Who's in your first XV?

It’s just 24 hours until the first live Bledisloe Cup decider in many years. And given that so many people on both sides of the Tasman have rugby on their minds, I thought now was a great time to think about selecting your practice’s own first XV.

Choosing a first XV is a great way to sharpen your focus on the key people who are likely to help your practice grow. They should be your first choice when deciding where to spend your discretionary time. They’re the ones who are vital to the development of your practice; the ones who will make sure your business plans come to fruition.

So who should you pick in your first XV?

1. Your 5 most important clients

These aren’t necessarily the clients you do the most work for, they’re the ones who add the most value to your practice. That can be reputational value (working for them makes you look good by association), referral value (they send other clients your way) or reference value (you know they’ll always put in a good word for you).

They can also be valuable because you enjoy the work you do for them, because you bill them the most or because you get the best return on the hours you put in.  

2. Your 5 most important referrers

These are the five referrers with whom you have the highest quality relationship. Often a good referrer is a low maintenance source of work because you have an trusted relationship. Devoting non-billable time to servicing these relationships is worth it because they just keep sending good, qualified referrals your way. By that, I mean their referrals aren’t just numerous - they’re also the right fit for the long-term viability of your practice.

As an aside, it’s also worth remembering that your relationship with referrers should be mutually beneficial. Always think of people you can send back to them to help them and watch your businesses grow together.

3. Your 5 most important prospects

These are the people you want to convert into clients over the next, say, 12 months. Don’t just think pie in the sky here and start listing businesses you’d really love to work for but have no practical means of getting into. Instead, work out your 5 most ‘accessible prospects’ - the ones you know or have an intro into and have a realistic chance of working for in the short term. Perhaps these are businesses you’ve already had a number of discussions already. Perhaps they’re a business into which a key player from another client has recently moved.

As always, make sure any prospects are a good fit with your practice both now and also for your future plans.

Now that you’ve selected your team…

Now that you’ve figured out who’s in your first XV it’s time to get to work on cultivating those relationships and growing your practice. And if you need a bit of inspiration on exactly to do that, why not read about How to start a Sales Program in Your Firm.