The Worst Number in Law Firm Marketing

ONE is the worst number in law firm business development. Yet every attorney I meet is obsessed with it. Every attorney wants that ONE great client that they can live off. To get that client, most attorneys call me looking for the ONE way to boost their revenue or the ONE thing they should be doing to get more clients. They want to know why their client acquisition tactics don’t work when they only apply them ONE time.

Indulge me now as I take us back to a campaign past when I quote a good man but a failed Presidential Candidate: “My friends, it’s time for a little straight talk.” 

The number ONE is disastrous for a law firm. Here are three reasons why:

First Reason: If you only have ONE major client, you are doomed.

Imagine if you had ONE big client who delivered 80% of the revenue to your law firm. Life would be great, right?

Only ONE person calling on the phone each week/day/hour. Only ONE set of problems to address. Only ONE personality to adjust to handling.

And if that client is big, I mean big, that could be all you would ever need. Right?

I got a call a few weeks ago from an attorney in precisely that situation. He had a great client. They had been a client for 20 years. They made his family comfortable. They made him comfortable. He was so comfortable that he had not done any marketing in 18 years. 

The client was an automotive company. A big automotive company. 

Once they filed for bankruptcy protection, they no longer needed him.

The name of the client and even their business stature is unimportant. You can apply the example to your firm on a smaller scale. If you have one client who makes up more than 10% of your business, you are in trouble.   

Second Reason: If you only have ONE way of acquiring clients, you are doomed.

Dave Lorenzo Legal Marketing for LawyersHave you ever been to an attorney’s website and seen their fantastic blog? (A blog is simply a website that can be updated regularly with articles, video, or audio files. Don’t be mesmerized by the fancy language.) Many attorneys are blogging like crazy -updating their sites daily. The trouble is, that’s all they are doing in the way of marketing. They write articles, post them on their site, and they wait.

In the past week, three lawyers told me that this was their marketing strategy -blogging. That’s it. (To be fair, one guy is going to networking meetings too, but the other two are writing more articles than a newspaper columnist, and that is their only marketing tactic.)

Now they may get two or three clients a year due to better Internet placement from the blog. They may boost their credibility when people go to their website and read their fantastic articles. They may hone their writing skills and become good writers. But they will not be able to feed their families solely from the business that comes from their blog.

You need a minimum of 20 – yes 20 – different ways to attract clients to your law firm. These should use as many forms of media as possible. This means 2-5 tactics on the Internet, 2-5 networking events, 2-5 speaking venues, 2-5 trade magazines to which you submit articles, 2-5 key referral sources, 2-5 groups of people you mail to, and so on. 

The more ways you have of building a client base, the faster you will grow your firm.      

Third Reason: If you only apply your client acquisition tactics ONE time, you are doomed.

If you do any of this stuff ONE time, it will not work. I have clients who get an article placed in a trade magazine once, and they wonder why they don’t have thousands of new clients. The same holds for a speaking engagement. A client told me last week that he only got five new clients from his previous speaking gig…and he was upset. 

Marketing tactics are like sex. If you only do it once, you will not be happy.

Give every marketing tactic at least three opportunities to succeed. Three times. If it doesn’t work, move on.

As you can imagine, most people will ignore the advice contained in this article. So the one person who takes action based upon it will beat his competitors’ brains out. 

Will you be that person?