Marketing Corner: Make 2014 Your Year to TweakBy Kimberly Alford Rice
Here we are early in the year, optimism is high and you are committed to making 2014 a more prosperous year. Then we ask, "how" and shake our heads. What can we do differently this year than last year and have a better result? Clearly, we do not want to do the same thing as last year and expect a different result…how Freudian would that be?
An area in which I see so many law firm clients struggle is in the analysis and measurement of their development efforts. Are they engaged in high-impact endeavors in the first place which will support their overall development growth goals? First, they rarely have systems in place to assist them in the imperative of measuring what business development exercises have been worthwhile.
How many times have I heard "I've tried publishing articles and even giving talks, and they just don't work for me" and my thoughts go quickly to "did this lawyer leverage the actual business development opportunity appropriately to qualify as a success and, as importantly, how do they measure the "work" part?" The answers are frequently "no" and "they don't."
Many lawyers generally know what they need to do to grow their practice (foster strong business relationships) but they need to tweak the execution and the follow up steps that are imperative to growing a client roster.
Marketing legal services requires planting many seeds. Some germinate, others do not, and the ones that do may take a long time to harvest. The germination period may distort our perception of what works.
How Can You Know? To think with the CEO hat of your practice on, do you know quantitatively the source of your business? Or, have you analyzed your intake reports to know for sure? Does most of your business originate from client referrals, from other lawyers, from conflicts?
These questions can often signal a serious flaw in the business development efforts of many lawyers. Many don’t have a system to measure which activities produce the desired outcomes. Instead, they rely solely on their memories.
Examine What Works for You By analyzing your client list, you may stumble upon some powerful marketing data. If you have ever shared a meal with a client once a matter concluded, you might trace subsequent referrals from the goodwill that was generated by spending a few hours off the clock to reinforce that relationship.
Your analysis may reveal that opposing counsel has referred some of your best clients after a court fight where you parted ways amicably as a result of you reaching out post court fight. Lawyers who know the quality of your work first hand may be (or could be) a powerful source of new business. They may think of you first when a conflict arises. How do you nurture those relationships?
In the next installment, I’ll explore additional action steps and considerations to move you closer to ramping up your business development efforts.
Until next month, take one step each day (regardless of how minor) to grow your network and strengthen your existing contacts.
Kimberly Alford Rice (firstname.lastname@example.org) is principal of KLA Marketing Associates.