As legal practice involves cut throat competition in a shrinking market, in order to survive, a firm needs to stand out from the crowd. Marketing is sad, ineffectively implemented or totally ignored in law firms. Marketing should be part of the firm’s long range planning process concerned with the development and delivery of legal services. It should help the law firm maintain relationships with the existing clients as well as create a new contact list with the prospective clients.
Business development for lawyers: strategies for getting and keeping clients.
A marketing plan is developed in order to meet the needs of clients that have not been met. New opportunities should be identified leading to an ancillary business group created to service this needs. The clients should be a firm’s top priority. Conduct a survey of the clients noting the present clients concern about the quality of service, it’s also important to conduct a client site visit. Adopt a cross marketing program that will facilitate cross-referrals, as well as cross-selling opportunities.
As a firm do not put all the focus and resources towards one client. Diversify the client mix. Employ successful tools to get those prospective clients, aim at trade associations and big industry alike. Below is among the effective tools that you can implement:
- Market through industrial trade associations
- Email newsletters and solid marketing collateral materials
- Conduct client surveys and respond to client feedback
- Personal networking and relationship building by individuals.
Create a marketing plan for the firm, practice groups and attorneys. A good marketing plan is one that is used consistently in all external communication. Use collateralmaterials such as letter heads, business cards, PowerPoint presentations, brochures, press release, seminar handouts, newsletters etc. efforts should be made to create a content driven web site that is database driven in order to update easily. The database should contain clients contact, referral sources, prospective clients and media sources. Create unique services, unique clients group, and a unique delivery style. Dictate what you want to be known for.
Business development ideas for law firms
Possessing business development skills is paramount for any lawyer wishing to grow their career and be a success. I hereby give a few tips on the skills and activities that one should have:
1. Extensive networking
New business opportunities are only possible if you engage in structured networking with existing clients, potential clients and also referrals. Just like real estate, face to face contact has proven to be the number one key to building trusting relationships with existing clients by understanding their problems and working them through solutions. However, as you may end up talking to a lot of people, this may mean more opportunities or none at all. Therefore, it’s essential to strategize and identify the target market and clearly indicating what you are selling and why they should be in bed with you.
2. Possess great interpersonal skills
A warm smile and a firm handshake will definitely leave an impression on someone who enjoyed your meeting especially when you possess an engaging personality. Sadly, you only have one chance to impress so make sure your interpersonal skills are on point.
3. Follow ups
You have gone out and created contact with many potential clients, the next objective should be creating a meeting with them. This is because on the first meeting you definitely did not get into detail about what you do and what you can offer the client. Set a formal meeting with the clients to understand the client’s needs and putting forward a proposition on how to address the issues. Think outside the box and offer some advice teaching them on an aspect of their business that they had not recognized. Take care though not to be bossy or making them feel like they do not run their business as required.
4. Be knowledgeable
Demonstrate an understanding of the clients business and industry sector. This is a key component for effective business development. Therefore, apart from your law books, get to read industry press, attend industry conferences and read even research reports on industry trends and upcoming developments.
Acquiring such knowledge will give you an upper hand as you will be able to look into the future and predict issues that will affect your clients.
5. Go online
Choose the right infrastructure for your law firm’s website presence. The content that you put online should be high quality, written in plain English. Written content is the most important ingredient for a successful law firm website. Do not delegate the work to a non-lawyer. Make use of infographics and videos to make the website more attractive. If you are not a tech savvy person there are websites like LawLytics that has been built by lawyers from the ground up. This system is attorney owned and operated helping lawyers grow. They are expert at challenges and opportunities facing law firms in this present age.
6. Track your progress
“If you cannot measure it, do not do it.” Do you know which efforts are making the difference in your business? There is need to measure everything so that you can eliminate what doesn’t work for you, therefore, pursue techniques that you can measure the progress. Example, you can publish a blog and monitor the number of visitors and comments. When you use built in reports and lead tracking, you will be able to tell whether the content influenced potential clients.
7. Cultivate referral sources
The people you are working for will not bring you new work unless you tell them to bring you new work. Inform them of the kind of work you are seeking. Another source of referral is non-clients whom you know in other professions. This are people that will market you even faster as long as you tell them what kind of work to advertise. The same principle smears to your former law school classmates. Do not approach those who are in the same discipline as you are since you in a competition. The former colleagues know you and will definitely want to help.