When your clients meet you it is usually during a time of great stress and concern in their lives. Their only focus is on what you can do to help them, now. They don’t see you as another member of their community who lives and works in the same town as they do; moreover you probably think that they don’t even care. Their focus is on whether or not you can “win” for them. This may be true. But, what makes clients come back for your help when they are hurt or refer other family members and friends is not just whether you “won” for them. Most great business leaders and sales professionals will tell you – “people buy from people”. So it is very important that your clients see you as a person. One of the most valuable tools for personalizing your firm is by letting your clients know – “what you have done for them lately” and what that is – is generally that you have given your time, talents and passion to the community around you. Your gifts to the community speak volumes about you as a person and even more about the firm that you represent. It tells them that you believe in giving back, about helping people and in justice for all.
There is nothing wrong with “shouting your involvement from the roof tops”. Every time you or a member of your law firm does pro bono work, makes a charitable donation, volunteers or supports a non-profit, you should, in some way, let your clients know. Your potential clients want you to win for them, but almost as important to them is working with someone they feel is a genuinely good person. It is crucial to let them know that you are a real person, you are a part of their community, and that you believe in giving back. Your clients need and want to know you and want to see you as a person with a heart, with passion and commitment.
You should put your involvements and contributions on your website and in your firm’s newsletter. Remember: This is one time when it really is ok to toot your own horn! But, it is also important to note that charitable and community involvement are wonderful sources of “free advertising”. News coverage on TV, radio and newspapers is plentiful when you are doing something for the common good. Usually news sources are more inclined to pick-up press releases about community involvement – so you should send them. In addition, the charities themselves want to promote involvement and giving and usually have their own highly visible websites and are great links for your website too.
So, the next time you volunteer at the local soup kitchen or your family adopts a new pet from the animal shelter – let your clients know! You’ll be amazed at how much they love getting to know you and learning what you have done for them lately!