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March 26, 2010

Value Trumps Perfection, Keynote Speaker Tells ABA TECHSHOW Audience

Perfection is not as important as value and information, said legal marketing consultant Ari Kaplan during his keynote address on client development at the 2010 ABA TECHSHOW on March 25.  He explained to lawyers that value comes from the momentum created through the many small things they do.

Those small things—such as blogging, writing newsletter articles and posting online comments—“helps us distinguish ourselves and raises our profile in a fragmented world.”

The principal at Ari Kaplan Advisors and author of The Opportunity Maker: Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Networking and Business Development, Kaplan told the luncheon audience that social media is a great leveler.  “Social media makes the effort seem large, but it’s possible to achieve a wide reach with a small effort.”

Brand globally and market locally, Kaplan advised lawyers, also telling them that when using new technology tools to do so, simplicity is key.  “We’re living in a culture of 140 characters,” he explained citing Twitter.

He also noted that missing one client development opportunity can sometimes lead to a better one.  “I was trying to set up a meeting with a prospective client who was coming to New York.  It turned out that both of us had other commitments while he was going to be here. When I said it looked like a meeting wasn’t going to work out, he said that he was in town every few weeks and why didn’t he call me before his next trip so we could schedule some time.”

One advantage, he said about the down market, is that more people are interested in meeting you if they can.  “You have to help people find you so they have reasons to be interested” in what you have to offer.

He suggested that lawyers syndicate themselves: write blogs, repost information they find and create newsletter articles, sending links to clients and prospects.

“If you want people to call you back, offer them a platform to share their information,” he suggested.  “Spotlight the good work of others and let that action reflect back on you.”

Kaplan also recommended thinking of other people in a way that goes beyond work.  For example, he mentioned nominating a client for an award related to an outside interest.

He said that the innovative part of what lawyers do is not success but the attempt at success.  “We have to be able to accept imperfections.  They are the mark of authenticity. We also have to be able to execute without being sure of the outcome.”

To view Kaplan’s keynote, “The New Big Bang: The Convergence of Technology and Marketing,” click here for video.

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