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How lawyers can win more business – through the power of LIKE
What have cars and bands got to do with attracting business for professionals?
Have you noticed business has changed from the days when clients would line up to see you? You have to work harder these days!
When I was a lawyer I thought it was undignified to go looking for business – but these days you can still encourage more business in an effective and yet dignified way. You can reach out and attract more business connections AND business through the power of LIKE.
I’ve recently been helping professionals (including lawyers) stand out from their competitors and create extra bonds of connection with their potential clients.
I encourage lawyers (and other professionals) to think of the audience they want to attract and do the following to harness the power of LIKE:
1. Put images of people LIKE the audience they want to attract prominently in their marketing material – including their website. I encourage businesses to put such images as one of the first things people see when they visit the website. (More on websites later in this post)
Also, include brief feedback comments in the language of the audience – real, everyday language – not legal speak. From experience, I usually capture feedback with a recorder as people speak – then write it out in the conversational style. When you ask clients to write comments – they often try to sound too formal. Use comments that sound LIKE your potential audience speaks – whether it’s a down-to-earth tradie or a no-BS business exec. As one of my legal colleagues once advised me – get the feedback before the curve of gratitude declines!
2. Think of what you have in common with your audience members – how are you LIKE them?
Often presentations at conferences and industry events are “really” about increasing your brand awareness and attracting more business.
I recently helped a very smart lawyer experienced in Wills and Probate connect better with her potential audience. Sure – she knew the law and the legislation – but her live talks and presentations were dry and without any human connection.
We added important “connecting” material to her presentations by adding how she was LIKE her audience – what did she have in common with her audience? She spoke about how she was a PARENT, a MOTHER, a SISTER – and also a DAUGHTER of her ageing parents. She wasn’t just a lawyer – as a parent, mother, sister and daughter she knew the importance of a proper will to take care of family members.
Another lawyer I helped was visiting rural communities to educate them about the effects of changing laws. We discussed her audience. They were likely to be rural people suspicious of these new laws “from the city” restricting freedoms in rural areas.
We practised her presentation and she shared how she was originally from a rural area and how she could understand resistance to the new laws. Then after she made the LIKE connection – she went on to explain how the laws would help the rural communities too.
3. Dare to share what you LIKE – things you are passionate about – especially if your audience is LIKEly to share that passion. It’s another point of connection and commonality. If your professional expertise is similar to your competitors – your audience will probably prefer to work with you because they can relate to you on a personal level. The LIKE factor can tips the scales (of decision) in YOUR favour!
I know many lawyers think revealing their personal side will erode their professional credibility – but revealing what you LIKE can actually boost connection and your chances of winning business over yourcompetitors.
I know from personal experience that I have made great professional connections with senior executives through revealing my passion for music. A senior executive connected with me over a shared passion for 80s music and drums – he had been a drummer too.
Another very senior executive I met from Singapore had studied in the UK and was a massive fan of bands like The Clash and The Cure. We connected so strongly through this shared interest in music.
I would never have known of HIS passion for this music – unless I had first shared about my days playing in bands.
And here’s a common passion that can help you connect…
I also love classic cars – the beautiful lines of classic Porches and Jags stop me in my tracks and I usually have to take photos! Once again, I’ve found that many people also LIKE (no make that LOVE) classic cars – often senior and very influential executives. DARE to share!
Yeah – but how can YOU get a car or motorbike into a professional presentation or website? Try a metaphor – or add a “passion” photo (after you’ve established credibility with a professional photo) in your bio.
I’ve even helped professional services businesses win big business pitches by harnessing the power of LIKE – by researching the interests (likes) of key audience members and “matching” someone from your organisation who genuinely shares that passion to deliver the presentation (or be part of the presentation)
In one case the passion was for vintage British motorcycles. The presenter chosen to be part of the pitch was also a long-time fan and rider of vintage motorbikes. We also worked in motorbikes into a metaphor in the pitch presentation about safely managing risks- and the technique worked! So long as you have the business competency your audience is looking for – if you add the LIKE factor you have an extra advantage! Metaphors are a fantastic way to use images in presentations – go full screen image and YOU talk about how X is LIKE your image. Wow – the LIKES just keep coming!
So how else can you make your professional services business more human and approachable?
If you are a lawyer (or other professional) look at your organisation’s website.
What image does your website project?
Usually, these websites are professional and conform to what is expected of lawyers (and other professionals) – lots of bulleted text – in the “Our People” part – lots of photos of people in serious suits looking “professional” (law books in the background) – but all looking the same! Same staged shots. Same, Same, Same!
Now, look at what your competitors are doing. Are your competitors doing something extra that may give them “the edge” when they are competing with you for business.
Yes – you need to portray professionalism – but once professionalism is established, can you add something extra to create further connections with clients?
I work with a lot of lawyers to help them spread their messages and win more business.
From my experience working with lawyers (as a communication trainer and consultant), and as a lawyer (in my early years – a Solicitor of the Supreme Court), lawyers want to be taken seriously. I understand that – but the clever lawyers who are “ahead of the game” in Australia in terms of legal marketing and brand enhancement are daring to try different techniques to connect with their clients on deeper levels.
Many lawyers are using subtle but very effective techniques to connect with people. Yes, your clients are people – on their files you have the names of organisations but you deal with people.
Here are 3 simple techniques for creating greater engagement with your clients – to help you win new clients and keep old ones!
1. Use the power of the image.
Sure, you need the standard staged “in the office in a serious suit” type photo, but also add shots of your people being out “on location” with your clients. What really helps is where your “prospective clients” see people just like themselves in photos of your people helping your clients.
Have your people in the shot but have them with their clients on location at the business. Don’t just shoot in another office – they all look too similar. Show what the business or industry is. Also, what works well is photos taken “from the side” where your people are not looking at the camera in a staged shot. It can be staged but doesn’t have to look too staged. No shaking hands and both looking at the camera! Too staged. Be doing something and get photographer to capture that.
2. Dare to share what your people are fans of.
This is where the E-Fan-gelism part comes in. A very successful Queensland firm had a prominent position in Queensland city with lots of “window” space that people would pass by. They organised a display where key people would reveal things they were passionate about – photography, sport, cooking etc. It was simple yet textbook-perfect E-fan-gelism.
Passers-by were able to see an extra side of these leading lawyers. Also, because it seemed an unusual gesture from lawyers – I think the firm also got positive media coverage to an even larger “potential audience”.
I suggest law firms even take this approach a step further and insert come “passions or interests” into the OUR PEOPLE part – after establishing the professional side of course. Some sites do mention interests in words, but photos are more powerful (e.g. of a partner playing rugby union in their youth or in Africa pursuing a love of photography).
As leading Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki discusses in his book “Enchantment” (a great read!) people who dare to share what they are passionate about are more enchanting – more engaging and memorable. Of course, you need to have the professional side covered too and you should establish that first – but don’t be afraid to reveal an appropriate amount of an appropriate (socially acceptable) passion. I’m sounding like a lawyer with so many caveats!
3. Pay attention to the “little things” – the words you use and how you present your e-mail addresses
To further the “human” factor – look at minor things like your e-mail addresses. When I study legal websites I look at the “approachability” some firms achieve (especially smaller ones) by using first names. This sounds more approachable and less detached – for example tony@lawfirmname compared to TBiancotti@lawfirmname
Smaller firms have the advantage where less staff can mean you can have just first names.
I also look for engaging human-sounding text (copy) – lots of second person (you) and the use of conversational contractions (e.g. You would – you’d). Many professionals (including lawyers) are getting professional writers to make sure the words convey the “brand” they want to convey.
Verbs are action words and I was impressed by one legal website with an action-packed homepage that focused on letting the audience quickly know how to DO certain actions – Find Meet etc. I reckon this site would have appealed to the action-oriented, get-to-it type audience.
Anyway, take a good, hard look at your own website and the website of competitors. Can you use better photography or a strategic sharing of passions or interests to establish a deeper connection with your clients?
So who is writing this?
Hi, I’m Tony Biancotti and I can help you win more business, harness your creativity and hook attention with lots of tips from everyday life for boosting creativity and hooking attention in everyday situations.
I can also help you improve your presentations and business writing.
I can share with you practical and easy-to-apply tips I’ve gathered over many years working as a:
I’m also a very busy dad and husband juggling my work and travel with family life and our two wonderful kids – Orlando and Cleo.
I’m based in Brisbane, Australia – and regularly travel for work throughout Australia and Asia-Pacific.