Connecting with clients can sometimes be a process, but the keys to successfully doing so are to be persistent, passionate and personal. In a conversation with Invest:, Amy Nielson, senior regional business development manager for Baker McKenzie, touched upon building these ideals into the business development process. She also discussed the importance of the firm’s ‘Culture of Friendship’ as it relates to the overall success of their work.
What initiative that you have been a part of are you most proud of and why?
I was really proud to be a part of a client targeting initiative that we launched during the pandemic. The initiative brought together a number of different groups including our business development and communications team, our finance team, and cross-practice teams of lawyers to think creatively and proactively about how we could add value and grow key client relationships during this challenging year. As part of this initiative, we also focused a lot of time and energy into listening to our clients, finding time to have deep conversations with them about their pain points and well as goals and objectives. This was a year of challenge and opportunity for our firm as well as our clients and it was rewarding to feel like we were in it together.
How should businesses, and specifically legal professionals, be more engaged in their own business development to better connect with clients?
Be persistent, be passionate, and get personal! This is my mantra and it goes for the business development I do at Baker McKenzie, and the business development I encourage the lawyers to do with their clients and prospects. Persistence includes making sure you devote time every day to business development, take a few minutes to really think about a client and what might be valuable for them to hear, see, and read. Being passionate is about loving what you do, understanding that you add real value and knowing that key initiatives are moving forward because of your efforts. And, be personal, get to know your clients, get to know your lawyers, when it comes down to it, clients want to work with someone they like, someone they trust and someone who understands them. Don’t be afraid to get to know people on a personal level. I think one of the silver linings of the pandemic has been the ability to see people in their personal element, catching glimpses of their kids or animals, sharing pieces of their lives they would not typically share. It’s made me feel a lot closer to colleagues and clients.
What is the key to keeping business development and marketing strategies competitive?
Things change with lightning speed these days, but I think the thing that sets some firms apart is their ability to be forward-thinking and unique in their approach. I’m so proud to work for a firm that is constantly coming up with fresh ideas and initiatives and thrilled to see how quickly the lawyers jump on board. We’re working on some really interesting projects right now around AI and digital transformation that are going to be game-changers for our clients.
What is the biggest challenge you face in accomplishing your day to day?
Time and balance, and I’m sure I’m not alone here. Summer is in full swing and I’m focused on the daily tasks of making sure my kids get dropped-off and picked-up from camp while simultaneously keeping work projects on track and trying to stay in a solution-oriented creative mindset. It’s very easy when things get challenging to be reactive and have a check-the-box attitude, but that’s when things get boring and you’re no longer adding value. When I start feeling that way, I go outside and take a walk. It’s amazing how refreshed and inspired you can feel after 30 minutes of walking around (a little coffee doesn’t hurt either)!
What do you believe has made you successful as the Senior Regional Business Development Manager for Baker McKenzie?
I work with the most amazing and supportive team and I think that is what has made me successful and what has made our team and our firm successful. Baker McKenzie talks regularly about our ‘Culture of Friendship’ and it’s not just a catchphrase, it is a part of everything we do. We value new ideas, we seek input, we work well together and support each other and we care about each other. I think that culture translates into the amazing work that we do for our clients.
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