One major benefit of education-based marketing is that your marketing program attracts inquiries from prospects. In this way, you don’t pursue prospective clients. They come to you.
The problem is: If you don’t get inquiries from the prospects you want — and if they’re prospects you can identify by name — you could easily decide to call them on the phone to introduce yourself.
Sounds reasonable. Right?
No. If phoning new prospects has crossed your mind, here’s a suggestion: Don’t!
If you follow the education-based model, every step increases your credibility. Every step increases the perception that you’re the authority. Every step offers more and more reasons for prospects to contact you. And as long as you stay in the education mode, you maintain a dignified, professional image.
But the moment you cross the line — the moment you go from educator to salesperson — the moment you pick up the phone and cold-call a prospect — you shatter your credibility and send your reputation into a nose dive.
To stay true to the education-based model, you must let your prospects take the first step. You encourage that first step by making your offers and calls to action so attractive that your prospects can’t help but respond.
To start, here are key places where you should invite prospects to act:
- Invite prospects to contact you in every marketing document that leaves your office.
- Invite prospects to contact you on every page of your website and your social media.
- Invite prospects to contact you several places in your seminar materials.
- Invite prospects to contact you all through your newsletter.
- Invite prospects to contact you throughout your firm brochure.
- Invite prospects to contact you in your print ads and broadcast commercials.
- Invite prospects to contact you any time you send a letter.
- Invite prospects to contact you near the end of every news release.
Here are persuasive offers that often cause prospects to respond:
- Invite prospects to call for your free educational handout (by title), which you’ll mail on request.
- Invite prospects to schedule a free phone consultation.
- Invite prospects to schedule an in-person appointment.
- Invite prospects to your free educational seminar.
- Invite prospects to add their name to your newsletter mailing list.
- Invite prospects to read your latest newsletter, and offer their comments and suggestions.
- Invite prospects to send questions for your newsletter’s Q&A column.
- Invite prospects to suggest topics that you can write about in your newsletter.
- Invite prospects to add their friends and colleagues to your mailing list.
- Invite prospects to send you referrals.
- Invite prospects to take part in your internet discussion group or listserv.
- Invite prospects to a briefing at your office, such as a brown-bag update or an executive roundtable.
- Invite prospects to attend a free or paid seminar that you conduct by phone or over the internet.
- Invite prospects to a meeting over breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- Invite prospects to an upcoming reception or party.
- Invite prospects to play golf or join you in other sports.
- Invite prospects to ask questions about your area of law.
- Invite prospects to offer comments or suggestions on (any topic you choose).
- Invite prospects to respond to surveys.
- Invite prospects to a wine and cheese party or another social event at your home or office.
- Invite prospects to review a case history of a transaction you recently completed for a client.
- Invite prospects to read a published article you wrote — or in which you were quoted.
- Invite prospects to a free peace-of-mind meeting after a major life event, such as a birth, divorce or death.
- Invite prospects to contact you so you can review and update legal documents that are time-sensitive.
- Invite prospects to contact you for an introduction to a lawyer in another practice area in your firm.
- Invite prospects to request biographies of new lawyers in your firm.
- Invite prospects to request an article you wrote about pending legislation that could affect their interests.
- Invite prospects to request case histories about a client who acted in time to protect his interests — and another client who did not, explaining the consequences he endured.
- Invite prospects to express their opinion and suggestions about a new service you plan to offer.
- Invite prospects to comment on a new office location you’re considering.
- Invite prospects to support or take part in a non-profit activity in which you’re involved.
What should your call to action say?
In consumer documents, calls to action often read like this: “Call for a free copy of 5 Steps to Reducing Your Alimony Payments.” Or, “If you have questions — or to schedule a free consultation — call John Jones at ###-###-####.”
In business letters, you might say something like, “Please call me after you have reviewed these documents.” On your seminar flier, you might include, “Mark Your Calendar Now to Attend.” In a radio commercial, you might say, “To receive your free Executive’s Guide to Age Discrimination, call ###-###-####.”
It doesn’t matter how you communicate your offer or call to action. The bottom line’s the same: if you want a response, make sure you tell your prospect precisely what you want him to do.
But — what if you want to get in touch with prospects who haven’t contacted you?
If you can identify prospects by name and address, then send a first class letter. First class letters from lawyers are effective for many reasons:
- Since many people use e-mail for quick communication, when you take time to write and mail a letter, you make a powerful, personal impression.
- An envelope with a lawyer or law firm as its return address always commands attention.
- Upscale law firm stationery reflects positively on you, instills confidence, and conveys integrity and success.
- First class letters don’t interrupt what your prospect is doing.
You can easily adapt first class letters to any of the offers described above. And, most important, first class letters don’t make you look like a telephone solicitor, where cold calls do.
Note: Check your ethics rules to make sure you’re permitted to send letters to prospective clients. I have often heard bar counsel explain that letters are permitted when sent to persons who might at some future time need legal services, where letters to accident victims and others “known to need legal services” may be prohibited or restricted.
SUMMARY: The more often you communicate with prospects — and the more often you interact with prospects — the sooner you’ll increase your flow of new clients and referrals. Whenever possible, generate interactions with prospects. They’re the key to your success!