If you want to grow your law practice, having a good strategy is important. Figuring out who are your ideal clients and what are the ideal matters you want to work on is an important first step in building a marketing plan. Creating a niche practice area is an important way to ensure that you have differentiated yourself from the competition. Mapping out who are your key referral sources and how you can build relationships with these referral sources is essential. The process of coming up with a marketing plan is anything but mindless. A scattershot approach that lacks focus is far less likely to be effective.
But once you have a strategy and you move to implementation, it is important to shift gears. Successful execution requires consistency. Short bursts of activity followed by long breaks where you just focus on billable work, is not a good way to keep your name top of mind with your network. Since it is hard to predict when your clients, prospective clients, and referral sources will hear about a legal problem that you might be able to solve, slow and steady wins the race.
Shear willpower is unlikely to ensure that you will have the consistency you need to remain visible. Given the time pressures on most lawyers, the only way to build consistency is to create habits that don’t require a lot of thought. In other words, marketing success requires a certain amount of “mindlessness” (e.g. every week, I’ll call three of my referral sources and post twice on LinkedIn; every quarter I’ll give a presentation to an industry group; twice a month, I’ll do a blog post, etc.). The specifics, of course, depend on your practice area and who you want to remind. The bottom line is that you don’t want to have to think about this all the time. Make your plan and then get on autopilot.
There is a lot of research that demonstrates that it is forming habits and not sheer willpower that leads to change. If you’re trying to lose weight, getting in the habit of not stocking high calorie desserts in your freezer and pantry can help. Similarly, forming an exercise habit like going to the gym every Monday Wednesday and Friday morning is more likely to get you to the gym. (For an interesting discussion on the importance of forming habits, there is a great archive edition of the podcast The Hidden Brain-A Creature of Habit.)
Building a law practice is farming not hunting (or put another way, it is a marathon, not a sprint).
As we enter 2021, What are the new habits that you plan to adopt? If you are struggling with this, coaching is one way to help form the habit. Feel free to reach out if you would like to discuss. I’m always happy to hear from lawyers.
Note: While I use the term “mindlessness” to make a point, I’m actually a huge believer in mindfulness practice. If you are looking for a good path into mindfulness, check out the Ten Percent Happier app on your smartphone. Even a 5 minutes a day can help you reduce your stress and gain more focus. I also invite you two listen to the interviews I did earlier this year with Dr. Inna Khazan (Episode 33-Mindfulness, Biofeedback and the Practice of Law and Episode 37-Managing Anxiety in a Time of Crisis.)