Lawyers should care about reputation.
Some do. And some don’t.
You should care about it a lot.
Look, you need to pay attention to what the public thinks about you.
If they don’t like you or don’t trust you it will be a problem. In many ways.
And it’s not just your reputation that’s at stake.
The reputation of the legal profession isn’t so good right now.
Actually, it hasn’t been so good for probably a couple of decades. But it’s apparently getting worse.
Our ambitious glad-handing “bar leaders” have been crowing about this for years now.
Why don’t average people like lawyers?
Strangely, our leaders can’t figure it out.
Or they downplay the harsh truth.
The truth is easy to find. Just ask people why they don’t trust lawyers.
And guess what? People have asked them.
There have been numerous studies, and the truth has been repeatedly revealed.
There are two main reasons the legal profession has a sub-par reputation.
First, the public thinks most lawyers make a lot of money. Which is not true.
Most lawyers don’t make much money. But you know this, already (probably first-hand).
But the public doesn’t know this.
So obviously the public is working from a misperception.
But it’s an understandable misperception.
And you can understand if you spend a few minutes thinking about things from THEIR perspective (which our glad-handing bar leaders tend not to do).
Look it’s not that hard to understand the reason for the public’s misperception.
If the public is mostly exposed to TV lawyers who have fancy offices and work on high publicity cases, what impression do you think they’d be likely to have?
Here’s the key to understanding what you need to know.
Human psychology is the driving force behind reputation. Not truth or logic.
Memorize this formula: Perception = reputation.
The public perceives that most lawyers care more about money and personal fame than they do about helping people.
Bluntly, lawyers work more for money than for altruistic reasons.
That’s what the public thinks. That’s their perception.
The public is confused. That’s the second reason they don’t trust lawyers.
What the hell do you lawyers do, exactly?
That’s what they all keep wondering.
We think it’s obvious what we do.
But it’s obviously not, or the surveys wouldn’t keep revealing that the public feels confused.
How would you feel if you hired a guy to set up your website so that it helped you get better clients and he arrived in a $100,000 Mercedes?
And then he started talking in techno-jargon?
Imagine not knowing exactly what tech buttons he pushed.
All you know is you need someone like him to help you get more business.
The only thing you’re sure of is that he’s charging you lots of money.
You’re not sure what he does.
You’re not totally sure to what extent you need him, or if he’s worth what you’re paying.
Could you pay less and get the same or better results?
How do you find a better web guru?
Does this resonate?
Well, that’s the kind of confusion the public experiences when they deal with lawyers.
Even if they just visit a lawyer’s website this is the confusion they experience.
So if you want to influence your reputation so that prospective clients trust you more…
You need to overcome the perception your prospective clients have about ALL lawyers.
You need to convey (in a low-key, non-awkward way) that you care about helping clients for reasons other than just making money.
And you need to explain (in a simple, down-to-earth way) what exactly you do. And how you do it.
You don’t need a web guru or a marketing guru to do this.
You need an empathy guru.
Sadly there are no people out there who say to lawyers “hey I’m an empathy guru and I can help you enhance your reputation.”
You’ll have to learn to do it yourself.
How will you learn to do this?
Read Dale Carnegie’s book: How To Win Friends and Influence People.
If you’ve already read it then read it again.
The #1 reason people don’t trust lawyers more is they think we don’t care.
If you actually care you’ll have to prove it.
Right now the presumption is that you don’t.
The Bottom Line…
Too many lawyers struggle to get a “cash flow friendly” stream of high-quality clients. The problem is they don’t know the vital elements of effective marketing.
Most solo & small firm lawyers have vague assumptions about how marketing works. This ignorance creates insidious dangers.
For example, when lawyers become too desperate for clients they tend to trust those they shouldn’t trust. People such as greedy consultants, or well-intentioned-but-clueless amateurs (i.e. “marketing morons“).
If you’ve been given bad marketing advice, or if you feel less than 100% certain how to market your practice effectively do NOT spend any more money on websites, consultants or advertisements.