BOSTON, MA — Q. Do you have any advice on what I should be doing for marketing and business development activities during these challenging times? Is marketing even appropriate right now?
Give it a rest?
A. You should absolutely be focusing on marketing and business development right now, and it is appropriate to engage in marketing and business development activities.
This is a very difficult time for all; however, it is important to stay positive and move forward while adjusting to a new way of working and marketing. Legal needs continue during these times, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t position yourself to be the lawyer who gets contacted and hired when a need arises.
For lawyers with booming practice areas, this is a prime time to continue marketing activities to capitalize on additional client opportunities. For those who have practices that have slowed down, this is an opportunity to reset and develop new marketing habits, including focusing on marketing activities that you have let fall to the side — some of which are very basic and not heavy lifting, but important things you should be doing and thinking about.
Go through your contacts and do outreach
This is always a good exercise. If you don’t already have a list, develop one. Think about who should be on your radar screen, including existing clients, past clients, referral sources and business friends. Go through contacts, LinkedIn, old emails and email folders, current and past client lists.
Next, do outreach and check in to see how your clients and contacts are doing. During a time when in-person interactions with others are limited, people really appreciate social interaction and your interest.
It’s also an opportunity to get to know your clients and contacts on a more personal level, which is a key piece in relationship-building. Maybe they recently had a high school senior or college student graduate, and they want to share their family’s experience. I have found that many people are sharing more now about their families and what they are experiencing than ever before.
When scheduling an actual meeting, keep in mind that not everyone wants to meet virtually and may still have a preference for a phone call.
This is also an ideal time to learn more about what is going on in your clients’ businesses, which you should always be doing, and provide strategic advice on how you can help them now and in the future. The client alerts they may be receiving often provide advice at a high level, and your client will appreciate you giving individual, tailored advice.
This is a time to remain visible and not disappear, which can be accomplished in several ways:
This is a challenging time for all, but we will get through it. It is important to keep a positive mindset, focus on self-care, and turn crisis into opportunity.
Focus on marketing and business development and better position yourself for more visibility and new client work. Set goals, develop a plan of action, and act on it. Don’t forget to continue practicing professional etiquette!
Ellen M. Keiley is president of EMK Consulting Group, which offers business development coaching and consulting, public relations and training for law firms and other professional services firms. She can be contacted at [email protected].