By Stephen Fairley
If you are a solo practitioner or in a small firm, when it comes to delegating business development efforts to your staff, your only choices may be to ask a paralegal, your assistant or receptionist to support you.
If this sounds like your situation, here are some critical questions to ask to help you decide on which staff member is in the best position to support your business development efforts or whether you need to go to “Plan B”:
What is their level of interest in marketing? When you talk to your staff member about growing the firm and helping out with business development efforts, do they show a sense of excitement or do they suddenly come up with lots of reasons (read “excuses”) as to why they can’t do it at this time?
On a scale of 1 to 10, what’s their level of interest in helping you with marketing? Seriously consider someone else if their self-reported interest level is less than an 8 or 9. I learned a long time ago in business, you can’t push a rope.
What is their availability on a weekly basis? One of the keys to successful marketing is consistency. The best results from blogging are seen when your law firm’s blog is updated at least 4-6 times every week with unique content. That takes consistency.
Are you planning on removing something from the staff member’s current list of responsibilities in order to give them more time to dedicate to marketing or are you simply going to pile it on top of everything else they are working on and then expect them to “work harder?”
Without knowing the specifics of your situation, I cannot give you a correct answer nor can I counsel you on whether your staff member is working as hard as they can or if they can truly take on more work. However, you need to take their availability into consideration before you ask them to assist on a regular basis with marketing.
You need someone who is going to be consistently dedicated to promoting your law firm. Do they have the personality for marketing? There is no “correct” personality to have in order to be successful in marketing. There are successful introverts and extroverts, but you need to take into consideration the type of marketing you will be doing and if that person has the right personality for it.
For example, if you need someone who primarily will be overseeing a marketing project, then you need someone who has good project management skills and a lot of attention to detail. If your primary marketing efforts revolve around building relationships with other professionals and your clients are CEOs and owners of companies, then you want someone who has great relationship building skills and who can easily build rapport with strong, confident executives.
What’s your assessment of their skill set? There are several critical skills sets proven to be invaluable in leading your marketing efforts: project management, copywriting, editing, public relations, social media, knowledge of search engine optimization strategies, graphic design, best practices in Internet marketing, referral development, relationship building, and account management, just to name a few.
Obviously, it’s rare to find someone who has more than a few of these critical skill sets, but depending on your marketing plan, some of these skills may be more important to you than others. Be sure to evaluate which skills they have versus which ones you will likely need so the two of you aren’t disappointed when expectations aren’t met.