5 Ways You Can Build Community Trust Today
The general public has a preconceived idea about what kind of person a lawyer is… and it’s not a good one. Attorney’s are often thought of as money-hungry ambulance chasers whose only concern in life is how to make more and more money. Now, we know that is not true, but the stereotype is that way for a reason.
Here are five ways you can fight against the stigma of being a lawyer:
1. Publish free information.
2. Perfect the client experience.
3. Have a strong review system.
4. Take off your lawyer hat.
5. Engage in community marketing.
1) Publish Free Information
Navigating the legal world is a stressful and confusing time for someone seeking an attorney. Be empathetic of that and publish free and easy-to-read information. By publishing information, people also begin to look at you as an authority figure in that subject. The information should answer a question, share guidance, or give a warning (in our practice we warn about tricks by the insurance company).
By giving away information for free, you are showing the reader that you’re bottom line is his or her well-being.
2) Perfect the Client Experience
Your law firm needs to have good customer service. Employees should be empathetic with callers and clients. Customer service is often neglected in law firms because it is not a type of business that people immediately associate with having customer service, which is why it is easy to stand out if you prioritize the customer experience. Customer service needs to be strong with all interactions with potential clients, but especially those calling on the phone.
A case can easily be lost if the caller is being treated poorly or isn’t having all of his or her questions answered.
3) Have a Strong Review System
This goes beyond your skills as an attorney, people can leave reviews for you even if you did not take them as a client, but they had a positive experience at your law firm. If a potential client calls your practice seeking advice for a practice that you do not serve, this is still an opportunity to make a good impression and get a potential good review. You can help that caller by giving them a positive referral to an attorney you trust that deals with that type of case. This leaves the client feeling satisfied and potentially a referral check for you.
Are you asking for reviews? Here are a few ideas on how to ask for reviews.
4) Take Off Your Lawyer Hat
Let people get to know you as a person, beyond you as an attorney. To a consumer, attorney’s all look like intimidating people in suits who use legalize and drive fancy cars. There is more to you than being an attorney and the more you let people know your values, hobbies, and passions the more they will disassociate you from the stereotypical attorney persona. One way to let people get to know you is by creating blog posts on your website. These are different than articles that report information. In blog posts, you will report relevant information to your practice, the law, or geographic area, and then write your opinion on the piece.
By sharing more about you, people don’t see you as “the lawyer,” but more “the family man/woman” or “the marathon runner,” etc.
5) Community Marketing
Get out into the community and do good. You can do this by sponsoring a local sports team, charity event, marathon, festival, etc. Be authentic in your community marketing and sponsor events that you truly care about. People can tell when there is a disconnect with authenticity. I’m passionate about refereeing high-level youth soccer games so every year I run a Sportsmanship Challenge where participating schools can win a donation based on their behavior towards referees. And don’t forget to post about the event and pictures on your website.
Whatever you enjoy doing, find a way to bring it to the community.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.