I hate to break it to you, but there is no magic marketing bullet that will bring a flood of new clients to your doorstep. Too many lawyers waste their time searching for this non-existent bullet.
Or they focus on search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-lead to generate leads. Short term profitable, sure, but they’re not building a real business because they don’t control the lead flow. The fate of their business is in Google or LegalMatch’s hands. Dangerous, dangerous choice.
For some unfathomable reason, lawyers ignore the diamonds in their own backyard. They’re ignoring the fact that a cup of coffee with someone who already knows, likes and trusts them can turn this person into a client, a better client, or a valuable source of referrals.
I’m not saying you should become a regular at traditional networking events. Far from it. Read a legal newspaper and they have you wasting your time at a community mixer. You may land a client here or there, but this approach is almost always an inefficient use of time. You’re using brute force instead of intelligent strategy.
Network without focus and you’re working harder, not smarter. And it’s a crapshoot.
It all goes back to one question. Who is your ideal client? [Note to Practice Alchemy members: for the shortcut to finding ideal clients – use the Ideal Client worksheet in the members area]
Once you’ve clearly identified your ideal client, it’s detective time.
First, make a list of people you know who fit this description. Find out where they go. Find out what they do. Buy some coffees.
What you’re doing here is “working up the chain” – by asking your ideal clients what other service providers they use, what functions they attend, where they go.
Armed with this knowledge, guess what. You’ll find more ideal clients.
Instead of wasting money and time on random networking events and ineffective advertising, focus your resources on building the most sustainable asset of your practice – long-term relationships.
And no matter what, don’t allow yourself to become distracted by the latest shiny, new object introduced by an alleged “legal marketing firm” that claims they have the elusive magic bullet.
Now is the time to grab your Rolodex and database, and double down on the relationships that got you here in the first place. These relationships are capable of feeding your firm for years to come. For $10 a week, you can grab a cup of coffee with your ideal clients or people who know them, or go to the places where your ideal clients are.
I’ll say it again, because it’s so important. When you go to a random networking event, you have no control over who will show up. If there are 30 people in the room, maybe (maybe) one is an ideal client or referral source. What are the odds that you’ll actually meet and have a conversation with this person? Is that worth a two- or three-hour investment of your time?
You need to take a more targeted approach to solidifying and expanding your network. For example:
- If you’re a personal injury lawyer, are you talking to chiropractors?
- If you practice family law, are you talking to clergy?
- If you provide counsel for estate planning, are you talking to CPAs and wealth managers?
Instead of trolling events and talking to a bunch of people who can’t help you grow your practice, focus your energy on identifying and meeting the people who can. A couple of coffee meetings each week will cost you about $10. This will yield much better results than the scattershot networking that legal publications have you believe is the best approach.
And it’s a heck of a lot smarter than spinning your wheels in search of the magic bullet.