By David V. Lorenzo — The first seven months of 2008 were difficult for most law firms. Dan DiPietro, who oversees law firm client relations at Citigroup Inc.’s Citi Private Bank, says that this year will finish up as the worst year for law firms since the 1990s.
Most attorneys are notoriously bad at Rainmaking. Many unprofitable law firms have partners, directors, and shareholders (and even individual attorneys) who have fallen into some bad habits when it comes to bringing in new business.
So exactly which habits are bad, and how can you avoid them?
Here are the seven deadly sins of attorney business development. See how many you recognize:
Dont focus on Just One or Two Ways of Attracting New Clients
Attorneys are generally looking for a “magic marketing bullet.” They want one way to develop a lot of new business. They run an ad and hope that the ad brings in enough new clients to make them wealthy.
Good marketing is all about math. You need to know exactly how many people in your target market must hear your message before they consider working with you. You need to share your message with your ideal audience in a variety of ways.
You need to find 100 ways to attractone client and employ all of them as aggressively as possible.. Here are the other six deadly sins: Not Marketing to Current Clients
Many attorneys believe that the marketing process stops once a client has started working with them. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Rainmakers know that it requires 80 percent less effort to market to someone who already trusts you. There is gold in your current client list. Go after it by offering complementary legal services or related advisory services to your clients. Your best customer is your current customer.Leaving Past Clients for “Dead”
If a client has given you her hard-earned money once and you’ve performed well, she will most likely trust you to do it again. You need to find ways to re-engage the folks who have been willing to work with you in the past.
Some attorneys offer services that may only allow them to interact with most clients on a one-time basis (divorce, real estate, and bankruptcy, for example). Remember to stay in touch through a newsletter or other communication.
Failing to Attract People to Your Practice Before They Need Your Services
Why do some attorneys have a difficult time finding new clients?
Because they don’t understand the process prospective clients go through when choosing their services.
Rainmaker Lawyers will plant the seeds for future growth while working with their clients. They have also developed vertically deep practices that build based upon the success of one another. The ABC rule definitely applies to your firmwhether it is a one-person shop or a big multi-national: Always Be Cross selling.
Taking Your Natural Network For GrantedCan your grandmother describe what you do for a living in one sentence or less? How about your seven-year-old?
Most of our friends and family would be happy to refer business to us over and over againif they only knew exactly what we did. The next time you sit down with your family and friends, take some time to get to know what they do for a living. Hopefully they will return the favor. Give them the information they need to help you.Not Creating a Clear Competitive Advantage
What is the one reason why I should pick your firm instead of all others? You are smarter? You are more experienced? You went to a better law school? Everybody says those things.
Give your clients a reason to select you. Do something outrageously outside the norms of your industry.
Make house callsthey go to their client’s home or office to work with them.
Offer free childcare at their offices for people who come to meet with them.
Provide free trademark monitoring for one year to all clients who do some form of intellectual property work with them.
These things make a big impact on the experience your client has when he works with you. Not Keeping Your Marketing Education as Up to Date as Your Legal Education
Do you know the latest ways to market online? Do you have a blog? Are you on LinkedIn? Do you use Twitter?
These are all ways that many of our attorney-clients are marketing their services. Then again, our clients are each taught over 100 ways to find new clients. How many new ways to find a client did you learn this month?
David Lorenzo helps attorneys make more money with less effort. To receive his free white paper, titled How one Rainmaker Brought in 30 New Clients in 90 Days visit: http://www.30in90.com and sign up, or call Dave toll-free at 1-888-692-5531.