Transcription: Your Law Firm Succession Plan: Tackling the Empty Rainmaking Bench Webinar

Good morning, everybody. I wanted to tell you about a tale of two litigators. One of these litigators, the managing partner of a litigation firm in Beverly Hills, is named George. George founded his litigation firm several decades ago. It’s been very successful. It’s been very profitable, but George has been the chief rainmaker, bringing in almost all of the business. He has a dedicated team of attorneys and employees who support him, but when clients call, they call him. George was approaching sixty and he realized that in the next five to ten years, he wanted to pull back, that he wanted to reap the fruit of his labors. He didn’t want to leave the firm. He wanted to still create income from the firm, but he didn’t want to carry the burden of bringing in all the revenue on his shoulders. So he was looking ahead five or ten years and then he looked back over his shoulder and he said, “You know what? My rainmaking bench is empty. I don’t have anybody who can fill this.” And what George did is he called us and for the last several years, three to four years, we’ve been working with George and his attorneys to fill that rainmaking bench, to develop a marketing and business development program that’s going to fill that rainmaking bench so that George has some options when it’s time for him to exit.

Another firm is led by Simon. Simon’s firm is located in San Francisco. It’s a litigation firm and Simon has been the chief rainmaker again—I mean similar to George—he’s been the chief rainmaker and he with a cadre of attorneys and employees—but he is the one who brings in the business; he’s the one who’s been active in the community and he’s the one who’s known and gets the calls. Simon was in his early sixties and said, “You know what? In a couple of years, I want to be out fishing more than I am in the office.” And he too looked over his shoulder and said, “My rainmaking bench is empty. If I’m out fishing, the firm is going to suffer.” So Simon called us in. Simon was willing to give it ninety days and about fifteen minutes after we started, we got an e-mail saying, “When are we going to be done with our marketing?”

So we have two litigation firms here. Who are you going to put your money on? Are you going to put your money on George or are you going to put your money Simon’s firm continuing after they bow out? As for me—not just because we’re involved with them but because I think George is being really smart about what he’s doing, I’m going to put my money on George. And what I’d like for you, I’d also like to put my money on you and know that your firms are going to survive because you’ve developed a deep rainmaking bench and when the time is right for you to exit, you’re not going to have to scramble. You’re going to feel comfortable that revenue is going to continue to come in and that the legacy that you have spent decades building is going to continue.

My name is Sharon Berman. My company is Berbay Corporation, Marketing and Public Relations. I am principal. We have been in business 17 years and we create the visibility and credibility that fuel law firms’ revenue growth. What I’d like to do is go through the webinar and if you can hold your questions to the end, that would be great.

I know that a lot of you listening are just like George and Simon in terms of you’ve built your firm over the long term. You are the chief rainmakers. Over the years, you may have suggested, encouraged, exhorted your other attorneys to bring in business, told them that you would leave to see them do that, but so far nobody has really demonstrated any kind of ability or an ability that will not bring them anywhere near where you are or close that gap. Your attorneys are loyal; they’re dedicated; they’re very good, but they’re just in terms of rainmaking, in terms of developing business, that’s not their forte. So you may be a boomer in your later fifties. You may be in your thirties just really looking ahead and saying, “I want to address this now.” So it’s like now what? No what I do?

So now what? So you want to create a revenue-generating machine, a machine that is going to continue to provide income for when you leave the firm or at least provide you the option that you’re going to have a rainmaking bench that’s going to be full and that’ll be up and running by the time you leave and if you want this for yourself, then the time to start planning is now.

Why is it that a lot of firms don’t have a rainmaking bench? Why do they not have that team of lawyers who can bring in business along with chief rainmaker or can replace the rainmaker when he or she is gone?

Number one, we’re also focused on today. You are keeping clients happy. You’re running a firm. You’re trying to spend time with your family. We’re focused on today. To look at how we develop a team of business developers in-house in your firms definitely can be done, but it’s challenging and it means that you step out of the rush of today’s work and really think and strategize.

The other thing is your structure. For a lot of firms, an empty rainmaking bench was fine for a long time. We’ve talked with firms who their associates or their senior attorneys might express interest in marketing and developing business and we’re told by the managing partner or the chief rainmaker, “I don’t want that. I want them to be focused on doing the work. I will focus on bringing in business. That’s my role. Their role is to do the work.” So it may have been that for a long time, you weren’t interested in anybody else developing business or it was like it’s a nice idea as long as you keep getting the work done. So that may have been fine until now. That may have been the structure of your firm and then one day you turn around and say, “You know what? It works, but now I got to change things.”

Also, there’s resistance in terms of when you think about having other people making rain or bringing in business, that means that you have less control and when we’re talking about perhaps exiting you firm, you’re talking about giving up your baby, the baby that you have built, spent decades building, sweating over, your blood, sweat and tears and it’s just like when you talk with trust and estate lawyers and they will talk about how people won’t sign their documents. They’ll do everything else. They’ll do everything and they’ll pay their bills, but they will not sign their documents, sign the wills, the trusts because they don’t want to think about the next step and that’s one of the points of resistance here. It means that at some point, you might not be with the firm. It might not be your firm any more.

The other thing is we’re all working longer. It may be “Why should I stop and think about it now?” Maybe five years ago, your time horizon was five years and you said, “I’d better think about it,” but now it’s longer because of everything happening in the world.

So there can be some discomfort in thinking about this first because it can be a challenge. It means you have to change the way you’re doing things and also because it means there are emotions and change in your life. There are options when it comes to filling your empty rainmaking bench. Let’s take a look at the options.

Number one, not because it’s the most important, but you have lateral hires. You can bring in attorneys with books of business who can start to fill that gap between you and the people behind you. So you can bring in lateral hires with books of business. There are definitely challenges here as there are with everything. There are challenges. Number one, lateral hires can be hard to integrate. They come fully formed. They’re not malleable. They have their own way of doing things. They may be wonderful people, fabulous attorneys. They may fit right in, but a lot of times, it just doesn’t happen that way. So you don’t want to bank on that as being something that’s just a done deal. Also, they may have a book of business. Those books of business do not always follow and there’s no way that you have control over whether they follow or not. So that’s one of the challenges with lateral hires. They can also be great in terms of you get the right person; they fit right into the firm; they bring business or at least they hit the ground running, knowing how to develop business and they start to fill the gaps. So lateral hires are one option.

You can look at merging, acquiring, selling your firm. What we’ve been told in the marketplace right now, if you’re looking to acquire other firms that are merged, there’s just a lot less—a lot of those merging and acquiring, especially with smaller firms, has been done. So there’s a lot less choice in terms of what to choose from or options than there might have been a few years ago.

You can shrink. You can just say, “You know what? It’s just going to be me, my secretary and a paralegal and that’s what we’re going to do and I’m just going to manage whatever I can that way and that’s my choice right now.” There’s nothing wrong with that. Or you can close your doors and just turn out the lights. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with any of these choices.

Or you can choose to try and grow your own, to take the attorneys you have right now and ignite their inner-marketer and business developer. You can also, in terms of your hiring going forward, make sure to look for the attorneys, the associates, the seasoned attorneys who have that business development spark and desire and continue to grow your own. You can also have some combination of this.

One of the most important things though is because none of this is easy to do and it all takes time is that you want to put time on your side. This doesn’t happen over night. I don’t have to tell you. It’s just a reminder and I’m encouraging you to start thinking about this now, to start taking the time—whether it’s ten years or twenty years off, to be thinking about how you can position your firm now and your rainmaking so that you’re not two years out and saying, “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?” We all know how fast time flies. Ideally, you want to give yourself five two ten years. It can be done in less, but the more time—you need time to work out the kinks.

Just for example, how often do we hear about lateral hires that don’t work out? I was talking to a firm that as part of its succession plan had brought in a couple of lateral hires and one of them didn’t work out. One has. So then you’re back to the drawing board of looking for somebody else. So you need time to work out the kinks. You need time to figure out, “I have this team of people that I’m going to work with in terms of developing as business developers.” It takes time to figure out who’s really going to make it and who isn’t.

So what we’re talking about is how do you then integrate marketing and business development into your succession planning because that is a key aspect of developing your rainmaking bench, of making sure that you’ve filled this gap. We’ve looked at a five-step process in terms of how you integrate marketing of business development. Number one—and we’ll go over these in more detail—but you need to evaluate your team. Step two is training and education, a critical step. Step three is you need to make sure that everybody has the tools. So often we’ve seen firms that really tie their attorneys’ hands behind their back when it comes to business development because they don’t have the tools. Number four, all critical, is you have to execute on this. I mean it seems obvious, but that’s where many firms fall down. You need to execute on this and you need to create accountability and measure what’s going on and once again, there’s a lot of resistance to this. So these are the five steps in terms of how you integrate business development. Let’s take a look at each of these—

And before I do that, I want to emphasize that when you’re talking about filling your rainmaking bench and developing your attorneys into business developers or integrating lateral hires and giving them the tools they need to continue to develop business, you’re talking about two parallel tracks. You’re talking about marketing, number one, and business development. Those are separate.

Marketing is about generating leads. It’s about how you get the phone to ring, how you get the e-mails to come in through your website or through other online sources. That’s what marketing’s about and marketing is about the red carpet that you are putting out in front of your business developers, meaning that when somebody mentions your firm, the person says, “Oh yes, I’ve heard of them. I’ve heard of Jane Smith. I’ve heard of the Jane Smith Law firm” and not saying, “Who? Never heard of them.” You are fighting a much bigger battle than somebody who says, “Who? I’ve never heard of them.” On the other hand, if somebody asks for a referral and they say you need to call Jane Smith’s firm, they ask their next person on the list who they should call for a referral and that person says Jane Smith’s law firm, that’s a done deal. That’s exponentially stronger. Number two is exponentially stronger than number one, those two referrals together. That’s what you’re after. So you’re talking about marketing.

Business development—and this is a term that a lot of people don’t like, but it’s sales. Marketing creates the opportunities for you to be in front of somebody and when you’re in front of somebody, you are selling—or call it business development—you want to call it client relationship development—but that’s what we’re talking about.

So there are two tracks that go hand in hand, but you need to be thinking about your marketing program and your business development program because you can’t effectively do one without the other. So whether you’re going to grow your own or whether you have a lateral hire or however you’re going to do it, you need to be thinking about both tracks and integrating both tracks.

So that’s one. Let’s talk about evaluating your team. You want to be looking at who has potential. Now it may be if you have people who’s been with you for decades and they’ve never demonstrated any kind of ability or interest in bringing in business—I don’t want to say people don’t change, but the likelihood of them developing business is not tremendous, but you may have people who have expressed interest who maybe don’t have the training, but they have expressed interest or they don’t know how. It’s often what we find when we talk with firms and talk with their—not to denigrate anybody, but the second string—is you have people who are really interested in learning how to market, how to network, how to develop business, be in front of clients, but they don’t know how and nobody’s really given them the tools or nobody said, “Yes, that’s something I think that you should look at more.” So you want to see who’s interested and motivated. And then you want to start looking how to fill the gap. So you’re growing your own in terms of developing some people who are interested and have the knack as well as looking at some lateral hires perhaps. Perhaps your litigation—you have some really great fourth, fifth, sixth-year litigators who have the potential to develop business, but in your real estate department, you don’t have anybody. So maybe that’s going to be a lateral hire. So you want to be looking at both of those.

A couple of things I do want to say: There are lawyers we talk with who would be fabulous business developers, but they’re dedicated to their families right now. Let’s say that’s their priority or they’re young moms; they have three kids. I mean you can’t count on those people. They may be fabulous; they may be great attorneys, but I would not bank on those people as being the people who are going to fill your rainmaking bench. You’ve got to have people who are there who are interested. Marketing takes time. It takes time after work. It takes time—other times outside of the office, so you need to have people who understand that, who are committed to it. I’ve never found a way to shrink the time it takes for marketing in terms of no matter how efficient you are on line, no what matter. It takes time. So you need to be thinking about that.

O.K., training. Training is a key aspect of this because your lawyers weren’t born lawyers and they most likely weren’t born as marketers or business developers. They need to know how to do this just like they had to study for the bar, just like you had to study for the bar. Marketing and business development is its own art and science. So you want to be thinking about how they need a personal marketing plan. Each of them needs to know what their plan is based on their own interests, what they want to do, where they want to put their effort, but they need guidance in this area and these personal plans roll off into your firm’s marketing plan. So they need training and training is somebody who can guide them in terms of who are their targets, where can they find those targets, what do they like to do, are they people who like to speak publicly. Are they people who would give you their right arm before they would do anything like that? Each person needs a personal marketing plan. They can’t just be left floundering.

Sales training. This training should be ongoing. We all know business development sales training—most likely many of you have taken some of these classes which are great; they’re motivating; they’re exciting; you get out of there and you’re like, “I’m ready to go.” And the next time you’re in front of a prospect, you’re like, “Now, what was I supposed to do again?” It takes consistency. That’s why I happen to like—I’m not big on day-long trainings once every six months. I’d rather see it an hour a week or two hours a week maybe every other week, something that is consistent and you can digest and that you can integrate. You can look at seminars. There’s a lot of online material now.

Coaching, I think coaching is a huge aspect of this and in terms of coaching creates accountability which we’ll talk about more, mentoring. The difference between coaching and mentoring is that mentoring is usually if you have a mentor, it’s usually the mentee, let’s call it—the onus is on the mentee to go to the mentor and say, “I really don’t know how to handle this proposal” or “I think there’s more business here. How do you suggest I do it?” Which is great. It’s great to have a mentor and many of you I’m sure have developed because of your mentors, but coaching is different. Coaching is, “O.K., we’re meeting next week. What are the three steps that you’re going to take? Who are the three people you’re going to call? You said you were going to write this article. Are you going to have it done by the end of the month?” That’s the difference between mentoring and coaching, but all of these combine to help develop the potential that’s in the people you have now or the lateral hires that you’re bringing in.

Let’s talk about some tools. In terms of if you’re going to develop your rainmaking bench, if you’re going to create a marketing and business development machine that’s going to create momentum and that’s going to keep moving even though you’re decreasing your presence, you’re going to need some tools and your people are going to need some tools.

One of these is a database, call it your mail-in list, your e-mail list. Why is this important? It’s important because you need to find out, you to need to develop ways to consistently communicate with your markets. I always use the example if you had a glowing article about your firm on the front page of the Wall Street Journal today, could you get the word out this afternoon via e-mail because you have a clean and up-to-date database? If you can’t do that, then that’s one place to start and this can be a real—it’s one of those projects that people put aside because if your database is old or it’s out of date and it’s always one question leads to another. It’s a domino effect. So what happens is everybody just says, “Forget it. Let’s just forget it.” So no matter where you are in terms of your marketing and business development, if your database isn’t in a good shape, then I would stop everything else and start focusing on that.

Your website. I still am flabbergasted by how many law firm websites are up there that look like they were done in 1968. Your website is the core of your online marketing and today—I don’t have to tell you. I know you do this as much as anybody else—if you need to look something up, if you’re looking for a referral, whatever it is, people are going to your website and they need to know as soon as they get there that you are the right people and you’re the right firm. So if you are spending and investing money in developing your attorneys into making them into business developers, they’re out there. They’re having lunch with people. They’re meeting and they generate interest. The first thing that person’s going to do is go to your website or they may go to two or three websites because they’ve gotten two or three referrals. If yours is like so outdated or is hard to read—I mean you know how it is. People spend two seconds, if that. They’re going to click off and go on to the ones that are more intriguing and sticky, as they say. So you want to be thinking about your website. You also want to be thinking about your online marketing and giving your—and how you can create leads through online marketing and that would be search engine optimization or pay per click and if you’re thinking, “Nobody’s going to be looking for me online” or “I’m never going to get any kind of qualified lead through somebody searching for us on line,” I would encourage you to think again because that’s not true. I am always hearing about firms getting very qualified leads from online searches that these prospects have done and that ranges from big firms to small boutique firms. Yes, you have to be willing to put up with a lot of junk. But isn’t a really juicy client prospect worth putting up with a lot of junk that doesn’t have to take a lot of time, especially if you’re generating a lot of qualified leads?

O.K., messaging. That’s part of the tools. Your people need to know how to describe your firm, how are you positioning it, what’s the value you’re bringing. I was listening to a panel recently where lateral hires were talking about how—one lateral hire was talking about how he went from—he described it himself as a B firm to an A firm which was a much larger firm and he said, “I had no idea how to describe this firm. I tell people what it did or what it was known for. I had no idea,” first of all because the marketing department hadn’t supported him—I mean really hadn’t given the lateral hire the tool, but it’s just like nobody was thinking about, “Go to tell Harry how to describe our firm.” And most likely a lot of people in the firm weren’t sure how to describe it. So you want to know—you need to decide what your positioning is, what your value statements are and what the messages are that you want your people to deliver. Otherwise, what are they supposed to say, “How about those Dodgers?” No, these things need to be thought through and that’s what’s the messaging’s about.

O.K. So now we’re where the rubber hits the road, in the execution. You want to be putting together your marketing and business development plan, but not just stop at the planning. This is what this is about; it’s the execution, how are you going to get it done. Are you going to hire in-house resources? Are you going to go with outside firms? How are you going to execute it—and this is where so many firms, not because they don’t have good intentions, but because they’re busy with other things and they’ll think that “We’ll manage to get it done” and it doesn’t get done. We met with a firm recently that was talking about doing a newsletter and they’ve been talking about doing a newsletter for a long time and they decided, “You know what? Well, we’re going to revisit this. We’ll figure out how to get it done.” O.K. I don’t put a lot of faith in the fact that they’re going to get this done, not because they’re not a good firm or not because they don’t have good intentions because the fact that they haven’t gotten it done so far does not bode well for them getting it done going forward without changing something, without an outside resource, without hiring somebody to get the marketing done in-house without a change.

O.K., consistent implementation. Consistency—and we’ll talk more about this—but consistency is the hallmark of success when it comes to marketing and business development. I mean it’s not the smartest, the most talented. It’s the most consistent who wins the game, but your implementation has to be consistent. It can’t be a stop and start. Stop and start can be demoralizing; it can be discouraging. It deflects interest. Your implementation needs to be consistent and what you’re looking for is the visibility and credibility and familiarity that we talked about, familiarity meaning when somebody says, “Oh, you should call Jane Smith’s firm,” they say, “Oh yes, I heard Jane speak a year ago” or “no, Jane sends me those interesting articles” or “Wasn’t she just quoted? I’ve seen her quoted somewhere.” So you want that—what this is about is creating the foundation of visibility, credibility and familiarity so that when your people are out there talking about your firm, when they are working on developing business, they have this red carpet ahead of them in terms of credibility for your firm, credibility for them, credibility for their employees and that’s going to make a difference between whether the phone rings or whether it doesn’t and how it differentiates you.

O.K. and last but definitely not least is accountability. It’s a measurement. You’re talking about measurement. When we talk with firms about tracking business, there’s tremendous resistance to it. A lot of times, if they do track business, they track new business and the sources of new business, but this leaves a lot of things out of the equation because it’s not tracking what are the leads that have come in because it’s the leads that lead to new business and if you’re not tracking leads, then you don’t know—you might be getting a lot of leads let’s say from one source, but they’re lousy leads and that means you got to change something or maybe you change the content on your website or you stop your pay per click or you stop the ad or whatever, but if you’re not tracking, if you’re not measuring, you don’t know what’s working and what’s not and when you ask a firm like ours, “Well, should I advertise in Super Lawyers,” we don’t have any way of knowing really because if you’re not at least tracking some of that—I’m not saying that people call because of Super Lawyers all the time, but I’m just using that when we’re asked. An example is if you’re not tracking at all, it’s like you just don’t have any information.

Accountability. Accountability is really important when it comes to developing your business developers and this where once again it’s frustrating when we watch this because you need to be closing the loop with these people. If you are investing in turning them into salespeople, there has to be accountability in terms of not just who did you call this week, but how did you get the phone to ring or—it can be what did you do this week, but if somebody is being left—goes to a class—everybody goes to a class and there’s no accountability; there’s no follow-up, then a lot of that—the power from that training is dissipated. So you want to have some sort of accountability.

Measurement. We talked about tracking, measuring and then you need to be modifying because that’s why we’re measuring. This works. That’s great. How can we do more of this? If this didn’t work, you know what? I know we’re advertising in this publication or I know that we’ve—let’s just use the ad right now or that we’ll go to the seminar every year, but it doesn’t seem to be generating anything, how can we modify what we’re doing so that we get more results.

The other things that you want to be thinking about, just a couple of other things that you want to be thinking about in terms of how you’re building the foundation for your succession and for filling the rainmaking bench, if you want to be thinking about institutionalizing your firm in terms of whether it’s Latham. Latham and Watkins are both individuals. Right now, it’s Latham. With the accounting firm of Roth, Bookstein & Zaslow maybe five to seven years ago now moved to RBZ because at some point, Roth, Bookstein & Zaslow aren’t going to be with the firm, but they wanted to institutionalize so that there is a name—everybody else has a name that isn’t associated with, I mean meaning the people who are left behind knows of RBZ and isn’t thinking of Roth, Bookstein & Zaslow, “Aren’t they gone?” Why isn’t it the name of the firm? So you want to be thinking about institutionalizing your firm. If it’s the law offices of Sally Smith, there’s nothing wrong with that, but you might want to be thinking about how to institutionalize that name so at some point when you’re not there, when Sally Smith isn’t there, there’s still a firm that’s known and has a reputation.

You want to be thinking about the title. You want to be thinking about supporting your business development team, your lawyers, your sales terms of titles. They may not be partner, O.K., and they may not officially be a partner, but do they need that title? Maybe they’re not a shareholder, but should they have the title of partner? Is that going to help them sell more? Is that going to help them be taken more seriously? Something to consider and I say validating the anointed in terms of making sure that those that you want to take on the mantle of working with a client that you are paving the way, that you’re introducing that lawyer to the client as somebody who will be working with you that you have full faith in, paving the way and making it clear to the client that this person has your blessing in a way.

O.K. So what are some of the mistakes that we see law firms make when it comes to filling that empty rainmaking bench? As the example of Simon did, very short-term thinking. Marketing takes time. Turning your huge vessel of a ship, whether your firm’s small or not, it’s still been sailing in one direction and it takes time to turn this around. Short-term thinking. Nothing happens overnight. If you really want to effect change here, if you really want to fill your rainmaking bench, if you want to have choices as you approach the time for your exit strategy, you want to be thinking about it in the longer term.

Ignoring the on-line world, just as I said before, there’s a lot of opportunity online and today’s the day to really start focusing on your online marketing because there’s still an opportunity to get ahead of all the other firms that are going to continue to ignore it. So why not take advantage of it? Why not do everything you can to claim your space and those leads that should be coming your way because of your online marketing?

And then piecemeal marketing just in terms of—and I realize this has to do because a lot of times, people don’t understand marketing. That’s not their training; it’s not their education, so they tend to do it a little bit piecemeal and that might be—we get calls quite a bit. “We’re finishing our website now and we’re going to finish our website and now we’re going to start our marketing. So that’s all we’d like to talk to you.” Well, your website is a key part of your marketing. So ideally you want that integrated into everything you’re doing so that everything is in sync. Piecemeal marketing in terms of advertising over here or running the ad in Best Lawyers just because you’ve always done that without really thinking about how that fits all together. I’m not saying don’t do it; I’m just saying how does this fit all together into one symbiotic whole. So those are some of the mistakes that we see firms make.

So what is great about now? Well, today’s Valentine’s Day which is fabulous and it’s also—some of you have your back against the wall in terms of maybe you have a shorter timeframe to make changes. When you have your back against the wall, that is fabulous because you really don’t have any other choice except to go through the discomfort of making change and getting to a place where it’s more comfortable, but you have to go through the discomfort to get there. So if your back is against the wall today, you are in a much better position than if you’re on the fence. It forces you to make hard decisions and some of these are very hard decisions. “Should I continue to invest in this person? Is it time for me to let this person go?” Very hard decisions and then it’s your choice. It’s your choice about whether to proceed or to just continue and let the chips fall as they may. As much as it hurts, when your back is against the wall, it’s so much easier to move forward.

O.K. I wanted to stop here before going on to some of the hallmarks of success and talk about some of the things that we’ve done for law firms. We’re a marketing and public relations firm and we’ve been called in quite often, as boomers grown older, in terms of how do you use marketing and business development to fill that empty rainmaking bench and with George as I mentioned before, with George, for example, with his firm, we’ve revamped the website; we’ve published bylined articles authored by the attorneys that give powerful third party credibility, the credibility of somebody else saying, “Well, you must be published. If you’re published, then you must know what you’re talking about.” We’ve created communication vehicles so that e-newsletters regularly go out to clients and prospects and referral sources letting them know of the successes of the firm, about the expertise of the firm. We are working with them on webinars and seminars in terms of how do you get the attorneys directly in front of people so that the prospective clients can understand their expertise and see why they are the people you should call first. So that’s just one example. Those are the kinds of things we do and we also, as part of this, what we’re doing is working with George and his firm to create a marketing culture and because George understands that this needs to be done consistently and we’ve been working with him for several years, we have seen tremendous change in terms of the attitudes of the attorneys involved. There is momentum and a machine that’s going to keep on throwing off business and revenue in a good way, meaning generating that as George reduces his presence and he for whoever follows him he is leaving a fabulous foundation, a much stronger foundation than if he had just decided to exit the firm. So that’s just one example of the kinds of things we do.

And what are the hallmarks of success here? What are the hallmarks of success that you want to be looking forward—you develop your empty rainmaking bench? Number one is consistency and I’ve said it over and over because I can’t tell you how important consistency is. Number one, if you’re not going to do things consistently, do not even start. Do not start because inconsistent marketing, stop and start marketing is discouraging; it’s demoralizing; it depresses people. Don’t start. Your marketing doesn’t have to be the absolute best. It has to be consistent. The hallmarks of success also include evaluating a mix of marketing tactics. If you’ve taken a marketing class, you’ve heard about the marketing mix. The marketing mix is the range of options that you want to evaluate. That could be your website, your online marketing, your merchandising. Your merchandising is how your attorneys are dressing, how they are presenting themselves, your networking; it’s your marketing materials; it’s your public relations; it’s your seminars; it’s your webinars. You want to be evaluating that range, not just using one thing and you can’t use everything so you have to decide how much of each element and it changes, depending on what you’re doing. The other aspect of that is that there is no formula. It’s an educated guess as to what you think is going to work now, tracking it and modifying if you move forward. And the hallmarks of success are also training and education. This could not be done without—and I’ll use this term again—igniting the inner-business developer and marketer in your attorneys and that has to be—just like you were trained to be a lawyer, you need to train people how to develop business, how to feel more comfortable doing that, what marketing is all about, how marketing and business development work together. Those are some of the hallmarks of success.

O.K. So just to wrap up. My wish—I have tied a bow around this gift that I would like to present to you and this wish that I have for you is that you will start today to really think about how you’re going to fill your empty rainmaking bench, how you’re going to start taking steps in that direction, maybe just taking some time, whether it’s this weekend, to just sit down, jot your thoughts down, think about what you might do differently, who you need to call. If you need referrals to coaches, to recruiters, please let me know. I’d be happy to give you those. If you would like to talk to us about marketing and business development, public relations, of course, we’d be more than happy to talk with you, but the important thing is to be starting now. Remember the five steps that you want to evaluate your team; you want to train and educate; they need the tools; you want to execute and you want to execute consistently and you want to measure and then you want to enjoy. Like Simon was going to do, he’s going to go fishing. So thank you very much. I really appreciate you taking the time to listen today and I’m open to questions.

So we have a question. What is your recommended or suggested budget for marketing and what do you see other small firms spend? I wish I could give you a number for that. I know people say—I hear figures [unintelligible] 5% of your revenue or 3% or depending on the size of the firm. Number one, it depends what you call marketing. Are Dodger tickets part of marketing? For some firms they are; for some firms they’re not and it really depends what you’ve been doing and what you want to achieve. If you’re launching three new service lines this year, let’s say for example, or you’re packaging one of your practice areas to pursue a regulatory change that’s going to create work, that’s going to mean a different budget than if it’s the same marketing as last year. So I can’t give you an answer for that. It’s who you are, what you want to achieve and how quickly you want to achieve it and I’d be happy to talk with you further about that.

I think those are all the questions we have right now. I’d be happy to talk with you offline. Please feel free to give me a call and once again, my name is Sharon Berman. My company’s Berbay Corporation, Marketing and Public Relations, and I want to thank you for listening.

Berbay Marketing & PR
2001 South Barrington Avenue, Suite 305 • Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 736-6025 Fax: (310)-914-4201 • info@berbay.com


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