“We’ve hired lawyers just from seeing/hearing them speak...”
The Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference is always a great learning experience and it’s especially nice to spend time with people who do what I do. In the many informative seminars I attended throughout the conference this year, one was especially worth sharing with other marketers. We all understand the importance of hearing which of our marketing efforts are worthwhile and which ones are not, as well as how important it is that our business development efforts are geared toward the highest return on investment. So who better to hear it from than a panel of general counsel from Fortune 500 companies? The session focused on learning what general counsel’s criteria is for selecting outside law firms and ways your firm can stand out in the crowd in today’s increasingly competitive market. What follows is a list of just several of the tools we rely on daily to take us to that next level with general counsel’s comments, likes, and dislikes:
1. The Firm Website:
"It won’t WIN you our business but it can make you LOSE our business."
The panel members indicated they don’t make decisions based on a firm’s website, especially in the era of social media, but a website that is user friendly and includes the firm’s work and its key players, and most importantly the firm’s approach to solving their problems is a big plus. A website that is not user friendly and makes it difficult for them to easily navigate and quickly find what they’re looking for will send them directly to another firm’s site.
2. Firm Brochures:
“Confession: We throw most brochures in the trash.”
If they have to receive a firm brochure they prefer it to be in digital format, but the panel added that receiving an email highlighting a recent win is much more effective.
3. Holiday Cards: “Don’t send holiday cards! Especially if you are just an acquaintance.”
Send a personalized email or better yet… food.
4. Client Alerts/Blogs: “We actually read both.”
These are highly read because it shows that you have the expertise in a specific area. When hiring they will remember the writer who has shown thought leadership and has provided them with timely information relating to their industry.
5. Speaking Engagements/Webinars: “We’ve hired lawyers just from seeing/hearing them speak.”
They prefer webinars because of their busy schedules and don’t always have the time to attend a speaking engagement out of the office, however, if you offer to host the seminar at their office during lunch time that is most welcomed. Make sure that the topic is compelling, is the right fit for them and that it’s no more than one hour long. Right Speaker + Right Topic + Right Audience = A Sell.
6. Directory Listings: “We have never hired a lawyer based on a directory listing.”
Directories such as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Chambers and Partners, even a rating in Martindale Hubbell holds no weight on the decision making process when choosing outside counsel.
[Toni Bianco is marketing manager at law firm Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C.]