How To Attract Clients Without Hard Selling

Effective Practice Growth Strategies For Intellectual Property Lawyers, By Eria Odhuba

How To Get Yourself Noticed More Effectively

Incredibly, despite the recession and news of layoffs or bankruptcies, there are a few professional services businesses that have established leadership positions over the past 18 months and are thriving.

While many have been derailed by their inability to attract new clients or stop losing the ones they had in the first place, the successful ones have focused on providing added value to core, high value, customers – and made sure they deliver products or services that minimise client risk or add measurable benefits.

For IP legal services businesses, the battle to be top of prospects’ minds is simply brutal! With all the sources of information available via the Internet, social media, trade associations, analysts, academics and so on, getting yourself top of mind is getting harder and harder. You know that, your competitors know that, and most crucially, so do your prospects and customers.

We can go back 2,400 years to Sun Tzu’s Art of war to see how the successful businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors in the current economic environment. Right now I am not going to focus on big corporations or brands, but small and medium sized financial advisory service businesses that really cannot afford not to attract new clients and generate more income from current customers. If you are one of these – one of Sun Tzu’s principles to obey (which I loosely translated) is “explore niches you can fill or service comprehensively instead of targeting larger markets that dilute your resources and impact.”

Basically, you make the price of entry into a niche higher for competitors if you are well known and have a leadership position within that niche, and this gives you the opportunity to move customers towards higher-priced services once they trust you. Or at least it gives you the chance to retain them on more valuable multi-year relationships, and move away from small transactional-type interactions.

Sound simple…well, yes and no!  Before you explore niches, you need to find out what pain points your potential clients have and what information or services they actually. The resources you then have available can then be primed to address these specific needs. Once you are clear on what prospects will value and pay for, you can then start identifying the right niches to exploit.

Now this is not easy. If you have an excellent customer feedback mechanism in place, you will get excellent information on what clients value, how they like to be dealt with and what, quite frankly, is important to them….NOT YOU! If you don’t have a good feedback mechanism in place – you have work to do to get this sort of information. Trying to establish a niche or service without feedback from prospects or clients is dangerous. Don’t do it if you can avoid it.

Focusing on a niche (or perhaps two) is scary for many IP legal services  professionals, as they don’t want to limit their potential client base. You may think you can help everybody, and you probably can. But – and even I had to get my head around this – you are more likely to throw money trying to attract people that do not see you as someone that makes a specific difference to them. Specific difference! People are not interested in generic products or services. They want something more individual, or specific to their firms, and if you know what to provide a specific niche or group of people with similar profiles, it is easier to build relationships and sell products or services to them.

In summary – niche marketing is crucial if you have a limited marketing budget and want to make a big impact. Over the next few weeks, I shall provide more information (some strategic, some tactical) on how to make yourself stand out from the crowd.

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  1. Why Niche Marketing Actually Works Best For Lawyers, Even During Economic Downturns — Social Media Marketing For Law Firms

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