Groundhog Day is your still-early-in-the-year chance to change your behaviour.
Groundhog Day conjures up thoughts of rodents forecasting spring’s arrival. It’s also the name of a 1993 movie about a misanthropic weatherman covering a Groundhog Day event who gets caught in a time loop reliving the same day continuously. The loop breaks and things start to go his way when he changes his attitude and behavior.
If January resolutions are a vague memory, Groundhog Day on February 2 is your still-early-in-the-year chance to change your behaviour with one, some or all of these actions:
Change your title
Internal “pecking order” titles, such as partner, associate, CEO, President, etc. are generally immaterial to those outside of a law firm or legal services structure. Instead, clients want to know how you can help them.
Create a distinctive tag line for yourself that in 10 words or less describes what you do and how you help clients. Use it on your bio, LinkedIn profile, Twitter description, etc.
Update your bio
Your bio must mean business. It needs to be kept fresh by adding critical and/or new information, dropping stale material, and editing everything ruthlessly.
Start with information clients need to know – exactly what legal services you provide and which industries you serve along with your work and personal style. Providing a crystal-clear sense of what you do, who you do it for, how you do it, and who you are as a person are differentiating factors because many lawyers don’t do this.
Include relevant and recent client work. This enables you to be judged by the company you keep and the work you do. Provide a tight selection of “greatest hits” that people will read rather than a laundry list that no one will be bothered to scan. While you may not be able to name names, you can refer to a client by industry.
It’s assumed you went to law school so drop education along with Bar memberships and other par-for-the-course tidbits to the very bottom. And keep in mind that your bio is not a resume. Only your mother might care about medals and moot court mentions so save this for your CV.
Make sure that all your online profiles – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. – are given the same update treatment so that your digital bios match in terms of content and tone.
Schedule bio review and updating quarterly at minimum.
There are clients you want and clients you don’t want. Keep clients with whom you share core values. These are people whose company you enjoy and respect, and who provide work that is exactly within your wheelhouse and will refer you to other good people.
Release and, if possible, refer clients who don’t meet these standards. You’ll be doing them and yourself a favour; they’ll be able to work with someone who aligns better with their temperaments and needs, and you’ll have more capacity to take on clients and work you want most.
You know the types of people you enjoy working with along with the kinds of work you enjoy most. Get more of both by clearly identifying their traits so that you can better spot clients and work you want as well as clients and files you’re better off declining or referring elsewhere.
Start by identifying your top five ideal current clients in each of these three categories: revenue, profit, and growth potential. These are your top 15. Watch them like a hawk and schedule yourself to be in touch with each of them once per quarter.
Examine your sales pipeline
Review recent conversations and correspondence with current and prospective clients. Renew or refresh those you want to advance. Schedule others for review in three months, six months, nine months, and one year. Refer, archive or delete the rest.
Stop doing what doesn’t work
If there are marketing tactics you’ve been doing that you dislike or about which you’re ambivalent, stop. After all, there’s the old adage that insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.
There will be other marketing activities you’ll enjoy more – or dislike less – than those you’re doing now that make you breathe through your teeth. But remember: change your attitude and behavior, and do something since if you don’t do anything, nothing will happen.
And while you’re at it, feel free to be yourself. Dare to be distinctly different and one-of-one. Let others be one-of-many.
Heather Suttie is an internationally recognized legal market strategy and management consultant to leaders of premier law firms and legal service providers worldwide.
For 25 years, she has accelerated performance within law firms and legal service businesses — Global to Solo | BigLaw to NewLaw — by providing consultative direction on legal business strategy, market strategy, management strategy, and client strategy. The result is a distinctive one-of-one legal market position and sustained competitive advantage culminating in greater market share, revenue and profits.