There are plenty of mistakes and myths surrounding legal marketing and today we are channeling our inner MythBuster. Which BTW, is one of the coolest shows ever.
Today’s Legal Marketing Mythbuster: Only Extroverted Attorneys Get Clients and Become Rainmakers.
Au contraire, legal eagle.
Extroverted attorneys may be the loudest in the room. Or they are the most vocal when arguing for origination credit (ohhhh… are we thinking on a public domain again?) Kidding aside, extroverts are not always the biggest rainmakers.
Want to know why? Because the “selling” legal services (read: business development) requires a few things:
- Trust. We don’t know about you, but we don’t always trust people who “sell” hard. Think of the stereotypical used car salesman, politicians, or the financial planner who just connected with you on LinkedIn. The latter messaged you because he wants to manage your assets and your friends and family too.
- Listening. Extroverts are known as one-uppers and talkers. When you are talking, they are too busy thinking about what they are going to say to one-up you, instead of actually listening and thinking about what you’ve just said. Introverts listen, ask the right questions to get more information, then make insightful suggestions and introductions, and come up with solutions. And guess what, by listening, you become trusted.
There are plenty of ways to build your book of business and become a rainmaker – whether you are an introvert or an extrovert.
In fact, we are doing a seminar on this very topic as part of our Legal Marketing BootCamp in conjunction with the Bar Association of Lehigh County. Register here.
No matter what way you go about business development, there’s something just right for you.
Here are some ways attorneys we’ve worked with have done it in the past. REMEMBER – you don’t have to do it any of these ways.
A business attorney we worked with was an avid golfer and belonged to an expensive, exclusive golf club where he was able to rub elbows with big wigs. He excelled at cross-selling with these folks during his 4-hour sales meeting on the course. This lawyer was also able to impress high-powered execs by inviting them to his club, proving he was in the same “league” as they were.
This route isn’t for everyone, as there are both time and money limitations. But, there are things to think about, like junior memberships, public courses, creating your own golf league, or playing a different sport (Ed loves hockey).
A lawyer we worked with traveled around the country doing CLEs in his area of practice at big law firms that didn’t have offices in his jurisdiction. This led him to become well-known and trusted and the go-to lawyer by these other firms. In other words, lawyers across the country were his biggest referral source.
These days, you may not even have to travel, what with Zoom and remote webinars the norm. But, if you hate public speaking, maybe this isn’t the best fit for you.
We had an attorney who loved being out and about – going to sporting events, concerts, festivals, and fundraisers. She invited prospects and referral sources with her. Not only did the invitee feel special, but the attorney got substantial time with them to learn more about what their needs might be.
Make sure the person you are inviting is the right fit for the event to which you are extending the invitation.
Could you have been a food critic in another life? We worked with an attorney that simply loved eating out and would do his business development over for breakfast, lunch and dinner – sometimes 3 different clients/prospects for 3 meals in a day. Of course, at different restaurants! During shutdowns, the attorney would order food from the same restaurant to be delivered to his guest, and they’d enjoy a meal over Zoom together. It wasn’t the same, but it reinforced his personal brand – and kept him in good graces with the restaurants!
Everyone has to eat, and with people working remotely, some are more excited about getting out.
One of our clients is what we call The Leader. She’s highly involved in everything she does – from her volunteer work to her board appointments, to her leadership positions – you can always find her at the podium at events. She used her time at the podium to congratulate others for their hard work, putting her instantly in the good graces of many. It was easy for her to expand her network because she was “known” by being recognizable and trusted because she was so involved.
Being a leader requires you to be a night owl – few dinners at home with the family, and to be fully invested in your work outside of the firm.
Don’t roll your eyes. Just because “everyone is blogging” doesn’t mean you can’t do it more effectively and strategically. If your niche practice focuses on a hard-to-find audience – one that’s not readily available at a golf course or at business events – blogging can be an effective strategy. We had one attorney who used her content to turn her blog into a 7-figure revenue producer. While she had some luck because she was the first to take this specific topic to the blog in her geographical area, that doesn’t mean your blog can’t turn your content into a revenue driver.
What brings success to a blogger? Consistency. You need to commit to a higher number of blogs to really carve out your niche to get your target market’s attention.
There are “new” industries popping up all the time. We worked with an attorney who was on the first wave of CBD lawyers – and he took himself to market. Some at his firm were leery of the stigma of being a “pot lawyer” but his commitment to starting and leading groups at legal associations, getting published and interviewed on the subject matter, has made him the go-to lawyer in his state.
If you ain’t first, you’re last doesn’t apply here. But if you ain’t first, you have to go bigger and better. If you are first, wonder if there’s a reason… for instance, back in 1999, a bunch of attorneys branded themselves as Y2K attorneys, expecting there to be all sorts of issues resulting from a change in the century… except, nothing happened. It was a bust.
We’ve all gotta start somewhere – and we all do something for the first time all the time. So, there’s no saying you can’t learn a new area of the law to better serve your clients and keep their business. We worked with an attorney that was a general practitioner and one of her clients became general counsel in an industry where the attorney had minimal experience. But, she rolled up her sleeves, educated herself, and became very well versed. She’s become one of the most well-known attorneys in that industry.
So, what’s the takeaway? There are many, many, many attorneys out there who have been successful because they found what works for THEM. If they can do it, so can you! These people were not exceptional in any way – most were not off-the-charts-smart, didn’t go to the best law schools, and some weren’t even good-looking – HA!
So, find your passion, and get going!