Many years ago, we were working on branding for an oncologist. This oncologist’s story had an unusual, resonant component: Within a very short time, during his formative years, he lost both his father and his uncle to cancer. It shook his world. That was when he vowed to become a cancer doctor. And as a cancer doctor, one of the things he wanted his patient to know is they weren’t alone. He was there to be a partner in this treatment. And if the patient ever felt alone and in need of a conversation, they had the doctor’s personal cell phone number.
This doctor’s brand was magnetic to someone experiencing the emotional upheaval of a cancer diagnosis. The reason is not because this doctor was the best in the nation, or was oncologist to the celebrities, or that he was a media personality. His brand was magnetic because he understood something integral to human nature: people want relationships.
This is not an exhortation for you to hand out your personal cell number willy nilly. Hardly. Instead, it’s a recognition of a fundamental truth about hiring a lawyer. As you know, nobody really wants to do it. Instead, they feel they must hire a lawyer. Often, they feel this way under duress. It might not be as serious as a cancer diagnosis, but it’s serious enough that they feel a loss of control.
So, how do you persuade this person under duress that you’re the lawyer they need? One way is to let your prospect peek behind the curtain. The oncologist was good at it. He had a personal story that implied not just sympathy but empathy.
We know an employment law attorney who was once employed by a big litigation firm. She defended corporations against charges made against them by employees. Eventually, she stopped feeling good about her job. She went out on her own, and began representing the plaintiffs. And her story resonated with her base of prospects. This made her appealing, and made the prospect feel that this would be a worthy relationship.
Another client, an estate planning attorney, had a personal story of loss that resonated with her prospect base. Her own father had died without an estate plan, and her mother was left bereft and destitute. She dedicated her life to making sure what happened to her family didn’t happen to others. Her prospects immediately felt this was a professional with whom pursuing a relationship was a worthy idea.
People don’t want to hire attorneys, but they do want relationships. And the more you can bring to the table about the intangible benefits of having a relationship with your firm, the more likely you are to be magnetic to the person who needs your service. Your personal story matters, especially when it has relevance to the prospect who might want to hire you.
IT IS PRESENTED AS A TRUTH THAT "Without SEO, lawyers die." What if you defy this ostensible truth? In a business where referral is king, SEO is useful. It just isn't a silver bullet. Instead, be human. Be evocative. Be the best part of you. A search engine can't understand that. But your client can.
Blaine Parker writes good words for good lawyers. Learn more at Firm Appeal.