Marketing for lawyers, in particular young lawyers, can be the introduction to a nightmare of epic proportions. Basically all lawyers acknowledge the necessity of marketing (or business development) but amongst the legal fraternity there is a wide diversity of talent and dedication in the area.
For young lawyers in particular, knowing how to approach marketing can be extremely difficult. It is a topic which universities have left largely untouched, and therefore top performing graduates can still be naïve babies when it comes to the word of business development.
On this site I intend to put a number of posts around the concept of marketing which might assist, whether you are new to business development or a struggling lawyer who is more developed in the area.
In this post I intend to propose a fundamental element of marketing. In a sense, it is not specific to business development but is a general approach to practice that I think many would benefit from.
Are you ready…..? Here it is:
It is not about you.
All through your studies you have focused on yourself, your own abilities, your legal talent, your ability to communicate a concept and to write an advice. You have been able to concentrate on matters that interest you or are necessary for you. But legal practice at its most fundamental is not about you. It’s about somebody else.
Marketing in particular is always about somebody else. After all, we’ve all been at a function where there is some pompous blowhard who insists on regaling the whole group with stories of their own wondrous achievements. How do you feel coming away from such a function? Are you inclined to pick up the phone and call that person? No. You would rather lock yourself in a room with earmuffs on so you didn’t have to interact with them any more.
On the other hand, a person who is genuinely interested in you, what you do, who you are, and what you have to contribute to the conversation is somebody who you want to spend time with.
And ultimately that is the goal – to get people to want to spend more time with you. After a while, if those people are in a position to do so, they will encourage others to spend time with you, who in turn will encourage others. They, if they are decent people, will take an interest in you also and so you will have chance to share what you do and how passionate you are about it.
And that’s it. Business development in any profession is about building relationship. You do that by people wanting to spend time with you. People want to spend time with you if you are authentic, and interested in what they have to say.
A warning, however – if your interest in other people is feigned, then things have a tendancy to go awry. If you find yourself in a position where you just don’t care what other people have to say, then you might need to do a bit of soul searching and find out why that is – after all, if you’re a lawyer (or going to be) then you are in a service industry – you serve other people, not the other way around. How can you serve somebody when you don’t know about them and they don’t want to tell you anything?
That’s all for today. Happy lawyering,