Thursday, March 26, 2015

"Client Focus" Is In The Eye Of The ... Client

There's only one way to give your client she expects, writes Gina Rubel in How In House Counsel Defines Client Focus. You ask her:
The phrase “client focus” can take on many meanings for lawyers. [...] One thing is certain, it is important for every attorney to ask his or her client what their expectations are as they relate to providing client-focused service and then do everything it takes to meet those expectations.
Read the post for Rubel's take - and that of a handful of in-house lawyers - on what it really means to "focus on the client." Then start doing it.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Do You Hear What Your Client Isn't Saying?

It's important to listen to everything your client tells you. But, writes Michael Rynowecer in 13 Unspoken Rules of Client Relationships, it's probably more important that you hear what she isn't saying. Because you need to follow the same unspoken rules that your clients have made "part of their core personality, behavior and decision making." Like these:
1. Clients always find a way to hire the people they want when they want to.
2. Clients don't fire their law firms, they just stop giving them work.
3. “Your rates are too high” is a euphemism for “I want to give the work to someone else”.
Read the post. Let these unspoken rules guide your behavior. You may not master all 13, but you just might start hearing more of what your client wants. And isn't that the goal?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The First Step in Marketing: Identify Your Ideal Client

Writing your marketing plan? Identify who you want to work for before you decide what you want to say and where you want to say it, writes Sam Glover in Let Your Ideal Client Guide Your Marketing Strategy. And he's right: if you're marketing your practice without a clear idea of the person you want to represent and the problems you want to solve, you're doing it wrong.
Many lawyers ask whether they ought to use Twitter or write a blog or join a networking group. This is like asking whether you should use Word or Photoshop for your next project before you know what it is. [...] But if you already have a clear picture of your ideal client — your laser-targeted demographic — your marketing strategy will probably be pretty obvious.
Read the post. Figure who your ideal client is (Glover's questions will help). Then start connecting.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Want To Add Value? Stop Talking About The Law

"I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail," wrote Abraham Maslow in The Psychology of Science. For lawyers, that often translates into talking about the law, about legal issues, about rules and regulations and requirements. And that's precisely where they go wrong when they're trying to develop and enhance professional relationships, explains Josh Beser in Lawyers: How to Be Valuable ... Aside from Practicing Law:
Lawyers have a problem. We’re consistently perceived as experts on one thing: law. This not only dominates how others view us, but also dominates how we view ourselves. If we start talking about law, especially early on in a conversation, we will only be viewed as lawyers. This dramatically limits how others perceive what we can do to help.
Read the post. Then find ways to implement Beser's three strategies to help others without practicing law. You - and they - will be glad you did.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Are You Cross-Selling? Or Just Sharing Space?

It's not all that surprising that more lawyers don't cross-sell (just ask Dan Hull). But it's good for you. And not coincidentally, it's good for your clients too, when you do it right.

But knowing that doesn't fix the problem. You need to make time to get to know your colleagues, writes Tim Corcoran in Law Firm Cross Selling Basics:
Work from another office periodically. Pick two or three colleagues you don’t know, even if your clients have never had a need in this area, and take them to lunch this year. When traveling to a client site, if there’s a satellite office nearby, drop in and walk the halls. Your colleagues will refer business to you when they trust you, and they won’t generally trust you until they know you.
Read the post. Then get up out of your chair and onto your partners' schedule. You'll both be better off.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Good Writing Is Good For Business

While readers may forgive a grammatical error, a run-on sentence, or even a typo, they're likely to find your work less professional, less organized, and most importantly less valuable when they do. That's what journalism professor Fred Vultee found when he asked students to read both edited and unedited versions of news articles, writes Natalie Jomini Stroud in Study shows the value of copy editing. Vultee's conclusion? It pays to spend on an editor:
Copy editing affects audiences' perceptions about the news and their willingness to pay for it.
The lesson for lawyers and law firms is no less powerful, particularly when you substitute "your legal advice" for "the news" in the above sentence. That doesn't necessarily mean you need to hire a full-time copy editor to review your weekly blog post. But it almost certainly means that you should be relentless when editing your work to correct mistakes, avoid jargon, and make sure your intended audience will understand your message. 

Don't let a typo damage your credibility. Read the post, then get out your red pencil and start editing.

Monday, March 2, 2015

3 Reasons People Will Read Your Post: The Title, The Title, & The Title

But don't take my word for it. Hear what Adrian Lurssen, co-founder of JD Supra, journalist, and content marketing strategist, has to say:

Watch the clip. Then start writing titles that tell people why they need to read your work.