The Value of Systems in Lawyer Marketing

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Sexy Lawyer Marketing SystemsOne of the areas that can literally make or break a law firm is the systems designed to keep things running.  Too often lawyers complain to me about time they cannot afford to spend on tasks like updating a database or sending out pitch letters to develop speaking opportunities.

Investing time in developing good systems is critical to creating a culture of continuous improvement.

Why You Need Systems in Lawyer Marketing

Systems play a critical role in lawyer marketing and law firm management.  Today we are going to focus on the value of those systems in your day-to-day marketing activities.

As a lawyer you probably spend the majority of your time working on the practice of law.  Although you may believe this is the place where money is generated, that is only partially true.  Clients must first be attracted to your law firm and then you must establish relationships with them.

This means you must focus a portion of your time on the processes of relationship development and client attraction – lawyer marketing.

You must also spend a portion of your time on practice management.  This includes things like ordering supplies, administering payroll, handling accounts payable and accounts receivable.

All of these things take time.  Time you do not often have to spare.

Creating systems will help you get everything done and make sure things are done correctly.

Systems will also help you train other people to do these tasks in the future.

How to Set Up a System

  1. Identify the Ideal Outcome: The first step in building a system is identifying the ideal outcome for this particular situation.  This means giving some thought to what you want to achieve as an end result.When we talk about systems related to lawyer marketing, an end goal could be something as simple as attract 30 new prospective clients and add them to our database.
  2. Take Action:  The next step in the process is to take some form of action you believe will help your law firm advance aggressively toward that end goal. In the example of adding 30 people to the prospective client database, you would take the actions of:
    • Identifying a group to whom you could give a speech
    • Researching the membership of the group to make sure it contained your ideal clients
    • Investigating the leadership of the group to determine the who you should target to pitch your speech
    • Writing a pitch letter
    • Mailing the letter
    • Writing a script for a follow-up telephone call
    • Making the call
    • Scheduling periodic follow-up after leaving a message or speaking with the decision-maker
  3. Record the Action:  The next step is to record the actions you have taken.  This must be done in real time.  This means you should be writing down what you are doing as you are doing it.  This is important because it will help you capture some of the seemingly minor activities that may make all the difference.
  4. Observe the Result:  At this point you need to take stock of the results.  Record the success you achieved and record any events that were less than successful.
  5. Adjustment:  Make any adjustments necessary.  This means change the message or change the audience or change the delivery system.  But only change one thing at a time.  Changing multiple aspects of any system at one time will make it difficult to determine what works and what doesn’t.  If you change one thing at a time, you will be able to tweak your activity and determine what is contributing to your success and what is not.
  6. Observe the result: Once again you must observe the results.  This allows you to continuously make adjustments and improvements to your system.
  7. Teach Someone Else:  At this point you will have a workable system in place that will deliver results.  This is the time to teach someone else to run your system.  This takes the burden off of you.  In addition, the fresh eyes of a new player in the mix will help surface improvements you might not have seen because you were too close to the process.
  8. Supervise the Activity and the Results:  This is not the time to run away and hide.  Even though you have delegated the authority to complete this task to someone else, you have not abdicated responsibility. You must continue to watch over the activity until you are comfortable it can be performed to the level of proficiency expected.  Remember, we are striving for progress.  Perfection may or may not follow.
  9. Identify “Choke Points:” With every system there are certain critical points when things tend to break down.  Since you have experience in working within this particular system, you will be able to predict where these points occur.  These are called “choke points” and they are the first place you look when something goes wrong. You should also teach the person handling the tasks within the system to recognize and anticipate choke points and avoid the pitfalls inherent in them.
  10. Create a Dashboard with Results Compared to Goals:  As part of your follow-up, you should develop a dashboard with metrics that help you know if your law firm marketing is on track toward meeting its goals.  Things like: number of leads, conversion rate, return on investment and closing ratio should all be reviewed on a system by system basis. This means if you have separate systems for speaking, writing articles for trade journals, and networking, you should have metrics associated with each of them.

Advanced Systematization

If you want to be certain your business will continue to grow, you can teach your team the process I outlined above.  Once a few members of the team become masters at developing and recording systems, your law firm will grow rapidly without your day-to-day involvement.

You will always need to review the dashboard metrics you have in place and your knowledge of the choke points is critical to helping you diagnose any issues that may arise.  But creating a culture of continuous improvement based upon systematization is a big step toward making a great living and living a great life ®.

Here are some additional resources you will find valuable:

How to Do More and Feel Better

This is an interview I recorded with Best Selling Author David Allen.  He wrote the book on getting things done.  In this interview, David identifies several factors that will lead to an increase in productivity.  The time is right for you to listen to this valuable interview.

The Most Valuable Thing They Forgot To Teach You In Law School

This is a resource for people who fall into a rut and can’t seem to take action on their lawyer marketing. Read this article and watch this video.  They stress the importance of one specific aspect of lawyer marketing in particular.  Do this now.

How to Double Your Productivity in 30 Days

Need more time?  Read this brief article.  It contains a three step process to putting your productivity into overdrive.  You can’t afford to miss this one.