A Really Simple Marketing Lesson

As my readers know, I am a big believer in teaching young lawyers to market. I believe that marketing is a learned skill. Sure, there are some who are naturals. But the majority of attorneys are not. That doesn’t mean they cannot learn. It is in your firm’s best interest to assist them in this area.

Here is a simple lesson that is just so obvious it is often overlooked. I know that because it came up during a conference call with a client today. And the client mentioned it in passing like what happened was just dumb luck. But it wasn’t. It was a strategy they employed by accident, that paid off big time. Another attorney I know had knowingly and purposefully engaged this strategy to build a 4.5 million book of business. So what was really significant to me was that my client didn’t realize that what they thought was dumb luck was a highly successful marketing strategy.

Why not pass the information along to their young partners and associates, I asked. They were amazed at how simple the suggestion was, yet how totally not obvious it had been to that point. And, they instantly understood, it was a significant suggestion, and a significant strategy.

I pass this along to my faithful readers first. Your reward for subscribing to my blog. It will eventually be part of a more complete article in the future. And as you read it, you will be amazed at how truly simple it is.

Treat every second and third and fourth tier person at a client as though they were the number one person in charge. Respond to them as though your very existence depended on it. Treat them as well as, or maybe even better than, the person in charge. Make them aware that they are extremely important to you, and that their work and requests are treated likewise. Help them out in other ways to enhance their success whenever possible.

Why? Very simple. People tend to move up and out. When you cultivate the relationship with the top dog, and treat those lower in the organization with lesser care and attention, you will likely not retain the client when the top dog leaves voluntarily or involuntarily. Those who move up the ladder remember how they were treated, and react appropriately when they have the power to do so. If you have done your job of carefully cultivating those relationships, they will be so appreciative of the way they were treated when they were not at the top, they will keep you on and maybe even give you more work and trust than their predecessor.

In the best of all worlds, you will get work from the former CEO when he or she moves to another position, and more work from the current CEO who has moved up. Sweet!

Simple, yes. Obvious? No. Especially to young partners and associates. They may not realize that it’s just as important to “suck up” to people lower on the totem pole. Tell them.


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