Lawyers, when faced with the prospect of marketing their practices, often look for places to cut a check—an ad agency, marketing consultant, TV station, online directory du jour . . . you name it. But the problem is that by taking a hands-off approach they are by necessity entrusting their business profitability on a third-party who is NOT a lawyer.
This, in turn, leads lawyers to become victims of marketers who do not share the same goals. After all, the lawyer’s marketing goal is (or should be) to make as much money from excellent clients as possible. The marketer’s job, however, is often to get the commission and sell as much stuff to the lawyer as possible before the lawyer realizes they’ve been swindled.
Do not outsource your marketing to people who get paid regardless of your results.
So what are my top ways to increase your marketing effectiveness without opening your wallet to the vultures?
- Know Your Market: Seems silly, right? I mean, OF COURSE you know your market—people with bill problems, car problems, credit reporting issues, mortgage problems, whatever. But I’m talking about the nitty-gritty—who exactly are your prospects? What does your ideal prospect look like, sound like, how old is he (or she), married, kids, etc.? By knowing this, you can speak directly to your ideal prospect in a way that makes sense to hi (I’ll say “him” from now on so it doesn’t get cumbersome).
- Provide Value: On order to get your prospect interested in speaking with you, it’s important to provide him with something that he wants. Information presented in a clear, concise manner that indicates how you can help.
- Listen: Lawyers have a tendency to suffer from verbal diarrhea – we talk too much. We tell the client what we want to tell them, an expect that this matches up with the client’s wants. When we listen, we learn more.
- Address The Want: People don’t buy what they need, they buy what they want. If we bought what we needed and not what we wanted, would any of us have flat-screen TVs? Multiple video game consoles? A Porsche? Probably not.
- Differentiate Yourself: There are hundreds, if not thousands, of lawyers out there who do exactly the same thing as you. How are you different? What do YOU do that nobody else in your market does? Show those true colors to break free from the pack.
- Speak From The Heart: Your values shape your practice. By allowing that to happen, by welcoming yourself into the world of the “stuffy lawyer,” you humanize yourself and give the prospect a real reason to trust what you say and recommend.
- Develop A System: Every successful marketer has a system. A recipe, if you will, for bringing in those prospects most likely to hire you. Once you know your prospect, you’ll know where he is—and in doing so, will be able to be there as well.
- Stop Looking At Lawyers: We’re all under ethical constraints when it comes to marketing our practices, but so are other marketers—it’s called the FTC, and people take it pretty seriously. Don’t lie, don’t mislead, don’t be a bad dog and you won’t get rapped on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper. But if you look at other successful marketers who promote their products and services, you’ll get a good idea of what works – and what doesn’t.
- Realize It Isn’t A Sprint: Marketing is the core of what you are. Get used to it. You can be the best lawyer in the world, but without clients it’s merely an academic exercise. Nothing wrong with academia, but it doesn’t pay the bills.
- Fish Where The Fishes Feast: Your prospects are all in the same place—the same church, temple, school, workplace, supermarket, what have you. How do I know this? Because when you’re targeting properly, you are profiling people with similar wants, needs, and habits. Once you know that, you know where they are. And that is exactly where you need to be.