Cut through the noise to reach your clients

 Shelly Swanson and Liz Cerausuolo, 

The Daily Record Newswire
Your clients have so many choices when it comes to legal representation. Their inbox is full, the networking events are crowded, the noise is deafening, and the competition is overwhelming.

So how can you stay top-of-mind without getting lost in the shuffle? How do you break through the noise and get heard?

1) Listen first, respond second.
Listening to your potential clients will help you fully understand their business needs, giving you the foundation you need in order to break through the noise. Only when you speak their language, know their business model, and sense the issues they face can you respond to their needs. When you understand your clients’ competition, appreciate the clutter they must sift through, and see the world through their eyes, you can begin to build trust.

2) Be relevant.
Your clients’ time is valuable and you have a limited window to get their attention and provide information. Be specific and direct, communicating in a style that’s familiar and preferred, whether it be email, phone or face-to-face. If your firm is sending out a client alert that pertains to the client because of a certain issue, note that in a personal message. Take what you learned from listening and invest the time to apply it to the messaging in your communications.

3) Always add value.
Clients may have countless choices, but you have one powerful differentiator: value. When communicating with your clients and prospects, habitually ask yourself: “Am I offering something of value?” If the answer is no, restructure your message to include a valuable takeaway. Is your client planning an upcoming vacation? Send a link to a unique travel itinerary. Is his or her child visiting collages? Find out which schools are being considered and, if possible, offer to make an introduction to someone you know at one of those universities. Remember, value means different things to different people, so make your message meaningful from your client’s vantage point.

4) Incorporate a call to action.
Look for ways to incorporate a call to action into your communications. Here are some suggestions:

• Boomerang effect — Add something that will encourage the reader to reference an email more than once, such as a user guide or a list of tips.

• Share icons — Make it easy for the reader to share the content of your communication with constituents.

• Active takeaway — Include a bit of need-to-know information or a new practice the reader can implement.

• Catchy headline — Use a “You had me at hello”-type subject line to draw the reader in, encouraging him or her to open and read the email — even if it means modifying your firm’s standard line to personalize it for your client.

5) Follow up.
Don’t be a “helicopter attorney” who hovers annoyingly or zooms down only when your client has an issue. Continue to listen. Keep on top of your clients’ news, competition, product releases and even cases that you aren’t working on. When you have news or something pertinent to share, you’ll be prepared to cut through the noise and get information to your clients efficiently and effectively, making you the go-to choice for advice.

Liz Cerausuolo is director of communications for Fish & Richardson in Boston and is vice president of the Legal Marketing Association of New England. She can be contacted at Shelley Swanson is the associate director of marketing and business development at Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen in Boston and is president-elect of LMANE. She can be contacted at