While there are many ways to market your business and services, one of the most surefire ways to ensure a captive audience will listen to what types of services and technology you can provide them is to host a lunch-and-learn event, according to a group of panelists who shared tips for marketing technology at NCRA’s 2015 TechCon event held April 10-12 in Denver, Colo. Panelists included firm owners Shelly Hunter, RPR, CRR; Christine Phipps, RPR; Lora Appino Barnett, RMR; and Kelly Hanna, RPR, CRR, CMRS.
“Lunch and learns are one of the most effective ways to teach clients about what you can do. It is a captive audience. They are there because they want to be there,” said Hunter.
But how do you get your foot in the door to host this type of event?
According to Hanna, a good way is to approach the attorneys you work with after completing an assignment. Invite them to a lunch and learn and ask them who you should contact in their office to set it up. Then, follow up with that person and let them know that the attorney gave you their name to set up an event. Avoid going through the receptionist, she noted.
“Do your homework on the firms you want to work with. Find out who the contact person is in their office. Do they have an office manger, an IT manager, a chief of litigation person? Always make calls first before sending emails to keep it more personal,” she said.
According to Phipps, the soft sell is also a good approach to help get a foot in the door with a potential new client. She said she often will go into a law firm she is working with and show the secretary how to use her firm’s online office. “Once I show her, then I ask if we can come in and show the entire staff what we have to offer for them. People want to hear what you can do for them, not how great you are. That will come as they learn what you can do for them,” Phipps said.
Hunter shared that her firm creates a different card to attach to final transcripts every quarter. The cards feature a different service her firm offers and are also posted on the company website. If a visitor clicks on one of the cards to learn more about the service, they are prompted to contact Hunter’s office and set up a demonstration of the featured service.
“We also found that larger law firms have monthly meetings with the entire litigation team. We contact the paralegal for the firm since they typically set up the meeting. Since everyone wants to look good, when we come in and present and do a good job, it makes the paralegal look good,” she added.
Barnett noted that every bar association has a young lawyers group and advised attendees to search these groups out. “They love new technology and are often much more receptive to it than older attorneys,” she said.
Barnett also said that her firm has one person dedicated to seeing who is requesting transcripts once a job is finished. That person then checks to see if the requester is already set up on the firm’s depository. If not, the requester is contacted and offered a demonstration on how to use the firm’s system, including an introduction to the other services the firm offers.
Other tips shared by the panel to help find opportunities to demonstrate the services a court reporting firm can offer included:
- Attend bar association, paralegal events, and conventions to participate in networking opportunities.
- Check with the state bar association to find out how you can offer CLE credits for demonstrating the services and technology you can provide.
- Sponsor events such as a hole in the bar association’s annual golf tournament, or other events hosted by professional groups within the legal arena.
- Exhibit at meetings.
- Contact local colleges that offer legal degrees and offer to sponsor an event or provide a demonstration to show young legal professionals the technology that is available.
Finally, be sure to hold staff meetings to make sure your entire staff is on board with the message your firm wants to send to prospective clients. Be sure everyone has a clear understanding of what services and technology you can offer. Arm your staff to go into the field and sell your services.