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Most people in a professional service business for any amount of time have learned that the quantity over quality equation will never add up to real revenue. That doesn’t mean it’s not tempting to throw lots of marketing messages out there to see if anyone bites. Or to follow the surprisingly popular speed-and-greed approach to buy as many leads as possible and churn out settlements.
The problem is the endorphin boost from a random advertising blitz and caseload infusion always wears off. And usually law firms that practice this low-value, high-turn approach realize it’s not an effective long-term marketing and advertising strategy.
Over time, attorneys that use advertising to ask for mass calls learn that a majority of those leads don’t pan out, either because they’re not legally defensible, they’re not a good fit for the firm’s proficiency or they’re not a strong client to begin with.
The energy spent trying to decipher real cases is a drain on resources that just doesn’t make solid business sense. Not only that, but asking for loads of “cheap” cases for short-term gain makes you look cheap. Your law practice may become a commodity and that will devalue your attorneys’ reputation over time.
5 Reasons Quality Matters
We know that high-quality cases produce higher return on investment, and here are just a few reasons why:
- Quality cases that match your firm’s skill set are often easier to prove, and therefore settle or try.
- Quality cases often make for happier clients, which may lead to more profitable referrals.
- Quality cases mean you’re asking for specific cases for which you can help solve a specific problem—and that’s just good community service.
- Quality cases lead to deeper, longer-lasting client relationships that can pay off in repeat business.
- Quality cases underscore your attorneys’ integrity and the transparency of your legal brand.
That’s not to say quality cases, and a high number of them, have to be mutually exclusive. However, focusing on quality first may lead to higher-yield cases or a higher number of mid-level cases as your firm becomes a trusted leader in a particular legal vertical or niche.
One of the best ways to underscore the value of asking for quality over quantity in advertising is to ask yourself the same questions a potential client might. If you were injured in a car accident, would you trust a business professional with a speed-and-greed approach? Would you rely on an attorney who promised a quick result for anyone who calls now? Would you truly believe that these busy lawyers would listen to the individual circumstances of your case? Probably not.
How to procure quality cases
The good news is whether you’ve tried and failed with the speed-and-greed approach or just haven’t found the right way to ask for the kind of cases you really want, it’s never too late to turn the corner on quality. Positioning your firm as a high-value rather than a high-volume practice just takes some smart marketing.
Just as the key to a healthy relationship requires communicating directly with your spouse, the key to a healthy caseload is asking for what you want. If you want higher-value cases, your advertising needs to underscore that message, whether directly or more subtly through the quality of your subject matter, talent and commercial production. We all know those TV ads, for example, that try to cut through the cluttered legal marketing space by simply “screaming” louder and hoping more people will call an 800 number.
But after 30 years in the legal advertising industry, we can tell you that that approach might make you stand out from the crowd once, like a great one-hit wonder, but won’t be sustainable. Over time, high volume will wind down, your firm may be undermined by the greed-first message, and clients will also become one-hit wonders, eliminating a critical source of referral business.
For truly sustainable, high-value cases your legal message has to communicate with the right potential clients—the ones who are a good fit for your firm, the ones who bring valuable cases, and the ones who will refer you down the line or come back with future legal matters.
Once you nail down what asking for value means for your firm, don’t leave it to fend for itself in one bold TV commercial. Make that message resonate in all of your marketing efforts, from your law firm’s website to social channels to digital marketing. If a consumer sees a high-value ad but that message is not backed up in your firm’s supporting collateral, approach and marketing methods, potential clients will see right through the ruse.
A commitment to creating a high-value message is multi-pronged and means your firm has to start walking the talk everywhere you go. When you ask for what you want—in every effort you put forth—you might just get it.