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Francesc Dominguez

Legal Marketing Consultant,

A key method for your personal brand

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A key method for your personal brand

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Francesc Dominguez argues that meticulously managing your personal brand is crucial for legal career success.

Cultivating your personal brand and meticulous attention to detail can prove to be differentiating factor in your legal career. Having a method to define and manage your personal brand is equally essential.

Such a method involves defining your personal brand, knowing what to do and when to do it, learning skills that set you apart and communicating your differential value in an effective manner.

This approach will enable you to genuinely understand yourself, develop your full potential, attract clients, become a team leader, and improve both your position within your firm and your overall employability.

It is surprising, therefore, that competent lawyers sometimes pay such little attention to their personal brand - and by consequence, to themselves - and how they are perceived in the market. Remember, perception is what makes or breaks us in professional life, however unfair that may be.

Managing your perception is important to avoid a situation where you might have to say: ‘I am a competent yet not sufficiently competitive lawyer: I am not a reference in my market, nor sufficiently profitable, despite being competent.’

Personal branding, an exercise in self-awareness and growth

Many lawyers mistakenly equate personal branding with merely being present on social media. However, it is not that simple. The actions or tactics you carry out – such as presence on social networks, having a website, giving talks, writing articles, attending events and business meals – should be based on specific analysis, preparation and training tailored to you and your personal brand. That is how you are most likely to develop your full potential and achieve your goals.

The aim is to understand what talents, competencies or unique skills you need to enhance while also identifying personal traits (usually one or two) that you need to control to prevent them from hindering your professional career. Additionally, it is also about defining your unique value proposition.

The method for defining and managing your personal brand

I offer a practical method to enhance your personal brand. A three-month method. Yes, with your commitment, this three-month method can mark a before and after in your professional career. A qualitative method that requires you to invest a feasible number of hours.

The three phases of your personal brand method

The method is divided into three stages.

During the first month we analyse and define your personal brand. This is the essential starting point.

During the second month we co-develop your personal brand strategy on and offline. Yes, we co-develop because, even with the temporary support of a consultant, you need to create a strategy and have control over it. During the second month you also receive training in differential skills: how to build more trust, sell legal services and manage the objections from potential clients, among others.

During the third month we start executing your action plan and complete the training.

The first month of your personal brand: awareness

The first month is key. The purpose is to become aware of everything you need to enhance, as this will set you apart from your competitors. Paradoxically, this is what most lawyers do not do: they act without sufficient self-knowledge and without being cognisant of a critical factor, the perception of their circles of trust. Knowing how others perceive you is essential, since it helps you understand what you need to improve.

Who are your circles of trust? They are basically your clients, professional colleagues and, ideally, family and friends. The idea is to ask a couple of questions about yourself to a sample of five informants from each group. In the case of clients, the ones you should aim for are those that you deem indispensable, that is, those who yield the greatest returns and “help” you be a better professional because of their challenging affairs. It is preferable to have an external consultant carry out the survey to encourage informants to give their honest opinion.

During the first month it is also essential that you ask yourself the right questions to find the answers that you probably have in yourself, but that perhaps have not yet surfaced. That is why I ask far-reaching questions.

In addition, it is important to know your behaviour profile, that is, whether your behaviour is generally more rational or more emotional, and whether your preferred type of behaviour is more active or subdued. Knowing your behaviour style will help you improve your ability to influence and build trust.

Another basic element is to determine your preferred communication and learning channel because you may speak the same language as your counterpart or potential client, but if you are not getting your message across you will not build rapport, essential to build trust.

In the same way, understanding your digital footprint will provide information about your current positioning and image.

Facial psychology is another, and key, method for the analysis of your personal brand. If you want to get to know yourself fully, facial psychology, used by the most prestigious professional experts, is extremely accurate in helping you know yourself and others. Among its many uses, in the legal industry it greatly facilitates the creation of high performance teams, the correct placement of professionals in the organisation according to their talent and skills, selecting the right people, and selling and negotiating more efficiently, among others.

The second month of your personal brand: strategy and training

Once you have a picture of your personal brand, that is, a diagnosis or state of it, it is time to define your strategy through an action plan, and to start your training in differential skills.

Without a strategy, you are short-sighted. Although most lawyers do not have a market strategy, you need one. It is striking how often lawyers define strategies for their clients but refrain from defining a strategy that would enhance their own professional career.

In addition to defining your strategy and making it operational through an action plan, you need to train in the differential skills we have mentioned. All this will help you mark a watershed in your personal brand and in your professional career.

Depending on your circumstances, the action plan will include developing your differential message, improving your social network profile(s) and website, learning how to get more and better-quality clients, improving your persuasive communication skills, getting to know potential clients or prescribers, occasional publication of articles or interviews in prestigious media, and preparing and giving talks.

The third month of your personal brand: attracting potential clients

Now is the time to implement your action plan to gain or heighten your visibility, thereby fostering the conditions to effectively achieve your goals. These are actions that bring you closer to your potential clients. It is also time to complete your tailor-made training in skills that will help you build trust and increase your ability to help potential clients engage your services.

Upon the completion of the coaching and training you will have gained the necessary degree of professional autonomy to correctly manage your personal brand in the coming months and years, and ultimately, your professional career.

© Francesc Dominguez, personal branding mentor and legal marketing consultant

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