In essence, lawyers woo clients, prospects and referral sources. At the recent Avvo Lawyernomics Conference, Avvo CEO Mark Britton gave this new meaning by drawing the parallel between lawyers marketing online and online dating. He emphasized the tremendous role likeability plays in each.
Avvo is a lawyer directory and rating site chock-full of legal advice and answers provided by attorneys. Britton began his session by drawing similarities between online dating and searching online for a lawyer. Many lawyers are far too focused on trumpeting their accomplishments and accolades, and sacrifice likability in the process. He noted that when the average person is looking for a lawyer online, he or she really wants to know three things: Will I like you? Can I trust you? Can you handle my case?
One of the most important determining factors in whether a potential client will deem a lawyer likable is that lawyer’s professional photo. Britton pointed out that many lawyers have photos of themselves in which their arms are crossed or they look half-asleep, or – even worse – they have no picture of themselves at all on their firm website. A high quality photo is absolutely vital for every lawyer, and Britton encourages lawyers to forego the attempt at a power pose and to simply smile instead.
Mentioning your accomplishments is important, but it’s also necessary to mention what kinds of cases you regularly handle so that potential clients have some idea of what to expect. Similarly, lawyers should strive for transparency and more effective communication with clients and prospects. Lay off the legalese and industry terminology, and focus instead on communicating simply and directly. This approach helps lawyers foster the kinds of longstanding relationships that successful firms are built on.
Britton counseled lawyers to remember that in today’s market, consumers are in control. They have more options and more information available to them than ever before. Choose a marketing approach that shows you are a lawyer who is likable, trustworthy, capable and plainspoken, and you will maximize the number of qualified prospects who knock on your door.
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