Marketing 101 for Court Reporters

Getting new clients is tough, especially when your agency is new. See, lawyers operate in a very particular way. Starting in law school, they are taught to base all of their decisions on what's happened in the past. Precedent is the basis for most legal arguments, so if they've used a particular court reporter in the past, why should they switch to you?

Price, No Way

One might say, "I can do it at a lower cost." Here's a shocker, most lawyers don't really care too much about the price so long as you aren't wildly expensive.  Why? Because, nine times out of ten, they aren't the ones paying the bill. Court Reporter "shoppers" are going to be your lowest end clients. They will be the ones asking for the world and slow to pay, guaranteed.

Events, Not so Much

Trade shows.  Ahhh, the infamous paralegal conference - the one where you'll meet all of the right people and get your foot in the door at all of the biggest firms, right?  Wrong.  While it might be a good brand builder, the chances of you landing a new client at a paralegal or bar association meeting are slim to none. The people attend these things is because they have to. They are there for a few CLEs and potentially a few drinks with friends, but beyond that, they're probably not looking to be sold anything.

Visibility, Availability, and Remarkable Service for the Win

The most effective way to get a new client is to be visible when they have a need. Since trying to attract them away from their current service provider is rather difficult, it's better to be there, available, and waiting for a moment when their tried and true court reporter can't cut the mustard.

There will come a time when their service provider is overbooked or otherwise unable to accommodate them.  Maybe it's due to a scheduling error, a wreck on the interstate, or a nasty stomach bug, but the time will come. When that happens, it's all about 3 things: visibility, availability, and remarkable service.

Visibility

How will this potential customer in search find you? Are you visible on Google? Will they recognize your location from the road? Do they have your business card? Would your competition refer business to you in a bind?  All of these are ways that a potential customer can find you, and you should be actively taking steps to improve your visibility in each of these areas.

Availability

Do you have the resources and staff to be able to accommodate those last minute jobs?  Finding reporters is tough, but being available when someone needs you in a pinch is one of the most important pieces of soliciting a new client.  When you're able to get someone out of a bind, they'll owe you and you always want your clients feeling like they owe you. That will improve your value and allow you to ask for things like consistent business, high fees, and shorter payment terms.

Remarkable Service

Providing remarkable service is a given.  It's all about value.  The more value you provide, the better chance you have of landing a client. The caveat to this is different people interpret value in different ways, and most of the time in the court reporting business, it has very little to do with price. If we were selling widgets direct to consumer, the price would have a huge impact on value, but we are providing a service to someone who doesn't pay for it.  That's a big difference.  Simple kind acts like getting to know your customers can go a long way. Consider going to lunch with them if it's appropriate, ask about their family, and take interest in their case.

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