February 22, 2008
How to "market" at moments you don't "need" to market.
When "the cotton is high", you make a phone call today anyway. You do it even if you're uncomfortably busy with billable work. Yeah, it's hard to switch that gear and call when you are up to your ears in work. Hard to move into marketing mode even if you know the call will take only minutes. But make time four (4) times a week to make a call to a (a) sought-after client, (b) existing client or (c) "influential" person. Keep adding to the pipeline even though it seems like the work you have today will never end--because it will.
Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at February 22, 2008 10:22 AM
Good advice. "Make hay while the sun shines." Here is the next question though: when you make those calls, what do you talk about? I know it sounds basic, but I am always conscious of how busy most folks are and don't want to waste their time. So I tell them I'm calling just to check in and see how they are doing, or more often leave them a voicemail with that message, in the hopes that I'll be "top of mind" when they get sued or need legal help. Any better idea?
Posted by: T.J. Conley at February 21, 2008 02:13 PM
It's the 80/20 philosophy - once things are where you want them, devote 20% of your time to bringing in new clients and a portion of that time will be cultivating your existing clients, targeting those 'sought-after' clients and maintaining your connections with persons of influence. But it's not just about phone calls (although that is one method). It's any manner of contact which may extend to common interests outside the scope of the traditional work environment. The most important part of this is the conscious behavior which leads to some connection a fixed number of times per week which leads you closer to new business or increased business.
Posted by: Susan Cartier Liebel at February 21, 2008 08:12 PM
Great questions. First, at our firm, the idea is to be day-to-day counsel and advisors--not just the trial lawyers or hired guns when things get screwed up; we think litigation is a needed support function for any law firm, but not the main event. Litigation is also a terrible first project with any new client. It's costly and a bummer even when you are doing things perfectly. Second, you have to have a second sense about how hard to push. At least 1 out of 5 companies you target will never hire any single law firm which goes after its work--for lots of different reasons. Don't waste your time or theirs. Don't take it personally. Third, it doesn't matter what you say in calls except: remind them of who you are, that you exist and WHAT YOU DO specifically--3 things, say, federal court IP and contracts; corporate tax; environmental enforcement. Finally, what you tell them is YOU WANT TO WORK for them; it's your job to tell them that. Don't beat around the bush.
Posted by: Holden Oliver at February 22, 2008 05:52 AM