Law Firm Marketing Plan Starts With Client Selection
Most attorneys do not link their law firm to their lifestyle so linking their law firm marketing to their overall life design is not even in the realm of possibility.
Before I start sounding like someone you would see on Oprah, let me explain what I am getting at:
Your work should enable you to live the kind of life you want. For example: If you want to spend every Friday with your kids, then you should come up with a plan to be able to take Friday’s off. If you only want to work on certain types of matters you should come up with a plan to source only the kinds of clients who have the type of work you are seeking.
If this sounds a bit far-fetched to you, you are too close to the situation to be objective.
Take a deep breath and think about why you started your own practice (or why you assumed your current role) in the first place.
You work to live you do not live to work.
Here is how law firm marketing can help you achieve your goal of developing a practice that will fulfill your lifestyle needs:
Law firm marketing is a broad term for the systems you put in place to attract and retain clients. As with any system, if you put garbage in, you get garbage out. If you put nothing in, you get nothing out.
The first step in developing a law firm marketing system that will help enable you to build a fulfilling law practice is to decide who your ideal client is.
Once you have targeted the ideal client, you can then lay out the necessary steps to attract and retain the ideal client.
And herein lies the problem.
Most attorneys never get beyond this step. Most lawyers cannot decide who their ideal client is, or should be.
Take a few minutes right now and think about the clients you have worked with over the last few years. Who were ideal? What qualities did they possess? What type of matters did they bring you? What made those matters better than others you have worked on?
Answering these questions is step one in reshaping your law firm. You need to know who to target before you develop a law firm marketing plan to attract them.
5 Things Legal Marketing Can Do For You
When I first started working with attorneys I was like a preacher in a traveling tent show. I was out to convince everyone who would listen that legal marketing was the answer to their problems. I wanted them to know that legal marketing would help them get better clients, take more time off, work less and make more money.
Finally, I realized it was easier for me to work with the lawyers who ALREADY understood these things. Converting people to my way of thinking was not just difficult; with some people it was impossible.
Every so often I come across a really good attorney who has the potential to change the law for the better. The trouble is, nobody knows about him because he doesn’t believe in (understand) legal marketing. So I occasionally write an article like this, just for that guy. I’m hoping maybe he will stumble upon it and have a conversion experience.
Here are five things legal marketing can do for you:
Legal marketing can bring you more challenging cases that will offer you the opportunity to make new law. If you got into the law because you love it and you want to protect it and help it keep up with the times, you need to work on challenging cases. If nobody knows who you are you will never get those cases. Marketing yourself and your law firm in an ethical way can get the word out about your skills.
Legal marketing can help you get home at night to spend more time with your family. Even if you don’t have a family you will benefit from more free time. Here’s how this works: People read what you write or they see you speak or they hear you being interviewed and they believe you are an expert. That expertise has value. This means you can charge more when they come to you with a problem. Charging more means you have to take on fewer cases. Taking on fewer cases means more free time.
Legal marketing can help you make more money. Everybody needs money. It helps you buy groceries and transportation and clothing and a roof over your head. Legal marketing and money go hand-in-hand.
Legal marketing can bring you opportunity you never dreamed possible. If you are perceived as an expert in a specific niche (one of the key techniques in my legal marketing system) people will come to you for guidance in other areas. This could offer you opportunity to invest in a business or help with a great nonprofit project. With awareness comes opportunity.
Legal marketing provides the community with access to a better lawyer – you. There is probably someone out there right now looking for a lawyer with your credentials. He is a potential client. He wants to work with you but he doesn’t even know you exist. So he will probably get a lawyer with lesser skills. Just because he doesn’t know about you. That’s too bad.
I don’t do conversions anymore but maybe, just maybe you will convert yourself. The world deserves to know about you and you deserve better clients, more money and more free time.
How Attorneys Can Make a Great Living and Live a Great Life
There are two kinds of law firms in existence today:
FREE Law Firms and FAKE Law Firms
Your law practice or your professional service firm is either FREE or it’s FAKE.
A FREE Firm is:
Fun – You enjoy what you are doing and who you work with.
Rewarding – Your work helps fulfill your personal mission.
Easy – Your work comes naturally to you.
Engaging – Your firm magnetically attracts others.
You know your law firm is FAKE if it is:
Frustrating – You can’t seem to break through to the next level.
Annoying – Going to work bothers you.
Killer – Your business is literally taking years off of your life.
Exhausting - You’re tired all the time and you don’t know why.
My mission is to help FAKE firms become FREE firms.
If you feel like you have been stuck in a rut in your law practice…
If you have not eaten dinner with your family in months…
If you can’t believe that you have to see that difficult client AGAIN…
If you are just flat out tired of busting your butt today to pay yesterday’s bills…
Listening to this interview may be the most valuable time you have ever spent.
Call Kary Cheda today to request your FREE copy of this interview. 888.692.5531
The Lawyers Who Don’t Need Marketing and Business Strategy
If you work in a law firm – particularly a big law firm – you may not need to know how to originate new business. Someone may feed you business. And they may do so for years and years.
You will probably make a respectable salary and you will get to do meaningful work, some of which you’ll enjoy.
If you work for yourself, own your own law firm, you may not need to do much in the way of marketing. You may be able to go directly from a public position (Prosecutor’s Office or Public Defender’s Office) into a practice where your reputation delivers clients to your doorstep on a steady, regular basis.
Both of these options are true career paths that thousands of lawyers have worn over the years. Many of the lawyers that follow these paths make a good living.
There is one challenge with these two paths: They leave an awful lot to chance.
With the big firm path, you never have the opportunity to control your own destiny. You constantly wait for someone to deliver work to your office, you say thank you, and you kill yourself for no glory.
On the second path, you have every opportunity in the world at your feet. You can take whatever cases you’d like. You can charge whatever you’d like and you can work whenever you’d like …
…if you know how to attract and retain clients.
Note: Being a good lawyer is not a strategy. Being a good lawyer is a prerequisite for any attorney who owns his/her own firm. If you stink as a lawyer, your lousy reputation will overwhelm any marketing efforts you can possibly employ.
Being a good lawyer and promoting yourself minimally (putting up a website and attending a few local events) will help you expand your reputation and get you to a comfortable place financially.
If you want to make more money, mid six figures to seven figures and beyond, you will need to do some marketing and set a sound business strategy.
That means creating a message and targeting a specific market with that message. It’s not necessarily advertising…it is marketing and business strategy.
The bottom line: If you want to top out at $150,000 - $300,000 per year, that’s great. Continue to work for someone else or start your solo shop and rely solely on good fortune and your reputation.
Risky but possible.
If you want to make $500,000 and beyond (I have several clients who make multiple millions of dollars per year in law firms they own, with less than 10 employees) you need a sound strategy and you need marketing.
Need help with this? Think I’m wrong? Give me a call.
Dave Lorenzo 888.692.5531
How Will You Know When You Are Successful?
We spend a great deal of time on this website discussing strategy.
We look at the strategy that law firms use to help make them successful. We look at the strategy that successful attorneys employ in order to build a solid client base. And we talk about the successful strategy that transforms a lawyer into a Rainmaker.
One thing we have not addressed, one thing that many attorneys don’t address, is the actual definition of success.
Success is something that only you can define.
For most people, money is a big part of the success equation. Money may not be able to buy happiness but it can provide you with more options.
Here is an exercise that I do with my clients when we first begin working together. It helps them clarify their vision of success.
This exercise may seem very simple but from simplicity often comes clarity.
You will need about 45 minutes in a quiet place with a few sheets of paper in order to complete this exercise.
When you are ready, sit down and make a list of things that answer this question:
I know I am successful when…
This list can include anything but it the answers must be phrased in the active tense. For example:
- I know I am successful when I attend all of my son’s baseball games.
- I know when I am successful when I agree to work with a client because I want to and not because I have to.
- I know I am successful when I leave work at 4PM every Friday afternoon.
Once you have made the list and you are happy with it there is a second step. That step is to put a plan together to make each one of those success measurements a reality.