What I would love to accomplish is a better experience for both lawyers and vendors at all legal conferences.
We spend a lot of money to be at these conferences, from the high cost to attend, building booths, giveaways, sending salespeople and entertaining our prospective clients. That being said, we probably put too much pressure on our salespeople to obtain new business. This results in our salespeople being too darn pushy and a bit slimy at times. This results in attorneys hiding from the “dreaded” exhibit hall.
Here is the solution in my not so humble opinion. We (vendors) have a lot of expertise and knowledge that can help attorneys grow their practices. Therefore, we need to become trusted advisors, not just another salesperson. In my company, we have many clients that have known us for years before coming on board and I think the biggest contributor to this is the fact that we preach to our team to be AUTHENTIC. You don’t have to “sell” but just be your normal self. Take your time to educate the attorneys and create a TRUE relationship. How do you create great relationships—pretty easy… Give more than you receive. Give attorneys helpful advice that they can implement before they give your company a dime. Be committed to growing the attorneys business, not your own. We have a very long term view when it comes to partnering up with a firm. If we are not selected now, that is okay because it probably means someone OVERSOLD the attorney in the past. These attorneys come back over time, albeit a bit jaded.
Okay, we really gave it to the vendors and now it is your turn ;-).
Have you ever found yourself looking at the competition with a hint of jealousy of their success? Have you ever wondered how they get all these great ideas? Or how they are so knowledgeable about marketing/operations etc…Well, one of the reasons could be that these attorneys BRAVE the exhibit hall and take the time to speak with almost everyone. I truly believe that if you don’t spend the time to chat with these folks you are doing yourself a HUGE DISSERVICE. We live in our respective spaces as you live in the legal world. It is virtually impossible for you to stay up with all the latest and greatest digital marketing trends, video marketing trends, what is the best CRM, etc. I have been in this field for 20 years and know most of the vendors personally, and there is a TON of knowledge in the “hall” that can help you grow your business. Take the time to go meet with them, learn about what they offer and gain insights to help your firm. Don’t feel pressure to sign up and if the vendor is pressuring you, it is probably not a good fit. On the other hand, do not be afraid to take a RISK on an idea that you think might work because you have been burned in the past. If a person had a terrible experience with a lawyer, would you recommend against lawyers in the future? Just like anything, there are good vendors and bad vendors, your job is to find the best company for you your firm.