Over the years, we have all witnessed and likely experienced many instances of conflict across all areas of life. The pandemic itself showed us what a crisis and conflict over our health can look and feel like. Now, we are watching the war in Ukraine play out.
In dealing with life’s conflicts, there are two perspectives. This, of course, includes your practice of law. You can approach conflict from a place of resistance and a view that you must struggle fight and win. You can also approach it from an active place of calm, peace, ease, grace, caring and a willingness to work with others for the highest good. Let’s call the latter perspective, a win-win.
What does conflict have to do with marketing your legal practice? This latter perspective and approach on conflict are one I have found to work very well, especially when applied to the subject of legal marketing. Most lawyers find marketing to be a challenging part of their practice and often struggle against it, creating conflict for themselves.
This article will explore: a) what it means to market from a heart-centered place; b) the pros and cons of this marketing mentality; and c) the top outcomes you could successfully achieve with this approach to marketing your legal practice.
What it Means to Market From a Heart-Centered Place
Five years ago, a well-respected and successful colleague of mine said something that has stuck with me. He said, “Katy you’re just too nice in business.” I was baffled. So much so that I asked, “You know I’m successful, so what does that comment mean?” He had no response.
I understood him well, though. What he was saying, without saying so, was that I was just too kind to others in business. In the world of business (and the practice of law is no exception) rather than working with a mindset of conflict and aggression, working from a place of kindness and compassion, a place where you lead with your heart not your focus just on profits, is not always seen as enough to succeed.
Marketing from a heart-centered place is just that. It’s about stopping and focusing on the greater good – not just what can benefit you and your practice. This may sound counter to what you may have been taught, even sounding ineffective, but it is just the opposite.
Too often marketing is done just with an end goal of getting new clients, making more money and being more successful. This model requires you to focus purely on yourself. That’s all well and good. However, your legal marketing can be even more effective if you start the process from a mindset of how you will serve to make the world a better place.
Specifically, start by focusing on the care you have for your clients and potential clients. For instance, instead of emailing a marketing “blast” out to everyone on your email list, focus on just ONE client or ONE prospective client’s avatar and compose that mass email as if it is going just to that one person. This will allow you to humanize your audience and come from a place of real caring for another human being.
Also, consider not allowing terminology like “email blast” to be used amongst your marketing team. Too often, we talk internally of clients and prospective clients as if they are dispensable assets or tools toward our ultimate success. We’re looking to strengthen connections, culture and awareness, internally and externally. Marketing with heart requires that the language we use represent our intentions. Thus, terminology becomes key.
This methodology allows you to focus on the characteristics and values of the recipient of your marketing, making them human for you. Humanizing your audience allows you to more easily market with heart; you come to realize that there isn’t just a blanket audience you are marketing towards. You are marketing towards people with needs, feelings and real struggles. At this point, the connection is clearly about your audience and NOT about you and your practice. Your audience will respond easily because they can tell you care about them and prioritize their success.
The Pros and Cons of Marketing with Heart.
When you market with heart, you emotionally resonate with your audience with ease and grace. People can always tell where you stand because they can tell how much you care about them. You come across as yourself authentically and don’t have to “try” so hard. There’s no façade and no game. Your marketing, and your practice, are real and people are emotionally attracted to you. You win clients over easier. You stand out to your colleagues, opposing counsel and friends with dignity and respect.
Some may say is there ever a “con” or a downside to this type of marketing? How could you ever mess up marketing with heart?
Anything that is overdone runs the risk of having a downside, as does marketing with heart.
I’ve seen numerous lawyers take the advice from me to market with heart without success. Lawyers would come to me frustrated wondering why it wasn’t working.
What was their problem?
I discovered the key was that they were overselling the “heart” part to the point where the recipient could feel that it was all an act deliberately designed to win business. You can’t fake heart. It must be an external reflection of your brand. People will always know if you are truly on their side or not and the result will be the opposite if they feel you are faking it- people will run away from you, not to you.
The Top Outcomes you Could Successfully Achieve from Marketing your Legal Practice with Heart.
There are numerous outcomes from marketing with heart.
- The most important is that you will tap into your humanity as you practice marketing with heart, learning how to feel true empathy and compassion for your audience and their pain and needs.
- Another outcome is that your conversion time goes down and as it does, so will your conversion costs. You’ll find your customer acquisition costs go down dramatically over the course of many months of implementing this practice.
- Your practice benefits because you are bringing all aspects of true yourself to your practice and just being yourself. You will be able to verbalize the benefits of your practice in your marketing materials easier. This is how organic growth flourishes.
- Diversity will flourish when you market with heart. Showing up authentic and caring about your audience means that you are willing to look at yourself and your uniqueness. Your real brand comes to the top. Once you honor your own uniqueness, you will then naturally see others’ differences with more respect.
- You will sleep better at night when you market with heart. Showing up with the intent of being of real service to those who need you is a beautiful act of grace that lets you sleep better at night knowing you are doing the right thing in the world.
In conclusion, marketing with heart is not a game or a strategy. It’s real. It’s using your feelings and emotions to tell your story of how you can serve to the audience that needs you most. While as with anything else, there are cons, the pros and outcomes always make marketing with heart a game changer for your practice and personal success.
About the Author
Katy Goshtasbi is a securities lawyer, diversity and inclusion leader and trainer, branding expert, and founder of Puris Consulting. Katy is past chair of the ABA Law Practice Division. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org