Friday, April 21, 2006

Client Development for the Big and Little Picture

Now that I am focusing more on creating a business return on the marketing infrastructure we've been bringing along I need to have a ground level view into how EACH piece of business arrives at the firm. And, I'd like to know how each partner comes to chase or accept new business/clients. By understanding every shot fired on the front line I can continue to be flexible with what is happening in the big picture and help partners and practices fine-tune the business coming through the door.

I started step one in that process this week. Using the 'new matter report" generated by accounting I can see what new matters (and clients) are opened each day by individual partners. I then went to visit different partners to ask about the client.
  • How did you get this work?
  • What was the referral source (if there was one)?
  • What is the business of the client?
  • What is the scope of their operations within California?
  • How comfortable are you to work with this client or on this matter?
  • Do you feel comfortable that this client/matter fits into your overall practice?
  • Would you feel comfortable talking with partners in other practice groups about exploring additional business issues the client might be facing?
  • Would you like to land more clients like this? Why?
Sometimes only a few questions are enough to understand that this particular client/matter is not what the partner would like to focus on.... Partners do take on work as a favor and already know they don't wish to go further than just this piece of work.

But if I get deeper into the questions the opportunity to engage the firm more broadly (and more profitably) will become apparent. And, in this process, I can become more intimately aware of the business development aptitude/attitude of the individual partners. Not everyone works best in big team efforts, and some have just been waiting for someone to ask.