“Come to me when you need a lawyer.” That is what Legal Marketing Guru Micauh Buchdahl suggested you tell people and friends when marketing yourself. This is against the conventional wisdom that a lawyer should tell someone that they specialize or have a “special emphasis” (ridiculous ethics rules) in a certain area of law. The idea being that when something happens to the person in that area of law they will immediately think of you.
Not everyone has a family law issue or gets injured or has a complex business transaction on a daily basis. Years might pass before anything happens to them or even someone they know. In this high-tech world, let’s be honest, people forget. And when they forget, they go to the internet. They want to remember that nice lawyer they met a few years back, but their problem is immediate and they need immediate answers.
A happy medium might exist between the general: “Come to me if you need legal help” and the specific: “I am a global climate change lawyer that focuses on the Chesapeake Bay” or “I help injured people and families going through tough times.” (*What I do.) Maybe the happy medium is that we tell other lawyers what we specifically work on and we tell clients a more general picture of us. But this seems to change when we are networking with attorneys that are not from our region. When that is the case, wouldn’t we rather be, for example, their “Maryland Lawyer” or their “Annapolis Lawyer”? It also might change if you are working with more sophisticated business clients who know their industry better than some newer lawyers who practice in that industry.
The idea being that if someone comes to you as their lawyer, you can refer them to a lawyer that you know specializes in their specific problems area of law. That lawyer you refer work to can then refer work that you do back to you.
I guess in the end it is all about finding information about the person you are networking with, connecting with that person, and, most importantly, making sure you are remembered by that person. (I like to mention sometimes in the conversation that I’m a Scottish guy named Scott or Scott (the Scot). You might laugh, but it works on a lot of levels.) I like telling people to come to me if they need a lawyer. I hope to have built trust with them that they will feel safe that I will either handle their matter or I will refer them to a lawyer who will deftly handle it. Continuous and respectful follow-up is vital.
The best kind of follow-up networking is becoming friends with the person you connected with. People seem to remember people who are going to benefit themselves as friends or colleagues on a long term basis. Clients that you help that become friends are the best kind of clients and the best kind of referral sources. Remember: “It can take a long time to make an old friend.”
What do you think? Do you like the general pitch or the specific pitch? Or does it depend on the situation and person?
Elevator Pitch