Marketing Comes First . . . Everything Else Can Wait

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Maslow had his hierarchy of needs. I’ve got a list of priorities. Maybe we can call it Rosen’s Priorities (catchy, huh?). I think I read somewhere that Maslow’s list had lost some of its cachet. Let’s hope the same doesn’t happen to Rosen’s list.

First on the Rosen list of priorities is marketing. It’s followed by . . . everything else. Everything else includes, among other things, technology, management, finance, substantive knowledge, etc. The marketing is on the top of the list, and everything else is secondary.

You’ve got to have the marketing done first. Then you can worry about the rest.

Yes, yes, I know, putting substantive knowledge after marketing offends some folks. Personally, I kind of enjoy offending. If I offended you, well, then, good on me (and see my P.S. below with a special note to you).

Why Marketing First?

Why does marketing come first? Because marketing is what you’ve got to do to get a client. Nothing matters if you don’t have a client. Once you’ve got a client, you can work out the other issues and, if necessary, you can buy solutions to any problems that arise.

Let’s say you’re a drunk driving lawyer (I’m sure you have a euphemism for that phrase). If you have no clients, it makes no difference how much you know, how well run your office may be, or how excellent your technology is. You don’t have a client, so everything else is unimportant.

The first thing is to get a client. That requires marketing, whether it’s networking, advertising, or something else.

Once you have a client, you can deal with the other issues. The client comes first; other issues come second.

Let’s say, for instance, that you’re not really sure how to help the drunk driver get away with having driven drunk. You’re not as competent as you’d like to be to help him. What do you do?

Your Two Options

Here’s the deal now that you have a client. You’ve got two options.

  1. You either learn what you need to know, or
  2. You pay someone to help you.

The bottom line is that you do whatever it takes to deliver an excellent service on behalf of that drunk driver. You obligated yourself to perform competently, one way or another, when you accepted the client.

Accept the Rosen Priorities as fact, right now. Accept that marketing is first and everything else is second. If you haven’t yet nailed the marketing, then stop focusing on anything else. Stay with marketing until the phone starts ringing, the door starts opening, and the little swipey credit card thing gets heated up.

Once you have a client, then it’s time to focus on the rest. I talk to way too many lawyers distracted by technology. They’re worried about which practice management system is best or which mobile device is most effective. I talk to way too many lawyers distracted by management issues. Whom should they hire? How much should they pay? I talk to lawyers distracted by which bookkeeping system to use and whether to do their timekeeping online or off.

Nothing matters until you’ve nailed the marketing. Get a steady stream of business before you get busy with everything else. Most everything else is a problem that you can solve with the revenue coming from all of those clients.

P.S. Special Note

Seriously, if you’re in “the best marketing is to do good work camp,” then you’re likely not very busy yet. The “nonmarketing” marketing approach is slow going, but you’re right: it works (it builds word of mouth). You too don’t need to worry about anything other than the marketing. Continue with your plan of doing great work. Focus on being amazing and treating your few clients like they’ve never imagined being treated. You’ll take care of everything else once you’ve got a steady stream of business.

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