The Missing Link to Marketing Success

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Everyone knows about the paved path associated with good intentions and no one wants to go there. As a lawyer, you are smart and talented. Every day you win cases, close deals and help clients solve the most difficult problems in their personal and professional lives. Why then, when faced with the best of intentions toward marketing, do you procrastinate, “back burner,” avoid and assign low priority to the very activities that will ensure the continued success and growth of your practice? The answer can be found in one word – motivation, or lack thereof.


In conducting research on motivation as it relates to marketing success, I came across a few quotes, many of which you have heard or seen emblazoned on a motivational poster, the ones that depict sailing teams and soaring eagles. Their goal, in one statement or graphic, is to produce a quote so compelling and memorable it will enter the deepest recesses of your psyche and create a new habit. I encourage you to reflect on these motivational statements:

• “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

• “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart

• “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

• “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

• “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” – Henry Ford That was it, right? You’re ready to turn over a new leaf and make marketing your No. 1 priority. What more do you need?


As you might know, I am a marketing coach to well-intentioned lawyers across the country. We meet, talk, brainstorm and there is a lot of energy and excitement around the next steps to be taken to achieve success. You’re excited about everything and so am I! I send you a detailed summary of our discussion with what I’m going to do and what you’re going to do to implement your marketing plan.

Fast forward two weeks. We have done what we promised, but you have been really busy with client work and somehow, your best intentions to follow up with the three contacts we discussed, write that blog, update your LinkedIn profile, draft that presentation outline, update your representative experience have not happened. Lack of action is the top reason you are not achieving your best marketing intentions.

Here are a few real world tips I have implemented with my clients. These tips have changed, motivated and revolutionized the ways in which my clients implement their marketing plans:

Treat Marketing as You Would a Billable Client – Schedule time on your calendar every work day even if it’s only 15 minutes to weave marketing through the very fabric of your practice. My clients who have done this have experienced tremendous results. Do something simple every day to move your marketing plan forward. Because what’s so important is to ….

Make Marketing Manageable – Don’t think you need to follow up with all of your 725 LinkedIn contacts, or the 1,000 Outlook contacts you have. Define your top 10 lists of current clients, past clients, prospective clients and referral sources. By building your marketing plan around a reasonable group of 30 or so people, you can ….

Be Strategic About Your Contacts – Acknowledge you do not have a “mass market” message. Rather, the value you deliver as a lawyer is unique, tailored and specific to working with select clients to resolve their legal issues. Don’t think you need to do more advertising. Focus on relationship building and taking it to the next level with your best contacts. You always want to have ….

Next Steps: The Key to Your Marketing Success – When you do take your valuable time to meet with an A level contact, make sure that before your meeting you have visited their website, LinkedIn profile and searched their name on Google. Know what you want the next step to be before you meet! Having a next step gives you permission to follow up again! It is also really important to ….

Celebrate Small Successes! – When you exercise, you increase your strength; when you diet, you lose weight. Make sure you celebrate the small successes on the path to reaching your growth goals. You need to set your expectations to account for the many small successes you will have on your way to reaching your ultimate goals. It’s also very wise to ….

Envision Your Future – You have met your marketing goals. You are making more money than you ever thought possible. What’s different in your life? Allow yourself to experience the success you want to achieve. Where do you live? How do you spend your down time? Which organizations are you now able to financially support? What trips are you planning?

Motivation is a personal strength and for many, a personal struggle. There will always be legitimate reasons to put off until tomorrow what you could/should do today. If you are caught in the struggle of procrastinating marketing, take heart in the encouragement from a leading philosopher of our times, “Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

Terrie Wheeler

Terrie Wheeler

For over 25 years, Terrie S. Wheeler, MBC, has been helping lawyers and law firms develop high-impact, low-cost marketing strategies that differentiate you and your firm. Terrie teaches marketing and client service at Mitchell Hamline School of Law and the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Terrie is a regular contributor to Attorney at Law Magazine and the American Bar Association’s Small Firm | Solo Section E-Report. Terrie is the founder and president of Professional Services Marketing, LLC.

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