One thing we get asked a lot lately is "Any advice on where to get new business?" It's a daily occurrence. One niche to look into is getting business from attorneys, financial planners and other professionals - debt relief, bankruptcy, foreclosure, divorce, probate, even land use and eminent domain.
We've talked before about how to introduce yourself to other professionals - see here and here - and the results have proven to be successful. So to get advice on how to approach attorneys we did what many people do in America today when they have a problem: We called our lawyer.
"Professional demeanor and appearance are essential to a good first impression," said Jennifer Sides, our Corporate Counsel. "Next, you have to tell an attorney how you can help [them], and you don't have a lot of time or latitude to do it. Chummy, small talk won't win you any points."
Also, "be believable; be convincing," Sides suggests. "It goes without saying you should be honest and capable, but if you have to take the stand, you have to be able to persuade a lot of people to believe in you. That needs to be evident."
All great advice, and echoed by other attorneys we spoke with.
Bruce MacEwen is a New York City lawyer who consults with law firms on business and economic issues. He's no stranger to the give and take of marketing and selling. He agrees wholeheartedly that an appraiser must "Explain exactly what you can do for me - today or tomorrow," he says.
"Essentially, what you can do is (a) save me money; (b) save me time; (c) make me look good; (d) bring me clients," he explains. You won't get a lawyer's attention unless you can quickly and clearly communicate that you can deliver on one or more of these points.
Los Angeles practitioner, Denise Howell, wants your website to be your online resume, marketing material and sales pitch. And a more important part of that would be your blog, she says. "If I were looking to find a real estate appraiser to work with, I'd hire the one who demonstrated [their] knowledge, expertise, and experience palpably through her regular blog posts," she says. "And I'd look to the Web for candidates long before any print publication or directory."
Demonstrating your expertise is stressed by MacEwen as well. "If an attorney doesn't respect you as a fellow professional, game over."
As with any kind of successful marketing (see Dave Biggers' advice on differentiation by clicking here), you need to "explain what you can do that is not generic or a commodity," MacEwen says. "If I'm buying five pounds of flour, I want the lowest possible price, unless you can convince me that your stone-ground, high-gluten, North Plains winter wheat is special. Tell me why you're special. Concisely."
Don't forget your call to action. "Even if you get everything else right, if you don't give me something concrete to do, your e-mail will scroll off the bottom of the screen and I'll never see it again," MacEwen warns. "'Add me to your contacts,' ‘Visit my website to sign up for a new customer discount,' ‘Call me to schedule a time I can come by your office.'"
So let's summarize. Present a professional appearance and demeanor. Quickly and clearly communicate what value you bring to the relationship. Include a call to action in your introduction. That's great advice straight from the horse's mouth.