Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No Compromise = Change

The business of creating change is an uncomfortable place to live... and exciting as all get-out!

Working at a law firm I witness the attorneys of my firm accomplishing incredible change for their clients almost every day. The lawyers of my firm push innovative ideas, dismantle old beliefs and make risking everything seem easy... and it works!

So, when I can bring the lawyers at my firm to a similar point in marketing related ways I am elated! It means I have brought them to the brink of change. Either my attorneys will take a new (marketing) step forward or choose to retreat back into their comfort zone.

This is the risk I accept as a marketer at a law firm. If the attorneys accept the challenge of change I have much to do. If my attorneys retreat toward a comfort zone I had better start considering my longevity.

My challenge for myself, and for all law firm marketers, is that I/we never stop challenging our firm to move forward, in the same way my lawyers never stop challenging our clients.

Can we do anything less?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Being the Lawyer People Expect to Meet

When meeting someone for the first time we have nanoseconds before we are judged and cataloged. We either fit his/her expectations and have an opportunity to continue toward a relationship, or we did not fit... and the relationship has already failed.

Attorneys face a double whammy! First, a lawyer is judged as a person and in that same nanosecond, judged and cataloged as a lawyer.

Most attorneys I've ever known are incredible people and in most cases will pass the first test with flying colors. Unfortunately, many I know do not pass the second -- the reason will surprise you.

Growing up in a media age your clients and prospects eat a continual diet of images and personalities via television, media outlets and movies that leaves an imprint of whom a lawyer is, performs and acts. It's a stereotype. Whether you project the stereotype, or not, will impact first impressions -- the nanosecond before judgment.

In general, everyone who is not a lawyer expects you (the lawyer) to act like a lawyer. What that looks like is this:
  • Composed
  • Eloquent
  • Serious
  • In control
  • Successfully attired (fitting to the occasion)
  • Appropriately opinionated
  • Poised
  • Aggressive
  • Smart
  • Successful
In other words, a leader with class and distinction.

None of this whole stereotyping stuff is fair, but it's real and everyday. If you wish to succeed as a lawyer I encourage you to act like one!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Never Say, "I'll Give You a Call."

Here's the scenario: I'm at a business mixer meeting, greeting and doing the schmoozing thing. I engage in a conversation with someone I've never met and determine this a nice person and all, but not really anyone I need to connect with beyond this evening. We exchange cards and as we part I state, "It was great to meet you, I'll give you a call."

The truth is I probably won't (You do it too so don't get on your high horse!). At business mixers we say a lot of stuff to be nice and we have to stop doing that.

What I should have said as we parted is, "It was great to meet you."

Long story short -- If I will actually follow up with a call then I should do that without the impromptu promise. But if I say I will call and I do not then I may be creating a reputation problem.

Long story shorter -- You will meet lots of people you're not interested in engaging further. Be real and be honest, just move on with no fake promises or niceties.

Never say, "I'll give you a call."

Friday, March 12, 2010

Social Networking, #LMA10 and Law Firm Marketing

I did not attend the 2010 Legal Marketing Association Conference in Denver this year, but I definitely know what was going on there and more importantly, I learned some of the key bits of knowledge being transferred there by expert speakers and panelists.

The conference planners created #LMA10 via Twitter -- throughout the conference attendees were tweeting live about what they were witnessing, experiencing and learning. The share was awesome and I learned along with them! Certainly it was not as robust an experience as being there in-person but I caught enough to find real value.

I am not sure what lesson to take away from this experience that will be relevant to creating opportunities for my law firm, but there HAS to be a gem in this moment.

Being part of the (social networking) conversation absolutely matters... how social networking will create opportunities for my lawyers still remains just outside my grasp. But I am working on it... my epiphany is moments away.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The New, New Marketing Matrix for Professional Services

Introducing the "Four R's" of Professional Services Marketing:
A few years back a proposition was posted on the Know How Exchange at In the posting the writer wondered about the continued validity of the "Four P's" of marketing because so much has changed in the last several years including the growth of the service economy (The Four P's have served for decades as the foundational outline for any market planning process).

After giving it considerable thought... (more than one hour, less than two) here is my new, new marketing planning matrix for professional services marketing; "The Four R's".

Resource: What is the professional knowledge you/your firm has that you can leverage on behalf of a client? The "product" of a law or accounting firm is it's people. They hold in their head the knowledge that becomes a resource to the client. In market planning you need to identify what resources your target market needs and which your firm can fulfill.

Relationship: What are the connections you have/need externally and internally to benefit your firm, clients and shareholders? The key to successful firms is the ability to create and sustain relationships inside the firm (partners, professionals, committees, client teams, support, etc.) and outside the firm (individual executives at clients and prospects, referral resources, shareholders, influencers, etc.). In your marketing plan the process and plan for developing these people interactions needs to be outlined to enhance the delivery of resources.

Rate: What is the correct rate structure for providing your resources to clients? How much will you charge? What are the payment terms, conditions? Is geography or client base a consideration? What compensation structures will be driven by rates?

Resonate: How will you resonate your message into the marketplace to benefit the reputation and sustainability of your practice/firm? The “product life cycle” in a professional service firm is the span of time an individual lawyer spends with your firm -- impulse buying is not a factor. Creating the vehicles and messages to bring about market awareness must consider the length of time that your “resources” will remain viable in the marketplace.

Graphic Artists are Crazy

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