Unfortunately, for many the answer is no. Most attorneys market their practices with a cardboard cutout voice that’s both phony and stiff. It’s not entirely their fault but the results are just as dreadful. Many of the smart little girls and boys who made it through our educational system and came out as licensed attorneys were led to believe that the only thing that would attract clients is this distant, professional, know it all… devoid of any regular human frailties.
I understand this because I grew up the same way. In fact, I devised this sort of ideal person and would run every conversation through a little automatic censorship device that cut out anything that didn’t fit the image. I did it all with the mistaken belief that this was the only way to get love, respect and clients.
It was only when I discovered that people wanted the real me underneath the facade that business started pouring in. It turns out that clients want to know, like and trust the people they do business with, including (and especially) their trusted advisors. Like a doctor with good bedside manner, attorneys need to give their clients a glimpse of the person behind the profession.
The solution? Dump all the pretense and develop a central authentic story of why you do what you do and have every marketing message refer back to it.
For example, one of our Academy members tells the story about receiving the dreadful call that his father had died in a tractor accident at the family farm. The family watched as the clumsy probate system dragged on and drained the estate and he realized that he never wanted another family to go through what he had experienced. It was then that he decided to devote his estate planning practice to helping others avoid these problems.
Now, that’s an authentic mission statement. What’s yours?
One of the first things we do with every new Academy member is mine the experiences in their lives for their own authentic voice. But it shouldn’t stop there. Reveal yourself to your clients. Tell them about your pets, your children, your staff. Let them know what’s going on in your life and watch how they warm up to you and refer their friends.