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How to Brand, Market and Sell Mediation

How to Brand, Market and Sell Mediation

Before you can begin to market mediation and sell your services you need to know yourself from the inside out. In this interview Chrissie Lightfoot walks us step-by-step through the process of establishing a brand identity so that you can stand out from the rest of the mediation market.

Chrissie once worked as a lawyer, when she began to notice that the legal industry was a long way behind other businesses in its approach to business development. Thus began her career as an entrepreneur, author and marketing pioneer. In this interview, Chrissie shares her experience and insight. She discusses a variety of techniques to build your brand and attract new customers such as through referral networks, targeted marketing and effective use of social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. She also offers her views on the future of the dispute resolution and legal marketing, as discussed in her latest book: Tomorrow's Naked Lawyer.

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Transcript

Full Transcript

Aled: Hi everyone, my name is Aled Davis, founder of MediatorAcademy.com, home of the passionate mediator. This is where we interview the very best mediators and thought leaders from right around the world. We learn about new opportunities in the field of mediation as well as how to sharpen our skills develop our thinking and stay ahead of the curve.

All right, the big question for today’s interview is this, “How do you develop mediation brand that gets you the right attention from the right people?” Now I also want to learn how to effectively use marketing channel like Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media networks through new clients and new markets.

My guest today has recently topped the LinkedIn 2015 charts as the most engaged and best connected woman in the legal sector. She is a top 10 legal tweeter and in 2013 was the legal professional of the year and the top100 international executive. She is the founder and CEO of Entrepreneur Loyal Limited, a global consultancy advising legal professionals and their firms on the future of legal services, products, personal branding and marketing, the whole bunch of other things.

She is the author of the best seller, The Naked Lawyer, how to market brand and sell you” and her latest book, Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer, NewTech, NewHuman, NewLaw: How to Be Successful, 2015 to 2045 has recently hit the shelves. It is a real pleasure to welcome Chrissie Lightfoot on the Mediator Academy. Chrissie welcome.

Chrissie: Good Afternoon, welcome, really appreciate it, Aled. Thank you.

Aled: Chrissie, I want to ask you about your book. I’m interested in the idea, “The Naked Lawyer” you know the brand, “The Naked Lawyer.” And then I’d like to really drill down into some of the key things in mediators and legal professions watching this interview now, need to be doing to help build a brand in their market, reach new customers/clients and so on.

But before we do that I have to say huge congratulations for the LinkedIn accolade. I mean we had to sort of postpone the interview and you know to wait till this got out today, this news got out to the world. But what does it mean being the most engaged legal professional on LinkedIn and why is that important?

Chrissie: What does it mean? Well, I guess they contacted me about a week ago and said we have to keep quiet about this news basically because it is in embargo until we do press release around Friday and this is basically what we do is we look across the entire network in the UK and look at which ladies of actually got involved more in lots of different ways on LinkedIn.

So it’s not just connecting with this people, it is engaging in the [new] groups, using LinkedIn status to share information of interest to the connections and community. And also sharing and helping all this connect, so it was a whole breadth of different yard sticks that they actually took to come up with this solution basically.

So it’s not just on a number of connections so [I hasten to add that], it is the quality of connections based on [inaudible 03:23] that you are going to help and what you share, which leads on to obviously what I’m going to help and share with you today anyway, Aled, about how to brand yourself and personal brand that is effective.

So I guess what they’re saying is yes, I top that list because of how effective and efficient I’m at using LinkedIn and in order to do what it’s set out to do which is basically network like crazy to win new clients and help clients and keep giving, so basically that was what it is.

Aled: That is a fantastic tool, isn’t it, LinkedIn.

Chrissie: It is wonderful. I mean I can’t praise it enough. I came across it in 2007-2008. So it was quite a long time ago. It was in the early years over here in the UK, and it had been going strongly in the USA two to three years prior.

But certainly the professions weren’t really looking at it too much 2008, it was very much nascent in that respect. But I picked up, and I could see the potential of shifting from networking offline to networking online, it saves your feet a lot. You know when you are walking around in two or three-inch heels and going to networking event and coming back to a handful of cards. It was time-intensive, feet-intensive, physical and tiring and I thought this is much quicker, efficient way of getting to the outcome that I want to get to.

So you know as a tool, it’s fascinating in lots of respect, it’s great as an initial lead generation you can target the exact people you want to get in touch with, but it is far more than that. A lot of lawyers and mediators tend to use it simply for that to open the door whereas it’s real magic is once you’ve opened the door to follow up on that initial contact and to then get involved in the conversations that are going on in the LinkedIn status comments and in the groups in particular.

And publishing because obviously a great way in order to market brand and sell yourself is to publish great content that actually shouts out you are the go-to expert in something. And the only way to do this is to actually give over link and do that.

Aled: Yeah, well, I want to come back to LinkedIn a little bit later. I’m interested in kind of specific sort of disciplines/habits how do you go about it in a methodical kind of way rather than say spontaneous, “I’m going to wake up and get into LinkedIn” and then you know a month later you revisit it. Because I think this sort of tools you got to be you know putting in . . . Putting it in the hours, but in the right way so I want to come back to that. But tell us about The Naked Lawyer.

Chrissie: Right. The Naked Lawyer was a book I published way back in 2010 actually and it was a book that I wrote because to be honest I was actually frustrated with the legal profession and the legal industry. I could see that we lawyers in all respects as mediator, advocates, and GCs and as a practicing lawyers in a law firm as I was, I could see that basically we didn’t have many marketing skills whatsoever. Because my background is I came from a different industry. I came from the [inaudible 06:45] sector and consultancy so I have worked into industries and they were ten years, light years ahead of what legal professions are doing. And I thought basically what I need to do is to get my message out.

That A, we need to become more entrepreneurial, more like rainmakers, not just advocates or warriors at all because client relationships are good relationships by getting clients and keeping clients comes down to obviously relating positively. And I actually have a sales model basically that was founded on sales model that I used in the relationship industry, in gyms basically.

But it’s all about customer service and brilliant service and being efficient and effective in how you go about doing that. So originally I thought well if I write the book then it gets the message out there a lot quicker; certainly faster but at a global reach as well. Rather than share at the law firm that I was in, I thought this is going to help thousands, tens of thousands, hundred thousand, and millions of lawyers across the globe.

At a time when I could see that-this is just prior to the recession as well-I mean it’s been 15 years ago-I could see that the onslaught of the machines, machine intelligence were going to actually excel and our roles were going to be super seceded by machine intelligence therefore it would come down to [social humans] as I call it.

Those are human beings interacting socially. Our high end value be all about our emotional intelligence and garnering client intel, client data and using that, but being very human about it.

So I thought in 2010 when I left the law firm I was at, I thought this is my vocation going forward. It is to help lawyers, advocates, mediators out there future poof their careers basically because I can see it then. And the book has sold phenomenally well. It has been a best seller for my publisher so they actually persuaded me to write a second book eventually and Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer is the result of that.

Aled: Okay tell us . . . and I will ask you about that in a moment but I want to come back to the, you talked about this on the sales methodology rooted into the principles of customer service. What is the model, give us a quick overview of the model, the methodology?

Chrissie: I shall do that even though it is in detail in the book of course.

Aled: Indeed, yes . . .

Chrissie: Basically it says that a model that I have devised called ROAR which is an acronym for the letters R-O-A-R which means Reach Out And Relate.

Aled: So rather that roar, ROAR! That kind of roar . . .

Chrissie: Absolutely, that one full on. And if I could just say at this stage well even having something like that, a catchy phrase or an acronym is something that you use in all of your social networks as well [that’s catchy]. You know you can play with it. It’s fun. It’s creative. And you know if I could say one thing to anybody watching this is you got to be creative in this kind of stuff so that is a good example of getting people’s attention as well.

It does help that pop songs spring up that use that kind of thing as well. I think it has been used a couple of years ago, which is great because then it is subliminal messaging and any consumer when they think of that pop song, they think of ROAR and the phraseology in the book of The Naked Lawyer as well. So it all helps with spin and what I call buzz and fuzz. So yeah . . .

Aled: ROAR stands for?

Chrissie: Reach out and relate . . .

Aled: Reach out and relate . . .

Chrissie: It is about relationship marketing, relationship sales. It’s not traditional marketing, traditional sales, traditional PR, it’s all about pushing, pushing information, pushing emails and really I talk about turning all of that upside down, making it on marketing, on sales. It’s about pulling. It’s about positioning yourself; you are attracting the ideal client that you want to represent as an advocate and a mediator in your particular niche.

So it is a much smarter way doing because if you are using SEO keywords and SMO social media optimization and such, you can do that with smarter if you are focusing for the rifle approach rather than a shot gun approach as well. So the actual model begins by actually taking really good look at yourself. You know the whole ethos about “Man, know thyself,” that is where you have to begin. A lot of us lawyers, advocates, and mediators tend to put on this cloak when we go to work and been told to do that.

So the attitude become somebody else and you got on this professional persona and I actually I don’t agree with that at all. I think that really has to be very authentic about who we are and what we do and let your own personality and character shine through. It may be the case that you don’t attract all of the clients you want to get, but that is fine because you know the population is seven billion. It will be nine billion within 2050 so there is plenty of work out there. There are plenty potential clients.

And you know a lot of clients do keep with those they know, like and trust, which is the big mantra that has been out there for seven years now. But I innovate that and say it’s not just know, like, and trust, it is who you really get, who you really understand, and who you share common interest with because we all do business with people that we know, know like and trust but those are the three go a lot deeper. You know we share a certain interest in business and [legislative].

So if you have a particular niche or particular area of law mediation but you truly, truly love it and you really get into it. You enjoy reading the magazine. You enjoy getting the snippets of news. That is a bit different because you are not only up to date but you are very enthusiastic about what you do as well and that passion comes across when you are representing a client in any respect because that then actually cultivates the trust very naturally without having to prove yourself in any different way because as we all know it is given, the technical expertise.

All of us lawyers and advocates are [merchants] and yes, you’re only as good as the last case you won and all that, but some you win or some you lose. So what it comes down to is about having the knowledge about that industry-sector specific that does become paramount. So emotion tells you is knowing your own skillset, knowing your mindset, knowing your own strengths, knowing what opportunities can be ahead of you, forget about the weaknesses because you know put them aside.

I’m a great believer of building strength on strength, so [emotional challenge] is about knowing yourself and working out what that big rock of yours is. Big rock as in what you really enjoy doing. What niche it is, what sector and drilling down on that. Because once you’ve looked at your emotional intelligence you know what you want and you know who you are and you know where you are going, it is very much about looking at that niche.

It’s not just the niche. It’s a niche of a niche of a niche of a niche because for example if I went into a networking event offline or online, I wouldn’t walk-in and say I’m a lawyer. I would say I’m a business woman with legal intelligence and say what you mean by that? So I immediately got them into conversation.

\ But then I’d say look basically I’m drilling down from I’m a lawyer but I’m also an entrepreneur and if I’m targeting entrepreneurs, am I targeting [serial] entrepreneurs or new entrepreneurs or woman entrepreneurs, so there is three niches there. And if it is [serial] entrepreneur that niche is large enough to say, okay but I do corporate law, but I don’t just do corporate law, I niche down into share schemes. And then niche down and I say, “How can I help you as a serial entrepreneur with share scheme work in order to actually help your business be more successful.

So it is positioning yourself, drilling right all the way down. So you are not just saying you are a lawyer you are saying actually I’m a share scheme lawyer type in this particular sector and take it from there. And of course you can go up in to the big umbrella going forward and back, but in order to position yourself in the digital world where there’s millions of people online shouting on the same space doing the same thing. You’ve got to find that narrow sweet spot and to do that it comes down to personal brand as well.

Aled: Okay, that is interesting. You said position yourself in the digital world because it is a crowded place, isn’t it, LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s crowded and to stand out you have to really I think as you said drill down into a very specific . . . You are thinly slicing your niche and so you can be really specific and therefore stand out.

Chrissie: Absolutely . . .

Aled: What I find really interesting about that is as somebody whose like the vast majority of mediators out there, mediators out there, self-employed, it’s almost like continuity to do that because you want to be all thing to all people to cast your net wide, but actually takes real discipline to start those sort of conversations really narrowly focusing on I don’t do that. I don’t do that. This is what I do and I can be the best in the world at that.

Chrissie: It’s exactly that. I always use “Mr. Loophole” as an example.

Aled: Mister who?

Chrissie: “Mr. Loophole,” Nick Freeman and he did it without knowing actually many years ago, but he did get what a lot of mediators would say pigeonholed and he was branded anyway by the media basically. But he has become very famous and infamous and basically what Nick Freeman did was he started to represent premiership footballers and getting them off, getting three points/six points on their speeding fines basically when they are trying to speed away from the paparazzi or whatever excuse they happen to have.

And obviously, it started with Man United and a few famous names and then Chelsea picked up and other football clubs. So basically he was gifted a personal branding or brand identity by the media, but I’m [arguing] that you need to create your roles that you can manage it and you have the control over it. So I think Nick Freeman actually obviously admitted it, he probably might not have been too happy about being branded “Mr. Loophole.” It is not very complimentary really, is it? It’s this guy who gets you off. But that is a great example really of that in action.

Aled: Yes, yes . . . Tarnished with a golden brush . . .

Chrissie: Yes, yes . . . It is not too big of a problem to have, but that said driverless cars are on the way so he is obviously not too happy about that.

Aled: I’m sure maybe something else is coming along.

Chrissie: I’m sure there will.

Aled: So all right . . . So that’s The Naked Lawyer and now Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer five years later what is that all about.

Chrissie: It’s naturally steps on from the first book and The Naked Lawyer so whistle stop [short] of The Naked Lawyer to finish of the ROAR model. Emotional intelligence is the first stage, niche is second stage, devise a personal brand as the third stage, and building your referral network once you’ve devised a personal brand as well and online not just offline, but online, then using the tools.

So when you talk about using social media/social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, all the rest of them. This comes quite further along what I would suggest is building the foundation to being very effective and prolific and winning accreditation as I have because you have to put the four or five foundations in first before you can touch the tools. It is the sensible thing to do because you are going to do it in a much more processed way and the [primal] way strategically that is going to obviously give you bigger rewards.

So once you and the social networking from that it is about innovating because it changes which is going to be the best network to use fir your specific sector. You got to find it out. So you find it out by actually being there. And you won’t know which the best network to be in or the group until you start to get a feel for how active it is and what kind of return you are getting as in actual leads or actual clients coming through. So you don’t want to be wasting your time and you’ve got to go through that process. And then obviously the skillset to understanding and to work through as well.

So moving on to Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer. Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer in the first chapter, or the lead in basically, reiterates some of the issues, the main themes and the ROAR model itself. So it does help people who haven’t read the first book jump straight into second one and capture it quickly basically.

But I have new themes in the new one because I want to focus very much on not just then current future but the distant future because what I alluded to earlier in our conversation, Aled, about seeing the machines fifteen years ago coming in and taking over our jobs.

I do believe that is it going to happen. It is imminent and I thought this the next stage on when I thought about writing this book, Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer, was actually two/ three years ago. So I had it in mind and thought the next book is going to be about artificial intelligence and robotics because I could see in Asia robotics were already starting to make a mark and I thought all this talk about the new economy, Middle East, Asia, growing economies where the big law firms are going, who are going to be the legal buyers in the next decade. It’s all about middle class Asia and Australasia, the EMEA area . . .

So I thought really I need to write a book now is seriously going to help future proof all of our jobs and careers going forward. What is it we need to be doing and skilling up for so as we transit and our roles are forcibly changed due to the fact companies are going to be looking for more efficient outcomes, efficient delivery, service, you name it.

This book actually just covers looking at society and law and economics and politics. A lot of areas we need to consider of how artificial intelligence and robotics are going to impact our social lives, leisure lives, family lives and certainly in the work place because a lot of lawyers are quite rightly, quite fearful of what will it mean when the machine rules.

So I deal with that but I deal with it in a positive way because I would say that a lot of my colleagues and other futurists out there . . . commentators . . . they focus very much on what is going to happen and so we can research that, we can talk about it and can have different views. And I have mine in the book.

But what I focus on is why and how we can go forward confidently knowing that all of this is going to happen, inevitably and it will happen, but we will have some form of livelihood and career going forward even if it morphs into something totally different that we are not sure about it yet.

So the skillsets I deal with in the second book, Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer, are the kind of skillsets that I believe we need very much. And it involves again, it picks up on the first book because the first book actually should have probably been the second book, and Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer, the first book, you know what I mean?

Still the ROAR model rings true in the innovated form in this new book. When I talk about innovating and what we are doing in social map because it’s changed enormously in the last five years as well. And I get into some real mind-blowing stuff where if we look at how search engines work now. What Google are doing? What Apple is doing in their technologies? We wouldn’t have dreamed about five years ago.

But even there looking at some of the science involved now but what is the new way to search. What is the next big thing in social? So that is the kind of stuff I’m looking at in the book having talking with scientist, engineers, artificial intelligence experts, rocket scientist even, you know there is lots of people in this book where I have been blessed that they were happy to be interviewed or happy to talk and it’s not just my views but it’s theirs views as well.

So it’s very top end and across a lot of different industries as well so that anybody reading it whether it is a lawyer or any of the professions or beyond, it doesn’t really matter because this book is relevant to all of us. Anybody who is interested to their future and certainly law and justice in any society as well.

Aled: Very interesting . . . We have done a series of interviews on Mediator Academy over the last month, two months actually, on online dispute resolution.

Chrissie: Excellent.

Aled: We had Richard Susskind on just the day he publishes. . .

Chrissie: The day he announced it.

Aled: Yeah, published the paper and you know it’s kind of interesting looking at the potential impact on not just law, but and [inaudible 23:47] actually the role of the mediator. So yeah, there certainly a lot of challenges ahead, but also as you probably think a lot of opportunity ahead well. It’s just . . .

Chrissie: But that’s how I see it. It comes down to attitude and will to change knowing that you are going to have to change. I know a lot of us fear change understandably. It’s usually because we are not prepared; we are not skilled up. We haven’t thought about what it is we need to be doing.

So I hope that I can give people comfort in what I’ve written about to actually say these are the likelihood kind of thing based on great futurists as well and great people in MIT and America have said this is kind of stuff that we need to talk about. These are the trends. These are all the facts that go to affect this; therefore these are the skill sets that you are going to need.

And on the thing about online dispute I think it a fantastic thing. It’s been a long-time coming. It’s taken too long I mean we are talking here on Skype. You know Skype has been around for ten years. You know it wasn’t great at first which couldn’t pass, but the technology has improved, bandwidth’s improved, and it’s fantastic.

I mean now I remember in my law firm in 2008, saying to the partners and saying why aren’t we using Skype to communicate with potential clients, prospects and to initiate a conversation. It’s free for a start, so this thousand pound phone bill or whatever could have been negated by using the technology that is robust. Certainly very robust now, but understandably, yes, issues about client confidentiality. Is it secure enough? And all those important issues after that . . .

Aled: I hosted a conference back in October last year on online dispute resolution and one of the Golden Magic Circle Firms. Right? And I Skyped in a guy called Colin Rule who is the founder of Modria. He designed eBay’s online dispute resolution platform which is . . .

Chrissie: Fantastic.

Aled: So this firm . . . I’m not who will rename names because they know and who they are. So we can’t use Skype, is that reliable? You have to use our conferencing software and we paid a million pound for it. On the day, we couldn’t get it to work and I just last minute I just said, “Let’s just fire Skype up and see if that works.” There he appeared on the big screen and I just you know, it’s incredibly reliable.

Chrissie: Yeah, I think it’s a solution to go forward on the biggest scale. Online dispute resolution has proven it can be done through eBay. I mean everyone [inaudible 26:26] obviously domain names as well. You know [Icahn] did it for many years, so the theory is there. The practice is there. But scaling it up so that you obviously is it just a system here in the UK and other systems out there in world that have been successful and as successful that obviously Richard Susskind has taken a good look at and then his proposal for what we should do here in the UK.

I’m a great advocator of it. And it’s certainly starting with the steps basically looking it the lower level kind of stuff. You know and with the . . . what I think is a horrendous news today about 60% rise in court fees.

I mean it is just really . . . It’s going to hit majority of the layman or any kind of court action is just going to be far out of reach. You know this online dispute resolution coming on board may start at the lower end limit, but I can quickly see once they realize how effective and efficient it is, that will escalate and hopefully this ridiculous 60% court fee . . . It will never be justified but will deter people going face to face in the courtroom with the jury and all the expense and time involved and negating that if possible.

So I’m watching with enthusiastic and positive eyes actually. This is if it’s done right, we will look back in five years and ten years and why do we not do it sooner. We should have done it ten years ago.

Aled: Right, Chrissie I want to come back to some of the things you talked about the beginning. You talked about brand. You talked about importance of brand, getting people’s attention, being creative, coming up with something that’s memorable. You know the kind of The Naked Lawyer and your brand and I watched a couple of interviews. I’ve read some of the chapters in your first book. You know it’s quite a provocative brand.

Chrissie: Yes.

Aled: And I doubt I’ve been the first person to say that. Right?

Chrissie: No and you won’t be the last.

Aled: Now tell me was that something, you know was that a deliberate you know . . . What was the process you went through to come up with that brand and how could I or somebody else replicate that process to come up with their own brand?

Chrissie: Yes, it was definitely on purpose. Yes, and it was on purpose because something that nobody had been talking about when I wrote the first book. I advocate basically turning the model upside down. So a lot of chambers, advocates, mediators, law firms threw a lot of money in to getting out brand firm out there, now to do that you spend a lot of money spending on advertising and whatever.

And basically I say, “No” you got the model upside down. First of all, it’s a brand trilogy so you are looking at, A, your personal brand first because as advocates and lawyers our main star attraction is the relationship that we have with the human being client, whomever they are.

So it’s still a case in the majority of law firms, yes of course, ignore the top end like [inaudible 29:46] those who have got big brands who already spent millions and everybody has read about them in the mainstream press. But we are talking about the majority of lawyers against law firms.

The general public have never heard of them. They have never heard of the law firm, but they do know the individual because they’ve been in touch with the individual lawyer/advocate locally or on social network.

So it’s really it’s getting the individual knowledge first who then brings the business to the chambers or the law firm. So I said, no, you work on the personal brand first because it is the human being who is interacting, engaging, conversing and being authentic, being themselves, basically being naked because The Naked Lawyer is actually it’s a term I use that naked is about standing naked and you clothe yourself with your personal brand.

And I explain that and go into how you create that brand in the book. Okay, so it is a play on words. It’s an acronym and it’s meant to intrigue and to create curiosity. But on this brand trilogy from divesting in personal brands, the way to attract and get attention is to have product and the brand product is The Naked Lawyer because The Naked Lawyer is the book.

My personal brand is Chrissie Lightfoot, the entrepreneur and lawyer, and that is the brand that I use personally to attract entrepreneurs when I was a lawyer in a law firm. To find my . . . To attract those ideal entrepreneurs because standing in their shoes, you think about what are they thinking when they first set up on Google or go in on LinkedIn or Twitter and they want to find a lawyer that can really get them, really understand them, and shares interest with them.

So personal brand first, then brand product, whatever it is, whether you sing a song or do a dance or write a book, anything like that. And then finally, it’s brand firm then you focus because if you got lots of different advocates in the chambers doing lots of different niches or such, all honing in their different areas. That is how you get the fulfilling “I do everything umbrella.” It’s the trio of all three.

Aled: Okay, all right. So let me just try to think about Mediator Academy. So Mediator Academy, is that my brand product?

Chrissie: Mediator Academy as in that is your business, isn’t it.

Aled: Yeah, well that is my website. That is my baby.

Chrissie: So that is your company? Yeah?

Aled: Well.

Chrissie: Your product, I would say from what I understand, Media Academy is the company is your entity and within your academy, you will have products so you may sell a service or you do podcast. So you can become known for being the go-to mediator guy who his key product is mediator podcasts.

But you . . . as your personal brand; you have to look at what is your personal [strafe] line in the digital space that you become known for. So you know like he’s The Podcast Guy. I mean that is too generic, but you get the point. You know what I mean. Sometimes it’s pretty obvious but it’s finding that personal brand that nobody else owns in digital. But I don’t want to give too much away because obviously the quality and the content of that is in the book, The Naked Lawyer.

So you got to really be smart about finding the right strafe line that is findable in the digital space and that nobody else has because obviously. If you try to find a Twitter account, Facebook, a lot of names are already taken, so you just have to be creative to come up with something that hasn’t been touched yet. And so that you can come up an SEO basis or an SMO without having to spend on advertising or AdWords. It is a smarter way of doing it basically.

Aled: So that is helpful. Actually Mediator Academy is my company even though it’s not my limited company. My limited company is something else.

Chrissie: It’s your entity. It’s your umbrella.

Aled: It’s my umbrella within that I have the interviews that I do, podcasts or whatever but my personal brand I’ve yet to bottom that out. And it’s interesting, isn’t it? Because you know what you are suggesting is that I, you know, I should have turn that on its head and started with myself. So work still has to do with Mediator Academy and brand Aled Davis. Thank you for that. That is great.

Okay then you talked about building a referral network. Say a little bit more about that and then I want to sort of look at maybe to LinkedIn or Twitter just to see what are the kind of things that I need to be doing or a mediator needs to be doing.

Chrissie: Your referral network is the quickest way to do it and the smartest way to do it is identify your lobsters. What I call them is my key lobster . . .

Aled: Lobsters . . .

Chrissie: Yes, my lobsters . . . I came up with that and I say that but I watched these Friends sitcom, the American Friends and in one of the series . . .

Aled: How you doing . . .

Chrissie: Yeah that kind of thing, Joey . . . How you doing? But the whole thing was about all the different relationships intertwined, wasn’t it. One of the more lead characters was Ross and Rachel, they were on and off love affair kind of thing. All of a sudden, they got their relationship back on track again and so all the friends come together with, “Oh he’s her lobster” meaning that basically he is her mate for life. They might have ups and downs, but basically, he’s found a mate for life. He is the guy that looks after. He is the one who influences.

So I use this term, find your lobsters or your key mates for life, key influences, those people who will obviously introduced you naturally others because they like you, and fall into the six: know, like, trust, get, understand, share, because there are certain influencers, and sometimes termed mavens, so if you come across maven terminology it’s a similar thing. I call it lobster.

But Aled, those kinds of people were ones who can help grow your network really fast and effectively because they are your voice and the third party perspective as advocate, which is great obviously, yeah. Because people trust that more than you shouting about yourself, saying how brilliant I am. People are not too sure about that, but if they hear it from somebody else they will believe. So finding, identifying those lobsters is the first way to go. You know and you do that.

Aled: Do you have a magic number for how many lobsters one should have?

Chrissie: No, I don’t because you meet new lobsters all the time and you can tell who they are once you are active on Twitter or LinkedIn because they are more proactive and you can see who is conversing with them, who is following, and what level of influence they are in the company or in association, so you tend to catch on the ones that you think they are going to be the ones that got real knowledge, real influence and real ways in. They genuinely will help because you can see they’ve already introduced you to people. You see all of those personalities. Yes, those are the ones that I really need to get into a bit more, help them.

Because the ROAR model is very much about giving. It’s not about trying to get work for yourself. It’s about giving work to others and being of help to them and when that happens is that you’re giving that that to your lobsters and key influences and others, human nature is most times they think, “Oh great thanks for that, I’ll see if I can help you back.”

So when you get that kind of give, give, give mentality and process going that is why you don’t need to cold sell, you don’t need to pick up the phone because you have positioned yourself, you created that great relationship with your mavens, with your lobsters. They are bringing work to you. So you know basically then you have the problem with dealing with all the inquiries coming in and wouldn’t that be a nice position to be in, to be the go-to mediator for something of value.

Aled: Indeed . . . So lobsters what’s next referring to that network, anything else that you need to be doing?

Chrissie: Well, that’s where obviously when I talk in the book about what you need to doing on social, on your referral network. It is very much, which I’ve just touched on, I spend four-sixths of my time actually looking for how I can help my ideal prospects. So I win new clients because what I’m doing before they are even clients is actually thinking about how I can help them and introducing them to somebody in my network who I already know that by introducing this potential prospect to an existing client or prospect that I’m going to help both of those be very successful.

So it’s about what marketeers talk about saying that you need to be focused on helping your client’s client so it’s two steps removed. Because you are not just going to win one client then, you are going to win two for helping their prospects. So it’s being very smart in how you go about doing it.

Aled: Very interesting so you spent vast majority of your time at looking for ways to help other people.

Chrissie: Yes, that exactly what it is and it sounds crazy, but it works; crazy but true.

Aled: Okay, do you . . . Is LinkedIn the most . . . best platform to do that?

Chrissie: From what I was doing in my line of work when I was a lawyer targeting entrepreneurs, I found that both Twitter and LinkedIn, and I say Twitter because basically if you are smart how you can get across in a 140 characters to say something, put the link in and take them somewhere else to a webpage or an article or your talking wall, BlogSpot or even your LinkedIn profile to say learn more here and to publish on LinkedIn.

In Twitter is a quick door into bigger content platform basically such as LinkedIn. That said, you could use LinkedIn first off post something on the LinkedIn status, share it on Twitter and do both at the same time. So this technology is fantastic and I use HootSuite which goes across all my different networks. I might say the same thing but just personally to all my different communities. Communities that I’ve built that are different but might share the same followers because I’m not in control of who wants to follow me on different networks, but they tend to want to follow on different one because you could see that the content I’m sharing is going to be helpful to them and their client is very tailored to a specific stream.

Aled: So HootSuite, I know HootSuite. HootSuite is a platform that allows you to syndicate your content out is that, right?

Chrissie: Correct . . . It’s a dashboard so you could see all of them. So I could see three of my different Twitter accounts, my Facebook, LinkedIn and that can go across all of them at the same time basically, which is fantastic because a lot of lawyers and advocates push back and say I haven’t got time to do all of this. I say, yeah you do. If you understand how to build it, you could use your time hugely efficiently naturally and I might as well say it because I do get asked quite a bit, well, you must be on LinkedIn and Twitter hours a day.

And I say, no, no, no, once you build it, it’s like penicillin, you know you just have to take a little bit of a tablet or a little bit every day to keep yourself topped up and keep yourself immune and healthy. And that is how social networking works as well because you’re very much in control about when you chat or where . . .

So there is no set time and people aren’t offended if you don’t reply straight back to them because they realize you might have gone offstream for half an hour or you’re on the phone or something else. It’s a bit strange because you are having a conversation, but it could last over a week. So you catch up on the stream of what else they’ve been saying. I’s fascinating stuff, but very effective.

Aled: And do you have to . . . Do you have a set of discipline about things that you do religiously and consistently.

Chrissie: Yes, I did, but you have to read about that in the book.

Aled: Just give us a . . .

Chrissie: A teaser . . . First thing in the morning without a doubt, it’s just like checking your email. I spend at least half an hour sharing information of interest to my whole community across all of my different streams. So I’ll pick up something in the news, something that is sector specific. Something that could be a leisure interest as well. It’s a whole mix and share stuff about my clients, about my prospects, what they are doing, what they are saying and getting involves with conversations, write something on the LinkedIn status, put something, sometimes comment on something that somebody’s published to LinkedIn.

Because all of that show in your activities status if anybody goes and looks at your profile. They can see what you got involved in or engaged in and what you have said, you said something intriguing, intelligent that actually makes you stand out. I need to get hold of this person because they are talking a good talk. I want to take this further.

And then you get an email pinging or a LinkedIn message saying, “Hey I want to connect with you, can I have a chat with you.” So you just . . . It’s so easy to get work, to attract clients just by being present, and I always use . . . I say to people basically using social and being social humans whether it’s any tool, LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook. It’s really like being in the lottery because it’s millions, hundreds of millions of people using these networks.

It is a lottery and my only advice is you got to be in it to win it. If you have any chance of getting new prospects or clients if you position yourself right, have your personal brand right, behave right and say the right things at the right place at the right time and how you go about doing it, then you will succeed. You will attract that ideal client.

Aled: Okay so these tactics you are talking about, which book are they in?

Chrissie: The Naked Lawyer primarily and then innovated again, so it’s also in Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer.

Aled: Where is the best place to get a hold of a copy?

Chrissie: I would go direct to my publisher, which is Wilmington Ark Group. You will find that on my website so you could go to see entrepreneurlawyer.co.uk website that visit the tab that says, Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer, see The Naked Lawyer, you click and there is a call to action and you will see how to do it.

Aled: Brilliant . . . Chrissie I know you got another interview lined up in a few minutes.

Chrissie: I do. Sorry.

Aled: So look it’s been really, really good to catch up, and I appreciate the tips that you’ve shared around building the brand, the referral network and doing the trilogy of brands. I’ve got some work to do there. And the thing that you said about kind of sharing and being sort of abundant in giving. I think that is a really helpful reminder actually because one can get so consumed by just the volume of stuff that we have. Actually we kind of forget really to be quite abundant and trust the way the world works, I think.

Chrissie: Yes, it’s exactly that, it’s just believing in Karma. You know you have to, A, step back but be bold enough and brave enough to just let go, but it’s alright saying that. I appreciate it because a lot of us advocates and lawyers are called control freaks. So saying just let go and let it happen and just see what returns. Once again it’s that fear factor, isn’t it?

But rest assured for more tips outside of the books anyway, if you go to my website, loads of articles on there. If you look at the keynote about speeches that I do and the articles. There’s lots of articles where I’ve shared little tips about how to do social basically. If you have a look through those, you can find lots of help there as well.

Aled: Brilliant. Chrissie, Thank you so much . . . Have a great week.

Chrissie: Thank you, Aled. Bye.

Aled: Bye-bye.

About the mediator

Chrissie Lightfoot Profile Pic

Chrissie Lightfoot is a prominent international legal figure and the chief executive officer of EntrepreneurLawyer Ltd, a global consulting business specializing in relationship sales and based in the UK. Chrissie is an inspirational woman entrepreneur, a solicitor (non-practising), consultant, regular international Keynote speaker, legal futurist, legal and business commentator and a writer. In 2013 she was nominated and honoured as Legal Profes... View Mediator