Aon in-house lawyer who used to work for BigLaw and SmallerLaw Mark Herrmann frames that new business development tactic as Staying Gently In Touch. Here is his complete primer on that published today on Abovethelaw.com.
But, what more could lawyers, law students and other kinds of players in professional services be doing to develop new business? The myth that you can't market and sell during the holiday season is just that: a myth. With the U.S. economy on the upswing, there is plenty of pent-up demand to take advantage of this December.
Here are 7 things I know about attracting the right kind of attention. Forever, I have been pitching in on strategy and creating content for professional services.
Get in and get out. Yes, story telling is the meme of communications. But, unless you are a heavy hitter like Herrmann, who wants to hear your story? Few. Therefore, you must figure out what kind of story to tell. How to simplify it so that it is short. And how to package it in a compelling manner.
Keep refining. It took one solo flyer in public relations about 6 weeks to develop the pitch letter (cold calling via email) which was effective. (Read "What Color Is Your Parachute" to understand why this approach is so powerful.)
"Effective" means getting responses. He figured out what caught the prospects' eye were a catchy phrase in the subject head, the promise of results in the first sentence, his client list, publication credits, offer of complimentary consultation, and negotiable fees.
Be multi-dimensional. Never stick with one tactic. No matter how effective it is today, tomorrow it could reach point of diminishing returns. For example, the global charmer in the firm who takes prospects to great restaurants can become a nuisance. She could be driving away business, not developing it. To keep this rain-maker fresh train her to be a source for media, author books including free home-published ones, deliver engaging webinars, and put one toe in the water being a contrarian (almost half of TED Talks take a contrary point of view).
Develop brandname. Then clients come to you. The model in that is Edelman Public Relations. It launched its annual trust survey. Annually it presents that at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Is this a gimmick? No, because it is effective. Tactics are labeled "gimmicks" when they don't bring in new business.
Don't overdo. Herrmann's term "gentle" should be remembered here. Influence is developed with a gentle touch and it takes time. Professional services players who post articles too often on LinkedIn appear cartoonish. Less is more.
Know target markets. In Connecticut, Carter Mario understood his prospects were the victims of personal injury who needed a lawyer who was on their side, plus pulled out all stops to have justice done. His number-one medium, initially, was late-night television. Then that expanded to purchasing wrap-around space on buses. One winter he got lucky, the bus got stuck in the snow and local news picked that up. The Carter Mario firm currently operates throughout New England.
BigLaw has to figure out what mediums their prospects experience and trust. Those might not include websites or law journals.
Leverage voodoo. The mind is a powerful thing. That's why Silicon Valley leverages mindfulness training to modify thought processes. Several professional services players went to faith-healers to increase business. Never have I heard that that tactic was not effective. When I used the services for faith healers at Tamara Spiritual Center, Tucson, Arizona I was advised to open myself to new marketing ideas. They were on the money.
Just like digital technology, the tactics for new business development keep changing. That's exactly why success so often triggers failure. Rainmakers can become all-time losers when they stay within their comfort zone. Even before it seems necessary, experiment. The first step in that is monitoring and deconstructing what the competition is doing.