Most attorney’s hate sales and marketing, in fact many find it debilitating. And yet it’s probably fair to say that the future of any firm or practice depends on their effectiveness in both categories. With that in mind, here are some complaints and advice on resolving the issue. In general, attorney’s fall into 10 categories. So, let’s examine these categories and learn some tactics for overcoming these objections.
1. Sales and Marketing Doesn’t Seem Ethical
Many lawyers think that the function of marketing is to trick clients. They feel as if marketing violates the rules of professionalism. So, finding clients by the use of such devious devices is just wrong.
WHAT TO DO: Contact your state bar ethics office and encourage them to host a seminar explaining where the ethical lines should be drawn. Ask for their opinions as to how to market ethically. They will be able to explain ethically sound practices other firms have implemented, so you may reach out to clients in the same way. They can also help you know what is and isn’t legal in law firm marketing in your state or jurisdiction, such as website testimonials.
2. Clients Do Not Want To Be Sold To
Some lawyers feel that clients will find solicitations to be intrusive and in general feel selling is manipulative. Others don’t like to be sold to themselves, so they assume their clients feel the same way.
WHAT TO DO: Ask clients from your firm or others what methods of marketing work for them; what pitches were good and which were offensive. When you decide to learn something valuable from a clients perspective, you’ll find that most of the time selling is about making people (clients) happy and providing them what they really need. You will also learn what the clients do not like so that you can avoid becoming a pesky salesperson and develop a focused marketing approach specifically for them.
3. I Should Be Doing Real Work
Lawyers often feel that the return on investment (ROI) for marketing is much lower than the ROI on legal work. They might also feel that it is more noble to render legal service than to market. The assumption here is that more clients will come in the door if the lawyer focuses all their attention on giving great legal counsel. Sadly, this is not true.
WHAT TO DO: Seek advice from a business school professor that can explain the need for marketing products and what happens when good products are not marketed effectively. As your company grows, it will need to target different audiences and market differently. If you’re actively marketing – there should always be enough business. Consultants can often provide advise on using marketing to increase profitability – others have gone out of business by ignoring it.
4. I’m a Lawyer That Knows Nothing About Marketing.
Many lawyers see marketing as its own profession and feel that they would hurt their firm by dabbling in a profession that they don’t understand. They know what can happen in their own profession if someone doesn’t do the job well; they assume that the same thing can happen with marketing. The problem is that marketers can be hired, but lawyers have to be part of the process.
WHAT TO DO: Think about your “problem” clients that say something like, “Let me run my business and you do your magic to keep us out of trouble.” You know this is not possible and keeping them out of trouble takes strategy and teamwork. The same is true for marketing. Call in an expert to talk about how lawyers involved in their marketing plan get better results than those that do not.
5. I Want to Practice Law, Not Run a Business.
Many lawyers resent the idea that being a lawyer is a business and not just a noble profession. They resent the idea that marketing has to be a part of being a lawyer and don’t want to think about sales, revenue, productivity, and efficiency. The truth is, however, that the laws of economics work on a law firm in the same way they work on any business out there.
WHAT TO DO: Remind the lawyers that just like they did not create problems that need to be fixed, marketers did not create market competition. Reward marketers for behavior that directly results in a measurable increase in revenue and profit. You’ll find your “marketers” will build a relationship of trust with the lawyers – both trying to survive in the world of competition they find themselves in.
6. Lawyers Do Not Sell Products, So Marketing Doesn’t Apply to Lawyers.
Some lawyers assume that only products need marketing and that services do not. Although services may not need as much advertising as a product, they do need marketing. There is a difference.
WHAT TO DO: Explain the difference between advertising and marketing. Make sure to explain that marketing presents the overall picture of how a firm will promote its services. A good marketing plan can tell you why your clients buy your services, which services they buy, how they decide to buy, what they will pay, what makes them want more, what other services they may want, what makes them go to another provider, and what makes them recommend you. Advertising is an important component of a company’s marketing plan and focuses on the creative positioning and media through which your services are sold.
7. I’m Not Comfortable Marketing
Some lawyers simply do not feel comfortable with marketing. They may not even be able to explain why. Typically, it has to do with fear. Many marketers have business degrees, but those business degrees are of limited use if services aren’t sold and that becomes the job of the attorney. It is a supportive – two fold process.
WHAT TO DO: Start small. Give them a little bit of marketing at a time to increase their revenue. Find where they are comfortable and give them tidbits in that area. They will begin to stretch as they realize that other lawyers are marketing and will take their clients if they aren’t careful.
8. I’m Too Busy.
These lawyers don’t feel that their time is better spent on being a lawyer, but believe they do not have time to do more than they are doing. They often believe that getting more clients will cause them to be a bad lawyer because they won’t be able to serve their clients effectively.
WHAT TO DO: These lawyers don’t feel they need to grow their client base and tend to be good service providers. The best way to get them to accept marketing is to help them see that survival depends on new clients and that the firm will help them support additional clients.
9. We Generate Referrals. Other Marketing Is a Waste of Money.
Many lawyers say that the work they get is from referrals and that these referrals come from other lawyers. They also tend to spend all of their business development in bar meetings and conferences, which explains why their referral base comes from other lawyers. Referrals come from where you spend your time! They also don’t see that talking with another lawyer who happens to supply referrals is marketing, but they would be wrong. Finally, they do not seem to think about why some conversations lead to referrals while others do not. Understanding this is called marketing.
WHAT TO DO: Help the lawyers understand that marketing will help them expand their referral network, not replace it. Show them marketing activities that could bring them more referrals. Finally, bring in a lawyer that used marketing to increase their referral base to explain how it was done.
10. I Know How To Market So I Don’t Need a Professional.
The rainmakers in the business are good at connecting with people. They know how to reach beyond their borders. They also know how to pick a marketers brain to get some good ideas to take back and implement. In general, though, they believe they are smarter than a marketer.
WHAT TO DO: First you will need to establish trust. The best way is through credentials and endorsements by other professionals they trust.
These are the 10 biggest objections to marketing given by lawyers. By following the “What to Do” sections, you will be able to help lawyers market their businesses successfully. In today’s business climate it’s crucial to success by helping lawyers and marketers align along a common goal.