Want to develop a great business plan? Play to your strengths

Have you ever tried to accomplish a goal that required you to be someone that you are not?  Lately I've been working with lawyers who participate in my colleague Cordell Parvin's business development coaching groups.  This issue of being authentic keeps coming up.  

I'm just not a sales person type.  I don't like giving speeches.  It feels wrong to ask a friend for business.  Please don't ask me to take people I don't know to lunch.

The Clifton Strengthsfinder is a great tool to help you discover the natural talents you can leverage to develop stronger relationships with clients.  And you don't have to be someone you are not or do things that feel wrong to you in the process.  The truth is that when it comes to business development, one size doesn't fit all.   

As a young lawyer I had 2 role models for client development and they couldn't have been more different. The first, whom I will call Frank, graduated from the local law school, smoked cigars and played golf.  He was brilliant, but you wouldn't know it from casual conversation.  He was a big "teddy bear" who projected a laid back attitude and could ususally be found with his feet propped up on his desk.  He was inattentive to detail and a bit sloppy in his appearance.  He was quick to show irritation but equally quick to forgive. His clients tended to be much like him, local businessmen and women who had succeeded on a big scale, loved golf and were more concerned with getting the deal done than with the details.

George on the other hand dressed meticulously, taught Sunday school, attended a prestigious law school and maintained a very businsess like, almost professorial, demeanor with his clients.  He never lost his cool.  He had a great practice filled with referrals from other attorneys across the country.  They knew him through his writing and speaking or through his law school referral network.  His clients were primarily large banks and insurance companies who valued his care, attention to detail and businesslike demeanor.

What did George and Frank have in common in addition to being excellent lawyers?  Each knew his natural talents and strengths and used those to develop clients in his law practice.  The Strengthsfinder is a great assessment for helping you learn what your talents are.  I've used the Strengthsfinder with hundreds of attorneys.  They like it because it is positive in nature and it focuses on what they can do rather than on weakness and things they cannot do.  

Ready to give it a try?

Here a few tips for using the Strengthsfinder:

  1. You will need a code to take the online Strengthsfinder assessement.  To get the code, buyStrengthsfinder 2.0 at any major bookseller or buy an ebook version if you want to get started right away. You can also get the code in other books published by Gallup such as Strengths Based Leadership.
  2. Block out about 30 minutes to take the assessment.
  3. Answer truthfully.  There are no right or wrong answers.
  4. You'll get a downloadable PDF report that tells you your top five talent themes and ideas for action.  Take time to read it and answer the questions.
  5. If your aim is to use the assessment for business development ideas, look at the ideas for action contained in the PDF report.  Ask how each idea might be applied to building client relationships and business.  Some will fit and others will not.  You only need to find a few to make the effort worthwhile.
  6. Questions?  Drop me an email.  I would love to hear from you.