How To Attract Clients Without Hard Selling

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

3 Steps IP Lawyers Should Take To Have More Flexible And Proactive Client Attraction Strategies

If you have been practising IP legal services for a while, you might have built a good income stream through referrals and some repeat business. However, many IP lawyers that cruised through boom years will still have been affected by the economic turmoil over the past couple of years. They therefore need to think of ways to attract new clients effectively and consistently.

For those IP lawyers either starting out or who now have more responsibility for their practices, building your profile so that you get noticed is harder as many prospects increasingly have the tools to search more widely for information or compare different IP legal services providers.

Given this, many IP legal services professionals that do not have systemised client attraction strategies still tend to react to events and have little control in determining the growth of their business. Example events include the loss of a key client, the increasing interest in value-based billing relationships to replace hourly billing rates, the influence social media has on the way prospects make decisions and select lawyers, or the impact new legislation has on the the structure of legal services business.

Web marketing or client attraction strategies then suffer because IP lawyers have not positioned themselves effectively in the minds of prospects, and go on to try and win new business with the wrong message or, as often happens, without a clear strategy for consistently communicating to prospects.

What, then, should IP lawyers do to have more control of their business growth and attract more clients in 2011?

  1. Prepare yourself better. There is nothing worse than clutching at the latest shiny marketing object or strategy in the blind hope that it will help you grow your business if you have not prepared adequately. The mistake many IP lawyers have made with SEO, for example, is to assume that it will bring in new business. It may help with rankings, but that does not translate into new business if your message to prospects is poor or if your website has no content that is of value to your target market in the first place.
  2. Think about the steps that need to be taken to make you more flexible so that you can react quickly to changes in the IP legal services marketplace . Flexibility is only possible if you have key performance metrics in place to measure any client attraction activity, a platform to communicate the benefits that result from the IP legal service you provide, good feedback mechanisms installed to understand what clients and prospects really want and, finally, a willingness to test various marketing strategies and ditch those that are clearly not working .
  3. Eliminate the disconnect between marketing and core IP legal services activity. All IP lawyers, their colleagues and support teams need to think of themselves as marketers of IP legal services first or at least make an effort to stop viewing marketing as an add-on activity to what they do. This mindset is crucial to developing the processes that give prospects incredible experiences each time a connection is made.

The worst thing that IP lawyers should do is allow the growth of their business to be primarily determined by external events. When business is good, it is easy to take your eyes off client attraction activity because you are so busy. When that same business disappears, they same lawyers then scramble around trying to win new business because they did not have a system in place to generate leads consistently that could be followed up. This randomness is enough to give one a heart attack!

So, make 2011 the year you invest in yourself and in the appropriate systems to consistently develop trust with prospects and convert them into clients.  Stop blaming the economic environment on your success or failure. IP lawyers that are doing well have mastered marketing for their business, and do not worry about the state of the economy or other external factors.

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