Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dissecting The Sales Job Of The Lawyer Turned Marketer

Why is a lawyer selling marketing advice?

Is it because they made a fortune in the practice of law and now want to cash in on the "secrets" to making money as a lawyer?

Or is it because they practiced as an associate for 8 months and then found a way to convince other lawyers there were secrets that could turn lawyers in to rainmakers?

Better question - are you asking these "lawyer-marketers" the hard questions about their credibility to sell this advice? Are you asking them for 10 references? Are you asking them to tell you about their practice? No, you're just interested in hearing how you can make money. That's all

I've said before that lawyers who want to hire marketers or buy marketing advice, tips, secrets, should only pay real marketing professionals - not lawyers.


Because most lawyers selling marketing advice have no track record of success as lawyers, (or won't talk about it - same thing), have run out of things to say, and never really had anything relevant to say except to puff their resume.

Remember the real estate infomercials? We actually thought the host was some wealthy real estate investor who make billions and now for $19.99 was selling us all his tips. It was crushing to learn he was making money only by selling books and videos at $19.99 a pop. We were so sad when we learned.

Not even respected publications are immune to the draw of the lawyer turned marketer.

An example: The National Law Journal, previously a paper filled only with news about the legal profession, lawyers, law, and court cases, has hired social media guru Adrian Dayton to write for them.

What they seem to ignore, is that he's really just writing for himself.

See, the audience of both the NLJ and young Adrian, is BigLaw. Adrian wants to teach BigLaw how to type on a computer using twitter and other social media sites. He claims to be able to help establish "high value relationships." To the desperate lawyer out there, that means "make money." Adrian never made much money as a lawyer, but let's move on.

Because that's what it's all about, isn't it? Just tell me how to make the money. I don't care who you are, or if you ever made any money, I only care that you claim you can tell me to make the money. I want your tips. I want your "secrets." I want money.

Recently, Adrian wrote "Are You Beer-Worthy?" Here, he claims this is a piece about lawyers who don't like to network.

Cue the first sales move:

Perhaps this is why introverts are drawn to the idea of social networking and business development through LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Then, we add a little international cred:

When I traveled to Australia and New Zealand in February to speak to a variety of organizations about social media, I often started my speaking engagements with an anecdote involving a can of Coca-Cola. After sharing this story a couple of times, and not getting much of a response, I realized that perhaps Coke wasn't the same icon in Australia that it was in the United States. So I asked a group of lawyers: What is the comparable soft drink in Australia?

Coke, Beer, are you ready for the marketing tip?

"Beer" came the reply from a lawyer who looked nothing like Crocodile Dundee.

Then we move to the "throw-away" tip as the lawyers turned marketers continue to try and find relevant things to say:

We tend to do business with people we know, like and trust — in that order. Beer-worthiness speaks to the question, "Is this someone you would like to have a beer with?" Is this someone you would enjoy talking to, strategizing with and taking a break with when you aren't in the heat of litigation? That's the type of person clients like to hire.

Yes lawyers, I know, you've never heard this. Yes, we tend to do business with those we know, like, and trust. I know, fascinating, isn't it? You've heard this what, 75,000 times?

Then, as we're trying to make sense of this "secret" of marketing, here comes another sales pitch, after a very, very important disclosure:

In full disclosure, I'm not a beer drinker, but in training and coaching lawyers all over the country about social media I have come to the conclusion that they can help break the ice, help start a conversation. But it ends there. Unless lawyers are willing to pick up the phone, make an appointment, grab a cup of coffee or hit the bar, they won't find traction in their social networking efforts.

Training and coaching all over the country, and in Australia and New Zealand.

Do you see "HIRE ME BIGLAW" between the lines?

Now of course Adrian is making the point that social media is not the end-all-be-all in networking, but not without a few words from our sponsor, if you know what I mean.

I have an idea for the NLJ to propose to Adrian for his next (sales job) piece in their austere publication.

How about, "How social media made me a rainmaker as a lawyer, my long track record of obtaining legal clients through on-line marketing?"

I'll be waiting to read it.

Non-anonymous comments welcome.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark


Thomas Stephenson said...

Pretty much.

Here's an idea: if you want to know how to be successful as a lawyer, go find an attorney in your town who actually IS successful and ask him how he does it. The added bonus is that he probably won't even charge you (maybe make you buy him lunch), since he can actually make a living practicing law instead of selling "secrets to success."

I have no idea why anyone would pay this guy. Unless they want to find out how to get laid off by Biglaw.

The Law Blogger said...

Here's another idea; learn how to practice law before holding yourself out as an "expert" on how to shag clients via social media. Being a good lawyer is difficult & requires lots of sustained focus. I'm starting to get the feeling that lawyers pitching SM all the time are failed lawyers with nothing relevant to offer & no real clients to represent. What's so special about setting up a bunch of electronic accounts? Nothing.

Here's the take away: attract clients by providing excellent legal services, then attract more clients by using SM once you've developed something of a track record. In the meantime, save your $ by avoiding the SM Marketing clowns.