Prospecting For Clients in a Hybrid World. What Does That Actually Mean? And How Do You Do It?
March 15, 2022
By Liza Vasquez ICF CMC and Jeffrey F. Silber CPA MBA CMC
Certified Master Business and Life Coaches
For nearly two years, we were forced to live in a virtual world. Meetings with our clients became Zoom calls. Speeches became Webinars. Publishing articles meant posting them on LinkedIn. And we struggled to figure out how to prospect for new clients when shaking hands and exchanging business cards basically disappeared.
Judging by the heavy rush-hour traffic and the crowds in restaurants, it appears that in many ways we have returned to our pre-pandemic social habits, but not in all ways.
There was a post -World War I song, referring to soldiers returning from Europe that went: “How ya’ gonna keep ‘em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree…?” The returning GIs were no longer the unsophisticated country bumpkins who went off to war a few short years before.
In the same way, we learned that a Zoom call is more efficient than driving an hour each way to attend a client meeting; that a Webinar can reach an international audience of hundreds of attendees in various continents; and that it is very efficient to post articles on internet platforms where a potentially huge audiences can read them with immediacy and with no editors to dilute or change your message.
We are not going to give up these new tools now that we see the results that they can deliver. On the other hand, making a strong human connection is never more important than it is now.
Hence, we have entered the hybrid world of what it means to be a lawyer in search of new clients in 2022 and beyond. This hybrid world places more demands on our time than we faced before the pandemic when there were far fewer tools at our disposal.
As your coaches, we want to take a look at what your prospecting for new clients should look like so that you can use these new tools wisely in view of your limited time.
Manage Your Time
Prospecting for new clients takes time. Undoubtedly, your other priorities will always steal your time away from your individual marketing activities. Therefore, the first step is to actually allocate time to your prospecting activities. In your planning calendar, put your important marketing activities just as if they were appointments with clients. For example: Thursday, 4:00 to 5:00 pm, work on an article. Tuesdays and Thursday; a network lunch with a potential client or a source of referrals, 1:00 to 3:00 pm; Monday through Friday 6:00 to 6:30 pm work on LinkedIn (see below); and so on.
Connect Digitally - Create Your Virtual Advantage
As we said, the world has gone virtual. From the business point of view, LinkedIn is the internet powerhouse for networking and connecting. However, just joining LinkedIn is meaningless by itself. You must work at it! Start by creating a strong profile. Next, research the industry groups in LinkedIn that you are interested in. Join those groups. Read what other people are posting. Comment on their posts and this will start a dialogue with the industry member which you would like to consider potential clients. Become part of the industry which you want to serve. Post your own relevant and insightful articles on LinkedIn. Create your own LinkedIn page to tell your story.
This is how your digital network will grow.
Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
You are not running for public office, and you do not need a majority of votes. What you will want are fewer prospective clients but ones that have high potential and/or have a high profile in their industry.
For example, we once held a webinar in which there was a technical glitch and only two of 75 registered audience members had the correct link. We carried on and made it a very different and more intimate webinar. One of the only two attendees became a client. If we had gotten one new client out of the expected 75 attendees, we would have been just as happy. Devote your time and energy into developing fewer but higher-quality potential clients.
In view of the point above, instead of using a shotgun approach to your individual marketing activities, be more like a laser. Do not try to feature yourself as everything for everybody. In any event, that would be impossible. Be strategic in your approach to the type of clients you would like to have.
The more specific the image that you are projecting about yourself, the easier it is for the market to know where and when to hire you. Do Not try to feature yourself as everything to everybody.
Do Your Homework
This applies to many aspects of your prospecting. For example, if you are going to have lunch with a potential client, do your homework. Know everything you possibly can about the company, the industry and check out on LinkedIn and Facebook the person with whom you are going to meet. Be prepared to ask insightful questions.
This also applies to the research you need to do to find the companies or individuals you will target.
Make the Human Connection
Even though it is a hybrid world, the Human Connection remains as important as ever. Inasmuch as you cannot force anyone to hire you, and prospective clients may not need your services right now, our advice is not to do any hard selling of your services. Instead, we recommend that you offer friendship or at least present yourself as friendly, highly knowledgeable, and trustworthy.
Offer Value Right from The Start
Not only is it better to give than receive, but also when it comes to marketing your legal services, it is basically required nowadays. It is called Content Marketing. You demonstrate your expertise by giving away valuable advice in your articles, take-aways that your potential clients can use. Believe us, this will not reduce the amount of legal work you will receive. Just the opposite, you will become a go-to lawyer.
Answer The Key Questions
Answer the questions that your potential clients want to know about you before they ask them. That is: Why does my company need your services now? Why is your law firm the one for us? Why should we trust you and your law firm?
Ask The Key Questions
Clients want to believe that you really care about them. You show this by asking them questions rather than talking about yourself. That is, once you start having contact with a potential client, ask them the who, what, when, where, and why questions about their company. And then be an active listener. Be able to repeat and understand what the potential client is telling you - even if you do not agree with their point of view.
Schedule Several Webinars for 2022
Webinars are so powerful that your individual marketing must include several webinars during the rest of this year. Start by deciding on the subject-themes for four Webinars. Next, pick the dates for these webinars. Start asking other experts on these topics to join you on the panel and if they are available on the date you have chosen. Be flexible about the date to coordinate with your other panel members.
You may need to rent a mailing list to create a wider audience than your own mailing list.
Record your webinars and send the link to your other potential clients.
Do more of your in-person and social media marketing that is working for you and less (or eliminate) what is not working for you. Your marketing activities are a living, breathing thing. It is alive. Do not be afraid to experiment with your activities. Test different approaches.
Coaching and Support in 2022 and Beyond
The post-pandemic world is going to be a great place to be a lawyer. Get ready for tomorrow now. Make yourself and your law firm for the post-pandemic world. For specific questions, please email us at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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