Marketing in the legal field is no longer limited to print ads, television commercials, and radio spots. The process extends far beyond the stereotypical advertising gimmick, into the realm of daily work life. Marketing should be a part of every firm’s regular routine. Promoting the firm is vital to maintaining current clients, retaining new ones, and even for obtaining reputable employees.
Because let’s be honest—everyone wants to work for the savvy and successful law firm.
Truth be told, the majority of legal marketing is done through word of mouth, so print ads, while somewhat beneficial, are not generally the funnel through which new clientele will flow. Real marketing begins with the clients a law firm or attorney already has. Consider them liquid capital. If a firm invests in them, it will see a great return. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, but the most important method—other than winning cases—is communication. Whenever a firm or attorney communicates with a client, they are given a chance to market their business. Open and frequent communication with clients is key to creating a strong business relationship. If a client feels taken care of by a particular firm or attorney, that client will have no qualms about referring a friend or business associate in need of legal services. Moreover, every time an attorney or member of the legal staff communicates with a client via email, phone, or at an in-person meeting, a firm has direct access to pitch new business to the client. Marketing should be a part of every piece of written communication, every telephone conversation, and every client conference.
In order to make this possible—without spamming—firms need to develop a strategy. Logos and business slogans should always be part of email signatures and letters, but beyond the visual aspects of advertising, we have emotional psychology—the heart of marketing. At the end of the day, whether a client refers a law firm to a friend or associate depends on whether they have developed trust in that law firm. This is where non-visual marketing comes into play. Firms should make it a weekly routine to call or email clients to check in and update them on the status of their case. Even if there has been no movement on the case whatsoever, touching base with a client to let them know and to see how they are doing can make all the difference down the road.
Humans like to feel appreciated.
A firm’s unique communication process should also include perceptive listening. If a legal secretary or receptionist is speaking to a client, or even a potential client, she or he should be mindful of what that person is saying. If a client mentions offhand that they are starting a new business with a friend, the legal secretary should take note of this and pass it along to the attorney so they can reach out to them to either assist with the formation of the company or provide the name of an associate who can help them. Even in situations where a firm does not end up taking a particular case, the interaction that potential client had with the firm is integral to obtaining clients later on. These brief exchanges make an impact. They are “prime real estate”—an opportunity to get in front of a person and promote a firm’s prowess. Therefore, educating the legal staff in the principles of marketing and relationship building should be an important goal for all firms, no matter the law type.
Take it from Paul J. Meyer: “Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.”
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