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This is a guest post by Russ Korins, Director of Marketing, Cohen Tauber Spievack & Wagner P.C.
When I came on board a year ago to head marketing and business development for a mid-sized law firm, the first thing I did was interview every attorney about his or her client base, what characterizes ideal clients, and the goals of his or her practice and the firm. These interviews showed what many similar professional service businesses find: our business is one of relationships. Prospects become clients one conversation at a time, through trust, credibility, and confidence.
Of course, this has been the case for many law firms for many, many years. But how does a Sales 2.0 world change what we need to do? In our case, we’ve found that the best use of social tools is selective, carefully chosen to improve how attorneys and the firm collectively nurture relationships and cultivate clients.
The tool I use most is LinkedIn, which I think of as a roadmap to our professional relationships. Here’s one example: we do a lot of work in licensing and joint ventures for biotech and pharmaceutical companies, so we’re always looking to connect with business development people in life sciences. I regularly search using that term to see who I know, who the practicing attorneys know, and just as importantly, who I know who knows someone relevant.
One time, I noticed that the same person—a longtime friend I had never really talked business with—kept coming up as the mutual connection between me and many different business development people in life sciences. So now he’s not only a friend, but also someone I was particularly happy to introduce to the head of our life sciences practice at an industry event.
Twenty years ago, understanding our roadmap of professional relationships was also important. But now, technology makes reading that roadmap easier. Just as importantly, note that technology isn’t a substitute for personal relationships—it’s simply driving what we already know we need to do.
As new technologies come along, I’ll be looking at whether they help drive and cultivate the relationships that fuel our firm’s business. LinkedIn is one of the best tools today, but nobody knows what the future holds and what better tools will come along. A Sales 2.0 world hasn’t really changed how we market our firm. More accurately, it’s given us more ways to do what we need to do today and will need to do for years to come.
Russ Korins is director of marketing and business development for Cohen Tauber Spievack & Wagner. In addition to having practiced corporate and technology law, he previously consulted to attorneys and other professional service business owners on marketing and business development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-381-8761.