Sunday, August 26, 2007

Top Ten Credibility Killers

As an expert witness, the most effective marketing technique in your arsenal is the quality of your work. In addition to the strategies you can use to improve your consulting, reports, testimony, etc., you would be wise to also steer clear of the following damaging mistakes:

1. Accepting conditional engagements or contingency fees.

2. Reporting or testifying on matters beyond your area of competence.

3. Using misleading data to form or express opinion.

4. Not meeting deadlines.

5. Allowing attorney client to unduly influence your opinion and/or report.

6. Accepting a case with a known conflict of interest.

7. Contradicting prior positions or statements.

8. Ignoring available data.

9. Producing unclear or incomplete reports.

10. Unnecessarily discussing the case with others.

Monday, August 13, 2007

It Doesn't Have to Be Complicated

When looking at growing your expert practice, have you ever thought -
"I just don't know where to start. I could list in directories, but - which ones? And what do I list under? Should I do something to my website? What should I add, take away, or change? Should I try publishing articles or speaking at conferences? What about trade shows? Does direct mail still work? How about an email newsletter? Would press releases and media exposure help my expert practice? Do cold calls have any value?"

When looking at the various marketing options out there, I hear from many of you that the choices are just too overwhelming. I think that's why many experts end up just putting their time and money into the latest 'sounds good' offer to hit their email inbox. While one of my recommendations is to always track your marketing efforts and subsequent results (a topic ALL of its own), you can simplify the decision-making process even prior to that.

At its most basic, marketing your expert services is the process of making the attorneys who need your services aware of your availability and of the value of your expertise. It is effectively communicating (to the right audience) the four "C's" that attorneys are looking for in an expert consultant:

- Competence

- Credentials

- Communication Skills and

- Credibility

So to sum it up, marketing your expert services consists of three steps:

1. Identify the attorneys (types of cases handled, geographic area, etc.) who need your services.

2. Let them know you are available as an expert legal consultant.

3. Establish an identity and consistently reinforce your strengths in each of the four C's.

Yes, there will still be specific decisions to make. But once you really get the basic purpose of your actions, those decisions are not nearly as difficult.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Marketing Doesn't Have to Hurt

I frequently talk to experts who initially believe that experts shouldn't market. But as our conversation continues, it becomes clear that the foundation of that belief is a misunderstanding of what "marketing" is for professional service providers.

Marketing your expert services does not mean following some rigid set of defined steps and cookie-cutter actions. Some experts advertise, some don't. Many experts send out announcement postcards, while others mail newsletters, and still others (to their detriment) don't make use of their contact list in any way.

Your most successful marketing actions will be the ones that play on your strengths. If you are comfortable speaking to groups, look into CLE opportunities where you could speak on your area of expertise for attorneys who work on cases that involve those issues. Offer to make a a presentation for a section of your local bar association.

If you are more comfortable writing, then write articles about your subject. They don't have to be published in a legal publication. In our “Google” style world, an article published almost anywhere (academic journal, association publication, online newsletter, etc.) can increase your exposure and enhance your credibility.

Sum and substance - focus on what you are good at and comfortable with, and marketing your expertise becomes much less onerous and, dare I say it, even enjoyable.

Note: Rosalie would have my head if I didn't remind you that everything you say, write and do can and will be cussed and discussed and used against you by opposing counsel.