Monday, February 5, 2018

Use Big Data to Help Potential Clients Find Your Content

If you're writing about "premises liability" injuries when potential clients search for "slip and fall" accidents, you're setting yourself up to fail, writes Julie Howell in Five Ways Lawyers Can Use Google Trends. They won't even find your post if you're not framing the issues using the words they type into the search box. But big data can help:
Rather than build your marketing strategy around the way you think your target client is searching, focus on the keywords and topics you know they’re searching, based on research.
Howell's post is a practical guide to connecting your written work with your intended audience. Read it, and start writing to be read.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Is Your Social Media Authentic?

To be effective on social media, writes Alan Singles in Does Your Law Firm Social Media Strategy Put Humans First?, law firms need to be authentic. They need to be human:
To be real, social has to be run by people who will read and react to comments and concerns being posted on your social channels. ... Your social strategy has to be more than an afterthought in the marketing plan. It has to tell stories (good or bad), and it has to react and allow for that personal side.
Read the post. Take Singles' advice and add some authenticity to your digital strategy to connect with the people you're trying to reach. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Gain Trust With A Positive First Impression

There's no avoiding it: people make snap judgments about your trustworthiness as soon as they meet you, writes Sue Shellenbarger in The Mistakes You Make in a Meeting’s First Milliseconds. And that could cost you. But it doesn't have to be that way.  With a little work and self-awareness, you can ensure a positive first impression.
People teamed in an investment game with online partners whose facial images appeared friendly and reliable entrusted their partners with 42% more money than those whose partners looked downbeat and threatening
Read the piece. Focus on the nuances of your expression and body language. Start gaining trust, without saying a word.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

True Thought Leaders Lead First and Think Second

Publishing your ideas doesn't make you a thought leader, writes Justin Gray in Here's the Real Way to Define Thought Leadership. It Comes Down to 3 Things. In fact, positioning yourself as a thought leader when you're not merely creates noise and makes it harder for others to find insights that are truly valuable.
The term thought leader is supposed to represent genuine expertise. Yet, we too often see the term self-applied extremely liberally which hurts anyone who has genuinely earned the title.
Gray's piece is a useful primer on what makes a thought leader, and a guide to the qualities you should possess before you start writing. Spoiler alert: there's a lot more "leader" than "thought" in the mix. Read the post and you'll agree.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What's Your Client Experience?

Client experience isn't client service or client feedback or key account management or even client relationship management, write Lee Grunnell and Jerry Angrave in Five star: The silk & steel of client experience for professional firms. In fact, it isn't a "thing" at all, but the way you do business:
Remember that client experience isn’t a project. It doesn’t start & finish. Done properly, it’s a fundamental part of how you do things - if you really want to be client-centric.
Their post provides a practical look at client experience and what means for you the service provider (and for your clients). It's an excellent starting point for everyone who wants to take it on. Read it and get going.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Networking Without a Net

A robust network is a key element of success, writes Dorie Clark in How to Make the Right Connections When You Don’t Already Have an “In.” So how do you start? More to the point, how do you create a meaningful network when the people you know don't have the connections you need?
It’s not easy to break into new, high-end circles when you don’t already have an “in.” But it’s not impossible. 
Clark proposes four strategies that will help you establish yourself and start building the network you need. Read the post. Follow her advice. Create your own "in."

Friday, January 26, 2018

It's The Connections You Make For Others That Add Value

Could your clients benefit from connections you offer, asks Thames Schoenvogel in Connect Your Clients in 2018? Because that's the key to meeting their needs:
... helping to foster those connections is yet another way to strengthen client relationships and become an irreplaceable and trusted advisor.
Read the post. Think about people you know who can help your clients achieve success. Then make the introductions. They'll be glad you did.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Networking 101 or, You're Doing It Wrong

There's a right way and a wrong way to network, says Mike Steib, CEO of XO Group. And you're probably doing it wrong... 

In Don't Just Network — Build Your 'Meaningful Network' to Maximize Your Impact, Steib gives a detailed look at the right way. It's chock full of practical guidance for everyone whose networking is critical to their success:
Avoid temptations to talk about yourself. Pivot their questions about you back to them. Watch how eagerly this person takes the chance to tell you more about his or her passions. 
Read the post. Take it to heart. Then follow Steib's advice, and start building a Meaningful Network. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

What's Your Client Data Telling You?

Customer data, write Brad Brown, Kumar Kanagasabai, Prashant Pant, and Gonçalo Serpa Pinto in "Capturing value from your customer data," is strategic. It gives companies (they're not talking about law firms, but the same principles apply) a competitive advantage:
Research tells us that organizations that leverage customer behavioral insights outperform peers by 85 percent in sales growth and more than 25 percent in gross margin.
Read the post. Look at the data you've been capturing - for decades, in many cases - and think about what it reveals about your existing clients, about potential clients, about the ways you do business, the ways you land new work, the ways you communicate your value. About the you can do all that better. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

No News Is Good News? Not For Your Clients...

Keeping your clients in the dark, writes Lindsay Griffiths in No News is Not Always Good News for Business Relationships, is a bad way to do business:
Where you might be assuming that “no news is good news,” your client or other business relationship may be left feeling anxious about the status of your last conversation and wondering whether it’s even still on your radar.
In today's hyper-connected world, there's no excuse for keeping your clients guessing (even if the report is 'nothing yet to report'). Read the post. Then check in with your clients - before they check in with you. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, January 19, 2018

For Lawyers, Change Is Key to Survival. And Willingness Is Key To Change...

2018 will be a "make-or-break year" for many law firms, writes Heather Suttie in Legal Markets and Marketing: 10 Trends to Watch and Watch Out For in 2018. Her overview of the key points in the Citi Private Bank – Hildebrandt Consulting 2018 Client Advisory Report provides useful insight into the future, and her conclusion stands as a warning to firms that balk before meaningful innovation and change:
Only those firms that get out of their own way and retool with speed in the very near future will be vital, vibrant, and solvent in the years to come.
Read the post. And while you're at it, read the Citi-Hildebrandt report. As if your future depended on it.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tell Any Good Stories Lately?

Stories, not product features and functionality, are the key to success in sales, writes George Deeb in Sales 101: Sell Stories, Not Products. Getting bogged down in the minutia of what a product does is a common rookie mistake:
... clients don't really care about you or your products, they care about themselves, and how you are going to help them to solve their problems.
Obviously, lawyers don't sell products, but they do sell services. And Deeb's advice is as valid for them as for any sales team. Clients don't care about your office in Atlanta or your 175-year history or the awards you've won. They care about how they're going to solve their problem, and whether or not you can help. Read the post. Start telling stories.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Laweyers: Change Your Culture To Survive The Future

It's clear that law firms, writes Patrick Lamb in The Law Firm of the Future, must adapt their business model if they are to survive in the face of evolving client demands. More importantly, though, they must change their culture:
The hardest part of this evolutionary stage is not figuring out a workable structure.  It is figuring out a workable culture. ... Getting people used to being at the top of their personal silo to instead be a piece of an enterprise is a challenge no law firm I know has accomplished effectively.
Read the post. Ask yourself what the future of your firm will be. Then start making it happen.

Friday, January 12, 2018

7 Steps to a Better Business Development You

Change is hard, writes Rich Bracken in "The Sustainable 2018 Resolution for Lawyers: Better Business Development," but sustaining change is even harder. And when it comes to business development, it's easy to lose track of the finish line:
Business development is an even harder sell than a treadmill, so how do you create and maintain momentum for a change that doesn't always have immediate results, takes some convincing to do, and requires the investment of consistent time and effort? 
The solution? Bracken's P7 sustainable change method, a program that will guide you to a new business development you. One that's honest about her weaknesses and understands her strengths. One that draws up a plan for success, setting long-term objectives and the milestones that confirm she's on the right path. One that knows how to translate successes and failures into sustainable change.

Read the post, then get to work on your future.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Trust Is The Key to Getting Paid What You Deserve

You'll never get paid what you think ought to receive, writes Seth Godin in "Getting paid what you deserve," only what others think you're worth:
...people don't make buying decisions based on what's good for you--they act based on what they see, need and believe.
He's not speaking specifically to lawyers, but he might as well be: clients will gladly pay you exactly what they think you've earned. It's up to you to make sure that number is in the right range.

Read the post. Then focus on building and maintaining the trust of your clients, on ensuring that your work product matches your reputation, on providing meaningful value in every representation. On establishing "long-term trust," as Godin calls it. Whatever you call it, it's the key to getting paid what you deserve.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Want to Add Meaning to Business Relationships? You'll Have to Work At It

Warm sentiments are nice, writes David Ackert in "How to Add Meaning to Business Relationships," but going out of your way to help others in need is the dynamic that builds meaningful relationships:
... among my business contacts, there are a few people to whom I feel particularly loyal. They are the ones who ... were willing to inconvenience themselves for me.
Read the post. Make a note of who might be in need of a helping hand or a kind gesture or a sympathetic ear. Then reach out, and keep checking in until their situation improves. You'll be glad you did. And so will your contacts.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

New Year's Resolutions Are Hard to Maintain. So Just Pick One

It's that time of year again, when each of us turns an eye to things we could do in 2018 to make ourselves better: more successful, more efficient, more active, more relaxed, more approachable, more whatever it is we think we don't already do well enough. A useful exercise, to be sure, and the necessary first step down the road of improvement. 

But it's easy to get lost on the way from where you are to where you want to be, especially if you try to do too much (and too fast). Better to focus your limited bandwidth for improving yourself on a single item, one that you can sustain, one that you can turn into a new habit.

Don't try to fix everything this month, or even this year. Just fix one thing, and when you've done that, fix another. You'll be happier, and you'll be better. And while you're looking for things to improve, read these posts, full of good ideas on changes you can make to have a better 2018:

  1. Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Marketing (Margaret McCaffery, Slaw)
  2. 12 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions for Lawyers (Teresa Matich, Clio)
  3. Looking Back to Move Forward: Five Steps for Marketing Success in 2018 (Meg Charendoff, The Legal Intelligencer
  4. Top New Year’s Resolutions for Lawyers in 2018 (Kristin Johnson, Rocket Matter)
  5. 3 Tips to Kick off Your January with Gusto (Lindsay Griffiths, Zen and the Art of Legal Networking)

*          *          *

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Delivering Value is Smart Marketing

If you're not adding value to your relationships, writes Eric Fletcher in If Your BizDev Plan Doesn’t Specify Targets, Don’t Expect Great ROI, you're not doing it right:
"Delivering real value to your network is the most eloquent marketing message there is, creating visibility with staying power."
Read the post for useful ideas on how to make yourself consistently valuable to your network. Read the post for guidance with developing a meaningful target list. Read the post for insight into building a pipeline that will produce opportunities. Read the post.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Three Business Development Lessons from UPS

Corporate Counsel recently talked to the General Counsel of UPS to find out how the company hires lawyers (UPS GC: Firms Come to Pitches Surprisingly Ill-Prepared). Their findings offer three valuable lessons in client acquisition and development:
  1. Clients Are Changing It Up: you might think that #48 on the Fortune 500 list would use the same lawyers over and over. After all, there’s tremendous value in the institutional knowledge that comes with decade-long relationships. But that can also lead firms on the list to become complacent, taking clients and work for granted. To combat that, UPS requires all firms, including those already on their panel, to submit RFPs for new work. That gives newcomers a chance to land legal assignments from the company. And it gives traditional firms added incentive to show UPS how much they know about their business. Over and over again.
  2. You’ve Got to Prove Yourself to Get Bet-The-Company Work: “In order for us to feel comfortable with a firm handling a large matter, we have to have some relationship with them on the small matters,” said UPS’ GC, Norman Brothers. More to the point: unless you blow their socks off on the mundane – good work, good results, good price – you’re never going to get a chance to show them how well you can handle the big stuff. If the name of the game is value, then the size of the matter doesn’t, well, matter: you either produce value for UPS or you cost them money. 
  3. Preparation Is Everything: You already know that if you don’t bring your A-game to the pitch, you’re not going to get the work. But “bringing your A-game” isn’t limited to knowing the judge or having handled hundreds of similar lawsuits or worked on the year’s biggest acquisition. According to Brothers, some firms haven’t even read UPS’ annual reports when they walk into their offices. Those firms can’t know the big picture of UPS’ business and legal challenges. And more often than not, they can’t get to Round 2 of the pitch. 
Read the article. It’s full of the insight you need.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Is Your Written Work Worthy of Being Read?

Blog posts, articles, newsletters, and the like that nobody reads are pretty pointless. That’s why you need 10 Rules for Writing To Be Read, from JD Supra, Knox Design Strategy, and Repechage. Here's one:
“Be Useful. Think, ‘What can the reader do with this information?’”
This post will help you turn your work into something that your audience can – and wants to – read. Print it out. Stick it on the wall beside your computer screen. Then follow the rules, every single time you write. You’ll be glad you did (and so will your readers).