Leveraging Your Reputation: Little things go a long way

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-sized law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs.  Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

Whether it’s an e-card, a handwritten note or a fruit basket, giving a token of appreciation to those involved with your firm is a smart way to keep business going strong. Partners and attorneys often get so wrapped up in handling their cases that they forget about doing the little things that go a long way. Use the following suggestions to make sure nothing and no one is forgotten.

Employees

What would employers be without employees? Lonely. Understandably, it’s difficult for large firms to keep track of and connect with all their employees. However, it doesn’t take big gestures to make a difference in every employee’s day. Two simple ways are to remember the date of each employee’s birthday and his or her company anniversary. Put it in your calendar and send a card (or cupcake) to his or her desk. Celebrating the holidays besides Christmas, Hanukah and Thanksgiving, such as Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day or Columbus Day, can also boost morale and increase employee satisfaction.

Clients

Firms without clients wouldn’t last long. Clients are why we come to work everyday, so it’s essential they feel appreciated. Plus, a word-of-mouth referral is the No. 1 way to new business, so it is a good idea to make a good impression. Similar to employee recognition, remembering birthdays or anniversaries shows that we care on a personal level. A small no-reason-at-all-thank-you-for-being-our-client gift (Edible Arrangements, Starbucks gift card) or personalized card can also make a big impact.

Business Associates

These are the people who give you advice, support you during tough times and refer others to your firm. These are your own personal cheerleaders (minus the pom poms). So what can you do for them? Besides reciprocating what they’ve done for you, you can write them a recommendation on their LinkedIn profile, submit a testimonial for them to use on their website or tweet about their expertise and success to increase their exposure. Nothing says “love” like a 140-character shout-out on Twitter!

Prospects

Which came first: the client or the prospect? No, it’s not a trick question. The answer is the prospect came first, which is why this group is just as important as the rest. People don’t want to feel like you are simply trying to sell them just to get their money. It’s about developing relationships and having an approach that says, “I really want to help you.” This is where the best client-firm relationships come from. Even though you haven’t been hired by them (yet), there’s no harm in sending articles related to their problems, news stories to note or links to helpful tips. Developing trust is an essential ingredient in the recipe to convert the prospects of today into the clients of tomorrow.

Media

About 99 percent of the time, we are asking reporters for things we want. What do you think would happen if we asked reporters what they want? The end of the world?! No. More often than not, I’ve found that reporters will appreciate your interest in knowing exactly the topics they are writing about and sources they are looking for. It helps you find the right fit and makes the reporter happy.

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