Do lawyers need to know how to market themselves effectively?
When I was a trainee (a long time ago), we still had the bulk of the day-to-day work arriving by post. We did have computers and got excited when an email arrived, (little did we know how we might live to regret that…!)
Not all that many years earlier, cases were divided by the partners in the post room as they chose their new matters as the instruction letters were opened.
Fast forward a few years, and while I was in traditional practice, not a great deal had changed. Work came to the junior fee earners via the senior partners who had inherited clients or built their relationships on the golf course or similar.
When I started my own legal business nine years ago, having left a large traditional firm, I had no following of my own and no real knowledge of how to build one, except by building relationships, by being “nice”. This worked over a few years, and I created a full-time practice.
But there was so much I was missing!
When I started this business, Authentically Speaking in 2016, I invested in coaching and mentoring on how to build a new business effectively. I hired marketing experts, watched YouTube videos and went on numerous online and in-person courses. (Many of which looking back were not all that necessary).
One of the most significant revelations was that this new knowledge equally applied to my legal business.
Marketing and sales are marketing and sales, whatever business you’re in.
The truth is that the legal profession deep down, still believes that it’s somehow different from other businesses. (Or perhaps better…?)
I was training some LPC students a few years ago and when I suggested that we were a “service industry”, one student completely disagreed. He felt we were “above” that description. I wonder how he is faring now in his career…
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that many of the best (client-driven) lawyers I know, started their early working life in part time jobs such as hospital cleaning, bar, waiting on or shop staff.
So if we are willing to accept that we are a service led industry and need to attract clients, rather than assume they will come to us, why don’t we do this? Either effectively, or perhaps at all?
Because we weren’t trained how to do it…
We were trained (very thoroughly) to review leases, draft witness statements, interview clients, file court documents on time and negotiate technical details.
We weren’t trained how to create a brand for ourselves or promote our firm. How to engage in the best marketing activities for our personality type – there is not a one size fits all and trying to do something which does not suit you, will not result in a great deal of success, but quite a lot of stress.
Five of my current coaching clients want to improve their business development activities, and they came to me thinking it was hard work, too much to think about or as one client even shared, “it makes me feel sick”.
I love working with entrepreneurial business minded lawyers to explore their fears around marketing, self-promotion and business development. We find marketing activities they feel comfortable with, and importantly can do with ease, so it’s not another thing on their lengthy to-do list, in these challenging months when there is so little time.
I’ve started using my calendar booking system in the interests of my own time management, click here and book yourself a chat.
to your marketing success,