Ideas for Action - from the LMA Conference

Here is a glance at a few curated comments from the recent April annual conference for the Legal Marketing Association.  (Initial tweets or concepts in bold, my additional comments in italics.)

Client Feedback

  • It would be interesting to compare actual client impressions versus what partners think/assume client impressions are. ~ @amberb01  Yes.  One big Client Survey I participated in revealed knowns & unknowns – which helped attorneys build better relationships.  Plus, clients/GCs say they like to be asked (for feedback), and being asked raises their impression of the firm who asks them.
  • Not once have I been asked for a client feedback survey.  It seems obvious.  But I don’t see it. ~ From the GC Panel  For almost 20 years, GCs have said this.  Someday, attorneys will respond & survey their clients.  It's like buried treasure. 
  • Frame your pitch/proposal not as one-way, but as collaboration: what could the prospective client do for the Firm?  Outline and quantify that.  This approach within a proposal would impress one GC on the annual GC Panel.
  • CRM value:  the more you get to know about clients, the more you can  - and should – focus your content to them. ~ @ContactEase  A best practice in social:  use client feedback to refine, refine, refine your social conversation.
  • Big client service complaint from clients – law firms not understanding business impact (and often not even trying to understand). ~ @amberb01  This is an oft-repeated note from clients, thus fertile ground –-- for the willing.
  • “Commoditization” isn’t a dirty word.  It’s a fact.  We don’t own the pace at which the services we provide are commoditized.  Clients do.  Silicon Valley CEO @furrier noted this two years ago..., and it's good to see that Legal is taking notice.  It's critical for law firms to realize, “Client-Driven” is the world we live in now.

Business Partnership – Business Development

  • Market changes:  legal has gone from being reactive to the role of a more sophisticated business partner. ~ @CherylBame True “rainmaker” attorneys have operated for years with the viewpoint of a Business Partner.
  • @BTIConsulting discussed the growing trend of the "Market-Of-One" approach:  Your new client IS your new market.  Systems and automation will help manage this.
  • “Contacts are the new currency” – know who(m) you need to know & make connections. ~ @JRFitzgerrald  A familiar concept.  Though I would add, make sure you understand how to engage online, & in compliance with Bar rules.
  • Defining the firm’s values is important in developing your brand. ~ @JaffePR  This is a fundamental of marketing and of creating a solid business foundation.  Then, you must share those values and that perspective, so that it permeates the firm and so all employees reflect the same message.  e.g. Alignment.
  • “In order to have Clarity of Thought, we need Time for Thinking,” @LeoInghilleri  said this at the CMO event held in advance of the main LMA Conference.  His point is similar to the cardinal rule:  Make time to work ON your business, not only IN your business.
  • Digital Trend:  Omni-channel marketing.  Keep it consistent across all of your channels. @AudreaFink  Yes, the corporate world has been on this for 2-3 years – legal must catch up. (Will blog on this later this week.)

Value of Visual

Does your tagline visually represent your brand message?  How is your Firm’s story visually told in your logo?  ~ @sixty5roses  Visual is vital today.  Graphics engage more often than mere words (color engages 82% more than black & white).

The Human Brain processes visuals 60K times faster than text. ~ @roysexton, quoting Tom Shapiro.  All the more reason to investigate video/live streaming video as an outlet for reaching clients.

Involve Marketing/Extend Your Insights

  • (re:  Strategic Business Development planning)  More firms are starting to recognize the value of including a “client liaison” from the Marketing Department to help gain insights first-hand.  This will influence the hiring of marketing professionals with broader, sophisticated knowledge.  ALSO:  you are no longer just rendering services bought and paid for – but rather, the successful attorney will partner with clients by taking an interest in the client’s business, their challenges, their successes, and thinking with vision about future challenges and anticipate those with alternatives and solutions.
  • (re: GC Panel comments on the term "value.")  “Value” may waver a bit among clients/targets. More validation for Marketing to help gain client insights, for appropriate responses. 
  • Engage and involve Marketing in your planning for pitches -- even in allowing them to conduct pre-pitch/pre-RFP response investigation of the prospect.  Marketing is one of the few in the organization that looks GLOBALLY at the whole firm -- and thus has valuable insights related to the whole.
  • Systematic//automation – a hallmark of good social media, also makes it more approachable for attorneys and law firms to understand and adopt.

Never stop learning.  Great bosses continually learn & are always looking outside for education. ~ @KellyMackinnon  Two leading Rainmakers I've had the pleasure to work with were notable for their voracious appetites for reading - and that they sought to share what they gained from their reading (e.g. via Associate Development programs).

Do you know WHY clients choose you over other options?  Or, are you struggling to survive when instead, clients should be clamoring for your services?  This Friday, May 6th!  We kick off our Business Development training series with Purpose-Driven Practice.  You may register for the Friday session or for all three.  Learn more here.  (Limited seating.)