Four Approaches to Law Firm Sales and Business Development

Want sales at your firm?

Law firm sales directors Adam Severson of Dorsey & Whitney, Steven Bell of Womble Carlyle, Milton Stewart of Davis Wright and Mark Cowen at Patton Boggs shared their ideas and successes in creating business development programs. These four business development professionals have been tremendously successful in generating millions of dollars in additional revenue for their firms.

Chris Fritsch reported their remarks from the NorthStar Third Annual Law Firm Chief Marketing Officers' Forum on the LawMarketing Portal.

The first challenge is often getting the attorneys to accept the idea. Stewart noted that lawyers didn't go to law school to become salespeople, so in many cases "sales” may be four-letter word at the firm. Cowan said this was one of the first issues he faced when he began sales efforts five years ago. To get the attorneys to embrace the idea they ultimately went with the term “business development.” "Remember, your first sale is internal," he said.

Should business development professionals go on calls with the attorneys? They must-–because it’s the best place to instruct them, said Bell. Severson agreed: You can't coach the lawyers if you're not there with them. While Bell and Severson go on calls with the attorneys, Stewart sees his role as building and training his team-–and holding them accountable. But he is more hands-on when it comes to client satisfaction surveys and in fact has used these interactions to bring over a half million dollars back to the firm.

Providing value is key to a successful business development program. One of the ways to demonstrate that value is by tracking results, said Cowen. It's a numbers game, Severson said, and when you get some wins and you communicate them through the firm, the success will start to grow virally. Cowen suggests tracking things like touches and contacts. If you can put it into numerical form, lawyers will love it. Ultimately, he said, it's all about money.


At 5:41 PM, Blogger David Bowerman said...

Congratulations, and welcome to the blogisphere!


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