A few years into their careers, talented professionals feel pressure to develop business. For sole practitioners, that pressure comes from their bank accounts. In mid-sized firms, it may come from their managing partners. And in large firms, it’s likely to come from a marketing director.

Their reaction to this building pressure? They’ll ignore it for as long as they can. The pressure will grow over time, yet the majority will hang back. They’ll tell their marketing people that they hate networking. Or article writing. Or delivering seminars. The wily marketer will listen sympathetically, and then undercomplicate the whole process.

It’s really not that complex: Don’t try to make them do what they hate. Business development activities for professionals fall into two categories: relationship building and thought leadership. Generally, people who hate one don’t mind the other. If you’ve been with your firm even a short time, you can probably classify your professionals in one category or the other without breaking a sweat. Get them to commit to one side or the other — by reassuring them that you won’t ask them to cross the boundary. The goals are simple: Make everyone aware of the firm initiative, get a specific percentage to commit to activities they enjoy doing, make sure they meet their commitments, and share success stories.

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