We often espouse the importance of building your firm infrastructure with competent staff, adding first an executive assistant and/or paralegal, then an associate attorney, and then more staff. Having effective staff is the primary way to leverage your own time and output and increase your profit margin.
But most attorneys overlook one particular key staff person when building their practice – – a dedicated full-time person to handle their marketing. Everything from making and confirming appointments to managing the firm website, blogs, newsletters, and seminars. Many attorneys feel their marketing is being handled well enough, part-time, by one or more of their existing staff. They don’t see the need to spend more on payroll. Or they simply don’t do (or want to do) much marketing. If you fit one of those attorney profiles, please read on, because I am about to show you that not having a full time marketing person is “penny wise and pound foolish”!
What Does This Marketing Person Really Cost?
You can probably hire a marketing person starting at $35,000 a year. Let’s assume the payroll taxes and benefits add up to another 15%, so the total cost is about $40,000 per year. That’s about $3,300 a month – – or about the revenue from just one or two extra estate plans a month. If you have a dedicated marketing-only person doing a decent job, you’re going to easily generate at least that much! In other words, your marketing person should easily pay for him or herself and make you more money! It’s not about the person’s “cost”, it’s all about your ROI (return on investment)!
But, you may argue, “That’s not my only cost if I have to invest additional money in starting and maintaining a website or doing seminars.” Yes, but those costs should also themselves produce a good ROI (the discussion of which is way beyond the scope of this article). Regardless, let’s say you don’t get a website or do seminars and all you have your marketing person do is:
- Take appointment request calls and make appointments
- Call your existing clients to come in for periodic review meetings with you and make those appointments (if you’re not doing this, read our article “Free Checkup Meetings Generate Lots of Revenue”)
- Take appointment cancellation calls – – and reschedule as many as possible, right on the spot!
- Get e-mail addresses from your clients and help you send out a periodic e-mail newsletter, which can be done easily and at little extra cost (and is a great way to get existing clients to tell their friends about you, simply by clicking the forward button!)
Do you think that these tasks alone, when done properly and timely on an everyday basis, will generate at least one or two more clients per month? You betcha!
But, Why Do You Need a Full-Time Person?
First, if you’re going to do successful marketing (or do it a lot more successfully than you do now), there are lots of details that must be continually attended to properly and timely. A part-time person may not be able to stay on top of all these tasks. If that part-time marketing person is one of your existing staff, he or she will be constantly under pressure to prioritize and complete their other primary job tasks – – and your marketing results will suffer.
What if, instead, that person is specifically hired in as a part-time person devoted only to your marketing? That may reduce the disruption to your other staff’s job tasks, but may work out even worse! A part-time person may not be as committed to showing up and doing the job properly, or may be juggling other part-time jobs (or school) and have less energy and less focus for your tasks. Or, worse yet, that person may start doing well and then leave for a full-time position elsewhere. Never hire a part-time person to do your marketing. The only exception is if you hire someone that comes in with the desire to work full-time and understands that, after some probationary period, they will be promoted to full-time (when they are paying for themself!).
What About Outsourcing Your Marketing?
Outsourcing might look attractive, because you and your staff don’t have to spend the time to hire, train, supervise, and manage a new staff person. But, here’s what I and many others have found. The actual cost is often the same or more than an in-house staff person. Plus, for an outside marketing company to work effectively, there’s still a lot of coordination required with your existing staff. Also, the outsider is not under your firm’s direct control, so neither are the results. (Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of marketing tasks that can be better outsourced to experts – – like website design, graphic designing, printing and mailing – – but you will need an in-house marketing person to coordinate, supervise, and hold these outside experts accountable!)
So, What Are You Waiting For?
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to hire a full-time marketing person. But, what if you don’t have the money to hire one now? Utilize some immediate cash flow generators so that you can afford it. (See our article, “Seminar Marketing 101: Tips for Getting Started” about some easy things that you can do right away with your existing staff so that you can generate enough capital to hire someone new!) Just do it!
We have a number of resources to help you in hiring, training and compensating this marketing person and in developing a successful marketing plan – – so you can build your practice into the practice you’ve always wanted!
Below you will find a number of products and services that can assist you with your seminar marketing efforts.
- Everything You Need to Know About How to Successfully Plan, Market, Facilitate & Present Successful Estate Planning Seminars – A Special 3-Part Series
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Attorney Philip J. Kavesh is the principal of one of the largest estate planning firms in California – – Kavesh, Minor and Otis – – now in its 34th year of business. He is also the President of The Ultimate Estate Planner, Inc., which provides a variety of training, marketing and practice-building products and services for estate planning professionals.
If you would like more information or have a question for him, he can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 1-866-754-6477.
OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE
- SUPPORT & ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF: “If You’re Doing Seminars (or Are Thinking About Doing Them) Your Staff Better Know About and Be Handling These Important Details!” by Kristina Schneider, Executive Assistant
- COURT CASES: “Cloud Still Hangs Over Validity of Nevada’s Perpetuities Law” by Matthew D. Blattmachr
- COURT CASES: “Nevada Supreme Court Approves 365-Year Dynasty Trusts and Sends a Message” by Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished)
- TAX PLANNING: “The Two-Year Installment Sale” by Robert S. Keebler, CPA/PFS, MST, AEP (Distinguished), CGMA
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