There's no shortage of advice on-line from marketing gurus, most of whom seem to be American. Certainly my inbox is full of their words of wisdom, and I have invested much time in reading them. Those daily emails are like a security blanket – so long as I keep on reading them, I tell myself, something good will happen. They often seem to be telling me what I already know, but don’t act on – nothing wrong with that, indeed it’s extremely useful. But there’s something just a little foreign, a bit too American, about most of them, so their teaching isn’t necessarily what an English lawyer needs. On top of that, many of them aren’t lawyers, or if they are (and I think by now most Americans probably are lawyers) they haven’t practised much, or at all, or for a long time. If I were to be able to specify my ideal marketing guru, I would want someone who understood my profession – ideally, an English solicitor. One who had practised, and not too long ago, so knew at first hand how to bring in clients. One with proven rainmaking experience. And having found one, I thought I should tell readers of this blog.
Any marketing guru – or entrepreneur lawyer, or rainmaker, or whatever: you’ve got to expect creative titles with this sort of person – who offers an e-book with the arresting title The Naked Lawyer is likely to attract attention. Not a bad start: obviously someone with a good grasp of how to market. When the headings in volume 1 of that work include “wakey, wakey”, “status quo doesn’t rock any more” (never did for me, anyway), “eat my dictaphone” (by the way, that’s a trade mark that ought to be acknowledged) and “get naked”, few readers aren’t going to find their interest well and truly engaged.
Chrissie Lightfoot is the author of this work (volume 1 of which you can download from her website), and of lots of other things including the Law Society’s Gazette’s In Business blog. She is a solicitor (currently non-practising - too much else on her plate), so she knows about the peculiar needs of the profession: but she has also set up her own businesses, and understands what it’s like to be the client too
When I met her, she’d been waiting patiently despite not receiving the message that I was running late, and remained perfectly charming in spite of my tardiness. She’s the sort of person who’s always bubbling with ideas, and while the purpose of the meeting wasn’t a marketing tutorial her infectious enthusiasm coupled with my having read volume 1 was just as effective. The key message of Chrissie’s book is “reach out and relate”, or ROAR, and without needing further encouragement I’ve been reaching out and relating to my clients and contacts – or what I perceive as reaching out and relating: there’s scope for a lot of personal interpretation – ever since. I don’t know yet how well it works, but it makes me feel a whole lot more positive about what I’m doing.
I'm not going to let all my other gurus go, but I am going to pay particular attention to what this one says from now on. I’ll hang on, passively, to my security blankets for the time being – but the naked lawyer has no need of them.