As a lawyer you have a service to market. You’re motivated to market your practice because you like what you do and it’s your livelihood. If you’re in private practice marketing can get you the kind of files and client relationships you want. If your legal practice is a salaried job, marketing yourself can lead to satisfaction in terms of files, opportunity and, yes, income. This article is written for client seeking lawyers but if you’ve got a job and your goal is different these ideas will work for you as well.
Most often marketing is like Farming. The marketer plants Seeds, then Cultivates and often there is something to Harvest. There are people out there who you don’t know. If you can plant a seed to make their acquaintance and then cultivate to turn them into a contact and then cultivate some more to turn them into a prospect and then harvest a file or a referral you’ve turned someone you didn’t know into money. In many cases you can start your marketing in the middle of the chain by cultivating people already in your network; people who already know you and like you.
But in your quest to turn people you don’t know into clients you possibly don’t plant enough seeds and cultivate existing relationships. For example you could make more warm and cold contacts; or you don’t follow up on previous contact as much as you should or you don’t always ask for help from people you know who have influence and a network of their own.
Everyone in marketing fears rejection. From the best salespeople to the worst they all fear rejection. You probably fall somewhere in the middle. None of you want to hear the word “no” anymore than you have to. When the fear of ‘no’ gets in the way of making contact it’s called ‘call reluctance’. It is driven by the ego which exerts too much control and seeks to limit rejection. It’s logical that we want to avoid ‘no’. You probably heard ‘no’ seventy thousand times by the third grade. Who’d want to relive that experience?
The consequence is that people who market themselves, like lawyers, can always be doing more to sell themselves. More might be defined as spending more time at it. It also might be defined as more challenging, meaning selling to better potential prospects, those more likely to say ‘no’ but who have bigger files to win.
Your added problem is that doing your work is often very satisfying, much more pleasurable than squeezing another “no thanks” out of a prospect. Some people will unconsciously add to their workload to avoid putting themselves in a situation where they hear “no” from prospects. Others become slaves to the urgent while avoiding what’s important and significant, that is, marketing.
People who recognize their marketing hurdles can take action to overcome them. The actions don’t make the fear of rejection go away. The action simply overwhelms the fear with activity.
Make Marketing A Time Management Policy.
Create a policy for yourself which dictates that you spend 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. every business day making contact with suspects and prospects. During this time you can; a. Fix & improve your prospect lists, b. Call: make warm contacts by email, phone or text or cold contacts or follow-up contacts. c. Reward people for knowing you via a newsletter or simply forwarding interesting articles (like this one). d. Meet people over breakfast or coffee to start, build or enhance relationships. Don’t do any work that isn’t marketing at this time.
Key to this first idea is to do all of the above religiously every business day from 8:30 to 9:00 am. Why 8:30 to 9:00 am. There is no good reason for that time. I chose it arbitrarily. If there was some wisdom that went into the choice then it wouldn’t be as good. The problem is that the ego is very powerful. If you come up with a good reason why 8:30 to 9:00 is the best time, your ego will come up with a better reason not to market from 8:30 to 9:00. And it won’t let you get around to it later in the day. My advice is to arbitrarily choose to market yourself from 8:30 to 9:00 am every business day. Don’t accept any evidence from your ego no matter how good.
The great thing about this is that if you do market yourself steadily every business day, you’ll construct so many good relationships you’ll be hard pressed to cultivate them all.
In the next articles in this series I will lay out four more things you can do to overcome call reluctance and market yourself more.
Jerome Shore is an Executive Coach in Toronto, Canada. Clients to look to Jerome for help with Marketing, Leadership and Stress Management. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-416-787-5555.