As part of the business development process, lawyers must recognize and integrate into their “SOP” (standard operating procedures), action steps that extend beyond “showing up.” By leaving out the planning and following up components, lawyers are short circuiting the process, leaving money on the table, and becoming more cynical that marketing actually “works”, however one defines that.Contrasting the legal profession with corporate America in developing new business, one only has to examine the models of each. Corporate America devotes billions of dollars every year to “sales and marketing”, to the process of cultivating and nurturing new prospect relationships leading to a “sale”. The typical sales process may involve innumerable “follow ups” before a sale is actually consummated. The legal profession historically has played a reactive role wherein new clients (new sales) seek out the law firm to engage them. It is unwise in these ultra competitive times and a poor business model to continue this practice. If lawyers are the ones seeking new business or even additional work from existing clients, the obligation falls upon them to pursue it and continue to make contacts until they are directed otherwise. (Remember, studies show that it takes at least 7-10 “touches” to become top-of-mind with clients and prospects). Difference Faces of Follow Up
Though follow up can take many different approaches, the overall non-negotiable component involves any action step which provokes the other party (existing client, prospect, etc.) to want to continue contact with you. You are focused on cultivating and nurturing relationships which will ultimately be mutually beneficial and add value.A few examples of effective follow up include:
Kimberly Alford Rice is principal of KLA Marketing Associates, a business development advisory firm focusing on legal services. As a law marketing authority, Kimberly helps law firms and lawyers develop practical business development and marketing strategies which lead directly to new clients and increased revenues. Additionally, Kimberly provides career management services to lawyers in transition. She may be reached at 609-458-0415 or via email at email@example.com.