Implement these ideas today

What would it take for you to catch up on all those articles and emails you put to the side (physically or digitally), promising to read them later but almost never actually doing so? For me, it was spending the last two weeks sitting in the ICU with a very ill family member. (He’s now out of ICU and doing well, happily.) And while catching up, I ran across a few articles and resources you can’t afford to miss.

1. How do GCs really view lawyer marketing? This article, summarizing a panel of Fortune 500 GCs who spoke at the Legal Marketing Association annual conference, is well worth a read if you’ve ever paused in the midst of business development activity and wondered why you’re bothering. The big take-home for me? Fortune 500 companies pay attention to client alerts and blogs as well as speaking engagements. Holiday cards and directory listings, in contrast, ranked low.

Bottom line? Providing relevant and timely content to potential clients establishes your credibility and makes you a viable candidate for retention. (Note that these conclusions may not translate directly to consumer clients.)

2. Explore Coursera, which allows you to enroll for free in online classes offered by some of the top universities in the world. If time and money were endless, I could be a perpetual student, and Coursera affords entry to classes I could never access otherwise, offered online via video. I signed up for Better Leader, Richer Life, based on Stewart Friedman’s book Total Leadership (which I reviewed here and taught by Friedman himself and Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence, taught by Richard Boyatzis, co-author of books including Primal Leadership, and I have my eyes on several other courses.

Coursera will feed your mind on topics relevant to building your practice (including several business classes on marketing and innovation) and personal interests (such as Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas or Buddhist Meditation and the Modern World). What’s more, depending on your practice area, you may recommend a course to your clients (Law and the Entrepreneur, perhaps) or draw on what you learn to flavor an article or blog posts.

3. Never Lose Sight of the Competition. This article, written by “Die Hard Entrepreneur” Gurbaksh Chahal, offers ground rules on how to handle your competition: don’t take competitors for granted, study your competitors and learn from their mistakes, be creative (not a copycat), and persevere.Although the article’s context deals with products rather than professional services, the lesson holds. What can you learn from the way others on your practice area market, how they define the scope of their practice, and what ancillary services they offer? And then, how can you use that information to help you identify a gap in client service or in outreach to your ideal clients and/or referral sources?

I hope these three resources are helpful for you. More importantly, I hope they are useful — which means you have to implement what’s relevant for you and your practice.

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