Part three of a four-part article:
The next lesson law firms can learn from big business is to know who your clients are and what they want. “The time you spend understanding your clients sets you up for long-term success,” said O’Brion.
The businesses that come to your house to remove vermin like bats or raccoons in the attic belong to an organization called the National Wildlife Control Operators Association. “The NWCOA wanted to provide useful marketing advice to its members,” said O’Brion. “A study of customers yielded some surprising results,” said O’Brion.
“Most pest-control companies are owned and operated by men,” said O’Brion. “Interestingly, 80 percent of the time it is a woman who calls about vermin in the house. These women are concerned about much more than just getting rid of the animal. Among other things, they are concerned about ethical treatment, the cleanliness of their houses and preventing future problems. These customer insights helped wildlife control companies better serve their customers and close more sales.”
All too often, law firms believe that their brand is what they think it is. Rather, they must understand that their brand is what clients think it is. “Your brand is the culmination of all the experiences a client has with your firm,” said O’Brion. “Do some research. Ask your clients, potential clients and referral sources what they truly value in and expect of a legal services provider.”
Often, these are qualities in addition to the basic expectation of legal expertise – things like quick return of phone calls, a pleasant receptionist or reasonable rates. Work these qualities into your message.
“Every interaction between your firm and a client must reinforce your message,” said O’Brion. “Everyone at the firm must be aligned. When answering the phone, for example, the receptionist can say, ‘We see problems like this all the time’ and ‘I am going to pass you along to the very best lawyer who deals with your specific problem.’”
If you are the Denver restaurant attorney, for example, you can join and speak to restaurant groups, decorate your office with restaurant-related art, put restaurant-related materials in your waiting room, and hold events at the venues of clients and potential clients. You can mention this specialty prominently in your electronic and print materials, along with restaurant success stories. Such efforts will help put you top-of-the-list among your target market.
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