Saturday, June 28, 2008

Be Remembered with a Leave-Behind for Your Referral Network

I am not a huge fan of printed collateral -- electronic media and the Internet trumped printed collateral for me several years ago. But, printed materials can play an important role in your marketing and business development mix when strategically deployed. Here is one great example -- A laminated one-sheet for your referral contacts.

Here is how it works:

  • Create a two-sided, 8 1/2" x 11" paper/brochure featuring:
    • Your firm/company name
    • Your name and contact information
    • A photo of you and possibly photo’s of other principals
    • Your firm boilerplate
    • Your personal boilerplate
    • A description of your “perfect client”
    • A short list of what problems are encountered by potential clients that drive them to need your services
    • A short list of typical clients you have served
    • A short list of specific skills you bring to the game and specialty areas
    • Optional – an explanation of why someone would choose you over a competitor
  • Print your personal brochure and laminate it
  • Deliver your personal brochure to individuals in your referral network at one-on-one meetings (this not material for passing out at events, seminars, etc.).

I have seen this printed piece used twice and I still have, and continue to refer to both.

Too often the verbal message we passionately deliver to our referral network is quickly forgotten. Here is one way to deliver a concise and memorable message to the people that can bring you work.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Playing Hookie -- Definitely a Marketing Skill to Develop

Are you going on vacation this summer? When you go what will go with you besides clothing, family, and itinerary? Are you taking your Blackberry or Treo? Will a laptop be tucked in between your swim suit and favorite t-shirt?

In the search for excellence in the work we do the most overlooked skill is the ability to detach and take time for ourselves. We ARE more than our work!

Over the years, to the astonishment of anyone that has worked for me, I have counseled them to play hooky from time to time just to hang on to their sanity. The ability to check out and declare myself free from responsibility is wonderful therapy and I feel stronger as a professional.

I encourage you to check out when you can -- especially when you go on vacation. Leave behind all of your electronic connections and just go enjoy! Learn to experience the freedom of detachment from your professional life.

And when you return maybe go so far as to take a couple of hooky days now and again. It is rejuvenating! Just don't tell your partners I'm the one that gave you the idea....

Friday, June 20, 2008

Let Your Audience Show You How They Liked Your Presentation

It is common for presenters and panelists to tape their performance. Doing so works well for both reviewing to moment to refine your presentation skills and, as a download for your website visitors.

But if you would like to really get a look at how well you did -- point a camera at the audience.

Of course you need to let the audience know they have a camera pointed their way -- and in true Pavlovian style* the audience, at least for a little while, will appear to be incredibly attentive and interested. But skip toward the end of your recording, when most of the audience has forgotten they are on tape, and you will witness their true reaction to your presentation.

You may be wonderfully surprised to see an audience that is really into your performance, or, you might witness something different. In either case you will know a truth.

Do you dare to try it?

* NOTE: Ivan Pavlov surmised that the simple act of letting factory workers know their workplace is being studied increased overall productivity.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How to Help Your Clients Feel Like You Do Not Care

Michelle Golden's article, "Must Be The Annual "Let's Send Them Everything We've Got" Mailing..." over at the Golden Practices blog, struck a cord with me. Too often I have witnessed brilliant lawyers and accountants ignoring sound advise about client care. Michelle's article is a clear, first-hand illustration, from a client perspective, of good advise ignored. My advise -- do not be "that" person.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Marketing Skills Need Constant Care

Great marketing skills need constant care and attention to survive time and competition. In the same way that the legal profession demands Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE), professional marketers could demand an equal standard of renewal within themselves -- and any decently progressive law firm (or any professional services firm for that matter) should find a way to enable that continued growth.

If you disagree I would love to hear what you consider to be the downside of consistent professional training to improve critical skills -- and sending your staff to one marketing conference is not a complete answer.

I have always considered that being in my profession (professional services marketing) is a hoot. Yup, I said it, a HOOT! It is definitely different every day; spent in the company of amazingly smart people; promoting intangibles; and witnessing that what I do can make a difference.

I encourage you, if you are a marketer, to never stop looking for new opportunities to learn new skills. And I encourage professional services firms leadership to enable your marketing professionals to deepen and enrich their skills. The payoff for both will be absolutely worth any effort.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

How a Restaurant Can Help Your Personal Brand

I went to lunch last week at McCormick & Schmick's with a partner from a local accounting firm. As we entered the restaurant staff and maître d' all greeted him by name with smiles and affection -- the maître d' asked, "your usual table?", which turned out to be, of course, a prime spot in a prime restaurant. I was impressed!

Thinking back -- I used to be a frequent diner, with guest(s), at The Center Club in Costa Mesa. I was known by the staff who greeted me by name and stepped-up their attentiveness to my table. I can recall that my guests were impressed by the club and the attention.

Both situations demonstrate a basic rule about building personal brand; Anytime you can demonstrate that you are well known and liked you are elevated in standing.

A restaurant is a perfect place to make that happen.

If you would like to experience this for yourself try this:
  • Select a finer restaurant near your office where you enjoy the food and the ambiance
  • Make a commitment to invest in eating lunch there at least once or twice a week
  • Be wonderful and upbeat with the staff on every visit
  • Have conversations with the staff and demonstrate an interest in their day
  • Tip nicely (server and maître d') and offer compliments all around every time you visit
  • Introduce your guest(s) to the staff
Do these things and it will not be too long before you are greeted like beloved family every time you visit "your" restaurant. Your lunch will be great and your guests will have new reason to respect whom you are.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Marketing Your Firm vs. Promoting Your People

There are a lot of ways to spend your marketing dollar -- some tactics work really well to extend the brand of your firm while other activities work to promote an individual. It is important to understand which tactic is best used for either. Here is my short list:

Promoting Your Firm - Activities that raise awareness of your firm at-large more than building the brand of an individual.
  • Sponsorship of associations, events, award dinners, etc.
  • Advertising in business journals, daily's, newsletters, program guides, etc. (even when the add features an individual).
  • Practice or firm specific newsletters unless the newsletter "sent from" line is from an individual to an individual where a relationship already exists.
  • Charitable contributions and sponsorships of community activities by your firm (even when championed by a specific partner)
  • Press releases highlighting high-notes, transactions, firm landmarks, etc.
  • Tombstone announcements
  • Firm web site
Promoting an Individual - Activities that implant the memory of a person more than an impression of your firm.
  • Boondoggles (private dinners, poker parties, golf, etc.)
  • Podium time beyond making introductions
  • Subject area expertise time as a panelist or keynote
  • Participation on key committees for industry, profession or community organizations
  • Personal notes and announcements sent to existing contacts and referral resources
  • Breaking bread (lunch and breakfast meetings, etc.)
  • Blogging
  • Practice or firm specific newsletters when the "sent from" line is from a professional to a professional where a relationship already exists.
Obviously there is crossover in some of the bullets above but, if you have a promotional goal in mind (firm or individual recognition) try to stick to a tactic with the best chance of accomplishing its mission.

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