How long does it take to build a successful law practice? It takes as long as it takes. That’s my smug, lawyer-like answer, a variant on “it depends”.
In lay terms, I would say, “I don’t have a clue”. Because everyone is different.
What is your practice area? What’s your target market? How much experience do you have with marketing? And a slew of other questions that are a part of the equation.
Actually, there is one question that should be at the top of the list. In 80/20 parlance, it’s one of the “precious few,” a 20% factor that can determine 80% of your results.
How big is your list?
How many prospective clients do you know? How many prospective referral sources do you know? And, if you’re not starting from scratch, how many former clients and existing referral sources do you know?
Why is this more important than things like skills, experience, reputation, or work ethic? Because the shortest path to success is through other people. That’s true for any business, and even more so for a professional practice.
If you know lots of people who can hire you, for example, it only makes sense that the odds of your getting hired are better than the lawyer who knows very few. The same is true of referral sources.
You may not (yet) be very good at inspiring them to hire you or refer, but knowing more people (and staying in touch with them) can give you a big edge.
So, how big is your list?
Now, by list, I mean any kind of list–paper, digital, or even the list in your brain (note to self: write down the list in my brain so I don’t forget it).
In years gone by, we would talk about the size of your Rolodex. (Please, no selfies of your massive Rolodex.) Quality was important, but all things being equal, the bigger your Rolodex, the better.
Today, your list is predominantly digital. Quality is still important. And size still matters.
But today, there is another factor that can make a big difference.
If you’re doing it right, you have everyone’s email address and permission to use it. Which means you can increase the speed and frequency of communication. Which means you can achieve more results (i.e., bring in more clients) faster than you could if you only had their phone number and address.
No, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t call and talk to people. Talking (and meeting in person) allows you to build deeper relationships. Email will never supplant that. But with a couple of clicks, email allows you to tell hundreds of people or thousands of people about your upcoming seminar, updated web page, or special offer.
Can’t you do that on social media? Maybe. You don’t have any control over who sees what. It’s also less personal and thus, less effective.
Okay, you have a big list. I still can’t tell you how long it will take to build a big practice. But I can tell you that it will be quicker for you than for most other lawyers.
How to build an email list, and how to use it: go here