Friday, November 17, 2006

Wisdom About What You Don't Know

I do a lot of networking to market my business. When I meet with new people, sometimes I find it difficult to succinctly explain to people how the services I perform truly benefit business owners.

Much of my work is done with other lawyers and we regularly throw around titles like "securities attorney", "outside general counsel", "corporate lawyer" to describe what we do. These titles just do not resonate with most people. I know because my closest friends still have no clue what I do for a living. They know I represent businesses on transactional matters, but regularly ask me questions about their cousin's divorce or how to get their landlord to repay their security deposit.

Recently, I started being very sensational about how I describe what I do in order to provoke a reaction. I have been telling people that I “save business owners money on legal fees”. People have heard of lawyers protecting client’s assets, but lawyers actually saving money on legal fees, that's unheard of. It definitely gets people to listen to what I have to say next.

One of my newest clients, Margaret, is a marketing communications specialist. To her, it was very easy to describe what my practice is all about (I’m finding it is much easier to sell someone else’s business than your own sometimes). One afternoon over lunch she smiled and said:

"Steve, when you are a business owner it isn't what you don't know, or know you don't know that can hurt your business... but what you don't know you don't know that will really get you in trouble--you bridge that gap for your clients, which protects their assets and saves them money."

It's a bit of a mouthful for my elevator pitch, but very sound advice nevertheless.

Thanks Margaret!


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