Business Development Training
Critical to a firm’s long-term growth is the ability of its senior lawyers to bring in work and increase revenues. Whilst a firm’s leaders may be highly motivated to support their people in winning work, the typical response is to source business development (BD) training. Yet this approach is seriously flawed; we would argue that it’s useless!
The fundamental flaw of a training-based approach is that it’s based on the premise that professionals are simply lacking know-how, and if we give them the right information, it will remedy the situation.
Business development training for professionals alone does not usually lead to the sustained change in behaviour required to successfully conduct business development activities on a consistent basis.
While training will undoubtedly contribute to a greater understanding of business development, rarely will it change the underlying behaviour of professionals. And that’s the critical missing piece. In essence, training is the equivalent to using a screwdriver to hammer a nail. There’s nothing wrong with the tool, it’s just the wrong tool for the job. Information alone does not change behaviour.
Think about a training program or workshop that you have attended. It’s likely you left with good intentions to put the information you learned into practice. However, if you’re like most people, you end up going back to doing things the way you’ve always done them. It’s just human nature. We form habitual behaviour patterns over a lifetime so it’s unrealistic to expect to change those patterns of behaviour in a one or two-day training workshop.
So, what’s the alternative to business development training?
The most effective alternative to BD training for professionals is business development coaching.
Business development coaching for professionals has proven to be a highly effective methodology to change the behaviour of professionals over time. Business development coaching provides a supportive environment where professionals – such as lawyers or accountants – meet with an executive coach who is qualified in BD, on a consistent basis to set individual business development goals and take agreed actions which ultimately leads to high performance BD habits over time.
Knowing that habits don’t change overnight, don’t expect to see results overnight either. Through our flagship business development offering, the BD Accelerator© Program, we’ve found that it typically takes participants at least six months of BD coaching before they start to demonstrate a meaningful shift in mindset, behaviours, and activity. It’s not a quick fix because people form habits over time. In our experience, it usually takes 6-12 months of BD coaching, depending on the individual, to establish sustainable, strong BD habits.
What is the return on investment of business development coaching for professionals?
Unlike typical training, BD coaching should be viewed as an investment that delivers a return on investment. While in some firms it’s difficult to quantify a return on investment, we have anecdotal evidence from clients including law firms, accounting firms and management consulting firms that have demonstrated a return on investment (ROI) in the first year of 5x and as much as 100x.
When a firm amortises the investment over a three-year horizon, the ROI is substantial. So substantial that it really is a no-brainer, isn’t it? As we say in our tagline: We think it makes sense – uncommon sense.