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.

Lawyers, Do You Worry About Giving Away Too Much Free Advice?

Lawyers, Do You Worry About Giving Away Too Much Free Advice?

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

Do you worry that giving away your knowledge free will result in people not hiring you and paying for it? The exact opposite might happen.

What Happens When You Give Away Your Advice?

As part of his closing keynote at the Youpreneur Summit, Jay Baer discussed the fear many people have about giving away their knowledge and their best content because they fear people won’t buy from them.

His comment was that just because people have the ingredients, that doesn’t make them a chef.

Flour, Water, and Eggs Can Make A Million Different Things, Can’t They?

After all, just because an expert tells you that flour, water, and eggs are necessary to make a perfect pastry, that doesn’t mean you will understand how to make that pastry perfectly, does it?

The same holds true for your knowledge. Just because people see the ingredients, or the steps, or the advice you have given them about how to handle a specific issue, that doesn’t mean they can do it themselves, or that they won’t need you to put it all together for them without making a mess of the situation.

There are people who will eventually need to tackle that issue you discussed, and they will realize they have no idea how to implement the steps you shared, or what the sequence was, or maybe they don’t have time to research and pull it all together, or they don’t want to take the risk.

You Have The Recipe, The Knowledge, and The Approach

Because of the information and perspective you have shared over time, they might remember that you are the person who has the recipe, the one who is trained and educated in how to navigate their issue and mitigate risk on their behalf. Had you not shared your knowledge along the way, they might not even think of you as an option.

You Don’t Have To Give It All Away

This doesn’t mean publishing every intricacy of the process you will take to help them solve their challenge, but it does mean the top line and very valuable recommendations you have for how to handle a matter, which could be:

  • The 7 Steps To Legally and Ethically Sever Ties With Your Most Experienced Employee
  • The Best Way To Enforce Vaccine Mandates In The Workplace
  • The Most important Environmental Factors Every Manufacturer Must Be Aware Of In 2021 and Beyond
  • What You Need To Know About Appealing Your Property Tax Reassessment
  • The Most Effective Way For Corporations To Avoid Harassment or Discrimination Claims
  • Top NLRB Developments That Will Have An Impact On Union and Non-Union Companies

As an additional example to help you brainstorm, in my case, it might be:

  • LinkedIn: 8 Essential Ways To Get Noticed By The Right People
  • The 7 Stages of Social Media Marketing
  • Content Creation For Lawyers: What, When & Where To Create For The Next 90 Days
  • The Best Way To Start A Podcast For Your Practice
  • How To Create An Effective Business Development Plan for 2022
  • What You Need To Do To Prepare For Every Zoom Meeting or Virtual Presentation

Sharing this kind of advice can be done via a blog post, a recording, an ebook, a podcast, a video or livestream, a presentation at a conference, or a simple conversation at a networking event. Whatever it might be, remember that just because people have those components via that free content you provided, that doesn’t mean they won’t need your help when it comes time to actually do the work.

There Is Much More To The Story

After all, look at all of the examples I shared above. In each case, there is valuable information being shared, but there is so much more to the story and the solution that you can help with when they are ready. You haven’t left them hanging by teasing them with only a bit of information that isn’t useful to them. You have helped them understand how to get started, or how to frame a challenge they are having, or how to take the next step in their situation.

If you don’t make it a practice to regularly demonstrate your knowledge, then the chances you will be thought of and invited to the table when current and potential clients of the firm need someone like you, you have greatly diminished the chances they will think of you.

Bottom Line

Don’t be afraid to give your knowledge away. Create something that causes you to think, oh my gosh, this really makes me a little uncomfortable because I’m giving away too much of my knowledge. 

Don’t provide specific legal counsel, but do share your knowledge so that your clients and potential clients think of you right away when they need someone with your skills and talents.

If you don’t give away your knowledge, then you’re not proving to other people what it is you know how to do, which is to help them with their challenges.

Next Steps

Let’s think about this for a few minutes.

These are the steps I recommend:

  1. Revisit my bulleted lists of information above. What pieces of information, or what processes and steps, do you know so well that you can summarize them in a few steps?
  2. Once you have your list, put them together in a presentable way to share with your clients and prospects. Choose a format you are comfortable with, then write or record it as soon as you can. Don’t wait too long as you will get busy with something else. I speak from experience! I started this blog post longer ago than I want to share with you! If you email me at [email protected], I will tell you the date I started this post. You might be surprised!
  3. Share this knowledge in all of the places where your clients and potential clients spend time. As I have said so many times before, you need to market your marketing. You need to get it “out there” and share it with the world so they know how smart you are!

 

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.

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.

What The Legal Profession Can Learn From Sly Stone About Innovation

What The Legal Profession Can Learn From Sly Stone

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Business of Law, Law Firms, Legal Marketing, Marketing Strategy Leave a Comment

In the legal profession, we tend to sit back and wait to innovate or do something we think we should be doing until we see another firm or another lawyer do it. We want to know that it looks okay.

Is It Safe?

We want to make sure it’s safe out there. We want to make sure that someone else has launched a podcast, has created video or livestreamed, or we want to make sure that someone else has invested in a certain community project. Then, when we find out they have, we think we have to do the same, because, well, we should be there, too.

Unfortunately, what that often creates is a me-too approach that makes us look just like the other sponsoring firms and organizations, versus standing out.

Listen or Read…Your Choice

If you would like to listen to this via my 5-minute, 12-second 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.

Summer of Soul…What?!

The reason I’m thinking about this now, and you might think this is odd, is because I have seen the movie Summer of Soul, (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) twice this Summer. If you haven’t seen it, you really should. I saw it in the theater, then told my husband, John, about it, so we found it on Hulu so we could watch it together.

Summer of Soul is about The Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969. It was hosted in Harlem over 6 weekends at the same time as Woodstock, but not too many outside of that area heard about it on the news because it wasn’t widely reported like Woodstock. Video footage has been stored in the basement of the videographer for FIFTY years because nobody was interested in purchasing it at that time. It is only now seeing the light of day…or the light of the big screen.

What Can We Learn From This Sly Stone Comment At The Festival?

You will love the movie because of the talent and the names you will see and hear.  If you are anything like me, you will have a hard time sitting still in your seat.

One of the big names was Sly Stone, who was shown on stage a few times during the movie. At one point, he told everyone in the crowd to go ahead and start singing along, or maybe it was clapping. I don’t remember, which I should since I’ve seen it twice. In fact, I should know the whole thing by heart, shouldn’t I?

Sly was basically saying, come on, go ahead, get involved. Let yourself go and join in with me.

Don’t Wait For Your Neighbor

His exact quote (yes, I did pull out my phone and type this out immediately in Google Keep) was:

“Don’t be waiting for approval from your neighbor because your neighbor might be waiting for you.”

This resonated with me because I serve a profession that has, historically, waited for its neighbor to do something first. That is improving, but it continues to be a driver of a lot of movement, change, and improvement to this day.

We are a profession that likes to see precedent and safety. I understand that, but I would like to talk to you about not waiting for your neighbor in order to experience true innovation and progress.

What If? What If? What If?

Instead of using your neighbors’ or your competitors’ actions as the impetus to safely start a project or make change, what can happen when you wait for your neighbor is that you can hold your firm back. This is true on different levels.

It is true because you wait to do things. You wait to innovate because you are waiting for someone else to do it first, when really, what might be happening is that they might be waiting for you to do it, too.

So, what happens? It never gets done. Nobody starts because everybody is afraid to start.

It might also be true because there might be something you would really like to get involved in because it somehow speaks to you. It might feel consistent with your brand, your personal brand, the position you wish to stake out in the marketplace, but you are afraid to do it because it seems a little too out there, or a little too assertive.

Inside, your overly cautious voice asks:

  • “What if I look silly?”
  • “What if my voice sounds bad on this recording?”
  • “What if I don’t use perfect words?”
  • “What if the firm ends up being second to market with this idea?”
  • “What if they don’t like our new vision statement?”
  • “What if?”
  • “What if?”
  • “What if?”

You can “what if” yourself and your firm until it’s too late, until one day you regret it because you have never gone ahead and gotten involved or innovated like you knew you could if you had just stepped forward.

Maybe Your Neighbor Needs You To Go Ahead

When you think about it, not waiting for your neighbor can also mean that your friendly neighbor might need a boost in confidence.

It might mean that someone else in the industry or the profession is just waiting for someone else like you to lend a hand and say:

  • “What do you think?”
  • “How about you?”
  • “I’d love to hear what you think about this.”

You have the ability to help them feel comfortable stepping up, or helping them gain the confidence they need.

Be Like Sly. Don’t Wait To Innovate.

So, I urge you to be like Sly.

Don’t wait for approval from your neighbor because, for whatever reason, your neighbor might be waiting for you.

Let me know what you think about Sly’s quote and if this makes sense to you, to your firm, and to the profession.

No more what-ifs. Do your due diligence, then step forward and lead.

Innovate while you can so that your clients are served to the best of your ability. Remember, it is about them, not about you and your fear of innovation.

Don’t wait for your neighbor because your neighbor might be waiting for you.

Please Let Me Know Your Thoughts

Please do me a favor and let me know your thoughts about Sly’s quote. Please leave a comment as I would love to hear from you. If you need to do that privately, you can always email me at [email protected] Either way, I would love to hear from you!

Thank 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 them right here with me.

Until next time, take care.

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.

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.

Photo of Sly Stone: Simon Fernandez, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Branding vs. Positioning What Is The Difference

Branding vs. Positioning: What Is The Difference and Do You Need Both?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Branding, Personal Branding, Positioning Leave a Comment

You might hear people talk about the need for you to establish your personal brand, or you need to create a brand for your firm.

You might also hear some of us talk about the need to position yourself in the marketplace, or what is called positioning.

It can be confusing because they are related. They are definitely cousins, but they are very different.

Bottom Line

Let’s talk about branding, and positioning. What is the difference between them? Do you need to worry about them? Let me start with the answer to that question.

Yes, you do need to worry about personal branding and positioning.

If you would like to listen to this via podcast, just press the green play button below, or click here if you are reading this via email. If you would prefer to read this via blog post, I have rewritten the podcast to a blog post below for you. 

Branding and Personal Branding

First, let’s talk about personal branding. If you think about your brand, or you think about the brand of anything, any product, any service, what comes to mind?

It might be subconscious, but what comes to mind when you see or hear a brand name are attributes you can always count on when you hear that brand name.

For example, what comes to mind when you read these names?

  • Mercedes Benz
  • Volkswagen
  • Walmart
  • Starbucks
  • Target

When you saw each name, didn’t you have a feeling or an impression about each one of them?

I’m pretty sure each one caused a different reaction in your mind because all of them have worked very hard to establish their brand in the marketplace.

By the way, you and I are the marketplace. We are their customers, their clients, or their potential clients.

Deliberate and Consistent Planning and Behavior

To establish the brand that seeing their name caused you to think or feel was created because of their deliberate and consistent planning and behavior in marketing and branding. Because of those efforts, they have established a reputation to be known for something and to cause a feeling that suddenly comes to mind when people hear or experience that name, that brand, that product or that service.

How Does This Translate To Your Brand?

For you, I would ask the question: What is your brand? What do you want to be known for? This is your personal brand.

For example, Starbucks wants to be known as a premium product that people pay a lot of money to consume. Yes, they are expensive, but they do little things to make a difference.

  • They have perfected their ice.
  • They use clear, high-quality plastic cups.
  • They have fancy stores.
  • They have nice people at the drive-thru.
  • They are known for giving back to some communities.
  • Their culture is known to be contemporary and attracts contemporary baristas.

Compare this to Dunkin Donuts, or Dunkin’ as they are called. Dunkin’ has a great brand, but it’s different.

  • It is more reasonable.
  • It is welcoming to every type of coffee drinker.
  • It is quick and convenient.

I am not a coffee drinker, so you can tell me if this is way off-base or what I have missed, but the people who love Dunkin’ love their coffee. They are loyal to it and will defend it when discussing the merits of drive-thru coffee.

Starbucks and Dunkin’ are different brands. They have worked hard to establish those brands, which, through my observation and interpretation, has worked for each of them.

You Are Your Product

A brand is also partially defined by the quality of its product(s). Remember that you are your product. You are the product and the service you would like your potential clients to consume.

All of these things and more come together to establish your brand:

  • The kind of work that you do
  • Your personality
  •  The way you conduct business
  • The way you communicate
  • The way you solve problems
  • The way you show empathy
  • The way you take care of them
  • The way you dive deep into your practice area and the issues your clients have

So, yes, you do need to think about brand-building for your firm, and personal brand-building for yourself. There is a process you can go through to walk through questions that will help to establish your firm’s brand and your personal brand.

You should spend time figuring this out, because if you don’t, what will happen is that people will establish your brand for you. If you are not deliberate about articulating who you are, and what you want your brand to stand for, what you want people to experience every time they do business with you, then other people will establish that for you.

They will make assumptions through observation and experience, which isn’t always correct. It can be, but it can also be off-base or incomplete if you haven’t taken control of your brand identification and communication.

What Is Positioning?

Positioning is different from branding. As I mentioned above, it is related to personal branding, but each has its own lane.

Let’s start by thinking about the word position.

What position do you want to have in the marketplace? For example, on my desk, I have copies of my mission and vision statements that I have created for my business, which is me as I am my product and my business.

For my vision statement, I had to ask myself, “Nancy, what position do you want in the marketplace?”

That means what position do I want to have in the minds of those who are considering doing business with me, or who are already doing business with me?

Does that mean that I am the first person my clients and potential clients think of when they are looking for someone or some education from someone who knows a lot about content, social and digital media marketing and how they fit into marketing and business development?

Does this mean that I want to the first person for them to call?

Yes, that is that position I would like to have in peoples’ minds, whether they’re clients or potential clients, referral sources, media, or others who might care about these practice areas.

So that is the “position” that I want to have in all of your minds.

This is how I state that:

“I am the most the most sought after and engaged provider of marketing, content, social and digital media education and coaching to lawyers, law firms and legal marketers.”

Let’s look at this even closer. What did I say there? I said I am the most. That means that the position I seek to have is that number one slot and that I want to be in that first position in your mind so that when you think about those sorts of things (and this isn’t a sales pitch, I’m just using me as an example which could help you identify and articulate your position in the marketplace), I am the first person you think of.

What Would You Like Your Position To Be?

Where do you want to be? Do you also want to be the most sought-after in your practice area? What I just read to you is my vision statement. I spent some time on that, but it was worth it because it can also serve as my positioning statement because that is also the position I want to have in the minds of those who are looking for somebody who does what I do.

Did I say I want to be the second person they think of, or I want to be in the top five? I did not. I said I am the most sought after, and I mentioned the specific areas where I want that position. Yours might also include a geographic area.

Your Positioning Statement Can Be Aspirational

Is it aspirational? You bet it is. That is what having vision is all about. But once you know what position, which slot you want to occupy in the minds of those you want to do business with, then you can then go about trying to achieve that position. Your actions, your marketing and business development actions, speak to that vision, that position, as often as possible.

Positioning vs. Branding

So again, very different.

Branding answers:

  • What are you like to do business with?
  • Who are you?
  • What will your clients be gaining as a result of interacting or doing business with you?
  • How will they feel when they are around you?
  • What do others see in you?
  • What do they gain from doing business with you?

Positioning answers:

  • What position in the marketplace do you want to hold?
  • What position do you want to earn in the minds of those who know about you, who are asked about you, or who are looking for someone like you?

Positioning defines a position, not the attributes.

It is the place, the position. You might know that you want to be number one in their minds, or you might say, you know what, I’m okay if I’m in the top three and I’m called to the table. Everybody doesn’t have to be the most sought after.

So, to answer my original question, yes, there is a difference, and yes, you need to define both.

Execution Is Critical To This Process

Equally as important as defining your brand and your position is that you then act upon both of those definitions. Your marketing and business development activities need to speak to those on a consistent basis. You need to demonstrate your brand and work toward securing that position you have defined. If you define these and do nothing with them, you have wasted your time and a huge opportunity.

Please Let Me Know Your Thoughts

Please do me a favor and let me know your thoughts about this topic of branding and positioning. Please leave a comment as I would love to hear from you.

Let me know if I have made the distinction clear to you or if it’s still a little murky. If you’d rather do so privately, you can always email me at [email protected]

Thank 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 them right here with me.

Additional Personal Branding Posts That Might Interest You

Personal Branding For Lawyers: What Do You Want To Be Known For?

You Damage More Than Your Own Personal Brand With Bad Online Behavior 

Branding vs. Positioning: What Is The Difference and Do You Need Both? (this post)

In Business, Personal Branding Is Important

Lawyers & Law Firms, Are You Paying Attention To Your Brand?

Personal Branding In The Age of Social & Digital Media

Can Your Personal Brand Hurt Your Firm’s Brand?

 

Nancy Myrland, Legal Marketing and Business Development Advisor to Lawyers

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers grow their practices by integrating the right marketing practices 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.

Nancy is also a personal branding speaker, trainer, and advisor, helping legal and business professionals in firms understand the importance and the impact of defining and reinforcing their personal brand. 

She is also the founder of the hybrid self-study and live online course, LinkedIn Course For Lawyers, where she personally guides lawyers through the sequential creation of their LinkedIn profile and presence. 

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 Firm Management You Need These 4 Groups On Your Pandemic Advisory Team

Law Firm Management: You Need These 4 Groups On Your Pandemic Advisory Team

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Coronavirus Communications Center, Crisis Management, Law Firms, Management Leave a Comment

Dreamers, doers, and deliberators…you need all of these parties, plus one more, at the table to survive what we have and are going through right now.

Because of the pandemic-related events of the past few years, everything has changed, but nothing has changed. When planning for the future, it has always been critical to put many factors in a blender and mix them together to find the richest combination of skill, dreams, people, passion, plans, and potential.

That hasn’t changed. It never will.

The need has always been there to dream about the future, take a smart dose of the past, fold in the reality of the present, and cast a vision for the future.

That’s what you do.

If you would like to listen to this via podcast, just press the green play button below, or click here if you are reading this via email. If you prefer to read, I’ve converted this to a blog post below for you.

Repeating The Past Isn’t Enough

To thrive past this year and next, you can’t simply continue what you’ve been doing and expect it to be enough. The pandemic, the economy, and evolving client expectations won’t allow for that to continue.

It’s all too easy to continue down the same path as you have for the past several years because that path might have worked very well for you. In fact, it might have been very profitable.

Stand Up and Stand Out

Accepting the known of today will rarely result in the growth, innovation, client focus, and profit needed to stand up and stand out to the marketplace as being special.

As Seth Godin wrote in a post in mid-December last year: (December 17, 2020, to be exact):

“For understandable reasons, we spend a lot of time trying to avoid blunders and minimizing mistakes. But if that’s all we do, we’ve given up the chance to do something magical.

If you’re working on the frontier, if you’re leading, creating or inventing, you’ve signed up for mistakes. That’s the price of innovation.”

Seth is right.

Law Firms Have Found Themselves In The Wild, Wild West

Law firms might feel like they are in a convoluted episode of the wild, wild west right now.

There are conditions that have been thrust upon you that are forcing you to sweep every bit of dust out of every corner, look under all of the cushions in every chair and couch, and revisit every practice and purpose that exists in your firm, all while attempting to put together the most innovative, yet the safest, course of action that will help guide your firms as you transition out of this unbelievable and odd time called a pandemic, or Coronavirus, or COVID, or the Delta variant. That’s a tall order.

It is your time and your responsibility to create something magical, to gather the bits of gold dust that you can find in your firms, to discover all of the coins hidden under the proverbial cushions, to rally the dreamers, the doers, and the deliberators into your actual and virtual boardrooms to, as Seth Godin says, do something magical for this moment.

Find Your Dreamers, Doers, and Deliberators

You know who these people are:

The Dreamers are those people in the firm who are usually positive and visionary. They are always thinking about the what-ifs. They are dreaming about the future and how it can be for the firm and for themselves. They see the opportunity in the firm, in others, and even in themselves. You need and want them because they aren’t typically wound up tight with fear because of having tried and failed in the past. They will rarely say, “We’ve done that before and it didn’t work.”

The Doers are those you know you can go to when it’s time to get something done, or who are always ready to implement. In fact, sometimes they implement before they are called upon to do so because, in their minds, they know it is time and it is the right thing to do. They CAN be those who go by the Ready, Fire, Aim method of living, running through life making decisions and implementing before seeking approval, being perfectly fine knowing they might have to deal with the ramifications later. All doers aren’t like this, but some are. Their bottom line is that they aren’t necessarily the visionaries or the dreamers. They are doers. They are ready!

The Deliberators are those who want to take time to mull over decisions…to be wise and consider every angle and the ramifications of going down different paths. They can be irritating to the doers, but they are great to have around because they will sometimes help you see what others aren’t able to see. They are cautious and caring. You might find you need to provide a gentle nudge to help them move forward, but not always. They are thinkers and planners, and you need them!

Planning For This Moment, Not Every Moment

When you bring these people together to help plan and transition, this doesn’t have to mean that what you are creating is for every moment for the next 10 years, but for this moment as you work through the remainder of the pandemic.

Your plans can and probably should change again in a few months, a year, and 5 years because, just as it always has before the pandemic, the world changes every month, year, and every 5 years. Agility is a gift and a necessity.

This is a moment in time that is both a bit scary AND a bit exciting because you have the opportunity to bring as many of your people, the dreamers, the doers, and the deliberators, into the fold as possible to find out what they are thinking, doing, and feeling, and how the firm might want to adapt.

Not Only Lawyers

That means being willing to listen to people in every nook and cranny of your firm, not just lawyers. You need to ask for, focus on, validate, and consider their ideas because all of your people are amazing, and they are often able to see and suggest solutions you might have missed. You might also find they reinforce ideas you were already thinking about, which helps you move forward with confidence.

Let’s Not Forget Your Clients

Also, you need to be ready to ask clients what they are thinking and what they are going through, what changes they have made, and what they think about the changes you are thinking about making. They are the reason you exist, so they need to be a part of your board of advisors, whether you have a formal one, or you form a pop-up board every now and then when important discussions like this are taking place.

You’re Smart. It’s Time. You Can Do This.

You’re very smart people. You have been trusted with the management of your firm for a reason, most likely because you are a leader and you have the ability to bring teams and people together. Use this time to flex all of your management muscles because you will find that your path through or around this transition out of the pandemic is much better informed, much sounder, and more stable than not spending this valuable time considering all of your options, including what needs to be kept, changed, and removed.

I Have Faith In You

I wish you the absolute best working through this uncertain time. I am always here if you have any thoughts you want to share, any questions to ask, or need another set of eyes and ears to walk through this time with you.

Let Me Know

Well, that’s it for today’s Legal Marketing Minutes. Please do me a favor and let me know your thoughts about this topic. Let me know how your transition is going, and if you are gathering the dreamers, the doers, and the deliberators from all parts of the firm together to help.

Please leave a comment as I’d love to hear from you.

Also, if you are connected to the legal profession, I invite you to join my Facebook group where we discuss marketing and business development, content, social and digital media marketing. Again, you can find us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/socialmediaforlawyers. Let me know this episode or blog post is where you found out about the group.

Thank 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 them right here with me.

Until next time, I’m Nancy Myrland.

Take care.

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.

If you would like to reserve time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. If you would like to be notified when LinkedIn Course For Lawyers is accepting new students again, you can do that here.