Feeling Awkward About BizDev During COVID-19? Three Ideas.
Sheryl Odentz, Progress in Work LLC
If you are a law firm partner, developing business is more challenging than ever since you can’t meet people face-to-face because of COVID-19. And reaching out to clients, former clients, and prospects feels awkward—almost inappropriate. I can’t help the way you feel, but I certainly can try to help you reframe your feelings so you don’t stop your business development efforts all together.
Here are three business development ideas:
Identify a few contacts to whom to reach out. Start with clients and former clients. Personally, many of my clients and former clients I consider as friends. If you feel the same way, reach out to them. Find out how they are doing. Are they okay? Are their families okay? How is business? Talk to them. You never know what you will learn and how you can help them professionally or personally. Now that I have reframed this for you, do you still feel awkward? If the answer is no, then your first action step is select 3-5 current or former clients with whom you feel comfortable. Reach out to them in any fashion that works for you.
Introduce your fellow partners to your contacts and clients. Cross-sell. Maybe you aren’t so busy because your specialty or industry you serve is down due to the pandemic. And you feel uncomfortable contacting your targets. But you may be at a law firm where some of your fellow partners’ specialties are in demand like litigation (that focuses on business litigation claims); employment; real estate; divorce; landlord tenant; insurance; private equity (money that has been raised but not yet deployed ... 2 trillion dollars-worth!) and healthcare. Introduce your fellow partners whose specialties are in demand to your clients and contacts who don’t know them. Possibly there is a win-win for everyone: your clients, your fellow partners, and you. Now that I have reframed this for you, do you still feel uncomfortable reaching out to your contacts? If the answer is no, then your second action step is to identify 2-3 fellow partners whose services are in high demand and make an introduction to your contacts.
Continue to build your brand. If you are in a not-so-hot legal specialty, continue to build your brand and demonstrate your value. Don’t hide under a rock because you think no one wants to hear from you. Perhaps create a “thought” piece that will keep you at the forefront of their minds. Post it to your LinkedIn network or other distribution venues. Make sure that when using LinkedIn, ask your fellow partners and contacts to share, like, or comment on your article because LinkedIn algorithms favor that. If you like the camera, then invite your clients who have similar concerns or wants to meet other people in their industry to a Zoom group meeting, which you will host and lead. Do you still feel like you have nothing to do to continue to build your brand? If the answer is no, then your third action step is to put pen to paper and identify various clients, former clients, or prospects that are part of a specific group or industry so you can focus on what matters to them.
Finally, as a business development coach for primarily lawyers, I spend a lot of time coaching partners working on their business development skills to help them reframe problematic situations in order to create new behaviors that are more productive and yield better results. Try this yourself.