Gen Y-ers are everywhere. These not-quite-yet-30-year-old children of Baby Boomers (or, depending on how narrowly you define the segment, of Generation Xers), are recognized as having a “speak your mind” philosophy. And one of the things they are making no bones about expressing is that they want to do business with entities that are cool.
And that, my dear barristers, includes law firms.
Notes Erin Blaskie on today’s Lawyerist blog, “In today’s society, there is a growing trend among Gen Yers, and it is affecting major buying decisions everywhere. It essentially boils down to this: you have to be cool in order for me to spend my money with you.”
But just how cool do you have to be? And isn’t being cool a tad too unprofessional for pragmatic lawyers?
Not necessarily. Let’s analyze the definition of cool, as seen by this financially savvy group of consumers.
According to Blaskie, an entrepreneur tuned into the phenomenon of media:
“Being cool means providing your clients and potential clients more reasons to want to do business with you, aside from the obvious ones. What do you do in your law practice that people will talk about? How are you making a difference in the community you live in? How can people connect with you in the places that they are presently hanging out?”
So it means being bigger than yourself. Hanging out a shingle that announces to the world that you care, and that you put your money where your mouth is…that your actions show that you are socially conscious and that you do something about it.
Here are three of Blaskie’s recommendations for positioning your firm in a position that’s head and shoulders above the rest in the cool factor.
1. You’ve got to give back. You need to get involved in good causes. With all the thousands of non-profits that are out there, you won’t have any trouble picking one that you can donate your time and money to.
Make their cause your cause. Caution: make it a genuine passion. Gen Y-ers have a “realization that life is short,” notes a USA today piece on Money and Generation Yers. Thus, they value it more…and expect their business associates to do so, as well.
2. Definitely go social. You must, must, must be “LinkedIn”. Getting your firm to develop an online presence that’s engaging and active will do wonders for your cool. Not only is it where a huge customer base exists—including Gen Y-ers—but you will be going where this particular demographic hangs out.
Blaskie met her lawyer on Twitter, she tells us. She asked her followers for a referral. Interestingly, the author relies on social media for 100% of her business referrals.
Do you think you don’t need to be a part of the conversation to pick up that kind of business? Think again. Here’s Blaskie on that topic:
“I may not want to pop out of Twitter to send an e-mail or pick up the phone and call you. I want to get answers quickly and I want to find out if you can help me now. Gen Yers are antsy folk.”
3. Strive to be a horse of a different color. Do something your target audience will remember. One of the suggestions Blaskie makes is to set up an Open House at your firm, where you can invite potential clients and answer any and all questions to win over a new clientele. “Think of how you will be changing your potential client’s experience,” she notes.
Are you ready to connect with those discerning Gen Yers? If so, you just might end up with their dollars and, more important, with their vote for coolest firm.
Graphics courtesy of the Lawyerist.com.