Law firms rarely ever fail for lack of talent. They fail due to a litany of bad business practices, inefficiencies, infighting and hubris, as well as a number of other reasons that have nothing to do with the intelligence or talent of the lawyers themselves.
The problem, according to Frank Wu, Chancellor and Dean of UC Hastings College of Law, is that:
“Smart people overestimate the importance of being a smart person. To be the best lawyer, or the best collection of lawyers, is not enough; it doesn’t even guarantee you stay in the game. It is necessary to be great businesspeople, too. Or to affiliate with great businesspeople, which means recognizing that the technical skills needed to be a great lawyer might (or might not) correlate with the other skills needed to thrive.”
In today’s hyper-competitive legal services marketplace, it is not enough to be smart or even to do a great job for your clients. You must find a way of differentiating yourself and your firm so that prospective clients have a reason to choose you over your competitors.
This is what law firm marketing landscape is today, in the words of David Alvin, author and international speaker on marketing and branding:
Your competitors aren’t ‘posers.’ It may make you feel better to think that, but you are wrong. They are great at what they do — just like you. They understand their customers’ needs, are listening to the marketplace, and are providing great products and services. They are hiring smart, treating their employees well and supporting families — just like you. And, unfortunately for you, most of them are very, very nice people.
Why do I emphasize this? Because we have to get out of the mindset that our success is dependent on our quality, commitment, caring people, honesty, integrity, trust and truly listening to our customers. Today, being very, very good at all of those things just gives you permission to compete in the marketplace. It no longer gives you a competitive advantage. If you aren’t good, you won’t survive today. And boasting about those trite and basic qualities relegates your business, in the minds of your prospects, to the scrap heap of commodity.
To truly excel in today’s hyper-competitive categories, you have to move beyond the merely foundational, and into the aspirational. This isn’t about what your customers aspire to — it’s what YOU aspire to! To effectively market your business today, being great is not enough. You have to offer more, be better at something and more effectively market your competitive advantage and not merely your competency.
If you haven’t found a way to truly differentiate yourself yet through law firm marketing, then don’t let another year go by without attending a Rainmaker Retreat. Here are the remaining dates for 2016:
- October 7-8, 2016 — Seattle, WA/Monaco Seattle
- November 11-12, 2016 — Atlanta, GA/Ritz Carlton Buckhead
- December 9-10, 2016 — Los Angeles, CA/Ritz Carlton Marina del Ray
You can register online for a Rainmaker Retreat or call 888-588-5891 for more information.