Build your client base: Tips for lawyer speaking engagements

lawyer presentationsLawyer speaking engagements are a powerful way to introduce yourself to potential clients. While this idea may seem terrifying, sharing your expertise and knowledge with others is a great way to market your services. Clients want to hire lawyers that they know, trust, and like. Meeting you and hearing about you and your services will prompt clients to want to hire you.

FIND YOUR AUDIENCE

Check out local Speakers Groups, Rotary Clubs, and Chamber of Commerce Groups to see if they need speakers with your expertise. Determine who your target client is and try to reach them where they are. For example, if you are a business lawyer, seek out business networking groups.

For the purposes of marketing to families with young children, we found it was effective to speak to Mom’s clubs and church groups. Through these groups, we met our “target” audience and we received very positive responses from our presentations.

SELL YOURSELF, NOT YOUR FIRM

Keep in mind not to “sell” at speaking engagements. That only puts people off. Instead of selling, deliver tips and solid content so that the audience perceives value for the time and attention they are giving you. Use this opportunity to get people to know, like, and trust you.

At our presentations, we explained what documents such as a Will, Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate, and Living Will do and do not do. We provided tips for choosing the right guardian for their children. We did not use scare tactics or horror stories to get calls to action. People appreciated that we gave our time to explain difficult concepts about estate planning. Most of our talks aimed at taking the mystery out of estate planning and clearing up misconceptions. We presented information that would led to in-depth questions, which often led to new clients.

GIVE SOMETHING OF VALUE

Leave your prospective clients with something of value, not just your business card. Offer handouts of your presentation outline or tips on a particular topic. Include your contact information of course. Perhaps offer a free 1 hour consultation. Your last impression is as important as your first impression.

While lawyer speaking engagements may be uncomfortable, they are a useful tool to introduce yourself to new clients and build your law practice.

Catherine Hodder, Esq. and Kelly C. Sturmthal, Esq., authors of Law Office on A Laptop: How to Set Up Your Own Successful Mobile Law Practice, provide practical e-books, advice and support for solo practitioners and entrepreneurs.