I ran across a fascinating marketing tip sheet recently. It’s written by Jay Conrad Levinson, who has achieved notoriety as the author behind the Guerrilla Marketing series. What I found is the 15 Secrets of Guerrilla Marketing (no longer available).
I will admit up front that I haven’t read a single Guerrilla Marketing book or even an article. However, one of the “secrets” caught my eye as being potentially true for everybody, but right on target for lawyers engaging in client development activities. Levinson says:
Commitment: You should know that a mediocre marketing program with commitment will always prove more profitable than a brilliant marketing program without commitment. Commitment makes it happen.
I hope it’s immediately apparent to you why this is applicable to lawyers, but just in case it isn’t, consider this:
Suppose you’re researching an area of law to get a feel for it, knowing that you’re going to need to affiliate with someone who’s an expert in the area. Would you be likely to contact someone who keeps popping up as an articles author on your topic, someone perhaps with a treatise to boot, who’s spoken on the issue at a number of CLE meetings? Would you be more or less likely to contact someone whose name comes up once as an author, once as a speaker, perhaps as a member of a relevant committee, etc? I’d be willing to bet that you’d be more eager to speak with the first lawyer.
Commitment pays off because it increase the depth of your experience and credentials in a particular area. Whether it’s writing as in the example above or in pro bono work, doing a client development activity once is unlikely to make a significant impact. But if you do it over and over, make it a regular part of your schedule, you will begin to gain some traction, to know people in the relevant area and to be known, and potentially to acquire a reputation as an expert. Each of these attributes requires a sustained effort.
As you consider your client development plans, consider how committed you are to the plans you’ve set out. Are you stretched too thin? Do you need to let some activities go so you can work deeply in a limited number of areas?
Or perhaps you need to step back even a bit further. Maybe you don’t have a client development plan or strategy. You might make an unfocused effort to attend networking meetings, to agree to write an article if someone approaches you, to speak on a topic in which you’re competent but which is not central to your practice. While any of these activities will get you exposure, this group of plans isn’t enough to get you consistently in front of the people who need to know about you and your practice.
Consistency demands that you evaluate your client development plans, select a limited number of activities that you will plan to accommodate in your schedule. Then, schedule them and take part regularly. Be sure you’re building a reputation that will serve you well; be sure your consistent, committed client development activities are directed toward helping you to build that reputation.
And, because I’m curious… Has anyone ever read Guerrilla Marketing? And/or applied it to client development in the client context? Interesting stuff, and I’d be curious to hear the results.