Marketing for Lawyers Series – Part 1 – How to deliver BD Effectively in 3 billable increments of time

Ben PaulIn this first part of Marketing for Lawyers series, Ben Paul, Director & Founder of The BD Ladder shares his insights on how lawyers can deliver BD effectively. 


What is the most common reason lawyers give for not being able to deliver their BD activities? That’s right, a lack of time. And I agree, this is a very valid reason. If you charge for your time, then any activity that is chargeable always takes precedence.

However, to have a healthy sustainable pipeline of work and a robust legal practice, BD does need to be done in the busy times. Otherwise, lawyers find themselves in a whirlwind of coffees and networking events, desperately seeking that next piece of work, during the quiet times.

To help legal practitioners break the cycle, below is a list of 4 daily BD habits which can be delivered in just 18 minutes – or 3 billable increments!

Update your top contacts list – time 3 mins (approx.)

Okay, I’ve said update a list, and you may not currently have one. However, this should be carried out as part of your BD Planning exercise (BD Client action plan template available here), and as an essential BD building block this alone can take longer than the 18 minutes a day you’ve set aside for BD. However, updating it so you’re ready to form your daily BD habits, is actually pretty quick.

To make it easy I would recommend you split your list into categories like the below:

  • Clients
  • Referrers
  • Industry colleagues/peers

The next stage is to pick the 3-4 people you will focus on contacting.

Start making contact and booking in meetings – time 6 mins (approx.)

The assumption on the list of contacts that you have made in stage 1, is that to some degree you know them. Pick two from today’s list that you most want to meet with.

The fact that you know them makes reaching out to them and getting a meeting somewhat easier. In some locations booking a coffee in is all it takes. Even though that is the case, make sure you make clear the reason why you want to catch-up with your contacts.

The purpose for stating the reason, is that by making it clear that you want to find out more about what they are working on and their future plans etc., it keeps the meeting out of social chit chat and sets the expectations early in the piece around the potential conversation topics.

Find an article that is relevant to your clients – time 6 mins (approx.)

You now have 2 contacts left on your list. If they are in different sectors, focus on one and then try to find an article (google is great for this) that you think would be relevant or of interest to them, have a quick read of the article and jot down the sections or themes that would be most relevant to them.

Send a link to the article to your contact – time approx. 3 mins (approx.)

Now you have the article ready to go, and know the parts that are relevant to your client. Send it across to them in an email, explaining that you came across this article and thought it would be helpful or interesting to them, and share why you think that is the case and which bits they should focus on reading.

Conclusion why daily BD Habits are so important

Admittedly, the first few days you attempt this, it will feel as if you can’t get it all done. Like all things – the more you practice something the quicker and better you get at it.

Even if you only manage the first two on one day, and the second two on the next day, you’re probably doing more regular BD than most other lawyers are currently doing.

A daily BD habit will produce results. Focusing it on reaching out and making meetings with people will take away the fear or natural reluctance to undertake these activities. For the lawyers who commit to these activities, you should start to see the results of your endeavours fairly quickly.

Ben Paul is the founder of The BD Ladder, a BD and marketing consultancy specialising in providing practical advice to lawyers and professional services firms. He has over 20 years’ experience in providing sales and marketing advice. He has worked in BD roles in several professional services and law firms. Prior to establishing The BD Ladder, he was the BD & Marketing Director at one of NZ’s leading law firms and oversaw their successful rebranding to Dentons Kensington Swan. Ben provides regular BD coaching and skills sessions to his clients which help them to grow their practices. One of his key strengths is that he brings active change to the way things are done, so that his clients can achieve the results that they aspire to. Connect with Ben via LinkedIn