Cold calling and direct mail are two of the least effective forms of legal marketing in my view. Advertising comes in a close third. Since law firms are in the personal services business, it is vital that lawyers get personal, and that means developing relationships. In my mind, cold calling doesn’t work for the very reason that there is no prior relationship. I wouldn’t give a thought to doing business with a stock broker who calls from California (although one was persistent for awhile), nor to someone I don’t know who sends me a direct marketing piece, because we have no relationship.

Having said that, I must admit that others would argue that the “right” cold calling or direct mail campaign can work. In fact, a question was asked recently on the LawMarketing Listserv (free trial available) about the pros and cons of a direct mailing campaign; and several responded that it can work. One can argue that a focused message, for example one that offers something for free like a seminar or webinar could open a dialogue, and lead to the development of relationship; and ultimately lead to work. It certainly is possible.

My point is that if there weren’t quicker and faster ways to develop business, like focusing on current clients and referral sources who know you (and where anywhere from 67% to 80% of new work comes from), I’d say go for it. It’s just going to take a lot longer. 

In my experience, concentrating on the easier, more effective business development techniques will produce results a lot sooner than cold calling or direct mail campaigns.