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The Coach: How marketing, business development cross over | Gary Mitchell

Friday, September 03, 2021 @ 8:58 AM | By Gary Mitchell


Gary Mitchell %>
Gary Mitchell
Before I go into how marketing and business development are related and cross over, I think it’s advisable to first understand what marketing is. It is my contention that business, your legal business, is all about building relationships. Marketing is the first step in doing that. So …

What is marketing?

Marketing, at its core, is about building relationships. Relationships on the broader scale with your target audience. It’s that simple.

Through building a relationship with your target audience or market, marketing is about raising your profile or the profile of your firm and introducing yourself or strengthening your market relationship with the people and companies you wish to serve. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed a few of the approaches of how you do that, it has not changed this core principle.

The act of marketing through raising your profile is designed to allow you to find people or companies who need your services, and find more referral sources, while at the same time making it easier for them to find you.

There are many ways to raise your profile and get in front of your target audience. Some of the marketing strategies you can consider include advertising, blogging, hosting workshops or webinars, media relations, social media, sponsorships and writing articles. The three key elements here are to select the strategies that first, you enjoy doing, and second, you are good at, and finally, produce results.

Whatever strategies you chose to go with, the most important factor remains getting in front of the right people or companies and doing and saying the right things.

Some have written that during COVID-19, and perhaps for some time to come, law firms and lawyers in solo practice shouldn’t be aggressively marketing their practice or firm, they should only be focused on maintaining client relationships. I absolutely disagree with only maintaining client relationships. While I have always maintained client service should always be your number one focus, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be continuing to move forward with marketing and growing your practice. And, I have worked with numerous clients through this pandemic who agree with me.

What is different with COVID-19?

Conventions and group meetings are out (for now). Speaking live is out (for now). Networking is out (for now), although I would bet many of you are not overly disappointed about not having to attend networking functions. Basically in-person or large gatherings are out entirely, and my guess is that they will be for some time. In fact, I predict we will never go back to the levels of conventions and large group gatherings that we were used to pre-COVID.

But what is in? Zoom or WebEx presentations. Online meetings are in. Social media has taken a larger role. While the pandemic has changed the way you can market, the fundamentals are the same. You need to get in front of your target audience, demonstrate your expertise and begin to build relationships.

That takes us to business development. If you agree on my premise that business is all about building relationships, and marketing is the first step in that process, then you will not have a hard time seeing the extension, business development.

What is business development?

Business development is an extension of marketing. It’s about getting personal. In a nutshell, business development is about building relationships one-on-one with individuals you have identified as potential ideal clients, or referral sources from your marketing efforts. This is not about sales as some have suggested in the past.

Much the same as with your marketing strategy, COVID-19 changed the way you engage in business development. As we come out of the lockdowns and restrictions, hopefully for good, some of that will ease up. But the bottom line is no matter what, it hasn’t changed the core of what you want to accomplish — building trusted relationships one-on-one with other professionals and top client prospects.

Although you will never want to stop your marketing efforts to find more contacts and potential clients, you will want to begin building strong and trusted relationships with some of them. You may have met them as a result of presenting. Or, they may have looked you up after reading an article you published, or a post on social media. They could already be in your network as existing clients, past clients and contacts.

Remember, the key to business development, through building relationships, is to find a need and offer your solution, your services. With limited time and resources, it’s important to be laser-like (strategic) in your approach, just as you have learned to do with your marketing and raising your profile efforts.

I hope you can see the correlation between marketing and business development and how they work together to grow your practice or firm. Now the next step is to get out there and go it.

As a Canadian lawyer coach pioneer, Gary Mitchell has tailored his business coaching practice for the legal industry since 2005. His third book, Growing a Law Practice During Covid-19, is due to be released this summer by LexisNexis Canada. He can be reached at gary@ontraccoach.com; 604-669-5235; www.ontraccoach.com.

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