Become a Legal Rainmaker – Scott Simmons – S8E5

Join us as we explore the world of legal business development with this week’s guest, Scott Simmons. Scott is a business development coach, trainer and consultant for lawyers, and the Founder of Legal Balance. He shared his award-winning sales methodology and business development tips in this unmissable episode. 

Scott also told us about his background and career history, with a look inside the founding of Legal Balance, as well as the wisdom his wife shared when they were establishing the company. 

So, why should you be listening in?

You can catch Rob and Scott talking about:

  • Business development strategies
  • The mindset behind successful client relationships
  • Differences between consulting, training and coaching
  • The legal iconoclast
  • International business development challenges



Robert Hanna 00:00 

Welcome to the legally speaking podcast. I’m your host Rob Hanna. This week I’m absolutely delighted to be joined by the wonderful Scott Simmons Scott is a business development Coach and Trainer for lawyers. He is a business development consultant was previously the National Senior Business Development Manager at DW F. He has a wealth of experience as a solicitor, and nowadays he is known as a toolbox for turning lawyers into rainmakers. As the creator of precision selling methodology, which we’ll learn more about later, Scott’s mission is to enable lawyers to learn in a simple and systematic formula. So a very big warm welcome, Scott. 

Scott Simmons 00:42 

Hi, there. Rob. Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be chatting.  

Robert Hanna 00:47 

I’m really excited to be having you on the show. And before we dive into all your amazing projects, experiences and ideas, we do have a customary icebreaker question here on the legally speaking podcast, which is on a scale of one to 1010 being very real, what would you rate the hit TV series suits in terms of its reality of the law if you’ve seen it? 

Scott Simmons 01:08 

So Rob, I’ve watched 15 minutes of suits, and then I stopped watching it. So I, I could not give you an answer to that. I stopped watching it because in that first 15 minutes, I sat down, I thought, well, this isn’t going to do anything to help how people think about lawyers. So I just switched it right off, and I have never gone back.  

Robert Hanna 01:31 

With that. I think you can give it a resounding zero and we can move swiftly on to talk all about you. So Scott, would you mind starting by telling our listeners about your background and career journey?  

Scott Simmons 01:43 

Okay, so So I’m an ex lawyer. I started off in a small High Street Law Firm in Essex in the in the south of the UK. I started off in residential conveyancing and for us, listeners, that’s real estate. And I was I had a, I had a head of department and mentor. When I started, who drummed into me, Rob, the importance of the customer service, the customer experience how important clients were. And that really stuck with me, he put me in front of clients, and everything was about giving them an exceptional experience. The problem was, Rob was that what we could see was at the end of the month, in order to hit financial targets we were having to do so many completions. And that was impacting the service that we were trying to create. The other impact that it’s having was that actually, my boss was ill with stress related stomach problems. And he was out of the office on average, sort of two days a week. So there was a lot of firefighting going on. And I realised, I mean, I was in my early 20s. So you know, you could throw as much work at me as you wanted. And I was happy to have, you know, very, very few responsibilities. And but I could see that something needed to change because what was happening was was that we were getting inquiries. And if if, you know, they tell us the value of the property, we would give them a price from our menu sheet. If somebody Rob waited half a second without going Yes, please, we’d go back. If you come with us today, we’ll drop it down to this price. So we had this real problem of it being in this race to the bottom. And God help us if we found out that someone down the road was have dropped their prices, because then we were like, anyway. So I could see that there was a problem at six months in and I took an idea to my boss and I said, this is what I think we should do. I think we should carve the bottom end of the market, I think we should massively increase our prices. And we should explain to people that what we want to do is work with people who want this exceptional service and want their lawyer to have the time and space to be able to take them through the process and guide them on what was going on. He loved it. He put me in front of the partnership, the partnership agreed to it. And within 12 months, everything had changed. And we went from having you know, client complaints dropped through the floor client experience and feedback and testimonials went through the roof. We were how reputation have grown from being really really local to being really quite regional, sort of one side of Essex, the other side of London up to Hartford shade down to Brighton. We really covered a lot of the South. We were getting inquiries in places we could not believe. And the team was growing and we were doing more fees. We were doing more fees Rob than we’ve ever done doing 50% Less work. But the key one for me was that my boss was no longer real. Yeah, he was not taking off that kind of time. They have previously. And that always stuck with me that that race to the bottom almost became like without realising and unconscious of choice that the profession was finding itself in. But we could do something about it. So I went through my career, and I moved firms or went to bigger and bigger firms, I moved into court, a commercial property into corporate support, I went into trust and company management, and I finished off in corporate, and I didn’t enjoy that at all. And, in fact, to the point where it made me feel, really and I suffered quite bad burnout. And you won’t be surprised to know that I blame an awful aside from aside from the lack of support that I got, I blame a fair bit of it on the billable hour. But that’s not going to be a surprise to you. But I left, I left the practice of law and I got a lot of inquiries and a lot of requests to just focus in on on business development to help businesses get footprint into the into the UK. So that’s how we created legal balance. It was to service that kind of growing need for businesses to have that footprint and into the UK market for business development. But we didn’t I didn’t stop at just working for law firms, I worked across professional services, because I wanted to understand what other professional services industries were doing around business development, customer experience, customer service. And eventually what happened was, is that I could see that there was an opportunity for lawyers to really get involved in the selling process. And but in order to do that, I was going to, you know, we’re gonna have to teach them how to sell and we’re gonna have to overcome this mindset problem of, of, I’m a lawyer, I don’t sell or I’ve got too much on I can’t, I can’t do BD. And that’s how we developed the BD breakthrough blueprint, which is our education course on business development, and then eventually how we turn that into a digital course, which kind of brings us to where we are today.  

Robert Hanna 07:11 

Yeah, and it’s fascinating journey. And I guess, you know, just understanding your career, you’ve always sort of had business development in your DNA, shall we say? So either consciously or subconsciously, just learning through that, but let’s just break it down. Because it’s an interesting question, what is God’s definition of business development? Because your business development coach and training for law lawyers, you know, you’ve got sort of that business, legal business development, coach, badge, consultant badge, what is your definition of business development?  

Scott Simmons 07:45 

Okay, so the absolute best definition I’ve ever heard is actually came from it came from my, my wife, who is the CEO of legal balance, and really is the brains behind the company, I might appear to be the face. But really, truly all the best ideas you’ve ever seen me come up with, come from come from her. And she explained it like this, she said, she said, marketing is drawing the horse to water. Business Development is making it drink. 

Robert Hanna 08:15 

That, to me is the absolute best definition of the difference between marketing and BD, but really helps you understand what both marketing and business development are. So marketing is that building that brand, getting that awareness out into the world, and then business development is creating those opportunities, those bringing people in into a place where you’re not just kind of out there, on a big scale, you’ve then drawn real prospects and leads into your funnel. And you’re now having those conversations, one to one or one to small groups, and business development is turning those prospects into clients. I love that. And it’s, you know, I always say if you can’t explain something simply how on earth you’re gonna get people to understand it. I don’t think you could have done a better simplification there for everyone to digest and understand. So let’s keep you on that momentum. Scott. Let’s talk about differences. How do you describe the differences because people see consultancy, they see training, they see coaching, how do you differentiate the three and just give people some practical examples particularly related to the legal profession?  

Scott Simmons 09:27 

Okay, so obviously, you mentioned at the at the beginning, when I described myself I talked to him I talk about being a toolbox attorney lawyers into rainmakers. Okay, I don’t I don’t tell people I’m a consultant, trainer and coach. I actually, I use it in my elevator pitch, when I go on to explain it, but I describe myself as a toolbox to selling lawyers into rainmakers and how I do that is that I give lawyers the tips, tools and techniques to get out into the marketplace, give clients best advice and win more work and and then I talk about how I, you know, Coach clients, on subjects around mindset, leadership culture habits. And then I give them training on how to sell and cross sell, how to give compelling presentations that make other lawyers jealous, and how to network with confidence and purpose. Okay, so we’ve got the coaching, we’ve got the, we’ve got the training elements. And by the way, I think that the coaching and training together are really, really important, because one of the fundamental problems around training and this is part of why we turn the course into a digital course, is that people come away from training sessions and they feel really great about it are felt like I’ve learned so much. And, and I can take all of this on and I can, and then you get back to your desk, you get the start doing the work, and everything you’ve learned just kind of falls away, because you’ve got nothing there to keep you motivated to keep you accountable, to make sure that you are doing what you want to be doing. And so the coaching, I think, is really, really valuable because, particularly alongside the training, what it enables you to do is just to keep people on the right track. Now the consultancy side is when we work with the C suite, when we work with the directors and the CC the you know, sort of the kind of fundamental decision makers in the business to help them build firm business wide strategic business development strategies. Because you can have, you can have individual strategies about how you’re going to reach out to businesses or clients or prospects and things like that. But the business needs an overarching business development strategy, so that everyone’s working towards the same goal. And if you as an individual, I have a business management strategy, but your business doesn’t have a business development strategy, it’s going to be a bit more difficult for you to get the buy in at the top and the support at the top. So having it work down like that is really massively, massively important. Yeah. And again, I love how you sort of break it down. And you know, take everyone through that journey, because I absolutely agree. I remember back to when I first started my recruitment journey, you know, we’d go on all of these training courses, and you’ll just come out, you’re like, wow, these new techniques just on the other. And then like you say, without that sort of ongoing coaching, support implementation, and you know, what gets measured gets done all of that good stuff. It does sort of filter away. So let’s give people some practical and tactical advice, then I really love your sort of acronym, talk us through precision, because you created this, it’s a selling methodology, can you explain what it is and why it’s so valuable? Right? So when I stopped practising law, and I was then going to be doing sales full time for for law firms and other professional services firms, I almost had to think about what I had been doing that had made me really successful at winning work as a lawyer. And I kind of had to go back to square one because I was all of a sudden, just kind of not remembering what had what had got me to where I had got to. And I really started looking back. What were the things that made me just really good at winning the work. And the the first thing was, I remember saying to I remember saying to my wife, I said, the thing I think that really makes me good at this is that I’m just really nosy. I just like to ask questions. And I like to find out what’s going on. And but I do it, I do it from a place of genuine curiosity I want I want to understand people better I want to know kind of what’s going on. But I don’t just do it. To make conversation. I’m genuinely involved and engaged in that, in that conversation. I love it. When somebody tells me something about their, their business or their life or something like that. And, and you’re you’re just learning all the time. So I knew it kind of started with genuine curiosity. I knew that that meant asking kind of really engaging, involved questions, because you want people to open up people love talking about themselves. So I wanted to ask questions that that would get people to open up to me, it became this sort of thing of well, if I’m going to ask the questions, I need to really hear what they’re saying. Yeah. And as I started going through this process, I realised that that those those were the sort of those are the big keys. That was what was gonna make the difference. But then I had to think about, Well, how was I actually getting in front of both existing clients and prospects who didn’t know who I was, didn’t know who the business that I was working with was, okay. So then I had to come back back to the cat’s come back further. And I was thinking about, Okay, well, what’s the research that I’m doing? How am I reaching out to them, and then that started to fall into place. But then two things came about that really that hadn’t had a big impact. One of them was that I read a book called The Challenger sale. And I learned that actually, everything that we’ve been taught taught in, in our professional lives about how relationship building wins, you more work was just completely turned on its head, it had absolutely nothing, you know, people don’t want to work with someone they don’t like. But if you can have an impact on their thinking, if you can make them if you can get them to think completely differently, and act upon that, that makes you a really compelling prospect to work with. And that was, that was one of them. The other thing was, was that I realised, if I wanted to get my foot through the door, I had to be able to talk about the value that we that we create for our clients and our and our prospects. And that meant going back and thinking about what it is that made me the business I was working for whoever, completely different. So I had to undergo sort of like a process of what’s my value proposition? What’s the business’s value proposition? When I started looking at all of this together, I started to see no value proposition during the research how I was going to reach out the value I was going to bring the questions I was going to ask. And I started to write out what each of those things that the titles for each of them now, sort of my, my wife and I, we love a good acronym. And when we started to write them down, we said, Okay, well, how could we turn those into something, you know, just quick and easy for someone to remember. And, you know, so the first one became pitch articulating your value proposition, then it came research, you know, and then encounter and we just kept going, kept going. And we found that we created the word precision. And every single step in precision counts for another, every single letter counsellor, another step in the process that you go through, to understand your understand who you want to be working with, the value that you can bring to them the way that you can reach out to them the questions that you would ask the objections that you’re likely to hear how you would go about asking for the work or not, and how you would create a culture of business development within your business. That’s how that nine step process of precision came about.  

Robert Hanna 18:01 

I love it. I love it. And it’s so good. And I just all for I always say, practical and tactical advice is so so important, because there’s a lot of things out there that are, you know, what I call quite woolly. But like you say, when you actually break it down, and there’s a process and there’s a methodology, and it’s proven and it works. People can really relate to that. And then like you said, back when you’re talking on the training and the coaching, if you give people the manual, and it’s easy to understand, and they can practice and get better and better and better and better. Eventually, they’re going to get to where they need to get to. So let’s talk more about this turning toolbox for turning lawyers into rainmakers. What skills do you think are absolutely required to become a rainmaker and people who might be less familiar? How do you define what a rainmaker is?  

Scott Simmons 18:54 

Okay, so Rainmaker firstly, that’s sort of work work backwards. So Rainmaker. Think about think of it visually, okay, it’s somebody who makes it rain. Yeah. Okay. So that visual now think about making it rain work. Okay, you’re making it rain down, work on yourself. But also you’re making it rain work for other people. And that’s really key that the methodology that we work on with Miss precision isn’t about being closed off, just within your practice area and your own potential opportunities. When you go through precision, if you want to be a rainmaker, you are a trusted adviser and trusted advisors, they look at people’s or businesses, wider goals and needs. So there are often opportunities whereby you might reach out to you might reach out to 20 clients and if all you’re focused on is just the law that the legal practice area that you work in, none of those 20 or any one of those 20 might add. Should we need your help there? And then, yep. But everybody from birth to death needs a lawyer throughout their entire life. And if you’re a business owner, getting the law wrong, it’s the one thing Rob, you cannot get wrong. You can’t get the law wrong is catastrophic, if you do. And so getting legal advice, right from the beginning, when you set up a business all the way through, you need legal advice. But it’s different types of legal advice. It is different types. And it may not be your practice area, but it might be your colleagues in a different practice area. It might be an intermediary that you know, so it might not be law, it might be wealth management, it might be banking, it might be, you know, accounting, it could be so many other things. But the key is, is that because you have taken the time to get to know your clients, you’re thinking in terms of okay, well, what are their wider goals and needs, if I can help them with those opportunities, or to solve some of those problems, they’ll start to think of me as somebody that they trust to come to. And when the time comes that they do need legal advice. They’ll come to me and they won’t go anywhere else, because they know that I get them better outcomes. That fundamentally is what it means to be a rainmaker. Now, in terms of in terms of sort of the key skills. Firstly, as I said before, is that curiosity? It starts actually, with wanting to help. Yeah, hey, most lawyers, they get into the profession, because they want to help people. There’s things along the way, that sometimes make that difficult. But fundamentally, so many of us get into this profession, should we want to help people, if you can remember that, and you can go into every single conversation? So am I really want to help this client? Or I really want to be able to help his prospect, then everything will everything else will follow? So it’s that curiosity, is that desire to help? It’s asking, it’s asking those those questions that tease out the information that you’re going to need in order to help all of those things follow from that one point of, I want to help you if you can start there. Now, the the interesting thing is that lawyers have a problem around mindset. Okay, we are, we’re trained into this very narrow way of thinking. And what that does is, is that it stops us from believing that we can do anything else other than the work was put on our desk. When you learn that, that when you learn awareness around your mindset, and you learn and understand, hey, it took you years, and it’s continuous learning and development. You know, you didn’t just wake up one morning, a skilled lawyer, you had to spend years and years, you know, university, college, law school, all of these things. And then that was just the beginning. But then it was learning on the job, then it was CPD, and all of you’re constantly learning, but we forget that because we are trained into this very narrow way of thinking, when you go back and think stuff, actually, I had to work really hard for that. If I can learn to do that I can learn to do anything, you open yourself up to the realisation that you can learn you can learn business development skills, they are not the most complicated skills that you’re going to learn in life.  

Robert Hanna 23:46 

Yeah. And I love that and I remember one of my mentors sent to me he said, If you drop the L you know what does it spell earn and the reality is to earn you need to learn you know, it’s so true and you know, it’s a great example that you talk about the the BD footprint, which I’m gonna talk about in a minute but it’s so important that people get curious like you want to help you come from a place of service because I always say sales is serving and you know you’re you’re coming from this from a place of being super curious super wanting to understand and then really serve because I think there is that kind of mindset of sales, the dirty word, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. So, can we talk briefly about because you touched on it the man alluded to there the the BD breakthrough blueprints I think it’s brilliant, brilliant two day kickstart course. What does it involve? And what do you hope for people to gain from the course and who’s it primarily aimed at?  

Scott Simmons 24:39 

Okay, thanks. Thanks for that role. And so the, the big breakthrough blueprint for a number of years was our two day or and still is, by the way, our two day training course. And what it does is it teaches you precision selling really takes you through those those steps you’re gonna go through. And two of the things that really scare lawyers is this idea that people are going to say, oh price that the price you’ve given me is a bit of a problem, or, Oh, I’m not ready to go ahead or, you know, one of the other things, you know, I’m not sure that you’re the right one for us all of those objections, and we cover the most common objections that you’re here and how you can handle them, we also sort of go into a bit of negotiation. We don’t do anything at this, we don’t do anything at this really complex level. Because ultimately, firstly, all of these things are quite straightforward. You can you can develop all of these skills to a really complex level, you can go on to learn neuro linguistic programming and special skills around around negotiating, but fundamentally you, you don’t need them, to get people to you to work with you to you know, when it comes to the law. So again, come back to these things about keeping it really, really straightforward and simple, so that people can go away and start using them from day one. Okay, if you’ve got precision, as I said, earlier on, we talked about presentation skills, giving those, you know, giving those really compelling presentations, showing passion, telling stories, all of these different things that you can use to take your presentation skills to the next level, we talk about networking, what we call nimble networking, you know, lawyers tend to be thrown into doing networking and come out of there. And the number of times I speak to, particularly young lawyers, and it says we’ve got, I don’t want to do it, I don’t want to do it. And it’s because you’re not given a plan, you’re not given a strategy of how to go into a networking event. And actually, once you have just a few little tips and things to do, when you go to these networking events, it’s actually really simple. Again, we’re just breaking down these myths with demystifying these these subjects, and making them really, really simple. So you can go away and do it straightaway. We talk about CRM, okay, CRM is your best friend when it comes to business development. And we talk about CRM from the perspective of why why is CRM important, and no one really discusses that. And we talk about that in the course. And then the foundation of it all, as I said before, is mindset. You can do all of this, you can give all of the selling tips that you want, you can teach, teach lawyers How to Sell all day long, if they don’t believe that they can learn this stuff. And they don’t believe that they can implement it, they’ll never do anything with it. And so for us, having mindset as the foundation stone as the first point that you that you build from was was fundamental to us. And that’s really important. And you can see in people, you can see it in people, when you start to have the conversation around how your mindset impacts your results and outcomes, you can see that people just that little light switch that goes off. And then when you start talking to them about anything to do with business development that like, actually, I can do this, actually, this this, this doesn’t. This doesn’t take much for me. And a lot of cases, Rob, you’re doing it already, you just weren’t really aware of it. And what this teaches you is, is that awareness, and that we talked about, we talked about training and going away from it and falling back into old habits. That’s kind of that’s part of the reason why we turned the big breakthrough blueprint into a digital course. We know that there’s a growing desire for people to learn at their own pace. Yeah, the being there for two days on a training course, doesn’t fit everybody’s, you know, routine agenda, how they’d like to learn. We wanted to give people these skill, these, you know, things that they could learn at their own pace. But more importantly, they can go back to it whenever they want. Once you’ve bought it, you own it. Yeah. So unlike with other training courses, you can come back to this whenever you want. And you can compare it with what you’re doing, and just reinforce those and so create turning it into a digital course has been massively important. And I mean, God, I’m so incredibly proud of it. The feedback that we’re getting is amazing. But it’s just that fact that people can keep going back to it and test themselves against what they’ve learned, which has been incredibly rewarding.  

Robert Hanna 29:38 

Yeah, and like you say, you’re not always someone like me on certain things. I don’t always get it first time around. So actually having the opportunity to go back and sort of think actually, okay, maybe I needed to tweak that or reading over again and having access to it again does help. Let’s talk about global differences because we’ve got listeners all around the world, listening and you’ve worked with law firms across the world including Cayman Islands Gibraltar Turkey, US UK, what are some business development challenges lawyers and these different countries face in your opinion, in comparison to say more traditionally the UK market? 

Scott Simmons 30:11 

Right? So that’s a really interesting question. So fundamentally, because the skills are all communication skills, and by the way, then I can’t bear it when someone calls it a soft skill. When you think soft, you just soft and hard skills, you, you absolutely start thinking, well, it’s not as important. I call them sort of fundamental, essential human skills. And so for me, they are as important as the technical as the technical work. So the skills themselves are fundamentally universal. And that’s why we have clients, as you pointed out, everywhere from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, all across Europe, obviously, UK, the US, and up and down, up and down, you know, the American continent. So, but there are, there are some, listen, there are cultural differences. So you might go about things slightly differently. In the US, which is incredibly strange to me, you can’t cold call, they have a definition of gold calling Rob, which has always made me laugh, which is you can cold call family, friends and other lawyers that you that you know, and I’m like, well, it’s not cold calling. It’s about as warm or as hot as you’re possibly not cold calling. So you can’t do that. And we refer to it in the we refer to because we have, we have a very, very small quick section on on cold outreach in the course, we do not go into it, by the way, because the when I have a conversation with a lawyer about cold calling, they go white, right? They go. I mean, I love cold calling, and I love cold email, I love seeing what might work, what email might get through what phone call might get through what what it is that causes somebody who doesn’t know me to answer or pick up the phone. But in the years, they can’t do it. And we refer to that fact in the course that you know, this section may not, you know, may not work it entirely. But even then we were leaving that for another course, we’ve created the the legal balance Institute’s website, which we’re going to be building more courses. So we’re just in the process of building a value based pricing training course. Which will be out I’m not sure when it was such a mammoth effort getting the BD breakthrough blueprint recorded that I need some time off from recording. But yeah, so that’s going to come later on. And what we want to do, as I said, we want to ease people into this idea that they can do all of these things. And when you can ease people in everything else is a much smaller, jump up is a much smaller learning curve for them. And so with those things, yes, there are cultural differences. There are certain legal differences. But fundamentally, these skills are universal.  

Robert Hanna 33:19 

I love that. And it’s so true, isn’t it because I talk a lot and I sound like a broken record. We’re not in this b2b b2c world anymore. We’re in this human to human and we’re all humans on the planet. So you know, as long as you can get the communication skills, and like you say those fundamental skills nailed down and you stay curious and everything you’ve mentioned, I think you stand a really high chance of being successful and anybody can do this. I stand by what you say there. I’m going to quote you, Scott. The legal profession isn’t taught how to win new clients, and it’s one of the few that doesn’t prepare its future leaders for those roles. So why do you think the legal profession lacks formal training on acquiring new clients compared to other industries?  

Scott Simmons 33:56 

That is such a great question. How long have we got I will? No, no, I will keep it I will. It says I’ll keep it brief hasn’t kept anything brief thus far. Right? We are taught to in law school and university we are taught to do the work that is put in front of us nobody no one in any point in our legal in our in our legal sort of life. Up until we get smarter. No one tells us that law is a business. Yeah. And and in order to have a business you have to have not just a product or service to sell, you have to be able to sell it. Yes. And we’re never ever taught that and so we go through our careers and we just go okay, well if I just if I get the work that’s put in front of me done and I do more of it and I do more of it and I do more of it. I’ll go from trainee to solicited to associate Senior Associate Director to partner what you know, whatever. What It’s not just keep rising depending on this arbitrary way that they that the firm has for, for promotion. And, and it’s only when you get to part that that partnership conversation that they that the partners sit there go, right. Okay, Rob, we were going to make you a partner, what you’re going to do to win work? Yes. Okay. Say well, now your partner now you’ve got to win work. And you can’t win. I’ve never had to win work before. You’ve always given me the work. I figured that’s just how it would always be. No, no, you’re a partner. Now you’ve got all of this extra responsibility. And it’s really interesting because without meaning to we set people up for failure. we put them in, we put them in positions of leadership without teaching them and training them on what it means to lead other people. We we put people in these ever increasing, you know, more leadership roles based on what they were doing previously, not what’s going to be expected of them in the future. And you, you, you do you they you know, when those people fail at those new roles, everyone turns on the game? Oh, they just seemed like they would get it. They got it before. Why didn’t they get? And it’s exactly the same. It’s exactly the same with with winning work. You know, research was done years ago, this that showed that on average, it takes a lawyer from the moment they meet a prospective client. So the moment that they become a client, it takes an average of four years. Wow. Now imagine, as a, as a brand new partner, as a junior partner sitting in partners meetings for four years, having your senior partners go, Rob, why aren’t you more consistent winning your work? Why aren’t you more consistent. Now, when you do business development consistently, you can bring that down just so much, you can bring it down the average down massively. But we have to train people, and we need to train them from the very beginning, from my perspective, it’s a case of these skills should be part of what we’re learning, as fundamental as the technical stuff, right from the outset, add into university, add it into law school, make it part of training, make it part of a lawyer’s training contract, give them that space, give them that safe space, to learn these things, to implement them and execute them, make it a safe space where they can make mistakes, and, and build upon what they’ve learned. And we will we will transform the profession, Rob, we really will.  

Robert Hanna 37:55 

And he makes such a great point about a safe space as well. Because you know, lawyers are so scared of making a typo, let alone you know, a little mistake on something. So when it comes to business development, if you actually create that environment, encourage it and say, look, it’s all part of the process. And rejection is part of, you know, a lot of business development. You know, fortune is in the follow up. You and I both agree that and there’s multiple ways you know, and no isn’t always a no, no, no, never is it it gives multiple ways to go around that. So this has been an absolute masterclass Scott, I’ve loved it. I’ve just got a couple of quick questions for we we wrap up, I want to talk about your landmark virtual event. I think it’s one of the best virtual events I’ve had the opportunity to attend in many years, I think the level of interaction, the level of content, the speakers, you have just everything from an experience from a virtual perspective, because a lot of people are still a little bit well, you know, you can’t beat the in person events, which of course, you know, there is an argument for that. But I just want to give you a chance to talk about the legal iconoclast, because I think it’s great. I’ve been a couple of times and really loved it. So tell us more.  

Scott Simmons 38:54 

Thank you so much. So yes, legal iconoclast, we developed that couple of years ago, around this idea that we wanted to give people a space where they could talk about the future of the profession. And what we could do is we could introduce, you know, not necessarily like minded but like minded people who actually had these, these almost forward thinking ideas about where the profession was, was heading, that they could come together and talk about different subjects, that that were going to impact the legal profession. We called it legal iconoclast, because we wanted those people who are going to be talking about breaking down these old ways of working and seeing the profession. And we came up with this idea for a virtual event. And we wanted a space, a virtual event where people could meet each other really, really easily, really, really simply. And we found a platform and That actually looks like a virtual conference home with tables. And you would click on a table and you’d go on to that table and other people would be on those tables, and you’d start chatting with people that you’d never chatted before. And that kind of networking, we’d never seen anything sort of like that before. And it really, it meant that people who had never met from all over the world, by the way, obviously, you’ve been there, and it’s created the opportunity for people to build connections that they otherwise wouldn’t have built. And talk about subjects that weren’t being talked about maybe by necessarily in the in the in the same way, by by other by other providers. And we’ve, we’ve run a couple of them, we have plans for more, and we just love it, we absolutely love it. Because like, like say it’s it’s bringing together people who are talking about and also running legal businesses very differently. So we were able to bring together some young lawyers who were at the beginning of the year and put them in touch with people who were running very different legal businesses, and say to them, Look, have a chat with this person, see what the options are out there. When when I was a when I was a young lawyer, I didn’t know beyond big law and and sort of open what was out there. Because the you know, things like LinkedIn and other other social media platforms weren’t there. When I started out in my career, this creates that opportunity for people to come together. And we really just kind of love it. So we’ve got plans for more, we’ve just got to we’ve just got to sort of put them in place and see where we can till we can come up with.  

Robert Hanna 41:47 

Yeah, and you know, I can’t wait, I think it’s, like I said, I think it’s a great event. And you touched on their social media, LinkedIn, obviously, you know, we’ve talked on networking, personal brand, you know, these are things we talk a lot about on the show, and that they are very important when it comes to basically a lot of the discussion we talked about today. But I guess if I was to pin you down, before we wrap up, Scott, what would be your top three tips for those looking to enhance their business development skills? 

Scott Simmons 42:15 

Okay, top three tips. Number one, and this is always the fundamental, just get started. Yeah, okay, put 30 minutes into your calendar. And with you know, if you just want if you really want to just dip your toe for 30 minutes in once a week, doesn’t matter what’s going on, you can find 30 minutes once a week to put into your calendar to just get started. Okay, that’s 30 minutes a week, think about what you can achieve, that’s two to two and a half hours a month, four to five hours, over two months, you just keep multiplying that six to seven and a half, eight, you know, you just keep multiplying that and think about what you can achieve with eight to 10 hours that you weren’t doing previously. So that’s number one, just just get started. Number two, for me is your easiest wins are within your existing client base. Okay, everything that we teach you in the BD breakthrough blueprint, you can get started with with your existing client base. Because if you’ve got good relationships with your existing clients, then they will be more receptive to having conversations with you. And there’ll be more interested in hearing what you have to offer them than cold prospects who have never heard of you before. So think about your existing your current clients and reach out to them. The other thing that I think is massively important, is realising the value that you bring to the table. I can’t under can’t sort of overstate what lawyers do is transform is transformative, we transform people’s lives. There’s nothing else out there that can actually sit there and say yet, transforms transformed our lives the way that law does. But if we don’t talk about it in those terms, no one else will. Yeah. And so what I always say to people is start to think about the ways in which you add and create value for people the ways in which that you transform people. And a lot of that comes down to that you know, pay for pitch in the in the BD in precision selling of BD breakthrough blueprint. That’s what we uncover, we start to uncover people’s value proposition. And that really takes you through that process of understanding just how transformative we are. We have to start talking much more positively about what we do when we can start talking much more positively the narrative around Employees will change. And that for me is is really fundamental look around you look at the ways in which you and your colleagues change people’s lives for the better. Once you start believing that every your confidence will go through the roof,  

Robert Hanna 45:16 

and I’m so glad you said that because Self confidence is so important. And I guess putting my my legal recruiting hat on, you know, if you’re in that environment, and you don’t feel that anyone is sort of supporting you with that value, or don’t you don’t feel like you’re getting that value. Maybe you’ve outgrown that environment or maybe that environment in that culture isn’t right for you because I strongly believe everybody has a value and I strongly believe you have to have the mindset so if you’re around the room and you’re not feeling that, that maybe it’s not the right room for you to be in you need to take action to get there because absolutely everything you just shared there, Scott, I can’t believe you know, people say you know, what’s getting started like literally, like you say, just started, you know, 1% gains every day compounds over a large amount of time, and you get transform formative impact. So this bit of masterclass as I knew it was going to be Scott start to finish so if our listeners which I’m sure they will want to know more about your career journey, the BD breakthrough blueprint, legal, legal balance, or indeed legal iconoclast potential future events, where can they go to find out more, feel free to check out any websites and web links, we will also share them with this episode for you too. 

Scott Simmons 46:22 

Perfect, thank you. So firstly, there’s you know, legal balance website, legal, you’ll find out some bits and pieces of information, the legal balance Institute’s the you know, legal balance That’s where you’ll find the BD breakthrough blueprint digital course. Go and have a look at that. You’ll find Rob, you know, you’ll find me every single day on LinkedIn. That is the platform that I love to be on yet I dabble with other places, I need to get back onto platforms like Instagram, and tick tock, I don’t use them anywhere near enough. LinkedIn is my platform. I love being there. I love the conversations that are generated. So you’ll find me there, connect with me, follow me wherever it is. Reach out. I love a conversation. So just reach out to me. I’m always happy to I’m always happy to chat, please, you know, don’t don’t worry about it. Just just just come and say hi.  

Robert Hanna 47:19 

Absolutely. And that’s what the platform is. LinkedIn is all about creating conversations. So definitely reach out to Scott Scott. This has been an absolute pleasure hosting you. I love our collaborations we’ve done over the years and just wishing you lots of continued success with your career and future pursuits. But from now from all of us on the show, over and out 

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