I recently attended one of the Armstrong Watson Legal Sector Breakfast Briefings, albeit they are no longer at breakfast time! An interesting point of discussion arose, which I thought I would share. The speakers for the session were Chris Moore of Moore Legal Technology and Ally Thompson of Hey! Legal, who both provided some insightful thoughts and tips for marketing your law firm. But the point I wanted to discuss arose from a comment made by Stephen Vallance of HM connect.
As I say, the session was about marketing and sales for law firms, and Stephen used the analogy of a Wild West film. When setting about making one of the early films, a producer apparently asked the question… ‘Do you train actors to become cowboys, or cowboys to become actors? Interesting! The same conundrum, Stephen suggested, arises in law firms in relation to generating new business enquiries (marketing), and converting those enquiries into new business for the firm (sales). Do you teach lawyers to be marketers and sales people, or do you teach marketing/sales/BD specialists to become lawyers?
I don’t know what the answer is, other than “it depends“! Probably not very helpful, I know.
But what I think is the way to approach it, is to play to peoples strengths. Where you have solicitors within your firm who enjoy and are good at marketing your services, writing blogs and article content, that are active on social media etc, encourage them to do so. If you have people who like taking new enquiry calls, are good at building rapport with people quickly, and converting them to clients, encourage them to do so too. Perhaps even allow some of their billable hours to be allocated to it!
For those who don’t have people within their firm comfortable or proficient at marketing, buy in some external assistance. It’s not expensive, and should be considered an investment in obtaining new business – the lifeblood of keeping your business afloat. And when it comes to converting those new enquiries into opened files… on the assumption you don’t have the volume to justify a specialist initial response/enquiry handling team, invest in some proper training for the key people who take incoming calls at your firm. At the very least, explain to them that each new enquiry should be treated as gold dust, and the importance of their role in bringing in business that in turn generates fees, that in turn pays everyone salaries. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the uptick in ‘buy in’ from those people.
So, how does your firm deal with this? Actors turned cowboys, or cowboys turned actors?!
Gregor Angus, Senior Business Development Manager
The Cashroom Ltd