Blog/Podcast: How Law Firm Marketers Can Best Communicate with Attorney Clients
More often than not, legal marketers do not hold a J.D. or have a license to practice law. While you don’t need to be a lawyer to successfully market a practice, this gap can create some reluctance or resistance from attorney clients when suggesting new marketing initiatives.
Sheenika Gandhi, Director of Marketing & Business Development for the seven-office law firm of Payne & Fears, joined the Law Firm Marketing Catalyst podcast, and shared six ways legal marketers who don’t hold law degrees can best communicate and build trust with law firm clients.
- Meet Attorneys and Law Firms Where They Are
Any legal marketer who is too pushy or who demands too much from an individual attorney or from a firm is running the risk of losing respect and/or business. Instead, each attorney and law firm needs to be guided and advised in marketing based on their current marketing savvy. Some attorneys in a firm will embrace new technology or marketing endeavors immediately, while others may take months to warm up to the idea. When it comes to rolling out new initiatives, slow and steady wins the race.
- Show, Don’t Tell
With everything else on a lawyer’s plate, becoming an expert in social media or a new technology platform often isn’t a priority. Rather than sending a lengthy email that may get overlooked or put on the back burner, meet with the attorney and walk them through the process. This (politely) forces them to take time and pay attention, and offers the opportunity to address questions in real time. For law firm marketers who aren’t in-house, a brief PowerPoint presentation/Skype demonstrating exactly how to accomplish the goal may serve as a substitute.
- Strike at the Right Time
Law firm marketers need to be adept at being able to read their law firm’s clients’ readiness for certain efforts, campaigns, strategies or projects. For example, if a new technology becomes available, but you’re working with a brand-new firm, or helping launch a merged firm, chances are the firm is already spending a lot of money. They may not be ready to invest in expensive technology immediately. Likewise, trying to “push” a new marketing initiative while the decision makers in the firm are in the midst of a huge trial is likely going to backfire. Listen for “problems” reported by the firm decision makers and use those opportunities to present new solutions.
- Use Facts, Figures and Analytics
Marketing efforts and results can be subjective in terms of ROI and value. In order to present reasons for a law firm client to engage in a specific marketing strategy or opportunity, it is helpful to speak objectively. Use facts, figures and analytics to appeal to lawyers who are accustomed to looking for evidence to support why they should take the next step.
- Attend CLE Courses and Bar Association Events
Sheenika recommends attending CLE programs that firms you work with are hosting as well as bar association educational events. Absorbing the information you learn can go a long way in terms of not only learning more about specific nuances in the law, but also in being able to “speak their language” and communicate better with the attorneys you work with.
- Get Involved with Industry Associations
All law firm marketers should be involved and active in their own industry, the same way that attorneys are members of their State Bar and participate in other legal organizations. Hearing challenges and successes firsthand from your peers is invaluable information. Chances are, the same issues you’re encountering are happening in other firms.