In a white paper recently published by Law 360, there is a section on business development including the article “Getting Windows For Building Business In The Downturn ” By Shannon Henson. The article highlights a key strategy for lawyers in an economic downturn::
The best way to protect yourself is to make sure you are building up your own client base. If you do that, then no matter what happens, you will be okay.
One of the most important strategies for buidling your client base is to master how you communicate the value of your services to potential clients.
Your goal is to clearly communicate the value you provide clients. Communicate what clients want to hear, i.e. how you solve their problem, verses what you want to tell them, i.e. your credentials.
Description Based message
Many attorneys describe what they do based on a roster of their services or a list of their features. For example, the following message is a familiar description for family lawyers:
“We are a group of knowledgeable, dedicated professionals engaged in the practice of family law.”
The emphasis is on the features of the group (knowledgeable, dedicated professionals) and on a description of the service (practice of family law) versus any beneficial outcome to the client. The client has to work hard to translate what this means to them.
Value based message
Compare this response to a family lawyer I consulted with on creating his core message. Through the process of creating his core message, the family lawyer internalized who his best client were, how he differentiated himself and the value of his service.
The result has been an increase in referrals from desirable clients. He is receiving web site referrals from clients who want what he does best.
A few weeks ago, he was at a networking event and when was asked what he did, he replied, “I help divorcing clients to reach solutions.” One gentleman was listening and heard his unique way of helping divorcing clients and immediately asked for his card. The gentleman said, “I am in the process of getting a divorce and have talked to three lawyers who all said the same thing, you are the first lawyer who has talked about reaching solutions.” A few days later, the gentleman retained him as his lawyer.
The success this family lawyer experienced came from his ability to differentiate his practice and to convey the value of his services.
When the family lawyer talked about what he did, it was not about him and his credentials. He talked about the client, their problem, and his ability to help them solve their problem. I can help you clarify your target marget and strengthen you core message