EP 62 – Jason Levin – Getting Started with a Business Development Plan to Raise Your Profile

Jason Levin is the Founder and Owner of ReadySetLaunch. Jason implements a specific set of tools and approaches that lawyers should be using for law firm business development. ReadySetLaunch  has been around for nearly 9 years as a full-service coaching and training company for attorneys doing business development for councils, partners, associates helping them create a road map and execute it so that they can succeed within their firms and within their practices. If you are interested in contacting Jason, please visit his website at readysetlaunch.net or email him directly at jason@readysetlaunch.net

Understanding Discipline and Focus in SMART Goals

When Jason thinks about focus, he thinks of having a target market of who you are planning to serve. You first need to understand within a focus perspective who is the end buyer or person that will sign off to allow you to be able to practice. He defines discipline as coming up with a set of tools and tactics so that you can get closer and closer in front of the people that will be in a position to buy your services. Both discipline and focus go into a business development plan. There are several different versions of this, but essentially there are components. The 1st piece is listing who your current relationships are. In terms of relationships, it can be as small as who is in your practice or who is in your office and then your own personal relationships such as law school classmates, undergrad classmates, friends and family, etc. The 2nd piece is determining the types of people that you want to be working with. The 3rd piece is then based on current relationships and targets and evaluating some ways that you can get in front of those people whether it is via webinars, conferences, or newsletters. It is crucial to know the types of things that these people are reading and where they are congregating. This will  help the attorney identify different areas that exist for them. 

Using SMART goals allows you to then bring that into your own calendar. If you don’t have SMART goals in your business development plan, you are not executing on your business development plan. The biggest issue attorneys run into is that they will write the business development plan and then it will go on a shelf, when in reality it is a living document. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Results Oriented, and Time Sensitive. Jason is a 90-day person, so he wants to set something so specific that you can achieve it in 90 days. You can have SMART goals among relationships, among conferences, among thought leadership and make sure that it is specific enough so that you are not thinking about business development, but rather what you may have promised yourself that week. 

It is all about time and calendar blocking. You need to own the calendar block and be very, very specific about it. Jason refers to MIT as the Most Important Task. Attorneys can have an MIT for business development and it does not have to take that long. He also looks at the Pomodoro Technique which is Italian for tomato timer. Francesco Cirillo came up with a technique where he put a tomato timer on his desk and took away all distractions that he might have. He took 25 minutes to read and when the timer went off, he took a 5 minute break. He started to think of his work in terms of pomodoros, so for business development, instead of a 25 minute pomodoro, you could do a 12 minute or a 6 minute where you come up with a discrete task and put everything else away to complete that so that you can get closer to completing your SMART goals. Some attorneys have clearly busy times and Jason is always working with them to see what discrete, very specific things that they can do even during those extremely busy times. Busyness is okay and can actually be a business development opportunity with the people that you are already working with.

Common Traps that Lawyers Fall Into Within Business Development

Some attorneys fall into loving LinkedIn so much that they will connect with everybody and then think that they have a problem with LinkedIn. They don’t have a LinkedIn problem, they have a content problem because they do not have anything to share on their personal page. You need to generate thought leadership and then use LinkedIn and other social tools as a sharing mechanism. Another thing that lawyers fall into is that they don’t understand their market all the time, so they need to be going to the right conferences, reading the right trade publications, understanding what their clients’ issues are and doing the right types of research to determine a solution. Attorneys struggle with the asking of questions. Try asking a question and then answering the question that your client asks you and then continue the conversation. Just ask a question and then see where things go. You must be present and in the moment and use your listening skills as a form of having the right discipline.

Pro Bono as a Part of the Business Development Plan

Something to start thinking about are the kinds of things that your clients are doing in the community and how you could help with what they are doing. This is something that directly aligns because if your clients care about it, then you care about it. Whatever your cause is, there is an opportunity within your community to find non-profits that are looking for board members. You, as an attorney, bring an incredible skill set and you start to meet groups of people that you normally would not meet that share your same interests and values. The greatest way to get to know someone is to work with them to determine how you interact with them and then they will begin to trust you. Jason works with attorneys to go after pro bono opportunities that align with their specific values. When you get outside of the law firm setting and into board meetings, you see how other types of people communicate and what their needs are. When an attorney gets a board seat, it is an opportunity for them to add value and the non-profit appreciates it and it raises awareness of who you are and your practice group / your firm. Just get started. It is so easy to get into your own head and only hear all of the different reasons why you should not reach out. Get started and it will be amazing what you will be able to do by just having a weekly approach to raising your profile.

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