This is an edited transcript of the interview I conducted back on October 5, 2020. If you haven’t heard of Roy Sexton, he’s a truly unique, one-of-a-kind personality in the legal marketing space who shares his take on legal marketing and business development for successful lawyers. Roy is the Director of Marketing for Clark Hill and a leader within the Legal Marketing Association community.
In case you missed his podcast or that’s not your thing, here are a few of the highlights from our conversation about signal boosting, reciprocation, and acknowledging your social media community. Enjoy!
Steve: Working in legal, I think there is some confusion between business development and marketing. Which is which, and whose doing what. So how do we define business and development and marketing? And how to those to integrate to help a lawyer be successful?
Roy: So, marketing and business development seems to be a bit of a mystery to lawyers. They are excited about it and scared of it and come to me with this sort of dismissal attitude about it. You have to shift the conversation to “This is new for you and I know you’ve been doing really great stuff – but let’s talk about other things that you might not know about that are available to you”.
Our Director of Business Development has a great saying to describe the two. “Marketing shows you where the door is, business development helps you walk through it”. From my end, for marketing, it’s really about distilling out what makes an attorney unique and what audience is out there with money to spend on it. It’s making noise and raising the presence and awareness of what makes what I’m selling unique.
With business development, I sometimes think really has the harder road because they have to take that marketing, apply strategy, and pull the value out of it to really drive revenue growth. Asking questions like, What industries are you pursuing? What client targets are you pursuing? How are you getting in there? And a business development person has to be coach, psychologist, strategists. They have to wear a lot of hats.
Regarding integration, business development and marketing are really starting to integrate in powerful ways. As a marketer I don’t know what always the market differentiator or niche might be in your field, but the business development coach probably does. If I have a conversation with the attorney and or the person who is supporting them on the business development side and say, what are the three or four things that set you apart in your estimation or in the coach’s estimation? That’s a place to start, and I’d have more questions.
Steve: So, what’s the difficulty with getting started with business development?
Roy: Discipline, it’s as plain and simple as that. You know, I joke sometimes that I have bought exercise books, thinking by the act of buying the book, I will lose weight and have a body like Brad Pitt, but buying the book does not happen. You can’t just hire a business development coach or bring somebody in, you have to do what they tell you. And it’s hard. Now, once you get it in your DNA, like eating right and exercising, you feel good. You want to keep doing it. But I think it’s hard for people to cross that hurdle.
Steve: What’s a way to start differentiating and marketing yourself from other attorneys?
Roy: Start answering the questions you get all the time that tired of answering, by writing about them. They provide an opportunity for the phone to ring, but more often than not, these are the things that people are Googling. We know how we shop for other things; we go to the internet. We google. And we seem to forget that when it comes time to thinking about selling ourselves. So write a piece of content – simple, accessible, digestible on a question, you get all the time. Yes, maybe someone’s already written on it. Who cares? Write it better. Frame it better. Have a nicer picture of yourself make it a question and answer. Make it a series of documents people want to scan quickly, add a little video component. People want hear you and see you. Get that on the internet. You’ll be surprised at how many people are searching for that question. Then once they find your answer, they’ll go “I might want to get to know this person a little better. I liked the way they framed this”.
Steve: What’s a trick to promoting yourself?
Roy: We call it a rule of three. If you’re speaking somewhere or have written something, you have three bites at the Apple on social media to promote that at minimum. First, there’s the time leading up to the webinar. Promote and promote that more than once. They don’t run one Avengers ad once a month before the movie comes out, they run that ad 10 times on an hour on ABC. So post this stuff a few times and say, I’ve got a webinar coming up, it’s on this topic and then why they should see it. If you don’t make it easy for people, they move on.
Second, the day of, take some photos – of yourself, the screen, your notes, etc. Post those that and say, I’m so excited to be presenting X, Y, and Z to the “fill in the blank” today.
Third, if someone records the event, or even if they don’t, turn those notes into a blog entry. Something brief saying “If you missed my presentation, here’s what it was. I’d be happy to come speak to your group or talk to you about these issues.”. So at that point, you’ve taken something you were doing already and gotten at minimum three bits of promotion out of that.
Steve: Would you agree that lawyers need a social media presence?
Roy: The days of being able to avoid social media, I think are over. I don’t mean to put fear in people’s hearts, but it’s, it’s an expectation now that you’re not just there, but that you’re engaged and you’re a participant in the community. We’re measuring people on values these days in a way I don’t think we’ve seen in a long time, if ever. People are interested in, how have you responded to diversity and inclusion? How are you addressing the issues that we’re seeing face society today? Are you addressing them or are you turning a blind eye saying, “I don’t get into that”. People expect you to get into it. The absence of voice on some of those issues says a lot.
Steve: What are some ways to engage in social media posts?
Roy: There are a few ways. You can recycle content. I mean, just because you posted something once doesn’t mean you can’t share it again. It’s also about signal boosting and reciprocation. Commenting, tagging, sharing content.
There are also tools like Hootsuite that can help you schedule out in advance. If you truly feel like you’re going to be too busy to comment or, or share people’s work, or to even post with regularity, schedule it out. When you have some free time on a weekend, if that’s the kind of person you are map out.
You can also share other people’s stuff. I haven’t written anything since March, but I’ve been sharing other people’s stuff. There’s no reason you have to be the author of the content. Sometimes you’re just the curator or you’re the kind of person that they’re like.
Listen to the full episode HERE!