Several years after my husband’s death, I decided to try my hand on some of the dating apps. Thanks to phone cameras, editing tools and filters, posting a few flattering pictures for my bio wasn’t much of a challenge — but coming up with a dating profile was nearly impossible.  For starters, I hadn’t dated since my twenties so I had no clue as to what would even appeal to 50-somethings.  So most of my early efforts fell short, either reading like my law firm website bio which was never intended for recreational use, or coming across as snarky or sad.  

Despite my clumsy first attempts, I managed to attract a few prospects and engage in conversation.  In texting with one guy about my work fighting pipelines,  he exclaimed, aha – so you’re a caped crusader by day, tempress by night.”  Bingo!

I never had a chance to use my new tagline –COVID hit and I’d met someone else.  But the experience made me marvel at how a stranger could cut to my essence with more precision than I could articulate it for myself.  And I got to wondering whether lawyers could use this same technique we present ourselves to the world.  For example, if you’re stuck on your about page or your mission statement for your website, or can’t come up with a 280-character Twitter bio that pops, why not crowdsource feedback about how others view your persona?

There are a couple of ways that lawyers can gather third party feedback.  You could create a quick survey and ask a mixture of colleagues, both those who know you best and more casual acquaintances, to describe you in a sentence or to suggest three words that come to mind when they think of you.  If you poll multiple people and the same descriptive terms show up again and again, you’ll gain a good idea of where your strengths lie.

Alternatively, you could share your website copy or social media page with other lawyers and friends and ask them what kind of tone and mood it conveys.  These kinds of questions can help you figure out whether your copy has hit the mark.  

Asking for third party feedback may also help diagnose larger problems with your marketing efforts because you may discover a gap between how you’re attempting to portray yourself and how you are actually perceived.  Let;s say, for example, that you pride yourself on offering affordable, low frills but high quality legal service to modern professionals.  A  colleague however might view your website and remark that it is cheap-looking and too focused on low fees, thus making your practice look more like a Walmart for legal services than a higher end operation.  Your colleague’s diagnosis could help explain why you’re attracting tire-kickers looking for free advice rather than converting prospects into clients.

Asking for outsiders to give feedback on your persona or profile can be scary. But you may also discover that the world views you in a way that’s even more awesome than you believed. So why not double down on that?