How Collaborative Law Professionals Can Attract Clients- Four Strategies for Success

At the 11th annual International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) Networking forum, Kevin Fuller and I gave a workshop on Influencing the Influencers. The workshop was about engaging thought leaders and high influencers to embrace the value of Collaborative Law and promote word of mouth marketing. 

Who are the influencers?

·         Clients

·         The public at large

·         Professionals ( Financial, legal, mental health, clergy, education, health care)

Of these influencers, clients are the number one influencer for word-of-mouth marketing.

If clients do not experience positive results from the Collaborative Law process, no amount of media hype, social media attention or advertising will move it towards a tipping point.

What does this mean for Collaborative Law practitioners?

For Collaborative Law to reach the masses, I believe practitioners need to reframe the question:

From: How do I get clients to want Collaborative Law?

To:   What do Collaborative Law clients want?

This means shifting the focus from lawyers, the practice group, the team and the features of Collaborative Law to maximizing the client experience through positive results.

One of the opportunities for growing a Collaborative Law practice is through effective word-of-mouth marketing.

Satisfied clients and successful outcomes will produce powerful word-of-mouth marketing and change the way clients think about resolving conflict.

Four Strategies

The following are four strategies designed to focus on the "client experience."

1.       Check your ego at the door. This is not about the lawyers, the practice group, the collaborative team or the features of Collaborative Law. It is about the client. By looking at the situation from the client’s point of view, clients will sense your authenticity in wanting to help them to solve their problem.   For example, clients will not resonate with the value of the interdisciplinary team until they understand how the collaborative team will help them achieve their most important goals.

2.       Focus on the results the clients want to achieve. For Collaborative Law to grow, clients need to see how the process will help them achieve the best results. Kevin Fuller of Koons Fuller and Jim Galvin of Schiller DuCanto & Fleck are sought-after family lawyers who get great results for their clients through Collaborative Law. Referrals sources and clients seek out Kevin and Jim because of their reputation for getting positive results for clients.

3.       Communicate your your expertise in solving client’s high priority problems. Rather than focus on the description of Collaborative Law in your web site, talk about how you help clients minimize stress in divorce, avoid financial ruin or protect children from the pain of conflict.

4.       Provide exceptional  service and target the right influencers. In his book Purple Cow, Seth Godin brilliantly summarizes how the rules of marketing have changed. I believe these rules apply to marketing legal services.

The old rule was: Create safe ordinary products (services) and combine them with great marketing.

The new rule is: Create Remarkable products (services) that the right people seek out.

Everyone trained in Collaborative Law Practice can accelerate the growth of their practice. You can build a practice that makes a positive difference in the lives of your clients and their families while providing a fulfilling and profitable practice . Take a moment to think about the way you look at your practice. Ask what a Collaborative Law client wants and do everything possible to be sure that  you are over-delivering on helping clients achieve their most important goals.

I would like to hear from you, let me know if you agree or disagree with my comments on accelerating the growth of Collaborative Law. What is working/not working for you and your Collaborative Law colleagues?


Note: To listen to a pod-cast on communicating the collaborative law message go to the IACP web site  , Login as a member, click on Streaming Audio Library and go to February 24, 2010: “Educating Your Community about Collaborative Practice” Presented by Kevin Fuller and Elizabeth Ferris 

What Bruce Springsteen Can Teach Lawyers about Law Firm Marketing

On a recent trip to Cleveland, I had the opportunity to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with my 19-year-old daughter. I was there to learn about and enjoy the history of Rock and Roll, but I became intrigued with the artists who were able to maintain their Rock and Roll legend status 35 years later. How did they do it? How can artists be as popular today as they were 35 years ago? And would it be possible for lawyers to apply this strategy for success to law firm marketing?

I found the answer in a quote from Bruce Springsteen that was on display at the exhibit. When asked how long he thought he could remain a Rock n’ Roll legend, Bruce replied:

"I believe the thing called rock and roll will last as long as you look down into the audience and can see yourself, and your audience can look up at you and can see themselves, and as long as those reflections are human, realistic ones."

At the core of successful marketing is your ability to be relevant to your “audience” (prospective clients). This means your prospective clients are able see themselves in your marketing story. Your marketing story, in turn, is the value you communicate about your services to prospective clients and referral sources.

A good example of a lawyer who has mastered this approach is Kevin Fuller, senior partner with Koons Fuller in Dallas. Kevin knows who his client’s are: high-net-worth families and businesses who want the best possible results, and he consistently communicates his understanding of their problems and how to solve them. 

In an article titled, Nasty Divorces Mean Trouble for Businesses,  Kevin successfully spoke about a problem many of his clients want to avoid: Destroying their wealth:

This article is consistent with Kevin’s marketing story and speaks to the core of what many of his clients care about:

"It's about getting the business through the divorce without destroying it or the owner."

Your marketing efforts will produce results if your marketing story is relevant to the goals and interests of the clients you want to attract.

Before you spend any more time and money on marketing communication, follow the philosophy of a rock star legend and make sure your prospective clients — the clients you want to attract to your practice — can see themselves in your marketing story.