Chrissie Lightfoot, CEO, Solicitor (non-practicing), Entrepreneur Lawyer Limited, United Kingdom
In order to survive and thrive in the legal profession being a technically excellent lawyer is not going to be good enough. Chrissie Lightfoot recognized this and knew her technical expertise alone was not going to distinguish her from peers, bring in new clients, or even perhaps secure her future. She knew, deep down, that she needed to be present and available for her potential clients where they were now and where they would be in the future. That, she concluded, was within social media, social networking and other ‘trending’ digital platforms.
While not an early adopter of social media she did get a head start first joining LinkedIn in 2008. She immediately recognized its potential for marketing; building relationships and networking with local, national and international professionals and, of course, identifying potential clients. She has not been disappointed. In general, she has found the platform useful for gaining market knowledge and awareness, raising her and her organization’s brand profile, identifying referral sources, and procuring mutual benefit among those who might be her affiliates, associates, referrers, and ultimately clients. As an added benefit she uses LinkedIn to find suppliers and experts to assist her clients.
Chrissie added Twitter, @entrepreneurlaw, and Facebook to her social media mix in 2009 and now considers her self a fully-fledged social media and networking junky—because it works! As a trainee solicitor and since founding Entrepreneur Lawyer Limited during the recession of 2009 she has managed to generate and refer £562,000 of new client legal work through a combination of traditional sales and marketing techniques using both offline and new online tools, in particular utilizing LinkedIn and Twitter. Chrissie points to the creation of The Entrepreneur Lawyer Relationship Sales Network Group on LinkedIn and associated activities as a key piece of her social networking strategy. Here’s how she did it.
In order to kick-start conversations, involvement and engagement in her new Group she placed two topics on the group discussion board; “Penny A Brick … Why I became a Lawyer” and “Where does ‘sales’ begin;” the former being a repurposed blog post on entrepreneurlawyer.co.uk published a week earlier. Chrissie then sent a message to all her LinkedIn connections alerting them to the discussions and inviting them to join the Group. At the same time, she put the two discussions in play on other relevant groups that she participates in on LinkedIn. She also tweeted, facebook-ed and added a message about the Group to her LinkedIn profile status. Within thirty-six hours there were 260 members of The Entrepreneur Lawyer Relationship Sales Network Group.
In addition to the benefits Group members were receiving via the discussions, Chrissie found that starting her Group on LinkedIn opened up a very large number of new, direct LinkedIn connections for her to leverage. Each new connection represented a potential visitor to her blog, a subscriber to her E-ntrepreneur Bullet newsletter or a download of her the first chapter of her free e-book, The Naked Lawyer. She learned that over 1000 visitors had used bit.ly to shorten the group’s URL and share with others on Web sites, Twitter and LinkedIn. Her own tweets had been re-tweeted many times and other LinkedIn group facilitators added the discussions to their group activity, contacting her directly via LinkedIn and email telling her they did so.
Chrissie reports that her activity in and around establishing the Group did several valuable things for helping her find new leads and engagements. Her activity woke up existing contacts and potential clients who got back in touch with her via calls and face to face meetings, it ignited new contacts, triggered actual business, initiated affiliate interest, and led to a conversation with and proposition from an individual with the key to a door of a potentially lucrative high level licensing deal.
For Chrissie, the social Web has played a key role in seeding and building business relationships. Starting her Group on LinkedIn and cross promoting it to other web sites gave her new channels to grab the attention of prospects and referral sources and establish professional relationships with real potential, all within a few days. “Not bad I reckon for a day’s preparation writing a blog post, a couple of discussion topics, and a couple of day’s marketing and facilitating—and all for free, no cost, save for the time element of course.”
You can find Chrissie Lightfoot, EntrepreneurLawyer Limited, at entrepreneurlawyer.co.uk. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/entrepreneurlaw or connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/chrissielightfoot.
Excerpted from the forthcoming book, social.lawyers | transforming business development, by Jayne Navarre to be published in Fall 2010 by Thomson.
Chrissie Lightfoot (CEO, non-practicing solicitor, EntrepreneurLawyer Limited, http://entrepreneurlawyer.co.uk) in an email interview with the author, May 2010.