Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.” ― G.K. Chesterton
Are you familiar with the concept of “door law”? If not, it’s the oldest trap in the lawyer book and a myth that’s run many freshly minted attorneys into the ground before they even got started. Practicing “door law” means leaving your door open to any client who wants to walk through it. Door law lawyers practice family law one day, personal injury the next, and real estate law the day after that. Instead of specializing, they take every call, attempting to be everything to everyone in a desperate bid for steady cash flow.
I know that description makes door law sound awful — and that’s because I truly believe it is. However, I also know it’s a strategy many lawyers have used at some point in their careers in order to get by. I completely understand why people choose door law. If you’re a solo practitioner or just starting your firm, the simple truth is you need money, and someone has probably told you that door law is the key to earning it. It’s a common belief that the best way to maximize profits is to cast the net of potential clients as wide as possible. But in my experience, the opposite is true: The best way to maximize your profitability is to choose a niche.
Discarding the majority of your practice areas might seem counterintuitive, but in my years of working with lawyers, I’ve seen proof it’s the most effective strategy for growth. When you niche down, these five things will happen to boost your revenue:
YOUR CREDIBILITY WILL GO UP
People want to work with specialists, and if you specialize, your experience will heighten your reputation and credibility in your field. Think of it this way: Who would you rather have fix your roof? A dedicated roof repairman who spends 40 hours a week with shingles or an all-around handyman who would be just as happy unclogging your sink? Odds are you’d choose the roof repairman because you’d trust them to do the job right.
YOU’LL HAVE A BASIS TO RAISE YOUR RATES
This goes hand in hand with point No. 1. If you’re a specialist, you’ll command higher rates because you’ll be seen as more experienced, unique, and trustworthy. Scrap the roof repair analogy and ask yourself, “If I needed brain surgery, how much more money would I pay to have a brain surgeon do it instead of a general practitioner?” I’ll bet the answer was “a heck of a lot.”
YOU’LL HAVE LESS COMPETITION
If you try to practice every area of law, you’ll be competing with every other lawyer in your city. However, if you niche down, you’ll cut that competition. Depending on where you practice and how wisely you choose your specialty, you could even eliminate competition altogether by becoming the only specialist in your field.
YOUR MARKETING WILL GET EASIER
When you serve everyone, “everyone” becomes your target demographic. This makes advertising difficult as you can’t tailor your campaigns to the needs, fears, and desires of a particular group, or use the resources provided by other specialists to find them (as discussed in last month’s newsletter). Choose a niche, and your marketing becomes much more efficient. You’ll know exactly whom to target and won’t waste money catering to people who aren’t interested in your services.
YOU’LL EARN MORE REFERRALS
If you met someone who loved cooking and talked your ear off about it, odds are you’d be more likely to think of them when the word “cooking” came up in conversation than you’d be to think about someone who only mentioned the hobby. The same thing works for law. Specialists are more memorable and more likely to pop into the minds of their past clients when their niche comes up. Because of that, if you specialize, odds are your referrals will increase.
If you’re struggling to choose your niche or have just niched down and aren’t sure how to proceed, my team and I can help — marketing for lawyers is our specialty. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.