"Eighty percent of success is showing up."
Yesterday I gave a seminar at a big firm in Philadelhphia, and afterwards, had a very long conversation with a partner. And basically, about two hours of talking could have been boiled down to this excellent post in Tom Kane's blog. Summary: when it comes to marketing, just do it.
The seminar I gave was on using writing to market a legal practice. The room was full -- I'd guess about fifty associates at this law firm. Long, elegant conference table, sweeping views of the city, and as I talked, I could practically see everyone thinking, as we lawyers do, of all the ramifications, options, possibilities, challenges and issues what I was recommending posed. As usual, they were making the subject very complex. I wanted to stop the show, jump up on the table, and start yelling. "Stop it. Just stop it! Stop analyzing this to death. Just do it!"
Then, I ended up going out to Holt's Cigars, a place I've patronized since I was eighteen, to burn one and talk, over coffee, about legal marketing. It was a great conversation, and in the end, as always, the topic turned to Why Lawyers Won't/Don't Market.
There are two basic reasons. The first is fear of rejection. The second, or perhaps the first's twin, is Because They Think About It Too Much.
Kane, quoting a longer piece in a blog by Mark Hermann, of Jones Day, gets right down to the solution to this problem. Just do it. Now.
Marketing of any kind is about engaging with your market. Every dime that every flowed into any law office anywhere did so because someone went out to a potential client and communicated with them. Especially if you're new to it, or uncomfortable with it, Woody Allen was dead right. Just show up. Just try it. Try anything.
Fine, you probably won't win any prizes for style. Your speech may stink. Your conversations may be awkward. You may feel like an idiot. But you will learn more from actually trying and seeing what happens than you will from a hundred hours spent crafting The Perfect Newsletter. And you know what else? It will be far, far more effective than you suspect.
There's an old adage in sales that applies here. If you're a salesperson, and you meet a hundred prospects -- that is, stand in front of them, and talk to them, you will sell one-third of them, no matter how bad you are. They need what you have, and that's that. Another third will not buy what you are selling, no matter how great you are at communicating. They don't need it, and that's that. The third third, the swing vote, are the ones you can sway with skill. But if you see enough people, even if you have Tourette's Syndrome, you will make plenty of sales.
And if you're a lawyer, you will have plenty of clients.
This year, make it your goal to Just Do It.