Law firms have traditionally used the marketing seminar as a means by which to attract new potential clients by offering a free briefing on a topic of interest. There are ways a law firm can maximize these opportunities to create as many potential client engagements as possible from each seminar you conduct. The focus of any legal seminar must always be to maximize the potential revenue one may generate from a seminar, while keeping costs of hosting a seminar to a minimum.
Determining whether to host a seminar depends on prospective revenue generation
The amount of time and expense and the number of potential clients projected to attend a seminar you may organize is vital to determining whether to host one.
It’s important to keep in mind that it may be more cost and time efficient to instead focus on direct prospecting among a likely group of potential clients who are the focus of the seminar, instead of putting on the seminar itself.
For example, if a seminar takes 120 hours to prepare and host, those 120 hours could be spent directly contacting a group of potential clients and asking for one on one discussions about the possibility of being retained to represent those potential clients on issues related to the subject matter a seminar proposes to cover.
However, if you are able to attract a large group of potential clients to a low-overhead seminar and are prepared to follow up with each to discuss your firm representing those potential clients – then a seminar is an attractive option as a marketing activity for your legal practice. Should your firm choose to put on a seminar, there are some things to keep in mind in order to make the seminar as productive as possible.
Maintain a seminar’s focus on revenue generation
First and foremost, the focus of any seminar should be revenue generation for your law firm. The necessity of focusing on revenue generation cannot be understated. In order to accomplish this, new potential prospective clients should be the focus of invitations to your seminar. Potential clients who have confirmed their attendance should then be asked if they would like to meet before or after the seminar to discuss how you may assist them specifically in relation to the topic of the seminar – or any other market opportunity or danger you may be aware of that would be helpful to their business.
The seminar, acting as an anchor, provides you with an opportunity to secure meetings about representation of those potential clients you’ve invited – that you may not have secured were it not for the seminar itself. It’s important to take advantage of a unique opportunity to secure discussions with those potential clients whom you’ve invited to the seminar where possible.
Low or no-cost seminar venues, domestic and international
Seminar venues should be chosen for their convenience as well as low cost. They should ideally never cost anything — and more often than not, they never need to cost anything. They can be conducted at your law firm, or when travelling – at a local firm which you have or wish to have a referral relationship with. This provides you and the firm you have a referral relationship with – an opportunity to host the seminar and invite their clients who have an interest, in addition to inviting new prospective clients that neither firm has worked with before. Indeed, it is possible to create seminars which attract potential clients who may be interested in the services of both your firms as well as the firm you are working with to put on the seminar. It’s both a benefit to your firm as well as a benefit to your colleagues at the firm hosting the seminar – as you both now have an opportunity to offer current or prospective clients with new, substantive information helpful to their businesses. When your host firm comes to your city, you can then reciprocate and host a seminar for them.
Why speaking as a guest at seminars at home or abroad is a good idea
When travelling domestically or overseas, offering to speak at a seminar at a trade association or before another interested groups (perhaps one gathered by a law firm, investment bank, accounting firm or other group) in another city or country – with an interest in the subject matter you propose to cover – would provide you with a no-cost venue, as well as built-in staging and event management by that host - thereby exposing you to new prospective clients with limited effort on your behalf. These scenarios are win-win for all involved. Your practice received exposure among a new group of potential clients. Your host also receives exposure to prospective clients while providing them with unique information you provide. Prospective clients gain unique market insight that is often very valuable.
Post-seminar follow up is essential
Once a seminar is complete, it is vital to follow up with each prospective client who attended, and suggest a conference call or in-person meeting – to discuss their interest in potentially retaining your firm’s services. Oftentimes, additional areas of potential representation beyond that which was covered in the seminar — will come out of that meeting. This will provide your firm with an opportunity to assist the prospective client on a variety of issues they may have.
Seminars by law firms, if focused on generating interest and attendance by prospective clients, and where done for little cost – can be an excellent way to attract new potential clients to you firm. However, it’s essential to focus any seminar effort on new revenue generation, economy of effort in planning and implementing the seminar, and ensuring the costs of hosting the seminar are low.