Lawyers, The Competition That Kills You Might Not Look Like You

Lawyers, The Competition That Kills You Might Not Look Like You

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Business Development/Sales, Business of Law, Client Service and Retention, Competition Leave a Comment

At the recent Legal Marketing Association conference (#LMA22) in Las Vegas, our keynote presenters on the first day were Richard and Daniel Susskind, the visionaries we have all come to know, like, trust, and respect in this industry and profession.

Richard and Daniel study and look at the future of the profession and give recommendations and insight as to how firms can protect, nurture, and grow their businesses.

During the conversation, Richard shared a reminder that the competition that kills you might not look like you.


That got a lot of people in the audience thinking because, in the legal profession, many tend to look at the law firm down the street, or across the country, or across the world as their primary competition. These are the obvious choices because they have been for a very long time. We can see them.

The Not So Obvious Sources of Competition For Lawyers

Today and in the future, you must realize that your competition does not just come from traditionally structured law firms, but from those you might not even be imagining.

What would happen if groups of lawyers from different firms went out on their own and created completely different business models that allow them to serve your clients just as well, if not better than you do?

It’s easy to say that this won’t happen, or that others have tried it and failed. You are safe because your business is healthy.

It is easy to put those blinders on, but let’s look at what has happened in other industries.

  • Look at taxis that have been eaten alive by Uber and Lyft.
  • Look at traditional bookstores that have been replaced by online digital sources of information.
  • Look at the retail industry that has been decimated by efficient and not always less expensive digital powerhouses such as Amazon.
  • Look at CPAs who have lost a bit of business to those who use TurboTax at home.

The Pandemic Has Changed Everything

Richard told us that more people signed up for Harvard’s online services in one year during the pandemic than had enrolled in Harvard’s history. Harvard offered, and students found, a solution that was likely never imagined by Harvard 10 years ago.

Just as with institutions like Harvard, the pandemic forced you and your clients to embrace technology in order to continue to communicate and conduct business. This trend will not reverse. It is nearly impossible to forget or unlearn those skills and ways of doing business that you and your clients have learned.

Alternative Service Providers (ALSPs) Will Figure Out How To Give Your Clients What They Want and Need

The point is that there are people out there thinking about better ways to do what you do.  You can’t get complacent, thinking that won’t happen.

A wise course of action is to figure out what your clients want, need, and expect, even if it isn’t obvious to them.

Richard reminded us that your clients don’t want lawyers, they want the results you offer.

Do The Results You Offer Match What Your Clients Need?

Knowing that your clients want results, it would be wise to regularly ask yourself what results you are offering your clients.

What results are they looking for?

What emotions, problems, anxiety, fears, and other challenges lie beneath the challenges they are able to articulate?

I Was Asked What Firms Can Do To Prepare For This New Competition

Last week, I was invited to network by a fairly new legal marketing and business development professional. This professional has been in our industry for two years, so she wanted to connect and ask my opinion on a few legal business issues.

During our conversation, she referred to Richard and Daniel Susskind’s keynote, and asked me what I thought some of the things are that law firms can do to prepare for, and set themselves apart from, that competition that Richard said might not look anything like us.

I offered my thoughts on a few different solutions. Of course, I mentioned technology and personalization and the ability of those tools to reach clients, potential clients, and other influencers in a way that nurtures and solidifies relationships.

I also agreed with the Susskinds that we need to continue to step up our knowledge and strategic use of technology to build reputations, relationships, and the more efficient execution of the tasks that we must do to run our firms and practices.

Technology Is Great, But Let’s Back Up A Bit

As critical as legal technology is to just about every function in your firm, it is equally important to take a step back and look at some very basic principles because, without them, the latest and greatest technology will not be as effective as it can and should be.

The Question Lawyers Must Ask Themselves

When competition surfaces, what is it that consumers of products and services use to determine who they will do business with?

What are the measuring sticks used to help make their decisions easier? Are those measuring sticks tangible, or are they more subjective?

In other service-based businesses, if a new business or firm pops up down the street, or strategically places an ad in front of a buyer on the Internet, what would cause that buyer to not jump ship and leave their favorite provider to try out that new service?

Put Yourself In Your Clients’ Shoes

You need to put yourself in the same decision-making position as your clients and potential clients.

Ask yourself, or ask them, what are those things that would cause these people who are so valuable to you and the future of your practice and your firm to be so secure, confident, and pleased with your working relationship that, when faced with alternate sources for service that you offer, they would easily make the decision to continue working with you?

What is it that you do, or could start doing, on a regular basis that helps them realize that:

  • You are easy to do business with
  • You provide service in a way that no one else can
  • You understand their business better than anyone else
  • You go the extra mile to make sure they are prepared for any new developments in their industry
  • You truly value their business and your relationship

Make Yourself Unbeatable

Spend some time brainstorming the answers to the questions above. Please don’t wait until the next pandemic or recession starts to try to make yourself indispensable and unbeatable. This is not a short-term task that you can accomplish at a moment’s notice, but one that is worth your time, effort, and resources to work on now.

  • Gather your team.
  • Brainstorm.
  • Ask your clients.
  • Observe what your clients react to.

Practice Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

Form an effort around each client and prospect. Create a plan that speaks directly to making each one happy. Think about all of your clients’ and prospects’ team members, taking into consideration their skills and knowledge and how you can also help them succeed so they are prepared for their current and future responsibilities, and so that you nurture relationships you might rely upon one of these days when your primary contact leaves.

Remember, Your Competition Might Not Look Like You

As Richard Susskind shared, your competition might not look anything like you.

Even more important, your competition might not act anything like you, either, and that could very well be your advantage, now and in the future.

NOTE: If you would like to see the rest of the notes I took during Richard and Daniel Susskind’s wonderful keynote, you can find those right here.

Nancy Myrland Legal Marketing Consultant

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to build their reputations and their relationships, which leads to building their practices.

Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, Nancy is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients. 

As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasting, video marketing, voice marketing, and livestreaming. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online. She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

Law Firms, Are You Still Discouraging The Use of Social Media?

Law Firms, Are You Still Discouraging The Use of Social Media?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Social Media, Social Media Ethics & Regulations Leave a Comment

I read an article last Friday on Law.com about law firms that put restrictions on the use of social media by their legal and business professionals. You might find it hard to believe this is still an issue, but it stems from some firms being worried about what’s going to happen on social media. They don’t fully trust their people to make good decisions, so they don’t let them use social media, or they ask to review everything they post.Law Firms Discourage The Use of Social MediaIn today’s blog post and episode of Legal Marketing Moments (my 2-3 minute podcast), let’s talk about that because, in this day and age, these restrictions concern me.

If you prefer to listen to this as a podcast episode, you can click on the image below. If you are reading this via email and don’t see the player, I invite you to visit this link.

Legal Marketing Moments podcast with Nancy Myrland

Are You Still Restricting The Use of Social Media In Your Law Firm?

If you are still in the mode of not letting people in your law firm use social media, or if you are putting a tight rein over them, asking to review what they are going to post, you might want to take a few steps back to think about the implications of those restrictions, as well as the benefits of lifting them.

Social Media Can Strengthen Brands and Careers

Social media are such good tools. In the right hands with the right intentions, they can:

  • Build and strengthen your firm’s brand
  • Build relationships
  • Build and extend reputations
  • Build practices

Building relationships with the people that you and everybody in your firm care the most about doing business with or learning from enable everyone in your firm to build their reputations on an individual level, which contributes to the overall brand of your firm. This also has a huge impact on your professionals’ longevity and their career.

Those who build their reputation and their relationships are those who are remembered first by others. They make it easy for others to remember them when the time comes and their services are needed.

Is It A Training Issue?

Perhaps this is rooted in a lack of training. If so, then please invest in training. Don’t just train once, but make sure there are reminders throughout the year. Requiring everyone to attend a training on LinkedIn, or any social media, then not reinforcing or demonstrating what that looks like on a regular basis, will probably not result in meaningful change.

Perhaps you should consider building an online learning platform that provides ongoing training sessions.

I’m happy to discuss a customized version of my LinkedIn Course For Lawyers for your firm specifically.

I am also happy to have you and your lawyers attend my next cohort of my LinkedIn Course for Lawyers virtual course, but please make sure to renew on a regular basis to remind yourselves of changes and best practices for the most effective and efficient use.

Social Media Users, This Next Message Is For You

If you find yourself saying silly or divisive things on social media, things you would not do face to face with your clients and potential clients, or in conversation with media, then you need to pull back a little bit. You’re intelligent, so please use your intelligence and common sense in these public spaces.

Build Your Personal and Your Firm Brand

Build a personal brand you can be proud of, and that you can build your career on. This also contributes to the overall brand of your firm, which is made up of all of the pieces of personal brands that you and your colleagues are demonstrating on a daily basis.

Bottom Line

Please don’t hold your people back from using social media because you’re worried they are going to ruin or break something. Let’s train your legal and business professionals so they can be an army of marketers and brand builders that are helping to build their reputation, and that of your firm.

Questions?

If you have any questions or comments, just let me know. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] or any of these places

SPECIAL NOTE: 

As mentioned above, if you would like to be notified when my hybrid live (virtual) and self-study course LinkedIn Course For Lawyers is accepting new students again (very soon), you can do that here.

 

Nancy Myrland Legal Marketing Consultant

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to build their reputations and their relationships, which leads to building their practices.

Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, Nancy is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients. 

As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcastingvideo marketing, voice marketing, and livestreaming. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online. She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

Is It Time To Stop Attending Conferences In Person?

Is It Time To Stop Attending Conferences In Person?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, LMA Leave a Comment

We’re going through a very interesting time with regards to business development and networking, and whether or not we should be doing that online or in person.

I think we need to have a conversation about what has changed in this world the past few years, and what you might need to think about.

Your Choice: Blog or Podcast?

If you would like to listen to my 6-minute, 46-second podcast where this blog post originated (faster if you speed up my voice in the controls), you can either click the green play button below or click here if you are reading this via email. If you prefer to read this via blog post, I have rewritten the podcast as a blog post below for you.

Welcome!

Welcome to Legal Marketing Minutes, where I share short bursts of current marketing news and advice. I’m your host, Nancy Myrland.

If we haven’t met, I’m a Marketing and Business Development Adviser, specializing in content, social and digital media, as well as personal branding, for lawyers and legal marketers. Your time is valuable, so let’s get started.

The one thing I want to talk to you about is what may have happened in your world, which I’ve seen happen to a lot of people, and even a little bit to me, within the last two and a half years. Has it been three years?

This COVID time thing is really weird, and it’s doing odd things to my perception of time.

I’m Okay. I Don’t Need To Go To Conferences Anymore.

During the past few years, I know that I got to a place where I thought, I’m okay, I don’t need to go to conferences in person anymore. They’re very expensive, and I’m really pretty visible during the year. I talk to a lot of people in meetings. I see my clients on video a lot.

After All, I’m Visible Throughout The Year

It’s true. I see my friends and colleagues on video a lot, and my visibility is very high, so I really don’t need to do that anymore. I’m not bragging. It is just the way I am wired, and the way I like to practice what I preach to my clients.

I figured that I don’t need to travel and go to conferences and spend $4,000 to $5,000 to do that.

Then Something Changed

Then my perception changed, and I want to talk to you about that because this may be what you’re going through as well.

The Legal Marketing Association, or LMA, has been my career-long, at least my legal marketing career-long, trade association that I’ve been a member of for a very long time. It is where I have met my best friends and colleagues.

It is also where most of my business comes from because of the relationships that I’ve built over time.

The #LMA22 Annual Conference

Our annual conference is usually in the spring. We didn’t have it in 2020 because, well, you know, COVID happened.

We put it off last year until the Fall. I still felt it was early, so I chose not to go. I think there might have been 300 people there. As far as ROI is concerned, it might have been a good decision for me. I bleed LMA colors, but I am also a businessperson, so I need to weigh my business decisions accordingly.

After last year’s conference, LMA announced that this year’s conference would be normal.

Normal?

I’m not even sure what normal is anymore, and I don’t dwell on trying to figure that out as I am one who embraces and often appreciates change. It is somehow in my DNA. What we all knew is that the conference was back on track for its Spring timeslot in 2022.

At first, I thought Las Vegas is a tough place for me to go to a conference. Because it is so big and so loud, the volume level of the common areas where we network in the Aria doesn’t feel intimate to me.

I was talking myself into not going. Again, I also thought that we weren’t going to be back at full capacity, so should I go?

I know full capacity wasn’t the expectation of the annual conference advisory committee either. Once again, I found myself evaluating the ROI. This is going to cost me $4,000 (ish).

I was in this mode that I have been in for the last couple of years with many in-person events and conferences, not just LMA, that I don’t have to do that. I’m okay.

I’m Not Going To #LMA22

At first, I thought, no, I’m not going to go. I’m going to wait another year because I have a feeling that in 2023, as long as there aren’t any wacky variants out there, it’s going to be back to near full capacity.

There was one deadline at the end of last year. I went ahead and registered (deadlines are effective). I thought to myself, okay, I have until early February to cancel and just get everything but the $150 administrative fee back.

I was getting ready to do that in early February because I was still convincing myself that it was too early, and that it wouldn’t be a full conference. Plus, once again, everything was going along okay. My business has been very healthy during, and because of, the pandemic.

I’ve become comfortable, even though I am a bit of an extrovert. For those of you who think that just means outgoing, it doesn’t. I am outgoing, too, but it also means that we get energy from other people.

I still get energy from other people when I see them on video, whether that’s a webinar, one-on-one training, or a big group, so, yes, that’s pretty extroverted.

Alright, I’ll Go To #LMA22. This Is What Happened.

At the last possible minute prior to the cancellation deadline, I decided I would go. I have to tell you, I am so glad that I did.

It was a very good decision for many reasons. One of the most important is that it is very hard to duplicate the energy that we as human beings get from other human beings. It is different when we are not physically with them.

At the conference, I kept saying “this is really hard to define, but this is pretty wonderful.”

You can’t have the same intimate or thorough conversations with people who are important to you, whether that is for personal or business reasons.

I came away from that experience thinking, thank heavens I made the decision to go!

I Encourage You To Think About This

If you have also found yourself in a position the last couple of years where you have been convincing yourself that you don’t need to attend live events because you’ve gotten used to this bubble that you’re in, and that you can network just fine virtually, or over telephone, email, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams, then I encourage you to start to think outside of that bubble because relationships can be accelerated in a way that is unlike anything that you can do online.

Remember that I don’t say that lightly as I am one of the industry’s biggest proponents of business development using content, social and digital media. I’ve also said that I will never ask you to give up in person networking and that these virtual platforms and tools are complementary to your existing practices because they can shorten the relationship and reputation-building process.

You Don’t HAVE To Network In Person

I’m not saying you have to do this. I’m not telling you I think you’re a bad person if you choose not to. I’m just telling you that I want to encourage you to do what I did, and that is to step outside of this new bubble that we’ve all found ourselves in. Call it a comfort zone of not going out and meeting people in person.

The benefits can far outweigh anything that you may have been telling yourself is a good reason to not go to these conferences and these meetings.

If You Want To Talk About This…

If you want to talk about this, just let me know. There is no one right way for everyone.

I’m happy to go over my experience with you or to listen to whatever your concerns are because my goal for you is to be comfortable in your networking and business development efforts. That’s my job.

Do Me A Favor?

Well, that’s it for today’s Legal Marketing Minutes. Please do me a favor and let me know your thoughts about this topic of going in person and out in public to these events, whether they’re small or large.

If you’re in a place where you can leave a comment, please do so as I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you so much for spending a few legal marketing minutes with me. I know your time is valuable so I appreciate you spending a few of those minutes right here.

Until next time, I’m Nancy Myrland. Take care.

SPECIAL NOTE: 

If you would like to be notified when my hybrid live (virtual) and self-study course LinkedIn Course For Lawyers is accepting new students again (very soon), you can do that here.

Nancy Myrland Legal Marketing Consultant

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to establish relationships and grow their practices. Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, she is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online.

As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasting, video marketing, voice marketing, livestreaming, and Zoom and virtual presentation strategy and training. She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

#LMA22 Vegas Blog Post by Nancy Myrland

#LMA22: Join Me As We Stretch Beyond, Together, At The Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference

Nancy Myrland #LMA22, All Posts, LMA Leave a Comment

Looking for new posts summarizing the #LMA22 conference? Head down to the green headings below for new content added regularly. Don’t forget to let me know if I’ve missed anything, okay? Thanks!

If you are reading this via email, please click here.

It’s time!

Wow, it has been a long last few years. In my world, it has been both great and odd. Business has been very good, but the pandemic has turned a few things upside down, sideways, or some other way that I can’t adequately describe. I think you know what I mean because you’ve lived it, too.

What Happened To Conferences?

The pandemic caused conferences to be canceled or to move online. Virtual conferences are better than no conferences, but I prefer seeing my colleagues in person.

If you know me, and even if you don’t, about this time of year, I typically begin to get excited. I’m happy to say that I can say that again!

Why?

Because I will be attending the largest professional family reunion of 500 – 1000 very smart marketing and business development professionals in Las Vegas at the 2022 Legal Marketing Association annual conference, affectionately known by its hashtag, #LMA22.

Why Do I Attend?

I attend because this is our association, LMA‘s, annual international conference for all of us who care passionately about helping lawyers, legal marketers, and law firms grow and do what they do better.

Stay Tuned As I Will Be Curating Conference Content Right Here

As I have done in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2014, 2013, and 2013, I will be curating or creating content and linking to it from this blog post to provide a quick, easy place to find all of the information you might like to consume. I will also link to content from others that is written, or via voice or video. I will do this before, during, and after the conference. Stay tuned as this post will change frequently.

Please bookmark this blog post as I will continue to add content as I find it, or as you let me know you’ve found it, too!

A Few Conference Details

Here are a few details about the conference:

  • There will be 3 days of content.
  • There will be between 500 and 1,000 attendees.
  • There will be more than 25 sessions.
  • There will be over 100 speakers.
  • There will be over 50 service providers and consultants (that’s me).
  • All LMA regions, including our new Europe Region, will be represented.

Conference and Association Leadership

A conference while trying to emerge from a pandemic is no small endeavor.

The muscle behind this conference is the Legal Marketing Association, or LMA, and our international board of directors.

Conference Advisory Committee

This conference could not happen without our amazing 2022 Annual Conference Advisory Committee. Thank you, thank you to all of you for your amazing time and talents.

You can learn more about our Advisory Committee members by clicking on their photos.

Jennifer Johnson, Conference Co-Chair

Deb Ruffins Conference Co-Chair

Brenda Plowman, LMA BOD Liaison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason Bovis

Louanne Buckley

Natalie Mackinlay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rachel S. Williams

Toni Wells

Dawn Sheiker

 

 

Notable Keynote Presentations

  • It is a tremendous gift for us to have an opening keynote delivered by global visionaries in the profession, Richard and Daniel Susskind. They will kick off the conference as they present “The Future is NOW! Understanding Drivers of Change in the Legal Marketplace and How to Propel Our Firms Forward.”
  • I am also looking forward to our closing keynote presenter, Frans Johansson, as he prepares us for this era we are living in when he presents “Change is Accelerating, Innovation Must Too – Create the Medici Effect.”

Get An Early Start With One of Five Pre-Conference Programs

There are 5 pre-conference programs you might want to consider. I’m sure you can still register right here, and I feel fairly certain they will all provide high-quality insight and discussion you will find useful in your career. If you would like to attend a pre-con program and are unable to attend the entire conference, use the code LMAPRC212 to bypass registration of the entire conference.

  1. LMA QuickStart LIVE!
  2. CMO Summit: Translating Client Value Strategies into Action – A Workshop for CMOs Looking to Lead Change
  3. Developing Your Leadership Effectiveness & Impact: Strategies and Tools for Leading Yourself, Your Team and Your Firm
  4. Going All In on the Client Experience — Using Client Journey Mapping to Deliver a Better Client Experience and Drive Revenues on a Small Budget
  5. Marketing Operations

Please Bookmark This Post and Let Me Know When You See Content

Again, you might want to bookmark this post as this is where I will be curating all of the content I and others will be creating about the conference. I will also add an important links section titled in green below so you don’t have to search for them elsewhere.

As always, if you see audio, video, or written content for me to add to this post, please ping me wherever it is convenient for you:

NOTE: In the comments below, or via message, let me know if you will be attending and what you are most looking forward to.

Important Links For You

Networking

#LMA19 Conference Networking Worksheet#LMA22 Conference Networking WorksheetFor those of you who would like a little focus and an easy process to follow to ramp up your networking before, during, and after the conference, this year I’ve prepared a worksheet for you titled: “#LMA22 Annual Conference Networking Action Plan.

Feel free to download it and give it a try as it will make a big difference in the success of your conference experience. Effective networking at this conference also establishes friendships that will support and carry you through your entire legal marketing career. I speak from experience on this one.

Let me know what you think of it and if you would like me to make any changes to make it more valuable for you, okay?

Presenting Your #LMA22 Annual Conference Content!

#LMA22 Coverage by Nancy MyrlandThis placeholder is sitting here waiting for the content you and I create!

 

 

#LMA22 Coverage by Nancy MyrlandThis placeholder is sitting here waiting for the content you and I create!

 

 

#LMA22 Coverage by Nancy Myrland

Lawyers, The Competition That Kills You Might Not Look Like You by Nancy Myrland on The Myrland Marketing Minute Blog

 

#LMA22 Coverage by Nancy MyrlandNotes From Richard and Daniel Susskind’s Keynote by Nancy Myrland (and Richard and Daniel, of course)

 

#LMA22 Coverage by Nancy MyrlandThree Things: What We Learned at LMA Livestream with Robyn Addis, Kristyn Brophy, and Lauren Forbes of LISI

 

#LMA22 Coverage by Nancy Myrland

The Future of Legal Marketing and Tech: Replace or Redeploy?  by LMA International on Strategies & Voices

 

#LMA22 Coverage by Nancy MyrlandYour Takeaways From #LMA22 (Video) on Strategies & Voices

 

 

#LMA22 Coverage by Nancy Myrland

#LMA22 Post-Conference Checklist: 10 ways to get the most out of your conference investment by Furia Rubel (3/29/22)

 

 

#LMA22 Coverage by Nancy MyrlandCMO Series Special: LMA ’22 – What To Expect, a podcast interview of Brenda Plowman by Passle’s Eugene McMormick (3/16/22)

 

 

#LMA22 Coverage by Nancy Myrland Legal Marketing Coffee Talk, featuring Conference Co-Chair Jennifer Johnson, by Rob Kates, Jessica Aries, and Andy Laver (2/24/22)

 

 

#LMA22 Coverage by Nancy Myrland Conference Networking Tips From Our Legal Marketing Friends, A Timeless Post by Nancy Myrland & Friends (Ongoing)

 

 

#LMA22 Coverage by Nancy Myrland #LMA22 Annual Conference Networking Action Plan by Nancy Myrland (Ongoing)

 

SPECIAL NOTE: 

If you would like to be notified when my hybrid live online and self-study course LinkedIn Course For Lawyers is accepting new students again (very soon), you can do that here.

Nancy Myrland Legal Marketing Consultant

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to establish relationships and grow their practices. Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyersshe is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online.

As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasting, video marketing, voice marketing, livestreaming, and Zoom and virtual presentation strategy and training. She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

Lawyers Which Invitations Should You Accept on LinkedIn

Lawyers and LinkedIn: Which Invitations Should You Accept?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Business Development/Sales, LinkedIn Leave a Comment

I am often asked by clients which invitations they should accept or extend on LinkedIn. Let’s look at this from a few different angles to find out what the right approach is for you.

Can You Connect The Dots?

The most direct answer I offer you is:

If you can connect the dots to this person, then accept the invitation.

What does that mean…connect the dots?

Connecting the dots means that when you see this person’s name and click through to view their profile, you are able to figure out why this person might be someone you’d like to connect with.

Your dots might be different from my dots, or from the dots of your colleague in the office next door…or who used to be next door before work from home became a way of life.

Various Reasons To Accept or Extend An Offer To Connect On LinkedIn

When evaluating your invitations to connect, here are a few reasons you might want to click yes:

  • Business Development: This person is someone with whom you’d like to do business. That could mean they are on your immediate radar, or they might be moving up the ranks at the company of a client or potential client, and you would like to build a connection with them that makes that business easier to secure in the future.
  • You Want To Learn From That Person: There are going to be many people who you can learn from, whether in your practice area or in the industries you serve. They might be business development, LinkedIn, podcast, content, or virtual presentation skills advisors and coaches (wink, wink), so you would like to learn from them.
  • You Would Like To Be Mentioned In Their Content: This ties into business development, but it is worthy of a separate mention. There are many journalists, bloggers, and other influencers who cover your practice area. You see them write about topics you care about and would love to be tapped as a resource. First, you need to be on their radar. Second, you need to have demonstrated your knowledge in the areas they cover so they think of you when writing or recording content. If they don’t know you exist, they can’t mention you. Another important note: Just because they once knew or met you does not guarantee they will remember you.
  • You Enjoy Their Company: There are people you want to stay in touch with because you like them. You feel something positive when you are around them, whether that be reading, listening to, or watching their content, or when you are in meetings or webinars with them, or you happen to run into them on the street. These people are worthy of your time because they have some sort of positive impact on your life.

As I said, connecting with others on LinkedIn can be for business development, but it doesn’t have to be.

What I Do Not Recommend on LinkedIn

One of my responsibilities is to make your job more effective by using your time as efficiently as possible when you are trying to build your reputation and your relationships, which leads to building your practice. 

Because of that, what I don’t recommend is connecting just to build an unfocused network of hundreds or thousands of people just to show numbers.

I call that a hobby of collecting contacts.

If you have time to make this a hobby, I won’t stop you, but I will encourage you to read on.

What Can It Hurt To Accept Every Invitation on LinkedIn?

Sure, I know everyone tells you to build your connection numbers because 500 seems to be a “magic” number where all sorts of equally magic things start to happen, meaning the LinkedIn algorithms notice you more, show your content to more people, show your name to more people who might want to connect with people just like you, and so on.

The challenge with accepting all invitations is that it goes against the effective and efficient approach I talked about above.

If you accept every invitation sent to you, that means you are going to be connecting with people who you can’t connect the dots to. No matter how hard you try, they don’t fit any of the reasons I offered above in my bullet points, or other dots you have created that fit you best. 

What then starts to happen is that, in the limited time you have to visit LinkedIn, you start to scroll through a newsfeed that contains content you might not be interested in. LinkedIn is only going to show you posts from so many people. The algorithms watch your interaction and your interests and match you and your content with those who make sense.

If you have 4000 unfocused connections, you will never see everything they post. This means your actions need to help the LinkedIn algorithms make the best use of your time by showing them what you care the most about in the time you have on the platform. They want you to stay as long as possible, so relevance is key. 

Where Are All Of Those Valuable Connections I Had On LinkedIn?

Suddenly, you aren’t seeing as much of the content from those you really want to get to know. Sure, you connected with some really nice, kind people who went out of their way to connect with you, but you also risked seeing the people and information that you need and want to see in the limited amount of time you have to spend on LinkedIn.

I’ve seen more of this surface in the past year or two when clients say they are tired of seeing the “Facebook like” posts on LinkedIn, and that they don’t have time for that. We then need to go through the process of showing and telling LinkedIn we want to see less of that content. That takes time you might not have, so you are tempted to give up on using LinkedIn to build your reputation and your relationships. 

I’ve also seen a few posts on LinkedIn lately where LinkedIn users have said they are regularly unfollowing or even blocking people because what they post is irrelevant or uninteresting to them.

Blocking is a great tool to use when someone abuses you, but not when you don’t want to see more of that person or their content. This is a grownup platform for professionals, so it’s a great idea to use it that way.

Use Your Time Wisely. Connect The Dots.

This is your platform and your time. You also have your life and business development goals you need and want to meet. Matching those goals with best practices that fit your limited time and resources is always a smart approach.

Figure out your criteria for accepting and extending invitations. Does that fit with your goals? Once you match your goals with your criteria, then you can use your time on LinkedIn even more effectively and efficiently.

I Am Curious

What is your approach when it comes to accepting or extending invitations on LinkedIn?

SPECIAL NOTE: 

If you would like to be notified when my hybrid live and online course LinkedIn Course For Lawyers is accepting new students again (very soon), you can do that here.

Nancy Myrland Legal Marketing Consultant

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to establish relationships and grow their practices. Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyersshe is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online.

As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasting, video marketing, voice marketing, livestreaming, and Zoom and virtual presentation strategy and training. She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

If you would like to reserve time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

Lawyers, What Is Holding You Back From Creating Content?

Lawyers, Is This What Is Holding You Back From Creating and Posting Content? You’re Not Alone.

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Content Marketing, Social Media Leave a Comment

One of the strongest ways to stand out from the competition is to establish yourself as a thought leader in your practice area by creating content that speaks to the issues and challenges your clients are facing.

Writing, recording, or presenting information that can help your clients and potential clients, or that they might find interesting, is the great equalizer because every professional from every size firm can send the message they know what they are talking about and that they are the go-to person in their practice area.

Intellectually, you know how important it is, yet something still holds you back.

Your Choice: Blog or Podcast?

If you would like to listen to my 9-minute, 24-second podcast where this blog post originated (faster if you speed up my voice in the controls), you can either click the green play button below, or click here if you are reading this via email. If you prefer to read this via blog post, I have rewritten the podcast as a blog post below for you.

Are These Thoughts Causing You To Play Small?

Have you ever held back from creating new content because in the back of your mind, you’ve thought,

“Well, I’m just somebody else publishing content. Everyone else is already publishing really, really good content in my practice area. What could I possibly have to say that would attract people to yet another blog post or a podcast (or whatever it might be)?”

Today’s Legal Marketing Minutes podcast is sponsored by my hybrid live and online LinkedIn course, LinkedInCoursefForLawyers.com, which is going to be launching again very soon. I’d love for you to go to LinkedInCourseForLawyers.com and find out a little bit more information.

You’re Not Alone.

I have either read or had conversations with many lawyers, or the people who serve them, where lawyers have held back from putting themselves out there.

They say things like:

“Other lawyers have already published content on this topic.”

…or

“You know, what? A lot of really smart lawyers are publishing content on this topic.”

“Why should I do that? Why should I just be another? Mine isn’t going to get noticed.”

“What can I do that’s better than what is already out there?”

It’s All About Mindset

Let’s talk about readjusting your mindset a little bit because it doesn’t matter that somebody else is already posting.

Let me back up for just a second. The reason it does matter is that if others are already creating content, even if that is just a social media post about topics within your practice area that you think you should be creating, that is an indication that there is a market for your information. That would be the most important reason why you should care that others are already posting about your topic.

Back To Not Caring

Other than that, you shouldn’t care that others are already “out there” covering these important topics.

Allow me to use myself as an example for a moment. If you listened to my podcast above, you heard me say that:

“I am a marketing and business development advisor, specializing in content, social and digital media for lawyers.”

It’s true. I have been for as long as I can remember. What would happen if I said to myself,

“You know what? There are a lot of really smart people that are already breaking this news (or producing podcasts, or creating video, or going live on LinkedIn) and talking about this. I would just be one more. Nothing that I post, nothing that I create, is going to get any attention. It’s not going to be special because it’s already being done.”

or

“Oh, my gosh, everybody already knows everything that I know.”

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve said that one in my head, which is just so very silly. I am brought back to reality every time I conduct training or have a consulting or coaching engagement. I realize that what I am telling myself is not true at all.

Let’s Get Back To You

If you are thinking you shouldn’t be stepping out and stepping up and creating content, thinking you are too late to the game, or there is nothing you can add to the conversation, I urge you to rethink that and to do what you can to push through those thoughts.

Insecurity and Fear Of Failure

Much of this is based on a bit of insecurity and a fear of failure that people might think that your news is stale, or that it has already been covered. This causes you to wonder how your information could possibly be interesting.

We do this to ourselves, don’t we?

Here’s What I Recommend

I want you to do the best you can to push those thoughts away, and to know this:

  • No one is the same as you are.
  • No one is the same as I am.
  • No one has your personality.
  • No one has your set of experiences.
  • No one has the exact same jobs and positions and everything around you, the people you know, the content you read, the classes you’ve taken, the CLE you’ve taken, and so many other factors.

There is no way that any one person is truly your competitor because they do not have your exact same set of circumstances.

So, let’s work on this.

I want you to be strategic.

  1. Figure out what the topics are that you want to talk or write about.
  2. Decide who you are talking to when creating this content.
  3. Make sure your words speak to their needs and challenges.
  4. Pick your medium or media.
  5. Then do it.

Clarity, Consistency, Character, and Confidence

Once you get clear on the simple strategy above and create this piece of content, then I’d like you to be consistent.

Go ahead and put your personality into it. Show your character. Don’t worry as it gets easier the more you do it.

These practices then help you develop enough confidence to say (go ahead and read this out loud…whisper if you are worried about others hearing you):

“There is somebody out there just waiting for me to help them today. I am going to share this because I think it’s important, and I think my clients and my potential clients would benefit from knowing about this, too.”

Take Others Out Of The Equation

Let’s work on taking you and your worry about other content creators out of the equation and putting your skills, your expertise, and your knowledge back into the picture.

Be strategic about what you are doing. Put a plan together so that you will help you create content regularly.

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to think everything you publish must be the definitive work on that topic. The content we create on social and digital media should be high quality and valuable but, as I always tell my clients, it doesn’t have to be New York Times bestseller list kind of content.

It could be that you’re thinking about something that’s going on in your practice area that you want to make sure others have on their minds or on their radar because it has an impact on them.

Get Out Of Your Own Way

If you’ve known me for a while, you will know that I say this as caringly and lovingly as I can because I want you to get out there and create. I want you to go ahead and share what you know, because as I’ve said so many times before, if you don’t share what you know, who will?

Don’t Leave Your Promotion To Others

Others who you assume know what you do for a living won’t always share your name and your experience with others because they are busy. They also don’t know as much about you as you think they should. They, too, have a lot on their minds, and could even be thinking of other colleagues and acquaintances in your practice area.

So, you have to take the bull by the horns, and you have to do it yourself.

Bottom Line

  • Be strategic.
  • Put a plan together.
  • Create content.
  • Publish it.
  • Share it.

Don’t be insecure about promoting it on social and digital media. You need to let people know what you’ve created once you’ve created it.

Until next time, I’m Nancy Myrland. Take care.

SPECIAL NOTE: 

If you would like to be notified when my hybrid live and online course LinkedIn Course For Lawyers is accepting new students again (very soon), you can do that here.

Nancy Myrland Legal Marketing Consultant

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to establish relationships and grow their practices. Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyersshe is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online.

As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasting, video marketing, voice marketing, livestreaming, and Zoom and virtual presentation strategy and training. She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

If you would like to reserve time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

2022 One Question To Ask Yourself

In 2022, Here Is One Powerful Question To Ask Yourself

Nancy Myrland Business Development/Sales, Content Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Training in Client Service and Business Development/Sal Leave a Comment

Hi there. Happy New Year!

In some ways, 2022 is a fresh start. In other ways, it is a continuation of what you were already working on in 2021. Both are good. You don’t have to start over if what you were doing before worked. If it wasn’t working, then some change might be a very good idea.

Let’s Make 2022 Easier

Part of my job is to make the complex easy and to help you make the absolute best use of your time.

Here goes:

Before you spend your valuable time doing anything, ask this question:

What will this accomplish?

Here Are A Few Examples For You

Examples:

  • Before you scroll endlessly on LinkedIn or any other social or digital medium, ask yourself what you will accomplish by doing so.
  • Before you take part in a controversial discussion, whether in-person, in a Zoom meeting, or online, ask yourself what you will accomplish by doing so.
  • Before you spend your hard-earned money on another bright, shiny object that promises to help you get ahead, ask yourself what you will accomplish by doing so.
  • Before you fight to have the last word, ask yourself what you will accomplish by doing so.
  • Before you share a post on LinkedIn, ask yourself what you will accomplish by doing so.
  • Before you launch a podcast, ask yourself what you will accomplish by doing so.
  • Before you record a video to post on LinkedIn, ask yourself what you will accomplish by doing so.
  • Before you turn down an offer to be a guest on a webinar, podcast, video, or other social or digital media promotional content, ask yourself what you will accomplish by doing so.
  • Before you take on a volunteer or leadership role in a project or association, ask yourself what you will accomplish by doing so.

The Answer Is Easy

I think you get the picture. Only you will know the answer to that question each time. It changes from situation to situation based on what your goals, your clients, your firm, and your resources allow.

If the task or action in front of you serves you, your clients, your potential clients, your referral sources, bloggers and media, and/or your loved ones, then the answer becomes much easier.

If you can’t find one meaningful result that you will accomplish by doing something, that will also make your actions and your decisions much easier.

I want you to accomplish your goals and your dreams this year. To do that, you need to embark on a series of accomplishments, both large and small.

Every action doesn’t need to lead to a massive accomplishment, so don’t be too hard on yourself. If your decision is that your next action will be a baby step toward accomplishing one of your goals, then do it and feel great about it!

Again, Happy New Year to you! I wish for pure happiness, progress, peace, and good health for you this year, and I’ll be here to watch it happen, smiling as I watch you.

Bottom Line

Remember: What will you accomplish by doing so?

Nancy Myrland Legal Marketing Consultant

SPECIAL NOTE: If you would like to be notified when my online course LinkedIn Course For Lawyers is accepting new students again (very soon), you can do that here.

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to establish relationships and grow their practices. Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyersshe is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online.

As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcastingvideo marketing, voice marketing, livestreaming, and Zoom and virtual presentation strategy and training. She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

If you would like to reserve time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

In Times Like These, How Can You Connect With Your Clients?

In Remote Times Like These, How Can You Really Connect With Your Clients?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Business Development/Sales, Coronavirus Communications Center, Networking Leave a Comment

These times can be challenging for client and business development.

We’re in-person, then we’re not.

We’re scheduling events, then we’re canceling them.

We’re working remotely, but only sometimes.

When you are trying to connect with clients and potential clients, what are you supposed to do that is worth your and their time and resources? How are you supposed to connect with those who are important to you, your practice, and the firm when you can’t see them face-to-face?

You might be getting tired of scheduling plain vanilla Zoom networking meetings where you “just want to get to know each other better.” (Not that anything is wrong with vanilla, but you know what I mean.)

10 Timely Ways To Connect With ClientsSPECIAL NOTE: As you read the following idea, if you are interested, I have created 9 more ideas for you that you are welcome to download. Don’t miss the link below that offers 10 Timely Ways To Connect With Clients. If you are reading this via email, just click here

The Most Common Question I’ve Heard The Past Two Years

During these past two years, the most common question or concern I have received has been about how to get close and stay close to clients and potential clients when you can’t be with them in person.

Lawyers and their marketing and business development professionals have been trying to think of ways other than traditional networking meetings and webinars on Zoom that will allow lawyers to stand out and make a difference to their clients.

One specific question I answered on a recent listserv discussion was:

“My organization is looking for creative ways to connect and market with our clients. As in-person meetings continue to not be an option at this time, we are looking for ways to connect with clients besides Zoom calls. What are firms doing?”

I Have Ideas For You, Plus One BIG Caveat

If you are looking for a few additional ways to connect with your clients that can truly make a difference to them, I have your back.

Before you read on, please know that these efforts I am focusing on are all about helping your clients and potential clients attract attention to what they are working on. These should not be focused on you and your practice area. When you define your audience correctly and involve them in this process, your audience’s knowledge of what you do will happen naturally.

For now, your goals are to:

  • Shine a spotlight on them.
  • Provide value to them.
  • Show them kindness and the courtesy of helping them strengthen their business through your efforts.

Let’s get started.

Co-Create With Your Clients and Potential Clients

As a way to connect and add value to your relationship with your clients, let’s talk about how the co-creation of content helps to connect with your clients.

One Idea: 6 Ways:

Co-creating content can take many forms, but here are 6 ways co-creation of content can play out. Hopefully, one or more of these will work for you:

  1. Interview them for a written series on your blog. Come up with a standard set of questions that form the basis of this and any future interview, but also be attentive by asking questions that are specific to their business. Let them know you care enough to customize your questions.
  2. Co-author a blog post or article. This is different from the interview mentioned directly above in that you are partnering to cover a topic that is important to both of you. Talking about the various facets of this topic will cause you to spend quality time together. Promote this blog post on your website and on social media. Tag them and show appreciation for working together. Make sure to send them the link with a heads up to let them know when it will be published.
  3. Interview them on pre-recorded video. Similar to what I mentioned in the first point, interviewing them on video creates a bond between you, and it also helps create a bond between your client and those watching the video. Video is the ultimate when it comes to accelerating the know, like, and trust factors your and their clients need, want, and deserve. Hint: Caption the video as many watch videos with the sound turned off, which means you need to make your video accessible to all.
  4. Create a livestream video, introducing your client to your audience, asking questions, taking questions from attendees, and having a casual conversation about what they do for a living. When you go live on LinkedIn, for example, this automatically creates a LinkedIn Event, which has many additional benefits. One of those is that you can schedule it and invite all of your audiences to attend. Remember that livestream replay attendees are often more numerous than those who attend live, so this is a gesture that has long-lasting benefits. Share the link far and wide after it is over to show even more value to your guest.
  5. Co-host a webinar or mini-series, discussing issues you are both well-versed in and that your attendees care about. This is another way to introduce your client to your community, which is always a valuable gesture. You are helping to position them as an expert in their field, which is good for their business. Again, what a wonderful gift to shine this type of spotlight on them.
  6. Create simple yet powerful quote graphics with words your client has spoken, then post these on social media. One way to gather this information is to ask them for their “top 5 changes they have seen in their industry in the past 2 years,” or “the top 5 changes they anticipate in the next 2 years.” Turn those into simple graphics that show the quote, their name, their firm name, then add their contact information in the comment that accompanies the social media post. You can also post these in a space on your website dedicated to sharing your client’s wisdom with your website visitors. Make sure you provide copies of these to your clients in case they are interested in posting them on their social and digital media. Create a set of templates that will make it easy to go in and edit the copy each time you do this for additional clients.

Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

These are all valuable relationship-building gestures, but you can make them even more valuable by extending their reach to as many different social and digital media as possible.

Repurpose your content by redesigning parts of them in different ways, which will likely attract different audiences as you will be providing formats that speak to different methods of consumption. Do this the first time and you have a process that you can use every time.

Interested In Additional Ways To Connect With Clients Now and After The Pandemic?

If this one idea of co-creating content with your client has been interesting to you, I have created a complimentary resource called…you guessed it:

10 Timely Ways To Connect With Clients (Other Than Zoom)

These ideas are meant to help you differentiate yourself and cut through the clutter of Zoom invitations your clients receive. If you are getting tired of those meetings, the chances are pretty strong that your clients are, too.

As I mentioned above, when you approach these 10 ideas with a servant’s heart of shining a spotlight on your clients, this is where the true connection can be made.

10 Timely Ways For Lawyers To Connect With Clients

Let me know what you think, okay?!

Also, if you are already using any of these ideas, I’d love to know how they are working for you.

Nancy Myrland Legal Marketing Consultant

SPECIAL NOTE: If you would like to be notified when my online course LinkedIn Course For Lawyers is accepting new students again (very soon), you can do that here.

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to establish relationships and grow their practices. Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, she is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online.

As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcastingvideo marketing, voice marketing, livestreaming, and Zoom and virtual presentation strategy and training. She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

If you would like to reserve time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

 

Lawyers, This Is How Potential Clients Want You To Approach Meetings With Them

Lawyers, This Is How Potential Clients Want You To Approach Meetings With Them

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Attorneys, Business Development/Sales, Client Service and Retention, Lawyers, Videos Leave a Comment

I am often inspired by conversations I have that cause me to think there is something important I need to share with you.

A recent conversation with a GC revolved around the idea that your job as a lawyer is to make sure that you understand as much as possible about that GC’s business before you begin to offer recommendations.

The way he expressed this notion was as if this was a bit of a novel approach.

Watch or Read…Your Choice

If you would like to watch and listen via my 5-minute, 25-second video, you will see that below (you can also speed it up in the controls). If you are reading this post via email, just click here. If you prefer to consume this via blog post, I have rewritten the video as a blog post below for you.

My GC friend said that lawyers need to learn to ask questions. They need to ask for business plans. Lawyers need to ask for documents, even financial documents when it is appropriate, so that context is available when you as a lawyer then start to offer your recommendations.

This Is Not The Best Approach

What you ask to see and understand from your client and potential clients is going to be different in every situation, but one approach that will not change is that your job is rarely to go in with guns blazing, selling what you do, talking about how you do what you do, what your background is, and why you would be a good choice for that person’s business.

A Better Approach

At this stage, you are on a fact-finding mission. You are there to try to find out what is going on in that person’s, company’s, or organization’s life that has caused this meeting. The better approach, which you always want to adapt to your situation, is to practice the fundamentals:

  • Ask questions
  • Get to know the person
  • Establish rapport first and let that person know that you are approachable, that you care, that you are a very good listener
  • Demonstrate that you read any materials shared in advance
  • Let your comments show that you did a bit of research to get to know the person and the company before your meeting

At This Stage, Here Is Your Job

Your job is to be inquisitive. Your goal is to ask a question, listen to the answer, then continue to ask follow-up questions based on the answer you’ve been given.

As a professional with an immense amount of knowledge in your practice area, when someone starts talking about a particular issue, you begin to form a picture of what is going on. You know (at least) ten layers deep what might be going on with that person or company.

You have the ability as a lawyer, as a professional, to then ask follow-up questions that might uncover additional thoughts, ideas, and challenges that person might not have thought about, but that you know or suspect are present.

The Two-Call Concept

My first few jobs out of college were in sales. I had very good sales training, and I am thankful for that. We were trained on what was called the two-call concept. This was pretty heavy direct sales, so it is not apples-to-apples with what you go through. Stick with me for a moment, though, because it still applies to professionals like you.

Here is a general overview of 2 weeks of intense sales training we were given before we were ever allowed to look at a client:

  • We first looked at what we had in their history, which you know as CRM, to learn as much as we could.
  • We were taught to then meet with our client or potential client the first time and do nothing but get to know that person and their business.
  • We learned about their history, discussing how they got to where they are today.
  • We looked at products, asked about services, and learned about clients and customers.
  • We asked questions to see if what we learned prior to our meeting was still relevant.
  • We were there to learn what had changed in their business, as well as to see if there was anything going on that we needed to know before we moved forward to the solution phase.
  • We were there to find out what the most important development was that was going on in their business that they were focusing on at that time.

This Skill Is One Of The Most Important

Our job then, and to this day in my company, was to ask as many follow-up questions as we needed to, respectful of their time, of course, so we could then go away, think about our conversation, and craft a solution that had context to what we had talked about with our potential client.

You Need To Show You Care

When this level of care, conversation, questioning, research, and follow-up is exercised, this tells your clients and potential clients that you have taken time to take them into consideration, to take their situation into consideration, and to problem-solve accordingly.

These steps are critical because if you go in there with the intent to secure their business by launching into a presentation about what you do, for whom you do it, and why you want their business without taking the time to learn as much as you can about that client, then you are sending a very strong message that you really only care about yourself and getting that piece of business.

Compare that to learning about your potential client, figuring out what is going on either on the surface or deep down that they may not even be able to articulate yet, asking questions, listening, and letting them know what you are hearing them say, then taking the time to offer solutions that you believe will match their situation. Doesn’t this approach feel much better?

My Suggestions For You

My suggestions for you are to:

  • Take the time and learn these skills.
  • Become an amazing listener.
  • Be inquisitive.
  • Learn the art of the follow-up question.
  • Take notes when you can, or whenever possible. They will be invaluable to you as you craft your approach to their situation.

These steps and skills should help you build a stronger relationship with that person because you have sent them the message that you care, and that you are a true professional.

These skills will help you stand out.

These skills should not, as my GC contact in my conversation implied, be novel.

These skills should not be rare for lawyers.

Take time to learn these skills, to practice them, and to let that client and potential client know you are there not to sell what you have but to learn about their situation.

Nancy Myrland Legal Marketing Consultant

NOTE: If you would like to be notified when my online course LinkedIn Course For Lawyers is accepting new students again (very soon), you can do that here.

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to establish relationships and grow their practices. Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, she is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online.

As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcastingvideo marketing, voice marketing, livestreaming, and Zoom and virtual presentation strategy and training. She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

If you would like to reserve time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

 

Do Associates, Partners, and Senior Partners Need To Focus On Networking?

Do Associates, Partners, and Senior Partners Need To Market Themselves?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Business Development/Sales, Networking, Social Media Leave a Comment

At every stage of your career, there is a case to be made that you need to market yourself and that you need to pay attention to traditional and social networking. It is never too early and it is never too late.

Well, let’s discuss because I have thoughts about this for lawyers at every stage of their careers.

Listen or Read…Your Choice

If you would like to listen to this via my 9-minute, 3-second  (faster if you speed up my voice in the controls) podcast episode, just press the green play button below, or click here if you are reading this via email. If you prefer to read this via blog post, I have rewritten the podcast to a blog post below for you.

Do You Invest As Much In Associate Training?

Many times, I am called in to do LinkedIn training for partners, and the thought process is that partners are the rainmakers in the firm. They are the ones responsible for bringing in new business.

It is also important for associates to be learning. That can be challenging because they are busy helping to do the work, doing the research, and helping produce the work product requested by partners. This means they are very busy and not always available to work through this area of marketing and business development. This can sometimes cause the investment in associate training to be less than robust.

There are many exceptions as more and more firms are investing in associates, so please don’t take this as a blanket statement. There are so many shining examples of firms that are paying attention to lawyers and investing in them at every stage. You know who you are, and I applaud you and thank you for our work together.

But for those who are not yet investing in associate training and development, please remember that associates are your future rainmakers.

Associates, It’s Time

Associates, you might be thinking, well, my firm isn’t going to invest in me, so what am I supposed to do? My message to you is that you need to invest in yourself because you are a future owner of your firm. You are a future rainmaker, if not a current rainmaker, because you have the ability to bring business to your firm, and you have the ability to make a difference and make an impact on the bottom line.

You would have to be living under a rock (I know WFH during COVID has felt that way), never seeing another human being, never talking to people, never texting with them, never emailing with them, and never calling them to not be a candidate for bringing in new business to your firm.

What this means is that you need to take the bull by the horns and decide that you are going to put yourself out there.

What Is The Cost Of Networking?

It doesn’t take thousands of dollars to put yourself out there, to share your thought processes, to share your brilliance with the world. Social and digital media platforms are free or low-cost. You can invest in the paid versions of just about everything if you want, but you don’t have to yet.

The largest investment is your time. When networking and having conversations on digital platforms, time is your biggest investment, and it is definitely worth something.

After all, you bill X number of dollars per hour so, yes, you are making an investment of your time. It is important to remember that it will pay off because you are sharing your knowledge and building your reputation so that other people understand what you do. This is the long game part of networking and personal brand-building.

What About Partners?

Partners, if you haven’t spent time learning these tools and developing relationships online, I suggest that now is a good time to start. I understand there might be a fear of failure or a fear of new technology. I hear those concerns on a regular basis. That is natural. I understand that, but I also understand that those hurdles can be jumped over, so you might want to do your best to jump over them because you are the owners of your firms. You are responsible for helping the firm get the word out about what the firm does.

Although it is challenging in many cases, you are also responsible for cross-selling what your colleagues do, and for helping your clients and potential clients understand the depth and breadth of the work that is done at your firm, even if it’s not something you do yourself.

If you meet somebody and you don’t let them know that someone in your firm can help them and they end up working with another firm, you may never get that person as a client in the future. However, if you do them the favor of helping them find someone skilled, qualified, and knowledgeable to solve their challenges, you increase the chances of earning their business or having them refer business to you.

Some lawyers tell me they don’t know enough about what others in the firm do. If that is the case, I suggest you spend time getting to know other professionals, teams, and groups in your firm to better understand what they do.

As awkward as that might sound and feel, don’t ever be afraid to ask. People love to talk about what they do. Most will be honored that you want to take the time to learn about their practice. You can start by reading practice area descriptions on your firm’s website. I look at them all the time, and I’m confident you can gain basic knowledge about what other practice areas do. This is the start of your conversation with others.

I encourage you to:

  • Take time and figure out how to talk about what you do
  • Figure out ways to share your knowledge, and
  • Figure out how best to communicate and network with the people who can have an impact on you and your business

These are important because you have a responsibility as an owner, as a future owner, or simply as a professional of your firm to keep your business healthy and to help keep the firm healthy.

Senior Partners, Are You Exempt?

Senior partners, you might be thinking…You know what? I’ve been around a long time and I don’t need to do any of this.

That’s fine. I encourage you to remember how your business became so healthy. You did great work, yes, but you also built your reputation and your relationships via networking and visibility, and by letting people know what you do for a living.

You put yourself out there. You were involved in community and trade organizations. You shared your knowledge with other people. All of that and so much more caused your clients to come into the firm. If you are in this category, and your practice is healthy, please don’t give up on networking with people just yet.

Continue networking with people the way you always have but be open to networking with them and with others deep in their organization by using a few new tools that will help accelerate those relationships. Remember that not all clients stay in the same position, or in the same company, forever. If they move on, I want to see your reputation embedded so deeply in that company that those who move into positions of power can’t imagine doing business with anyone else.

It is important to remember that people of every age are searching Google to check you out. If you have no presence, or a sparse one, it will be obvious to them.

Keep in mind that there are always others who are trying to steal your business by forming relationships with your loyal clients. By staying close to your clients via online and offline networking, you can help nurture and solidify those loyal relationships.

Social Networking Complements In-Person Networking

If you are accustomed to traditional, in-person networking, I will never encourage you to give up traditional networking and to move to online networking alone (unless you are unable, or we are somehow forbidden to see others in-person, but this pandemic won’t last forever). These two types of networking work together.

Social and digital networking complement in-person networking and in-person networking complements social and digital networking.

My Message For Lawyers At Every Stage

No matter what level you are in your career, I encourage you to pay attention to, and to become familiar and comfortable with, networking online and offline, sharing your knowledge, and not being afraid to interact with others.

Don’t let the assumption that this is the wrong time in your career hold you back. Connecting with other human beings who are important to you and to the strength of the firm and your practice is too important.

Necessity and Responsibility

It is no longer a luxury but a necessity and a responsibility to communicate when and where others are spending time because the health of the firm and of your practice depend on you.

Nancy Myrland Legal Marketing Consultant

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to establish relationships and grow their practices. Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, she is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online.

As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcastingvideo marketing, voice marketing, livestreaming, and Zoom and virtual presentation strategy and training. She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

If you would like to reserve time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

NOTE: If you would like to be notified when LinkedIn Course For Lawyers is accepting new students again (very soon), you can do that here.