Most lawyers hate marketing. The usual line goes something like: “I didn’t go to law school so I could ask people for business. I’m a lawyer, not a salesman.” Yes, but to get the legal business you want, most attorneys need to market. The fact is that people, and attorneys are no exception, typically don’t do things they hate to do. And when we do things we hate we don’t usually don’t do a very good job.
The big lawyer marketing secret, the one thing that can make all the difference in your client development efforts is: YOUR ATTITUDE! If you approach a marketing opportunity with the mindset that you are going to impress people, hand out business cards and receive legal business as a result, you will be ineffective. Worse, you are likely to turn off a potential client. Marketing with the wrong attitude can be counter-productive and it is also much harder.
The right attitude makes all the difference. Imagine the same marketing opportunity. Perhaps it is a social gathering, a Chamber of Commerce event or a civic club meeting. Instead of the sell, sell, push, push mindset see yourself this way: You look forward to the event because you will have a chance to get out of the office and take a break from working on files. You come into the event looking for people you know, sure, but also with the clear intention to meet new people.
People are interesting. You want to learn about them, what makes them tick, what their business is like, what their interests are, their viewpoints, what you have in common. The secret is to stop being self-focused; thinking about yourself, what you want and how to get it. The attitude that makes marketing so much easier and more effective is simply to think about others. When you focus on other people it takes the pressure off and keeps you from being self conscious and uncomfortable.
- Ask questions. People love to talk about themselves. The person you are talking to is probably a bit uneasy in this social situation. Give him a chance to talk about a subject he knows; himself.
- Find the pain. Determine what issues or problems he or his business is facing. Where there are problems, legal services may be the solution. But don’t push! People can sense a salespitch.
- Help. There is a good chance that you can help in some way. Perhaps a referral to someone you know. Possibly a suggestion or a bit of advice (of course be careful about giving legal advice). Maybe a reference to a website, an article or an information source that would be helpful. It is even better if you can connect with the person later to deliver the information.
There is a lot to effective legal marketing but the attitude you bring to the process is critical. Get over yourself and what you want. Focus on others and how you can help them. You will make good contacts, maybe even some new friends, and more effectively market your law practice.
Have a Great Practice!
Professional Lawyer Coach