Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, May. 17, 2012

Law Practice Management Tip

Ten ways to ensure marketing failure

There are many paths to building a successful law practice. Some lawyers use golf or other recreational activities as a way of cultivating business relationships. Others  get active in nonprofit causes, local politics, alumni associations or the arts. Still others write, speak and get involved in trade associations. 

Whatever the path you choose to build your practice, the strategy is the same. Develop a reputation in a niche practice area (or with a particular industry) and build relationships with potential clients and referral sources. Beyond that, there are many tactics you can use to be successful. 

But what are some things that are guaranteed not to work? Here is my top 10 list:

  1. Expecting that doing good work is enough.
  2. Relying too much on speaking, writing, social media and other forms of marketing and not doing enough  relationship building. (Marketing is important, but it is not a substitute for engaging prospects in conversation.)
  3. Giving up too easily -- These days, you need to work pretty hard to break through the noise if you want to connect with referral sources and prospects. (Many lawyers give up when one e-mail message goes unanswered.)
  4. Communicating like a lawyer (i.e. failing to distill what you do down to simple sound bites).
  5. Failing to project confidence in your ability to help a prospect with his or her problem. (Sure you don't want to over promise; but people hire lawyers they trust and who they think can solve their problems, not lawyers who hedge every promise.)
  6. Projecting negativity. (This is an occupational hazard for attorneys -- we are paid to think about what might go wrong; but we need to be more positive when we are out marketing.)
  7. Saving marketing for a rainy day. (Try spending at least 15 minutes every day.)
  8. Expecting short term results. (Don't expect one seminar to generate a lot of clients.)
  9. Failing to have a written plan. (Putting your plan in writing is the best way to guarantee that you will stick to your plan.)
  10. Being a poor listener. (Let prospects do 80 percent of the talking. That is the only way you are going to learn about the challenges they face-and services they need.)

Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal Consulting and Coaching.

Published May 17, 2012


To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice Chair Stephen Seckler.
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