I want to take you outside of your law office to one where you can find potential new millennial clients. They congregate in small yet vibrant collaborative shared spaces across town in a neighborhood that is undergoing gentrification. You will find these people in blue jeans and t-shirts that read “technology rules.” They write code while sitting on fuzzy green loveseats, and pound back juice that has been freshly squeezed from the juicer in the office kitchen. Occasionally they will come up for air – hockey, as there are several tables placed around the office to satisfy their need to work in a predominantly fun environment. This is where you will discover your newest target, who just so happens to be swimming in venture capital and angel investor money; the millennial client. Here you will observe these creatures in their natural (filtered)* habitat.
To prevent this piece from continuing on as a blog post for stereotype enthusiasts, I’ve outlined some cold hard facts below. If you read my previous blog post on millennial employees, this should just be a refresher for you.
1. Tech savvy
2. Seek work-life balance
3. Question authority and seek meaningful careers, team-oriented environment
4. Problem-solving involves more technology and social media than ever before, and it can be invaluable for getting relevant information faster
5. Typically confident and self-assured, but not afraid to express self-doubt, occasional anger, and disappointment
6. Not afraid to reach out to others for guidance
7. Value learning and experience
8. Expected to be nurtured in the workplace, not necessarily with competitive pay, but also with challenging experiences
9. In constant communication with the world, so we expect you to be too. Responding to our emails over a day later is questionable to us
Given the information listed above, you have to decide what your best approach to bringing in these clients will be, and how you will nurture your relationship over the course of their working lives. There will be certain aspects of a typical lawyer/client relationship that will not carry over, as in some instances your tactics will change completely.
New Tactics You Need to Implement
- You will have to have an online presence to get their attention. You cannot simply pick up the phone and cold-call their office, as they will all probably have their headphones in and won’t hear you calling.
- Social media is a great networking tool. If you can interact with the CEO of a tech start-up on Twitter, there’s a chance that you can build a trusting relationship in the future. (Through 140 characters) you should be able to display your thought-leadership.
- Find out who their mentors are. Who do they look up to and seek guidance from. A referral from someone in their trusted network could mean business for you, for a long time.
- They WILL Google you. If your firm website is below industry standard simply from a cosmetics standpoint, and your SEO is nonexistent, then they will forget about you within seconds (or not find you at all). If your firm doesn’t come up as the first search result, they will NOT waste their time scrolling to find you. They will find someone else to help them with their legal needs.
- Consider going mobile. If your site is optimized for mobile use, you could find more and more Gen Y surfing through your site.
- If your blog is geared towards millennials, make sure that you are producing content of value to them. Simply advertising your services won’t work, you will need to generate great content to capture their attention.
- Implement video on your site or in your blog.
How do you ensure success?
- Improve your email response time. They are not understanding of your workload and personal life. Respond to them. Better yet, become inclined to use new communication tools that they are using more frequently. You should learn to use Slack.
- Don’t just improve your email response time, improve your social media engagement cycle. They are connected 24/7. If you only log in once a day, you might miss some valuable information.
- Being punctual at meetings is a must for all scenarios.
- Realize that they work with flexible schedules. Your client may decide to work from home one day and may not be able to meet. Maybe you could show your flexibility by offering to meet over Skype? Or Google Hangouts?
- Be casual. Be professional, but don’t expect your client to show up in a three-piece suit to lunch. Converse shoes are more likely.
- Be honest.
*Filtered as in their Starbucks coffee, or the tool they will be using once they arrive to work and decide the lighting is just too magnificent to not take an Instagram photo and show the world what they are up to that day. Please keep in mind that I am allowed to say these things because I too am a Millennial.