Developing a Positive Attitude about Business Development
As a busy lawyer, it’s easy to get caught up in your day-to-day office routine and consequently put attention to business development on the back burner. While this might be something to shrug off as no big deal, for many attorneys, this can lead to big issues down the road when looking to make partner or work with your own clients. In order get yourself in a better position for long-term success, it’s critical to start improving your biz dev behaviors.
There are three internal motivators that drive people to improve their existing situation; behavior, attitude and belief. While all of these are important to accomplish a goal or succeed in an endeavor, the most important for business development is always behaviors. Without executing positive behaviors it’s nearly impossible to accomplish anything, let alone something as challenging as developing new business.
It might seem rudimentary to talk about having good behaviors, as you’re not a child being scolded by your parents. After all, you wouldn’t be a licensed attorney if you weren’t able to implement good behaviors to study in law school and pass the bar exam. However, in my experience many attorneys overlook the importance of forming good behaviors when it comes to business development. I accept as the standard definition of behavior “a manner of acting or controlling oneself.” Your behavior directly affects everything that happens in your life, including your income, your relationships, and your ultimate destiny. As you know, your actions have the ability to set you on positive paths while negative ones can cause you to veer off course.
A profound consequence of having negative behaviors and habits takes place subconsciously. Broken self-promises pile up and directly affect your general attitude and belief in yourself. Consider the behavior of putting off attending networking events using the “I’m too busy” excuse. Despite the best intentions, this behavior can all too easily continue indefinitely. The lack of follow-through can have a dramatic impact on your outlook toward business development. On the other hand, exhibiting positive behaviors creates good feelings and opportunities.
However, researching an upcoming event, registering for the event, and logging it on your calendar are all positive behaviors that will propel you forward to accomplishing your goal. Every time you commit to taking action and then actually follow through on that commitment, you’re positively reinforcing winning behaviors. The positive experience creates momentum to continue these behaviors in the future.
To assist you in forming good biz dev behaviors, here are five things you can do to get on the right path:
#1. Start putting business development at the top of your “to-do” list. Mostly it falls to the bottom. To grow a book of business, move all biz dev activities to the top of your weekly “to-do” list.
#2. Create a positive habit of doing one biz dev activity a day. This could be an email to a client or researching a networking event. If you do one thing a day, these will add up to big numbers for you at the end of the year.
#3. Get prepared to go to battle on your biz dev work. One of the main reasons lawyers put off biz dev calls is due to lack of preparation. Build a list of clients, friends and strategic partners that you can call on for meetings. This will help get you in the right frame of mind to actually make the calls.
#4. Schedule 30 minutes a week of uninterrupted biz dev time. Do not pick up the phone and do not respond to emails. Just get a list of solid contacts in front of you and make your calls. This routine should be scheduled early in the day to ensure you’re not interrupted and that the day doesn’t get away from you.
#5. Find a “work-out buddy” for your biz dev activities. This could be your co-worker who is also challenged to focus on biz dev activities or your marketing person at the office. Accountability is key to holding firm on the commitments you make to yourself.
Following good behaviors is the number one reason why some lawyers are more successful in accomplishing their goals than others. Don’t be afraid to start small and build up from there. The small victories add up over time and reinforce the drive to continue good behaviors.