So you want legal work from our company? You have to get past the gatekeeper. Who is the gatekeeper? It’s not who you think it is.
It’s not my administrative assistant. It’s not the other professionals in my department. It’s not the CFO, the CEO or any other “C-suite” (goodness, how I hate that term) executives.
It’s not even me.
Unless you know the value you can add and how it will help my company, you’re not ready to talk to me. There are no shortcuts. You have to do the hard work.
This is the first of a series we’ve prepared on this subject. We’ve said there was more to say about effective marketing. So here it comes.
Step 1. Learn what we need by learning who we are.
If you don’t know what we need, you can’t provide effective service. If you’re offering something we don’t need, you’re wasting your time and ours trying to convince us otherwise.
Where to start?
- Research Our Company.
- Visit our website. No, actually, devour our website. Read the press releases. Read the product announcements. Read our securities filings. Understand what we do. What we do will lead you to what we need.
- Research our senior leadership. What does their experience tell you about us?
- In what direction are we heading? What have been our recent major undertakings and accomplishments? Are we a company that’s growing (likely to need more/different legal representation), or are we stagnant (not likely to change counsel or hire new ones)? If you were a financial analyst, would you recommend our stock?
- Research industry websites and publications, and see what the press and our competitors say about us.
- Follow our company in the news by using Google alerts (www.google.com/alert).
- Learn our industry.
- Get out of your office and go to an industry conference and listen. Learn the lingo. Learn who the major players are. Take lots of notes and absorb as much as you can. Do not try to market yourself at your first conference (unless you want to look like a 13-year old at his first dance.) You’re there to learn what’s bothering the industry. Consider becoming an expert in one or more of those areas.
- Is this a highly commoditized area like fast food or lodging (in which case the legal services tend to be routine or commoditized as well), or is it new and still developing (with lots of opportunity for you to become the “leading expert” in this industry)?
- How does what what our industry produces require legal services that match your expertise?
- What do companies in this industry get sued for? Compile a list of company names in our industry, or a list of the industry’s products and services, and search the case law to see what comes up. (Not so effective if we’re an insurance company or the government, but you get the idea.) If you can search local trial-level matters, so much the better.
In other words, as a first step, know your (potential) customer. Synchronize your attention with ours.
Next time: How to tell us you know what we need.