marketing your law practice

Getting past the fear factor

When you get right down to it, fear is probably the biggest obstacle to marketing success for most professionals. No one likes rejection and if you plan to ask anyone for business or referrals, the odds are very high you will experience a significant amount of rejection. In sales, for example, it may take 15 phone calls to reach five prospects which may result in two meetings. In other words, you may have to experience 13 rejections just to get two meetings.

And even if you get two meetings with potential clients or referral sources, it still may take 20 meetings to generate a significant piece of work. So if you do the math, you may need to make 150 phone calls or send 150 e-mail messages in order to set up those meetings.

That may seem like a daunting number. While that number will vary a lot based on the type of practice you have and the quality of the relationships you call upon, the bottom line is that in order to build a practice, you have to prepare yourself for a lot of rejection.

So what are some of the strategies you can use to soften the blow of the unanswered e-mails and phone calls? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Set a finite goal for the number of calls you will make in a day. Lower your expectations about how many responses you will get on a given day.
  2. Use your LinkedIn network to find second degree contacts who can make introductions on your behalf. Making cold calls is a tough way to build relationships. By leveraging your second degree contacts, you can overcome the trust issue much more quickly and find other professionals who are more inclined to speak with you.
  3. Measure your activity rather than your successes. You can’t control the outcome of your efforts to connect. But you can measure the number of calls you make. Focus on that number and reward yourself for your efforts, not for your actual successes.
  4. Start early in the day and make connecting a regular habit. If you think of relationship building as something that should be part of most work days, you will achieve the volume of contacts you need in order to find the opportunities you are trying to uncover.
  5. Try not to take the “rejection” personally. In many instances, it may take a few efforts to reach your prospect because he/she is already dealing with a high volume of e-mail and voicemail messages. In other words, remind yourself that it is not you. Your pleasant persistence will help cut through the noise and get you on his/her dance card. And he/she will appreciate your repeated efforts to connect.

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This excellent bit of advice from our Director of Attorney Recruitment & Career Advancement Stephen E. Seckler, Esq. to solos and small firms on marketing their practice applies just as easily to your job search! Create a strategy and stay consistent. Building relationships within the thriving, highly-interconnected Boston legal community is a key component in not just finding a position, but in building long term opportunities for a successful career!

It’s Never Too Late to Establish New Year’s Resolutions

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Goals 2014If you are like most of your colleagues, the New Year has come and gone and so have your New Year’s Resolutions.  Change is hard and in the high pressured field of law, resolving to spend more time on non-billable work may be easier said than done.  While there continues to be slow and steady movement towards project based billing in private practice, the reality is that most lawyers still bill by the hour; and most law firms still pay close attention to billable hours in determining how much of a contribution you are making to your firm.

In the short run, a lot of the incentive is to maximize the hours you bill.  But for most attorneys, building your own practice is what will give you more career satisfaction and more control over your destiny.

So you resolved to spend more time on marketing in 2014.  But as we approach Groundhog Day, that resolution may seem like a distant memory.  The good news is that its never too late to start making change.  So here are some tips for how you can be more successful with your Groundhog Day Resolutions: (more…)

Overcoming Fear of Marketing

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denialWhen you get right down to it, fear is probably the biggest obstacle to marketing success for most professionals. No one likes rejection and if you plan to ask anyone for business or referrals, the odds are very high you will experience a significant amount of rejection. In sales, for example, it may take 15 phone calls to reach five prospects which may result in two meetings. In other words, you may have to experience 13 rejections just to get two meetings.

And even if you get two meetings with potential clients or referral sources, it still may take 20 meetings to generate a significant piece of work. So if you do the math, you may need to make 150 phone calls or send 150 e-mail messages in order to set up those meetings.

That may seem like a daunting number. While that number will vary a lot based on the type of practice you have and the quality of the relationships you call upon, the bottom line is that in order to build a practice, you have to prepare yourself for a lot of rejection. (more…)

Look for the Bright Spots in Building Your Referral Relationships

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Colorful bokeh lightThe foundation of a strong law practice is a strong referral network. Even your best clients probably don’t need you all the time. This is particularly true for litigators. But what is a strong referral network and how do you build it?

Fundamentally, a good referral network starts with a focused marketing message. It is difficult to generate referrals if you do not have a clear idea of who you want to serve and what services you want to provide. (Who are you, who do you do, who do you serve, what have you done and how do you differentiate yourself from other lawyers?)

Having a well defined niche is important because it helps you communicate what you do in a way that is memorable (so that it is easy for happy clients and other professionals to pass your name along at the right moment). Having a niche also helps you think more strategically about who you might want to cultivate (e.g. other service providers who serve the same clients). (more…)

How To Begin Building Business Relationships

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Working Together - Hand Shake with great spiritBuilding relationships with potential referral sources is an important part of building your law practice. But given the huge range of possibilities about who you can spend your time with, where do you begin?

The starting point of course is deciding who you identify as your ideal client. Once you have established this, your next step is to identify who are the referral sources who work with these same clients. These can be other professionals who provide different services to the same clientele; they can also be other lawyers who are billing at a different rate and need a lower-cost alternative to refer work to when prospective clients cannot afford their fee.

Beyond this, how do you spend your time efficiently and focus on good “potential referral sources”. The following is a four step process for making that determination: (more…)

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