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Procrastination: The Nemesis of Marketing

By Robert N. Kohn and Lawrence M. Kohn

One of the most significant obstacles in a lawyer’s marketing effort is procrastination. While lawyers may have good intentions, their marketing ideas usually fall to the bottom of the stack.

In some cases, there may be legitimate reasons for lawyers to postpone their marketing activities. But in most cases, their reasons are unfounded, and are merely self-deceiving devices to avoid marketing.

The fact is that most lawyers find marketing distasteful. Lawyers have painful fears and prejudices about marketing. It is not surprising that lawyers defer to the billable hour, and other activities they enjoy. And, because lawyers typically have a highly developed ability to defend their positions, they present powerful arguments to convince themselves and their peers that marketing is not a priority.

Fortunately, lawyers can prevent procrastination by examining the arguments behind it. And, when they do, they will realize the fallacy in their reasoning.

Here are a few of these arguments:

# 1: Marketing is a sign of weakness. There is a common misconception that lawyers who are successful don’t need to market, and that

marketing is a sign of neediness and lack of success. The truth is that marketing is an integral part of every business, no matter how successful, and the law profession is no exception. It is irrational to be ashamed of marketing.

# 2: There is a marketing gene. This refers to the common misconception that marketers are born. The fact is that everyone can market, even shy people. That’s because marketing requires verbal and written skills. All lawyers have these skills.

#3: Marketing hasn’t worked in the past. True, marketing failures are frustrating, but it is absurd to believe that good ideas and opportunities don’t exist. Never give up.

#4: There is too much work. Marketing feels like being a contestant in a pie eating contest with the prize being a pie. The thought of more work can be disgusting. It is important to remember that marketing is a long-term process. If you wait until you are hungry for business, it may be too late.

#5: Marketing is someone else’s responsibility. When lawyers have depended on their partners for a steady stream of work, it is easy to become dependent and complacent. Remember, partners leave. Clients leave. And, if you are dependent on others, you will never have the satisfaction or control that comes form having your own book of business.

#6: There isn’t a good reason to call. Lawyers frequently avoid contacting important prospects and referral sources because they are unable to think of an appropriate reason to call. This problem is overcome by examining the name each contact, one at a time. Our experience has proven, that this approach helps lawyers identify comfortable and ethical strategies for pursuing relationships.

The arguments in favor of procrastination are significant. To defeat them, you must understand the fears and prejudices from which they are derived. And, regardless of feelings, never forget that marketing is always a priority.

Robert N. Kohn and Lawrence M. Kohn are nationally known authorities on legal marketing and management. They can be reached at (310) 652-1442 or Kohn Communications. com.