This past Tuesday, the Successful Firm Project welcomed Subject Matter Coach, Deb Knupp, Managing Partner at GrowthPlay, as she lead the discussion on how successful firms approach their business development strategy.

What We Learned from Our Coach:

Engage a new mindset that upends unsavory self-interested sales approaches.

The biggest challenge with selling is that it can feel self-serving. When you replace the acts of self interest with the mindset of acts of service, we begin to bring in the constructs of authenticity and generosity. Sales is an act of service when:

  • You genuinely desire to build authentic relationships
  • You suspend self-interest and solve the problems that should be solved
  • You create discipline and consistency in your relationship building efforts

Activate new methods for authentic relationship building that lead to predictable, profitable revenue. 

There are two things that are happening in the mindset of our buys; the emotional and the rational. Buyers buy emotionally and justify rationally.

The DNA of a BD Pursuit:

  • Target and Message Value: Meet a contact within your target market and find the "IN" that establishes affinity or interest in another conversation and building an ongoing relationship.
  • Build Relationship: Build and nurture the relationship with authenticity and provide solutions to problems that should be solved.
  • Identify a Transition: Discover or create a triggering event that aids in identifying a legitimate business need through a convert, curiosity, confidence or connection.
  • Engage in Sales Conversations: Execute a sales process that may include introductions, content, pitches, solution planning and proposals
  • Close the Deal: Close business when you satisfy the Six Qualifiers; 1. Problem 2. Solution 3. Urgency 4. Access 5. Expectations 6. Budget
  • Activate the Client Experience: Develop strategic client management protocols and cultivate a predictable client experience.

Capture new metrics for sustainable sales success.

Six Pillars of Client Experience

  1. Develop and maintain authentic relationships with clients
  2. Understand and provide counsel in the context of the client's business
  3. Communicate in ways that manage expectations and build trust and loyalty
  4. Demonstrate appreciation for clients and their business
  5. Initiate high impact client intake/kick-off meetings and regularly seek client feedback
  6. Demonstrate care and relationship investment

When you're looking for authentic reasons to keep pursuing, think of The Three INs: Invites, Intros and Insights.

What our attendees shared:

  • Relationship Building: we like to buy from people we enjoy working with.
  • Building a foundation: when onboarding new attorneys and legal professionals, stress the importance of strong relationships and building a network.
  • Add value first and don't expect anything in return.


You can learn more about Deb Knupp and her work with GrowthPlay here. 

deb knupp

Deb Knupp

Managing Director, GrowthPlay

Deb Knupp is a Managing Director for GrowthPlay – a consulting firm that inspires clients to achieve their growth potential through actionable research-backed strategies accelerate revenue, improve client loyalty and motivate talent around a shared vision of success. Prior to GrowthPlay, Deb founded Akina, in 2001 that was acquired by GrowthPlay in 2014. With over 350 law firm clients and serving more than 50% of the AmLaw 200, Deb and her team at GrowthPlay have spent the last 20 years helping firms become THE place where the most profitable clients want to buy, where the most fantastic people want to work and where the most inspired leaders want to serve a bigger purpose in their communities. Before Akina, Deb was a front-line sales and HR executive working for Frito-Lay, Pearle Vision and algroup – Lawson Mardon Packaging. On a personal note, Deb graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Speech/Organizational Communication. She is a passionate wife and mom to three daughters, a community cultivator and crusader for the underserved, and has a zealous commitment to help make the world better by helping others become the best version of themselves.