10½ ways patent attorneys in europe can make themselves more attractive

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<ul><li><p>10 ways patent attorneys in </p><p>Europe can make themselves more attractive to new </p><p>clients and new overseas </p><p>associates </p><p>www.tenandahalf.co.uk </p></li><li><p>As a European patent or trade mark attorney, how will this special report help you? In the past patent and trade mark attorneys have been able to get by on technical expertise and reputation alone. This is no longer the case. Competition, not only domestically but from all over the world, means attorneys now have to work harder than ever to win new business and keep the clients they already have. In order to achieve growth, smarter firms now need to place more emphasis on how they present themselves in print, in person and online. To give you some ideas as to how you could make your firm more attractive to new clients and overseas associates, we would like to share some of the approaches we have developed alongside the UKs leading patent and trade mark practices. By reading this report you will find out: 1. How to give your firms marketing a thorough health check 2. How to create an effective marketing plan the easy way 3. How to choose the marketing activities that suit you best 4. How to package your firms story 5. How to tell your story better 6. How to be sure an English speaking audience really understands your firm and your offer 7. How you can increase the success your marketing generates by being a bit more focused 8. How to structure your overseas travel so it generates more work 9. How to use insight from your current clients and associates to win more work 10. How to measure the success of and return from your marketing 10. The most important part how to put your plans into action? </p></li><li><p> 1. Give your marketing a thorough health check Before you work out where you want to be, its essential you work out where you are today. When was the last time you sat down and looked in detail at the way you market your firm? More importantly, when was the last time you sat down and really looked at how successful your marketing is? The types of questions you should be asking yourself include: What are your commercial objectives? What are you doing that works? What do you do well? Where do you need to improve? What activities do you need to add? What resources do you have available? What other resources do you need access to? This can be a time consuming process and will eat up a lot of expensive partner time. Sometimes it may be more efficient to ask someone with a lot of experience in auditing patent and trade mark firms to help. The three main benefits of utilising external experience are: You can use partner time more profitably Taking up partner time with marketing and planning meetings is not profitable. Using an external partner to audit your firm and create the right plan for your firm means you can do what you do best looking after your clients and winning new work </p><p> You can take advantage of best best practice An experienced external partner gives you unlimited access to the legal industrys best practices. This will improve the way you market and give you new ideas that are already proven to work which means you avoid unwanted and costly trial and error You will see improvements to your bottom line immediately A comprehensive audit will allow you to cut out activities that cost a lot (both in terms of cost and time) and deliver little. This will immediately make your marketing more effective and more cost-effective </p><p>2. Create an effective marketing plan the easy way While some still see the creation of a marketing plan as a difficult task, its actually extremely easy. In real terms there are only three things you can (or should want to) do: 1. Win more new clients </p><p> 2. Win more work from your existing clients </p><p> 3. Win more work from your overseas associates </p><p> If you would like a more detailed article on how to write an effective personal marketing plan, please email douglas@tenandahalf.co.uk and he will send you a copy of an article recently published in The Patent Lawyer magazine. </p></li><li><p> 3. Choose the right activities We are yet to meet a patent attorney who joined the profession to be a marketer but the ability to market is essential if you want your firm to keep growing and remain competitive. Marketing will never be your main priority and may not be an activity with which you are completely comfortable. However, having worked with a large number of patent and trade mark firms, we have learned it is not always the concept of marketing thats uncomfortable but the individual activities involved. During the planning stage its important to look at which activities work and which you could be using and then align them to the skills and personalities you have available. In very generals terms there are (unsurprisingly given the authors of this report!) 10 activities wed recommend: 1. Dont sell, drink coffee Dont sell, instead just spend time with people and build relationships 2. Participate in events Speaking slots reach everyone; just attending conferences wont 3. Follow up (quickly) after you meet someone Make sure you get in touch and agree next steps 4. Get articles published Not in what you read, in what your clients read 5. Saw this &amp; thought of you Send out articles of interest. Its ad-hoc marketing with a truly personal touch </p><p>6. Have a referral strategy Know what </p><p>you want from who, work out where to meet then ask for what you want 7. Gather case studies Adding them to everything you produce or present brings your story to life 8. Use LinkedIn little &amp; often 10 minutes a week will keep you visible 9. Ask for testimonials Then use them. They will persuade in ways marketing copy never will 10. Let Google do the work Add fresh blogs, reports and articles to your site 10 . Have the confidence to focus on what youre good at and take action! And remember, no one person will be able or expected to do everything on this list. The trick is to work out who is happiest where and make sure the majority of activities on the list are being implemented across your team. </p></li><li><p>4. What is your story? The way you tell your story (what your firm is, what it does and why it does it well) is what will help draw prospective clients and associates towards you. More importantly, it is what will convince them to work with you once they have found you. Once you decide upon your story, you have to have consistency everyone needs to tell the same story every time they interact with your contacts whether thats in person, in print or online. The traditional model is to concentrate on: The services your firm provides The expertise your attorneys have in specific scientific fields The history of your firm and the number of partners and other attorneys and paralegals you have Our response would be so what? How do details like this help you stand out from your competition? How will this style of factual reporting actually make people stop and think thats the firm I want to work with? Instead your story your value proposition should be based around what you really offer, around what people will get for themselves if they were to work with you. You should be thinking about things like: Service How do you deliver your services to make your clients experience of working with you as easy as possible? Likemindedness What do you have in common that will help you build an effective, open working relationship? </p><p> Likeability and co-operation People like to like the people they work with. How do you communicate the personalities of your firm and your attorneys? Strategic input What can you offer a client over and above filing, protection and litigation skills? How can you use your experience of helping similar organisations to improve your clients business? It is often easier to build your proposition with someone outside the firm; someone who understands exactly what the buyers of IP services want from their attorneys and someone with the marketing experience to package your story in a way that shows you can meet those requirements. </p><p>5. How do you tell your story better? Looking at the websites of professional service firms it is fair to say few tell their story well. Most concentrate on themselves, listing facts and figures about partners and offices, occasionally mentioning sectors or clients but often as an afterthought. This is not interesting for the reader and it will not engage an audience in the way you want it to. Here are three golden rules to improve the way you tell your story: Its you not we Write for the reader not the writer. Make sure you are addressing your audience personally and that the content benefits them and doesnt just list facts about your firm and your attorneys. Use the right language Most of your clients possess an understanding of the terms used in intellectual property protection but theyre not experts. Remember to speak clearly using everyday language rather than legal jargon. Also if youre writing for or speaking to a specific sector, use relevant reference points and include the vocabulary and terminology that sector employs. You will immediately be more credible. </p></li><li><p> Employing a professional copywriter is not expensive. Given the potential wins (and losses) that hang on the first impressions your prospective clients or associates will form on arriving at your website, is it an expense you can afford to ignore? </p><p>7. Increased focus; increased success When you are marketing do you have clear targets? Without applying focus it becomes very difficult to find, never mind win, new clients. Once you know which areas you want to target, you can work backwards and identify the events your prospective clients attend, the publications they read, the websites they use and the associations they belong to. Once you have that information, your marketing will immediately become more effective. Better still, as you will have worked out and packaged your story, you will have something powerful, attractive and relevant to say them. But what are the criteria you can use to focus your new client acquisition? In the most basic terms they will be the industries/sectors you have most experience in and the geography your office or offices can service without sacrificing the highest level of client care. When it comes to identifying new potential overseas associates you may want to look at the size of firms or the types of clients they typically serve or the types of patents they file. You may also want to look at the path less travelled. Try new cities and new areas that may not already have hundreds of attorneys asking to meet local firms. </p><p> Benefits, benefits, benefits People will only react to what youre telling them if they can clearly see what is in it for them, how they will benefit from employing your services. Every time you come up with a fact, ask yourself so what? What does it mean for your audience? In general terms you want to show you can save your clients time, money or trouble. In intellectual property you have the perfect benefit if your clients arent protected they could stand to lose market share, revenue or even their business. An external perspective on your key strengths and attributes will allow you to create a strong story you can use consistently in person, in print and online to make you more attractive to prospective clients and boost your profile in key areas. </p><p>6. How can you be sure an English speaking audience really understands your offer? This is where you may need some help. Your website will either be a prospective clients first point of contact or the first tool they use to validate what youve told them about your firm at a recent meeting. If the copy is awkward, stilted and clichd you will undo all your good work up to that point. Having sharp, focused copy will underline your credibility and position you ahead of your competitors. The other thing to remember is that your ability to express yourself clearly, effectively and professionally will reassure prospective clients and associates that you are the people they will be able to trust with the preparation of filings and legal actions. </p></li><li><p>8. Apply a bit more structure to overseas trips Overseas travel is probably the most expensive part of any patent firms marketing budget. Whether the expenditure relates to attending traditional gatherings like INTA or AIPPI, sector specific conferences or good old fashioned sales trips to see key agents and direct clients based abroad, overseas travel remains an essential component to any successful international marketing strategy. However, do you know what return your travel budget actually generates? More importantly, do you know which types of trips generate the highest level of return? And by extension which could you drop, thereby saving you valuable time and costs in the process? In these tough times it is essential you concentrate on the activities you know work and maximize the volume of work attorneys get from overseas agents. Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail may sound like a clich but like all clichs it only gained popularity because its true and that truth is never as apparent as when it is applied to overseas travel. Too many trips are still decided upon at the last minute, or equally as worryingly, agreed well in advance but not organized until the last minute. If you are to start maximizing the return from your overseas trips, the focus has to be shifted from thinking about the trip in terms of the time youre away and start thinking about the trip as the mid-point of a six month campaign. . </p><p> This diagram is designed to show how to structure that 6-month campaign but if you would like a more detailed article on how to organise overseas travel so that it delivers a higher level of return, please email douglas@tenandahalf.co.uk and he will send you a copy of an article originally published in The Patent Lawyer magazine. </p><p>9. If you want to know how to sell something ask the people who buy it If you look at the worlds most successful brands you will immediately see they place huge stock in finding out what their clients think, what their clients want and where their clients think they need to improve. For some reason patent and trade mark attorneys are often reticent about openly asking their clients for feedback </p></li><li><p> The truth is undertaking a formal client review programme pays dividends in so many ways. You will uncover additional fee earning opportunities One of our clients tells us all the time that the richest source of new business this firm has is visiting our clients. Thats right; not referrers, not direct mail, not sponsorship, events, seminars or networking direct...</p></li></ul>