In my 30 years in this business, I have found that lawyers are pretty good at planning marketing activities. With guidance, even in the early days, some were enthusiastic about putting a plan together. Maybe it was the challenge, possibly, as time went on, more attorneys recognize the need for developing business, as they realize the marketplace becoming more competitive.
But over the years, I found that even with a simple, straightforward marketing plan, the biggest problem was the failure to implement the plan. Often the excuses range from not having enough time or being overloaded with legal work, or simply procrastination.
Sally Schmidt offered 9 tips relating to marketing organization and discipline last week on Attorney at Work. In a nutshell her tips include:
- Prepare a list of contacts and prioritize the frequency of contact. Set up Google alerts or case filing notifications to help with reasons for contacting them. (Personally I prefer a quarterly contact list using an Excel spreadsheet containing the names of former clients/potential referral sources, and how and when each will be contacted on a quarterly basis. Comments can be added to the spreadsheet to capture the results of each contact);
- Develop a marketing and business development plan for the year that includes specific, measurable goals and objectives to raise your profile, and persons you will contact, preferably in person, and for what purpose;
- Schedule your business development activity like any appointment using whatever technology tools are at your disposal, which should help you set aside a specific amount of time each week for implementing your plan;
- Break your activities into manageable segments (one time management tool I learned years ago was to limit the segments to 15-20 minutes) which will help keep from being overwhelmed or from procrastinating. The shorter periods will also remove guilt for not working on a file during that period; and
- Don’t overlook the resources available in your firm to help with your marketing and business development efforts.
When I begin a one-on-one coaching assignment with lawyers, I mention that my responsibilities include being their CNO (Chief Nagging Officer) during our calls and by email. Several clients have said they find that of great value in getting them to actually implement the plan. So, start nagging yourself today!