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The Science behind Law Firm Lead Generation

The Science behind Law Firm Lead Generation

“Comfort can breed complacency,” according to Nick Araco, senior director of growth strategies and business development for Drinker, Biddle & Reath.

Mr. Araco shared these views during the LexisNexis® Interaction® webinar titled: “Generating Leads and Introductions the Right Way ,” alongside co-presenter, Mo Bunnell, president of Bunnell Idea Group.

According to these gentlemen, research shows, people, especially attorneys, tend to do what is most familiar to them. However, they say, doing what is comfortable isn’t always the best strategy when trying to turn new business leads into long-term clients for the firm.

Attributes of Effective Lead Generation

The difference, says Mr. Bunnell, between ineffective lead generation and successful lead generation, includes three important steps:

  • Needs to be Efficient. According to Mr. Araco and Mr. Bunnell, on average, busy attorneys only have about 40 hours a year to dedicate to new business and lead generation. This means if an attorney is being asked to participate in a new business related activity, it not only needs to be an effective one, but it also needs to showcase ROI for participating attorneys.
  • Showcases Expertise. Attorneys are masters of expertise in their respective practice areas. This expertise, according to Mr. Araco and Mr. Bunnell, can be very powerful to potential clients especially when it is presented in a way that can help them solve a business problem. Great lead generation, they add, is most effective if and when it speaks directly to the prospect and addresses their everyday business challenges.
  • Leads with Value. Both men agree, most attorneys they come into contact with, are gun-shy about coming across too “salesy” when trying to generate new business leads. Because of this, many attorneys struggle with how to get their foot in the door and start important conversations. Begging or cold calling is not the way in, they say. Rather, effective lead generation involves bringing something of value to the table for the prospective client. This is where attorney insights comes into play. It can be something as simple as sending a relevant article to a prospect or inviting a friend to a relevant industry event or meeting. These gestures lets them know you’re interested in and care about their business.

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The Science behind Law Firm Lead Generation

According to Mr. Araco and Mr. Bunnell, there’s a science behind how people think based on the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument. According to the HBD Instrument, there are four distinct ways in which people think:

  1. Analytical thinking
  2. Sequential thinking
  3. Interpersonal thinking
  4. Imaginative thinking

While everybody uses all of four of the areas to process information and make decisions,

Attorneys, says Mr. Araco, tend to “live in analytical thinking all day.”

A better approach, they say, involves listening carefully to how prospective clients like to be communicated with, and applying those specific areas of the HBD Instrument to communicate with them, as opposed to using the ones the attorneys prefer.

According to Mr. Araco and Mr. Bunnell, they have decoded useful lead generation techniques. In their discussion, they outlined four innovative and simple strategies that can help firms generate leads right out of the gate. They include:

1. Turn Friends into Clients

According to Mr. Araco and Mr. Bunnell, most attorneys know a lot of people who could be clients, however they are unsure of how to turn friendly conversations into business opportunities. They struggle with pivoting the dialogue from friendly banter to a real business conversation.

The best way to handle this, they say, is to craft a short 1-2 paragraph introduction speech called an “across the bridge speech.” The speech, which typically uses all four components in the Hermann Brain Dominance Model, can be very effective. Although very short and simple, an authentic statement that leads with value can pivot the conversation in the right direction.

2. Develop Value Groups

A value group is simply a group of influential business professionals (e.g. CFOs of major corporations or office managers of the top five consulting firms across the country, etc.) who meet either quarterly, or three times a year and share a common interest.

The first step involves figuring out who the firm’s target group is and then finding a common theme that draws them in and keeps them engaged. Some examples of this include: inviting members of the group to a prestigious event or using a prominent key note speaker for meetings.  Most important, they say, is there needs to be a clear purpose for getting together and participants need to get some value out of the meeting. Lastly, they agree, value groups are less about quantity as they are about quality.

3. Uncover Strategic Partnerships

Identifying a handful of the firm’s best referral sources can be a great lead generation technique. The key involves focusing on a precious few individuals who can help the firm in a big way and vice versa. This first step involves identifying what makes a great strategic partner and then developing a structure to measure the success of the partnership. In other words, there needs to be some type of measurement of the relationship so the firm can audit how well it is benefitting from the partnership and vice versa. A good way to keep track of this information, says Mr. Bunnell, is to apply a scorecard to gauge the partnerships’ effectiveness.

“Scorecards and dialogue, he adds, are great weapons to maximize ROI of strategic partnerships.”

4. Leverage Speaking Engagements

Speaking engagements, says Mr. Araco and Mr. Bunnell, are a great way to get the firm and/or its attorney’s exposure in front of prospective clients. However, they add, participation in a speech is simply the first step in the engagement process. True lead generation involves turning the speech into a real one-on-one dialogue with a prospective client:

 “Speaking is just the starting line, not the finishing line.”

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This post is by contributor Carla Del Bove, who provides support to the business of law software product line based in the LexisNexis Raleigh Technology Center.

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Photo credit:  Flickr, Stuart Caie, Fairy DNA (CC BY 2.0

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This bio page is used to publish submissions by contributing writers. We welcome contributions from the legal community and are especially keen for contributions from our customers. Please review previous submissions published here and the “About Us” section to get a sense for what topics work for this blog. All posts must be original content not published elsewhere for at least 30 days. To submit an idea for consideration, please email blsssocial@lexisnexis.com.