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Marketing Trends

Never-Ending Business Development

By Kandy Hopkins

Business development is a perpetual, ongoing commitment. It can be especially onerous if you are in a small or solo firm, where you’re not just a lawyer — you’re often the entire sales force and sole customer service rep. But, thanks to the many resources found online, you’re not completely alone in learning how to move your law practice forward. Here’s a sampling of some of the helpers out there right now.

1. Starting up. Even if you’ve already hung out your shingle, it’s not too late to learn a few pointers about what to do,  or what not to do — and the things no one will tell you about starting your law practice. Consider the suggestion that being too different can hurt you, and you may have a good foundation for a strong business plan.

2. Finding clients. Next on the agenda is attracting clients. Just having a website isn’t enough; you have to work hard and try new tactics to attract new business. As Duct Tape Marketing’s John Jantsch says, you need good strategies to build meaningful business leads. The key to successful business development, once you get over initial fears or embarrassment, is finding the approach that works best for you. (For a few out-of-the-law-firm-box ideas, see this discussion on how freelancers find clients.)

3. Getting referrals. So you’ve successfully built your client list, but how do you get them to refer even more clients to you? Often people just need a reminder that you’re open for business. However, it could be you are losing out on referrals because other lawyers don’t trust you, or don’t understand your specialty. Too often, says Lee Rosen, you lose opportunities because you’re too afraid to ask for a referral.

4. Keeping clients. There are several reasons clients switch firms — including that the firm was nickel-and-diming them or adding unnecessary complexity. However, a few nonintuitive reasons might include that you’ve exceeded their expectations, compromised too much or perhaps you’ve said something you shouldn’t have said.

5. Growing your business. Is your firm ready to move to the next level? There are five marketing signs that might be the case, but beware that so-called “fixed” mindsets might hinder your ability to grow. Other ways to expand your business include turning a “no” into more business later and working with the competition.

Kandy Hopkins is a Chicago-based freelance writer and copy editor.

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Categories: Business Development, Daily Dispatch, Friday Five, Law Firm Marketing
Originally published September 26, 2014
Last updated September 24, 2020
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Kandy Hopkins Kandy Hopkins

Kandy Hopkins is a Contributing Editor at Attorney at Work. A Chicago-based freelance writer and copy editor, she specializes in legal and healthcare  topics, formerly blogging for the Thomson Reuters-affiliated Hildebrandt Blog. Whenever she’s asked, “So, what do you do?” she always replies, “Whatever I think I can get away with.” Most people think she’s joking. Contact Kandy at

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