June 17, 2021 – Today I recorded a brief video blog post about positing your law firm in your clients’ minds. I hope you enjoy it — please let me know what you think.
Today I want to talk about positioning you and your practice in your clients and potential clients minds.
And to do that, I want to start with a story of what happened to me in court one day when I was a young lawyer and the realization that it brought to me about positioning in my practice and my services for my clients.
So I’m in court, we just finished sentencing and we’re getting ready to do the post sentencing processing, which I always walk my clients through. I can’t remember how we got there, whether we lost at trial, or whether this was a plea bargain down from some kind of punitive situation. Anyways, the clients phase in 10 or 15 days in jail and qualifies for work release.
And the clerk hands him the paper that asked basically, who do you work for? So “name of company”, and “what do you do” or, “job title.” I’m going to change the name to protect the client these many years later — but let’s say he put down “Vandelay Industries LLC,” and for job title/job description he put down “managing member.” That was technically accurate, it accurately described his entity name. And it accurately describes his title, as it would be reflected in the official records if they looked him up.
So during court, you want to tell the truth, so I can see why the client did it that way. He hands it to the clerk, and the clerk says, “I don’t know what that is or what that means. And I don’t know if that’s going to be something that’s going to qualify you when it’s time to release you, because does the managing member do something during the day? What is that?”
So he takes the paper back, and he puts down “Vandelay Services” as the name of the company, and he puts down “Owner” and he hands it back. Same effect. And you can see the wheels turning in his head. He was getting frustrated. He was like, “Okay, as a business owner, I do a lot of things. If ‘owner’ is not going to get me there, what do I do?”
So he kind of went to an extreme, but it works: He put down “Vandelay Pest Control.” So it was a pest control company that he owned, obviously, but the name has been changed. And for job description/job title, I can’t remember what the form said, but he basically said he says kill bugs. “You kill bugs? Okay, rubber stamp — you got your work release.”
I mentioned that because when lawyers talk about their services, we oftentimes tend to overcomplicate it or use terms that we might understand — managing partners, senior partner associates, or talk about the firm in terms of firm sizes. But even to sophisticated business people, these types of terminologies mean very little. And so as you’re thinking about how you communicate to your clients, potential clients, not just in your taglines and your branding, but in your direct communication when you’re talking with them (and especially in your direct communication with them through your website), you want to think about the words that they use to describe their problem.
You want to try to meet them where they’re at, and use language that they would use if they were sitting across the desk from you or the conference table, or if you were talking to them on the phone? And what words would you use to make them understand it clearly and simply? So depending on the sophistication of the client, obviously, you don’t need to boil it down to something so simple as “kill bugs.” But the more you can simplify it, the more you can use their words and their ways of thinking about problems rather than yours as the attorney, the more you’re going to be able to paint a picture for them, the more they’re going to emotionally anchor to you and your firm, the more they’re going to trust you, the more they’re going to understand you. And not only is your marketing communication clearer and your ability to intake and sell them and make them become a client, but it’s also going to serve you well throughout the entire lifetime of the representation of that client because the expectations will be clearly managed.
A funny thing happens when you use their words to talk about what you do and how you help them, even if they don’t end up hiring you. If you’re clear about it, they will then be able to easily repeat those words. So you want to use descriptions that cause somebody to be able to go, oh, okay, I understand that right out of the gate. I understand that. And not only do I understand that, but I remember it, and I’ll take it with me, and I associate it with you, because you presented it in a way that made me understand you. It made me understand that you the attorney understand me the potential client.
So as you’re thinking about your marketing, whether you’re creating copy for your website, whether you’re recording a video like this, whether you’re thinking about delegating any aspect of your marketing, think about that clarity of communication because it really all starts with their words. If you can do that well, you can own space in your clients’ and your potential clients’ minds. They will think of you first and always whenever that problem is either recurring in their lives or described or presented to them by somebody that they know. Anyways, hope this was helpful. Let me know what you think.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai