Are you having marketing meetings? Talk is cheap. Buy-in and action is key. Thinking and planning is the easy part for lawyers. Implementation is not. Too often it is where the plan falls apart. Remember that discussions, meetings, and planning are only the start. The key is taking ACTION. The big question… What actions should be taken? Here are our Top Six Marketing Tips:
No. 6 – Be Active in Organization(s)
Over the years we have heard lawyers say that they belong to several organizations, but that it’s a waste of time and doesn’t lead to additional business. However, when examined further, one finds that although they are “joiners,” they are not “doers.” Being active in organizations requires just that – activity.
If you want this form of marketing to help you develop business you must:
• Be more than a joiner –make a meaningful contribution
• Seek leadership position – volunteer often
• Join business or trade groups that your clients and prospects belong to
• Believe in the organization’s mission so you will remain interested and active
There are other marketing activities that may produce quicker results, but being active and involved in organizations that your clients and prospective clients belong to can produce meaningful results in getting new clients.
No. 5 – Write Articles of Interest
While authoring articles isn’t a new technique, writing to demonstrate your expertise is still an effective marketing tool, if it is:
• Topical and interesting (to your target audience)
• Easy to read (not legalese, unless you’re marketing to other lawyers)
• Not too lengthy (short, succinct articles are better)
• Published in a publication that your audience reads (whether general public or business/trade specific)
Obviously, the purpose is to show that you know your topic and, accordingly, are perceived as having the expertise to assist the reader with those legal issues.
No.4 –Talk it Up
Speaking engagements are some of the best marketing activities. Like writing articles, speaking adds the additional advantage of putting you in the same room with potential clients where you can demonstrate your knowledge and expertise AND develop an emotional bond with your audience. These opportunities have led to immediate work when a potential client in the audience has an immediate problem relating to the same issues raised in the speech. Moreover, if the seminar or speech is sponsored by a respected organization, you receive instant credibility.
No. 3 – Communicate Often
James C. Turner, executive director of HALT, a national legal reform advocacy group in Washington, DC points out: One of the most frequent complaints his organization gets is that…
the basic communication between lawyers and clients is terrible.”
He cites one case where a client tried 13 times in a two-week period to contact the attorney. That’s the type of situation that leads to mistrust and, ultimately, to a consumer fraud complaint.
Poor communication between attorney and client is also the most common reason clients file complaints with state bars. A failure of communication is not only unwise, it’s just dumb marketing. Even if the client may not need your services again, the client is likely to tell a number of people, who could be potential clients, about their unhappiness.
There are scores of opportunities (in addition to keeping the client informed about their matter) to contact clients, referral sources, and even prospects; and the more contacts made the better. The best way to communicate would be with phone calls, handwritten notes, next letters, emails, and lastly texts. Obviously, they are in reverse order of ease of accomplishing, but think about what impresses you the most. The important thing, however, is constant communication.
No. 2 – Entertain Your Client
Okay, we can hear all the “duhs” from here. If it is so obvious, why don’t more lawyers do it? Clients are people too. In fact, entertainment is still one of the most effective one-on-one marketing techniques. It not only allows quality time with a client, prospect, or referral source, but also allows one to enhance a relationship on a highly personal level.
Clients want to be loved and appreciated. So, building on the emotional bond between lawyer and client is very important for long-term relationships, and for what is even more effective from a business development viewpoint – a lasting friendship.
No. 1 – Visit Your Client
The single most effective marketing technique, which leads to immediate business in the vast majority of cases, is to visit your client at their place of business.
This visit is not for the purpose of discussing a current matter you may be working on (unless client wants to, of course). The client should know that they are not being billed for the visit.
Your purpose is multifaceted: relationship building, listening, learning, meeting others, and uncovering issues of concern. The main point is to get into the client’s workspace where their day-to-day problems are found, and for which you may be able to assist them.
Such visits will not only enhance your relationship, but it will almost certainly lead to IMMEDIATE work. This has been validated many times over the years. Many of the lawyers we have worked with confirm that such visits result in immediate new business. So, starting today schedule a client visit or two. You will fast become a believer.
In 2018 get into action! These six tips are not complicated or overly time consuming. Start with two, then add one or two a month. We promise you that you will be pleased with the results. We have seen it over and over again… they work!