Legal Business Development Infographics

As you’re no doubt aware, infographics are hot.  In my view, that’s because infographics are easily consumable written “edu-tainment”.  Although they’re especially valuable for the business-to-consumer market, they can be useful to convey information to anyone.  Check, for example, this Pinterest board of law infographics collected by Gyi Tsakalakis.

I’ve been collecting infographics that concern marketing, and today I’d like to share the top four with you.  If one addresses areas you know you need to work on to build your book of business, print it out and put it somewhere you’ll see frequently.  And then, most importantly, apply the information.

  1. LinkedIn Marketing Strategy.  I like this infographic because it addresses a must-do activity that few lawyers use effectively and gives tips for beginner, intermediate, and advanced users.  The title is a little misleading in that the strategy is designed to help you gain connections and exposure but doesn’t offer a clear path to turn those into new business, but it’s a great start and one every lawyer should be working on.
  2. How to Create Content Ideas for a New Client Although this infographic is designed for markets who support businesses, it offers some great tips on what makes for good content.  My favorite tip (and one that I share every time I mention legal newsletters or updates) is “Don’t reiterate the news.  Find a way to connect the news to the client’s industry.”  In other words, share your insights on why the news matters to your readers.
  3. Grow Your Business:  Your simple guide to building online.  I have always maintained that the average lawyer is much better advised to outsource technical online marketing, including website building, pay-per-click advertising, and SEO.  The technology and the rules change quickly enough that trying to stay up-to-date is impractical for non-professionals.  However, you can’t outsource what you don’t understand.  This infographic gives a nice overview and flowchart for using each of these methods, as well as social media (which can be partially outsourced if closely managed) to grow a business or a practice.
  4. Your Video Marketing Handbook I believe that video marketing is a tremendous opportunity for lawyers.  Not the cheesy “Have YOU been in an accident” advertising style videos, but short, high-content and high-quality videos that address various legal issues and start the viewer’s relationship with a lawyer or law firm.  This infographic offers some useful information about why video matters and how to use video effectively.  More a teaser than a true handbook, it’s still a useful resource.

Legal Business Development: Evaluate the Cost/Benefit Ratio Before Agreeing to Write or Speak

Before you decide to speak or to write an article concerning your area of practice, you must ensure that your time will be well invested. 
Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Will this reach the right audience?  Writing for or speaking to the wrong audience (meaning, an audience composed of people whom you do not serve) will not bring enough benefit to justify the investment of time, so ask this foundational question before you begin.  Your business development plan will define the right audience.
  2. How much time will this require?  Short, practical articles (done well) will deliver good results in a reasonable time.  Longer articles can be valuable in building your credibility, but they take a greater investment of time.  Speaking always requires preparation, especially if you’re delivering a new presentation.  Be realistic in your estimate of the time required — before you begin.
  3. What results would make the expenditure of time worthwhile?  As with any business development activity, you must measure the results that you get from writing or speaking.  What’s more, you must know, before you begin, what results would make it worthwhile for you to have taken on the activity.  You may find that writing an article will pay off significant dividends for credibility enhancement, for example, but if you’re hoping to bring in new business in the near future as a direct result of the time you put in, writing almost certainly isn’t your best bet.
  4. How does this opportunity to write or speak compare to more immediate high-yield activity?  Regardless of how terrific your article is, and regardless of the subject matter and the kind of results that you achieve, writing is a slow-yield opportunity.  It is incredibly unlikely that you will write an article, have it published, and have your phone ring with a potential client calling you only because they saw that article.  So, you must consider, before you begin, whether you would be better advised to invest your time in something that is a higher-yield activity.

Writing and speaking can be an effective way to increase your professional reach, or it can be a time-consuming approach that delivers disappointing results.  Going through these questions will help you to make foundational decisions that will get you on the right track — before you begin.

Book Review: Average Is An Addiction

Average Is An Addiction
by Deborah Dubree

Where are you average?  Make no mistake:  every area of life, even among top performers, separates into top, middle, and bottom tier.  Author Deborah Dubree notes that:

very few people have the guts, determination, discipline and commitment to break out of average and become the greatest at what they do.  Some people…have settle into being moderately satisfied with their current level of success.  Still others didn’t even realize they had options.

But those who are willing to be bold and push the limits of performance have the opportunity to bust through mediocrity and to move to the top in every area of their professional and personal lives.

Deborah Dubree started her career as a receptionist with a high school degree; she became owner and CEO of a $20 million commercial construction company.  Deborah is anything but average, and she now works with professional athletes (think NFL players from the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, and more), college athletes, business professionals, and more to help them escape the trap of average.

Although this talk of getting out of mediocrity and reaching excellence might sound at first blush like motivational hoo-hah, it’s anything but.

“Average equals expendable.”  Large firm lawyers aw this principle in action at the height of the 2009 economic plunge, when those who had done all the right things and performed as expected (in other words, the average of that band of professionals) suffered layoffs.  Those who were above average either retained their jobs or had the opportunity to escape a firm’s failure by making a lateral move.

In more general terms, “[a]verage thinking leads to average behavior, which leads to average results, which leads to average and sometimes catastrophic consequences.”

Dubree instructs top performers to “tame and train the B.E.A.S.T.”:

  • B   –>   Beliefs:  eliminate unfounded and unreliable beliefs
  • E   –>   Emotions:  avoid those that undermine performance and encourage those that empower you
  • A   –>   Acute awareness:  consciously design your objectives and create a plan to reach them
  • S   –>   Self-identify:  know who you are and who you can become when you are your highest, best performing self
  • T   –>   Talk and walk:  design your self-presentation for maximum effectiveness

Through the 7 “C”s of Excellence, Dubree offers practical how-to steps on how to implement her anti-average action plan, by using choice, consciousness, change, courage, confidence, commitment, and consistency.

What’s the relevance for lawyers?

One of the key stumbling blocks for lawyers seeking to grow a book of business is contentment.  If you settle for “good enough,” it’s a safe bet that you’ll never push yourself, you’ll never go the extra mile, and you’ll never accomplish what you might otherwise have done.  You’ll be average.  (The same problem adheres for those who accept high competence in a professional skill and don’t pursue excellence.)

It’s easy to say you’re going to stop accepting average, but it’s tough to take the necessary actions and make the necessary changes without a roadmap.  Dubree’s experience in working with professional athletes should speak to lawyers:  operating in a highly competitive, lone-ranger culture in which admitting any weakness can be career suicide, it takes courage and dedication to reject the status quo and aim for higher performance.

Using the steps Dubree outlines, you’ll be able to identify the areas of your life in which you are an average performer, to decide whether that’s acceptable to you, and to step up your game if not.  This is the ideal time of year to take a retrospective look at 2013 to see whether you’re satisfied with the level of your performance or whether you’ve been merely content.  Average Is An Addiction is an entertaining and quick read, and if you apply its teachings, you can shift the trajectory of your career and your life from average to excellence.