Seven thoughts on private client marketing (June 2015)

Posted on: June 19, 2015

I facilitated “Developing and sustaining your private client practice” courses in London and Bristol for MBL during the early part of June 2015. It seems that private client marketing is high on many law firms’ agendas.

The full day session covers a variety of topics – strategy and planning, market analysis, human resources management, product development, marketing communications, selling and referrer management.

Across both sessions, the areas generating most interest included:

Focus and a plan

Some delegates arrived with a blank sheet as they planned to establish new private client teams. Others had existing teams that had grown organically but little in the way of a strategic plan for future development.

The general consensus was that private client team leaders needed to focus efforts on a few areas – identified through internal and external research – and build a plan to ensure resources supported the agreed aims and strategies.

Research and data-driven marketing

The importance of research was explored using a variety of sources. This was felt to be particularly useful as part of an audit process before agreeing aims and developing a plan of action.

Delegates saw how to understand where and how past work was generated, identify specific demographics and needs of past clients, pinpoint unusual niches, understand the future needs of local clients and referrers, see what competitors were offering and develop SMART objectives.

The main takeaway for some delegates was to extend their client listening programmes to ensure that the current service was consistently good. We looked at systems to support email surveys and automatic measurement of client satisfaction. Some felt that the Net Promoter Score (NPS) might be a useful way to elicit recommendations from existing clients and referrers.

Segmentation and niches

Market mapping exercises demonstrated that smaller law firms need to identify and develop niche strategies using channels that were less heavily dominated by competitors. There were some excellent examples of unusual niches being revealed in specific local markets.

Products, packaging and pricing

Increasing competition and fee pressures led us to consider how to develop new products and services – sometimes working in conjunction with third parties who provide essential non-legal aspects of the service. This was found to be one way to differentiate their firms and to meet a wider range of client needs.

Others considered ways to embrace increasing commoditisation whilst developing the client service and relationship aspects of the service. Numerous examples of innovative pricing strategies were explored.

Internal marketing

Most firms focused promotional effort on the external market, so we examined ways to improve internal marketing programmes. Illustrative internal marketing campaigns were analysed and we had a go at developing new ones for some of the delegates’ specific needs.

Selling processes and skills

Most delegates felt that their marketing and lead generation strategies were effective but the processes, systems, training and monitoring of sales and conversion needed attention.

The importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) skills in sales and relationship management competencies was highlighted. A variety of old and new strategies and techniques to improve sales effectiveness were also explored.

Social media

Research which dispelled some myths about the use of technology by the elder and later life segments prompted renewed interest in how social media might be used by private client teams. We also reviewed some of the best social media campaigns by other private client lawyers.

Beyond specific niches and on-line communities, we saw how social media could actually save lawyers time in raising their profile, developing their reputation as experts, connecting with new referrers and clients, providing support for channel partners as well as staying on the radar of existing referrers.

Feedback (thank you!) from the delegates was really positive and included:

“Excellent!”

“Well worth the journey – incredibly useful”

“Quick, informative, good examples”

“Great speaker”

Further details at https://www.mblseminars.com/Outline?progid=5747

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