Good Tuesday, dear readers. Yes, you may glance over at your calendar and scratch your head wondering if Jane has been a victim of a time-warp, or some other freaky occurence causing her brain to get fuzzy. It's Wednesday-- we know it's Wednesday-- but we have not yet recovered from our trip to sunny Chicago, and so...for us, today, it is Tuesday.
That means, we have a Fit by Five today. Jane is bringing you our deepest, most secret confessions...five times over!
As noted in earlier posts, Jane (aka Yvonne) meandered to Chicago over the weekend to attend LexThink! We cannot fully express our admiration for Dennis Kennedy, Matt Homann, and Sherry Fowler for their hard work organizing the event. Jane spent all of Sunday in the company of a bevy of lawyers, marketers, and other outstanding business folk-- all of whom were concerned about YOU, dear reader. Yes, all in attendance were focused on how to make the Perfect Services Firm. A place where clients would feel welcomed, empowered, and valued.
We cannot bring you the complete agenda, and the resulting solutions (albeit- we ended up with more questions than solutions-- isn't that always the way?), but we do want to share some valuable insight that we took away from the conference. Insight into the practice of law and how lawyers think. These five learning experiences will forever impact the way Jane looks at the online marketing experience, and especially the marketing to women online experience-- from a lawyer's perspective. We hope you, dear reader, will gain as much from our confessions as we gained from the gathering of them.
1. We learned, first and foremost, that lawyers are real people-- just like you and me! The men and women who gathered at the Catalyst Ranch in Chicago were there to learn how to be more approachable while not losing their professionalism. We were struck by their desire to improve the image of this distinguished profession. Interestingly, one lawyer remarked to Jane that, "While studies reveal that people give lawyers a low trust-factor score-- when pushed further, most of them (women especially) say they want like their sons to grow up to be lawyers."
What a conundrum, as a dear friend of Jane's would say. And, why only 'sons'...why not daughters? Do YOU, dear reader, feel this way? That lawyers are like sharks...and yet, law is a worthy career choice for your sons and daughters?
2. During one session regarding marketing to women, one male lawyer asked about greeting women using a softer approach, like-- flowers. Jane has noted, more than once, that flowers and candy are nice, as thank-yous, but in professions such as law or banking or technology, women prefer respect more than frivolity. We suggested seminars, educational forums, and the trusted 'under-promise and over-deliver.'
Someone we respect once told Jane that sales in advertising or services is like "selling smoke." The perceived value is intangible-- it's the ROI that proves the point. For lawyers, reputation helps, but women appreciate direct eye-contact, good listening skills, and a sincere appreciation for their problem. The one woman lawyer at that particular session mentioned that she keeps candy on her desk, and tissues. The invitation to be emotional is not spoken, it's perceived... and that can make all the difference in the world.
3. Speaking of women lawyers, Sherry (Scheherazade) Fowler brought keen insight to the group, and to Jane. Sherry is of the Gen X group-- we do dislike qualifying clients thusly but labels sometimes serve a purpose, therefore we will use them when needed, such as now. Sherry came to the conversation just as one man was saying, "It's good to show women their opinions count." Jane could not agree more. Sherry became, shall we say-- a bit incensed? "Of course our opinions count," she said. "Why wouldn't they?" And there you have it dear reader, a disconnect between Jane, a baby boomer, who remembers when women were like children-- better seen and not heard; and Sherry, a Gen X child who will be heard, no matter what!
Sherry's eye-opening statement was perfect! It proved one of Jane's most important points-- that women do not want to be perceived as a demographic. We are individuals, and if you would market to us, online or off, you would do well to perform some investigative reporting-- keeping in mind that we differ by age-group and by personality. While all of that may seem confusing, if you just go with the flow...it will be fun and profitable!
4. Jane also learned that along with technology changing business as a whole, it's finally-- yes, finally!-- beginning to affect the profession of law. Lawyers on the cutting edge (and ALL the lawyers and business professionals at LexThink were/are on the cutting edge), are recognizing the value of technology. They see the advances in software tools and the connective ability of the web. In fact, many of them are great blawgers! They are not shy about sharing information nor about criticizing their own profession for outdated or unreasonable practices. It was inspiring to be part of this energetic group of men and women -- all wanting to serve their clients rather than have their clients serve them.
5. Last, but certainly not least, Jane met young men and women, baby boomer men and women, and wise business/law professionals who let their feet do their talking for them. We participated via an open forum discussion mode, changing groups and discussions as easily as stepping across the room. The value came in being able to focus thoughts and needs on topics that were of major interest to each person, or a collective whole.
In the end, there was a discussion on the effectiveness of this one-day, jam-packed, informal but informational, meeting, and all agreed that the level of learning was over the top-- but that there was much, much more to discover--about the practice of law in the 21st century, about the best way to approach clients (be they of the male or female persuasion), and how to improve LexThink to help each participate achieve success in their business or law practice.
This confessional is only a small portion of the titillating communication that filled the Catalyst Ranch on Sunday, last week. Notice how Jane did not talk sports or war-- both male topics of conversation, jargon that often fills meetings with competition, instead of community. LexThink was none of that-- no war, no sports (though some may have referenced basketball, perhaps)-- but all connection.
What's not to like about that?