Understanding the Consumer Lifecycle: From Discovery to Referrals

Posted by dscaringi on February 17, 2016

Creating a marketing plan is an important step towards bringing in new business.  Before you draft a plan, there is some considerations to think through. Do you know what you want to accomplish with your plan?  Do you understand what your contacts may be looking for? Do you know how visible you are at this starting point? It is important to understand the lifecycle of a client from discovery to referral.  Here are the stages of developing your business relationships.

  • Discovery.  Discovery marks the very beginning of a business relationship. At this point, your contacts (aka future consumers) have identified their needs and they will begin to educate themselves on the various options to fill that need. The trick to getting discovered is being there before they have realized the need.
  • Education.  Your goal is to provide ongoing education about who you are, what problems you solve and how you handle matters. By building relationships before your services are needed, you establish visibility for yourself over a long period of time, increasing your credibility.
  • Engagement. While you are educating your networks on what you do, it is important to engage them with the content you provide. Be available to answer questions, help others in their network and establish your relationship.
  • Activate. When a potential hiring scenario is established, you can now talk to the prospect about a business relationship.  Make a proposal to help them resolve a problem and ask them for the work.
  • Get hired. If the chemistry is right, and you have done all of your homework along the way, you will get hired.  Now it is crucial to translate this client into a regular, loyal and satisfied customer.
  • Referrals. When your customer is at their happiest with your service, now is the time to ask them to refer you to others prospects who may need your services.  If they are satisfied, there shouldn’t be any barriers to sharing their good experiences and send you referrals.

Now that you understand the lifecycle of developing your clients from scratch, it is time to build a marketing plan that wraps in all of these stages. Nurturing relationships is the only way to build long-term, satisfied clients who will refer you to others.

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Reach Annual Business Goals? Don’t Worry…There Are 10 More Mondays.

Posted by dscaringi on October 19, 2015

Do you know that December 31, 2015 is just 10 short weeks away?  As Halloween approaches, many people turn their thoughts towards holiday shopping and a rigorous search for winter gear. (Especially after the record snowfall we had in Boston last year!) There is so much to do during the holiday season– it is easy to lose focus on business goals.

I encourage clients to engage in an annual business reflection around this time of year… time to review the last 10 months. I think most of us want to complete the year on a strong note and are checking off some of those proverbial “boxes” along the way. But what if you haven’t been so diligent about checking your progress during the year? Where do you begin so that you aren’t overwhelmed, or worse… disappointed?  Here are a few suggestions for making the most of these last ten Mondays:

  • Review your marketing plan. Establish what you have accomplished and what is left on your plan.  Trust me on this one, but no one has accomplished their entire marketing plan!  There is always more to be done, but take a moment to recognize what you have done.
  • Now that you know what you have and have not accomplished, prioritize your goals for the last ten weeks. Don’t try to take on too much in this timeframe, but rather select one or two priorities and create an actionable plan for working towards those goals.
  • Book ten, thirty minute time slots in your calendar, one each week. Spend those precious minutes forwarding your marketing and business development plans. Do not reschedule these ‘meetings’ with yourself.  Make them a priority!
  • Review your contacts list; make sure it is up to date and get it ready to use.
  • Reach out to one or two of your contacts each week. Email or call specific individuals to see how they are doing, ask about their year and offer helpful information.
  • Decide how you will reach out to your contacts this holiday season. Do you have an annual holiday message?  Start writing it now. Make a date on your calendar for sending out your communication.
  • Revise your current marketing plan and position yourself to get started right in 2016. Embrace your previous success and expand upon it for 2016.

If you haven’t made the impact you hoped to achieve last year, it isn’t too late. Choose to make the most of these last few months of this year. Ten weeks is plenty of time to set yourself in motion if you are consistent and committed.  Happy Fall!

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Cross Servicing: Does Your Team Have the Criteria to Be Successful?

Posted by dscaringi on October 5, 2015

Cross servicing (a.k.a.: cross selling) is a crucial piece of successful law firm business development programs. In my conversations with attorneys, I often find that there is a universal struggle with how to start the cross servicing process. When evaluating your firm for successful cross servicing initiatives, it is important to make sure your team has the proper criteria in place.  Here is a simple checklist to find out:

  • Willingness to share and develop relationships.  Most law firms have this piece in place (finally!). In many circumstances, gone are the days of lawyers hoarding clients; keeping them close for fear of them being stolen. These days, lawyers know that collaboration is the key to deepening relationships.
  • Trust. Trust is crucial for success across all aspects of running a successful law firm. Without trust, things fall down pretty quickly before you even can get to cross servicing!
  • Experience. Experience is the ‘cost of admission’ for successful cross servicing in the legal business. Attorneys should always be building upon their experience using tools like mentoring, CLEs, webinars, etc… In other words- take an active role in developing your skills in your niche.
  • Deliberate, mutual and concerted effort. Cross servicing is not one-sided.  You need to work together to make this work. There is no other way.
  • Routine and open communication. Remember to create the habit of offering clients add-on services provided by fellow attorneys.  Also, make cross servicing part of your team meetings, practice group discussions and industry group gatherings.
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