In today’s society, there is a growing trend among Gen Yers, and it is affecting major buying decisions everywhere. It essentially boils down to this: you have to be cool in order for me to spend my money with you.
Here are 3 ways to increase your law practice’s “cool factor.” Without at least exploring some of these options and incorporating the ideas into your business, you will risk losing out on a large chunk of business as the Gen Y buying power increases.
First, Why the “Cool Factor” Matters
Some of you reading this might be thinking to yourself, “I don’t want to look cool – I have a professional, legal business to run” and you are right, sort of. Being cool doesn’t mean that you need to go against the grain and turn your law practice into something that resembles Google’s headquarters but it does mean doing things a little differently than you are used to.
(Side note: if you do turn your office into a Google replica, you will be uber awesome but also potentially broke!)
Being cool means providing your clients and potential clients more reasons to want to do business with you, aside from the obvious ones. What do you do in your law practice that people will talk about? How are you making a difference in the community you live in? How can people connect with you in the places that they are presently hanging out?
If you are struggling to come up with answers to those questions, you need to infuse a little cool. Nobody wants to do business with a Boring Betty. Instead, they want to do business with Engaging Eric or Socially Conscious Sam. Cheesy but true.
#1 Way to Increase Your Law Practice’s “Cool Factor”: Give Back
The #1 way to increase your law practice’s “cool factor” is to find an organization that you can donate funds to or get involved with so that your business is giving back to the community or to the world in some way. For example, my outsourcing firm, BSETC, gives a percentage of our revenue to Kiva.org. Kiva.org is an amazing organization that provides a service that allows its users to give micro-loans to business owners and entrepreneurs in third world countries.
Whenever we invest in a micro-loan at Kiva.org, we do so in honor of the client that just hired us. We send the client a quick message, thanking them for the business and we link them to the business owner that they just helped out by way of hiring us. With a mere $25, we are able to change someone’s life in another part of the world and make our client feel good about their transaction.
Kiva.org is just one of the many organizations you can get behind. For us, it was an obvious choice since we support and assist entrepreneurs and that is what Kiva.org does, to0. You just need to find something that is in alignment with you, your business or your entire firm and start making a difference.
#2 Way to Increase Your Law Practice’s “Cool Factor” : Go Social
You have probably heard it again and again and again. Getting your company on social media and creating an active, engaging presence is a fantastic way to tap into your potential customer base. More importantly, it is where your future clients are hanging out right now.
I actually met my lawyers on Twitter. The first time, I was looking for a lawyer to review a video production contract that I had so I went to Twitter and asked my followers for a referral. Doing so resulted in me finding Gregory Pang (@cyclaw). The second time, I needed a notary public to notarize a document for me so again, I went to Twitter and found Leslie J. Kirk (@anottawalawyer). Now, Greg handles my business law matters and Leslie just helped me buy my first house.
As a Gen Yer myself, I look to social media for 100% of my business referrals. I don’t have the time to look up people on the web and suss out whether or not they are a good fit so I just ask my community. If you and your law practice are not a part of that conversation and can be referred to easily, you may lose out on potential business.
Now, you might be thinking, “I don’t need to be a part of the conversation to get referrals.” True. However, if I want to easily engage your services, I may not want to pop out of Twitter to send an e-mail or pick up the phone and call you. I want to get answers quickly and I want to find out if you can help me now. Gen Yers are antsy folk.
You do not need to spend hours on social media to have an active presense. Simply by having the accounts in place and by Tweeting / Facebooking updates from time to time, you will at least create the option for people to connect with you in that way.
#3 Way to Increase Your Law Practice’s “Cool Factor”: Be Different
What if you decided not to be like every other legal practice out there? What if you were constantly pushing the boundaries and changing people’s perception of lawyers and legal professionals? My guess is that your business would change drastically. My guess is that you’d attract in more business. My guess is that you’d have a more authentic feeling business (and probably more fun too!).
I remember when I first launched my own business. I setup an office, bought office supplies, priced out fax machines, etc. I did all of the things that, in my mind, I thought I needed to do to get my business going. Fast forward seven years and, if you could peek into my office right now, you would see a very different setup. We are 99.9% paperless. We use virtual fax machines, virtual voice mail services and we store data “in the cloud.” The point is: we didn’t need the typical office to be successful. In fact, we needed the opposite to help sell our concept of working virtually.
Whether you decide to change how you bill your clients or you host open house days where you invite people into your law firm for an engaging discussion or presentation, think about how you will be changing your potential client’s experience. Whatever you do, strive to be different than your competition. Strive to be memorable.
What Other Ways Can Businesses Be Cool?
I would love to hear from you in the comments! What other things have you seen businesses do that have made doing business with them easier, more fun and left a lasting impression on you?