Edge International


How to Jumpstart Your Business Development Success in Three Easy Steps: Phase Two

How to Jumpstart Your Business Development Success in Three Easy Steps: Phase Two

In the first article of this series we outlined three ways that you – no matter where you are age – and stage-wise in your career – can jumpstart your business development success just by focusing on relationships.  

To briefly recap Phase One, simply:

Relationships and (a great) reputation are among the strongest currency for lawyers, and top rainmakers are flush with both. Once you’ve focused on your relationships and reenergized your networks, it’s time to consider Phase Two: enhancing your reputation and developing your personal brand.

Phase Two is focused on you. It’s about understanding your unique strengths and skills, and then communicating and promoting them effectively and consistently to your desired audience. You want your brand to be authentically you, based on your strengths and advantages, distinguishable from others, valuable to your market, and sustainable over time.

Developing a strong and effective personal brand will impact your revenue and reputation. For example, it can:

At the heart of personal branding is storytelling. It is an exercise of weaving together your values, strengths, differentiators, and marketing activity. The key is to creatively connect these elements so that they align and tell the story of you – why a client wants to work with you and refer you to others.

As author and leadership expert Simon Sinek says, “People buy people.” Prospective clients, referrals and current clients want to connect and “buy” from people they know, like and trust. This, at its essence, is how you develop your personal brand. 

Lee Ashby Watts, CEO and brand strategist with ashby & co. consulting, advises, “Begin with the end in mind. It is often easier to begin by imagining who you want to be as an attorney, leader etc. How would you like to be known and impact your clients? Being clear on the end goal is key.” 

Below are some steps that lead to developing your personal brand: 

1) Know the value you bring to the table. What makes you different from the other corporate attorney down the hall or across the city? Understanding this and communicating it consistently with your current and prospective clients is important. It can also be informative to ask trusted colleagues, mentors or even family to weigh in with their perspectives. 

As you work toward the right messaging, below are other questions you might ask in the process of defining your brand:

2) Align your value with your activity. Once you are clear on your differentiators, strengths, and value, how do you align your marketing activity with your personal brand? Consider your memberships, thought leadership, networking and conference attendance. Do they align with your personal brand? Shore up any inconsistencies that exist with your brand. Reviewing your bio on your firm’s website and LinkedIn is a great place to start.

3) Remain consistent. Branding is what we continually do over and over. Once you identify those strengths and the right messaging, and align that with marketing activity, it is important to communicate this regularly to your audience. Communicating your message once does not establish your brand. Consistency establishes brands. 

Apply the premise of Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s bestselling book, “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results,”and choose one activity you will consistently do to reinforce your personal brand. The big idea – with even broader application – is focus. Rather than spreading your efforts across a wide range of activities, identify the most important thing to reaching your branding goal and do it consistently.

The following are options you may want to consider:

Whatever you choose, keep at it for at least six months, and then evaluate whether you are making progress in achieving your objectives. If you aren’t seeing the desired results, debrief with a trusted advisor to determine whether to stay the course, modify, or refocus your energy elsewhere.

We’ve now explored relationships and reputation – key components of building your business which you have direct control over. In our next article, we will explore something even more important to business development success: the voice of the client. Stay tuned. 

Susan Slifer

, MBA advises law and professional service firms on strategy, with an emphasis on business development, marketing and communications initiatives to help drive revenues. She consults for a worldwide client roster, and previously served as CMO for two global law firms where she was a catalyst for business growth through client teams, client satisfaction and relationship management initiatives in addition to attorneys skills training programs.