Whether you’re running a business or a ministry, success depends on attracting other people to what you’re doing. (One of my all-time favorite John Maxwell quotes sums it up this way: “He who thinks he leads, but has no followers, is only taking a walk.”)
When you don’t have enough business, it’s easy to get pulled into lots of unproductive directions looking for a fix—everything from trying new social media platforms to offering a webinar to writing an ebook, and more. Each could work, but it’s trying a tactic, not getting to the root of the problem.
And when tactics don’t work (or when they only offer a quick fix), you may find yourself disheartened. After all, if you don’t know what the problem is and you try lots of solutions without lasting effect, it’s easy to hit that “why bother” spot temporarily (causing you to lose time) or permanently (causing business failure).
But here’s the good news:
When you aren’t achieving the results to have enough business from your activities, you almost certainly have one of three problems.
- You don’t have a consistent stream of quality potential clients coming to you directly or by referral. You’re either not having enough conversations that lead to a “getting the business” interaction or you’re having plenty of conversations with the wrong people. This is a “leads” problem, and it means you need to interact with more people who might hire you or send business to you.
- You don’t have enough sales conversations, or you’re not skilled at closing the sale. Do you find yourself talking about a potential client’s problem, offering suggestions and resources, and then watching them go on their merry way before you have a chance to talk about how and why they might hire you? Do you get into sales conversations that stall with objections or the dreaded “I’ll need to check with my spouse/partner/accountant” delay tactic? You have a sales problem, and you have to solve that problem before you can build a successful business.
- You’re not creating adequate value for your clients. If you don’t serve your clients well by creating value through the work you do for them and through the way you perform the work and communicate with your clients, you’ll have dissatisfied clients. And unhappy clients generally don’t talk to the service provider—but they do talk to friends and family, leaving you with a decrease in business and a reputation that may make it harder for you to get new business. If you’re losing clients often, if you aren’t receiving referrals from your clients, or if your clients have repeat business that doesn’t come to you, you have a problem with client service.
If your business isn’t where you want it to be, you almost certainly have a problem in at least one of these areas. So
- Identify the problem
- Make a thoughtful shift
- See your results change
Be aware that it’s often difficult to spot the problem yourself. According to Albert Einstein,
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
That’s where hiring a coach or consultant can help, so you solve the correct problem rather than just spinning your wheels.
About Julie Fleming
Julie A. Fleming, JD, ACC, principal of Lex Innova Consulting, teaches lawyers to use innovative and effective measures to build a strong book of business and a lucrative practice. A former patent litigator, she is the author of The Reluctant Rainmaker: A Guide for Lawyers Who Hate Selling, Seven Foundations of Time Mastery for Attorneys, and the forthcoming Legal Rainmaking Myths: What You Think You Know About Business Development Can Kill Your Practice,as well as numerous articles focusing on topics such as business development, practice management, work/life balance, and leadership development. Before launching her consulting business, Julie practiced law for over a decade in firms of 3 to more than 2100 attorneys, specializing in patent litigation. A graduate of the Emory University School of Law, Vanderbilt University (B.A.) and Georgia State University (B.S.), Julie is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and currently serves as Vice Chair of the ABA Section of Science and Technology Law.
Jory has invited me to write on how to grow a solid business, and I’d love to hear your questions! What frustrates you? What challenges would you like to transform into opportunity? What are you curious about? Comment on this post and/or send your questions directly to Julie@LexInnovaConsulting.com. Please let me know you’re a friend of Jory’s. Can’t wait to hear from you!