Have You Heard the Buzz About Marketing?

By Gretchen Otto


Marketing is a full time job from which you never get a break. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. With proper routine care and maintenance it will soon become second nature and even something you may enjoy.

The Word on the Street
Step one in launching your marketing plan is easy. Tell everyone you know that you are a lawyer. My colleagues and I have routinely heard from clients that when they needed a lawyer (particularly unexpectedly), they didn’t know one. Never underestimate anyone’s likelihood to need your services now or in the future.

Stretch Your Comfort Zone!
Now that the word is out among everyone you know, it is time to lose the shyness and tell people that you don’t know that you are a lawyer. Practice with a friend or in front of a mirror if you have to. Get comfortable striking up friendly banter to improve your chances of meeting lots of potential clients. Join your bar association, Toastmasters International, or a local business network if you find this part difficult. Practice will make it easier. This strategy can also be rewarding in other ways. You may meet all sorts of business people you may need some day, get a date, or even make a new friend!

It’s All in the Cards
Always have your business cards handy. Reorder immediately when you get low. While standing with someone waiting for a cab, you don’t want to be fumbling for pen and paper and lose the opportunity to gain a new client.

Think Outside the Box
Sure, we all know that you can do many traditional things to attract clients. You can run an ad in the yellow pages, volunteer at a legal clinic, or sign up for your bar association’s referral service, but running an ad in your church bulletin or posting a notice at your local community center or other public meeting place can also be very effective. Try to focus some of your efforts in places where you do not see other lawyers advertise.

Be a Team Player
Join forces with colleagues who work in areas of practice other than your own. Write your law school classmates and all the lawyers you know a letter announcing your areas of practice and seeking their referrals. Offer to refer business to them, and they will refer back to you. Always write them a prompt “thank you” note for their referral business.

Remember That You Are Happy With Your Product!
Lose the guilt concerning aggressively marketing your practice. Remember that you are a fantastic lawyer willing to work hard for your client, and offering your services will benefit them as much as it will benefit you. Thus, you should always have an “easy sell!”

Gretchen Otto ( gretchenotto@cox.net) is freelance author living and working in Northern Virginia.
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