In 2013, be a failure
It would be easy to sell legal services if you could just follow
a formula. Write two articles, post updates weekly on your LinkedIn
account, speak at three seminars, take 4 clients or referral
sources to lunch and become a board member of your favorite
charity. Do all these things and in six to nine months you will
have three new clients.
Lawyers are good at following procedures and if it were all this
simple, every lawyer in private practice would be above average in
the business he or she generates. The reality, though, is much more
complex. In the real world, it is hard to know which marketing
activities will yield the results you want.
Having a written plan is very helpful in
ensuring that you follow through consistently on high value
marketing activities. Selling legal services can take months or
years. During that time, you want to employ a mix of reputation
building and relationship building tactics. While each of these
tactics may be consistent with your overall strategy (e.g. growing
your trusts and estates practice and serving more entrepreneurs in
their 30s and 40s) there is no guarantee that any single thing you
do will produce any results. In the real world, 10 marketing
activities that seem likely to produce results may only produce one
For lawyers and other professionals who are risk-averse, this is a
hard lesson to learn. If failure is likely, why should I pursue any
of these activities? I see this over and over again with my own
clients. They set up a series of lunches with professionals who
serve the same clientele and nothing happens. But two months later,
they get a call from a prospect who got their name from one of
Savvy venture capitalists understand the importance of investing
in a broad mix of companies. In general, a VC only expects to
succeed in two out of ten investments. This is exact the mentality
that will ensure your own success.
So get out and fail. If you don't take a lot of chances, you are
much less likely to succeed. If you are not failing, then you are
not trying hard enough.
That is not to say that you should continue to fail in the same
way if you know for certain that something is not working. But
don't stop speaking if no one contacts you after the seminar. Don't
stop writing if you receive zero feedback on an article that you
have published. Instead, keep failing, keep learning from your
failures, and the business will come.
Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal
Consulting and Coaching.
Published December 13, 2012
To learn more about the Law Practice Management
Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members,
contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice
Chair Cynthia E.