How To Attract Clients Without Hard Selling

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

Why Providing Free Information Relevant To Your Target Market Is A Sure Way To Grow Your IP Legal Services Business

I have already mentioned the effectiveness of free information to build a position of authority within a niche and to grow your Intellectual Property legal services business. What I want to do now is give an example.

In the technology industry, there is a group of influencers called Industry Analysts.  Essentially, they sift through all the marketing material big technology providers send out to all sorts of businesses (i.e. when each company claims to be the market leading provider of this and that), analyse it, check out what is actually worth implementing and give their honest opinion on what people should really look at.  Now, there are some organisations in the market (e.g. Gartner, Forrester and IDC) that have loads of analysts, big sales teams and global reach.  If you are a small firm, say with 5 to 15 analysts, and want to raise your profile, you have a lot to do to get noticed with vastly inferior resources.

So a few, very small, analyst firms have sprung up over the past few years and come up with an excellent model to build influence, trust and, more importantly, grow their revenues. What these firms have done is literally provide information and opinions for free via blogs, articles (or sometimes providing reports for free even if they have been sponsored by technology firms).

The end result is that they have built communities of interest, engaged in conversations with those that are interested in their opinions, and essentially built up leadership positions as trusted advisors despite their small sizes. Firms like Redmonk, Freeform Dynamics, MWD Advisors and Quocirca have built excellent authority positions within the technology industry. They build trust via the numerous conversations, comments or surveys that allow their followers to engage with them, and are nimble enough to comment on issues that are of serious interest to their readers based on these conversations. They don’t talk to their audience – they engage, and engage, and engage.

Where does the money come in then? More often than not, it is downstream. Once the analysts have built a position of trust with technology providers or consumers, the projects start coming in. The free information machine still chugs along to maintain mindshare, and it gives those that have purchased their services time to reflect on the great decision they have made. Everyone is happy.

This same principle applies to any other industry, but incredibly so IP legal services professional that really need to build relationships with prospects before getting into sales mode.  These analysts have got a system in place to attract new clients and make money.

Now if, for example, you feel getting a series of blogs written up is too time consuming, stop and think again. What you include in articles and blogs should simply make it easier for prospects to get to grips with IP law-related issues. Newsletters, anniversary updates, articles in trade magazines or seminars are excellent ways of engaging with your audience. Don’t tell them what you do, just focus on telling your prospects and clients how to solve problems specific to them or their niche.

Remember, if you educate a prospect well enough on how they can solve their problems, or have an easier life, before they ask you for your services, then any face time with them will focus more on how they will benefit from your specific services. And it is easier to charge higher fees because they value you more.

By the way, if you want to know what industry analysts do, check out the Wikipedia definition here).

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