Legal Marketing in the Time of Cholera
Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Taking Full Advantage of the Opportunities of Being Quarantined
By Liza Vasquez ICF CMC and Jeffrey F. Silber CPA MBA CMC
Certified Master Business and Life Coaches
Sure that’s a gross exaggeration but the current health crisis reminded us of the 1985 novel Love in the Time of Cholera by the Colombia author, Gabriel García Márquez. Many of our clients have been concerned that the world is at a standstill and there is no way for them to pursue new clients with everyone quarantined in their own homes.
To begin with, in crisis there is always opportunity. The only things that are prohibited for now are group assemblies which you may believe are stopping you from making speeches and meeting prospective clients face-to-face over a coffee or lunch.
Let us take a look at all the things you can you do. Before we jump into the details, it is critically important that you do not get discouraged or lose motivation by this situation. In a few months, life will return to some form of normal, albeit a new kind of normal. So, take advantage of the opportunities that the crisis is affording you and find your new approaches to the same old issues of networking and meeting potential clients.
There Are Less Buyers of Legal Services in the Market Right Now
In this current health and economic crisis, buyers of legal services are frightened by the uncertainty just as all of us are. The worldwide economy is suffering, and we suppose that by mid-2021 things should be a whole lot better, however, no one know can be entirely certain when it will rebound. Therefore, every company, including law firms, have formed a contingency plan to get through the current situation by holding on to every dollar, peso, real, Euro and Pound Sterling they can.
Therefore, do not try any hard sell techniques with potential clients. Aggressively trying to sell your services at this time has little chance of success and must wait until the buyers are once again comfortable with spending their cash reserves on such things as legal services. Instead, this is a time to build bridges to the clients and potential clients that will result in the legal work that will come next year.
The Chinese military genius, Sun-Tzu, in his 5th Century BC book, The Art of War, gave military advice that is often used as metaphors for the modern corporate world. One such comment Sun-Tzu made was: Do not fight the battle that cannot be won. What this means to you is that you should not put a lot of energy right now into trying to sell your legal services. This will only lead to terrible frustration and perhaps depression on your part. Trying to sell your legal services right now is like fighting the battle that cannot be won, don’t try!
What you should try to do is find ways to be helpful with your clients and potential clients. All your efforts should be guided by the idea that We are all in this together. Your kindnesses to potential clients will not be forgotten when the world returns to whatever normal is going to look like. Therefore, find as many ways as you can to be helpful.
For example, Defer Your Fees – If a client needs your services now, offer to do the work and to delay your payment for several months. This is like having money in the bank because you will get paid in 90 or 120 days. Your current clients or any new clients will appreciate this gesture.
There are other things you can do as well.
Writing Client Alerts – We are so deep into the crisis that most clients have been inundated with client alerts about what to do during the pandemic. There is no point in rehashing those old ideas anymore. A better idea would be to show your clients how to develop a plan for a gradual reopening of their businesses. Perhaps you can point them in the right direction if they need some interim financing to get through the crisis. Your Clients Alerts should not be a technical review of changes in the law. Every Client Alert should have specific suggestions, real actionable steps the reader can utilize. This will create an army of loyal readers who cannot wait for your next Client alert.
You can use these Client Alerts as a way to follow up with those prospective clients you met before the lockdown put a halt to your networking activities. You will show your clients and prospects that you are out in front of the problems that they are facing and that you are proactive on their behalf for inevitable re-opening of the economy. That is the kind of lawyer that clients want.
Fifty Friends – One of the assignments we give our lawyer coaching clients to grow their list of clients, or their list of potential client-referral sources is to make a list of fifty friends with whom they have lost contact. These would be friends from high school, college, law school, your LLM program, former bosses or former colleagues, former clients or just social friends and perhaps even former neighbors.
Sometimes, our clients are a little reticent to contact these old friends or colleagues because of the amount of time that has passed. However, this current health crisis offers the perfect excuse to reopen these old friendships.
Start at the top of the list, contact this person via WhatsApp or email or through Facebook or LinkedIn and say “Hi Jane/John, it’s me Pedro/Mariana. I can’t believe it has been 8 years since our last contact. I have been thinking about recently because of this terrible pandemic. Please let me know that you and your loved ones are healthy and doing well. Also, I would love to know what is going on in your life. In these days of social distancing and quarantines, let’s have a virtual cup of coffee together. My Skype address is XXXX. What’s yours? Please, suggest a day and time for our virtual coffee and I will confirm. I am really looking forward to seeing you again.”
Work your way down your list of fifty friends. Suddenly, you have grown your list of contacts by fifty people who were not on your radar before. If you can think of more 50 people, even better.
They will remember your thoughtfulness when this is all over and it will pay big rewards for you.
Speeches – Public gatherings are currently suspended but this will not last forever. In the meantime, all organizations are still functioning, and they continue to hold their monthly meeting – but now they are virtual. There is a good opportunity here. Begin by thinking of an interesting title for a speech you could give on some aspect of your practice area. We emphasize that the title should be captivating and intriguing so as to generate interest on the part of anyone who hears it. It will not be necessary to actually write the speech itself until you have a confirmed date to deliver the speech.
Do research on the organizations that would be good targets for you to find possible new clients. Through the organizations’ websites, find the names of the Executive Directors and write to them proposing your speech for when the organization resumes its regular meetings, or for their next Zoom virtual meeting. Keep following up with these Executive Directors until you get the speaking date.
Webinars – This method of speaking to large audiences has proliferated rapidly since the pandemic has prohibited us from gathering in public. Find opportunities to be a panelist in Webinars that are sponsored by your own law firm, organizations, companies/clients, universities, and even other law firms. The key to a successful appearance on a webinar is to get some members of the audience to contact you. These who do will be the ones who are genuinely interested in your services. The best way to do this is by offering to send them some report on what the topic of the webinar was. Those who write to you, those are your prospects.
Breakout Rooms – After online speeches or webinars, the host will often offer breakout rooms because they know the main reason for having attended a public event was to meet other members of the attending audience as a form of network. If you are at all shy, these breakout rooms are a golden opportunity to network because the host is handing 5 to 10 new contacts on a platter.
Online Courses – Basically all law schools in the United States are offering online courses that range from one-week classes on a specific topic, to three months executive programs to entire online LLM degree programs. Do some research and find a course or program that interest you and enroll. You will get three benefits: you will learn something new; you will meet lawyers from all over the US and Europe to network with; and you will have a CV building credential such as “Harvard University, School of Law, Executive Program, Winter 2020.”
Your On-Camera Performance – Appearing on camera in a Zoom call with your clients, potential clients or current clients is not as easy as you think. Be sure to read our article in the Learning Center on our website, “Improving Your On Camera Appearance.”
We could keep going but we think these are more than enough activities to get you through the next few months of the quarantine. You should not have a single moment of downtime anymore while you are incarcerated in your home if you tackle just these few ideas.
We usually do our coaching in-person, but our clients have shifted to video calls to continue their coaching during these difficult days. This is another opportunity you have. We can coach you (and your team) live, in-person but remotely via Zoom on internet on how to obtain more and better clients.
Please take a look at our website to learn more about us, www.svacoaches.com, then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a no cost, no obligation conversation about your desire for more clients and about the service we provide.
Good luck. Stay healthy.
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