Best Practices in Effective Conference Networking: Don't Skip Anything

I've done a number of posts here recently on best practices for networking and relationship-building at conferences, and you may remember that I've said, more than once, how important it is to avoid your room at all costs. 

But there's a counter-point to that which I've been thinking about a lot as we have our ILN Annual Meeting on the horizon, and that is - DON'T SKIP ANYTHING.

Sometimes, when attending a conference, it's very tempting (and often reasonable) to combine other business with the business of the conference - you may have clients in the same city, or friends that you rarely get to see, or a spouse who is with you, but not joining in on the conference, and you feel that taking an afternoon (or two) or a meal (or two) away from the conference won't be such a big deal. 

You may think that because a conference is only a few business sessions combined with some social activities (as our conferences are), that the social activities are just the way you're rewarded for attending the conference. You may even think that because you've been to a city before, and done some of the same things, that you don't need to go on those trips, because you won't be missing anything. 

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Key Takeaways from "Can the C-Suite Lead the Social Media Law Firm?"

The very last session I went to before our wrap up at LMA14 was "Can the C-Suite Lead the Social Media Law Firm?" with presenters Deborah Grabein (@dgrabein) of Andrews Kurth and Michael Hertz (@michaelhertz) of White & Case and moderator Kevin O'Keefe (@kevinokeefe) of LexBlog. 

The description of the session in the conference book reads:

While Fortune 500 executives are beginning to leverage social media, law firm executives are lagging." 

Two C-Level decision makers (not practicing lawyers) in Am Law 200 firms made the decision in the fall of 2013 to start using social media, personally . They wished to experience how their use of social media could help change the perceptions of their brand, better equip them to lead their marketing and business development teams, and help them guide individual lawyers in their use of social." 

With five months of strategic consulting and coaching, these executives became active content creators and social media contributors on blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+."

Learn about the personal and firm wide challenges and rewards these law firm executives experienced, and will continue to experience in their personal use of social media." 

 

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Two for Tuesdays: Using LMA14 to be a Better Marketer

I'll be kicking off my recaps starting a bit later this afternoon, but first, I want to bring you a Two for Tuesdays, courtesy of a couple of great things I heard at LMA14. If you really listen to those in the LMA who are smart, thoughtful, hardworking and constantly challenging and improving themselves, you end up learning a lot and being a better marketer yourself. 

One of the best sessions of the conference was the wrap up on Friday afternoon, moderated by conference co-chairs John Byrne & Jose Cunningham, along with LMA president, Tim Corcoran. The moderators invited us to share the takeaways we'd gotten from the conference, and there were two that really stuck out for me - lessons that we can use to make ourselves better at our jobs.

Tip One: "When there's a gap between exactly what we do, and what we hear from speakers, it's our job to bridge it."

This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine, and has been for several years - you may remember my comments about it here and here

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LMA14 - It's a Wrap!

LMA14 is gone as quickly as it arrived, and it's left me feeling like I've been hit by a truck! As I expected, the networking and the programming were the two most valuable pieces for me, and there are many, many things I'll be sharing with you all here on Zen in the coming days. 

This year, I really felt that the conference chairs stepped up their game with the programming - almost all of the sessions I went to weren't just good, they were excellent, and I came away feeling that I'd learned a lot to share with my attorneys, but also a lot that I can use myself in my daily work.  Of course, that means I feel like I've been trying to drink water from a fire hose for the last few days, which is a bit overwhelming, but I'll work to distill it all for you over the next few weeks.

First up, I'd like to share some of the great takeaways to come out of LexBlog's interviews of LMA attendees - there are some SUPER smart people in our organization, who shared their thoughts with LXBN. You can check out all the interviews here, but I wanted to share a few of my favorites. Pay particular attention to the advice from the General Counsel in the first interview and Toby Brown's thoughts on the current pricing model. 

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Two for Tuesdays: Smart Legal Marketing

As we head into #LMA14 this week, I'm excited that we'll be revealing the best of the best in legal marketing with our Your Honor Awards (which I was fortunate enough to serve as a judge for this year). 

As much as I'd like to reveal the winners (calm down Jill and Marcie, I would never do that!), instead, I thought I'd use this week's Two for Tuesdays to give you two tips on smart marketing - we really saw some amazing and brilliant submissions this year, and they all had a couple of things in common. 

Tip One: Know your audience

I say this a LOT here, but any good marketing or business development activity HAS to start with knowing your audience. The best submissions that we saw really took the time to identify not only who their audience is, but what their needs and wants are. They made sure there was nothing else in the market that was meeting their needs in that way, and put together carefully crafted campaigns or events or apps or what have you that were actually of use to their clients and potential clients. 

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LMA14 - Relationships & Inspiration

If you follow me on social media this week, you're going to see a LOT of talk about #LMA14 - that's the Legal Marketing Association's annual conference, which takes place in Orlando this week (a welcome respite to those of us in the cold, cold north who have pretty much forgotten what sunlight looks like). 

The LMA conference is a true highlight of my year, and not just because I'm not responsible for the planning and execution of the event for a change. The programming and thoughtful conversations with the best of the best in my industry always gets me thinking, acts like a "reset" button for my brain, and gets me inspired to return to my desk full of new ideas and renewed enthusiasm.

But, as it is with the ILN, the best part is actually the relationships. I have been very lucky to make some very close friends within the LMA, which is something I heard a lot about when I first joined, but never thought would be true for me (also true is our saying "We're LMA, we hug."). I don't get to see my out-of-state friends very much, if at all, between conferences, so it's a wonderful opportunity to spend some time with them. 

I get to renew my friendships, meet new people, and put faces to the names I've seen on social media throughout the year. These relationships are invaluable to me, personally, of course, but also professionally, because I've come to rely on these friends for professional guidance, feedback on ideas, answers to pressing questions, and more - all things that make me a better advocate for my attorneys. For a gal who works for an organization with only one other colleague (our Executive Director), this is a hugely valuable tool for me and for my attorneys.

I chatted again with Colin O'Keefe about this in the video below. If you're interested in seeing what we talk about at LMA14, be sure to follow along on the Twitter stream - it can be a little overwhelming over there with so many people tweeting these days, but I promise, you'll get a lot of great information. I'll also be blogging here, and you'll want to keep an eye on LXBN's coverage of the event, since they'll be sharing both interviews and the blog posts covering the conference and its sessions. 

To my LMA friends - I'll see you soon! 

 

Two for Tuesdays: Be Kind to One Another

Something you may not know about me is that I'm a big fan of the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Every day, Ellen reminds us to laugh, to dance, to do something for others, and most importantly, to "be kind to one another." 

In the course of business, we can sometimes forget that it's possible to be successful AND nice.  I'm not suggesting being a pushover or not being a fierce advocate for your clients (as the famous line goes, "Don't mistake my kindness for weakness"), but I am suggesting that it's possible to be excellent at your job without tearing someone else down. That extends to marketing as well. 

It's long been a pet peeve of mine when one brand uses their advertising to tear down another brand.  It's more than just an adverse reaction to the "bullying;" it's the sense that the company must not really be any good if they have to resort to such immature tactics. If a company or firm is excellent, does excellent work and provides an excellent product, then that all stands for itself without having to show how they're "better." 

 

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"Authenticity" Might be a Dirty Word, but it's Essential to Good Networking

"Authenticity" has become a dirty word in the last few years.

It's right up there with some of the other most hated buzzwords and phrases - "at the end of the day," "thinking outside of the box," "synergy," "value add," "circle back," "bandwidth." 

Are you cringing yet? 

But even though the word "authenticity" might make your skin crawl, it's actually a pretty important concept - it's a buzzword for a reason. 

Today, I sat in on a webinar with Nancy Myrland (@nancymyrland) and Patrick Baynes (@patrickbaynes), on "How Law Firms Can Leverage Attorney Use of Twitter." As they were going through their tips, Patrick noted that the idea of being authentic is key to all networking, not just social media networking. And he's absolutely right.

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Relationship-Building: It's All About You

Regular readers of my blog may be shocked when they read the title of this post - am I really suggesting that you should make relationship-building all about you? 

Yes and no. 

For the purposes of this post, let's separate out the "you" and "them" of relationship-building. When you're building relationships, the content has to be all about the other person: 

  • You let the other person do most of the talking, and you do most of the listening. 
  • You ask pointed questions about what is of interest to them. 
  • The content you share online and off is directed at what is most useful to your audience. 
  • You're sharing some of your own content, but mostly others', because that's what's most useful to those you want to connect with. 
  • You're constantly revising your efforts to make sure they continue to be in line with what your audience/targets needs and wants. 
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Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Breaking the Ice

Bringing you a rainmaking recommendation from expert Jaimie Field today is apropos, since we're about to have a rainstorm come right through here. But Jaimie's focused on breaking the ice. 

***

The title does not refer to the non-stop snow we have been bombarded with during the winter of 2014 in the northeast. Rather, it refers to finding a way to start a conversation during a networking event even if you are the self-proclaimed shyest person in the world.

The best way to break the ice is to get someone talking about their favorite subject.

What is that subject? Themselves.

Ask questions which elicit information about the person with whom you are speaking.

People love talking about themselves; they want others to know who they are. It’s time to stop worrying about what you are going to say about yourself and your practice and concentrate all of the conversation on the other person. Ask questions about their business, their lives, and their families and then just listen.

The biggest problem most of us have is not being able to actively listen to the answers. Instead we are waiting for an opportunity to chime in, to show them who we are and what we know.

Here are just a few questions you can use to break the ice:

  • Why did you start your company?
  • How did you get involved in this industry?
  • What do you like most about what you do?
  • o you come to these networking events on a regular basis?
  • What’s the most important issue affecting your business right now?

In addition to getting people to talk about themselves, if you listen carefully to their answers you 
will be able to find follow up questions to continue the conversation.

In fact, while trite, even asking someone about the weather, as bad as it’s been over the past few months, will allow you to start a conversation without too much effort.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO A COLLEAGUE WHO YOU THINK WOULD BENEFIT; IT MUST BE FORWARDED IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. ALL INFORMATION IS THE COPYRIGHT OF MARKETING FIELD, LLC © 2013

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month. They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq. If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog.

 

Five Tips for Networking Success

On my calendar for today was an assignment to share with you all my thoughts on some best practices for networking. "But Lindsay," I can hear you saying, "we've been talking a LOT about networking lately!" 

And yes, we have, but we've been focused more on where you can be networking, and how you can add networking into your daily life, but not as much about the nuts and bolts of actual networking. 

So what works well? For some inspiration, I headed online and found that most networking suggestions focus around what to do if you've lost your job and are hunting for a new one. But it turns out that many of those suggestions can be applied to lawyers and legal marketers who want to connect at events as well (and let's clarify, we're not speaking strictly about "networking" events - networking can happen anywhere, from your child's softball game to sitting at the airport). 

Out of the tips that I saw, I'm sharing with you my five favorites here, drawing on this post from HowStuffWorks on Networking Tips for People Who Hate Networking and this post on 10 Simple Tips for Networking Success from US News  & World Report. 

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Superbowl Commercials - Honorable Mention 2014

Since I already had ten "good" Superbowl commercials for this year, I felt that adding another three would be crazy talk. So instead, I'm bringing you those spots as honorable mentions - spots that I really liked, but maybe missed the mark for one reason or another (or just weren't *as* good as the top ten). 

The first is a spot that I just loved: 

GoldieBlox

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Superbowl Commercials - The Ugly 2014

And here we are, folks, time to discuss my list of "ugly" Superbowl commercials for 2014. Once again, these commercials were not as awful as in years past - I wasn't terribly offended by any of them, or sitting in disgust.  These were just my least favorite of the bunch, for various reasons (but generally because I was left thinking "what?!"). I'm bringing you a list of seven commercials today, because there were two extra that I disliked a little bit more than would be deserving of the "bad" list.

GoDaddy

Not surprisingly, if you've seen my lists before, GoDaddy's commercial makes it onto my ugly list. Amazingly, it's not because I was majorly offended by it (which is normally the case). 

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Superbowl Commercials - The Bad 2014

For a change, there were very few commercials in this year's crop that I truly hated, so it was tough to come up with a "bad" and "ugly" list. However, there were a number of commercials that I felt particularly blah about, or just thought that they really missed the mark with a big opportunity. 

In more than a few cases, I was surprised that a company would spend so much money both on the commercial itself, and on the ad space, only to fall flat. And in other cases, I thought the hype about the commercial built it up to be something great, only to have the execution be less than memorable. 

So without further ado, let's take a look at the commercials that made it onto my "the bad" list: 

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Superbowl Commercials - The Good 2014 (Part II)

Yesterday, we kicked off the start of my Superbowl commercials review with five of my favorites. Let's keep the positivity going for another day with five more good commercials (before we head into the bad and the ugly!). 

It's interesting to see how subjective these choices are (and goes back to my favorite quote, which is from Anais Nin - "We see things not as they are, but as we are"). There are many lists I've seen and favorites quoted that I just hated, and so many of my preferred commercials didn't make it to anyone's top lists.  So add your thoughts to the comments - which were your hits and misses? 

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Superbowl Commercials - The Good 2014 (Part I)

I feel like such a nerd saying this, but I LOVE commercials. 

Not all commercials, mind you, but commercials that are really well done make me very happy. I have been known to *not* skip through the commercials while watching a show that I've DVRd. Really.

So, although I like football (I mean, it's not hockey or anything), what I love most about Superbowl Sunday is the commercials. And maybe the cake I made in the shape of a football field. 

Last year, I was really disappointed in many of the choices that brands made, and I remember wondering why they would spend so much on ad space for a commercial that was so-so, or downright offensive. I didn't feel that way this year - there were so many spots that were just brilliant, clever or funny, so I know I'll have a hard time of narrowing it down! 

Since I'm just coming home from judging weekend for the Legal Marketing Association's Your Honor Awards (for which I was a judge), I've got all of those conversations and criteria swirling through my head at the moment. So that with likely make me hyper-critical of the messages of these ads and hopefully able to narrow them down to just my top five! All right...top ten - but I'll split them into two posts for you!

 

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Lessons from Outside the Industry: Grocery Store Brand Challenge

While traveling to Chicago today (an adventure in and of itself, due to delayed and cancelled flights and two trips through security – a story for another time), I had the opportunity to read a fascinating in-flight magazine article in American Airlines’ American Way magazine.

The article, titled “The Brand Challenge,” by Kristin Baird Rattini, discusses how private labels in grocery stores are gaining some real traction against national brands. Since I was already contemplating a post that focused on how brands outside of the legal industry can teach us lessons, I was particularly attuned to how the article is relevant to lawyers and legal marketers.

Let’s look at a few of the quotes that struck me, first, starting with the idea behind the article:

It’s called the Publix Brand Challenge, and it’s as close to a callout as you’ll find in the grocery industry. Several times a year, the Publix Super Markets chain in the Southeast pits three to five of its store-brand products against their national-brand equivalents…If customers buy one of the featured national-brand products, they’ll get the Publix store-branded version for free. ‘Buy theirs, get ours free,’ the ad trumpets. ‘We think you’ll prefer Publix.’”

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Let the Commercials Begin! What Law Firms Can Learn from Product Advertising

For the last few years, I've reviewed the hot topic of Superbowl commercials - as a marketing gal, I LOVE the commercials more than the game (especially when I don't have a horse in the race, as they say). The Superbowl is when some of advertising's most creative minds come together and create some sheer brilliance...or sheer disasters.

But what I've been noticing lately, is that there have been a number of new, big, flashy ads lately, during some other highly-viewed television events. Some of them are a preview for what will be revealed during the big game, while I think others are taking advantage of a large audience, with cheaper ad rates. 

Whatever, the reason, I'm one happy camper. And last night, while watching the Grammys, I saw a new favorite ad. To kick off next week's discussion of what I see as the good, the bad and the ugly in Superbowl advertising, I thought we'd take a look at Pepsi's "Halftime Show" ad last night, and what law firms can learn. 

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Best Practices for Networking - Speed ILNing

Let's talk networking.

Merriam-Webster defines "networking" as: 

the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically : the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business"

My favorite part of this definition is "the cultivation of productive relationships." That's exactly what I like to focus on, cultivating relationships. There are many, many ways to do this, but today, I'd like to talk about something we've adopted here at the ILN that might work for other organizations and firms. We call it "Speed ILNing"

Speed ILNing is a business iteration of speed dating - for those of you not familiar with what speed dating it, it's a matchmaking system, whose purpose is to help you meet a large number of people in a  short time. A speed dating event normally consists of an inner and outer ring of seats, facing each other. At the start, individuals are paired up, given a few minutes to introduce themselves, and then when the time is up, a bell rings, signalling that one of the rings of people gets up and moves to the next person. 

 

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10 Wishes for 2014 - Focus on the Small Stuff & Think Like a Client!

We're finally here, at my last two wishes for you for 2014! If you've missed any of the previous wishes, you can find them here: 

I've left two of the most important ones for last: 

  1. Focus on the Small Stuff: As we've often heard, it's the little things that matter - this isn't just a tired cliche, it's the truth. And just as it's true in our personal lives, it's equally true in our professional ones.  All week, we've been talking about how taking small, incremental steps will eventually lead to big changes. Similarly, taking care of the details with your clients, referral sources, influencers and amplifiers will also have big results. 

    What do I mean by that? Think about this - are you sending your clients a short handwritten note after the completion of a case, to thank them for their business? Do you thank someone on Twitter who has shared your most recent article or post? If someone refers you a piece of business, do you drop them a short handwritten note to offer your thanks? 

    All of these things may seem like time consuming and unimportant in today's world of fast-paced media, but that's what makes them even more important - how often do you receive a handwritten note? Once or twice a year, maybe? So when it happens, you're much more likely to both get a warm and fuzzy feeling for that person, who took the time out of their schedule to thank you, and you'll remember them in the future, and be more motivated to push business their way. 

    As I've been writing each of these wishes this week, I've been focused on trying to share the right balance of why these things work for business development reasons, while trying to express that doing these things is the right, nice thing to do. The motivation is important here - if you're taking care of the little things because it's the right thing to do, your clients and other connections will sense that it's genuine. But if your motivation is strictly to increase your business, people will sense that too - it smells of that sales-y desperation that we all despise so much. 

    So that leads me to my next and final wish...
     
  2. Think Like a Client: The truth is that we all are clients already, in some facet of our lives - when we shop or hire someone to do work for us, we are their client. And we all know how we like to be treated - we want as much information as possible about what we're purchasing, we want to feel that we can trust the person we're purchasing the goods or services from, and we want to get good value for our money.

    Our own clients are no different, whether they are in-house counsel, or the attorneys at our firms. They want to understand what they're getting in plain language, and to feel that they're getting a good deal for high quality work. They want to be regularly updated on our progress and to have some security that the outcome will benefit them in some way. 

    I know what you're thinking - "I already do that!" But ask yourself, do you really? Every year, I attend at least one client panel where they're talking about the inside/outside counsel relationship. And every year, the complaints from clients are exactly (and I mean almost word for word), the same. Sure, there are some firms and attorneys who get it right, but by and large, that's not the case. So even if you're sure that you're the exception, maybe take a few minutes each week to ask yourself what you would be expecting that week if you were a client. 

    And marketers, guess what? You're not immune here either. I hear a lot of the same complaints from my attorneys about the marketing departments at their firms. So challenge yourselves to think about what your lawyers really want from you, and how you can improve that. The more we all think about what our clients really want and expect from us, the better that relationship will be. 

That wraps up my 10 wishes for you this 2014!  Whether you have wishes or resolutions this year, feel free to add your own in the comments! 

10 Wishes for 2014 - Focus on Content & Get Personal

To quickly recap, so far we've had these six wishes for 2014: 

For today's two, I have a couple of tips that I think are especially important - and if you're a regular reader here at Zen, you'll have seen these before.  

  1. Put Out Real Content: Writing may not be your thing (as we discussed yesterday), but if it is, make sure you're putting out real content. You don't have to be authoring huge long dissertations or giant blog posts, but the content you put out must be thoughtful and useful. It drives me crazy to get "blog post" alerts from firms that say that someone at the firm is quoted in an article. As I said here, I'm not going to do the work of clicking through to that link to see if the article is something I'm interested in. I'll just skip to the next thing. And if I'm doing it, I guarantee that your clients are doing it. 

    Press releases about awards and new partners are necessary - but they are not content. For a long time, I thought I didn't have anything to add to the blogosphere, and so I did not have a blog. Once I joined Twitter, and started having conversations with fellow marketing colleagues and lawyers, and reading some of what they were writing, I realized that many of my responses were longer than a comment on a blog post. I had a lot of my own thoughts and comments that I wanted to share, and blogging turned out to be a good medium for those - that's where Zen was born. 

    I'm sure that it's the same for many of you - we all read a lot in our various professions - articles written in trade publications, blog posts written by colleagues and clients, even thought-provoking ideas from outside of the industry. We may comment on these to friends or colleagues. Why not turn those comments into a blog post? When a legal decision comes down or a case lends itself to a post on "how to avoid x," that's a good opportunity for lawyers to show off what they know in a way that's helpful and valuable.  This year, focus on putting out good content - even if you have to post or share less frequently, if you make sure that what you're publishing is substantive, you'll be far more successful. 

    For more on content, take a look at "Content Marketing is King" and "Is Anybody Going to Click on That?
     
  2. Make Your Networking Personal: At the end of last year, I talked about how important it is to understand the context of your networking and to make it more personal. This doesn't just apply to holiday parties though - it's something that has to be done in ALL your networking. 

    I know that here in the US, there's a guilt factor associated with not being business-focused 100% of the time in a professional setting or when you're supposed to be networking for professional reasons.

    But.

    Over the last 9+ years, I've been fortunate enough to observe the networking habits of successful attorneys all over the world, and some of those who are most successful at it (and by successful I mean both creating and sustaining warm and deep relationships with those they networking with AND increasing business) are the Europeans. 

    The Europeans are excellent networkers - and it's not because they go to cocktail receptions and do "drive-bys," where they chat for two minutes about where they're from, what their specialty is, hand out their business card and move on to the next "prospect." It's because they discuss things that have nothing to do with "business." They genuinely want to get to know the people that they're talking to. They form friendships with them. And really knowing each other is what makes them so comfortable referring clients to each other, and calling each other up with professional questions. They're not forming these relationships because they hope to get something out of them, but because they really want to get to know other people. 

    But even among the Americans, who are always business-focused, it's a huge turn-off to have someone insert themselves into a conversation, explain their specialty and exchange business cards before rushing off. It feels majorly impersonal and as if the only reason you're worth talking to is what you can give them - no one wants that.

    So in 2014, I encourage you to make your networking social - truly social. Don't feel guilty about it. Talk about your children, your pets, what hobbies you have. Bring up the new television show that really gets you thinking, or a book you recently read. Talk about a great meal you once had in another city or how you enjoy cooking on the weekends. These are the things that people will connect with you over - the things that will help them to know, like and trust you. And amazingly, that leads to business. Plus, it's just incredibly rewarding. 

    I'm reminded here of one of the age-old complaints about Twitter among those who either don't use it, or just use it a little and that is "I don't care what someone had for lunch." And while normally, those of us who use and love Twitter will say that you don't need to follow someone who is discussing something as mundane as their meals, the truth is that as you get to know people, even through social media, you DO care about the little things in their lives - the funny thing their daughter said on the way to school, the ice forming inside the windows of their office during the polar vortex, the amazing meal they cooked for dinner on a weeknight, the cute puppy they just welcomed home.

    Paradoxically, when we connect on these deep human levels (yes, even the small things can be connecting us deeply), we make ourselves more open to professional success. So my call for this year is to not try *so* hard to focus on business in your networking - open up a little, learn about the people you're trying to connect to. You just may be surprised. 

We're back tomorrow with our final two wishes for 2014. Stay tuned and don't forget to add your resolutions for this year in the comments! 

10 Wishes for 2014 - Taking Small Steps Can Mean Big Changes

We're back this cold, cold Wednesday with my next two wishes for you in 2014. For the first four, see here and here. Today, I'm looking at a couple of small steps that can add up to big results over the course of the year. 

  1. Do One Business Development Activity a Week: Some people are natural networkers and business development experts. I'm not one of those people. But what I've learned over time is that there are as many ways to network and develop business as there are people - and we all have our strengths. If you're not regularly doing any business development, let this be the year you start. Pick a few different activities and commit yourself to trying one each week - maybe one week you offer to author a blog post as a guest blogger for someone you like and respect; another week, you ask someone in your city that you're connected to through LinkedIn (but haven't met in person) to have coffee; another week, you go to a networking event that you've never attended before.

    By doing these things, you'll learn what you like and don't like - maybe you thrive at the social interactions you find at a cocktail reception, but you hate sitting down to write. Or you love discussions with like-minded colleagues and friends through Twitter or in a LinkedIn group, but you're terrified of public speaking. You won't know where your strengths are if you don't try different things first. 

    And if you already know what they are, make a list of four things you can do each month - just four small activities - and you'll be making huge progress before you know it! You can also make this the year you challenge yourself, and pick some new activities to try. I often learn that when I think I already know what I like and don't like, trying new things can either surprise me by showing me that there's something else I can add to the mix, or reinvigorate my existing efforts when I realize that I'm still not cut out for something else. 
     
  2. Add an Extra Day to Your Travel: Although there is so much we can do online and over the phone, a lot of us are still doing quite a bit of travel these days. And travel is a great opportunity to meet someone new in a city that you're visiting - you can add an extra day or even a few extra hours to connect face-to-face with someone. Perhaps there's a referral source or a LinkedIn connection that you could meet for breakfast at your hotel, or coffee near their office. You never know where your next new idea or client will come from, and just those few extra hours will make a huge difference. 

    And if you're not sure who to meet up with, social media can be great for that as well - just add in to your LinkedIn status that you're traveling to a city, have a few extra hours, and you'd like to see who you can meet up with. Even if you only meet two new people that way, it's two more people than you knew last year. 

    They can also be existing connections as well. While it's important to keep in touch with clients and referral sources online and by phone throughout the year, nothing takes the place of that face to face time - you may be in town for one client meeting, or taking depositions, or even just visiting friends, but add in those extra hours to meet with someone you're connected to in that city. They'll appreciate the effort and it will reinforce the bonds of your relationship. 

As you're reading my wishes for 2014, add in your own in the comments - how do you plan to push yourself this year? How will you challenge yourself to grow? 

 

10 Wishes for 2014 - Be Social, Online and Off

In case you missed yesterday's post, I'm offering you my 10 wishes for you in 2014 (and for myself, for that matter - I'm not off the hook!). Today's two wishes are about relationships, both on social media, and off: 

  1. Make This the Year You Go Social: If you're not using social media yet (well, you're probably not reading this post then!), make this the year you do it! If you're afraid of either being overwhelmed by it or making a mistake, start small - head over to LinkedIn and get your profile set up. Connect with people and start to engage with them, once a week if you're busy. Know that social media is still so new that everyone is still learning what it all means and what the right tools are. And don't be afraid to ask questions - of your colleagues, friends, or consultants, if you need them. You won't regret it. 
     
  2. But Take it Offline: I'm a big fan of social media (a BIG fan), but you've got to take those relationships offline to make them meaningful. If you're connected to people in your city, reach out and ask them to meet for a cup of coffee or lunch. They don't even have to be in your industry (see #2 above). Just take those online relationships that you're creating and nurturing into the real world to make those connections stronger. Relationships are what drive us, personally and professionally (remember when I talked about that here?). Some of the most fulfilling and meaningful relationships are those I have started through social media, and are continued through social media, but they have come offline.  Check out these recap posts too for some more thoughts on this - herehere and here

    Another great place to take relationships offline? Conferences! All of us must attend one conference a year for the most part, and sometimes they can be daunting networking opportunities. But I've found that Twitter can be a great place to meet people - before a conference, find out what the hashtag is for the event, and start following along with the conversation to see who else will be there. You may already know a few people, or it's an opportunity to engage with people you haven't met yet. 

    Then, when you're at the conference, use the hashtag to let people know where you are - looking for someone to eat lunch with? Tweet that out, with a meeting place. Sitting in a session and not sure who else is in there? Tweet that out. Make sure when you're tweeting from a conference that you're making arrangements to meet people in person - even if you just say hello at the beginning or end of a session.  You can also use social media to connect with the people that you've met - add a speaker that you particularly liked to your LinkedIn connections, and tell them why you liked their presentation. Add the contacts that you've made with a note reminding them of your conversation. There are so many ways to blend in-person and online relationships, and this is the year to do it! 

I'll be back tomorrow with another two wishes for you! 

10 Wishes for 2014 - Plan & Be Open

Here we are, on what has inauspiciously been named the "most depressing day of the year." It may be raining here in Jersey, and the temps may be dropping by the minute, but today, I'm thinking about my wishes for you for 2014. (And if you're feeling depressed, take a look at Heather Morse-Geller's blog about which "you" is showing up for work today - it will re-frame your thinking!)

For 2014, I've come up with 10 things that I wish for you in 2014 - it's going to take some effort, but if we all throw these in the mix, I think we're going to have a pretty good year. There are so many wishes I have for you, that I'm going to break up this post and give you just two to think about each day this week! 

  1. Have a plan: We've talked about planning here before (see here and here), but I think it's important enough to mention again. And don't worry - even though it's January 6th, it's not too late to write a plan (like those of us who think we can only start a new diet and exercise program on Mondays, the best day to start is actually TODAY).

    If the idea of writing some big plan makes you feel anxious, take a few minutes to think about what you really want out of this year - is it more clients? More of the right clients? More speaking opportunities? To take a class or develop your skills in another way? To try some completely off the wall marketing idea? Whatever it is, write it down. Come up with one or two goals that you'd feel really satisfied to have completed by December 31st. 

    Then, come up with a list of ways you can meet those goals - want to take a writing class? You'll need to do some research, choose a class, figure out when you can make the time, and actually take the class - each of those is a measurable (and manageable!) step. Write them down in your planner (I may love social media and technology, but I still have a hard copy, handwritten planner). When you take one small step each day or each week, it naturally builds on itself. Do this with all of your goals. 
     
  2. Open Your Mind: I'm definitely guilty of falling into the trap of doing what's comfortable. I like to know what's been done before (and how) and see how I can convert that to what I'm doing. But this is my year to get creative - I can look at what other industries are doing and see how that might apply to my own business (remember when we discussed how Zappos - a shoe/product company - has relevance to legal marketing? Posts can be found here, here and here - and even here, back from 2011!)

    I'm not suggesting we get crazy, but let's not dismiss ideas and opportunities because they might be a little uncomfortable or new - that's where the real growth and learning happen. Just be open this year. Not every new idea or conversation is going to work, but it will make us better people, better lawyers, better marketers simply by staying open.

Check back every day this week for more of my wishes for you. And since I'll be blowing out the candles tomorrow for my 34th birthday, I know that they'll all be coming true! 

The Battle of the Holiday Cards

They may seem newfangled to some attorneys, but holiday e-cards have been around for a few years now, long enough for Above the Law to be hosting their 5th Annual Holiday Card Contest (finalists in the attached link). My preference is still for a nice paper card in my hot little hand (as one of my school teachers used to say), but as a marketer, I can't help but get excited for any card that does a smart job of promoting the firm by offering holiday wishes in a fun and snazzy way. 

So. as I was viewing ATL's top cards for 2013, I started thinking about all of the e-cards that I'd received this year from ILN members, and one stands out to me - not simply as the best of the ILN cards I received, but as one of the best law firm e-cards I've seen this year. 

It's from McDonald Hopkins - while their card does look at the charitable work they've done this year (which ATL frowns upon) - what I like best about it is that it incorporates the attorneys' children, who report on what they can do to help others this holiday season. What a sweet and unique way to remind us all to be focused on others as the year winds down. 

I suggest taking a few minutes to enjoy this card - it certainly gave me the warm fuzzies - and to have a very happy holiday season! 

 

Holiday Party Networking - Some Do's and Don'ts

Following last week's post with my suggestion about relaxing while networking at holiday events, Colin O'Keefe of LexBlog interviewed me about my do's and don'ts for holiday party networking. 

Take a look at my LXBN TV interview below! 

What are some of your suggestions for networking at holiday parties? 

'Tis the Season...to Network!

'Tis the season! You know the one - when every other day holds the promise of a networking opportunity, as you take clients to holiday lunches, send out your holiday cards, and attend all of those lovely parties. 

The parties are what bring me here today, because I'm here to tell you about a key to networking that I've observed over the past nine years with the ILN. 

RELAX.

Now, I'm not talking about letting loose and forgetting that you're in a professional setting - on a side note, don't forget to turn off any devices that might allow you to post photos to a social site when you're at a holiday party. 

But I am talking about letting go of business for a moment. Because, paradoxically, that is where you will find your strongest professional relationships. 

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Content Marketing is King

I've had an idea for a post noodling around in my brain for a few weeks, but I've been having trouble getting it to crystallize. Until yesterday, when I read Sayre Happich's "Seven Content Marketing Tips for Lawyers.

Sayre says: 

All lawyers can benefit from content marketing. By creating targeted content — blog posts, articles, tweets — and pushing it out through the right channels, you can position yourself as a thought leader in a specific area of law. And, whether you are a solo practitioner or part of a megafirm, that can lead to more clients."

She is absolutely right.  I've seen time and time again that the firms that are successful today are the ones who are sharing substantive content on a regular basis (there are other contributing reasons of course, but the same mindset that leads them to create substantive content and share it, is the mindset that helps them find success). 

What I'm going to say next might be a bit controversial, but I'll say it anyway - clients do not care about press releases announcing that an attorney was quoted in an article. They're not going to do the work of first clicking through to the firm's press release to see that someone was quoted, and then clicking again to get to the actual article - they're too busy. That's not substantive content. Even if something leads to substantive content, if you make it hard for your audience to find it, they will not take the time to do so

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A Quarterly Refresh of your Marketing/Biz Dev Plan

To many people, fall may just be the prelude to winter - the days get shorter, it's darker earlier, and the leaves are falling. But I've always thought of fall as a fresh start. It may be years since I've been in school, but something about the chill in the air makes me feel renewed and revitalized. 

With that in mind, I was recently chatting with my friend, Jaimie Field, about this very thing and how close we are to the end of the year. This starts to be the time when firms and attorneys look at their marketing and business development plans, to see how they've done in terms of meeting their goals for the year and what they want to accomplish in the following year. 

As we were talking, I had an idea - why not think of each quarter of the year as a fresh start? I'm not suggesting that we all write a new plan for each quarter (no one has time for that!). But take a few minutes today to set up a calendar reminder for yourself to look at your plan on the first business day in each quarter. 

Then, when that reminder comes up, take out your plan and review it: 

  • Which goals have you accomplished?
  • Which goals have you made progress on?
  • What is still left to achieve?

I do this periodically (approximately quarterly), and each time I do it, I then set up additional reminders for myself for each of the outstanding goals - I'll break them down into manageable increments and task myself with one or two things over the next three months on days that look to have a bit more space on the schedule. 

I can always reschedule those things if need be, but by doing that, I'm making a commitment to myself and my goals for the year. It helps me to keep track of what I'm doing on a regular basis, as well as to revisit my goals throughout the year so I know what's working, what's not working, and what I can improve on for the following year. 

So why not treat fall (and every new quarter) like a fresh start - track down your marketing and business development plans and do a quick review and scheduling. 

And a very Happy Halloween to all those who celebrate! 

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Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Pick a Niche to Scratch their Legal Itch (Part 3 - How to Pick A Niche)

Jaimie Field continues her excellent series on niche marketing with this third installment! 

***

In Rainmaking Recommendation # 86 we talked about Why Pick a Niche.

In Rainmaking Recommendation #87 we discussed What is a Niche

In today’s recommendation we will talk about HOW to pick a niche. 

There are many ways to pick a niche but here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1.  Who is your ideal client?  You need to define who it is you would like to work.  What does this group look like?  Is it based on a particular industry?  A socio-economic class?  I suggest that you pick two or three different groups of people with whom you are interested in working.  If you enjoy the people with whom you work and the practice you have chosen, you will become successful.
     
  2. Is your industry or niche big enough?  Do a little research.  Are there enough people in your chosen group to sustain a practice?
     
  3.  Who is your competition?  Are you competing for this niche with too many people?  Are you willing to do what it takes to set yourself apart in order to dominate this niche?  This is not to discourage you from going after this niche, but to determine whether you are willing to take the rainmaking steps necessary to do what you need to do to become known as the “go-to” lawyer. 

You may determine with these questions that there is too much competition, or that the niche isn’t big enough,  and that you would rather find a different niche (or even drill down further in a particular group) to go after.

Speaking of becoming a go-to lawyer and some tips on how to break into a particular niche, a colleague of mine, Cordell Parvin wrote a great blog “Who will become the “hot sauce” industry go-to lawyer”.   It is great reading and will help you understand that once you have chosen a niche you can find many ways to get the information and many methods of marketing yourself to that industry.   

Blogs you may have missed: 

The Shoemaker’s Kids Have No Shoes

Miley Cyrus as Marketing Genius and What You Can Learn For Legal Marketing

Please forward this information to a colleague who you think would benefit; It must be forwarded it in its entirety. All information is the copyright of Marketing Field, LLC © 2013  

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month.  They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq.  If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog.

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Pick a Niche to Scratch their Legal Itch (Part 2 - What Is A Niche)

We're back with installment two of Jaimie Field's series on creating a niche law practice - "pick a niche." 

***

The last rainmaking recommendation told you “why” you needed to start creating a niche law practice, however, just to reiterate:

  • You widen your visibility within a specific group,
  • It’s cost effective,
  • It levels the playing field,
  • You can get more referrals, andYou can position yourself as an expert.

Today we will discuss “what” a niche is in terms of developing your book of business.

A niche is . . . .”small but specific and well defined segment of the population. Niches do not 'exist' but are 'created' by identifying needs, wants, and requirements that are being addressed poorly or not at all  by other firms, and developing and delivering goods or services to satisfy them.”
www.businessdictionary.com

When most attorneys think of niches they think of specific business industries in which they can become involved. In fact, you can start to look for specific industries by going through the SEC’s Specific Industry Codes and continuing to drill down to each of the individual SIC/NAICS codes for the industry with which you would like to work.
http://www.naics.com/search.htm

However, niches can be defined by demographic information as well.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Ethnicity
  • Lifestyle
  • Hobbies
  • Socio-Economic

Each of these niches, as stated above, is demarcated by the fact that they are specific, well defined segment of population.

Your first job is to determine which niche it is with which you wish to work; the next Rainmaking Recommendation will be about “How to Pick a Niche.”



Please forward this information to a colleague who you think would benefit; It must be forwarded it in its entirety. All information is the copyright of Marketing Field, LLC © 2013

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month. They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq. If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog.

 

It's All About the Content

I'm a big believer that every marketing tactic is not for everyone - we all have our strengths. Some people will be excellent public speakers, who enjoy sharing their expertise with large audiences. Others will be happy to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were) and write blog posts and articles. Still others will shine when you put them in a room full of strangers to network. 

As many people as there are, there will be marketing tactics and ways of implementing them. 

But I will say that if your firm is not creating and delivering content that can be shared in some way, you are missing out. 

When I was growing up, content was created for you - if you wanted the news, you'd buy a newspaper or magazine and read a series of articles that were written by others and put together by others. The television news was the same. You had very little say over what was produced, other than using your purchasing or viewing power to reflect your likes and dislikes. 

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7 Ways to Position Yourself as a Subject Matter Expert Online

Today, I have the pleasure of sharing a special guest post with you from one of the ILN's partners, Washington University School of Law's online LLM program. We're honored that they've partnered with us, and this post from Chelsea Wilson, their Community Relations Manager, has some excellent tips for positioning yourself as a subject matter expert - be sure to take notes! 

***

A wonderful long-term strategy for marketing yourself and your law practice online is to gain a reputation as a “subject matter expert.” The blogs, websites, and social media profiles of subject matter experts are hubs of information and analysis, and can become go-to outlets for peers, the public, and the press whenever news breaks on a given topic. For that reason, it can be a valuable strategy for raising your profile, and can be an excellent tool for earning new business.

 

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Coat-tail Branding - Clever or Icky?

It's a little known fact that I happen to have dual citizenship with the US and the UK. So it was with great excitement that I awaited the birth of the royal prince a couple of weeks ago - not enough excitement that I would have camped outside the Lindo Wing, but enough to stick on the BBC online once news of his Royal Highness's birth was confirmed. 

I've spoken before about "fame-jacking" - seeing what's out there that is culturally popular, and leveraging the excitement and interest that surrounds it. There are good ways and bad ways to do this, and following the royal birth, there was a flurry of them. While I'm generally in favor of identifying a way to link your business with the hot topics of conversation, I felt a bit icky about some of those brands that used the arrival of Prince George to push their wares (and yes, I am aware of the irony of my blogging about it).

We at the ILN posted a simple "Congratulations" message on our Facebook page and Twitter feed for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which I'm well aware that they will never see. Those brands that did something similar, or came up with the clever way to congratulate them without linking to their website or pushing a new product, I thought did a clever thing. 

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Networking Tips for Lawyers

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with a Canadian reporter who is doing a series of stories about the importance of networking for lawyers. She wanted to get my thoughts based on my eight and a half years of networking experience with the lawyers in the ILN, and I thought I'd share some of those tips here on Zen too. These are all tips I use myself, as well as recommending them to our attorneys!

  • Have a plan: It's important to have an overall plan for your business development activities, but also one for each activity that you do. The overall plan should be a written one, that you check in on quarterly - this allows you to review what you've done over the past three months, as well as set up in your calendar the activities you'd like to commit to over the next three months.  For individual networking activities, you should set up goals for yourself for the event, so you know in advance what you'd like to achieve.
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Legal Marketers - Let's Raise the Bar

This morning, I had the pleasure of speaking with my fellow co-leaders in the Legal Marketing Association's Social Media Special Interest Group (LMA Social Media SIG for short). Our main purpose was to debrief on our group's activities at the conference, to see what worked well and what didn't, but by virtue of the conversation, we ended up talking about the conference in general and some of the anecdotal feedback that we'd heard. 

One of the interesting points that was raised was it had been suggested that the Zappos session, bringing in an outside-of-the-industry speaker, was either loved or hated. Loved, because, as I've mentioned before, it was excellent, or hated because people didn't understand how a customer-driven organization like Zappos could have any relevance to legal marketing. 

Sigh. 

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LMA Annual Conference - A Quick Debrief

It's been a week since I returned home from the LMA's Annual Conference, and I'm still digesting everything that went on there - it was a non-stop whirlwind of networking, meetups with social media friends and ILN marketers, face-time with new attendees, and conference sessions (as well as a LOT of food). LMA served its purpose once again though, and I've returned to the office with new vigor, feeling more inspired than when I left! Even better for this Social Media Special Interest Group Co-Leader? Not only did I get to see my friends and make new connections face to face, but #LMA13 was trending on Twitter! (Pictured are fellow co-leaders Gail Lamarche of Henderson Franklin and Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing with me. Not pictured are Lance Godard of JD Supra, who was unable to join us, and Laura Toledo, Tenrec, who was ill). 

There will be several recap posts to come, but while I'm still ruminating on those, I thought I'd share with you my three favorite sessions, as well as what's on my reading list now that I've returned home. Keep an eye out for the recaps on these sessions! 

 

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Superbowl Commercials - The Forgettable 2013

Arguably worse than those commercials that are bad and ugly are those that are forgettable. If a commercial airs during the Superbowl and no one remembers it, does it make a sound? (A la, if a tree falls in the forest...)

There were definitely a few forgettable commercials during the Superbowl this year - so forgettable that I either don't remember seeing them at all, or have only a vague recollection of them after seeing them included on the list of aired spots. Let's look at a few, and in particular, how they could have been more memorable, and why law firms don't want to fall into the same quagmire of forgettableness. 

 

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Superbowl Commercials - The Bad & the Ugly - 2013

Now that we've looked at what lessons the good commercials had to offer us from the Superbowl, it's time to look at the bad and the ugly - almost as much fun to review! 

It took me a while to choose which commercials to include in this post because there were FAR too many on my list of bad and ugly. I've managed to narrow it down to ten, so let's do a countdown! 

#10 Volkswagen's Get Happy

I didn't like this commercial, but it's not for the reason you're thinking...

 

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Superbowl Commercials - The Pretty Good 2013

Yesterday's post sparked some great conversations on social media with regard to what everyone thought about various commercials - in particular one that I've included in today's "pretty good" category.  It's been great to hear legal marketers weigh in on these, so let's keep the conversation going! 

I've got five commercials on today's "pretty good" list, and I'll both go into why I like them, and why they don't make it to the "really good" list.

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Superbowl Commercials - The Really Good 2013

When you're not particularly enamored of either team in the Superbowl, and hockey is more your sport anyway, what's a gal to do when football's biggest game of the year is on? DVR it so I could watch just the commercials, of course! (And the Sandy Hook Chorus sing "America the Beautiful" - that was not to be missed). 

Though after zipping through the game to catch this year's ads, I was kind of wishing I'd skipped the whole thing all together - these are some of the most expensive ads to be purchased throughout the year, and for me, there were almost no standouts. Where have all the good marketers gone?

But, since I need to choose *some* good commercials to discuss, here are my top picks for this year - I'll cover the "really good" today and the "pretty good," the bad and the ugly later in the week. 

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Should Law Firms Help Promote Individual Attorneys? An LMA Recap

Last week, the LMA NJ chapter once again piggybacked on to what the NY chapter was doing, and hosted a lunch where we Skyped into a panel presentation focusing on whether law firms should help promote individual attorneys (or just focus on the firm brand as a whole). The panelists included Robert Algeri, the co-founder of Great Jakes, which is listed in his bio as "a marketing communications firm that develops next-generation websites for mid-size and large law firms." 

We also had Andrea Crews, the Director of Marketing and Business Development for Levenfeld Pearlstein, a mid-size midwestern firm, and Jasmine Trillos-Decarie, the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Foley Hoag

 

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Unpacking and Mapping Your Career Business Plan - An LMA Re-Cap

As I was leaving the LMA 2012 conference, I learned that what many of us had been hoping for was coming true - we were starting up a LMANJ city group! Although New York and New Jersey are close together, getting in and out of the city can be less than ideal, particularly on a work night, so those of us working in New Jersey are happy to be piggy-backing off of the NY programs and doing our own networking. 

Our first session took place last Thursday, and after some initial networking among ourselves, we tapped into the NY session via Skype, which was dedicated to the topic of "Unpacking and Mapping Your Career Business Plan." The session was presented by Kelly Hoey, Business Network Strategist, and Jennifer Johnson, J.Johnson Executive Search, Inc. 

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Change or Die? A General Counsel Panel - Part II

In my last post, we talked about the first part of the client panel session from the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Meeting, with panelists Jeff Carr of FMC Technologies, Janet Dhillon of J.C. Penney and Ron Barger of the Archon Group. The second part of the session was equally as valuable as the first.

One of the interesting points that the panelists made during their comments was that they need their attorneys to elicit the real end game from them – they went as far as to suggest that attorneys should ask them directly “What does ‘winning’ mean to you?” Jeff said lawyers need to get their clients to be specific, because they often won’t volunteer that information.

He joked that business development is like a relationship – people don’t get better with time. They’re on their best behavior in the “marketing phase,” so attorneys need to get past that, and force their clients to be specific about the results that they want.

 

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Change or Die? A General Counsel Panel - Part I

A few days ago, I offered my initial recap of the general counsel panel that we were treated to at this year's Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference, focusing on some key quotes from the session. Now, let's get into the meat of the panel, where even more value is to be found.

The one overriding thought I had (and I was not alone if you listened to the tweet stream) was that year after year, we're hearing the same comments and advice from general counsel. What does that mean? It means that law firms STILL aren't listening to what their clients really want. 

In the past, this has been manageable, because the economy was thriving and there was plenty of work to be going around. But now, as Jeff Carr of FMC Technologies warns:

There will be new business models that come into place. We'll build them if you won't. We don't need YOU to survive. We need the [legal] industry to survive."

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"Legal is the Only Industry Where Clients Act Like Sellers and Sellers Act Like Buyers" - A General Counsel Panel

I'm currently about 30,000 feet above the earth, flying back home after a whirlwind time at the LMA's Annual Conference. I feel like my attendance at the conference was akin to drinking water from a firehose - there was a lot of information to take in, and a lot of great ideas and conversation. Now, it's time to process all of that, and sort out what I can use and share.

In my mind, the most important session of the conference is always the General Counsel (GC) panel - I can best help my clients by telling them what their clients say to marketing folks when they're not around. This year, the panel was its own breakout session (though I think it should really be required attendance for EVERYONE), and once again, it was an incredibly valuable session. 

The panel featured Ron K. Barger, the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Archon Group, Jeffrey W. Carr, the Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary for FMC Technologies, and Janet L. Dhillon, the EVP, General Counsel and Secretary for J.C. Penney Company. It was moderated by Tom Duggan and Cathleen Flahardy of InsideCounsel.  All of the GC's represented are active members in the General Counsel Forum

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LMA12 - It's About Being Social

As you know, I'm attending the Legal Marketing Association's Annual Conference this week, and it's so great to see those that I keep in touch with throughout the year in person! 

Social media is great - the tools help keep us in touch throughout the year, and help me meet new people.  But it's really about taking those relationships offline. This morning, we had the chance to do that when the Social Media Special Interest Group, which I'm fortunate to be on the leadership committee for with some wonderful colleagues, met for the second time. 

We had some great people there! To get to know them better, check out their twitter feeds! I've put an asterisk by those on the Social Media SIG's leadership committee: 

Nicole Anderson, Legal Marketing Association
Adam Stock, Allen Matkins, @AdamLStock
Andi Robinson, Bingham Greenbaum Doll LLP, @indylawmktr
Lydia Bednerik, Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP, @lydiabednerik
*Gail Lamarche, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes &Holt, @gaillamarche
Stacey Taylor, Hawley Troxell
Amy Adams, Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer PA, @ajamarketing
Caroline Letiecq, Quarles & Brady LLP
Billy Apostolou, Hodes, Pessin, & Katz, @billy_apostolou
Jenna O'Connor, Rosenberg | Martin | Greenberg, LLP @JennaKate413
Dawn Reimschussel, @DiscoInfiltrato
*Laura Gutierrez, Winthrop & Weinstine, @lalaland999
Russell Lawson, Sands Anderson, @sandsanderson & @sociallawyers
Rebecca Wissler, King, Krebs & Jurgens, PLLC, @rebeccawissler
Nicolas LoRe, Foley Hoag LLP
Laura Powers, Furia Rubel Communications, @LPPowers
Jessica Gagnon, Robinson Cole LLP, @Jessi_Gagnon
Crystale Wozniak, Robinson & Cole LLP, @CrystaleWoz
Lisa Woodford, Cooley Manion Jones LLP, @lisawoodford
Miki Hanlen, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, @mikihanlen
Amy Knapp, Knapp Marketing, @knappmarketing
Adrian Dayton, Author, Speaker and Social Media Strategies to law firms, @adriandayton
Gina Rubel, Furia Rubel Communications @ginarubel
Jon Holden, Bennett Jones LLP,  @holdencalgary
*Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing, @nancymyrland
Adrian Lurssen, JD Supra, @adrianlurssen
Jay Pinkert, Shatterbox, @Shatterbox
Kevin O'Keefe, LexBlog, @kevinokeefe
*Lindsay Griffiths, International Lawyers Network, @LindsayGriffith

So far, we've had a great keynote session this morning, and we're enjoying a session on change leaders right now - more re-caps to follow!

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to LMA I go!

It's that time of year again - time for legal marketers from all over the world to gather together to network, get inspired, and learn from each other. That's right, it's the Legal Marketing Association's Annual Conference

In between networking and meetings, I'll be attending a number of conference sessions and sharing my reviews of them here. Here's what my schedule looks like: 

Wednesday: 

  • First Timer's Reception: It's not my first LMA conference (in fact, it's my seventh!), but I've been invited along with my friend, Nancy Myrland, to talk to some of the first timers about social media. I'm looking forward to seeing some new faces!

Thursday: 

  • 8:30am: Opening Remarks (the LMA State of the Union, if you will).
     
  • 9:00am: Keynote speaker, James Kane, who will talk about the secret to building relationships. As all good professional services marketing is based on building relationships, this will be a session not to miss! 
     
  • 10:00am: Social Media Special Interest Group Meeting: I'm fortunate enough to serve on the leadership committee for the Social Media SIG with a number of talented people, and we'll be gathering with the other members of the group to talk social media and legal marketing. 
     
  • 11:00am: Featured speaker, Jonathan Michael Bowman, will talk about leading change - since he's a lawyer he'll be able to speak to the unique challenges that legal marketers face. 
     
  • 12:00pm: Lunch - I'll be joined for lunch by the ILN marketers in attendance. It's great to get to know them better and answer any questions they might have about the ILN and how we can help them better. 
     
  • 1:30pm: Today's Lawyers and Social Media - How Are They or Should They Be Using It? I'll be attending and tweeting live from this breakout session, featuring panelists Marcy Salo, Peter Vogel, Camille Stell, and Melissa Croteau, with moderator Larry Bodine.
     
  • 3:30pm: The Evolution of the Law Firm Brand. How to Promote Individual Attorneys within the Parameters of the Firm's Brand. I'll also be attending and tweeting live from this panel, which will also be of interest to me in terms of how I can better promote individual firms within the parameters of the legal network brand. This session features panelists Jasmine Trillos-Decarie, Robert Algeri, Joe Calve, Peter Winzig, and Aden Dauchess, with moderator Adrian Dayton. 

Friday: 

  • 9:00am: Success Through Collaboration: GCs and Law Firms Working Together. My favorite session of the LMA conferences is always the GC panel - that's where I get the most valuable information about what general counsel want from their attorneys. Panelists include Ron K. Barger of Archon Group, Jeffrey W. Carr of FMC Technologies (a presenter at the ILN's 2010 Regional Meeting of the Americas in Houston!), and Janet L. Dhillon of J.C. Penney Company, moderated by Tom Duggan and Cathleen Flahardy of InsideCounsel. 
     
  • 11:00am: Creating a Culture of Client Service Excellence: Following on the first session of the morning, I'll be continuing in the client-focused theme with this session, featuring Leonardo Inghilleri of West Paces Consulting. 

You can follow along with my live tweets over at @LindsayGriffith, keep an eye on all of the tweets coming out of the conference using the #LMA12 hashtag, or wait for my re-cap posts! 

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: What you don't say may speak volumes

Today, we have another great recommendation from rainmaking expert, Jaimie Field: What you don't say can speak volumes. Her advice reminds me of my all-time favorite quote - "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin

 

After an extremely long day with clients, I stopped by my local book store – it’s one of the ways I like to relax.   Yes, while I have eBook readers, and the ability to download books onto every device in the world, I am a bit old fashioned.  I love the feel of books, of turning pages, the actual smell.  I even have a public library card that I still use. 

After perusing the store, I found what I was looking for and walked up to the counter to pay.  There was a line – albeit a short line.  While waiting for my turn to pay, the entire day just seemed to overtake me and I just felt how tired I was; so I expelled a huge, involuntary, exhausted sigh.

The woman in front of me paying and the cashier both looked at me a bit crossly – I realized that that particular sigh may have come across not as an exhausted sound, but an impatient one.  When I walked up to the cashier I apologized and explained that it wasn’t about impatience but how tired I was. 

The cashier was appreciative of my apology and totally understood.

The point of this is that what you don’t say can speak just as loud as what you do when people look through the lenses of their own experiences.  This cashier was used to people being impatient; particularly when there was a line of people waiting.   

What are you saying to a client when you answer the phone with a curt or impatient attitude? Put yourself in their shoes.  While you may have just had a bad conversation with another client, the current client you are speaking with may think you are angry or annoyed with them.   Rolling your eyes, sighs, snorts, all of this can be as misconstrued as actual language. 

Non-verbal communication can scream just as loud as a voice – and even more so when the interpretation is supplied by the person in front of you.  

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month.  They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq.  If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog

 

 

Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Acknowledge Me!

Following up on our last Rainmaking Recommendation from expert Jaimie Field addressing the issues of why clients don't come back, we have the next in the series - "Acknowledge me! "

 

Reason #2 Why Client’s Don’t Come Back: You’re Unresponsive

In a continuation of the series on “Why Client’s don’t come back”, this Rainmaking Recommendation will address the number one reason why clients’ don’t come back - because you don’t respond to them.  

In this day and age of immediate communication – Wi-Fi, 24 hour internet access, smartphones, emails, and social media – clients almost demand that you respond on instantaneous basis.  It used to be that 24 hours was an acceptable amount of time to get back.  Now, people want a response yesterday.

 

 

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Superbowl Commercials - The Bad & The Ugly 2012

So yesterday, we had the chance to take a look at some of the higlights from the Superbowl commercials of 2012.  Now, it's time to see which spots failed, why, and what lessons law firms can take from them. 

We'll start with my pick for the worst commercial of the night...Go Daddy's Body Painting Commercial (which is pretty much tied with their Cloud commercial for worst in my book).

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Are you ready for some FOOTBALL....Commercials? (The Good)

While I know that most people watch the Superbowl for the sports (myself included, I do like the game!), the biggest football game of the year is also the Superbowl for marketers - because of the commercials.

I've heard mixed reviews of last night's spots from people via my social networks, but I have to say that unlike recent years, I was very pleased with this year's ads. As I did last year, I'll give you my thoughts on the good, the bad and the ugly, starting with the good...

Overall, I'd say that humor won out this year. To me, the commercials that did "funny" right were the real winners...and also the most memorable. However, one funny, expensive ad spot doesn't change a lot, but it's fun to see where they went right and the lessons that law firms can take from them. 

 

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Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: I didn't know you did that

Today, I'm bringing you another excellent rainmaking recommendation from expert Jaimie Field - "I didn't know you did that."

“Why don’t clients come back?”

Recently, I received an email from a litigation attorney from Connecticut who asked the question above. It seems that some clients of the firm who seemed happy with the work the  attorneys of the firm were doing were going elsewhere for subsequent representation. 

So I dedicate this and the next few Rainmaking Recommendations to this attorney with thanks.

Over the next few emails we will cover  the reasons why clients don’t come back and how to ensure they do:

Rainmaking Recommendation # 51:  “I didn’t know you did that”

Reason #1  Why Client’s don’t Come Back:  “I didn’t know you did that”

One of the most frequently heard reason that clients don’t come back is that they don’t know all of your (and your firms) legal capabilities.  If you have ever heard a client subsequently say:  “I didn’t know your firm did that,” you have experienced this problem.

However, one of the objections that I hear is that from the attorney  is that they told them in the initial consultation that they (or their firm) could represent the client in many different matters. 

You need to understand, when a client comes in to your office, they are usually focused on one issue; the one problem they are currently experiencing.   This causes them to truly not hear anything else but what applies to this situation.  I mean literally.   The only thing they want to hear is how you can help them with this problem; what is going to stop their pain.  Anything else you tell them will go in one ear and out the other. 

Then you, the attorney, become “tunnel-visioned” - busy schedules, other matters and clients, court, briefs, yada yada yada -  which causes you to neglect to remind them of all of your other abilities. 

This is why you need to consistently and constantly tell them over the course of the representation all of your (and your firm’s) capabilities.  After you have met them, during the course of your representation, and following the conclusion of your matter, you need to keep reminding them how you can assist them with the other matters that may come up in their lives in the future. 

Use newsletters, connect with them on Social Media sites, send personal messages, ask for feedback.   Each time you contact a current client using Rainmaking and Marketing tactics to remind them of  all that you can help them with to make their lives better, you ensure that if something comes up with which you can assist, they will remember to contact you. 

 

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month.  They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq.  If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog

Guest Post: What Santa Claus Can Teach Us About Rainmaking

WIth the end of the year wrap-up, and still recovering from the stitches in my finger, I'm sharing another post from my friend and rainmaking expert, Jaimie Field, esq.  In 2009, she published this post, "What Santa Claus Can Teach You About Being a Great Rainmaker." 

So without further ado...

That jolly ol’ white-bearded, chubby guy in the red velvet suit with the fur trim is a better Rainmaker than you.  While his clients, children, may not be your target market, if you acquire his characteristics and take some on his abilities to bring in new clients and make them advocates for life, you can become the Rainmaker he is.

Santa Claus is everywhere:

Turn around after Thanksgiving and you cannot help but run into Santa or his image.  He is on street corners, in malls, on TV; you just can’t help seeing the guy everywhere you go.   Everyone knows who Santa is when they see or hear about him.  

 

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Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field, Esq. - The Why of Goal Setting

Never fear, Zen readers, I have not forgotten about our Twitter tutorials! However, I had a minor mishap with an exacto knife and Christmas gifts the other night, which has left me with five stitches in my left index finger, making it rather painful to type long posts! So between all of my recent travel and my latest clumsiness, you'll have to wait just a bit longer for the latest installment.

In the meantime, I'd like to bring you another tip from my friend and Rainmaking expert, Jaimie Field of Marketing Field. You can see her previous rainmaking recommendations here or you can sign up to receive them right in your email inbox on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. I highly recommend doing that - they're always excellent!

On to her recommendation! 

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What are you Thankful For?

During this holiday season, we can easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle of trying to find the right gift, baking as many cookies as possible, and saying yes to every party invitation we receive.  But recently, I've seen a lot of posts about gratitude and how to spend the holiday season helping others, and that reminds me of what I like best about Christmas (which is what I celebrate; for you, it may be something else!) - slowing down and thinking about what I'm really thankful for as this year winds up. 

Of course, there are many things in my personal life that I'm thankful for - the birth of my newest niece, and becoming her godmother, getting to spend so much time with my nieces that the oldest one gives me hugs for no reason, welcoming a new puppy into my home, which had the extra effect of calming my older dog's anxiety, having a roof over my head, food in my home, and a job to go to every day. 

But there are also some professional blessings I'd like to take a moment to share with you today - and I'd love to hear about your gratitude lists in the comments! 

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Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field, Esq.

I've been preparing for (and am now away for) our 2011 Regional Meeting of the Americas here in Newport Beach.  I'll be writing more on that soon, but while I'm otherwise engaged, I wanted to share with you an email that I got this morning from my friend and Rainmaking expert, Jaimie Field of Marketing Field. You can see her previous rainmaking recommendations here or you can sign up to receive them right in your email inbox on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. I highly recommend doing that - they're always excellent!

On to her recommendation! 

 

Rainmaking Recommendation #46:  The Reasons You aren’t becoming a Rainmaker

There are only two reasons why you aren’t becoming a Rainmaker.

1.        You don’t know what to do

If this is the case there are many things you can do:

·         Take a class,

·         Read a book,

·         Ask a mentor,

·         Hire a Rainmaking Coach

And

2.       You aren’t doing the things you need to do on a constant and consistent basis.

As with many of my clients, I suspect this is the main reason. 

If this is the case there are things you can do:

  • Create a plan and stick to it,
  • Schedule your rainmaking activities and make them inviolable appointments

with and for yourself.

 

Rainmaking requires that you are constantly doing the things you need to do to create relationships with others and turning those relationships into new business. 

 

Ask Friday! Superstars Edition by Cordell Parvin

For this week's Ask Friday! we welcome guest poster, Cordell Parvin.  I've gotten to know Cordell through Twitter, and have been fortunate to see the excellent advice he has for lawyers through webinars and his upcoming video coaching series.  

According to his website, "Cordell Parvin has practiced law for more than 36 years. He has developed a highly successful national construction law practice. During his career, Cordell has been a rainmaker and taught, mentored and coached young lawyers on their careers, work-life balance and rainmaking. Cordell also has been a Practice Group Leader and worked with other Practice Groups helping them to develop their business plans and strategies."

Today's Ask Friday! question is "What separates super achievers from achievers?"  Huge thanks to Cordell for guest posting this week! 

"A few weeks ago I spoke to a group of first year lawyers during their orientation. As I neared completion of my presentation I asked for questions. One young lawyer asked a thought provoking question: “What is the difference between lawyers who are superstars compared to lawyers who are stars?”

"In my career I have been blessed to work with some really outstanding lawyers. I have also had the opportunity to witness differences between the super achieving lawyers and those successful lawyers who do not reach that status. Here’s my take on the differences.

 

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Key Takeaways from LMA? ILN Marketers Speak - Morgan Leigh Horvitz

At the LMA Conference in Orlando, there were over 1,100 attendees. We were inundated with tips, new ideas, new products, networking opportunities, and more.  It's often hard to distill the entire conference into a few takeaways to bring back to the office and act on.

To get at some of the valuable nuggets from the conference, I asked ILN legal marketer, Morgan Leigh Horvitz, Manager of Client Relations for member firm Beirne, Maynard & Parsons LLP in Houston to comment on her key takeaways and the most valuable session.

What was your key takeaway from the LMA Annual Conference?

Morgan: The first was to spend some time looking at our website on mobile devices, and trying to make our mobile site user-friendly and re-design it to help people who are looking for specific information while on-the-go.

Another was the need to really differentiate ourselves in our proposal-writing and client service. With legal spending by companies not increasing much, the competition  is going to be much more stiff.  

My third key takeaway was to work on our marketing materials. Clients are less interested in all of the details about the firm, and more interested in what the firm can do for them. Win records, brief and useful information about the firm, and how the firm can service the client (solve problems creatively, save money through efficiency) need to be highlighted.

Which session did you find most valuable and why? 

Morgan: I found the "Breaking the Brochureware Approach" pre-conference session to be the most helpful.  We looked at how clients view websites and marketing materials, what they are looking for, and how we can meet their informational needs while promoting and differentiating the firm.

 

Other LMA attendees - what are your key takeaways? Which sessions did you find the most valuable? 

The Path to World Class - Exploring the Attributes that Distinguish Top-tier Legal Marketing and Business Development Teams

The last session of the day on Tuesday was "The Path to World Class - Exploring the Attributes that Distinguish Top-Tier Legal Marketing & Business Development Teams." After a long day at the conference, this session was going to have to be very interesting to hold our attention - and it was!

The panel was moderated by Joe Calve of Morrison Foerster and featured Geoffrey Goldberg of Lowenstein Sandler, Anne Malloy Tucker of Goodwin Procter, and Barbara Sessions of Winston & Strawn.

The panel was designed to be a nuts and bolts tutorial that we could put into action when we got back to the office.  The panelists suggested that rock climbing by your fingernails is an apt analogy to what marketers do, so we'd need all the help we could get.

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Some Advice to New Marketers on Attending Conferences

As I attended my sixth LMA Conference last week, it occurred to me that I couldn't believe how fast my time in the legal profession has gone! But it also occurred to me that there may be many people out there attending their first conference, or just starting out in the legal or professional services fields, who never got any lessons in college about how to act in a business environment.

This week, I heard someone say during a session that if you're going to be "Debbie Gossip" as a marketing professional, it will be difficult to gain the trust of your lawyers and as such, difficult to get the respect needed to get a seat at the table. I think the younger generation in the workforce (and at 31, I include myself in that) has a lot of enthusiasm, talent and incredible ideas. But sometimes we lack the professional polish that can get those ideas implemented. So I wanted to offer up some advice on what I've learned in my six and a half years in legal marketing - some of these things might seem silly or overly conservative, but they will help you stand out for your work instead of for a less professional reason:

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Disney's Approach to Business Excellence - An LMA Recap

As you know if you've been following my Twitter stream, or checking Zen in the last couple of months, last week, I attended the Legal Marketing Association's Annual Conference in Orlando.

Tuesday morning, the conference business sessions officially kicked off with our keynote from Jeff Williford from the Disney Institute, who talked about Disney's Approach to Business Excellence.  When he began by telling us that he'd be speaking for 90 minutes, I think the audience was worried, but the presentation was so engaging and informative that the time really flew.  And although his presentation was about how Disney creates a truly magical experience here, there were a lot of parallels for the legal industry - we're also a service industry after all!  Any of the particularly important points that relate to law firms will be in bold throughout the post.

He told the audience that Disney employs more than 60,000 people from 65 countries, with 10% of those being interns, and warned us that his presentation on Disney's approach to business excellence would be like drinking water from a firehose. But he did say that Walt Disney reminded everyone in 1955 that "it all started with a mouse."

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LMA 2011 Annual Conference - Sessions I'll be Attending

It's that time again - time for the 2011 Legal Marketing Association's Annual Conference. This year, it will be in Orlando, Florida and after the winter we've had, I couldn't be happier about it! 

But it's not all sun and fun - there's a lot of work, and valuable networking too.  

I'm posting a list of the sessions I'll be attending - I'll be tweeting from each and blogging a re-cap of each session as well.  To follow along with the Twitter stream, you can check out the #LMA11 hashtag - that aggregates all of the tweets that contain that hashtag - you can follow me on Twitter, or you can follow Laura Gutierrez or Heather Morse's Twitter lists.

And if you're attending the conference, and you're not on my list, please let me know! 

On to the sessions (all times are local to Orlando. Florida)...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011
9:00 - 10:30: Keynote Event: Disney's Approach to Business Excellence

11:00 - 12:15: Improving Visibility: Effectively Leveraging Social Media as a Business Development & Marketing Tool - Concrete Examples of What's Acceptable, and What's Working

2:15 - 3:30: Managing Client Retention and Value: Using Client Feedback to Create Truly Meaningful Client Experiences and Deliver Greater Value

4:15 - 5:30: Honing Your Leadership Skills: The Path to World Class - Exploring the Attributes that Distinguish Top-tier Legal Marketing and Business Development Teams

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
9:00 - 10:00: General Session - Achieving Greater Collaboration  - What you need to know to get to a win-win relationship with your clients (General Counsel Session)

10:45 - 12:00: Honing Your Leadership Skills: Elevating the Marketing and Business Development Function: Law Firm Leadership Panel

1:45 - 3:00: Improving Visibility: Maximized Marketing: Budget Boundaries and Successful Strategies for Small to Mid-Sized Firms

Looks like there will be a lot of value at this conference, so keep your eyes out for our tweets and blog posts!

Five Hot Tips for Client and Business Development

During our recent 2011 Asia Pacific Regional Meeting in Hanoi, I gave a presentation on five hot tips for client and business development.  These are all things that are familiar to the lawyers in our group, and probably all of you as well, but because they're important, I felt they bear repeating.

Five Hot Tips

  1. Treat Your Clients as King: Your clients deserve to be treated like royalty. Deliver WOW to your clients by meeting their needs, not yours. Clients want to know what you can do for them, and the steps they need to follow to take action. Give them these things in a clear, easily understandable way, and you will undoubtedly find "favor with the king."
     
  2. Spread Ideas and Move People...Through Social Media: It can sound like a lot of what is out there is just noise.  But you can be out there, sharing your message.  Think like your clients and provide them with the message that is most useful to them.  You're not using social media to talk at people - you're there to talk with them. 

    When using social media, listen first and never stop listening. Be authentic and vulnerable, share stories with your audience, ask questions, provide value for free (yes, for free!), and engage with them. 

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Best Day of Your Life?

Yesterday, one of my favorite Twitter people posted that her daughter had said "this is the best day of my life. We went to the park, we're going to mcdonalds, I found a penny. The best day of my life."

She's 5, but she's already been through a lot, dealing with a very scary brain tumor last year.  And she got me thinking - the best days of my life really have been about the little things.  

Sure, graduating from college was exciting, buying my first house was exciting (well, more nerve-wracking and expensive than exciting), but were they the "best" days of my life? 

Nah.  

Those have been about the little things - the first time I heard my two-year old niece say my name. (Superbowl Sunday, if you're wondering - she said "Okay Wizzy" - close enough).  Every time my dog comes racing over to see me like I'm his favorite person in the world (I am). My sister trusting me enough to be the first person to watch my niece overnight. An email from my best friend saying how much I mean to her. My niece wanting me to carry her in for ice cream, and squeezing me extra tight when my sister said "M loves her Aunt Lindsay."  Those are some of my best days.

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Superbowl Commercials - The Bad & The Ugly - Lessons for Lawyers

Now that we've covered "the good" of the Superbowl commercials, let's talk about the bad and the ugly...and what can be learned from them.

We'll start with one of the more controversial series of spots...

Groupon

Save the Whales

This is the less tacky of the spots, though giving the idea that although it's nice to save the whales, it's better to save money is still missing the humor mark.  But in the next spot...

Tibet

Some people seemed to think this one was funny, while others were offended.  I tend not to be too thin-skinned, but I did agree that this was a mistake.  I was surprised that after the Kenneth Cole debacle this week that they decided to go through with these spots, even considering the financial cost of them.  

Now, Groupon did clarify the thought process behind the commercials with this post. And while I think it's great that they suggest people donate money to the causes they were parodying, the spots were still a tasteless mistake.  The lesson here is that humor is something you have to be careful with - what one person might find funny, a lot of others might not.  You've got to know and understand your audience.

Secondarily, I'm not sure how well the ads actually reinforce Groupon's product.  I'm a big fan of Groupon, but I've had a lot of trouble describing to friends and family what they're all about.  I don't think I'm the only one.  Their commercials could have broken that down a bit better.  I think they were a fail all around.  

For a great explanation that delves into this a bit further, check out Liz Strauss' post "Groupon Super Bowl Ad: When Being Clever Offends and How to Win One for Tibet"

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Superbowl Commercials - The Good - Lessons for Lawyers

Okay, I admit it. I love commercials.  

So much so that when I ordered the DVR service with my cable, I wasn't sure I would fast forward through them.  (Don't worry, I do)

Not all commercials, of course.  I just love the well done ones.  Like the Old Spice campaign - but that also combined my love of social media, so I'm a bit biased.

So for me, although I really enjoy football, the Superbowl is really about the commercials - they are the best of the best in advertising - at least, they're supposed to be.  If you're paying $3 million for a commercial spot, it should be the best work your company can get.  

What does this have to do with legal marketing? I'm not a huge fan of legal commercials, I must admit.  But I think there are solid marketing lessons to be learned from my favorites.  

And from the bad commercials - let's be honest, there were more than a couple of those last night!

So without further ado....

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Communication Crisis - My Two Cents on the Kenneth Cole Scandal

I've been debating whether or not I wanted to jump on the bandwagon and address yesterday's social media debacle with Kenneth Cole.  If you're not familiar with what happened, both Nancy Myrland and Gini Dietrich wrote great posts that also recap it here and here.

I decided that I did want to add my two cents - I was certainly dismayed by Cole's tweet yesterday, though not surprised.  If you've driven down the FDR in Manhattan over the last ten years, you've seen his snarky political billboards on the side of the road.  Why I think non-politicians shouldn't use their power and money to push their political philosophies on the rest of us is a whole other post, but I thought Cole really stuck his foot in his mouth yesterday.

As Nancy mentioned in her post, he needs some serious crisis communications work - we had a speaker on this very topic back in 2007, so I thought I'd dig through my conference report archives and share some of his wisdom with you.  Although I'm particularly disgusted by what Cole said yesterday, social media and other gaffes can happen to the best of us, and we need to know what to do if we're in the same situation.

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Lawyers: What Can We Learn From Zappos?

If you love shoes like I do, you're familiar with Zappos.com, the online shoe and clothing shop. Since it was founded in 1999, it has grown to be the largest online shoe store.  How did they do it? Largely, in thanks to their CEO, Tony Hsieh.  According to their website: 

In 1999, at the age of 24, Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay) sold LinkExchange, the company he co-founded, to Microsoft for $265 million.

He then joined us [Zappos] as an advisor and investor, and eventually became CEO, where he helped us grow from almost no sales to over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually, while simultaneously making Fortune magazines annual Best Companies to Work For list. In November 2009, Zappos.com, Inc. was acquired by Amazon.com in a deal valued at $1.2 billion on the day of closing.

 Not too shabby, huh?

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Back from a Conference. Now what?

Last week, the ILN hosted our 2010 Regional Meeting of the Americas in Houston, Texas.  I'll be putting up some posts this week re-capping some of the sessions, but I thought I'd start today with my recommendations for what to do when you get home from a conference.

At our meetings, although the business sessions are very valuable, the key is relationships - our members rely on their relationships for both referral work and collaboration.  And these relationships don't have to take a hiatus just because you're back at work.  So what should you do once you get home?

  1. Reach out: At our conferences, we provide both a delegate & companion listing, and a listing of delegates with their photos.  It's a great idea to go through these during and after the conference, make notes of who you met and what you talked about, and take a few minutes to email them once you're back in the office to let them know you enjoyed meeting with them.  If appropriate, you can arrange a phone call to continue a conversation that you were having during the conference.
     
  2. Connect via social media: We talked a lot about social media at this conference, and I've found that it's an excellent way to keep in touch once you return home.  The easiest thing to do is check on LinkedIn for the other attendees and connect with them.  That way, you can keep up with their activity more regularly.  For ILN members, we also recommend joining our LinkedIn group so that they can continue to interact with their colleagues online.

    Facebook and Twitter are good options as well - do a quick search for the attendees on these platforms if you're using them and are comfortable connecting professionally on them.  
     
  3. Check your calendar: One of the things we recommend to our members is meeting with ILN attorneys when they're visiting another member firm's city.  When you return from a conference, it's a great time to take a quick look at your calendar for the next few months and see where you'll be traveling.  Check these cities against the list of the people you met at the conference, and drop them a quick email to arrange to have lunch or coffee.

Does anyone have any additional tips for what has worked for them after attending a conference? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

What I've Been Reading

Dear readers, I have not forgotten about you, but with our European Regional Meeting fast approaching, I've been concentrating on those details and not on my blogging.  However, I have been reading some excellent posts from colleagues recently, which I wanted to share with you.  So grab a cup of coffee and take a read!

Over at Nancy Myrland's Myrland Marketing, she's been talking about some important messages:

  • In "Sales is Not a Dirty Word," Nancy reminds us to be our "client's advisor, their mentor, their solution to a problem, and sometimes even their friend." 
     
  • In "You Are Who You Are. I Am Who I Am," she addresses a lot of the recent bashing we've seen by blog commenters and people on Twitter and encourages us all to embrace each other's differences with a little respect - great message.

At the Legal Watercooler, Heather Morse has been using Mad Men to teach some valuable lessons about legal marketing - even if you're not a Mad Men viewer (which I'm not, but I love a series that connects television with business), her posts offer great points:

  • In "Mad Men, Lawyers, and Legal Marketing," Heather advises lawyers that it's "YOUR job to turn YOUR success into new BUSINESS," just as senior partner Bertram Cooper from Mad Men tells Don Draper "Turning creative success into business is your work."  
     
  • In "Mad Men, Lawyers, and Client Relations," she points out that we're all a personality type and "By better understanding how we personally process and receive information, and by learning how to identify how others do the same, we best communicate and work with one another."

 

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Lawyers: Are You Listening to Your Clients?

Last night, I caught the end of Neil Cavuto's show, when he told a story that made me think - he said that he was shopping for a Mother's Day gift and went into a store.  Both the store owner and his wife came over to him within the first few minutes to see if they could assist him with finding a gift to purchase.  He told them both politely that he preferred to look by himself, that he didn't have anything in mind, but was in a hurry, so he wished to be left alone.  They did so, but only for a minute.

As soon as he picked something up to look at it, they both immediately came over to him again, giving him information he hadn't asked for, insisting that the gift he was looking at must be what he wanted, and continuing to badger him.  He again asked them to let him look for the gift in private, and they continued to ask him what he was looking for and let him know that the gifts in the section he was standing in could all be mailed.  As he was getting more and more exasperated, his phone rang. It was his daughter in the store next door, saying that she had found a gift.  So he walked out of the first store, leaving the patrons in shock.  His message was that "no one is listening." 

That message got me thinking:

  • Are we guilty of the same thing?
  • Do we bother our clients or potential clients with information that they've asked not to receive?
  • Do we help them when they need it and let them be when they want some solitude?
  • What is our customer service experience really like for them - are we overbearing, like these store owners?
  • Or are we facilitators, business partners, trusted advisors?
  • Do we insist that we know what's best for them, without finding out what it is that they really want and need?
  • Does that ultimately push them away?

I think Cavuto's message is a good reminder that part of being great at our jobs, whether as legal marketers, as attorneys, or in any other field, is really listening to our clients, their needs, and even the underlying needs and wants they have that they might not be expressing. Ask yourself today, are you listening?

LMA 2010 - The Digital Firm 2015 - The Changing Face of Professional Services Marketing Communications

For my last session of the conference, I attended "The Digial Firm 2015 - The Changing Face of Professional Services Marketing Communications," with opening remarks from Anthony Green, President of Concep, moderated by Dwain Thomas, Managing Director of Concep, and panelists Susan M. Snyder, Senior Consultant at Hay Group, Jodie Kaminsky, Vice President of J.P. Morgan Asset Management, and Royal Simpkins, Firmwide Communications Manager at Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP.  The panel looked at new marketing channels and how they impact marketing professionals in a fee earning environment.  When the room was polled, we learned that a lot of the audience is using social media in their communications mix.  Jeannette McGarr wondered on Twitter what her attorneys would say about social media becoming the norm in firms. 

The panelists went into three case studies of firms using digital strategy with Concep, starting with J.P. Morgan.  They needed a reduction in cost, which for them, meant getting away from paper. They were looking for both strategic and tactical recommendations to help them to migrate their current contact strategies to digital, and used their competition to convince naysayers to get into social/digital communication tools.  It took 2-3 years for them  to switch entirely to digital communications, and now their marketing plans are much more integrated with digital media and have the same messages across platforms.  At the start of this process, they had 15 different databases, and have since merged all of them.  When all data repositories begin to communicate, the power is exponential for intelligence and relationship management. 

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LMA 2010 - Examining the Current Use of Alternative Fee Arrangements

My second session on Thursday, March 11, 2010 was "Examining the Current Use of Alternative Fee Arrangements," with presenters Lindley J. Brenza, a partner at Barlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP and Reed S. Oslan, P.C., a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and moderator Gabriel Miller, general counsel at Sokolove Law.  Because this is a hot topic in the legal industry, the session was well-attended and spawned some interesting conversation.

Oslan started by saying that Kirkland & Ellis have been doing a lot of alternative billing, and believe there will be even more in the future.  Brenza agreed, saying that at his firm, they do nothing by the hour anymore for new matters.  To clarify for everyone, they put up a graphic of the four types of legal fees - hourly, fixed, contingent and hybrid.  Brenza said that his firm doesn't do hybrid billing arrangements, because they are too problematic.  Interestingly, he added that the ABA considers non-hourly billing more ethically sound and client-focused than hourly billing.  The panel agreed that because of financial constraints in this economy, clients are willing to take more risks with their lawyers on how fees are structured - this was borne out in the general counsel panel the following day by clients who admitted to being reticent to use alternative fee arrangements, but felt pressured to find the most economically efficient way to handle legal work. 

One of the panelists pointed out that despite the industry's seeming fear of moving away from the billable hour, hourly billing rates have only been around for the last sixty years.  When they took an informal poll of the room, most of those present were from firms doing some type of non-hourly billing.  Oslan said that it has taken his firm some time to get comfortable with the idea of alternative fees, and observed that clients aren't always ready to take that route.  Brenza agreed and said that although his firm does work entirely on an alternative fee basis, clients come to them for their skill, and not their fee schemes, and it often takes some time for them to become comfortable with it.  But at heart, the panel said that basically, clients want less expense and more certainty.  Law firms can't say that their work is too unique for a budget - it may be a leap of faith to handle work on an alternative fee basis, but other vendors are already doing it.

That being said, the panel agreed that the discussion over alternative fees is actually a lot bigger than the demand for them.  There are a lot of downsides to discounts, which the attorneys don't always consider as part of alternative billing.  Oslan pointed out that most firms are pyramid-shaped, with the majority of the lawyers being associates, and billable hours are rewarded.  These types of firms can't easily do alternative fees.  Firms built for non-hourly billing are structured differently - more diamond shaped with the greatest number of attorneys being experienced partners.  To be able to do alternative billing at a firm shaped like this, the partners doing it must be supported by the firm. 

The key takeaway from this presentation was that although the demand for alternative billing arrangements isn't as high as it's hyped to be, clients are looking for less expense and more certainty in their billing and firms will have to be able to adapt to best service their clients. 

LMA 2010 - Recovery: Refocusing the Inside Counsel/Outside Counsel Partnership to Maximize Profitability

For the first session of the day, I was in Track One - the Business of Law: Recovery: Refocusing the Inside Counsel/Outside Counsel Partnership to Maximize Profitability.  Presenting was Harris E. Berenson, Esq., the Assistant Vice President/Chief Counsel for Liberty Mutual and Senior Counsel for Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.  His presentation focused on the idea that inside and outside counsel have a partnership, and he started by saying that a partnership, at its core, is nothing more than a relationship.  However, although this is a simple concept, the challenge comes when trying to execute it.  Relationships, both personal and professional, must be built on trust, support, consideration, respect, caring and the mutuality of responsibility.  Inside counsel are looking for a long-term partnership - similar to what people are looking for in a relationship as they get older.  They don't want someone who just wants to be "on the list;" they want a true business partner who knows their business and understands industry issues.  Because of this, they'll often go with their gut instinct and recommendations from trusted friends and colleagues.  Berenson said when looking for outside counsel, he checks with his counterparts, industry peers, and internal teams - when later asked, he emphasized that he does not look at directories and rankings lists for outside counsel and said "they don't matter."   

Once the decision is made to work together though, how do both sides get the most out of the relationship?  Berenson said there needs to be a "mutuality of expectations."  As an example, he said that if the client needs the firm to be available 24/7, the firm needs to be able to articulate how they will do that, not just that they can.  He said there must be "mutual hand-holding," similar to being in a romantic relationship, but he clarified that by "hand-holding," he didn't mean constantly taking people to lunch or asking for their business, but showing the client that you're a valuable business partner.  He also said that lawyers should show their clients that they can do what they said they could do, to suit up and show up, and to keep their promises.  Berenson said that each side comes with their own baggage, and it's up to each side to figure out what that is, and how they can learn from each other. 

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LMA 2010 - Keynote Event - Insights Into the Future

During the first morning session of the conference, the attendees were treated to a presentation by Andrew Zolli, founder of Z+ Partners, curator of PopTech, and exploration fellow at National Geographic.  His Z+ Partners bio says: 

"Andrew Zolli is an expert in global foresight and innovation, studying the complex trends at the intersection of technology, sustainability and global society that are shaping our future. His firm, Z + Partners, helps senior leaders at some of the world's preeminent companies, institutions and governments see, understand and respond to complex change. Andrew is alsothe Curator of Pop!Tech, the renowned thought leadership forum and social innovation network. Andrew serves as a Fellow of the National Geographic Society, where he is leading development of a global initiative to envision new scenarios for a sustainable world in 2030 and beyond. He was also recently named the first Business and Society Fellow of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship."
In a presentation that was "engaging, clever [and] funny," according to Lance Godard, Zolli focused on future trends affecting us both personally and professionally.  Using demographics as evidence, he showed the audience that by 2025, there will be more elderly people and children at the same time than ever before in history.  Additionally, the "Boomers" will be in the workforce even longer, which will cause "intergenerational chafing" between them and Generation X.  Those who were born after 1970 are likely to take care of their mothers longer than their mothers took care of them.  We are also seeing a shift in education, with statistics showing that the most educated man in the United States is 56, while the most educated woman is 28.  These ambitious women are having a hard time finding ambitious men, and there are more single women buying homes. 

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It's About Relationships

I just got back from the Legal Marketing Association's Annual Conference and I'm still trying to process the whirlwind of sessions and networking opportunities that I was able to be a part of.  I'll post a series of re-caps from the individual sessions over the next few days, but I wanted to start with my feelings about the conference as a whole.  For me, the main theme of this conference was relationships.  Perhaps I'm biased to look for that as a theme, since that's an essential part of our ILN conferences, but I was struck by how important it was during LMA10.

One of the things that's been drilled into me during client panels since I joined the ILN five and a half years ago is that "clients hire lawyers, not law firms," essentially saying that it's all about relationships.  This was backed up once again by the client panel on Friday morning when the panelists talked about how important chemistry is when choosing a lawyer to hire.  But this principle doesn't just apply to law firms - everyone makes purchasing decisions based on chemistry.  For example, if I'm looking for a new web designer for our group's website, I'm going to want to work with someone I trust, someone who understands my personality and how I work, as well as what I want to communicate through the site.  If I'm interviewing people for that work, I'm already going to weed out anyone I think doesn't have the appropriate skills, so it's assumed that the finalists will all be talented.  So it comes down to chemistry - who can I work with?  That applies both in my personal and my professional life and I've talked to others who feel the same, so when working with my own clients, I always try to think about how I would want to be approached. 

But why wait until you need to hire someone to network and form relationships with people in your own industry?  I have gained and continue to gain so much from the relationships I have formed with other talented, passionate people in the legal marketing industry and last week's conference showed me that very clearly.  Social media also played a large role in enhancing my experience, and was best explained by Heather Milligan over on her blog.  By connecting with people through social media like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and then taking those relationships offline by meeting my contacts in person, I am able to build friendships that inspire me professionally, support me personally, and give me a collective expertise to draw on among people I already trust. 

I've come away with a lot of good ideas and excitement about future projects thanks to the LMA conference and the people I interacted with there.  But overwhelmingly for me, my greatest takeaway was about the relationships - whether you're connecting online through social media, in person at a conference or cocktail party, or over the phone, it's all about engaging people and finding that right chemistry.  Not only can it lead to business (and it doesn't have to), but it enhances my life in many other intangible ways.  Nancy Myrland's video about connecting with legal marketing Twitter contacts does a great job of summing this up. 

I'll also mention that relationship-building doesn't end when you get back on the plane to come home - you've got to continue to connect and follow up with the new contacts that you've made.  Heather talked about that today and has some great tips for what to do when you return from a conference.

**(Photo from Nancy Myrland)

LMA Annual Conferences - Sessions I'll Be At

As I prepare for next week's Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference, I'm revisiting the list of sessions I'll be at and tweeting from.  Heather Milligan over at The Legal Watercooler will be posting a list of which attendees will be tweeting from which sessions if you'd like to follow a certain "tweep" (as people who tweet are referred to) or session.  I'll be attending the following sessions (all times are local to Denver, Colorado) and you can follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/lindsaygriffith:

Thursday, March 11, 2010
9:00 - 10:30am: Keynote Event
11:15am - 12:45pm: a) Recovery: Refocusing the Inside Counsel/Outside Counsel Partnership to Maximize Profitability and b) Examing the Current Use of Alternative Fee Arrangements
2:30 - 3:30pm: Leveraging Social Networking - Real World Applications of Web 2.0 That Have Led to New Business
4:00 - 5:30pm: Social Media Strategies for Small to Mid-Sized Law Firms

Friday, March 12, 2010
9:00 - 10:00am: Creating and Implementing a Sales and Business Development Culture in Your Firm
11:30am - 1:00pm a) Managing Your Professional Reputation and b) The Digial Firm 2015

I'll also be attending the general session on Friday, "What We Love Most About Our Lawyers - A Client Panel" and may tweet from there as well.  In addition, I'll follow up my tweets with posts about the sessions, so if you prefer not to jump into the twitter stream, you can see the re-caps here.

ILN Business Development Webinar Series: Review of How to Increase Results from Speaking, Writing and Networking

In coordination with Jim Hassett of LegalBizDev, the ILN put together a series of five educational webinars available to member firms on a monthly basis. Jim is the founder of LegalBizDev, which helps lawyers to develop new business by applying best practices from other law firms and professions through coaching, webinars and workshops, retreats and much more. Jim comes highly recommended by the Legal Marketing Association, who regularly relies on his expertise for their conferences and webinars. More information about working with Jim and his colleagues can be found on their website.

The fourth webinar, How to Increase Results from Speaking, Writing, and Networking, took place on April 29, 2009. Jim described the session: "For some lawyers, speaking, writing and networking are very successful marketing techniques. Other lawyers give speeches, write articles, and/or go to networking meetings, but never seem to get enough business from them. This presentation will review how the most successful rainmakers use audience targeting, follow-up, and other tactics to increase results."

Some of the highlights from the session included:

* Jim started off by letting the audience know that these tactics are not for everyone. He said that the best sales people understand their strengths, and find the right fit, so he encouraged the audience to focus their limited marketing time on their strengths.

* Speaking: In terms of speaking, Jim emphasized the importance of choosing a specialized topic that has business potential. Once a topic has been chosen, it is essential to find the right audience. Jim discussed the process for doing this, as well as how to gain a speaking invitation. In terms of writing speeches, he encouraged the audience to follow emerging business trends and to keep folders with articles, quotes, and data to draw from. If speakers and writers do this consistently, they will always have source material to draw from. He added that these source materials can also be used as excuses to build relationships with contacts. Jim also went into detail on tips for the actual speech, as well as how to effectively follow up. He said that although speeches won't directly generate business, they can help to build relationships.

* Writing: Similar to speaking, Jim said it was important to find the right publications to target. He gave tips on how to do this, as well as how draft a query letter. He went into a list of the types of articles that are more attractive for publications, and therefore, more likely to be accepted. In addition to writing for publications, publishing a white paper on their firm's website or association websites is another way to attract attention through writing. Jim also listed blogs as another means of publication, but cautioned that he thinks these are overdone by lawyers. He also discussed how it is possible to network while writing, saying that authors can call people to interview and follow up with them with a draft, as well as using published articles to keep in touch with clients and prospects.

* Networking: Jim started by giving the audience Bob Burg's (of "Endless Referrals") Golden Rule of Networking, which is that "Clients do business with people they know, like and trust." He said that if you help others succeed, they will help you. Networking takes patience and perseverance, and case be a time waster if it's done with the wrong people. Jim then discussed how the audience could consider their personal network, and gave some advice for how to make the most of a networking meeting. He also spoke a little about having an "elevator speech," including its definition, the goals, how to develop one, and testing it.

* Jim ended with a few comments about social networking, listing some of the many options available. He felt that there are some powerful tools out there, but there is a need for caution.

The webinar recording and materials for this fourth session are available to ILN member firms at a low cost- please contact me for more information.

ILN Business Development Webinar Series: Review of How to Find New Clients: From Prospecting to Closing

In coordination with Jim Hassett of LegalBizDev, the ILN put together a series of five educational webinars available to member firms on a monthly basis. Jim is the founder of LegalBizDev, which helps lawyers to develop new business by applying best practices from other law firms and professions through coaching, webinars and workshops, retreats and much more. Jim comes highly recommended by the Legal Marketing Association, who regularly relies on his expertise for their conferences and webinars. More information about working with Jim and his colleagues can be found on their website.

The third webinar, How to Find New Clients: From Prospecting to Closing, took place on March 25, 2009. Jim described the session: "This presentation will describe how to address the challenge of finding new clients. The basic principles are simple: you must meet the right people and advance the relationships. This presentation will describe best practices for referrals, cross-selling, networking, and publicity, and emphasize the importance of developing systematic processes to assure consistent followup."

Some of the highlights from the session included:

* Jim observed that finding new clients is the hardest thing someone can do in a suit. So he said that in order to maximize success, they need to do the right things in the right way. He emphasized that above all else, persistence matters.

* To start, Jim broke business development down into two types: current clients, which he had addressed the previous week, and new clients. For new clients, he said that some lawyers would be better at bringing in new clients than others, and firms should support those who are successful. He said that bringing in new client is more difficult and harder to evaluate than bringing in new business from current clients. However, he added that bringing in new clients is critical to long-term success, while working with current clients is critical to short-term success.

* Jim focused on five main points during his presentation: the challenge of new clients, meeting the right people, advancing the relationships, closing the deal, and what the lawyers should do.

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ILN Business Development Webinar Series: Review of How to Protect and Increase Business with Current Clients

In coordination with Jim Hassett of LegalBizDev, the ILN put together a series of five educational webinars available to member firms on a monthly basis. Jim is the founder of LegalBizDev, which helps lawyers to develop new business by applying best practices from other law firms and professions through coaching, webinars and workshops, retreats and much more. Jim comes highly recommended by the Legal Marketing Association, who regularly relies on his expertise for their conferences and webinars. More information about working with Jim and his colleagues can be found on their website.

The second webinar, How to Protect and Increase Business with Current Clients, took place on February 25, 2009. Jim described the session: "Although lawyers equate marketing with finding new clients, marketing experts agree that the best place to start marketing is with the clients you already have. Relationships with current clients are especially critical in the current economy with threats to your practice coming from two directions: from hungry competitors trying to steal your clients, and from budget cut-backs by the loyal clients who remain. This presentation will describe how to protect and increase business by assuring that current clients perceive you as a trusted advisor who is providing high value."

Some of the highlights from the session include:

*Everything attorneys need to know about business development could be summed up in seven words: Meet the right people, advance the relationships.

* In the case of current clients, Jim said that the attorneys already know the right people. He went on to cover three points, emphasizing that client satisfaction is urgent, asking how satisfied the audience's clients are, and calling them to action.

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ILN Business Development Webinar Series: Review of Six Ways to Increase Results from Your Limited Marketing Time

In coordination with Jim Hassett of LegalBizDev, the ILN put together a series of five educational webinars available to member firms on a monthly basis, starting in January of 2009. Jim is the founder of LegalBizDev, which helps lawyers to develop new business by applying best practices from other law firms and professions through coaching, webinars and workshops, retreats and much more. Jim comes highly recommended by the Legal Marketing Association, who regularly relies on his expertise for their conferences and webinars. More information about working with Jim and his colleagues can be found on their website.

The first webinar, Six Ways to Increase Results from Your Limited Marketing Time, took place on January 28, 2009. Jim described the session: "Lawyers never seem to have enough time for marketing. This presentation will help lawyers save time by developing new business more efficiently. We will review the research on what works in legal marketing to help you focus on the individual tactics that are most likely to produce immediate and practical results for your practice, your personality and your schedule, starting with prioritizing marketing activities by applying six key principles: Start with current clients, listen, plan advances, focus on personal strengths, work with others, and build the right relationships."

Some of the highlights from the session include:

* The legal profession is changing, but not only because of the economic crisis, and it's getting harder to develop new business. This is evidenced by there being a number of new marketing techniques that were not around twenty years ago.

* Lawyers have greater challenges for business development than sales people because of their limited time. This is especially true for litigators and Jim pointed out that while marketing principles are the same, tactics may differ. He said that litigators will focus more on referral sources than current clients and that visibility and reputation may be more important than relationships.

* Jim used examples and book recommendations to illustrate the six ways to increase results from limited marketing time:

  • Current clients: This topic is so important that it will be the focus of the second webinar.
  • Listen: Experts suggest listening 50-80% of the time and Jim offered some practical tips for how to improve listening skills.
  • Plan Your Advances: Jim explained that 90% of sales calls in a successful sales process (one that results in new business) do not result in a successful sale. They simply advance the relationship. So Jim emphasized that when planning a meeting, attorneys should figure out what's the best thing they can do to bring them closer to getting a piece of new business. He defined an "advance" as "an action that moves the sale forward."
  • Personal Strengths: Jim talked about the stereotypes that people hold about what makes a good salesperson, and said that people with different personalities can be successful in business development. The key is understanding their strengths and finding the right fit.
  • Work with Others: In order to provide accountability, Jim recommended forming a group with a few other lawyers who care about business development. The group can meet once a week or once a month, go over their to-do lists, and create some friendly competition to achieve the action items developed. Jim also supported working with a business development coach.
  • The Right Relationships: When developing business, it's important to focus on the right relationships. Jim said that all lawyers should develop a quick business plan - he emphasized that a plan was necessary to avoid engaging in "Random Acts of Lunch," but that lawyers shouldn't spend too much time planning and not taking action. To do this, lawyers need to define their niche, meet the right people, and qualify their prospects to determine if they will buy, if they'll buy soon, and whether they'll buy from them. Jim also recommended reading "How to Win Friends and Influence People" for common sense advice on how to interact with people in a new way.

* Jim summed up by encouraging the attorneys to prioritize their marketing activities relentlessly, so that they can make the most of their marketing time.

The webinar recording and materials for this first session are available to ILN member firms at no charge - please contact me for more information.

The Call of the Legal Marketing Association's Annual Conference

It's that time of year again - time to head to the Legal Marketing Association's Annual Conference. This year's theme "Change...Now What?" is particularly appropriate for the challenges that we're all facing in the current economy. According to Peter Vieth's article in Virginia Lawyers Weekly, "the slump in the economy has led to the increased use of social media" and we at the ILN have found that social media is a valuable way to support our members with almost no financial investment. Just last Friday, we learned that a referral we received and facilitated through Twitter had resulted in a very happy referree and a file for our member firm in the UAE. To continue to learn how to best leverage social media tools, I'll be attending LMA sessions focusing on social media, along with a few others, and then tweeting and posting recaps. You can follow along on what other LMA attendees are saying about the conference on Twitter as well.

Taking a page from LMA member Heather Milligan's blog, here's a list of the breakout sessions I'll be attending:

Thursday
- Conference Sponsorship Trends: 2008
- Thought Leadership: The New Frontier of Strategic Marketing

Friday
- Emergence & Benefit of Social Networking for Legal Professionals
- Legal Transformation Study - Your 20/20 Vision of the Future

I'll also be attending speeches by keynote speakers James Carville & Mary Matalin, and featured speakers Peter Sheahan and Arianna Huffington, in addition to networking with some of the best minds in the legal marketing community.

Of particular note for ILN members, on Thursday, the LMA will hold their annual Your Honor Awards. This year, our ILNBriefs cartoons are nominated as a finalist in the Internal Communications Category, so stay tuned for the results of the awards ceremony!