How To Attract Clients Without Hard Selling

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

Using Seminars To Convert Hot IP Legal Services Prospects Into Clients

A couple of weeks ago, I got a letter from a law firm inviting me to a seminar covering employment law. Now, I am sure the content for the seminar was pretty good, but the letter came out of the blue and, as I have mentioned before, this topic is not a key issue for me right now.

I want to use this experience to discuss how you can use seminars more effectively to get high-quality clients.

The three major questions you have to think about when planning seminars are:

  1. What information will you provide that will really improve your prospects’ lives or show them how to take away any fears and frustrations they have regading Intellectual Property law?
  2. How do you attract prospects who really want to listen to what you have to say?
  3. How do you attract prospects with the money to pay for the services you offer now?

I have talked quite a bit now about the need to build a list of opt-in prospects within your target niche, and to provide information that is relevant to this list.

Before sending out any invites to seminars, you have a bit of work to do. First of all, think about YOUR desired outcome from the seminar. Basically, you want the seminar to convince prospects that have not bought your IP legal services yet to do so. For many businesses, seminar invites are the first point of contact in their lead generation campaigns so they want prospects to buy services after attending the seminars.

Given this, you want to avoid a key mistake many IP lawyers make when trying to use seminars to attract new clients…selling the seminars before getting into their prospective buyers’ minds and building relationships with them.

Now, you may ask why this is necessary. You could simply get names from a list broker and do a marketing campaign to advertise the seminar. True, but the whole purpose of what I do is show how you can improve your success rate in terms of lead generation and client attraction.

So I will go back to my key messages:

  1. Find out the IP law-related conversations going on in your prospects minds.
  2. Make sure you develop effective multi-step campaigns to prospects within a specific niche to advertise the information you have or where they can find it.
  3. Build your position of authority within your target niche by giving your prospects free information that shows them how to solve their problems (at this stage, you don’t discuss the IP legal services you offer). This can be done via¬† blogs, free reports, articles, etc.
  4. Build your opt-in list by capturing customer details and then make sure you provide much-needed information to your list on a regular basis (e.g. via newsletters, email bootcamps, free reports, etc).

If you are an IP legal services professional that has failed miserably in the past to get enough clients from seminars you previously run, then go through the four steps above first before inviting people to seminars. This will improve your response rates, and fortunes.

And this is why…by going through the steps above, you market your seminars to potential attendees that have already made the decision to give you their details so that you can interact with them and give them valuable information. If you have already shared valuable content with prospects by the time you make them aware of the seminars (e.g. via blogs, reports or emails), you will have demonstrated the fact that you know your stuff, are willing to focus on building relationships with people and know what your prospects’ needs are.

And here is another fact – you don’t have to run FREE seminars. If what you are going to provide during the seminar is extremely valuable, then the prospects on your opt-in list will recognize that, and will pay to attend. If you run free seminars, you will always have people that attend even if they have no intention whatsoever of ever buying from you. You want to get those that want to do so, and are willing to make a financial commitment (which does not have to be huge) to learn how to take away any pain they are under.

Some IP legal services professionals will claim to have done well running free seminars to cold lists. That is great! Remember, I am not saying this strategy would never work. I am just pointing out that you can get a significantly better response to seminar invites if you build relationships with your prospects first as I have outlined above, and in previous posts.

Think about this as well…If you are having two-way conversations with prospects, you can tailor your seminars more effectively to give attendees information they really want, and are willing to pay for, because you know what is important to them (not you). It also gives you the opportunity to prime them so that they attend the seminars with a certain level of knowledge about what they need to do to solve their problems.

This means a change in business model for many businesses, in which you use seminars to ‘close the deal’ with prospects you have already built relationships with, rather than using them as an initial lead generation tool.

If you automate the communications to your opt-in list, you will find this is a much easier strategy to get high-quality leads as opposed to simply trying to target prospects who have never heard of you. That is hard – cold calling is just not comfortable and most of the people you target don’t want to be sold to. They want the option to learn from you, interact with you and to then decide to ask you for your services rather than the other way round.

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