During the past decade law firms have experienced significant change. Things just aren't the way they used to be. During better times, business was easier to acquire and maintain. Client fee sensitivity, competition, specialization, and poor public image have made the practice of law much more difficult. It requires much more effort to manage and sustain a successful law practice.
The good news is that rainmaking will always require good, old-fashioned human relationships. The better news is that technology offers new tools that make marketing easier, faster, more effective, less expensive, and more.
When it comes to doctors, most people want to go to a specialist, not a generalist. Nobody trusts brain surgery to a general surgeon. Increasingly, clients feel the same way about their lawyers.
Although advertising hasn't yet entirely shed its stigma within the legal community,the practice has begun to gain acceptance with some of the buttoned-down partners who oversee large-firm marketing budgets, which nowadays can reach $1 million or more.
Years ago, the typical person opened the Yellow Pages to find legal help. Today, most prospects go online. From their perspective, your Web site is your law firm - their first, most lasting impression of who you are, what sets you apart and how well you can meet their needs.
Walt Disney didn't know what he started. Long before the era of faxes, on-line bulletin board systems and the Concorde, an attraction at his theme park had dolls dressed in costumes from many lands singing "It's a Small World." With the advent of new technologies and changes in the global market, a more timely phrase can now be coined:It's an even smaller business world.
When I ask clients what their biggest challenge in business development is, they commonly say, "Asking for business." And yet, when they are trying to land a new client, they forget about the "asking" part and focus on the "pitching" part.
Since the markets turned bearish, the first instinct for many law firms has been to clamp down on marketing dollars. We're told that branding -- gaining a place in the minds of buyers -- always takes years and costs tons of money. So now is a bad time to embark on a branding program. Right? Wrong!
You don't change your horse mid-race is good advice for jockeys, but perhaps not as good for lawyers looking to take their practices to the next level. As you move through the course of your career, you may "outgrow" marketing activities that served you well in the beginning.
How can you make the most of networking events? Here are nine tips for transforming networking events into a business development tool.