Recently I received, as a gift, the Amazon Echo Show. I plugged it in, and, voila, Alexa could help me find almost anything. She gets a little confused on some things, but, for the most part, I have found her to be very helpful with basic questions and requests for information.
I decided I’d find out what Alexa knows about finding new clients and business development.
“Alexa, how do I find new clients?”
The first article she suggested said in the first sentence that running my own business can be stressful and getting new business was one of the most anxiety-inducing struggles for business owners. That sounded interesting, so, I decided to keep going.
I perused this article and a number of others that were at the top of her list. Some general themes began to emerge, and all the ideas were good reminders for anyone who needs to generate new business as part of their job requirement.
So, here are some tips from Alexa on how to get more clients and retain them.
Don’t discount social media
It is hard to predict what social media platforms are being used by your prospect base. Even though Facebook might be seen as a platform for friends and LinkedIn a platform for business, posting to both is never a bad idea. And, while you are at it, post to Twitter, too. And, if you have a photo of something, don’t forget about Pinterest and Instagram.
Create content that speaks to your ideal client
One of the best ways to get the attention of the people you are interested in working for is to give them some information that they need. Ask some of your current clients what is keeping them up at night. Then, write a couple succinct paragraphs on the topic, and make it available to your prospects. You can do this through a blog post, social media, newsletter, or, simply, an email.
Achieve clarity on your client process
Most people like to know what they are getting into when they hire a lawyer or law firm. They want to know about the process of working with you. Take the time to clearly map the steps that you take with clients. Be clear with prospects about how you will work with them. Tell them who will be involved if it will require others beyond yourself. Describe the roles everyone will play, and provide an estimate of the time involved with each part of the process. This will eliminate any surprises and make the prospect feel confident that you have done this before, and possess the know-how to make it happen. It will keep them from being concerned about what it is going to take to achieve their objectives.
Build on your relationships with high-profile clients
If you have done work for either a company that is well-known or an individual that is highly regarded in a certain industry, consider how to leverage these relationships. By aligning yourself with high-profile companies and individuals, you become highly regarded by their respective peers. Talk to these individuals about organizations where they are involved that may benefit from a joint presentation from you and your client at an upcoming meeting. Or co-author an article or case study for a newsletter or blog that their peers regularly read. Volunteer to organize a brown bag lunch with some of their colleagues to share your experiences on the recent work you have done for them.
This always seems like the hardest thing to make happen, but one of the easiest things to do to improve client referrals and business development. If you have had a conversation with someone recently and it seemed like there was interest in continuing to explore either how you could help the person or how the person could serve as a good referral source for you, get back in touch. Grab a cup of coffee or meet for breakfast or lunch. If there is no time, then, at the very least, keep the person on your list of individuals you send those “ideal client” articles to and send a request to connect to them on one or several social media platforms.
And, don’t forget about past clients who you haven’t heard from in a while. Keep in touch by sending along articles you have read lately that may be of interest to them. Or, a book you read that they might enjoy. Send a quick email or text to check in and see how they are doing. Some contact is better than no contact with them at all. Stay familiar so that you are who they think of next time something comes up that you can help them with.
Work on your SEO
Have you Googled yourself lately? Or, asked Alexa about you? If not, start here and then also search on some of topics where you would like to be known. For example, if someone searches for “selling a family business” and a person searching for this is your ideal client, does information about you appear on the list? If not, you have some SEO work to do. You need to start to use these keywords in social media posts and other online activity to increase your chances of appearing on the search list.
Alexa had many more suggestions, but these are some of those most pertinent to law firms and lawyers. If you can make a commitment to just doing two or three things on this list regularly you are sure to see an improvement in your efforts toward finding new clients.
Me: “Alexa, thank you.”
Alexa: “No sweat.”
• Dona Stohler of S2 Law Firm Strategies provides consulting services on business development and marketing for law firms. Stohler has more than a decade of experience in the legal services industry and is the past chair of the U.S. Law Firm Group marketing committee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through www.S2lawfirmstrategies.com. Opinions expressed are those of the author.