Legal Marketing in Client Organizations

One of the best ways to pursue face-to-face legal marketing is to become visible in a trade or business organization. Becoming a leader in a business group is one of the best ways to increase your word-of-mouth advertising.

But lawyers have told me, “I belong to the bar association, my alumni group, a biking club and my kids’ school board. But none of them generate any business, so obviously joining organizations doesn’t work for law firm marketing.”

One reason is that the lawyer hasn’t joined an organization of clients. When you are selecting an organization, involve your clients and ask them, “What meetings do you attend?” Let them choose one for you. When you find an organization that’s full of referral sources and clients, that’s the one stick with.

Another reason is that the lawyer has spread himself too thin. If you belong to five groups, this means you are just surfing all of them and not making any kind of an impression. You are not really getting to know people and not generating any new business.

By attending a meeting with a client, you won’t be a stranger. It’s a great way to generate referrals from colleagues.

To get business from an organization you need to commit to going to all the meetings. You’ve got to go to the holiday party and the installation of officers. You’ve got to be there regularly. As they say, 90% of life is showing up.

Applying “marketing aforethought,” your purpose is to be visible in the organization. When you attend a meeting, your goal is not to warm a chair and listen to the speaker. Your long-term goal should be to get on the board of directors or be the president. Your short-term goal should be to volunteer to take charge of an event, a program, or anything that’s going to put you in front of a crowd. If you have trouble with networking, read Networking Strategies for Introverted Lawyers.

Join a committee or a sub-group of the organization that is full of like-minded people. The organization may have a listserv. They may have a bulletin board. They may have an online social network. Whatever they’ve got, get active in it. This is why it’s essential to belong to a single organization, because you can’t be this active in five organizations. However, if you’re concentrating on one and really making your presence known, it will to generate new business.

Activity in an organization will produce opportunities to speak and write. Bear in mind that you’re working to be a known quantity in the organization. Start by volunteering to speak and make it your goal to become the program director. Get to know the editor of the organization newsletter. The editor is probably dying for material and would be delighted to hear you say “I can help you fill the hole.” They’re going to be grateful to you for a long time.

Once you’re on the board, become the president, or serve as a speaker or author in an organization, every member will know you. If you’ve chosen an organization of clients, your visibility will turn into new business.


1 Comment

  1. Avatar Susan G. says:

    Larry has accurately reflected many lawyers’ and students’ gross misunderstanding of the benefits and results of memberships.

    The link to new business or new employment will not run on a Ramen Noodles Instant Schedule, but on a Barbecue Low and Slow Track. Patience, persistence, imagination, realistic expectations, and contributions to the conversations and the organizations is reasonably likely to achieve a positive result (no guarantees, however). Showing up once or twice, smiling, and glad-handing may make a lawyer’s face hurt, which is a result, but not the desired one.

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