I have been asked by APIL to give a talk at their annual conference next week on the subject of Barristers’ Marketing. I had a quick look around the internet and found….. nothing. Apparantley Barristers do not undertake marketing. No business seems to provide help for them with their marketing, and on reviewing many, many, barristers’ websites, I can see that there is a real need for someone to provide them with some help and guidance of what they should be doing to market their services and how they should do it. This is not to say that what the majority are doing online is dreadful, more that I can see opportunities to make it much more effective.
So here are my thoughts on how to market Barristers’ services.
Your Existing Clients
The starting point for marketing a set of Barristers’ Chambers should be exactly the same as it is for marketing a firm of solicitors; start with your existing clients. There is more work available from your existing clients if you know when and how to ask for it. Are you doing this?
For example, do you:
- Send emails to your preferred solicitors at times when your shelf is a little emptier than usual explaining that you can turn around papers faster than usual?
- When you present seminars to solicitors, do you put as much time, effort and energy into making it a riveting and fascinating affair as you would for a closing speech? If not, why one earth not? Selling your services is at least as important as a closing speech is it not? No new clients = no closing speeches…
- Do you provide them with helpful information such as “how to draft instructions” if you are presenting to potential new clients and people who are new to the law?
- Do you jump on news stories that are relevant to your sector and send them to your instructing soliciors to keep the relationship building?
- Do you ask them for instructions when you are desperately quiet?
Generally the Barristers I worked with in my 14 years as a solicitor were all excellent at the legal aspect of their job, but none of them did the above very well. If they had done both the legal aspects and the marketing very well I am sure I would not have been able to instruct them (they would have been too busy).
There are more clients just like the ones you already have looking for a Barrister just like you. That’s great isn’t it, so where are they all? Well the good news is you do not have to know the answer, because your instructing solicitors already know for you. So how can you get your instructing solicitors to find you more clients just like them?
At the time when they are singing your praises about a great settlement that you have negotiated, or you winning an unwinnable case, ask them this question:
“Thank you. Is there anyone else you know who would benefit from my services?
Then you must do the one thing that may not come so naturally to you as it goes against what you are paid to do: say nothing. You must be silent to let the question sink in and give the solicitor time to answer it.
In my experience, you will be pleasantly surprised that such a gentle question can provide such amazing results.
“Nick, I might agree with you until this point but if you are now about to tell me that I can win instructions from my website then I am going to get very very cross…”
You can win instructions from your website, but before you blow a gasket let me explain what I mean here.
If you are recommended as in the example above, the first place the recommended solicitor is going to go to find out more is to your website. If it is not easy to navigate and easy to use to contact you they will NOT take it any further. If you trap them with some interesting information and make it incredibly easy for them to get in touch with you then I KNOW you will win instructions.
You can also win instructions using Google Adwords and Search Engine Marketing, but let me go gently with you at this point and come back to that another time.
Now I know I am really pushing some buttons, but please think about this:
Markeing is all about being where your potential clients are. Your potential clients are using Social Media every day. You need to be in that space too.
For now just make sure you protect your Twitter and Linked In user names, and set up a holding page on Facebook, but believe me these are no longer passing fads. Google currently has the stranglehold on traffic, but it is very carefully watching Facebook – why?. Well the number one search on Google at the moment above anything elseis the word “Facebook”! That speaks volumes does it not?
Webinars give you the ability to show solicitors how fantastic you are without you having to leave your set of Chambers. Does that sound like a good or bad thing?
After client marketing, if I was a barrister I would focus on webinars!
These are just a few things for you to think about when it comes to marketing your Barrister’s Chambers.
I offer specific free marketing tips for barristers, if this is of interest to you simply enter your details and I will be glad to share my thoughts with you. Thank you.
Author: Nick Jervis