It’s 2015. Are you ready to get to work and grow your firm’s business? No matter the size of your firm, but particularly small to midsized firms, it is time to wake up and get energized to market effectively in 2015.
Here are 15 things you should be doing now to grow revenues in 2015:
1. Make your current clients a priority. It is still true that most of your work will come from current clients. The more matters in different practice areas you are handling for them, the better. Aim to cross-sell three to five different services of your firm to each client. Also look for ways to ratchet up service to your clients as law firms around the country are talking about providing uber service to differentiate them from the competition and keep clients happy. You need to get on this bandwagon too. Don’t just talk outstanding client service—provide it. Give out your cell and home phone. Visit clients off the clock to learn about their business. Research their industry and understand their challenges. Look for ways to audit and troubleshoot their standard operating procedures and prevent them from being in trouble. Check in frequently with your clients for the sole purpose of making sure they are happy with your services and improve any areas where they are not.
2. Make spoiling your referral sources a second high priority. Meet with them. Consider ways of helping them—even if you can’t send them work right now. See my article, “Give Your Referral Sources a Ton of Tender Loving Care,” published in The Legal on Jan. 28, 2014, for more ideas.
3. Get active in an organization where there are clients. Work up the organization’s ladder to a leadership role and take a different board member out each month to learn about their business.
4. Credential yourself and make sure your bios on your website, LinkedIn and more show that you are the “go-to” lawyer for an area because you have written, spoken and headed up thought leadership on it.
5. Repurpose all your credentialing activities. If you publish an article, seek to get it published somewhere else (mind copyright issues), speak on it to lawyers as a CLE, speak on it to clients, speak on it to other members of your firm, send it out as a client alert to clients and blog about it.
6. Yes, I said blog. If you like to write and love an area of your practice, blogging is a great way to credential yourself and entice the search engines to find you more. But you have to do it on a regular basis.
7. Get involved in community, charitable, civic or bar activities—but do so purposefully and with joy. Do things you like to do and at the same time have a plan to meet one new person at each event and get to know them and tag them for follow-up attention.
8. Check how you appear to the outside world. Check your appearance (clothes, facial hair, hair, makeup, overall tidiness), handshake (please make it firm and meaningful), email signature (is it full of contact information?), your voicemail (does it provide meaningful information for the caller who wants to locate you and can they get out of your voicemail to a human?), your business cards (do they market your niche?), and all of your public bios—including your very important photo. Make sure they all market you effectively.
9. Look for new clients. If you have some in mind but have no connection to them, go to their industry event and speak at it—or write for their industry magazine. Then, offer to give your talk at their HQ for free to their executives—and send them a copy of your article. If you have a connection you are ahead of the game but only if you can provide something of value to that target at the initial meeting. Ask yourself, “Why should they meet with me?” It has to be because you are going to make them richer, solve a problem they have or prevent one. Come prepared to deliver value.
10. Consider a niche for your practice. Increasingly, my clients are all seeing that there are “riches in niches.”
11. Make a plan for how you are going to get numbers 1-10 done. Calendar to do something meaningful and free for three current clients, three referral sources and three targets in the next 90 days. Look at your calendar and plan this kind of marketing. Once you have done the nine things, consider follow-up steps for each of the nine individuals you gave important attention to.
12. Be first at something. Look at laws under consideration or newly passed regulations and be the first to comment on them, write about them or teach clients about them.
13. Read periodicals your clients read. Make a list of the reporters who write for these publications and consider ways to send them ideas and serve as an expert on future stories.
14. Join a band. Well, you don’t really have to join a band—but get interested and happily involved in something outside of work. Get interested in people and contribute to the conversation. My experience in training multimillion-dollar rainmakers is that they have an enormous energy for being with other people and being engaged—whether it is on the golf course or in a band playing the sax (shout-out to white-collar defense ace Jud Aaron of Conrad O’Brien).
15. Try all of this for 18 months and note the progress you will make. Really—try and keep it up for a year-and-a-half. Let me know if you need help. I am happy to root you on.
So it is your turn now: Get up, get started and get going.
Stacy West Clark has been successfully helping lawyers and law firms grow their practices and revenues for over 25 years. She is a former attorney with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and was its first marketing director. She is president of Stacy Clark Marketing LLC (www.stacyclarkmarketing.com). •