The upcoming Virginias Chapter Continuing Marketing Education (CME) Conference features a distinguished faculty of legal and marketing professionals who will guide attendees through the constantly changing world of business, examine how to set and achieve goals, and provide insight into best practices and trends in the legal marketing industry.
Today brings another faculty post, this time from Steve Hughes, President of Hit Your Stride, LLC, a consultancy that helps attorneys look and sound smart when they talk. Today, Steve offers a preview of his CME program: ”Tell Me More: Creating Interest in Your Practice With Everyone You Meet.”
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What if your attorneys were missing out on hundreds of potential prospects and other beneficial business connections every single day? And what if they could tap into these new relationships without any additional cost? It may sound too good to be true, but in reality, the opportunity is there for every firm, every attorney, and every marketing director.
Here’s the deal. Despite how many “friends” you may have on Facebook or the number of Twitter followers you boast, most people are connected to about 250 people. These 250 connections are people we’ve met in person who know us, like us, and trust us, i.e., when your name appears on their caller ID, it elicits a smile not a sigh. To be sure, most of the people you meet on a daily basis will never need the legal services you provide, however they probably know someone in their network of 250 who might.
So, when you meet people they invariably ask you this question early in the discussion, “What do you do for a living?” If you answer with a conversation-killing noun as opposed to a brief, leading, and engaging phrase, the opportunity for rainmaking is thwarted before it ever has a chance to begin. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Think about it, when your attorneys are asked what they do and they answer, “I’m an attorney,” what happens next? Does the other person shout, “Hey, everybody! We’ve got ourselves a lawyer in the house! Pull up a chair and she’ll regale us with tales of contracts and motions and mergers, oh my.” (If that does happen, time to switch the coffee pots to decaf.) More than likely, the person might respond with a polite, but disinterested follow-up question like, “Oh, what do you practice?” Or, “What firm?” Either way, the conversation usually goes nowhere. There’s no real connection between what your attorney does and the person they’re talking to. A missed opportunity. The solution to this problem is certainly not a traditional elevator pitch.
Elevator Pitch R.I.P.
For those of you who happen to reside under a rock or if you’re new to marketing, an elevator pitch is a short, compelling explanation of your product or service that can be told during a typical elevator ride (usually 30 seconds to two minutes). First of all, don’t talk to people on elevators. It’s creepy. Second, do you realize how long 30 seconds is? If you’ve ever had to listen to someone drone on about his business for half a minute, it feels like geologic time is passing. Glaciers can melt and refreeze by the time the average elevator pitch is completed. An elevator pitch is a great way to lull people to sleep and end a conversation quickly. The solution is a Tell Me More statement that encourages additional questions and keeps the conversation going.
The “Tell Me More” Statement – The Door to BD Success
Quite simply, a Tell Me More (TMM) statement is a short, intriguing, benefits-laden phrase that creatively describes what you do for a living. Think of it as a movie trailer—you don’t give away the entire plot, but you provide enough information to make the audience want to know more. A well-played TMM statement sparks a natural exchange of information and the best part is that everything you say about your practice or clients is delivered at the behest of the listener. You’re fully in command of the conversation, but the other person is the one asking all the questions, continually asking for permission.
Why do TMM statements work? Unlike a textbook-sounding elevator pitch, a good TMM causes people to be curious about your firm and curiosity is a magical thing. From a biological perspective, curiosity stimulates two key areas of the brain—the part that anticipates information and the part that comprehends it, making the information richer. Plus, curiosity has been linked to elevated activity in the brain’s memory centers so your TMM will more likely stick with your listener after your meeting.
Some Good Tell Me More Statements
Here are some TMM statements that lawyers are using successfully to engage prospects and keep the possibility of new business on the table.
- “I work with dead people.” (estate planning attorney)
- “I make ideas burglar-proof.” (IP attorney)
- “Fraud is my BFF.” (a younger civil fraud attorney)
- “I help CEOs sleep at night.” (compliance attorney)
- “I’m Uncle Sam’s biggest nightmare.” (tax attorney)
- “I’m in the relationship business—hooking up people and land.” (real estate attorney)
Of course, the TMM is just the beginning of the process. What you do next is critical because you need to carefully divulge what you do so that you give your prospect just enough information to keep him interested, but not so much that you come across as a self-focused bore - not unlike the cast of “Jersey Shore”.
Attend “Tell Me More” at 1:45pm at LMA Virginias CME on October 19, 2012
We will explore how TMMs work, how you can craft your own, and how you can help your attorneys network more effectively using Tell Me More. You’ll walk away with practical ideas you can apply at your firm right away. See you there!
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He’s good, eh? We hope you’ll join us as we learn from Steve at the CME. In the meantime, Steve can be contacted at steve@HitYourStride.com or 314-821-8700.