The Great Recession has radically changed how people spend their money and how they feel about the future. Yet as bad as things are for many people, others are adjusting and prospering quite well. I truly believe the difference between these two types of people is how they think and how well they adapt to a changing market.
Here are some of the principles I believe are necessary to be prepared for legal marketing success in these times of “moral hazard”.
The 7 Principles of Legal Marketing Success are:
1. Purpose. You absolutely must have passion for what you do and who you serve. On some level, your work should satisfy your intellectual and emotional needs. If it doesn’t, no amount of marketing is going to help. Your heart won’t be in it and your marketing efforts will be excruciatingly difficult. Your prospects will see through your efforts as well. Anyway, life’s too short not to go after what you want. Find meaning, purpose and passion about your work and you’ll be unstoppable…no matter how the economy is performing.
2. Programming. Unfortunately, our minds are programmed to be skeptical, negative, risk adverse and judgmental. The majority of our “self talk” is negative chatter. This internal programming is one of our biggest hurdles to success as the limiting beliefs we have about ourselves (too busy, too old, too introverted, etc), as well as our notions about “marketing” (sleazy, waste of time, never works, etc) may be sabotaging our efforts. So, what are your beliefs? Are they creating negative experiences or results? If so, decide and focus on what you really want, observe how this negative chatter is holding you back, and then devise a more productive belief system to create what is it you truly desire.
3. Planning. You wouldn’t try a case without a plan or travel across country without a map. So, why don’t you have a business and marketing plan? Even if it’s written on the back of a napkin, you have to have a plan to know where you’re going.
4. Participation. Client development is a contact sport. Use the Internet and other tactics to build your brand, visibility, and prove you’re a thought-leader; but since people are buying YOU, you’re going to have to network, join groups and personally participate in the game if you want to win.
5. Persistence. In a white paper entitled: “The Attorney Hiring Zone: Top Activities to Win New Clients by BTI Consulting, one of the findings for “in-person scheduled meetings”, noted that it took over 7 attempts to get a meeting with a potential new client; however 90% of the attorneys did not even try a second time if being shot down on the first try. What about you? Are you willing to get shot down and keep trying? Are you willing to go after what you want and not stop until you either die or the prospect tells you to drop dead? Richard DeVos, the founder of Amway said it best: “If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success, whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence.”
6. Patience. Most people want more clients, more money, and more whatever NOW! While some people might feel that marketing is like “hunting”, my analogy is closer to “gardening”. You plant a seed, give it water, sun, and a lot of love and attention and eventually it grows into a strong tree. A tree that is unshakable, always provides shade for you, and drops other seeds to provide you even more trees. But this takes time and attention… so be patient and watch your garden grow.
7. Perceptiveness. Getting and keeping clients is all about perceiving and addressing your client’s needs and wants. When you do this in a way that impacts them emotionally, excites them, and provides extraordinary value, they’ll become raving and loyal fans, a constant source of new business and referrals. I know from 20 years of hiring lawyers for all types of matters, that most lawyers suck at client service. If you exercise empathy, perceptive intuitiveness and increase your client attention and service just a bit, you’ll stand out and take clients away from competitors. In a stressed out economy, keeping clients is an absolute imperative and should become the lynchpin of all of your marketing efforts as it will become the strongest driver of profitability and growth.
You might have noticed that none of these principles mention a great website, a fancy brochure, or a social media or PR campaign to get new clients. Those are just tactics, tools or collateral to get your message out. The real battle is between your ears and in your heart. Learn the 7 Principles and you’ll be prepared for legal marketing success. You’ll create, blossom and grow, even in a challenging economy, as you’ll attract and retain all sorts of clients and new opportunities.
Try it and just watch.