Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Transitioning from Service Partner to Rainmaker.
How this came about. We’ve been working with service partners who want to transition to be rainmakers for more than a decade now and it’s always been a subject that’s fascinated me. I’ve written a lot about it and I recently had an article in The Recorder, the subject: Transitioning from Service Partner to Rainmaker which many of you saw as part of the promotional e-mail for this webinar and what happened was somebody e-mailed me and said, “I really related to what you were saying. I am a service partner in a small firm. We’re about 15 people and there are two rainmakers in my practice area who are very generous with their time and with supporting me in my business development efforts. They take me to conferences. They introduce me. But the challenge is that everywhere I go, I’m in their shadows. It’s always, ‘Oh, yeah, you work with John.’ ‘Yeah, you must be John’s colleague.’ I’m always in their shadows and was saying, ‘What do I do?’” And I was really thinking about this because it is a challenge and I was thinking about the fact that he was saying that he is in the shadows of these rainmakers and what I was really thinking about was that he’s in the shadows, but the answer in so many ways is in the shadows also and that’s what we’re going to be talking about today is looking in the shadows for the things that can differentiate you and move you from service partner to rainmaker.
I’m Sharon Berman. My company is Berbay Corporation. We’re a marketing and public relations firm. We specialize in working with professional service businesses and we increase visibility and credibility that fuel revenue growth.
So first, why transition? It’s a challenge. It takes time. There’s effort. Why transition? If you look at this duck; this duck is sitting there. This duck is vulnerable and what you want to be doing is avoiding sitting duck syndrome. This duck is not out looking out for food that it can help share with everybody else. So as a service partner in today’s world, you’re vulnerable. You’re valued because of what you contribute in terms of keeping clients satisfied, in terms of your expertise, but without a book of business, you’re vulnerable. Another reason for transitioning is value and value in terms of your income, value in other ways that you can contribute to your firm. I don’t know if you say this survey that American Lawyer ran a blurb about yesterday or the day before. It was a study by [unintelligible] in Africa about the pay gap widening between rainmaking and non-rainmakers and what they were saying is that firms are paying more because they want to keep their rainmakers and the survey was highlighting the increased important of generating business as it relates to compensation and I’m quoting, it says, “Partners recognize not only that origination is becoming important, but that other factors, such as seniority and good citizenship, are less important.” So I’m sure you could all relate to that. I’m sure you’re all good citizens. I’m sure that the seniority among those who are listening in terms of being with your firm a long time—but that’s just not what’s valued as much today and you want to transition because you want increased value. You want to be valued by your firm and you want to be valued in the marketplace. You also want to leverage up, move up the career track within your firm and leverage your income up and you want to be seen as somebody as contributes to the firm. I know you all contribute to your firms right now, but you want to be a somebody who is also bringing business.
So how is it if people who are service partners? Number one—and we hear this quite often—is that you didn’t get your CPA license and you don’t get your license in order to become a “salesperson”—that’s usually the term we hear used, that if you wanted to go into sales, you would have gotten to sales, but really you like practicing law; you like practicing accounting and that’s what you went to school to do. You may be in the service partner role because that’s what the firm needed when you were hired and when you joined the firm and that was the assigned role: they needed people who could do the work, who could become experts or were experts and could keep clients happy while others were out making rain and that just may be where your role has been. You may be over the years have been discouraged from segueing from service partner to rainmaker. We were talking to a firm recently. We were talking a service partner who had some really worthwhile ideas in terms of how he could develop rain in sub specialty areas and when we brought this to the management, they basically said, “Look. We need him to be doing the work. Those are great ideas. If he does that, he’s not going to have time to do the work.” So he was basically discouraged from segueing right now.
Timing. It has to do with the timing of when you came into your firm and your time in terms of your own family’s and wants. Timing when came to the firm. We have been working with several firms recently who for several decades, they had a couple of rainmakers; they had a deep bench of service partners and the timing has been over the decades—that’s all they wanted. They didn’t want and they didn’t need any more rainmakers. They needed people who could churn out the work and now times have changed. They’re thinking about retiring and they’re turning around and looking and saying, “There’s nobody here I can turn this over to.” So now the service partners are being exhorted for the first time to bring in business which can be a challenge. It’s a matter of timing and also in terms of your own family, maybe you—marketing takes time. There’s no way around it. I’ve never found an answer for how it doesn’t take time.
Maybe your priority has been, “I want to spend more time with the family” or “I’m just not interested in devoting time to marketing.” And maybe now is the time where you’ve said, “I’m going to move this up the priority list.” Another reason is comfortable. You’re comfortable where you are. We’ve talked to a lot of people who are just service partners who are very comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with being a service partner. People make nice livings. They live nice lives and they’re just not interested. They’re comfortable. They’re just not interested right now in moving.
We also encounter this: people who say, “I don’t know how to change. I want to change. I want to change. I don’t know how to market. I don’t know what to do,” which is really one of the most appealing reasons because you know at least that there’s interest and that motivates people. Actually we were talking with a firm recently that had a little get together, two law firms that had—there were referral possibilities and a couple of the people there just were really fighting to go into this little wine and cheese event because they just basically said, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing there” and really thought that maybe they should be talking about their tax expertise or they have to demonstrate what they know about [unintelligible] or something like that. Nobody had ever taught them what it is just to go in to a small event like this.
And before I continue, I just wanted to remind everyone that you can submit your questions and we will try and answer them at the end of this presentation.
So why now? Why change now? I don’t have to tell anybody about the economy. There’s more pressure on everybody in the firm to bring in business. Revenues are down and what happens is management turns around and says, “Oh, my gosh, I have this tremendous potential here with all of these people” and is anxious to start turning everybody into a rainmaker.
Downsizing. With a book of business, no matter how small, you differentiate yourself from the person in the office next to you and when your firm management is making hard decisions about if they have to downsize, they’re going look and say, “Who does it make more sense to keep?” It makes more sense to keep the person who’s at least showing that they want to go out there and develop business and they may not have even fully brought in business yet, but they’re showing that they understand the need and they’re willing versus the person who hasn’t shown any interest. So in order to once again avoid sitting duck syndrome when it comes to downsizing, you want to be looking at how you can differential yourself through business development.
Firms are dissolving and they’re also letting go very seasoned, experienced service partners and we’ve talked to quite a few this year who’ve been working as lawyers for 20, 30 years and for the first time, are faced with having to develop business because they’ve been let go. They’ve decided perhaps to hang out their own shingle and they come and they say, ”I’ve always been fed the work. I don’t know how to market myself. What should I be doing?” And wouldn’t it have been so much better if they already had some sort of marketing muscle developed. So this is the time to be developing it before your back is against the wall. It may be that your facing this last feeling in your firm. You know that your subject matter experts. Your firm knows it, but you’re not going to make any money any farther up the ranks without being able to bring in business and it may be that you’re bored too. You know your subject matter area and you say, “I’m going to be doing this for another 20 years and I need to challenge myself.” And the challenge is learning how to bring in business.
Also, right now, it’s easier to shine more brightly. In this economy, you stand out more because there’s less clutter. One example is do you look at the Los Angeles Times or any newspaper? Now, part of that’s because of moving to the online world, but still an ad that runs in the L.A. Times now stands out a lot more. People who are really marketing now are developing traction and building momentum that’s going to serve them well when the market heats up.
What we’re doing here is we’re looking of our own rainmaking cloud. Everybody listening to this call is looking for their own rainmaking clouds. It all starts with you and that’s why this finger’s pointing directly at you. Number one, I really want to emphasize: it’s not about being smarter; it’s not about being more attractive; it’s not about having a vivacious personality. There’s a misconception that that’s what it takes to be a rainmaker. That’s not the case at all. What it takes is about being you and letting your own genuine caring about a client’s need come through. It’s about being attentive, listening, making sure the other person feels that they’re being heard and I think from very low-keyed personalities that I naively thought, especially when I was starting out, naively thought that they weren’t going to be able to develop business. That hasn’t been the case at all. I’ve seen very low-keyed personalities develop really nice books of business because it’s not about being a hale fellow well met.
In terms of commitment, it takes a commitment to educating yourself, to learning. You’re on this webinar. That’s a wonderful step. It’s about learning how to be a business developer, listening skills, how to network, what kinds of questions to ask. It’s about a commitment to training. This is not something—there are people out there who are natural “salespeople,” but this is not what this is about. I happen to believe that everybody has an inner marketer and this is about igniting that inner marketer.
This is also a commitment to consistency. Consistency is probably one of the most important things we’re talking about. Start and stop marketing is very discouraging because you don’t see results and because when you start up again, you’re starting from a cold area and you don’t have that momentum behind you. Consistency is going to get you farther than almost anything. And actually, I was having an interesting conversation with—and I cannot remember who it was with—but it was about two consultants who market to law firms and one is a man and one is a woman and this person was saying, “The woman is really—she’s smarter; she’s more insightful; she really does a better job for her clients, but it’s the guy who is the one who has the name because he markets consistently and he’s always out there and he’s giving seminars and he’s writing and he’s the one who’s grabbing the market because he is a consistent marketer.” So it’s a perfect example. He’s not maybe the best and brightest, but he’s the one who’s marketing and consistently.
This is a marathon. What we’re talking about here is a marathon. It’s something that you may be starting now, but these are skills and muscles you’re going to be developing for the rest of your career. This is also in terms of your comfort zone—I have comfort zone here, but it’s really about moving to a discomfort zone first because before you can expand your comfort zone, you have to be uncomfortable unfortunately, but then move through that and become more comfortable. It’s like the third time you go to a networking meeting you’ve never been to before. The first time is awkward and maybe you have to push yourself more. The second time, maybe you see familiar faces and the third time, you’re saying hi to people and feeling like, “This is the place for me.” In terms of you, you’re doing this for yourself, for your own personal and professional development to play a larger part in the firm and for your family.
What are the advantages you have right now as opposed to the current rainmakers? I don’t think a lot of people think about this, but there are advantages that a service partner really focusing on marketing right now has and I don’t mean to say that the current rainmakers are fat and happy, but what happens is you are really focused right now. We’ll talk about this more, but you’re going to be looking for opportunities and identifying gaps in the marketplace. So you have your eyes open and what happens is when you’ve been generating business for a while, there’s some aspect of complacency because you have momentum behind you and because the phone rings and a lot of times, you don’t have to work as hard. At the same time, people tend to let the knife dull a little bit. So there is that advantage that you have that right now, your senses are sharpened in terms of marketing.
Flexibility. You have flexibility because right now, you can decide who you’re going to be. You’re not fully formed yet in many ways when it comes to figuring out how to segue from service partner to rainmaker. So you have flexibility to adapt to the market, to say, “Hey, O.K., here’s a niche and I can be malleable and put myself in it,” whereas other people are known for something already and it’s much harder to segue. Today, there are so many more tools—and I don’t mean that the current rainmakers are ancient, but it’s very likely that a lot of rainmakers in your firm didn’t have as many online tools when they were coming up through the ranks and building their own book of business. The online tools, especially social media, ways to get the word out, ways to magnify your message, you just have so many more tools.
The first thing you’d want to do in terms of figuring out who you want to be when you grow up, in terms of being a rainmaker is you want to assess yourself. This process can be uncomfortable enough that you want to be playing to your strengths and not looking at showing up weaknesses. So you have to ask yourself what do you like doing. You may enjoy networking. Maybe you haven’t been doing a lot of networking, but the networking you’ve done you’ve thought, “Maybe this isn’t so bad. I could do more of this.” Do you enjoy the networking? Are you a writer? Do like to write? Writing can be very powerful. It has a long shelf life. So you want to be thinking if it’s writing, that may be a great way to be showcasing yourself. Speaking, if you think that you enjoy public speaking, maybe you want to get better at it and maybe you want to be speaking to the media, that might be something you want to focus on. There are a lot of people who don’t like speaking. So that might be an area and a way to differentiate yourself. There are people who are organization junkies. They love to get involved. They like to start climbing the leadership. They’re involved in a half a dozen organizations. That may be you and maybe you haven’t leveraged it yet in terms of using it to develop a book of business, but if that’s one of your strengths, you want to think about maybe emphasizing it more and looking at how you can get more out of it. Also, it’s often overlooked, but you see the best rainmakers do is that they create their own network or they create their own professional organization or they create their own seminars and when I see this, I really just think, “It’s so brilliant.” And so I just want to remind you that you have that option to create your own.
The London Tube talks about-when you get on the tube, they have that recorded message, “mines the gap.” What we’re doing here is mining the gap. You want to mine the overlooked opportunities and this is what I was talking about. You’re looking in the shadows here. It’s not that anything’s buried 20 feet below the earth, but what you’re doing is you’re looking at where the gaps are right now that are being overlooked in your firm by the current rainmakers. You’re looking for where you can create your own showcase and how you can differentiate yourself from the other rainmakers and this is what I wanted for the person who called me and said, “I’m in the shadows.” Following in the other rainmakers’ footsteps, O.K., that may, perhaps in some situations that works because maybe somebody’s getting ready to retire or maybe there’s room for another one, but really that’s not going to get your from service partner to rainmaker in my opinion. It’s really how are you going to differentiate yourself. Maybe within their shade it may be the same practice area, but how are you doing to have your own spotlight. So you need something to hang your hat on, that people remember you for. For instance, you’re remembered as the guy who knows everything about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as it relates to internet gaming. You need to be remembered for something.
So let’s talk about what’s been overlooked and I have industries here because—marketing by industry can be one of the most efficient ways to go. You’re not trying to say, “We target entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are everywhere. We target high net worth individuals.” I mean it’s like trying to target jello. When you’re targeting industries, it can be very focused. Also, clients relate to industries. They understand people who know their industry. They don’t relate to practice groups. They relate to industries. However, when we talk with firms, sometimes there’s a resistance to targeting by industry. I’m not 100% sure why, maybe because people feel that if they’re known for a certain industry then people from other places won’t come and ask them about can they represent them, but what we find is that if you’re known for working in one industry, people remember that and there are prospects from other industries who come and say, “I know you really work with auto dealers, but can you help by widget manufacturer?” So I would like you to consider thinking about how to target by industry.
How do you determine what industries? Number one, look at your client list. You probably have two or three clients in this industry or that industry. Take at a look at your client list and group them and so you have some options: “O.K., we work with truckers over here and we work with software over here”and determine where you want to put your emphasis. No more than one or industries, but what you’re doing here is repackaging and what’s so great about this is you’re taking work and expertise that’s already in your firm and you’re repackaging it so that it appeals to people in a particular industry. What’s fabulous about this, especially today, is you’re not talking about a huge capital investment because maybe you’re talking about a couple more web pages on a site that talks to a particular industry and you’re talking about maybe some e-blasts, but you’re not talking about things that can’t be done or that are unwieldy because maybe in two years, that industry, “O.K., we’ve been there, done that. Now let’s go on to the next one. It’s a few more web pages or whatever.” So this is something that can be done very quickly and efficiently and isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg. Repackaging is a word that we’re always using when it comes to working with our clients because so much of the time, there’s stuff that’s just lying around. It just needs to be tied up in the right way.
Look at the market segments in terms of mining the gaps. Look at your market segments. What’s not being served right now? Maybe you want to focus on—your firm focuses on larger pharmaceutical companies. Maybe you want to look at smaller pharmaceutical companies. You want to look at trends. What are the legislative trends? What are the regulatory trends? What are the opportunities that may be opening up for you if this bill passes or that bill passes or that are going to decimate one aspect of the firm if a bill passes and that you’re going to have to make up for? Also, think about the organizations that your firm has talked about but hasn’t gotten involved in. There may be opportunities for you to differentiate yourself there. We’ve sat at many practice group meetings where a firm has talked about, “Why aren’t we involved in IPO, intellectual property owners, or why aren’t we involved in this organization?” And this may be the time for you to get involved. So you want to be looking at where the gaps are, where you can differentiate yourself. And they should also say—this is all within the context, within your firm guidelines, your firm management, making sure that you’re getting approvals for this. Not going outside the lines, but how you can work within your firm.
What are some of the foundational elements that you need? When people come to us and they’re saying, “I really don’t know where I should start,” our advice to them, the first thing is always do you have a contact database. This can be something as simple as your Outlook. It doesn’t have to buying a new software program. If it’s your holiday card mailing list, just something to start with, but you want this database ideally to be coded because maybe you’re Outlook–can say, “All my contacts are in Outlook,” but if you’re going to be e-mailing something, are you e-mailing to your aunt in Minnesota and your tailor and your dentist? You may be wanting to do that but probably not. So you may want to go through and code them, maybe code in terms of clients, prospective clients, industries if you decided to target by industry, referral sources, experts, expert witnesses, opponents. Just think about what works for you in terms of coding. You do want to slice and dice this to a certain extent, but you don’t want it so finely chopped up that you find that there are just a lot of categories you never use or it just gets too complicated. Keep it really, really simple and the reason that you want this is you want to be able to communicate because if you have an article in a prestigious publication or a trade publication or somewhere that you want to let the world know about, how are you going to let them know about it? You can be profiled in the L.A. Business Journal and maybe your prospect didn’t see that, the L.A. Business Journal this week. So you need to be able to leverage what you’re doing and communicate it.
The other thing you want to be thinking about now is how you’re going to be tracking–tracking results because you’re not going to know what works unless you track. So you want to be thinking about how do you track leads, not just where business comes from. We talk with firms who say, “Yes, we track. We track where new business comes from.” O.K., but if you’re not tracking leads, then you don’t know—for instance, maybe you ran, for example, an ad in the trade publication and you got three calls and you found out that these are people who didn’t have money or they didn’t understand the caliber of the work you did. That tells you, number one, should you be advertising there? Maybe, maybe not, maybe you need to change what you’re communicating, but you’re not going to know that unless you track this. You want to be tracking the leads generated as well as the new business and one of the things to train yourself to do early on and anybody else who’s going to be assisting you with intake is to ask, “How did you hear about us?” I mean that’s a key question and I’m always asking that when we talk with clients because I’m always interested in how does that come to you. Was it referred? Was it because you wrote an article? That’s going to tell you how you’re doing.
Communication points. As part of your foundational tools, you need to know what you’re going to communicate and be thinking about what’s the value that you offer, what is it you do, how you’re different and be keeping those in mind and have them at the ready. They don’t just pop up. They’re things that you have to think about and rehearse.
Foundation. These are other aspects of your foundation that are often overlooked. One thing is your online aspects. Let’s talk about the biography first. I can think of several examples right now. We talk with people who tell us, “I do corporate transactions and I do them for digital media and nobody else is doing what I’m doing and I’ve just got to get the word out there and it’s such a unique area.” This is what they’re telling us and then we look at their biography and say, “These are two different people. You don’t mention anything about this in your biography.” When prospective clients go to a website, the biography is the thing that is most often looked at more than any other part of a website. So you want your bio right away to make it clear about what you do. If after this call you decide on a certain industry or market segment, you want to be going back to your bio and making sure that it reads that way.
Also, you want to look at your website—and once again, this is with the firm’s O.K. and within the firm’s guidelines, but can you, if you selected a specific industry or market segment, can you go back and add a few web pages that describe this or even just one web page or can you add a link off of a main web page, like a main practice area page? How can you find ways to tell your story with the context of what’s already there.
Also, you want to be looking at Linkedin. Is there a Linkedin profile telling the story that you want it to tell? Linkedin is becoming more and more important. You may not use it as much, but other people are looking at your Linkedin profile, so you want it to be 100% complete and telling the story you want it to tell.
And then think about other ways to tell your story. For instance, SuperLawyers. Everybody who’s a lawyer more than five years has a place for a SuperLawyer profile. You want that completed because other people are looking at that and other lawyers who may be referral sources, perspective clients. So think about the other opportunities. For example, I’m a member of ACG, Association for Corporate Growth. They have on t heir website the opportunity to not just put your name and address, but really put a much more complete profile and links and upload articles and so if there’s an opportunity to do that, take advantage of something like that. You want to be expanding your footprint and telling your story.
You also need to be building your own network. Your firm has a network, but you want to be building your own network within the context of the firm again. Number one, people you went to school with, are they in your database? Are they people–you want to be able to communicate with them because they’re going to grow as you grow and they’re going to be able to refer business. Maybe they can’t refer business today but in three years, there going to be able to refer business.
You want to think about positioning yourself as a referral resource and this means yes, being to give referrals, but it means that you want to be a resource for people who can come to you and say, “Do you know a good CPA? Do you know somebody who specializes in liability insurance?” You want to be that person. When a client comes to us and asks us, “Do you know somebody who can give a seminar on this?” I’m always so happy to be able to—first of all, that they view us that way and then be able to make another referral. So you want to think about positioning yourself that way and maybe today, it may be that your firm has its go-to people already, maybe they have their go-to forensic accountants and a go-to estate planning attorney, that sort of thing, and maybe you right now you’re not in a position to make any other referrals, but you want to think about positioning yourself to be able to do that in the near future.
Also think about the introductions within your network that you can make, introductions in terms of—as part of your business development, maybe it’s something where you’re introducing a—you have a prospective client and maybe right now you’re not a heavy hitter enough that you feel confident that you can land this yourself. So you bring in one of the rainmakers or maybe you think about who in your network you can just introduce to each other that would be useful. People who bring people together, that’s networking and that pays off. It may not pay off immediately, but it pays off in the long run if it’s something that you’re doing consistently. So you want to be thinking about how do you position yourself this way. It’s part of your foundation. It’s only going to hold you in better and better stead as you grow in your business development programs.
So you’ve thought about what market segments, where you want to target. What you want is a plan and I’m not talking about a voluminous tome. I’m talking about it’ll be a one-page plan, but something that you’ve really thought about. What are your objectives? And you want to quantify these as much as possible. “I want to bring in three new clients to the firm this year and it doesn’t matter what size they are.” But maybe it’s one new client. Put some kind of quantification around this. Think about a time frame. What’s the time frame that want to do this in? Is it by the end of the year? Is it the next three months? Within the next year? Put a time frame and then put interim goals.
We do targeting by industry, by contact level. Are you targeting the human resource manager or are you targeting the CFO? Who are you targeting within a firm, where the firm’s geographically? In order to target, you have to put the circle around the area. Once again, what are the communication points because if you’re going to be using these, you want to be consistent in what you’re communicating and across all marketing vehicles. So think about three communication points that you want to be able to have. Any time anybody talks with you or that they see your marketing material, look on line, what are your communication points?
And only then after you’ve thought about these things do you get the tactics. A lot of times, people want to start with the tactics right away and I understand that wanting to get into action, but if you don’t know where you’re going, there’s no use in motion. So your tactics—you want to think online what’s your web packet because you’re going to optimize for certain terms, search engine optimization. Are you going to do Google ad words? In personal selling or networking, where is the best place to do this? How are you going to do it?
Public relations. Are you going to be writing? What media do you want to be in? What trade publications do you want to be in or what blogs are really important to the areas you’re targeting?
Marketing materials. What kind of marketing materials do you need? Do you need your website? You also want to be thinking, perhaps a simple leave-behind. Really be thinking about what you need for marketing materials.
And this all comes down to execution and I always say, “It’s not that there are so many new ways to market.” In today’s world there are some different avenues to market, but there is all about whether you execute or not and how you execute. Somebody once said to me, “There are just file drawers full of great ideas around, but nobody’s done anything with them.” So this is really about what are you doing and how do you make it happen.
And then you need to figure out a way to measure it. We talked about tracking. Of course, new business is a great way to measure, but marketing is about generating leads, generating opportunities to be in front of somebody. If you’re generating leads and qualified leads and it’s not turning into business, that tells you, number one, that maybe you need to consider some sales training. Maybe you’re not as good as you could be in terms of closing. So you want to be measuring and when it comes to marketing, it doesn’t mean 100% new business. It means are you generating the opportunities to be in front of somebody that is the kind of client you want.
So you have your plan. This is much easier to do if you have support. So where can you find support? If you look for it, the support is there. The support can come from current rainmakers. One of the first things you want to do is to talk with your current rainmakers and say, “Look, I really admire what you’ve done, the kind of business you’ve built. My plan is to follow in your path but with a different spotlight and any suggestions you have, anything you can do that would—any ideas you have in terms of how I can do it better. Here are my ideas right now. Here’s my plan. Maybe I can check back with you regularly. Any kind of input. For the most part, people like to be asked for their help and support. Most likely you’re going to get it. So that’s one place to start and to loop them in right away.
Another thing is to think about your firm. A lot of firms maybe haven’t had a change to take advantage of it over the years, but firms offer business development training. They’ll offer to pay for to take a class in sales or take a class in marketing. So maybe in the past, they’ve offered this and you haven’t taken advantage of it. Revisit it. Maybe the time to do now. Also, do they pay a percentage of originations? I mean that’s a great thing to take advantage of.
If your firm has a marketing department, you want to be the squeaky wheel and sometimes we have clients who come to us and they have a marketing department and my first piece of advice to them is go to your marketing department. Not that we want to turn away business, but if the support is there, then why not take advantage of it. I have been marketing director in large firms, so I know it’s not possible to help everybody, but I also know that people who came to me and said, “Can you help me with this?” would get our attention. For the most part, marketing departments in firms are more there to be to help on a more global level, but I would see what the opportunities are or say, “Listen, can I just come and sit and talk to you and tell you about my plans and maybe you can help me identify a media list or maybe you can help me place this article.” So I would explore that.
The other thing is you might want to think about getting yourself a coach. Coaches can be extremely helpful and sometimes firms will split the cost with you on a coach. There’s a coaching aspect to what we do, but we are implementers and become the outsource marketing department for most of our clients. A lot of times people call and I will refer them to coaches because they’ll say, “Listen, you know what, what you really need here first is a coach” or maybe “It’s because you need more of that accountability as opposed to right now marketing. You’re going to need marketing support, but maybe right now, the first thing you need is a coach.” And we know some great coaches. If you’re looking for a coach, feel free to contact me afterwards and I can get you some names.
And this is once again—it’s about execution. It’s about execution of your plan. It’s about execution in terms of getting yourself educated. You’re on this webinar. That’s fabulous. You know, for instance, Legal Marketing Association is going to be having an all-day seminar on Friday, September 28, about legal marketing. You might want to take a look at that. There’s always seminars and webinars. So just continue to educate yourself and that’s in terms of just being able to support yourself and getting other ideas.
How do you ignite your passion for marketing? A lot of times, the partners who work with the service partners are not really excited about marketing, but as I said, I do believe that there’s an inner marketer in everybody. How do you ignite your passion? Number one is through the process that we just described. You going to create focus. Focus starts to ignite a passion for marketing. Number one, when you’re thinking about marketing as a big, amorphous piece out there—“Oh, my god, I’ve got to go develop business. What do I do? I don’t want to do it. Where do I go?” O.K. That doesn’t ignite anybody’s passion, but if you say, “Oh, my gosh, O.K., I am really going to target the software industry and I’m targeting the corporate counsel and I want everybody in these zip codes, let’s say, it’s going to start igniting your interest. When you start taking small steps, you have to make mist before you make rain. So think about taking the small steps that the small successes make you want bigger successes and that’s going to ignite your passion for marketing and it’s going to be ignited as you just do it, as you just put your plan together, as you really build your confidence, you’re going to ignite your passion for marketing.
So in conclusion here, we’ve talked about you’re a service partner and this is a brief summary of what we’ve talked about. You’ve looked in the shadows and you’ve said, “Oh, my god, look at what is hiding in the shadows. That’s my shining opportunity.” You’re making a commitment to yourself, a commitment to your firm. You’re going to become educated. You’re identifying opportunities. You’re identifying where you need to go. You’re putting you plan together and once you have your plan in place, you’re going to start executing on it and what do you know? You’re making rain.
So thank you very much everybody for listening today. I appreciate your attention. I’ll be happy to take some questions. By the way, we also welcome the opportunity to talk further. Here’s my contact information. Please feel free to get in touch.
I have a question here. “I find it challenging to differentiate myself because I feel like everyone says the same thing. Any suggestions on how to identify what makes so different?” I’m thinking about this right now. I think one of things that differentiates somebody is being able to articulate the value that they bring because people talk about what they do. First of all, if somebody who can articulate the value that they bring succinctly and in a way that resonates is going to differentiate themselves right away. So I would number one consider the value that you bring—and I’m not talking about, “I go to trial.” No, but it’s more, “I help protect people’s wealth because I’m an intellectual property lawyer” or “Our value statement is we create visibility and credibility that fuel revenue growth. That’s the value of what we bring.” You want to be thinking in depth and sort I always envision it as behind the scenes in terms of what is the client left when you leave that they consider of value and that’s not an easy question to answer. Next question—and I’d be happy to talk with you further. Please give me a call.
This was a very informative webinar. Thank you. O.K., I appreciate that. “If you had to recommend the first next steps for a service partner like myself, what would you recommend?” What I would say—and sometimes it takes a little bit—it does; it takes time and thought in terms of what are the specifics of who you’re going to target. Are there industries, sub specialties? The first thing that I would do—and I have always believed and continue to believe that your contact list is the core of your marketing program because how are you going to communicate with people if you don’t have a way to let the right people know what you’re up to about your successes or about your expertise, so that you just had an article published or you’re giving an webinar. So the first thing I would do is make sure my contact list is coded the way I want it be coded, that I’m ready to go. The test I always use if I had an article—if you had a positive profile today on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, could you get it out by this evening? Could you e-mail everybody this evening with it? And that’s the test. You want to be ready to go right away.
“As a marketer, can I help attorneys identify gaps? If so, what would be the best way?” I’m presuming you’re asking, “Can I help attorneys? “ Yes. We definitely work with law firms and attorneys and other professionals in terms of identifying the gaps. We always interview the person we’re talking to, but we start with the client list and what people are working on because for the most part, the information is there. There is to me an unfathomable resistance to looking at it sometimes, but I just sort of feel like the information is there. We can figure this out. So once again, I’d be happy to talk to you further.
And this is the last question here. “Will the Power Point or notes be available after the presentation?” Yes, we’ll make that available. The recording will also be available. It may take a day or two, but we will have that up.
And one more question, “My managing partner resists marketing service partners. What is your recommendation to get past his resistance?” That’s a challenging question. I can’t give you one answer off the top of my head. I think that’s worth exploring. I’d have to know more about what the resistance is. We’d have to talk more about that. I’m sure it involves a level of fear. It involves a level of control. It involves a level of “I just want you to be focusing on your work.” And we’d have to really talk and figure out some ways to either ameliorate some of that to show why it makes sense for him or her to support you in building business and how you can work in a way that wouldn’t be threatening.
Everybody, thank you very much. Again, I’d be happy to talk with you further. Please give me a call. E-mail me and I appreciate you turning in today. Thank you very much.