Marketing Strategies for Moms

by admin 27. January 2014 13:07

By LESLEE COHEN

I have written previously about how to network when you are a working mom with limited time availability. In that blog, I emphasized the importance of trying various networking organizations until you find the right fit for you, meaning the one that has the best prospects for increasing your business generation if you get very involved and give as much as possible of your time and efforts to help others in the group. I think the other element to successful marketing on a time budget is to specifically define your niche and what distinguishes you from other lawyers offering the same services, and then be able to clearly and succinctly communicate that information to potential clients and referral sources. 

Defining Your Niche. In my 20+ years at large law firms, I represented clients in mergers and acquisitions and in general corporate legal matters such as the day-to-day contracts that are part of the life of virtually every business, as well as with respect to their securities law needs. Accordingly, when my partner and I first started our firm, I marketed myself as a jack-of-all-trades on the business law spectrum, thinking that by casting a wide net, I would draw many fish. While I did develop some business, it did not seem to me to be commensurate with the time I was putting into marketing. As I thought about what could be holding me back, I realized that I had vast competition as a general corporate lawyer but that there were almost no other very small firm securities lawyers. As a result, I decided to place more emphasis on this area of expertise. However, even within the securities law arena there are many subspecialties, so I thought about more specifically what I offered that differentiated my practice. Although I had represented publicly traded companies in connection with their annual, quarterly and other Securities and Exchange Commission filings, as well as their mergers and acquisitions, for most of my career to date, I knew that public companies needed to use larger law firms for “CYA” purposes, so that their shareholders would not be able to question them on engaging a very small and virtually unknown firm in the event that something went wrong. Therefore, I realized that I should focus on private companies. I had met and become close with an excellent referral source who is a technology lawyer and, with her help, was able to develop a specialty in representing start-ups and second stage entitles in connection with their money raises. I also thought out the clients that had decided to maintain their relationships with me after I left my previous firm, which were mostly real estate developers and funds, so I decided to focus on marketing to more of those entities.

 What Distinguishes You. The next question I encountered was how to convince prospective clients that I was the lawyer they should choose, over all of the very many other capable lawyers in the marketplace. The answer to this came quite easily to me once I had been practicing on my own for the first six months or so. While the constant pressure I faced at the big firm level was to bill as many hours as possible, the pressure I was facing now was to form new and close client relationships so that I had a steady stream of business. Accordingly, I was more than willing to put in some unbilled hours in return for building up a long-term clientele. Herein lied what made me different—clients would truly receive lower bills and better service from our firm, while working with lawyers who had practiced for over 20 years at large law firms and who would not pass their work down to much younger and less experienced associates.

Communication. The last piece of the puzzle is communication. When I spoke with referral sources about being a securities specialist, I was often met with blank stares in return. Then I realized that, like the concept of an “elevator pitch,” where you leave a potential client with a one or two liner that they won’t forget, I needed to more clearly explain what exactly being a securities lawyer meant. This was the only way that these referral sources would be able to recommend my services to potential businesses they encountered. Now, I tell prospects and referral sources that I help clients with their money raises, which has made a HUGE difference—no more glazed over eyes! It is understandable to the people with whom I meet and much more memorable. 

The beauty of having defined my “helping clients with their money raises” niche is that once I have represented clients in this capacity, they often do not have good corporate counsel in place and retain me on a much broader scale to help them with their contracts, mergers and acquisitions and general business law advisory needs. 

Leslee Cohen is a principal at Hershman Cohen LLC, a boutique corporate and securities law firm in Chicago that stands out from the crowd, combining big-firm experience with small-firm rates and relationships.  Leslee lives in Deerfield with her husband—the true love of her life—and her two amazing boys, ages 13 and 10.  She was a co-founder of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law and continues to serve on its board of directors, and she is very active in the Small Business Advocacy Council. Her interests outside of work and family include fashion and politics, and her passion is helping younger women rise to the top of their professions.

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Leslee Cohen | Life on the Lattice | Working Moms

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