Many people want to be known as the greatest at anything, especially when it implies more and better clients. While many attorneys rely on accolades and accreditations to demonstrate their expertise, others frame themselves as authorities by behaving like one.
In today’s episode,Elise Holtzman, a former practicing attorney and executive coach who founded The Lawyer’s Edge, discussed how attorneys may increase their visibility in the legal and business communities, so they are not relegated to being a “best-kept secret.”
Elise explains what “raising your profile” entails and how it differs from merely engaging in marketing and promotion activities. She also discusses how lawyers may establish themselves as authorities without coming across as bragging or waiting years to gain expertise.
Whether you are already engaging in activities that are helping to raise your profile as a lawyer, or are just getting started, this episode has all the answers to set you up for success or take your strategy to the next level.
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Liel: [00:00:00] Statistics show that public speaking is the number one fear of Americans. Also, public speaking is one of the most valuable activities a lawyer can do to raise their profile. I’m Liel Levy, co-founder of Nanato Media and author of Beyond Se Habla Español. How Lawyers Win the Hispanic Market. And This Is In-camera podcast where we take a deep breath and get on the stage whenever we can. Welcome to in-camera podcast, Private Legal Marketing Conversations, Grace, how are you?
Grace: [00:00:59] Good. How are you, Liel?
Liel: [00:01:01] I’m good, Grace. As I’ve said to you just a minute ago, it feels like I haven’t talked to you in ages, and it’s really been like less than 10 days, but a lot has happened over those 10 days. I know you’ve been very busy. And I went to the Crisp Game Changers summit, and it was it was interesting. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about it from your colleagues that attended.
Grace: [00:01:21] I did. It was a very good one for my understanding, and they gave away a lot of expensive vehicles.
Liel: [00:01:29] A lot of expensive vehicles were given away. And and yes, Grace, you know, it was it was inspirational, I guess sort of conference, really good keynote speakers. And I think all of us who were there had a good time. But enough about that Grace. And let’s get ready and focused for our next conversation because we really have an amazing guest waiting to join this conversation. So Grace. Why don’t you do the honors as always and introduce our guests for today?
Grace: [00:02:00] So everybody, we have a real treat for you today. It is with great pleasure that we welcome Elise Holtzman to join us for a conversation on how lawyers can raise their profile in the legal and business communities so they are not a best kept secret. Elise is a former practicing attorney, executive coaching consultant and the founder of The Lawyers Edge, where since 2008 she has worked with law firms to grow thriving businesses by helping lawyers become better business developers and leaders. Elise speaks frequently on the subject of business development and women’s leadership for organizations such as the New Jersey State Bar Association, ABA Women Rainmakers and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. And she’s the host of the Lawyers Edge podcast. Elise, Welcome to In-camera Podcast.
Liel: [00:02:46] Elise, Welcome to In-camera Podcast Where is this podcast finding you?
Elise: [00:02:50] I am in New Jersey, just outside of New York City, just across the river.
Liel: [00:02:55] And is it freezing already, or it’s still nice? No. Weather.
Elise: [00:02:59] It’s nice. Fall weather, although, you know, if you look at the overnight temperatures, it’s a little scary. I woke up yesterday morning, looked at my count. It looked at my weather app and it said 37 degrees, which I was not too excited about. But it’s going. It’s strange because it starts at thirty seven and then it goes up to like sixty one or sixty two. So you have to be prepared for anything at this time of year.
Liel: [00:03:17] Nice. Nice. Yeah. Let’s hope that that fall weather stays for as long as it wants. Yeah, I love it. It is the best. It is the best agree. So we’re so happy to have you here in the podcast, and we’re going to have a conversation right about becoming more authoritative, raising your profile. But I want us to start by defining what does that mean? Because I think a lot of us may think right away when we were talking about raising your profile, it’s like you’re basically doing PR on yourself, like marketing or advertising sort of activity. Is that what you think people have to assume when you’re talking about raising your profile?
Elise: [00:03:56] It’s a little bit different. I think you can use PR. You can you can use certain methodologies for making this happen. But what I’m really talking about is people understanding when they meet you or when they have an experience of you that you know what you’re talking about and and that sets you apart from other people, right? Because if they’re just if people are just seeing advertising about you, that’s you saying, Hey, I’m great, come hire me or Hey, this is what we do. We’d really like you to hire us when they see you as an expert. That’s different because everybody knows that advertising is advertising. You can say whatever you want. You know, I can hold myself out and tell you I’m fabulous at something when maybe I’m not so great at it. The difference is people having an experience of you where they’re getting value from you, they’re hearing you talk or they’re or they’re reading an article that you wrote. They’re getting a sense of who you are and what you do by actually experiencing it, not just seeing it in an advertisement or an email or on a piece of paper somewhere
Liel: [00:05:02] You’ve already hinted. There are a few things that you can do in order to raise your profile. But why don’t we start first by talking about the mistakes that are most frequently lawyers make when they’re trying to raise their profile inadequately, right?
Elise: [00:05:17] Well, before we even get to that, I would say that the biggest mistake that people make Liel is that they don’t try to raise their profile, right? Whereas, you know, especially when lawyers are uncomfortable with something like, Oh, I don’t want to be a salesperson, I don’t want to be the bright, shiny object in the room. You know, you don’t understand I’m not an extrovert. I’m not out there trying to be salesy. They understandably do what is comfortable for them, which is to sit at their desk and grind out the work that’s on their desk because that’s what they’re good at. And you know, as we all know, lawyers like to feel competent. We all like to feel competent. So many lawyers just say, Well, I’m going to just keep doing what I’m doing. I’m good at it. I have to. Serve the client, it’s on my to do list, and I’ve got this marketing stuff going on, so I don’t really need to be out there doing anything right. I’ve got my my email marketing or whatever other sorts of marketing that they have decided to do. So the first mistake is not doing it right once you make a decision that you want to raise your profile. The question one question I think that people should ask is where do I want to raise my profile, right? In what community do I want to raise my profile? So we’re not asking you to become Oprah.
Elise: [00:06:25] You know, you don’t have to be the most famous person on the planet. What what you can do is to become, quote unquote slightly famous right and a very small area in a community. So one thing is running around and doing it in a whole bunch of different places where you’re not really reaching your target audience. And it’s what you know, I’m not the one who made up this term, but this concept of scattershot marketing, you know, I’m going to I’m going to write an article over here or I’m going to have a speaking engagement or be on a panel over there. And so you’re not really doubling down on where you’re going to speak, why you’re going to speak, for whom you’re going to speak and on what topic you’re going to speak. And so the easiest thing for you to do if you want to have an impact is to get very, very clear on those things. You know, the WHO, the what and the where, and not just run around and say, Well, I’m going to raise my profile by, you know, by speaking or writing anywhere I possibly can.
Grace: [00:07:21] So I kind of want to delve a little deeper into that. What you’re saying, how to raise your profile, right? Because I know a lot of lawyers feel that way where they’re they feel, Hey, I’m too braggy. Or, you know, if I sell myself, I’ll come off as x y z, right? So how could I really raise my profile? And sort of what are the best ways to become a visible expert without feeling braggy?
Elise: [00:07:46] Right? That’s a great question. So, you know, it’s funny because I think that people outside the legal profession sometimes look inside the legal profession and they say, Oh, lawyers love to, you know, pound their chests and, you know, all of that stuff and they love to be braggy. And it’s really not true, right? There are so many lawyers, particularly in the profession, who are strong introverts. They’re not looking to do that sort of thing. And, you know, people are uncomfortable with that. Understandably so. Nobody likes a blowhard, right? So I will never suggest to people that they go out and beat their chests and tell everybody how great they are. This is not about that at all. This is about adding value. So you’re not talking about yourself at all. Maybe somebody else introduces you and says, Hey, you know, this is Liel, and this is what he does for a living. But then all you’re doing is you are focusing on answering one or more questions that your market has as a burning issue. Right. So in my case, maybe it is about business development. Maybe it is about something like this. So in this situation, just to use me as an example, I’m coming on your podcast and I’m talking about something that I really care about, something that I help lawyers with all the time and understanding what their challenges are.
Elise: [00:08:55] But I’m not sitting here telling you, Hey, I’m great, you should come hire me or, hey, you know, this is the law school I went to or this. I have this many years of experience in it. I’m just addressing the challenges that the people in my target audiences have and addressing their goals and how they might achieve them better. And so for any lawyer, you can do the same thing, right? Whatever your practice area is, there’s a certain subset of people who really need your help because they don’t have the level of expertise and experience that you have. And so whether you’re on a panel or you’re offering a webinar or you’re writing an article or you’re or you’re going on somebody’s podcast, you can offer a little bit of a glimpse into that world and give them, you know, give their listeners or your reader some information that they didn’t have before. And so you’re offering value and you’re thereby demonstrating your expertise without telling everybody how fabulous you are.
Grace: [00:09:42] So it’s all about value. Add is basically what you’re saying.
Elise: [00:09:45] One hundred percent, you know, and what I encourage people to do is always ask themselves, how can I deliver value to the people in this audience and put themselves in the the shoes of the audience member or the reader? What is it that this person is wondering? What is it that’s keeping this person up at night, right? And that’s what marketing even the kinds of marketing that that you guys do and that other people in the marketing industry do. It’s a it’s a similar question, but now you’re you’re in front of them in some way personally. And so putting yourself in their shoes and asking what are their burning issues and how can I help them overcome a challenge or achieve a goal?
Liel: [00:10:26] As you’re saying there, there are all kinds of lawyers out there. They’re ones that are very comfortable putting themselves out there, whether it’s through paid advertising or through presenting themselves as experts in that. The term expert, right, is is big and heavy, and I think it’s it’s also subjective of to a certain extent because what determines when you actually become an expert on something? When would a lawyer could reach a point where in his or her own right, they can claim to be an expert on something? What’s the protocol there?
Elise: [00:11:07] Right. So as you say, right, I think there are no hard and fast rules on this because it’s hard to say who’s an expert. But one of the things that I would say is people. I will have people say to me all the time, Well, you know, who am I to hold myself out as an expert? And so here’s the thing again, you’re not telling people, you’re an expert necessarily, you’re not saying, Well, I am the one who knows everything there is to know on this particular topic. And, you know, telling everybody that you’re the be all and end all. Really, what you’re doing is you may have a way of sharing something with somebody that they don’t know. So if you know a little bit more than the people in the room about your topic, you know your I mean, we don’t have to use the term expert, right? We can use whatever term you want. I’m a guy who can offer some value to these people, right? I’m somebody who likes to teach people about the topic. I know I know a little bit more than they do, or they might know as much as I do, but I have some experiences and stories that I can share that can help illuminate the point. So I think that. As you say, if we go, Oh my God, I have to be an expert and, you know, it’s going to take me 25 years to get there, and I can’t go talk to people about this because I haven’t achieved that status yet.
Elise: [00:12:15] I would say, let’s look at it a little bit differently and understand that if there are 10 people in a room and you’ve done this 15 times and they’ve done it once or they’ve never done it, you are necessarily going to know more about the subject and have more to share with them, even if it’s simply a perspective that’s a little bit different, right? Maybe you’re in a community that they’re not, and you’ve had an experience that they haven’t had. And so they walk out and they think, Oh, that was really interesting. You know, when Liel told that story, it reminded me of something that I had forgotten, or it made me think about something differently than I think than I have thought about it in the past. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be that, you know, everything there is to know about the topic. Again, it’s about adding value and when you can add value, it doesn’t have to be all the value in the world. It can be a little bit of value that helps somebody change the way they’re doing something
Liel: [00:13:05] That’s actually really, really helpful. Now, Elise, obviously, you know, people want to measure the risks they’re taking right and facing an audience, no matter whether it’s 10 people or 1000 people, you somewhat can end up feeling a little bit exposed. And when I say, measure your risks, you want to take into consideration that someone in the audience may at some point ask a question that you may not know the answer for. And so what is the best way to go about those types of situations? Is it kind of like the university professor approach of let me get back to you on that or what is what is the best way to handle that?
Elise: [00:13:44] Yeah. So so I’ll tell you a couple of things. First of all, I’ll tell you a quick story. So I was years ago. I don’t know. This has to be eight or nine years ago. I did a law firm program in St. Louis. And so I flew out there and there were over a hundred lawyers in the room. And I did this program. And the law firm had invited not only their own attorneys, but in many of the attorneys from their clients. And we got the, you know, got the sign off to do it as a as a CLE. And at the end of it, because it was a CLE, you have to get evaluations back, you know, the CLE boards make you do that. So we probably got about seventy five evaluations back and it was on a scale that they were asked to evaluate my my program on a scale of one to five. Right. How did the speaker do? So I got all fours and fives. I was pretty excited about it. I love the program. Everything went great. Oh, it did a great job. I learned something new, whatever. And then there was one and they gave me ones across the board. I got one for everything. The person checks off the boxes gave me one. She has no idea what she’s talking about. She was reading off the slides. I mean, I’ve never read off a slide in my life, right? I looked at this thing and it was like, was this person in a different CLE. Well, what do you think I thought about? Did I think about the 4S and 5S? Did I did.
Elise: [00:14:56] I think, Oh, wow, this was great. It was successful. No, I was like, I could not get myself off of thinking about that one, that one person, you know, who for whatever reason, saw the look on my face and decided he or she didn’t like me. So the thing is, what I would say is, no matter where you go or what you do, there are going to be people who don’t necessarily agree with you. They don’t, you don’t resonate with them, whatever it is, but you’re not there for those people. So I’m answering a question that you didn’t totally ask me, but I will get to the other one, too. So there are going to be people that that don’t necessarily love you and don’t necessarily love what you do. But for some people, your message is really going to be helpful to them and really resonate with them. And those are the people that you’re there for. Right? You’re not there for the people that have decided for whatever reason, they want to be difficult. And so I don’t care, you know, there are more than seven billion people on this planet. Not everybody is going to love you. You’re not going to love all of them. And that’s hard to get past. None of us wants to feel.
Elise: [00:15:49] I mean, I felt awful. You know, nobody wants to feel like they’re getting a bad, some bad feedback as far as not knowing what you’re talking about or somebody asking you a question that you don’t know the answer to. I actually get that objection a lot from clients who say, Well, what if I go into the room and they ask me a question I don’t know the answer to. And what I say is, look, it’s it’s the law, right? Not everything is cut and dried. And so there is a way to approach it based on what you know, you might say. You know, that’s a good question. I don’t totally know the answer to that. I suspect based on what I know, that X, Y and Z. And actually, if you want some more information about that, I’d be happy to get back to you. And then you can also say to them, like, what are you thinking? What have you heard? And make it a conversation, right? Because people, audiences like engagement, they don’t necessarily just want a talking head, talking at them and having all the answers. So there are ways that you can spin that. And also the likelihood is that’s not as likely to happen, right as people think it is. Most people are kind of interested in what you have to say. They go along with it. You may occasionally have somebody who’s out there to be difficult, but in general, I find people want you to succeed.
Elise: [00:16:56] And so if you’re confident enough to say, Hey, you know what? That’s interesting, that one’s never come up for me before. That’s OK. You can’t be expected to have had. Every question answered to have had every experience as as a practicing attorney. And I also think that people respect you for not just making something up. So I think that if you go into it with this idea that I’m going to do the best I can and it’s OK for me to admit sometimes that I don’t know something and then follow up with the person to try to deliver increased value to them. I think that’s the way to handle it, and I think that most lawyers can get comfortable with that. You know, you don’t know everything in your practice, either. There are times that your client comes to you and says, Hey, I don’t know the answer to this, and it might feel slightly, you know, may say, Hey, can you help me with this? And you don’t know the answer to it? It may feel slightly less risky because you’re on the phone with one person as opposed to being in front of 50 people. But I think the principle is the same that we’re all constantly learning and growing situations come up that can change. And as long as you’re you’re OK with that, the audience will be OK with that, too.
Liel: [00:18:00] That’s a really, really good advice there. And thank you also for addressing what to do about haters, because at the end of the day, that’s another thing that everyone who is facing an audience for the first time is going to fear, right? Nobody wants to be disliked or, as you said, get negative feedback. So at least we were talking here a lot about one particular scenario, which is the speaking engagement, right? But are there other ways that you can raise your profile that do not necessarily require for you to give a presentation or a talk on something?
Elise: [00:18:33] Yes, absolutely. So a couple of things, even just staying in the realm of speaking for a moment, right? There are so many different ways that you can be part of a speaking scenario. One of them is you’re giving a keynote, so all eyes are on you. You’re the person who’s talking. And that’s what we to some extent what we’ve been talking about. Another one is being on a panel where there are three or four panelists and you, you know, if you’re not totally comfortable with it, it’s a great way to get started because there are other people to kind of have the focus on. It’s not the focus is not all on you. You can also be a moderator. So if you don’t want to be the one who’s asking the question, I’m sorry answering the questions, you could be the one who’s asking the questions. And that also gets you a lot of visibility, right? People have respect for the person who’s asking the questions. People have respect for the moderator, and there are some skills that you might want to make sure that you’re comfortable with in order to do the moderating of the program. You know, but that’s a great way. That’s a great way to get started is either being on a panel or moderating a panel.
Elise: [00:19:38] Another thing that you can do is, well, of course, they’re podcast, right? So you know, one of the things you can do and that also can be less risky in a sense, because especially if you talk to someone who’s who understands that, hey, you know, you’ve never done this before. You know, I have a podcast. You have a podcast. If somebody came to me and said, Look, I’m really nervous, I’ve never done this before. I’m going to help them make it as pleasant and experience as possible. If a little editing has to be done, that’s OK. I’m going to tee everything up for them that I can, you know, I think most podcasters are understanding in that way, and so that can be a way for you. You know, you can also think about in advance what you want to say to some extent. So I think that there are a lot of options out there. If you don’t want to be standing up in front of an audience, at least certainly in the beginning or ever, for that matter. The other thing we all, to your point that you can be doing is you can be writing and writing can take many forms as well. You could be sending out a newsletter. And so while that falls into the category of marketing, you’re also not just necessarily, let’s say, the word.
Elise: [00:20:44] I’m looking for curating content for other people or featuring other people at your firm. It could be that, you know, you write a featured article every month on a particular topic that could go out to your email list. You can write articles for, you know, to post on LinkedIn or Facebook or wherever your target market hangs out. You could also you could write articles for trade publications or for legal publications or business publications. So for example, if you are somebody who typically represents families with small children, you know what are the what are those magazines in the Doctors’ offices that everybody reads when they’re sitting in the doctor’s office? You know that that has all the names of kids programs and schools and all of that. So maybe you write articles in in those sorts of things because your target market is picking them up and reading them. So you could you could post blog posts on other people’s blogs and help them offer value to their audiences. And then you could write for, you know, maybe bigger trade publications. So, you know, in my case, of course, my clients are typically lawyers and law firms. And so I’ve published an article in the New York Law Journal, which also gets published on.
Elise: [00:21:58] I’ve published for the solo and small firm, you know, thing that the ABA magazine at. The ABA has a law 360, those kinds of things, so there are various levels, right, you can you can publish yourself and self-publish, you know, in all the ways I mentioned newsletters and other things, or you could wind up publishing in in publications that your target market is reading, right? That’s the important thing to remember. As with all marketing as you want to make sure that your quote unquote hanging out where you’re where your clients are, referral sources hang out. So I think there’s sort of a menu of options for everybody, and some people say to me, there is no way I’m getting in front of a room to speak great, let’s start with something else. I don’t necessarily think that people should say, I’m never doing this and then never do it. I think finding, you know, looking around and saying, Listen, you know, if Elise can do it and Grace and we Liel can do it, I sure can do it too. And, you know, find a way to to get over some of the hump of the fear. The fear is understandable, but don’t let it hold you back so that it becomes paralyzing fear.
Grace: [00:23:03] I like the way you put that menu of options because it does kind of give a person’s personality a choice as to how and what they can choose to do. So you gave us a bunch of options, but the I guess the next question for that, I think most attorneys would ask, how do I get those opportunities to write and or speak that aren’t, you know, specific to my posts as an example? You know, obviously on my Facebook and my LinkedIn, I can put whatever I want. And if it’s my podcast, same thing. But if I want to get into a trade publication or get posted on someone else’s website that’s seen as a thought leadership site, how do I do that? How would I go about being able to, you know, be seen as the thought leader, get a speaking engagement or a writing piece?
Elise: [00:23:49] Yeah, that’s a great question, because I think that a lot of people, even once they get past sort of the, you know, the idea that, OK, I’m actually going to do this and I actually am capable of doing this and willing to do it, then it’s like, OK, I have absolutely no idea how to get started. So I’m sitting here in my office not even knowing who to talk to. So a couple of things to know. So and listen, I started just like everybody else. I started this business. I didn’t have any idea what I was doing or how to get in anywhere. And, you know, true story. The first speaking engagement I ever had, I connected with somebody that had been my husband’s a lawyer too, by the way. So I connected with an ex associate of his who he absolutely loved. And she had left the firm because she she didn’t want to make the commute into Manhattan. She had twins, you know, it just got untenable for her. So she went to a law firm in New Jersey and I had lunch with her and we had a great time. She’s fabulous. And I said to her, Hey, do you guys? I’m just curious, do you guys ever bring in speakers to your law firm? And she said, Oh yeah, you know, sometimes we have lunch and learns and that kind of thing. And I said, Well, I would love to be able to do a lunch and learn for you guys if you were ever interested.
Elise: [00:24:50] And so, you know, of course, I wasn’t getting paid or anything like that, but I wanted to have the experience and it was a fairly small firm at the time. And don’t ask me what I said. It was probably horrible, but I went in and I talked to them and it was great. And then all of a sudden it was like, You know what? I’m a speaker. So first of all, having that one experience that you know, was was eye opening for me because then it enabled me to say, I do this, not I want to do it. Not I’m trying to do it, but I do this. So, you know, go to your go to the people, you know who you who may be willing to give you a shot and then make very sure. And again, as with all marketing, make very sure that you have value to deliver. Now sometimes you have something you want to talk about, and so you can go to somebody like, let’s say you want to speak at the bar association and you go to the bar association and say, Hey, I want to speak for you. Sometimes you have an idea of what you want to speak on, but I say, I think it’s really important to find out what they want to have you speak on. And if you’re not the right fit for that, that’s OK. You don’t have to take it on and you’re probably better off not taking it on.
Elise: [00:25:54] But one of the things you can do is for for every trade organization. There is somebody in this organization who is in charge of educational programming for the organization. Oftentimes, they’re listed on the website or if you know somebody who’s a member of the organization, say, Hey, do you know who the right person is to contact? And when you contact that person, say, Hey, I would love to speak for your organization. I have a couple of ideas of topics that may be of interest to your membership or to your audience members, but I’d love to hear about what it is that you’re looking for. What are some of the other programs that you’ve had lately? Who else have you had come in and speak? And so then in a conversation with that person, you can help them come up with an idea, or they may have an idea that you fit into perfectly. You know, it could be well, I don’t talk about that, but I have something that’s actually quite similar, which is this. And so it becomes a conversation rather than you telling them what you want to speak about or write about another experience that I’ve had. And I tell people all the time do not first develop an entire program and then try to go sell that program. There is an excellent chance that people don’t want the program exactly the way you’ve you’ve drafted it and put it together, and you don’t want to waste all of that time and energy.
Elise: [00:27:07] You’re sort of quote unquote selling programs before you’ve actually put them together, which for some people sounds awful, especially in the legal profession. It’s like, Wait, you’re asking me to go in there completely unprepared. And my answer to that is, no, I’m not. You’re not going and completely unprepared. You know about this topic already, right? You know about it. So if you say, Hey, I could speak on this topic, then you need to know how. Many people, how long is it going to be, is it a is it a 30 minute session, a forty five minute session? Do they need two hours? Do they want written materials to be taken away? Do they want a PowerPoint, right? So find out from them what’s typical for them, what they like, how you can add value and see if you can get on their calendar and understand that many of these organizations are flying by the seat of their pants. But many others of the organizations are very organized, and they may have programs out for eight months already. So you may be talking about doing a program from that for them a year from now. And similarly, when it comes to writing, there are some publications that want you to submit an article to them and then they want to edit the article. There are some publications where you’re better off reaching out to the editor and saying, Hey, I’d really like to write an article on this topic.
Elise: [00:28:18] Do you have an interest or one of these three topics? Do you have an interest and let them get back to you and tell you how many words it’s supposed to be and whether you have to put, you know, citations in there, whether you can put your own opinion in there or whatever it is. So don’t start writing stuff up and developing programs without talking to people first, but you can be really, really proactive about reaching out to publications and organizations and letting them know that you want to deliver value. You’re doing it for free, right? This is not about making money. This is not a part of your business in terms of how you make money. It’s how you’re raising your profile so that we don’t want you to be a best kept secret so that other people know that you exist and know exactly what it is that you do. And then went, by the way, I’ll just say one last thing about that once you start doing that. Then people will start asking you because they notice, Oh, you know, this person spoke for, you know, this organization and wrote an article for that organization, then they’re going to seek you out. Hey, can you come talk to our organization about this? So once you get the ball rolling, other people will come out of the woodwork and start asking you and it’ll get easier for you at that point.
Grace: [00:29:25] I kind of want to bring it. I don’t know if it would be considered full circle or not, but it’s something that Liel and I talk about and have spoken about actually regarding content and stuff like that in general. So I think it might actually fit perfectly with what you’re talking about. And that’s niches, right? Like niching down in your practice to be able to add value to your clients because you become essentially or you already are passionate and an expert in that niche. So how would something like that, you know, can we talk about niches? What do you think about them? How do you ever discuss that with your clients? Or is that something that you’ve thought about in terms of how you do what you do?
Elise: [00:30:06] Yeah. So I think about it in terms of my own business, and then I talk to my clients about it all the time. There are some people who love the idea of being in a niche because they feel that, you know what? I can really become an expert in this. I can dive into it. I can read the weekly publications that come out about how the law is changing and how this is impacting organizations and all of that sort of thing. But there are some people who are resistant to the idea of developing a niche. And you know, I hear that often from particularly from civil and commercial litigators. They say, Oh, you don’t understand Elise like one of the things I love about litigation is that I can just do anything that walks in the door. And I like I like to learn new things, and I think that’s great, right? I get it. I love when I hear that people are passionate about the work they do. If that’s the choice that you’re making, that’s fine. Just understand that every choice we make in life comes with consequences. And it’s my firm belief that the consequences of not having a specialty area or a focus area or one or two of them is that you become forgettable, right? You you sort of become like, you know, well, I’m a commercial litigator. Great you and everybody and their mother, right? There’s there are a lot of commercial litigators out there. And so if someone says to me, Oh, you know, I do trust and estates work, and I, you know, if some some jurisdictions you can say I specialize in and some you can’t, but I’ll just pretend for a minute that you can, you know, I do trust and estates work, and I tend to specialize in working with families who have special needs children or I tend to specialize in working with women who are moving, you know, about five or 10 years away from retirement to help them plan for their future.
Elise: [00:31:47] Then people know, Oh, you know, I just met Grace. And she says she needs such and such, and I now have the perfect person to refer you to what people are concerned about. I find most of the time is that they say, I’m going to leave business on the table. If I say that I specialize in this particular area, I have a focus in this area. People won’t think of me when something else comes up. That may be true, but one of the things that I encourage people to do is to. Is to let people know that they can think of you as a resource. So I’ll say, you know what? Something like, well, this is the kind of work that I typically do. But listen, if you ever have any kind of legal challenge and you’re not sure who to call. Call me. If I’m the right person, I’ll I’ll let you know how I might be able to be helpful. And if I’m not the right person, I’m going to help you get to the right person. And so you develop relationships with people where they see you as a resource now, even if you’re not the right person for the work.
Elise: [00:32:44] You have an opportunity to make a referral to someone else, and you’re developing community and people to whom you make referrals are going to twist themselves in knots to try to make referrals back to you. And so there’s an upside for everyone. I do think that in today’s world, people are not looking for generalists. Right. So a friend of mine had to take his son for for spinal surgery, which is pretty scary. Did he take his son to their internist? No. Did he take his son to their dermatologist? No, right. He went and found what he thought was the best spine surgeon possible. And the spine surgeon who had done that particular surgery over and over and over again. So in a world where our problems are becoming more complex and more difficult to manage just because the world has gotten more complex, people are more and more frequently looking for experts. One of the things you can do as an expert is to make sure if you are niching down is to surround yourself with other people who do different things. And in that way you learn from them and you come a better advisor to your clients, even if you are in a niche area. But from a marketing perspective, and from being able to be visible, I mean, you can be visible as an expert only if people know what your area of expertise is. And so I think that the niche concept is very, very important.
Grace: [00:34:05] Thank you so much for making that super clear because I think it can get a little confusing for a lot of people where they don’t realize that, you know, a unique selling proposition, right? If we’re going to talk about just general business terms, it usually is that nobody wants a generalist, you know, like you said, and when we have issues with our bodies as an example and going to the doctor, we want a specific doctor for that issue. So in turn, to me, it seems the same for lawyers.
Elise: [00:34:35] I think it is the same. And you know, look, I mean, for some, for some of us, the legal issues that we have can be almost as important as our health, right? You’re talking about people’s livelihoods, you’re talking about their families, right? You’re talking about their their finances. You know, there are lots of lots of different things that people are are having to deal with, and they want to know that somebody, you know, is an expert in that particular area. So it’s about it’s about delivering the value and it’s about not being and it’s about being clear. That’s the other thing is that when you have a niche area, it’s so much easier to be clear with people about what it is that you do so that when they walk away from you, they actually remember you. Oh, I remember that’s the guy that does x y z, right? Instead of just, Oh, I’m a litigator or I’m a lawyer, or I do. I do a lot of work with whatever families need. You know, that’s just so vague that it just becomes forgettable instantaneously.
Grace: [00:35:32] And that’s perfect, because that takes us to the end of the podcast, unfortunately, on that side of it. But fortunately, this is where we ask you for your a couple of takeaways, you know, two or three, however many you’d like to give, because this has been a really great conversation about how people can raise their profile.
Elise: [00:35:52] Yeah. So the first thanks for asking that question. The first take away from me is don’t hide, right? Don’t hide in the office. Don’t rely on just, you know, just marketing, right? And I say just marketing in the sense that people hire people to be their lawyers. They don’t just hire law firms, they hire people. And so while you don’t have to be the bright, shiny object in every room, I encourage you to be visible in whatever your marketplace or community is. We want people to know who you are, so don’t hide in the office, even if you’re a little nervous about it, which is understandable if you’ve never done it before. And if you’re not 100 percent sure how to proceed, there are people who can help you figure it out. There are things you can read, resources you can access to help you figure it out. The second thing I would say is is just as a reminder. Think about it as delivering value. Don’t think about it as me blowing my own horn and toot my own horn and telling everybody how great I am. How can I deliver value in my community and figure out what is it that the folks in your community, whether you’re in a B2C kind of a business where you’re dealing with individual clients or you’re going to be to be kind of a situation? What are those people need to know more about? What are the trends in their community or their industry? What’s keeping them up at night and try to answer a few of those questions for them? And then finally.
Elise: [00:37:18] Don’t be afraid to own your own expertise. Again, it’s not about saying how great you are and telling everybody how fabulous you are, but when people say, Oh, you know, Elise is an expert at this or Grace is an expert at that great. That’s OK. It’s OK for you to, you know, it’s OK for you to to say, Oh, thank you for saying that. Yeah, I really love what I do. Or Yes, we get to do this all the time or well, for 20 years, I’ve been doing this and it’s been really terrific, right? You can be very humble about the whole thing, but don’t don’t get self-deprecating, you know, don’t try to tell, convince people you’re not actually an expert. You know, something you know, something you know more than somebody else about this topic and those somebody else’s need your help. And so it’s OK to be the expert. It’s OK to own that expertise and not shy away from it.
Liel: [00:38:05] Those are really good, Elise. Thank you so much. I do have one more question to ask you. That ties to all of this, and it’s because a lot of our listeners, maybe some of the listeners we don’t really know, but some may be considering, OK, I want to get started. And so you got the courage. You go out, you get your first podcast interview, you write a blog post somewhere and you kind of like, put yourself your badge. I’ve I’ve done my profile raising exercise for how long? Right. So how what would you set as a goal, as a as a as an attainable goal for anyone who’s wanting to start this? How frequently you should be trying to get something happening that is helping you raise your profile with what frequency?
Elise: [00:38:52] Right. That’s a great question. So it’s a hard question to answer, obviously, but I will give you a benchmark. So if you’re starting to do something like this and you’re picking a particular topic area, right, so you want to be known for your great advice on guardianship agreements or something like that for, you know, I mentioned special needs families because a lot because we are a special needs family. One of my kids has special needs. And so if you want to be known in a community, in your community or in a community of parents or caregivers or whatever about somebody who has expertise and guardianship, just as an example, I would say try to have something out there quarterly or three times a year, right? So this is not something that you need to be doing every week. It’s not like I’m going from absolutely nothing to all of a sudden, I have to be raising my profile every week with some new, fabulous blog posts. It’s very overwhelming. And so I really do appreciate your question. Anything right now is better than nothing. And so give yourself something that feels really doable. So you know what? In the next three to four months, I am going to write one article that I’m going to post on my website, or I’m going to write one article that’s in a trade publication, or I’m going to speak to go to one school for special needs kids and speak about this and call, you know, the principal of the school and see if you can get in there.
Elise: [00:40:12] And because you know that your question suggests an answer, which is consistency is key. Right, because nobody’s going, you know, I always say to people, don’t expect to write one article or do one speaking engagement, and all of a sudden people are, you know, banging. I mean, I would love it. You know, nothing would make me happier, but they’re all of a sudden banging your door down because they can’t wait to hire you. It’s a matter of being consistent and being in people’s airspace, you know, having top of mind awareness with them over and over again. So I think doing something three or four times a year would really move the needle for people. And also, you know, you can repurpose content. So if you write an article now, go speak about it. If you spoke about it, write an article about it, right? There are lots of ways that you can repurpose the same content so that you don’t have to be sitting there banging your head against the wall, trying to think up a new topic every three months. You don’t have to do that. You can keep talking about a similar topic in different ways to different audiences and really get a lot of traction.
Liel: [00:41:11] Of course, you can be very efficient at managing the activities around raising your profile. Elise, thank you so much for a great conversation, for so many insights and for so many rich examples, right? I mean, stories. Yeah, it is really remarkable. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me, Elise. If people want to learn more a little bit about lawyers say where they can find you, how they can connect with you.
Elise: [00:41:35] Yes. So there are a couple of different ways. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. It’s Elise Holtzman on LinkedIn. And then also please feel free to visit our website, thelawyersede.com with the at the front, thelawyersede.com. And as I mentioned, we also have have a podcast, so we’d love you to check us out on the podcast as well.
Liel: [00:41:53] Yeah, we’ll have links to all of those assets here on our episode notes. Alice, thank you so much.
Elise: [00:41:59] Thank you. Bye bye.
Liel: [00:42:09] Grace, another great conversation, it’s been a while since we’ve had an interview, but I think this was really, really, really good because, well, I guess the topic, at least me, made it very fun.
Grace: [00:42:21] She did. I love the stories that she gave us. It’s always fun. Yeah, you have write the different reasons behind it, why she came up with what she came up with and stories are always fun.
Liel: [00:42:30] Yeah, lively examples and stories are the best. I agree. Grace, I totally agree. So she’s already gave here some amazing takeaways, and I guess we’re going to go ahead and make them out ours
Grace: [00:42:43] Like rehash them a little bit. I’m with you. So I think for me and you could take a little bit more if you want or add to it first take away is is do something. I thought that was really, really important. How many times have you? And I said that in all of our takeaways, right? Take these actionable items and do something at least.
Liel: [00:43:03] Yeah. Yeah, I liked when she said, like, just don’t hide behind your desk. Don’t just avoid. Facing the fact that raising your profile is not going to happen by itself. You need to drive the initiative. And so it’s a very valid point. The biggest mistake is just not doing nothing. It’s just letting the opportunity slip away. And it’s something that when you get started and you realize all the time that you have let pass without actually doing something, you will regret it. You will, you will. So I think
Grace: [00:43:41] That perfectly ties in to the second one where if you start doing something, be consistent because we all know with content and anything that you’re putting out there as part of you and your practice or whatever you’re doing, you have to be consistent in what you’re doing. So if it’s every quarter, if it’s every month, if it’s every, you know, five months, six months, whatever it is, just be consistent in what you’re putting out there so that people know when to expect the next great thing from you.
Liel: [00:44:12] That’s a good point that you bring there. So create that anticipation from people that actually know that, hey, it’s the right time, it’s the right around the time. That’s Grace. We’ll come up with something. Yeah, that’s great. I think it’s it’s a matter of discipline at the end of the day. It’s always going to be easier not to do not to do it. But if you set yourself goals and you hold yourself accountable to them and you know, like like in anything in business and even in personal life, if you’re very explicit about what, when and how, then you’re going to get there, right? Even if you don’t have the how. But if you if you know the what and when, then things are going to figure out by themselves because you’re going to drive forward, right, you’re going to lead yourself to it. So I definitely think that you need to set up yourself some goals from that standpoint. And I like I really like the frequency in which Elise brought it up. I mean, not all efforts are worth equal. And so you want to make sure that you’re doing a combination of things that are going to be ideally high impact. But hey, you know what? Sometimes it’s OK. If not, everything is as big of a platform as the one that you would wish for, but just don’t settle for small things, always. You can start there, but then also find progression in the type of collaborations that you’re striking. What do you think, Grace?
Grace: [00:45:42] No, I agree with you completely. I mean, besides consistency, of course what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. And that was all part of our conversation. So I agree with you completely that you need to. Besides being consistent, you have to also figure out what’s the best route, right, whether it’s a publication and what kind of publication and how it best fits your niche and whatever else you’re doing.
Liel: [00:46:04] Right. So yeah, and diversity diversifying over, going over the same place every time. And there’s again, there’s there’s there’s value in the frequency you just need to kind of like strategize a little bit more, put a little bit more of thought and effort into it. Don’t just settle for everything because one one point one thing that Elise mentioned there as well, it’s like when to say no, when? When to understand that, you know, this is not the right opportunity for you and also how to rather than just turning that and turning it down, how you can turn it into another opportunity. So that was also of great value.
Grace: [00:46:38] Yeah, very important. I mean, looking at everything that works for you and what’s best for your personality and also how you can best add value to the client, I think is the main key, right? And she gave plenty of at least gave wonderful examples and stories of how we could do that and how any of the attorneys listening can do these things. And I think, you know, with her takeaways and the conversation we had, hopefully people can realize that this is not as hard as it seems in the sense that find what fits you and do it.
Liel: [00:47:10] That’s right, Grace. That’s it. That’s all our takeaways.
Grace: [00:47:13] That’s all I got. She gave such great ones that I think that just adding a little bit of, you know, fluffed around. It was enough.
Liel: [00:47:22] That’s exactly what we did Grace five minutes. We’ve just been adding fluff to already. Very good takeaways that we’re given. So Grace, thank you again for another great conversation and we’ll be back next week, right?
Grace: [00:47:34] Next week it is Liel.
Liel: [00:47:36] All right. Take care. Bye bye. Bye bye. And if you like our show, make sure you subscribe. Tell your coworkers. Leave us a review and send us your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll see you next week.