If you have already prepared a list of prospects, congratulations! It's the perfect first step toward growing your pipeline and your business. A good next step is to make sure they are worth your time. Remember, your time is precious, and opportunity costs!
I prepared the following list of criteria to keep in mind when you create a prospect list. Often current clients are the best prospects and can be evaluated by the same criteria.
Profitability. Consider carefully whether the work that you are seeking will be profitable for your firm. Clearly looking the hourly rate that the client could bear important metric in evaluating the strength of an opportunity.
Expertise. Look for a good fit with your expertise or your practice group/firm expertise. Try to focus on where you and your practice group are today not what you aspire to be.
Strength of Relationship. Access to a high-level decision-maker obviously improves a prospect. Where that is lacking, consider whether your colleagues may know anyone. Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM) tools like ContactNet can also help you find out about existing firm relationships.
Current Law Firm Relationships. Deep attachment to an existing firm or lawyer obviously makes a prospect a lower probability opportunity. There is a great deal to be learned just by searching the web, and you may have an in-house business development team that can help gather intelligence for you as well.
Growth Potential. Understand to what extent prospects have some growth potential and/or could be a good fit across several practice groups.
Financial Condition. Good prospects can pay our bills. Marketing can help you do homework to make sure that you understand the prospect’s financial condition.
Geography. Although our virtually connected world has made geography less of a factor, proximity can be important to clients, although not equally in all areas of law. If your prospect is not in your immediate area, make sure you can make a case for why geography is not a factor.
Hopefully, this list will get you thinking about possibilities. A prospect list will focus your business development efforts and help you collaborate with your colleagues.