April 13, 2021
The End of the Pandemic is In Sight
Five Steps You Must Take to Prepare
For Capturing Clients in the New Normal
By Liza Vasquez ICF CMC and Jeffrey F. Silber CPA MBA CMC
Certified Master Business and Life Coaches
The end of the pandemic is coming, here are five ways lawyers can get ready.
You cannot put the genie back in the bottle once it has been unleashed. It has been a year since the world changed suddenly, and forever, in ways we could not have predicted.
No one knows for sure when this health and social crisis will end, but with vaccines being administered in most countries, in a few months, we should be returning to something that resembles the world we used to know.
The pandemic and accompanying social restrictions have merely accelerated technology trends that were already in progress before the virus struck. However, since last March, our dependence on the video, digital and virtual methods of communication have become addictions.
After all, it is so much easier to arrange a Zoom call rather than fight traffic getting to, and returning from, a client’s office on the other side of the city. Similarly, attending a Webinar is far more practical than traveling to a conference in another country or even more convenient than attending a lecture or speech in your own city.
That is why the ways we used to interact with other people and the ways we used to do our networking in search of new clients will never again look like the way did before March 2020.
It is not likely that any of this comes as news to you. Our objective is to help you prepare for the reopening that is coming. Fortunately, you still have a few months until the current lockdown becomes just an unpleasant memory, in which to prepare to compete effectively for all the new clients which will be emerging once the pandemic is over.
Therefore, as we get ready to work in the New Normal, here are five important things you as a lawyer should do in order to be fully present in this new world.
1. You Need to Build a High-Performance Website
Your website was once only an electronic version of your firm’s printed brochure. In the past, it was generally a set-it-and-forget situation in which there were only occasional changes to add or delete some associate lawyers or partners. Can you imagine a potential client keeping a copy of your printed brochure in their desk, and once every few weeks taking it out to read? Of course not. If your Website is only an electronic version of your brochure, why would anyone return a second time?
Today, over 80% of companies seeking a lawyer read the websites of recommended law firms. Your website is one of your firm’s most important assets. A successful website today is the core of your law firm’s presence in the virtual world. Your website is the central and critical element in building you visibility and brand.
In order to do that, your website can no longer be an electronic brochure To attract repeat visitors, you need to put some cheese in your mousetrap. That is, your website needs to be an information-rich projection of your firm’s expertise. You need to transform your website into a continuously updated Learning Center. Potential clients need to be able to find your cutting-edge points of view along with relevant information and practical advice all of which must demonstrate your firm’s expertise so that you become well-known as a law firm of Thought Leaders.
You can still post the CV’s of your team and the firm’s areas of practice. Just do not forget that you need to have a continuously-update library of articles that offer practice approaches to the problems clients are facing. In your learning center, there should be links to other sources of relevant information.
Visitors to your site are looking for robust educational content. This is what will turn a casual visitor into a repeat visitor, then into a lead and then into a fee-paying client.
Potential clients search online to find their new legal service providers, and they need to be able to find your firm’s website in order for you to have a chance at winning their business. Therefore, use SEO’s (Search Engine Optimization tools), key words and phrases to drive traffic to your website.
Below we will discuss Webinars, and your website should have links to prior webinars and podcasts.
2. Social Media
We are sure you will agree that in this digital world, no decision-maker will ever hire an outside counsel without checking them out on the Internet regardless of what recommendations they may have received.
Inasmuch as over 60% of companies looking for a new lawyer check out possible law firms and their lawyers on the various social media platforms, the virtual world has become a more commonly used source of information than traditional referrals and recommendations.
Social media is accelerating as the place to know your reputation, expertise, and the content you offer to the world. It is a place that allows you to network and connect with valuable contacts and influencers, as well as to monitor your brand.
This is how to use these next few months before the virus finally disappears, to bolster your social media presence. Begin with your profile on LinkedIn and Facebook.
· Is your Profile Picture current?
· Is your CV and Experience in your profile up to date?
· Your Profile Headline Statement: This appears directly beneath your name and rounds out a visitor’s first impression of you. This statement is vital, as it tells your connections 1) what you do, and 2) what makes you different. When you write this statement, do not merely list your position. Instead, explain what you do in a way that reflects your values and your mission. Is your contact information current and correct? Make sure that your email is not blocked to unknown persons.
· Once you cleaned up your digital first impression, Tell Your Story. It is time to tackle your “About” section. This is your chance to demonstrate what is unique about you - that is, why clients and potential referral sources should choose you over your competitors. Keep it brief or you run the risk of being forgettable and that will kill your Personal Brand very quickly.
· Share Your Experience - When you tackle the “Experience” section in your profile, resist the temptation to simply list your various employers and positions. Imagine what you would tell people at a professional networking event. Tell what you did in a given position, the specific responsibilities you managed, the unique contributions you made and tell some of your outstanding accomplishments, and so on.
· Engage Your Audience - Your profile will become outdated pretty quickly if you do not engage with the platform. As with any Social Media platform, consistent activity boosts your ability to be found by searches. Not to mention, an engaged presence on your Social Media platforms builds your image as an authority and a Thought Leader, allows for engagement through comments, connections, and shares, and keeps you aware of new developments in your industry and practice area as well as career moves your colleagues are making.
Use these next few months to get your social media presence polished up.
3. Prepare Your Program of Webinars
As you know, the art of giving speeches has gone digital in the form of Webinars. Webinars are actually an improvement over in-person speeches. After all, you are no longer limited to a local audience. Your audience is now international. Jeffrey recently attended the conference of the San Francisco Legal Marketers’ Association held annually in Silicon Valley. Prior to the Zoom world, the average attendance was 50 to 60 people. Because it was turned into a Zoom Webinar, there were 170 attendees. Now that it was virtual, Legal Marketers from all over the country were interested to know what the in-house counsels of the top hi-tech firms had to say.
This is to illustrate the potential reach of your Webinars. You can now have an international rather than a local audience. Here are the steps you can take now:
Plan a Schedule of Webinars - Organize a series of bi-monthly Webinars starting in August 2021. Pick four topics that represent the best areas of law that you want to promote.
Line up the Speakers – Keep in mind that the speakers do not have to be only partners from your law firm. In fact, you can put on the panel of speakers, some of the decision makers in your target potential clients. That will help you build bridges to these leads.
Find a Consultant – If you want to have an invitation list larger than your list of current clients, potential clients, and friends, you should make contact with a consultant to help you rent a highly qualified mailing list.
Rehearse – Appearing on camera is not a natural skill, it needs to be learned. Have your team take a few sessions with Liza Vasquez, partner of Silber, Vasquez & Associates, so that they maximize their performance on camera during the Webinar.
Make Your Webinar More Interesting – Organize your Webinars as an interactive panel discussion amongst the speakers with the moderator keeping the conversation lively and moving forward. Do not have four or five talking heads that speak for 20 or 30 minutes each. That is boring and will cause the visitors to leave your Webinars in the first 15 minutes.
The Webinar has become an amazing tool. Use these next few months to get your Webinars for the end of 2021 ready.
4. Find Out Who Has Survived
You most likely have a great many friends that you are not in contact with at this time. We always recommend that you think hard about the friends you knew in high school, college and in your LLM. Also, remember your past work colleagues and your old clients. This is a rich treasure chest of potential clients or of referral sources. Even before the pandemic, it was always good to reopen these dormant relationships. Now you have the perfect excuse. Prepare as long a list as you possibly can, of these people. Send them text messages or emails.
Hi, Raul, I know it has been eight years since our last contact, but this pandemic has me thinking about the people I know and how they have come through this terrible health crisis. Can we schedule a Zoom call because I would like to know how you are and what is going on in your life? I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Make the words your own, but that is the idea. Be prepared to reopen all these friendships. You will be surprised how many excellent “new contacts will result. This is a good use of your time while we wait for more in-person networking to return.
5. What Have You Learned About Yourself? A Time For Reflection
Every experience in life is a learning opportunity. You have had twelve months facing the challenges of living and working in the restrictive environment imposed on us by Covid. Before you get busy with the wave of new clients that is coming your way, we ask you to take a look inside yourself.
What have you learned about yourself in facing these challenges?
What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.
How has this last year made you stronger or wiser? How has your approach to your work, life, your family and even toward yourself changed? Everything in life is created twice – once in our minds and then in the real world, like when you design a new house on paper long before you call the construction company.
What is your life going to look like when the virus is gone? Now is the moment of reflection to create the life you want going forward.
You Can Request More Action Items: We have offered you only five things to do now so that you are not overwhelmed. However, that is only the start. If you are motivated, please write to Jeffrey at firstname.lastname@example.org for ten more important things you can do now to get ready for the New Normal.
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