If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’re probably doing some form of manual marketing for your law practice. You all have a contact list of some sort, right? (or, if you're of an older vintage, we used to call them "rolodexes," remember that?)
These are people you’ve met in the real world, through one way or another. Some of these are going to be really good referral sources, and some will never send you anything. Since you have a scarce resource - your time - and you want to maximize your revenue for these people, you can’t really talk to everyone on your contact list.
Which Prospects Add The Most Value?
We want to make sure that we’re only talking to the people who are most valuable to our business. That’s not to say that everyone’s not valuable in their own right, but some definitely have more value to your business than others.
Take everyone that you’ve been manually marketing to and put them in a marketing bucket - a database. You might already have a database in the form of a contact list in Outlook or another program altogether. The point is to understand what you have right now.
You’re going to need to bias your time and resources towards only a subset of those people. Because we have limited time - and marketing to everyone will spread you too thin, you must make a choice between human marketing and automated marketing for each person on your list. You’ll only want to use your personal networking time for your highest-value relationships.
The First Step in Manual Marketing
So, the first step in assessing your database is to find out: Who are the high-value people who will send you the most business for years to come? Those people will go into a VIP List - the top 20-30 relationships to whom you do manual marketing.
Of course, from time to time, you’ll be doing manual marketing with new clients because you need to always be increasing your lists of people you meet. You’ll still be going to lunches and you’ll still be networking - continually adding people to your contact list. They are then added to your database, they get nurtured, and then, if they're a long-term high-value referral source, they go into the VIP process.
Where To Spend Your Time
Here’s where you have a decision to make. Does someone merit being added to the VIP list of top 20 to 30 clients and thereby get your manual marketing (quarterly lunches, phone calls, etc.)? Or do they stay in your automated nurture bucket? The point is, effective marketing is a ruthless pruning of who really gets your personal time.
If you think you can spend your personal time marketing to everyone you won’t succeed. There simply aren't enough hours in the day. You’ll start to take yourself away from all the other operational aspects of client delivery and management of your firm. You must put this process in place.
As for the VIP List, you’ll need at least 20 to 30 relationships. With any less than that, you probably won’t have a sufficient bench-strength of really tight VIP referral partners to send you business on a recurring basis.
At this point, if you can’t come up with 20 to 30 that’s fine- but you’ll need to get there. Look at the 10 or so you do have on that list and try to “clone” them. Find out who these people are, and try to find more just like them.