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Who is the best lawyer in town in your practice area?
The answer depends on education, experience and positioning. Two out of three of these attributes are easily accepted. Education is important because it shows that you have the discipline and the desire to truly understand the principles behind the action. Experience is important because it helps you put things into proper perspective. But most people are perplexed when I tell them that positioning is a determining factor in their career success.
Positioning means creating an identity in the minds of the people in your target market. It is THE MOST IMPORTANT factor in determining how successful you will be as a lawyer. You can be the greatest lawyer on the planet but if you are positioned wrong, you will not be able to attract quality clients or command high fees. It is up to you to influence the perception your future clients have of you. Here are three ways to position yourself as an expert.
Focus on a Targeted Niche
If you want to be perceived as an expert you must become known as an authority in at least one focused niche. There is no better way to tilt the landscape in your favor than to drill deeply into one area of the law and claim it as your own.
I am not talking about practicing law only in one specific area. I am talking about marketing your law firm to a focused group of clients for a specific application of the law. Want some examples?
- Focusing on immigration law is not enough. Focusing on immigration law related to individuals with extraordinary ability is much better.
- Focusing on intellectual property law is not enough. Focusing on managed service agreements is better.
- Focusing on criminal defense law is not enough. Focusing on defense of computer related crimes is better.
You can still accept clients outside of those areas of focus. But your marketing should be exclusively dedicated to your niche market.
Demand Appropriate Compensation
Experts get paid better than generalists. Experts command high fees. Experts can basically charge whatever they want.
My practice is the perfect example of this principle. I focus my marketing efforts exclusively on attracting lawyers. I make recommendations and the clients who implement them achieve outstanding results. In the past year, one of my clients went from start-up to over $370,000 in billing. Do you think he blinked at writing a check for his investment in my services? Three people in my Strategic Advisory Groups have doubled their billing compared to last year (in less than five months). Do you think they mind making the required investment to be in that program?
If your clients want to work with the best, they have to pay for that privilege. Your marketing establishes you as an expert. You can then command expert-level compensation.
Educate Your Prospective Clients
Educational marketing is the most valuable form of promotion. Teaching is leading and everyone wants to work with a leader. Help your clients understand how complex the law can be. Give them a peek behind the curtain at what you do. Let them see that the average lawyer is mystified and baffled when he is confronted with the things you face each and every day.
There is an old parable that says:
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
I have an addition to that. My addition is:
“Teach a man to fish and he will return to learn how to cook.”
The position you occupy in the minds of your clients and prospective clients is entirely up to you. You can take control of it or you can throw yourself on the mercy of the market. You future is too important to leave in the hands of someone else. Take control of it today.
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