Word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful method to market and grow high-end service-based businesses such as legal firms. For this reason, many jump to the conclusion that networking events are the answer. They get caught up in these events, hoping to become better known in their community and drum up new business. Many argue they only grow their business through word-of-mouth so it makes good sense. It’s very misleading, here’s why…
While word-of-mouth is powerful, the problem with networking is it’s not scalable. You can only be in one place at a time. The cost of networking can also be extremely high when you consider the time you invest in it. Time that would be better spent as billable hours.
How many networking events can you afford to go to in a week? How many meaningful relationships can you actually grow? Once you get busy with billable hours you can no longer invest your time in networking and so your business becomes prone to a feast and famine cycle.
You’ll also find most people you network with are self-interested and are at the event for the same reason you are. They listen patiently to your pitch, smiling and nodding while waiting for their turn to pitch to you. They barely even listen to you while they rehearse their pitch to you in their head. They are there to sell you something and probably have little interest in your business.
Creating raving fans
The key to word-of-mouth marketing is not networking, it is serving your clients so well that they become raving fans. In effect, they become walking, talking advertisements for your business. They are trusted among their friends and family, so what they say about your business is far superior to anything you could say about your business through other marketing channels.
Lawyers must find clients who are likely to become raving fans. How do you do this? By laser targeting your ideal clients. Don’t be generic when marketing your business. Be very specific and market to the exact type of person you want to work with and how you want to serve them. Because they are your ideal client, your service level will be high and they’ll feel well taken care of. Your entire business will be tailored to serve people just like them, so it becomes easy.
The reason many businesses fail in marketing is they are too generic, focusing on the features of a broad range of services they can provide. We can all learn something from the medical profession. Who get’s paid the most, the GP or the specialist? The specialist of course, because it’s assumed they are the best at what they do. The same is true of the legal profession too, once you get very specific and specialise, marketing becomes much more effective.