Forget the Yellow Pages. They're expensive and won't generate
the clientele you'll want. Instead let me give you several
better ideas that will get you better, and more clients:
- Marketing is a contact sport, so
get out of your office and start meeting people. Get
active in your local business community. Join the
chamber of commerce, Rotary, and other service clubs.
Go for the purpose of making as many new friends as
- Make a list of groups, people or companies
that might be a good target for you. Look
for a common theme. Pick one of those groups to focus
on over the next six months. When you have figured
out that target group do some research—what
trade organizations, associations, etc. do those people
belong to? What do they read? Where do they hang out?
What would they be interested in learning about? What
might they need? Who are their competitors?
- Get active in the trade associations where
most of your clients come from. Go
to the meetings and volunteer to be active on a committee.
Find ways to make yourself useful. Work your way into
a role on the program committee or publication, where
you can make a big difference in the organization.
- Write articles. The same trade
associations will be dying for articles. Write a column
for your local weekly newspaper. Find a newsletter
or Web site that is read by your clients and write
articles for them. Pick a topic and two or three targeted
publications. If your firm has a marketing person,
they can contact the publication for you. Otherwise,
you can make the call yourself.
- Get on the lecture circuit. An
in-person presentation is the single most impressive
marketing tactic you can try. Tailor your presentation
to the audience and talk about how you can help them.
Take along plenty of business cards.
- Get a Web site. A new study by
Touchpoint Metrics of San Rafael, CA, proved that
law firms are getting new business from their Web
sites. The report found that articles and white papers
written by the firms’ lawyers generate visitors
who become new clients. It also reported that there
is a significant competitive advantage for firms that
deploy a Web site as a component of their prospect
generation, marketing, and client service efforts.
Put your Web address on your business cards, letterhead,
- Use your lunch hour for networking.
Never eat lunch alone. Call people who can refer you
business and take them out to lunch at the local restaurant.
This would include your local realtor, accountant,
lawyers at larger firms, bankers, etc. Also, contact
all your law school classmates, just to say "hi."
Find out what they're doing and let them know you
can handle their referrals.
- Spend $150 and get a handheld PDA to record
your contact list. You should spend time
really getting to know your referral sources—find
out their kid's names, the person's hobby, and what
they do for fun. Ask them their birthday. Write all
of this down in your PDA device so you can instantly
find it. Make sure to get everyone's e-mail address.
- Sit down and write an individual marketing
plan. Decide that you are going to spend
$5,000 in the next 12 months for marketing and figure
out how to spend it. This is not an expense, this
is an investment in yourself. To get a free form,
visit the LawMarketing Portal at www.lawmarketing.com,
click on Resources, and click on Individual Marketing
- Develop an e-mail distribution list.
It can be to individuals at first—send the realtor
a "happy birthday" wish by e-mail (you should
have this address in your PDA). As your list grows,
you can start to send your contact list legal alerts,
money-saving tips, or a newsletter.
- Join the PM Forum, a global organization
of 3,000 marketers in the law, accounting, and management
consulting fields. The Web site at www.PMForumNA.org
and the association's magazine features articles about
best practices in professional services marketing.
- Your marketing plan must mesh with your
strategic plan for your future. Creating
a marketing plan is only one component of your success.
The creation of the marketing plan is what comes after
developing your goals and objectives for what you
want your practice to be and look like.
- Create a budget or financial plan by which
you can measure your success. Your goals
might include increasing revenue by $100,000, opening
10 new files worth $1,000 in revenue per month, or
launching a new practice area that will generate $20,000
- Build on your existing base in one area
of law and decide what other areas you'd
like to expand into. This requires that you ask yourself,
"What am I good at?" "Which of those
do I like most?" and "Which will clients
buy?" If the clients won't buy anything you are
good at, then you need to upgrade your skills. This
is tough to do in solo practice but always worth it.
- Broaden your services to existing clients.
Let your clients know what other skills you have that
they haven't tried yet. Many techniques will work—face
to face; seminars; speaking to trade associations;
direct mail pieces; e-mail newsletters...the list
is endless, which is why a marketing plan is necessary.
Once again, picking the techniques you are comfortable
with works best. If you are strong face to face—do
lunch. If you are more of a podium speaker, hit the
- Referrals from other lawyers are your best
source of new business. Contact lawyers in
your area who may not provide the services you have
experience in and solicit your services for referrals.
Be certain to do a good job the first time, and then
work on broadening their confidence. Also solicit
experienced litigators for conflict referrals. Litigation
boutiques in larger cities do virtually nothing but
conflict work referred from mega firms.
- Solicit referrals from other professionals.
You probably have a banker who wants you to pay loans
and a CPA who needs his fees paid. Tell him what you
do and ask him to recommend your services. Most surveys
show that the accountant is the first advisor called
in a crisis. Litigators thrive on crisis referrals.
Get your name on their Rolodex or PDA.
- Do not try to be all things to all clients.
Focus on niches. But also accept any work you can
do well. Refer work you cannot do well to other lawyers,
and the lawyer you refer it to may return the favor.
- Visit the LawMarketing Store at
and buy a book, video, audio, encyclopedia, or newsletter
about marketing. There are also titles on customer
satisfaction, management, and relationship selling.
- Consider hiring a coach and attending marketing
training classes. Rainmaking is very personal.
While marketing is natural for some lawyers, other
aspects of forming a client relationship and making
"the close" are a mystical, Zen-like art
form. Without these skills, your marketing skills
Larry Bodine, is the North American
Regional Director for the PM Forum, a global association
of 3,000 marketers in the law, accounting and consulting
professions. Larry can be reached at 630.942.0977 and