As a young lawyer (we should have a name for young lawyers, like “pups” or “lawyerlings” or something, shouldn’t we?), I thought the way to attract clients was to offer deep discounts. After all, lower rates means more clients, right?
The good news is that I was right: I attracted clients. The bad news is that I attracted clients that couldn’t pay. They hired me because of my “special” deals and more times than not, I ended up writing off their business.
I was a hunter.
You see, there are two types of lawyers and most of us don’t venture far from one of these two categories. There are hunters, and there are farmers.
Hunters kill and eat, kill and eat, kill and eat. The hamster wheel they perpetually run on goes something like this: They 'hunt' for new clients. After getting their business, they leave the hunting behind - while their marketing pipeline dries up. Once those clients’ needs are fulfilled, hunters are forced to start completely over again, never building a sustainable business. They're either hunting or practicing law, but rarely doing both simultaneously.
This hunter mentality typically leads us straight into one of two financial situations.
Large receivables and large write-offs is the first financial dead end. Hunters are most concerned about “killing,” or getting the next client. And the desperation of their hunt often attracts the wrong kind of client. They also do perverse financial acts to “close the deal.” As I did early on, they may find clients, but they’re finding the worst kind.
The second result of hunting leads is the infamous 'feast or famine.' Hunters don’t have a marketing engine to nurture long-term prospects and gather new leads - which has a way of smoothing irregular flow of business. This means that when business is good, it’s good. But when it’s bad, it’s really bad.
Neither situation is one you want to find yourself in for long. That is, unless you want to go out of business
Farmers, unlike hunters, choose what seeds they want to plant and, therefore, what kind of food they reap later. They transcend a reactionary or survival mode and are in complete control of their destiny.
Farmer lawyers don't react to or scramble for new clients. Clients don’t choose farmers. Farmers choose clients.
Farmers intentionally sow seeds that attract the right kind of clients by working on, and not just in, their business. They nurture their practice - designing it to operate without their constant attention. This allows them to spend more time throwing seed and acquiring ideal clients.
So how do we stop hunting and start farming? The answer lies in Education-based marketing. What’s that? Subscribe below and I’ll let you know when I write more about it.