Lawyers: How to Build an Effective Prospect List To Increase Sales
Because lawyers have only a small amount of time for business development, it is important to be intentional about the prospective clients they pursue. Here is some guidance to help lawyers focus and optimize the time that is available for business development.
First, individual lawyers’ prospective clients should be on the firm’s overall prospect list so that sales efforts are integrated and strategic.
Second, prospects should have the following six attributes. Prospects are:
- Individuals who buy legal services, not the companies or organizations they work for.
- Responsible for overseeing complex legal issues that require outside expertise.
- People who understand that sophisticated legal advice is accompanied by substantial legal fees.
- Open to establishing a relationship with a new lawyer or firm.
- Empowered with buying authority.
- Serving at organizations similar in size and industry to your firm’s existing best clients.
Third, a prospect list should have the right number of targets. Most lawyers have far too few, or far too many.
Here is a guideline for finding the right number: if one hour of client development time is available per week, the lawyer’s list should have 24 prospects. This number is derived by multiplying the number of 15-minute segments in an hour (four) by the frequency that prospective buyers should be “touched” (once every six weeks).
Fifteen minutes is plenty of time to forward a prospect an interesting article, send a birthday card, point out what competitors are doing, make a comment on the prospect’s LinkedIn profile, or undertake some other relationship-advancing activity.
Professional services sales experts contend that a prospective buyer must be “touched” at least once every six weeks for the seller to stay top of mind; that’s where the six comes from.
To calculate the right number of prospects, multiply one available weekly hour of sales time by four (the number of targets that can be touched in an hour). Multiply that number by six (the maximum number of weeks between touches), and the result is 24 targets. For those who have two client development hours per week, 48 prospects are needed, and so on.
A prospect list with these characteristics takes time to develop, but the effort will help lawyers be more efficient, generate more revenue, and make the best possible use of limited business development time. In-house resources, such as marketing and business development, information services, finance, administration, and more can help prepare a prospect list.
Beyond intentional, integrated prospect lists, law firms can further improve revenue generation by ensuring that lawyers are trained and coached in effective business development skills and that leaders know how to read and manage the sales pipeline of the groups they lead.
At Fahrenheit Advisors, our law firm consultants have helped dozens of firms and lawyers generate more revenue, focus prospect lists, and improve sales operations. If your firm is ready to accelerate growth, contact us today – Experts@FahrenheitAdvisors.com.
About the Author
Steve Bell helps professional services firms generate profitable new revenue by expanding existing client relationships and acquiring new clients. He supports firms as they develop practical client-development strategies. And, he helps firms improve marketing and sales functions such as positioning and branding, communications, new media, competitive research, CRM, direct sales, sales training and coaching, and more. He has led client development teams comprised of 35+ professionals.