It’s so easy to put off business development and marketing – especially now when we are still social distancing. But it’s actually never been more important to invest in your lead generation and branding efforts.

You need a steady pipeline of new clients and existing clients, as well as consistent touchpoints with your referral network so that you are top of mind with them when they are looking for someone like you.

Here are some things you can do today to cultivate relationships and build your business and brand.

  • Invest in clients and getting to know them on a personal level in order to strengthen relationships.
  • Learn about the companies, businesses and industries of important clients inside and out at the expense of your organization and your own time. Ask yourself what challenges and opportunities your clients are facing and how can you help them with these. Delving into these areas will enable you to better anticipate their needs and be a smarter legal solution provider.
  • Say YES more. Say yes to most opportunities that come your way that interest you, even when they make you a bit uncomfortable. Maybe it’s writing, speaking or taking on a leadership role within an industry professional organization. It is often during the times when you step outside of your comfort zone that you are able to truly grow.
  • Connect electronically. LinkedIn is the most important social media channel for business development right now (and I think for years to come). Spend the time to develop a strong LinkedIn profile that highlights your professional attributes and background.
  • Engage on social media. Having a strong LinkedIn profile is the first step but regularly liking, sharing and posting value-added content is how to effectively use social media. Use LinkedIn to reconnect with contacts and to keep abreast of job moves and professional milestones of important contacts.
  • Regularly ask clients about their business goals, be attuned to their needs and then develop solutions to meet those needs.
  • Frequently follow up with important contacts by sending them value-added content with a personal note.
  • Add value by connecting people who can create value for each other. One of the best ways to build relationships is by linking people to each other. People enjoy meeting each other, especially when they have commonalities. They will appreciate you for introducing them, and you will strengthen your relationship to all of them in the process, which is a win-win for everyone, most importantly, you.
  • And perhaps most importantly, regularly ask clients how you’re doing and what you could be doing better/differently. Many lawyers don’t open the door to feedback because they’re afraid of what they might hear, which is a mistake. An even bigger mistake is asking for feedback and not acting on it. So always follow through.

With the limited time that we each have for things outside the scope of client work, it’s important to start off each week with a big picture look at what you want to accomplish in business development.

Avoid placing too many things on the “If I have time I will…” list. Consider blocking out an hour in your calendar at the beginning of the day, or use your commuting time to draft an article, connect with VIP contacts on social media. It’s important to remember these types of investments in business development only work if you make the time for them.