11 deadly assumptions that kill your marketing program

friday, 12 september of 2008

11 deadly assumptions that kill your marketing program

by Trey Ryder

Deadly Assumption 1: "My prospects and clients know the services I offer." Not true. If you assume prospects and clients know the services you offer, you will start losing clients to lawyers who make their offering of specific services crystal clear. Many lawyers have had the experience where one of their clients goes to another lawyer because they didn't know the first lawyer would provide the same service. Write a detailed list of the services you provide and give a copy to all clients and prospects. Because if your prospects and clients don't see the service they want on your list, they may go to another lawyer.

Deadly Assumption 2: "My referral sources will send me all the new clients I need." It won't happen. Certainly you're grateful to get referrals from time to time.  But if you think all the new business you want and need will come from referrals, 99% of the time you're mistaken. You must develop a marketing program that will attract clients directly to you so you don't rely solely on referrals. Also, this helps avoid your need to pay out huge referral fees.

Deadly Assumption 3: "When prospects or clients have questions, they will call me." Not true. People often hesitate to call unless they know their calls are welcome. This is particularly true of prospects who haven't yet established a relationship with you. In all of your communications, invite prospects and clients to call you with their questions or problems. Often, their questions lead to work you can perform on their behalf.

Deadly Assumption 4: "It makes no difference whether my photo appears in my marketing materials." Not true.  Your photograph is worth two thousand words. A warm, friendly, engaging picture with good eye contact can do wonders for your marketing. It helps establish a friendly, trusting relationship with your reader and increases your reader's comfort. Prospects don't really care what you look like. But they feel better when they know.

Deadly Assumption 5: "The more I interact with prospects, the more time I waste." Wrong. Always look for new ways to get prospects to interact with you. The more they talk with you, the more opportunities you have to explain how you can help them. Your interaction can take place over the telephone, in your office, at your seminar or over lunch. The nature of the interaction doesn't matter as long as your prospect doesn't perceive the place as a sales setting, which reflects poorly on you.

Deadly Assumption 6: "I have to be careful not to repeat myself when talking with prospects." Wrong. Don't worry about repeating yourself. When people take in new information, they forget most of it. It's important that people understand what you say. And, in fact, it's good to repeat yourself when you want to make an important point. Selective redundancy gives you the opportunity to get your point across from two or three different perspectives.

Deadly Assumption 7: "My prospects understand what I say because they are in business and know the legal vocabulary." Not true. When you assume your prospect has basic knowledge or understands simple terms, you're usually wrong. Your message means nothing if your prospect doesn't understand what you're saying. Always go back to square one so you make sure you're not talking over your prospect's head. And if you must use a legal term, make sure you define it.

Deadly Assumption 8: "Marketing methods don't work as well today as they used to." Not true. If your marketing doesn't work, it's probably due to a poor, inadequate or incomplete marketing message. Don't blame the method that delivers the message when it's really the message that's at fault. You should design your marketing message as carefully as you prepare a case for trial.

Deadly Assumption 9: "The more complicated my message, the more prospects and clients will understand the need for my services." Wrong. Every day, your prospects suffer from information overload. They screen out complicated messages. Keep your message simple because a simple message is the only message that has any chance of getting through to your target audience.

Deadly Assumption 10: "How an advertisement looks is not as important as what the ad says." Not true.  Graphics in print ads are critical, not only to your image, but also to make sure your ad seizes your prospect's attention. Yes, a powerful message is important. But without strong graphics, your prospect may never see your ad. Then you've wasted your money.

Deadly Assumption 11: "Prospects and clients don't mind when I'm slow to return phone calls. They understand that I'm busy." In your dreams! Everybody's busy. Returned phone calls are one of the biggest sources of complaints about lawyers' services. They are a major hot button with clients and prospects. When you return phone calls promptly, you make a powerful, positive impression. When you don't, the impression you make is far more negative than you imagine. Prospects and clients cannot easily evaluate the depth of your knowledge or experience. But one thing they evaluate regularly is whether you promptly return phone calls.

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© Trey Ryder

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