Speaking at conferences and seminars is an effective way to generate business leads for your law firm. It boosts your credibility in your practice area, increases your visibility, and helps you build relationships with potential clients.
Of course, not everyone who hears your talk will become your client. Like any marketing strategy, this is a numbers game where you have to present yourself to as many potential clients as possible.
But how many of those attendees turn into your clients a few months down the line isn’t totally out of your control. Below are the strategies to generate business leads, and turn them into clients.
1. Speak in Front of Decision Makers
You shouldn’t speak at every conference that invites lawyers, or even events related to your practice area.
Only target events where the attendees have the decision-making capability to hire you, such as executives, CEOs, or small business owners.
For instance, if you work in corporate law, speaking at an event hosted by the American Bar Association for other lawyers might not be a great idea, if you’re looking for potential clients. You’re better of targeting events for executives that’s also related to corporate law, such as a conference on compliance strategy, or a risk management summit.
Ask these questions before you pitch an event organizer, or before you accept a speaking invitation:
- Who is your typical attendee?
- What is their typical job title?
- What is the average attendee turnout?
- What topics are your audience interested in?
You won’t generate business leads speaking to events for lawyers, because most of the attendees are there to promote themselves, too. Sure, you could get a referral from another lawyer with a different area of practice, but you can’t rely on them to generate business leads for you.
2. You’re There to Share Knowledge, Not to Sell
Your talk should be educational and free of jargon. Don’t just spout legal theories or motivational speeches either; your talk should be actionable and relatable to your audience.
You might think sharing this information leaves your audience with no reason to hire you. That’s certainly a possibility, but the people going the DIY route aren’t your target clients. These people may refer potential clients to you, but they won’t hire you themselves. And if they do end up hiring you, it may not end well since DIY-ers often try to get the cheapest price possible.
Your target clients are people interested to learn, but would rather have an attorney do it for them. Some of them don’t have the time, while others just want professional help to make sure everything is done right.
Knowing how to distinguish which of the attendees is part of your target market is crucial in generating business leads.
3. Attend Events
Event organizers often chose speakers that were attendees of previous events they hosted, or an event with a similar topic. Why?
Attendees of a similar conference are somewhat familiar with what the audience looks for in speakers, such as the topic of their talks, and their manner of delivery.
Attending other events in your niche also shows that you care about the subject enough that you’re willing to pay to learn from others, who may have a different point of view. This shows you’re not just an opportunist looking for a stage to show off, and an audience to sell to.
4. Choose Trending Topics
Choose a title that provokes people’s curiosity. Yes, the topic should be useful, but that’s not an excuse to pick a title that reads like a chapter in a dense college textbook.
Since most businesses are in it to make money or save money, you can use that desire to catch their attention.
“The Hidden Goldmine in Your Tax Records”
A talk about how good tax strategy can increase your profits.
“Secrets and Lies: Uncovering Fraudsters in Your Company”
A talk about finding fraudulent activities that may put your company in legal or financial trouble.
Another trick is to connect your topic with a recent trending news item. For instance, if you specialize in fraud, you can connect the topic to the recent Wells Fargo fake accounts scandal. Example: “How Not to be Wells Fargo of Credit Unions,” is a good title if you’re talking to executives of Credit Unions.
5. Plan Your Event Strategy, Not Just as a Speaker
Create a plan to get the attendees contact information before and after the event in case there are walk-in attendees.
You can usually get this information from the event organizer. You can also hold a contest where you ask attendees to give their business cards in exchange for one raffle entry. The card that gets picked wins the prize. Another strategy is to show people your email address at the end of your presentation then ask them to email you if they want a free copy of the presentation or handouts.
6. Start at Small Events
Don’t dismiss small events, especially if you’re just starting out. In some cases, the audience at smaller events are more targeted. Other times, it’s just better to practice your delivery at small gatherings first, so you don’t end up stuttering when it’s time to face a big crowd.
Smaller events can also serve as your ticket to breaking into bigger conferences. Try local chapters of your target industry, such as the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants instead of going after the National Society of Accountants.
Public speaking isn’t the last step to generate business leads for your law firm. The last, and most important step, is the follow-up.
Prepare your first email days before the event, so you can plug it in your email marketing software along with the email list you got from the organizer. Doing this in advance puts you in the right position to email attendees as early as 24-hours after the event.
The 24-hours delay is just right, people won’t get annoyed that you’re emailing them right after the event, yet not much time has passed that they’ve forgotten who you are and what they learned from you.
Include a free report, brochure, or no-obligation consultation offer in your welcome email to initiate a conversation with attendees. Keep them engaged with other follow-up emails such as an invite to sign-up to your newsletter, or an upcoming webinar.
If you follow all these steps, you’ll soon be well-known as a knowledgeable speaker and lawyer in your practice area. You’ll also build your authority in the subject and get a stream of leads after every speaking gig.