Last week, more than 1,000 people gathered in Orlando for the 2011 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference. Just in case you weren’t one of them—or if you were but couldn’t attend all the sessions—we asked a few of Attorney at Work’s marketing expert friends to share their favorite tips from the show.
From Cherie W. Olland: Pipe Down and Listen!
Lawyers seem to default to talking at GCs about the law firm’s features instead of building meetings around issues that are important to the client. The general counsel panel at the conference exquisitely reinforced the importance of asking questions. Rather than going to a meeting armed with details about your law firm, do research about what is important to the client, and prepare relevant questions and solutions in advance. Be interested in the client and what their critical issues are—pipe down and listen. Then make sure you are able to consistently articulate the benefits of working with your firm. And read the 10K for public companies!
Cherie W. Olland is the Global Director of Business Development & Communications at law firm Jones Day.
From Roberta Montafia: Get Client Feedback
Use a third-party professional to interview your clients to find out what they like and, more importantly, what they don’t like. Believing that you know everything you need to know about your clients is not only hubris, but it could be costly. A third party is much better placed to uncover opportunities to enhance relationships. You don’t need to be a megafirm to reap the benefits of a client feedback program. Everyone from solo practitioners to global firms can scale a program to suit their needs and resources.
Roberta Montafia has over 25 years’ experience in legal marketing, including 13 as an in-house legal marketer. She now uses her expertise to help law firms design and implement marketing and business development infrastructure.
From Burkey Belser: Tap Good Lawyer Writers to Review RFPs
Panelists discussing RFP preparation uncorked a fine idea: Tap the lawyers in the firm who are the best writers not to prepare the proposal but to review it from the client’s point of view, after it’s complete. The lawyer-reviewers may send the proposals back to the RFP team or make edits themselves. Proposals become more succinct and speak more to the buyer rather than simply put the firm’s wares on display. An efficient blend of talents leads to exceptional results.
Burkey Belser is President and Creative Director of Greenfield Belser, the national leader in brand strategy and design which has focused exclusively on professional services marketing for more than a quarter century.
From Larry Bodine: Differentiate Yourself
- When you write an article or issue of a newsletter, upload it to JDSupra.com, because they will republish it on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Amazingly, it’s free. And, once you upload a document, you get a free profile. When prospective clients search JDSupra for legal issues (also free) and find your article, it is linked to your profile. From the clients’ point of view, they’ve just found an expert who has demonstrated his or her expertise in writing.
- Contact a videographer who can help you create video for your website. Clients who have seen your video and then call you are ready to do business. Plus, videos on your website will improve your search engine rankings.
- Once you have sent a proposal to a client or prospect, start feeding information into social media about the relevant industry or type of business. When the potential client Googles you and your firm, they will see how well you know their business.
- Be prepared. One way to get corporate work is to distinguish yourself by showing how well you know the company’s business. Recently the general counsel of a Fortune 500 company made a hiring decision based simply on the fact that the lawyer had read the company’s 10K SEC filing.
Larry Bodine is a business development trainer. Previously, he was a litigator and law firm marketing director. He blogs about business development for lawyers.
From Adrian Dayton: Tidbits from the “Just JDs” Sessions
Long ago, every new bride and groom wanted a new set of china. Unfortunately, an entire set was quite expensive. So, while gift givers wanted to give something nice, they couldn’t afford to buy the whole set for hundreds of dollars. What could they do? Lenox came along and invented something that we now take for granted: the gift registry. It revolutionized the industry, helped more people get the china they wanted, and ultimately Lenox become America’s leading tabletop brand. The lesson for lawyers? By thinking creatively, you can help clients get what they want instead of just what you need to sell them. This was just one of many great stories that came out of the Just JD’s program, which preceded the LMA conference. Here are some other tidbits.
- We’ve all heard of the Golden Rule, but in business development there is a higher law called the Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as others would have done unto them.” It’s a way to demonstrate understanding of your clients’ needs.
- Prepare for every meeting with a potential client by setting a goal for yourself. What outcome are you hoping for? How will you achieve it? You need to have a strategy behind every appointment.
- According to LexisNexis, more than 70 percent of lawyers are members of online social networks—up 25 percent from last year.
- Among all the ethics concerns about lawyers’ using social media, the biggest is the risk of revealing client confidences, and it happens more often than you might think. Not only is it unethical, but it goes against a lawyer’s core professional values.
Adrian Dayton is an attorney with a passion for growing law practices through the power of social media. Read his blog Marketing and the Law: Social Media Edition.