By Mark Powers & Shawn McNalis
What is the one skill many of you would-be rainmakers are missing? The willingness and ability to set specific and measurable marketing goals on a regular basis. If you examined your marketing approach at the end of each year, to measure its effectiveness, you’d be surprised at the impact on your results. For one thing, you’d know which activities and behaviors worked and which didn’t. You’d have the opportunity to refine what worked and eliminate everything else. While we agree with Yogi Berra when he said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” it isn’t impossible to set meaningful goals and achieve something close to what you intended.
To do this you must first recognize that the legal landscape in which you live is not static. Referral sources dry up or move, you are joined by a new partner, legislation changes the services you provide, you take on a newsworthy case, or you decide to launch your own practice. These are just a few of the many changes that can occur over the course of a year in your career. Fortunately, changes like these are fodder for the creative marketer. Depending on what’s happened in your year, you may need to adjust your marketing goals to compensate for a lack of referrals, to feature a change in the services you offer or to publicize a new firm.
Take the opportunity to retool your marketing efforts at least once a year. To point you in the right direction read through the ideas listed below and extrapolate from them goals that are relevant to your practice.
Once you determine who your primary or ideal clients are, identify those referral sources that are well-positioned to send you those clients. You’ll have both a Top tier group – these are the people that send you your best business, and a second tier who send you lesser business. Every year you’ll want to review who is on your list and plan to add people to both tiers. Eighty percent of your marketing activity should be focused on this effort.
Listed below are activities that will support you in building rapport and relationships with your referral base. Read through these suggestions and plan to:
- Spend more time with your referral sources to get to know them better
Sample Goal: Dedicate three lunches a week to cultivating referral sources
- Thank your sources for any referrals they send – whether or notthe client engages you
Sample Goal: Put thank you cards out on your desk to ensure you’ll use them
- Invite your referral sources to events they’d enjoy, or give them tickets
Sample Goal:Purchase season tickets and give them to different referral sources
- Introduce your referral sources to people they can network with
Sample Goal:Use marketing lunches to introduce referral sources to one another (this is especially useful if you don’t have a lot of business you can send to them – and only applies when referrers are not competitors
- Refer business to your referral sources, whenever possible
Sample Goal:Use your marketing lunches to check in with your referral sources on their perception of your service
To inspire more client referrals, focus on increasing your level of client service.
- Make clients feel more welcomed and taken care of during each visit to your office
Sample Goal:Offer clients a selection of beverages when they arrive
- Enhance your level of communication with clients
Sample Goal:Each client receives a check in call on a regular (weekly, monthly) basis
- Build more rapport with key clients
Sample Goal:At the conclusion of each large case or matter, invite the client out to lunch to get to know them better and get feedback on your performance