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August 21, 2006

"I know it's only marketing--but I like it." Yes, but please get some help.

If I could win ya, if I could sing ya
A love song so divine,
Would it be enough for your cheating heart,
If I broke down and cried? If I cri-i-ied?

I said I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it.... (M. Jagger/K. Richards)

Marketing isn't for everyone. You probably need a dark, kinky crowd-pleasing streak--a touch of Little Richard in you--to enjoy it, much less be any good at it. That's why marketing efforts in many American law firms are often dominated by trial lawyers, the closest thing we have to "outlaw" and "showman" in our staid and risk-averse profession. Trial people don't necessarily have better marketing and selling instincts. When the dust we kick up clears, we are just as overly-cautious and spineless as everyone else in the profession. We are not always possessed of winning ways. We just "like it", and we have big egos. We like to talk.

Lawyers are notoriously bad marketers, closers, managers, planners and strategists compared to trained business professionals. We just think differently, and we suffer from "rigid thought syndrome". Even those of us who can melt juries are not really that people-oriented. We were "good students". We were careful. We tended to be introverts and loners. And now we are prisoners of legal thinking. Ironically, the very traits and training that made us good at our profession have made us bad at other things.

But we can learn. And no one gets a pass. (1) Those who like to market and sell need training. (2) Those who don't like to market and sell need training, too.

On both the right and left side of this blog are listed several management and marketing consultants. You can tell this by the names of their blogs and websites. Some are lawyers, some aren't, but all of them can help your firm develop a disciplined marketing strategy or "WAC?", which is careful and risk-averse, would not have ever listed them on this blog. You should contact these people. You'll need them sooner or later. You need more than great instincts. We know it's only marketing and selling, but don't wing it, counsellor.

Posted by JD Hull at August 21, 2006 11:39 PM

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