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Cold Calling Works

by Carolyn Elefant on March 18, 2007 · 3 comments

in Marketing & Making Money, Networking, New Marketing Ideas

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I’ve always been a fan of the cold call ever since I started my practice back in 1993. Not a fan of making the calls, because I’m not fond of doing it, but rather, a fan of the returns that cold calls can bring. Of course, like many of the techniques I write about here, I don’t endorse them unless I’ve applied them myself. And indeed, I have cold called for a variety of reasons ranging from seeking advice from other energy lawyers when I started my firm, as I described here or attempting to drum up business, as I wrote in this short piece, Pick Up the Phone and Make Yourself A Better Lawyer . And I wrote a chapter on Cold Calling for the ABA Book,
How to Capture and Keep Clients
.

So naturally, I was gratified to read that marketing guru Larry Bodine report that cold calling works; it is second only to referrals as the number one lead generation. Bodine also addresses why so many lawyers dislike cold calling. The study found that “people are doing cold calls the wrong way: the purpose of a cold call is to set a meeting to introduce yourself, and to learn about the prospect… not to go into a detailed sales pitch. Another expert who knows about cold calls is Rjon Robbins, who offers these resources.

As for me, as I said at the outset, I don’t like making cold calls, though with the passage of time, I’ve toughened myself to rejection. But, as I’ve said in all my writings, if you can’t sell yourself as a lawyer, how can you sell your client’s case?

Update (3/19/07) – Somehow, in writing this post, I overlooked Chuck Newton’s excellent post on the same topic.

  • http://ricardolaw.com Mike

    By cold-calling, I assume you mean picking up the phone to solicit a potential new client. In Florida, where RJon is from, and other jurisdictions, this practice violates bar ethics rules. I suggest you put a big fat caveat to that effect on this post.
    Now, that’s a different kettle of fish from cold-calling potential REFERRAL sources, especially other lawyers, in order to explore the benefits of forming a professional relationship.
    FOr example, I’ve garnered a number of referrals from an attorney whose as I saw in a paper I was considering advertising in. i called him to ask about his experiences with that paper; we hit it off and refer each other business all the time now.

  • http://67.225.230.212/~sh1ngl3 Carolyn Elefant

    In response to reader comments, I will add that you ought to consult with bar rules prior to cold calling. When I discuss cold calling, I’m referring to calls from referrals, other attorneys (seeking conflicts work or contract work) or to introduce yourself to a potenial client, where the client is more sophisticated (for example, I don’t think there are ethics issues related to calling the president of a company where you want to do work to introduce yourself). But as commentors have pointed out, cold calls to clients soliciting representation are a no-no. As with any other marketing endeavor, read your bar rules and consult with bar counsel if questions remain.

  • http://www.donnerlawfirm.com Jeff Donner

    Here is the Florida Bar Rule:
    RULE 4-7.4 DIRECT CONTACT WITH PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS
    (a) Solicitation. Except as provided in subdivision (b) of this rule, a lawyer shall not solicit professional employment from a prospective client with whom the lawyer has no family or prior professional relationship, in person or otherwise, when a significant motive for the lawyer’s doing so is the lawyer’s pecuniary gain. A lawyer shall not permit employees or agents of the lawyer to solicit in the lawyer’s behalf. A lawyer shall not enter into an agreement for, charge, or collect a fee for professional employment obtained in violation of this rule. The term “solicit” includes contact in person, by telephone, telegraph, or facsimile, or by other communication directed to a specific recipient and includes (i) any written form of communication directed to a specific recipient and not meeting the requirements of subdivision (b) of this rule, and (ii) any electronic mail communication directed to a specific recipient and not meeting the requirements of subdivision (c) of rule 4-7.6.
    (b) Written Communication Sent on an Unsolicited Basis.

    (too long to include the entire rule)

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