In Law Firm Marketing Be a Leader
When it comes to membership in groups or associations you really need to weigh your options carefully. You want to be certain you help fulfill the mission of the group but you also want to help your business in the process.
Making the most of your membership (from a law firm marketing perspective) means that you must take the lead. It means rising up from the rank and file members and helping to make the organization successful.
Assuming a high profile position does three things:
It elevates your status. Leadership in any group will automatically confer status upon you outside that group. People who view you as a leader will almost always view you as a leader in multiple settings.
It shows you are up to the challenge. Well not just THE challenge, any challenge. Leadership is difficult. Most people know this. Taking the lead in one group is a great example of how you can take the lead in almost any situation (in the eyes of others).
It develops trust. Once you are elevated to a leadership role in an organization people immediately feel as though they can trust you. Psychologically, people sense that you must have been elected or appointed because you are a trustworthy person.
There are many reasons (beyond law firm marketing) to give back to a group or organization by taking on a leadership role. You will benefit in many ways from volunteering your time and energy.
New York Lawyers Marketing Mecca
The neighborhood watering hole at the corner of East 63rd Street and First Avenue was a place where multi-million dollar deals were negotiated over burgers and beer. It wasn’t a fancy steakhouse. It was an old-fashioned pub where people went to kick back and “work things out”.
The same faces were always around the bar. In that way it was kind of like a TV show. You knew that Mikey was a securities guy and Joe used to be with the DA’s office. Tuesday Pete (he got his nickname because he always came in early on Tuesdays) was with a big firm and did transactional work just like the guys who came in for Monday Night Football. It was a dream for lawyers who got business from other lawyers. Marketing was an afterthought.
Relationships were important in this New York lawyer hangout. If you met someone there you knew they were good people. If you sent them some work, you knew your client would be taken care of. And you knew that If there was ever something you could get back from them, they would not hesitate.
Lots of legal work changed hands in that crowded little place that smelled like stale beer and rotting mahogany. And lawyers from that neighborhood knew they had to stop in there once a week to get the scoop on the legal news on the East Side.
But that was 20 years ago and lawyers marketing their services are now probably just as likely to meet on line or at a formal networking function. What hasn’t changed is the fact that relationships still matter. You need to know someone well before you refer business to them. They need to know that you are good people before they refer business to you.
You don’t need to be at a New York pub to develop those relationships. And marketing for lawyers doesn’t always have to be about advertising and giving speeches. Sometimes having a beer and getting to know someone can be even more valuable.
Law Firm Marketing: You are Probably Doing It Wrong
It is easy to screw up law firm marketing. They don’t teach it in law school. You probably learned it through trial and error. You probably do what you see other lawyers doing and that creates a perpetual cycle of pain.
Most law firm marketing is done incorrectly, if it is done at all.
You know your marketing is bad if:
Everything in your law firm marketing material is about you. This is a common marketing mistake. Great law firm marketing educates the client about solutions to his/her problem. Clients come to you for solutions. They don’t come to you to ask about your background.
At some point in the marketing process it may make sense to let the client know about your qualifications, experience and education. But in the beginning, it is best to focus on educating the client about the situation and provide them with solutions to their problems.
You only work on your law firm marketing when you need clients. Many lawyers come to me when they are in this position. They get in an alternating cycle of client overwhelm followed by a dearth of business. For three months are franticly busy and then for three months there is nothing. Then one month of client work and two months of nothing. They fall into the trap of ignoring the marketing while the client work is plentiful and that leads to double the amount of time without client work.
Law firm marketing is something that must take place consistently. In good times and in bad times you must be focused on building your client base.
The cornerstone of your law firm marketing is networking. Since there are restrictive rules governing the marketing process in each state, many attorneys believe the only true way to market their services is by networking. Networking is a very effective way for attorneys to attract clients but it should only be one in a series of client attraction tactics.
The right way to use networking in your law firm marketing plan is to set a goal for each networking event. Decide who you want to meet, how you can help them (giving is the best way to start any relationship) and how you will follow up.
You only have one way to find new clients. This is a common problem we find in semi-successful law firms. The law firm has developed one way to attract a great deal of clients. But when that particular marketing tactic loses its effectiveness the firm has no new clients.
Your law firm marketing must always include several (at least 10) different ways to attract and retain clients. This diversity affords you the luxury of testing new tactics because you are not financially devoted to one specifically.
You think law firm marketing is all about billboards, bus stop benches and television ads. Many attorneys believe that television and billboards are the only forms of media successful attorneys use. This is far from the truth. In fact, most successful attorneys will never use these media. They have dozens if not hundreds of other ways to attract clients.
If your law firm fits one of these five criteria, help is available. To change your view of law firm marketing and get more clients, give us a call today. 888.692.5531. We can help you develop some smart, ethical and effective law firm marketing tactics that will drive clients right to your front door.
Networking for Attorneys: How to Make Money with Your Personality
Small law firms are always looking for cost effective ways to attract prospective clients. Networking is one of the best ways to establish relationships that will lead to new business for your law firm.
Attorneys who regularly attend networking events are not only improving their chances of client acquisition, they are also developing powerful reputation within their community. This reputation will further enhance the likelihood that someone will think of their law firm when the need arises.
Surprisingly, many attorneys are intimidated – or at least a little “put off” by the prospect of entering a room full of strangers and making friends. In many cases, it reminds them of the first day of school or some other less-than-enjoyable experience. In other cases, they feel as though the entire experience will be unproductive and uncomfortable.
It doesn’t need to be that way. Below are six rules for effective networking. Attorneys who follow these simple rules tend to develop new business quickly with little more than a firm handshake and a winning personality.
The Follow-Up Rule
Every meeting or encounter should be followed by three other interactions. The more frequently you interact with someone, the more they begin to trust you. If you want people to give you business, you must begin with a foundation of trust. This foundation can be developed with three brief interactions during a short period of time.
When you are introduced to someone you should always try to get their business card. After the event has ended you should immediately send them an email letting them know that it was nice it was nice meeting them. That’s the first interaction.
About a week later, you should find a reason to call them. The reason can be as simple as asking them a question or inviting them to have coffee. The key is to interact with them again, soon.
The third contact is best handled by sending them a handwritten note. Include another copy of your business card in the note – just in case.
This three step follow-up sequence is simple yet powerfully effective. If you follow this sequence with everyone you meet at a networking event you will have developed a group of people that not only knows who you are and what you do, but they will also have started to develop a trusting relationship with you.
The Vendor Rule
People who sell you things should be excellent sources of business. They all have friends and relatives who may need your services. You should immediately make a list of all of the vendors that sell to your law firm. This list should include everyone from the copier sales rep to the electrician who changes the light bulbs.
After you have made your list, begin calling them one by one. Set up informal meetings with them. Again, having coffee is the perfect way to break the ice. In these meetings, let them know about your firm’s areas of expertise. After the meeting is over, apply the follow-up rule as we described above.
If these people have any sense at all, and they like the business they receive from you, they will send you a few referrals.
The Place-to-Be Rule
Every town or neighborhood has a “place to be”. In some communities it is the local recreation center where friends and neighbors take their kids to sign up for sports teams. In other communities, the local church, synagogue or house of worship is a gathering place for the community. You may be a part of several different community organizations. Each one of these may have a “place to be”.
Your goal is to become an active member of at least one of the “places to be” within your community. Volunteer to serve on a committee or accept a position on the board of directors. This involvement will raise your profile and people will interact with you more frequently in a less formal setting. This will help build up in your interpersonal relationships. Again, it is all about developing trust.
The Strategic Location Rule
Have you ever gone to a social event where the food was served “butler style? This means that the food was passed around by servers on small trays. At events of this nature it is often difficult to eat enough to satisfy your appetite because some of the food never reaches you. People between the kitchen and your location will often eat everything before the server with the food tray even reaches you.
At these events it is advisable to stand in a “strategic location” in other words – where the food enters the room. This position allows you to select which hors d’oeuvres you would like to sample and which ones you’d like to let pass you by.
The same strategy applies to gatherings of people. It is wise to strategically position yourself so that everyone must walk by you at some point during the event. Good locations include: close to the front door, near an exit, close to the coat room, near the food or bar and of course, close to the rest room.
The idea is to approach people you’d like to speak with in a matter-of-fact way as they enter the space you have strategically staked out. (The rest room strategy is great but remember to approach people on the way out. People entering a rest room generally have more important things on their mind than conversation).
The Hobbyist Rule
Most people have some type of hobby. If you have one, make sure that everyone who belongs to that same group knows who you are and what you do for a living. If you attend meetings or conventions for your hobby be sure to pass out your business cards and use the follow-up system we have outlined.
Use your common interest in the hobby to get the conversation started and then find a way to casually segue into a work discussion. I always recommend that you bring up work first by asking the other person what they do for a living. This allows them to share their information with you and it almost always leads to the reciprocal question of your occupation.
Keep in mind that networking is much more effective when you adapt it to your own personal style. Review these rules and make modifications that will help you fit them in to your regular routine. Ultimately, they will help you build up your client roster without adding a great detail of expense.
Here are some additional articles you need to check out right now:
Worried you are not following up effectively? Not sure what to say in that meeting? Watch this video. It will help you follow up like a pro.
The biggest challenge most attorneys face when networking is knowing how to get a conversation going. This article will help you do just that.
This is your step-by-step guide to networking for lawyers. Read it today and put it into practice.