I came across a terrific (and short article) in Attorney at Work by Tea Hoffmann on “Developing a What’s Next Mindset” that I passed along to the lawyers with whom I work because I like how it drives home the point that lawyers should always be thinking about the next step in trying to turn a prospect into a client. I also like how it drives home the point about how thinking strategically and carefully about the next steps in the sales cycle can lead to more business – a lawyer and his/her advisors must always be planting the seeds for how to engage with the prospect and how best to “pitch” the story of the firm and its services.

As the article notes, “typically it takes up to eight interactions, done over the course of six to 18 months, to convert a prospect to a client and only 20 percent of your prospects will become clients.” Now, this is a generalization of course, and it can take much longer or much shorter for a lead to become a client – but you get the point that the buyer journey to client is oftentimes quite long with mnay touchpoints along the way. The author also goes on to say that a what’s next mindset is great for lawyers because they tend to be deadline driven and laser focused – so this gives them motivation and the opportunity for goal setting.

In terms of how to develop a what’s next mindset and strategy, the author suggests the following tips (note, I’m paraphrasing from the article):

  • Never mark off a task or dismiss an opportunity without asking what’s next. Write “What’s Next?” on a Post-it and attach it to their computer monitor as a visual reminder.
  • Become a better listener. Note anything the prospect or client may say that is of interest or that might be a door to additional opportunity. Add this in their contact information so you can use it going forward.
  • Think more broadly and offer to help. Your role is not to just complete a task for the client. Your role is to build a solid relationship over time with clients and prospects. Can you introduce them to someone you know who might use their product or service, or invite them to an event they would enjoy based on your conversations with them?
  • Execute your What’s Next strategy. Schedule and block off time to do next steps and follow-ups. These tasks are just as important as anything else on your calendar. Thinking about what’s next is important but the execution is critical.

She ends the article by encouraging lawyers to incorporate What’s Next thinking into their BD and marketing efforts. She notes that follow-through can accelerate your practice, lead to more meaningful interactions and help you convert more prospects.

So what’s next for you? Don’t forget to take a look at the full article from Attorney at Work here.