I am looking forward to making a presentation for a law firm today:

Building Your Client Development Tool Kit:
 The nuts and bolts of business development

When I was working on this presentation, I was searching for something and came across a couple of articles on shaving I immediately saw a connection between shaving tools and client development tools.

Here is the connection:

  • The principles of shaving have always been the same. But, the tools we use for shaving have dramatically changed.
  • The principles of client development have always been the same. But, the tools we use to implement those principles have dramatically changed.

And, here is the most important connection:

  • In both shaving and client development, the new tools are really great, especially when you do not have much time. But, to get a better shave, or to build a better and deeper relationship with potential clients, use the old tools.

I suspect I have been shaving for over 50 years. I can remember traveling along the highway and reading the Burma Shave signs.

Later, I remember when Edge Shaving Gel was introduced in 1970. Next, disposable razors were introduced followed by multi-blade razors. That all prompted the New York Times article: Shaving With Five Blades When Maybe Two Will Do.

Recently I saw an article: How to get that perfect shave  from the Today Show Weekend Edition. Here is the essence of the article:

Now that men of all ages are paying more attention to their appearance, it’s no wonder that the hottest trend right now in male grooming is a return to the traditional wet shave – and millions of men have been shocked to discover that the “old fashioned” method of shaving they thought went out with the Hula Hoop is actually the best quality shave you can get.

After reading the Today show article, I ordered two of the recommended shaving creams. Over the years I have become a huge fan of Taylor of Old Bond Street.

So, what would I say about client development? Maybe something like this:

In 2017, lawyers are paying more attention to client development than ever before. The new tools, like blogging and social media, enable lawyers to more easily become visible and credible to potential clients. As a result, they are the hottest trends in client development right now. But, to build long-lasting, trust-based relationships with clients, potential clients and referral sources, use the old tools that some thought went out with hand-written notes.

Out of curiosity, how are your lawyers doing with the new client development tools? The old ones? Do they need an update?

How is selling your high end legal services like selling high end toothpaste? I have actually answered that question several times on this blog when I have discussed differentiating yourself to a target market.

When I grew up there was no high end toothpaste, In fact, there were only a few brands. A few years ago, I sat next to a very interesting gentleman on a plane. He was the first to create a $6.00 tube of toothpaste. I don’t remember the brand, but it was a huge success.

He told me that today there are a wide variety of  toothpastes  – toothpaste that stands up, toothpaste that the cap stays on, toothpaste with baking soda, toothpaste that will take care of your gums for life, smokers’ toothpaste, whitening toothpaste, fresh breath toothpaste, toothpaste for attacking plaque, toothpaste for kids, even toothpaste for your dog.

He also told me that drugstores loved his $6.00 brand of toothpaste because instead of losing money or barely breaking even on cheaper toothpaste, the margins for his brand were significant.

I wondered how he had come up with a toothpaste product for which a group of consumers would be willing to pay 3-4 times more than other products. He had narrowed his market, created a product that was remarkable and stood out from the hundreds of other toothpaste brands.

That begs these questions:

  1. Have you narrowed your market?
  2. Have you selected a market willing to pay for higher quality legal work?
  3. What are you doing to become remarkable in the eyes of your clients?

My traveling companion brought home to me that he understood the importance of narrowing the target market.  By the way, after his toothpaste success, he developed a high-end shaving product that was designed to give closer shaves with the new high tech razors.

Inc. Magazine recently published an on-line article: How to Narrow Your Market. As noted in the article, if you are not differentiating yourself, the consumer looks at price as the motivator. Law is no different than toothpaste, shaving products and other products. If you are not differentiating yourself, then your potential clients are motivated by the lowest hourly rates.

Focus on an industry or niche specialty and get known in that industry as a specialist or the “go-to” person in the type of work you want to do.  Be the best at what you do in a niche for which you have a passion and for which there is a need.