Educational message increases confidence in you, skepticism in competing lawyers

friday, 20 february of 2009

Educational message increases confidence in you, skepticism in competing lawyers

by Trey Ryder

When you provide information to prospects - and other lawyers don't - prospects immediately have more confidence in you than in them.


Because the more information you provide, the higher your credibility - the more comfortable prospects feel with you - and, subconsciously, the more skepticism prospects feel toward lawyers who have not provided these facts. As a result, information you provide creates positive feelings toward you - and negative feelings toward other lawyers.


Prospects look for cues about whether to hire your services. Initially, those cues relate to your knowledge, skill, judgment and experience.

1. Solution. When you explain the steps you will take to solve your prospect's problem or achieve his goal, your prospect concludes that you have the knowledge and experience to handle his legal matter. Since your prospect does not know whether other lawyers could solve his problem, your explanation pre-empts other lawyers from consideration - unless he goes to the trouble of seeking out information from other attorneys.

2. Services. When you explain in detail the services you offer, prospects have a clear picture of how you can help them. On the other hand, when other lawyers don't provide a list of services, prospects can't be sure whether those lawyers offer the services they need.

3. Biography. When you give information about your education and experience, prospects feel comfortable because they know something about your background. The more biographical information you provide, the more comfortable your prospects feel with you - and the more uncertain they grow of other lawyers, since your prospects may know nothing about them at all.

4. Testimonials. When you offer comments from clients, colleagues and other professionals, your prospects conclude that you are respected by all who know you. When other lawyers don't provide this information, prospects can't be sure what their clients and colleagues think about them. (A few jurisdictions do not allow lawyers to use testimonials, so make sure you check your rules of professional conduct.)

5. Reprints. When you provide prospects with copies of articles you've written that have appeared in print - or articles in which you've been quoted - they grow to respect you as an authority in your field. When prospects have not received reprints from other lawyers, prospects assume those lawyers have never had articles in print, which reinforces their perception that you're the expert.

6. Fees. When you provide information about fees or fee ranges, prospects have an idea of how deep the well is. Prospects feel better when they have information about fees, even if the fees are higher than the prospects want And when other lawyers provide no information about fees, prospects often assume their fees are higher than they really are. I encourage you to present fees or fee ranges as part of your marketing message.

7. Photo. Even your photo has pre-emptive value. When prospects know what you look like, they feel more at ease. It's that simple. In most cases, prospects don't care how you look, as long as you fall within their "accepted range" of how a lawyer should look. (If your appearance is extreme, you're still OK if your prospects share your extreme look.) A closely cropped photo with good eye contact and a warm, engaging smile is best.

8. Important Information. When you provide any information that your prospects want, you increase your credibility and overcome prospects' fears and concerns.


Once you have good, helpful information, your next challenge is to deliver it to your prospects. The most effective ways to deliver information are ways that your prospects find comfortable and convenient. Comfortable means prospects want to receive information at arm's length, so neither you nor anyone else can apply sales pressure. Convenient means prospects want to receive information with the smallest amount of hassle and effort, and with the least interruption in their schedule.

Comfortable, convenient ways to deliver your marketing message include:

1. Posting your information on your web site.

2. Sending your information by mail or e-mail.

3. Presenting your information at a seminar or roundtable.

4. Featuring your information in a newspaper article or broadcast interview.

5. Including your information in a newspaper or magazine column.

6. Highlighting your information in your firm's newsletter.

The least comfortable and convenient way to deliver information is in person, such as when you require your prospect to come to your office. (Less-sophisticated prospects often fear that you'll try to pressure them into hiring you.) In most cases, the more sophisticated your prospect, the less he feels intimidated by you - and the less time he has to meet with you. Many prospects want to learn about you and your background before they decide whether to meet you in person.

When you provide an educational message that contains facts your prospects want, you increase your credibility, you overcome prospects' fears, and you gain a major competitive advantage over lawyers who have not provided this information.

Bottom Line: The easiest way to gain a major competitive advantage is to provide information to your prospects. And when you put your information in writing, it's even more persuasive because it's right there in black and white, less likely to be misunderstood and not affected by a lapse in memory.


© Trey Ryder

FREE LAWYER MARKETING ALERT: If you'd like to receive Trey Ryder's weekly Lawyer Marketing Alert, send an e-mail to Write "Subscribe LMA" in the subject line and write your name and e-mail address in the body of the message.