How you choose to market a consumer bankruptcy practice must be based in some measure on who your client really is in order for it to succeed.
We’re taught by legal marketing folks that we need to engage in target marketing. That is, slicing and dicing our market using geography and demographics. Who they are, where they live, what they look like, and where they eat for dinner. The more granular we get, the thinking goes, the easier it is to be able to find our target.
Find the target, find the client. Legal marketing nirvana.
You do need to know everything about your potential client to make sure you’re talking their language and addressing their concerns. But you also need to know everything about yourself.
If you and your client don’t have a common point of view, getting together is nearly impossible.
Putting aside the problems your ideal client is currently facing, there’s really no difference between the two of you. After all, there’s not that far to fall from success and failure in any aspect of our lives. We’re all just a few paychecks away from bankruptcy. That’s not to scare you, but to make you understand that 99% of your client’s world looks just like yours.
The old saying is, “know thyself,” and there’s truth to that. If you’re going to figure out who you want to attract as a client, your legal marketing has to recognize who you are before anything else.
It begins with communication.
Once you have a handle on your own background, your lifestyle, and your ideas of right and wrong it’s important to be able to communicate effectively. When you market a consumer bankruptcy practice those words need to come from your life, not your profession. Terms like “discharge” and “reaffirmation” hold no sway in your vocabulary – they set you apart, creating distance between you and your ideal client. So you’ve got to strip those words away and talk like you talk when the office is closed.
Consumer bankruptcy lawyers have a habit of marketing to their own best instincts. What they like, what they hate, where they congregate… those are how they decide where and how to market.
But when you move into your client’s shoes, lines open up. Trust is built. Communication is clearer, and clients are better educated. They gravitate to you and trust your advice, because you’re one of them.
Always remember where you came from, and where you are in life. What makes us the same is what helps our legal marketing efforts, and sweeping away the differences is key to our ability to connect with our potential clients.