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  • Liz Whitaker

Three Super-Smart-Power-of-Personal Things to Do with Directory Results

Right now, legal marketing teams all over the UK are preparing for tonight’s launch of Chambers 2020 (Wednesday 9th October). The race will be on to analyse the results, see where a team has (preferably) moved up a tier, monitor competitors, count how many lawyers have made the Notable Practitioners list and roll-out the all-important client quotes onto websites and profiles. This comes hot on the heels of Legal 500 with its equivalent rankings, Leading Individuals, Next Generation Partners and Rising Stars. In law firms and chambers, this stuff matters. It takes up a shedload of partner/marketing professional time preparing submissions and an often eye-watering amount of money is spent on hiring external directory expertise.

But the thing is, in the 48 hours after the publication, everybody does exactly the same thing at the same time, so it quickly becomes a commodity communication and therefore devalued.

The smart move is to call on the power of personal to leverage some well-deserved competitive advantage and value from those hard-earned results and quintessential quotes.

Note the tips below apply to any sector, in any country for any marketing activity where a) a third party has been asked to act as a referee b) the results of the marketing activity are significant.

· Before it goes out to the big wide world and after the partners/management team and internal communications (remember internal before external, Chapter 4*, also available, the first people on the external stakeholders list should be the referees who spoke to the directory researchers. By their very nature, these referrees must be VIPs/Ambassadors* or they wouldn’t be in the submission. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know if they were the source of a quote. It only matters that a) they see these quotes and results before anyone else and, if it is one of their quotes, how rewarding that they hear it from you first b) their possible contribution to the firm’s success is acknowledged. Use the In-Advance techniques outlined in Chapter 13*. The email communication should come from the Senior or Managing Partner, or Head of the relevant Team (see right messenger, page 61) and should read something along the lines of; "Thanks to your contribution, ABC team has been promoted to Tier (insert number) in the latest edition of Chambers Directory. Name of team has been recognised for 'quote from text' and (insert number) of our lawyers have been ranked as notable practitioners." Or, how about this for making an even bigger impact, do something really different ... pick up the phone and tell them (see Telephone Calls in Show Me The Real You* page 278) how grateful you are. In addition to making your referees feel a little bit special for their part in the process and that the time spent on being interviewed by researchers has led to a result, you are lining them up nicely to be included in the next round of submissions. You may also need them to act as reference for something else – say an award or a pitch – in which case they will feel that their investment is more worthwhile. A finishing touch to all your general communications might be to openly thank all the clients and contacts who made these results possible.

· If you are wooing any Upgraders* – those organisations and people on the top left hand side of the Propella grid (especially the Prize, Trojan Horse and Boomerang*) then the SP/MP/Head of Team could send selected people a personal bespoke email along the lines of "You might like to be one of the first to know that [Name of team] has been promoted to Tier [insert number] and recognised for 'quote from text.'" Also see phone calls above. Priceless, honestly. See the value of Google's ZMOT*, page 34. It is no use hoping they might increase their loyalty towards you by picking up your news off your website because they won’t be looking at your website. Use this opportunity to tell them directly.

· Don’t underestimate the impact of directory results on recruitment. Without any doubt, recruitment of the right lawyers remains the biggest challenge for senior/managing partners/team leaders I speak to. Use the directory results to max out your message to recruitment consultants, any candidates in play and any Boomerang* candidates. Letting them know the results directly signals loud and clear that there are opportunities for their career success by choosing to join a firm that has performed so well in the directories.

Sure, when you take the results in isolation, everybody performs well in the directories but only a small number make the effort to communicate that to key stakeholders and use it to build better business relationships.

All of this is dead easy, takes a bit of forethought and doesn’t cost a thing.

Then you can go all out on the website, profiles, social media, whatever in the warm knowledge that the people who really need to know were first in the queue … and will be sharing the news with others.

Adopted from Making the Impersonal, Personal – A Guide to Using Propella Across the A – Z Marketing Mix available to Gold and Silver Software clients.

*Terms from my best-selling book, The Power of Personal - How to Connect, Convince, and Create Exceptional Client Relationships available on Amazon.

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