Law firm marketing is most effective when you have the chance to establish credibility and differentiate your firm in the minds of many people at one time. Public speaking is one of the best opportunities for this. In fact, in a recent survey, speaking engagements generated almost as many leads as referrals (26.2% to 26.9%) and were rated as the second most impactful marketing tool for businesses.
Sending attorneys to speak in front of groups allows your law firm to show its expertise and also meet with prospective clients all at once. After all, conferences are where the movers and shakers in your industry meet to stay abreast of current events in the legal industry, and getting a chance to take the stage will strengthen your position as a leading firm in your field.
The Right Audience is Key
The biggest key to capitalizing on public speaking as a marketing tactic is to select a speaking engagement based upon who will be in the room and not on how many people will be there or the location.
Don’t waste your time at a venue where your target audience is not. This may even mean that it’s worth paying to speak in front of an audience that is mostly made up of your target clients. Your time is valuable, so it’s not wise to speak at a CLE or another free venue if you’re just hoping there are one or two people listening that you would be interested in having as a client.
Once you’ve picked a place to speak, it’s time to compose your speech. As you do, make sure you’re considering what will resonate with your audience. Stories are compelling and help show prospects you know what you’re doing without you having to explicitly tell them. Consider dropping in a story or two about your practice to emphasize to the audience that you’ve been around the block a few times as a law firm.
Nobody wants to sit through what feels like a long commercial for your business. The goal of a speaking engagement is not to get new clients on the spot. Instead, focus on establishing trust and credibility with the audience. Don’t sell anything. No one is going to jump up on the stage during your speech and hire you on the spot. By providing them with good information and being the kind of person they’d want to work with, you’re well on your way to attracting more clients.
Expand Your Network
Ask the conference you’re attending for a list of attendees in advance. This way, you can identify specific people you may want to connect with. If possible, see if you can schedule a time in advance to meet during the event or seek them out during a social hour before or after your speech.
It’s never too early to start seeking out speaking engagements. Big events book their speakers 6 to 12 months in advance, so make sure you start planning early. Public speaking engagements provide you with the ability to explain concepts and answer questions, create long-lasting relationships with prospects, as well as afford future clients with the trust that your law firm is right for them.