6 Lessons Your Law Firm Can Learn from Industry-Leading Entrepreneurs

Anyone looking to grow a business should look first to those who have done it before them.

Not to copy them, because originality and creativity are as important to success as the best strategy recommendations, but to gain the benefit of their experience.

This article will give you high-impact lessons you can learn from industry-leading entrepreneurs — men and women who have built multi-million dollar brands and learned these lessons the hard way.

You’ll learn:

Let’s get started.

Learn the Value of a Mission Statement from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook and author of the best-selling book Lean In, spoke at Forbes “Closing the Tech Gap” event at MIT back in 2017.

She was asked “How do you keep your company and team focused?”

Her reply is a lesson every law firm can learn from:

“It’s something we work on every day but one of the things we think about is starting with the mission and repeating it often. 

Even if everyone already knows what your mission is by heart, actually saying it at the beginning of meetings, reminding yourself and others why you’re working on what you’re working on, is so important. 

And if your team really believes in the mission of your company, it enables you to guide through all of the hard decisions you want to make.”

Takeaway for your law firm:

Your firm’s mission should be at the forefront of your mind and the mind of your team.

Why do you practice law?

Despite the stereotype, the answer to that question is almost never “to make money.”

You practice to help people, or to right a wrong, or to defend people mistreated by the system.

Whatever the reason, this is your mission statement. Remembering it — and incorporating it into your branding, content and conversations with prospective clients — will result in business growth.

Forgetting it will result in a tetherless organization — one in which everyone works for themselves and for their own reasons. Like a ship without someone at the wheel, you’ll find it difficult to keep your firm pointed towards success.

Learn the Power of Video from Wistia CEO Chris Savage

Chris Savage started marketing agency Wistia with his best friend Brendan Schartz in 2006 out of Brendan’s living room. The startup now helps more than a half million businesses build their brands with video and marketing software.

In a live keynote address at Wistia’s first-ever virtual conference, he was asked “What role do you think video will play in shaping the way we think about the traditional marketing funnel?”

Here’s his answer:

“What we’re finding is that [modern] audiences expect they’ll be able to choose how they consume your content or message. 

Some people want to read, some like to listen, and a lot of people like to watch. If you have a significant amount of people making their way through your funnel, you have a huge opportunity to engage with them through video to help them along that journey.”

Takeaway for your law firm:

The average conversion rate for websites that use video is 4.8%, compared to 2.9% for websites without video.

But that statistic doesn’t really communicate the effect of video.

Video helps your law firm stand out from competitors. It shows your face and enables people to hear your story. It lets your prospective clients hear your voice and see your smile — those elements of selling “you” that can’t be captured any other way.

In an industry where making an emotional connection is of the greatest importance, there’s no tool like video.

Learn to Be Remarkable from Marketing Pioneer Seth Godin

Seth Godin is a best-selling author, pioneer of internet marketing, and the founder of many successful startups. Though there are many lessons to be learned from Seth Godin, our favorite is from his 2003 TED Talk — the presentation in which he first threw out the idea of “The Purple Cow.”

“The Purple Cow” is central to Seth’s advice for entrepreneurs and business owners, and it revolves around being remarkable. He describes a scene in which you’re driving past a field and see a cow. You don’t even really notice. Cows are so ubiquitous they’re almost invisible.

But in the next field there’s a purple cow.

Now that’s remarkable.

He expands on the idea as it relates to business owners in the TED Talk:

“The riskiest thing you can do now is be safe.

The safe thing to do now is to be at the fringes — to be remarkable.

And being very good is one of the worst things you can possibly do. Very good is boring. Very good is average. It doesn’t matter whether you’re making a record album or you’re an architect. If it’s very good it’s not gonna work. ‘Cause no one’s gonna notice it.

For instance, Silk put a product that does not need to be in the refrigerated section next to the milk in the refrigerated section.

Sales tripled. Why?

Milk, milk, milk, milk, milk. Not milk.

For the people who were there and looking at that section, it was remarkable.

[Silk] didn’t triple their sales with advertising, they did it by being remarkable.”

Takeaway for your law firm:

What makes your firm stand out from your competitors?

Whatever it is, make sure that you communicate it to prospective clients. Remember that they have more choice about who should represent their case than they ever have before, and, with the internet, more access to information.

And, as Seth says, being very good isn’t enough. Every law firm is very good. Every law firm has years of experience and wants to help their clients find justice.

You need to find the thing that makes you remarkable.

Crisp can help. To speak to a legal marketing expert about how to identify what makes your law firm a purple cow in a field of black and white, get in touch today.

Learn the Value of a Story from Crisp CEO Michael Mogill

Michael Mogill started Crisp Video with $500 in his pocket and infinite determination. In 2012, after 21 refusals, his 22nd in-person pitch got him his first gig doing video marketing and production.

7 years later, and Crisp is a multi-million dollar company, setting the industry standard by providing law firms with unparalleled coaching and marketing expertise that enables them to thrive.

But the most valuable lesson Michael learned in his climb to success?

The value of a story.

Here’s what Michael said in his best-selling book, The Game Changing Attorney:

“It might seem counterintuitive, but law firms can’t compete solely on how many cases they’ve won, how many partners they have, or how big their marketing budget is. 

Yes, these elements matter when it comes to experience and execution. However, none of them give prospective clients a sense of who you are as a human being, or the personal experiences that brought you into this profession in the first place. 

Your clients aren’t simply buying legal services, they’re investing in you as a human being. If they can’t connect with you, if they don’t have a sense of what drives you, then they have no reason to hire you.

Stories affect us on a neurochemical level. When we hear a good story, our brains release oxytocin, which promotes feelings of trust, empathy and volunteer cooperation.

When prospective clients know your story, where you came from, what you do, and why you do it, they begin to form a relationship with you. They feel connected to you. This feeling is what motivates them to pick up the phone and call you.”

Takeaway for your law firm:

Storytelling doesn’t have to be some big, intimidating concept. In reality, most good stories have a few common elements that you can harness for your own legal marketing:

  • Establish a connection with your firm’s story and unique value proposition.
  • Build trust and rapport through client testimonials.
  • Communicate knowledge and expertise through results and experience.
  • Provide hope and inspire action.

To get all Michael’s best guidance on defining your unique value proposition, communicating it through engaging video, and getting the most out of your law firm’s videos all in one comprehensive resource, check out The Game Changing Attorney. This is a book you’ll want to keep on your shelf to pull out every step of the way.

READ THE FIRST CHAPTER FREE

Learn to Look After Your Staff from Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson

Entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group Richard Branson has a quote that should be etched into the wall above your desk:

“Learn to look after your staff first and the rest will follow.”

Offering training and development to your team has been shown to improve employee retention, increase their value, and help make your law firm more profitable:

  • 70% of people say that job-related training and development opportunities have influenced their decision to stay at their job.
  • Companies that offer comprehensive training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalized training.
  • Companies that invest in employee training enjoy 24% higher profit margin versus companies who don’t.

So it’s not just a good thing to do, but good business sense as well.

Takeaway for your law firm:

Building a team of passionate, caring, and skilled individuals is the best way to build a successful law firm.

Essential subjects your team needs to become experts on:

  • Sales conversion: How to turn a prospect into a client with effective sales techniques.
  • Email marketing: How to effectively turn your law firm’s leads into clients with email campaigns.
  • Digital ads: How to effectively tap into the most high-impact advertising strategies to increase awareness and get clients.
  • Branding: Understanding the importance of a consistent brand, as well as how to consistently communicate that brand to prospective and existing clients.

Learn to Focus on the Client from Intuit CoFounder Scott Cook

In the legal industry, it’s easy to forget that your prospective and existing clients don’t know what you know. How many times have you had to stop halfway through a conversation with a prospective client to explain something they don’t understand? Arbitration vs. mediation vs. litigation vs. adjudication? For someone who didn’t pass the bar, it’s baffling.

And that’s why it’s so incredibly important that, when building your website, creating your content, and leveraging digital advertising, you keep the client at the forefront of your mind.

In an interview back in 2003, co-founder of financial software giant Intuit Scott Cook was asked “Do you think there’s a secret to your success?

Here’s his answer:

You know people [always] ask that question and the answer is always somewhat disappointing, because most of it is just ‘stick with the basics and do right by the customer.’

And if you’re ahead of the other guy understanding the customer — if you’re bringing to market the stuff that the other companies just haven’t figured out because you’re ahead in understanding and delivering for the customer — then they’re copying your old stuff. 

So I think instead of focusing on the competition, focus on the customer. Be dramatically willing to focus on the customer at all costs […] That generally takes you in the right direction. Anything else takes you in the wrong [one].

Takeaway for your law firm:

There are two primary lessons to be learned from Scott:

  1. Utilize strategies that your competitors aren’t: Consider video, digital ads, brand-building storytelling, etc.
  2. Focus on your client:
    • Create content that seeks to educate them about their legal rights and the legal world in general.
    • Address their needs by sharing testimonials from people like them that you’ve helped.
    • Communicate any similarities you have with them — either from your background or the reason you practice law.

Conclusion

Hopefully the insight from these industry-leading entrepreneurs has resonated with you as the leader of your law firm.

What can you take away?

It’s insight like this, from men and women who have already found great success, that can inspire your law firm to the same explosive growth.


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