typical BD efforts so you can ask the right questions. 


2. Do a SWOT Analysis (but Focus on Strengths and Opportunities)

When meeting with lawyers to develop a plan, assess precisely where and how they can excel. Name weaknesses and threats but keep the focus on positives to avoid discouragement.  

3. Encourage Lawyers to Keep a Brag Sheet

Most lawyers are unsure what they’re good at and what their BD focus should be. Suggest that they keep a brag sheet that captures achievements and praises to help them get clarification.  


4. Employ a “Blue Ocean” Strategy

When helping lawyers determine a niche or specialty, explore uncontested marketplaces where they’ll have the best chance of standing out. 


5. Create SMART Plans

For plans to be actionable, lawyers’ goals must be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound. Plans that lack these details will be impossible for lawyers to implement successfully. 


6. Take a Tactical Approach

To keep lawyers motivated rather than overwhelmed about meeting their BD goals, break each goal into smaller, minimally time-consuming tasks. Achieving small goals along the way will keep them on the path to achieving larger goals. 


7. Anticipate Excuses

Discuss upfront any obstacles lawyers feel might get in the way of achieving their goals and agree on simple solutions to overcome or avoid them.  

8. Schedule Frequent, but Brief Check-ins

Once plans are established, check in on lawyers often to ask a few quick questions to ensure they continue to make progress. 

These steps are a great starting point. To learn about each in detail from industry experts and to expand your business development skills, register for the Business Development Institute. Expand and hone your skills and get recognized for your BD expertise with a BDI certification by taking part in this exclusive remote training course presented by Ackert.  

The course begins on March 30, 2022. Early bird discount pricing is available through March 7, 2022.