So, are you satisfied with your law practice? Do you make the kind of money you want? Are you able to pick and choose the clients and cases you handle? Are you in control of your legal career? Is your career full of meaning, purpose and passion? If you did not answer yes to the above questions, let me assure you that there’s a lot more you can do to create a highly profitable and enjoyable legal career to start living the life you know is possible.
The bottom line is that law, like accounting, medicine, engineering, or any other enterprise, is a business. And businesses exist to make money. In the legal profession, revenues are derived from clients. You could be head of your group, bill an outrageous amount of hours, be a national expert in your area of the law, even a partner in a large firm, but these factors are no longer a guarantee of your financial and personal success.
There is only one thing that will guarantee your financial and personal success in your practice. For those of you who want to have a balanced and comfortable life, one filled with financial and personal freedom, and the time to do the things you want to do, you must have a steady stream of new and existing clients. That’s it…it’s the only way to get all that you desire. And having an easy and workable system to get and keep profitable clients is the key which will determine your overall success and impact.
But, how do you go about having a steady stream of new clients, especially in a slow economy? How do you develop your business and make it dynamic, fun and successful? How do you get over the behavioral, comfort and time issues to become really successful at business development?
You may reject what I have to say right off the bat, but the truth is in order to get what you really want, you have to market and brand “you”! While many of us are uncomfortable with the idea of having to “sell” or “market” ourselves, the truth is it is not only a necessity; it is the solution to all that you seek.
You’re probably thinking that clients should seek you out, not the other way around.Besides, don’t they know how great you are? Well they don’t…but they will if you use marketing tools the right way. And it’s easier today than ever because of the Internet. When used correctly through websites, blogs, articles and social media…you can build a “brand you” focusing on your passions, interests and areas of expertise.
Forget about “marketing” or “selling”. For some reason, those words are dirty to most lawyers. They are thought of as demeaning, time consuming, unprofessional, sleazy, and a total waste of our precious time. Many lawyers find it all so offensive. The reason the majority of attorney’s dislike marketing is that most were never taught how to do it in a professional and personal way.
Forget about the old way of marketing through yellow page ads, obnoxious late night cable commercials, or glossy brochures. It’s all meaningless, does nothing to offer value, and is a total waste of your time and money. Besides, most of the old tactics just serve to gratify an attorney’s ego rather than sell real benefits and value. In many instances, today’s typical legal marketing activities represent the opposite ends of the spectrum…either professional garbage about the impressive “image” of the lawyer, or raunchy ads about getting the client massive amounts of money for injury claims.
Attending the occasional power lunch or networking event doesn’t cut it any longer either. You need a plan that is strategic to your overall career goals, tactical to your daily activities, and built on client relationships, trust, and value. You also need to adopt the mindset of a rainmaker, for being a rainmaker is the most important activity you’re going to be engaged in from here on out. You are simply going to have to recognize that marketing is not selling your soul or compromising your ethics, but is the key that will dictate your future.
How? First determine what it is you really want to be, do and have with respect to your legal career. Failing to address these important and unique issues will render any marketing strategies completely useless and boring. In other words, what do YOU want to do with your legal career; where do YOU want to do it (lifestyle), and whom do you want to serve. The answers to these three important questions explores what inspires and motivates you, what it is you stand for, what activities you love to do, what environment you want to do them in, and what you want your professional life to stand for.
When you’ve addressed these questions, you will need an easy and comfortable systematic plan to match up your desires with that of your prospect. Then, it comes down to just three things that should be done each day:
- Every day do a little bit of client development;
- Every day exceed your prospect’s and client’s expectations through “valuable content” delivered with a “memorable experience”; and
- Every day, follow up!
When viewed correctly, marketing your solutions and value and branding “you” is about serving more, solving more and helping more! It is financially rewarding and emotionally satisfying. And when you experience the success this type of legal marketing brings, you will have more of the things you want out of your practice. You’ll be able to pick and choose the cases you want and fire the clients that are ungrateful, unprofitable or annoying. You’ll be able to leave the Blackberry and cell phone turned off, take more vacations, do more pro bono work and accomplish all the things that you planned to accomplish when you first entered the field of law. In short, it will not only set you apart; it will set you free.