For legal practice, marketing, business development or sales is a modern invention – the labels at least.
We all know that firms and select partners were previously doing a lot of things mentioned in my previous posts and upon which many books have been written. First among these is having regular and frequent contact with their clients. And after that was the ability to deal with each client as a human being and not just as another ‘billable matter” or a means to get the chargeable time up (I always thought that expressing things in this way was incredibly dehumanising).
But the fact is that any product or service that is remarkable will need next to no marketing: the bush fire of word of mouth will drive sales.
Even the social media platforms that have received such wide acclaim and are free will still require feeding with memorable content and staffing to drive the next stage of the influencing process. Right now there are a lot of people who think that social media is the saviour of the profession as if ‘new’ media means better than ‘old’ marketing. Think again.
Marketing is a tax on law firms that could be eradicated if only firms started to insanely focus on developing and enhancing the experience with their clients. They need to start imaging a world with bigger and more sophisticated brands and clients whose loyalty and custom will be cherished and not taken for granted.
Firms need to stop under delivering on their service and over charging their clients. They need to understand what value looks like and to properly understand their clients’ needs. Of course no one client is the same and what works for a FTSE 100 company/GC may be different to acting for a private client but if you take the time to speak to your client(s) you will quickly understand what they want. Too much of what law firms do is created in a vacuum. It is underpinned by an ego mentality: lawyers know best.
It is easy to deride the idea of WOW service but in reading various case studies about businesses that epitomise this concept (Zappos nearly always coming out on top), I have yet to read anything about a law firm. Why is that? Do you really need to ask? But in all seriousness it must be one of two reasons:
- They don’t care enough to make it happen; or
- They are delusional: they think that the service is WOW when in reality it is at best mediocre.
If every person within the practice was focused on being the most of something (a lawyer), providing a service that was the best in the world then given the plethora of law firms it wouldn’t be long before clients started talking about you. After all clients want to feel that they are getting the best and if every time they mentioned legal services your name came up then at the very least new clients would be compelled to check you out.
Next time you sit down to discuss marketing ask yourself what you would do if you were in start up mode and had no money. At the very least you might decide to embark on a programme where you aimed to superplease each and every client, embarked on a proactive programme for generating word of mouth referrals and reached out to your clients for feedback.