Rainmaking Recommendation #200: Be Different

Image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net/David Castillo Dominici

Yesterday, I received 15 emails from law firms alone about COVID-19 response and resource centers.   I also got 22 more emails from companies with whom I have either signed up to receive their newsletters or have purchased from them.  All of them were saying, in almost the exact same words, that the health and well-being of their clients/customers/members were of the utmost importance and that they were doing everything within their power to ensure that they minimize the impact of this disease. 

I know it’s only been a few weeks, but the words “unprecedented” and “uncharted” are now starting to tick me off.   

And if I hear the phrase “new normal” one more time. . .

I am not downplaying the severity of this virus.  And I am “doing everything within my power” to adhere to social distancing when I need to go to the market, and remaining quarantined until they say it is okay to go back out into the world.  But, I am starting to take umbrage with the fact that there are certain law firms and companies out there who are sending me three and four emails a day which doesn’t say anything new.

What your clients want . . . what your clients are begging for . . . are specific answers to their specific problems.

That’s all they have ever wanted – even before the Coronavirus changed our world. 

Be different. 

If you are working with sophisticated clients, they are probably well aware of all of the general COVID-19 information that is out there.  Stop sending canned newsletters to your clients without understanding what they are seeking.  And more importantly, stop sending them to everyone. 

This is the time to take personalization back.

Your clients do not want to be treated like everyone else.  They want to be treated as individuals.  Whether they are the CEO or General Counsel of a Fortune 500 company or the person going through a divorce; they want to know that you have their interests at heart. 

One-on-one conversations, be it via phone, video or instant messages, are best.  Contact them and find out what their biggest issue is at this moment.  You may find out that it is not what you thought it was.  I’ve said this in the past, way before the outbreak had occurred, but it is more important now – you have to find out what is keeping them up at night and try to assuage their fears.  In certain cases, it may not even be a legal issue.

There are also ways to segment your clients into groups to enable you to send group information (not mass information).  The information is specifically tailored for the group and not everyone.   Whatever your practice area, whatever your niche, you can find information about how the Coronavirus is affecting it.  Set up an alert to have the information funneled to your email and when something comes in that is appropriate to send to your client(s), send a personalized note with the link to the information and a brief synopsis (so they don’t have to read the entire article). 

Automation has made it easier for us to schedule our marketing, for example using an email service to send your newsletters, or automatically posting to social media by scheduling those posts days, weeks and even months in advance, and so marketing to the masses became easier.  But, it also became generic.  You were sending the same thing to people regardless of whether it was appropriate or not. 

It won’t work anymore.   Trust is at an all-time low and what you want to do is become a trusted advisor.  To do that, we have to go back to a more personalized relationship building. When you begin to listen to what your clients want and need, particularly in our current climate, you can reach out to them and let them know that you can help them.   

Don’t copy what every other lawyer or law firm is doing.

Be different.

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