Clients hire lawyers they know and trust… So how could they possibly know you or trust you if you seem to be speaking to the masses? The other day I was speaking to a networking group of lawyers and I asked… "Who is your market?" Here are some of the answers. "Everyone who owns a business." "Anyone who is an entertainer in the US, Europe, South America or Caribbean." "Anyone in a hospital." I bet you think I am making these up! Nope! The really frightening thing is that these answers aren’t uncommon (ok, maybe the hospital one is uncommon.)
Most lawyers that I talk to have a hard time entertaining the thought of narrowing their focus… even for business development purposes. But I ask you… How could you possibly address every entertainer or everyone who owns a business, much less anyone in a hospital? You can’t. You can’t demonstrate your points of differentiation with the confidence of knowing what they value. Because they couldn’t possibly ALL value the same things.
When your market is too broad, your message becomes meaningless to everyone! If you are trying to build credibility and develop business you MUST speak directly to your intended audience in their language. What happens if you don’t? They opt out! If I say "your company" instead of "your firm" you would know that I don’t understand the legal profession, wouldn’t you?
1. Pick a niche... once you have conquered that one you can move on to another.
2. Speak their language… make sure they know you know their business.
3. Do it over and over again… repetition is what seals the message into the memories of your audience.
Now… this does not mean that if you get an opportunity to do work outside of your niche that you should turn it down! Absolutely not! Do the work that comes your way. But DEVELOP the business you want and enjoy!
Black Pearl: A word to the wise. Look at your list of practice areas; does it look like you could possibly be proficient in ALL of them? If not consolidate or use a broader term to describe the area. You don’t want to look like "a jack of all trades and a master of none."