If you do not know where you are going, you have no way of knowing when you arrive. Marketing for the sake of marketing is a waste of time and money. There must be a strategic plan that helps advance the success of your practice. You are well served when you set clearly defined and realistic business goals that help you stay focused on what you want to accomplish.
Marketing is not magic. Without a purpose, actions, and a way to measure success you can invest a lot of time and money and see few results. Simply promoting your practice will not make your phone ring. If you know what you are trying to do, and whom you desire as clients, then your choices on how to market become easier to understand.
Some lawyers roll their eyes at the idea of goal setting, mistakenly thinking that the concept is "motivational fluff". Because many attorneys are analytically by nature they question if the act of writing down a goal has any meaningful value. But it is not setting the goal that has the power, it is what keeping focused on the goal helps you accomplish. The target must be something that the individual, practice group, or firm must stretch to attain, but these goals also must be realistic. Goal setting is not about random wishes, but instead it is about creating an atmosphere that makes people perform to a higher level.
When a law firm has culturally accepted a set of goals there is no wiggle-room for attorneys on the team to skip out on the efforts. Goals make the everyone accountable for their actions to increase the visibility of the firm. Those who do not pull their weight are quickly exposed. The key is for there to be accountability for all on the team. (Of course accountability is scary for those who do not choose to participate in growing the firm).
Having clearly defined goals it makes it easy to make decisions. This allows you to ask if a particular action moves you closer to your goals, or leads you in the wrong direction. The answer makes choices easier for everyone in the firm. It changes participation in marketing, networking, client relations, and community involvement activities into something tangible. When team members understand the purpose over the long run they are more engaged.
Goals take time to accomplish. Those who dream of a quick fix to raising their profile in the business community will fail. It takes time to market and build a brand, but there will be little progress without a goal. It is too easy to get distracted by current client work and allow your marketing efforts to fall to nothing. When this happens your future is limited.
Lawyers who create plans and work toward their achievement of goals are more likely to succeed in building a sustainable practice than those who leave their future to luck.
To successfully create a list of goals that are attainable, realistic and measurable you must carve out time for your team to discuss the program. Everyone must have input and buy into the vision. There are no shortcuts to formulating a plan. Working with an outside consultant or coach is often a great way to get this done, as outsiders can have a knack for identifying strengths and weaknesses about an individual or group.
Having a combination of short-term and long-term goals is also a good idea. To have early wins gets people excited and helps them see the accomplishments that can come from having goals.
Have A Great Day
Thom Singer is experienced in legal marketing and business development. He regularly speaks at law firm retreats inspiring attorneys to embrace their brand and increase their sales. He also teaches lawyers ways to improve their presentation skills as the firm's secret weapon for business development success. More information at www.ThomSinger.com.