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Legal Marketing


person. Smart use of technology, like addressing multiple people via Facebook, is more time efficient than speaking to one person at a time but you will still need to keep the tone personable and professional to make it feel you are speaking to each person as an individual. Follow-up is crucial to developing long-term


relationships. Contact existing clients regularly and ask them about their business – learn to recognize opportunities. Look for problems you or someone you know can solve. Note industry trends in your specialty, emerging markets, upcoming retirements, and hidden jobs. Pay attention to reorganizations, expansions, mergers, and acquisitions: change means big opportunity for the small practice. The ABA Journal suggests attorneys contact three


to five potential clients once a week, every week, regardless of how busy you may be. Arrange to meet for coffee, lunch, or for drinks after work in cases requiring a relaxed atmosphere. Use your person-to-person network to solve the individual’s immediate problem, even if that problem is not a legal one. Follow up a few days later to find out if your meeting had a positive outcome. Avoid contacting a client too often – there is a fine


line between seeming attentive and seeming desperate. Learn to listen for signs of exasperation and back off when necessary. Sometimes sending a holiday card a couple of times a year is enough to keep you in the forefront of your client’s mind.


Putting the Person-to-Person Back into Networking


Do not mistake social media for person-to-person


networking – social media is only a tool to help you to communicate with a large number of potential clients. You will need to wade through hundreds or thousands of website visitors to determine which can benefit your solo or small practice. Then you will put your old-fash- ioned social skills to work to convert the handful of prospects into clients. Finally, you will need to project professional qualities such as trustworthiness, depend- ability, and skill to cultivate a relationship that a client or fellow lawyer can rely on for a lifetime. Some social media gurus would have you think your


new intakes, new cases, and billable hours will explode the moment you create a website or post on Facebook – nothing could be further from the truth. As “real life” is away from the internet, relationship building takes time and effort. Furthermore, you have a lot of competition from other lawyers who also use social networking sites, so you are not likely to be the only attorney on the ethereal block. Attorneys already make up a large number of the 18 million small businesses on


Facebook, so you will need some sort of value-added service to catch the attention of potential clients. Your professional reputation as a sage advisor should


be at the center of that value-added service, as a good reputation is one of the most valuable commodities you can have. Maintaining a good reputation ensures professional longevity and increases networking value – nobody returns to or refers great cases to a lawyer of poor repute. To enhance your professional reputation, make yourself invaluable to clients and attorneys alike. Hamut Pascha, director of Sales at netApp Capital Solutions says, “At the end of the day, you become a trusted advisor when you can help your customers in their daily business lives.” The key is to pay attention to the needs of your


clients and stay focused on developing ways to help your clients resolve problems. Express genuine interest in your client’s well-being and always be on the lookout for new ways to serve your customers. Open channels of communication build a strong foundation for long-term relationships. Long-term relationships are the cornerstone of a


successful solo or small practice. Veteran law firm marketing professional Jayne Navarre underscored the importance of professional relationships when she said, “In 18+ years, I’ve not seen anything trump relationships: neither in getting new business or keeping business. Client interviews, honest and transparent discussion, are valuable to both the service provider and the client. They should not be feared. They should be celebrated. They should be valued as surely as hand-holds on a mountain, as stepping stones across a rushing stream. Woe to the person that thinks they cannot improve. They shall be cast into the pile of rocks on the bank of the river that mark the tombstones of those who failed to build and command a worthy vessel.” Day by day, it is up to you to make it happen.


Enjoy!#


Biography Nathaniel Fick (Fick & May, PC) arrived, post-


military, in College Park, followed by University of Baltimore School of Law (J.D., 1975). Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, NBTA. Lifetime Fellow, Roscoe Pound American Trial Lawyers Foundation. Civil Justice Foundation (Founding Member). Trial Lawyers for Public Justice (Founding Member).President, Brain Injury Association Maryland, 1997-2000). Maryland State TBI Advisory Board, 1998-2010. Delegate, First World Congress on Brain Injury, (Copenhagen, 1995), Second World Congress on Brain Injury (Sevilla, 1997). He serves on the MAJ Trial Reporter Editorial Board, and the ABA, Trial Evidence Committee.


Trial Reporter / Winter 2014 39


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