Expert Witness Marketing - What, Who, and Why
By: Rosalie Hamilton of Expert Communications, Inc.
When a professional decides to market his or her services as an expert witness or a property inspector, he or she sometimes places too much emphasis on the "what" and too little on the "who" and "why."
The "what you are" is the information you list in directories and other advertising. It includes your area of specialty, education, experience and other credentials. This data communicates to attorneys that you are qualified, and that you are available for litigation work. It comprises your qualifications for forensic work, but likely there are several, perhaps many, experts in your specialty with your degree(s) or better, and experience of similar value.
The "who you are" is what you must also make known to the legal community. You can publicize your expertise in many ways and, by so doing, communicate your personality, working style and the like, through teaching, writing, and speaking, to name just a few. The most important opportunities are networking functions that allow you to meet and talk with attorneys or with other people who can refer you to attorneys. This is where your communication skills really come into play, as they reflect what you will be like to work with and how you will be perceived in depositions and in court.
Analysis of the "why an attorney should hire you" is one of the most important components of your marketing plan, yet it is rarely made. It is integral that you know why you are the best choice. What do you know about yourself that were the attorney to know it he would certainly pick you? Rarely does that reason relate to your credentials. It is to be found, instead, in a candid and comprehensive analysis of your personal strengths and weaknesses, especially in regard to your competitors.
Are you thorough in your work? Are you punctual for appointments and in meeting deadlines? Are you easy to work with, flexible? Do you listen effectively?
Henry Beckwith, in his book, "Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing," says, "In most professional services, you are not really selling your expertise, because your expertise is assumed, and because your prospective client cannot intelligently evaluate your expertise anyway. Instead, you are selling a relationship. And in most cases, that is where you need the most work. If you're selling a service, you're selling a relationship."
After synthesizing the qualities that compose your uniqueness, look honestly at whether you are working to improve on or overcome your weaknesses. Also, do you know how to capitalize on and communicate your strengths?
When the attorney has compiled a list of experts and calls each of them for a C.V., or when he calls to determine your suitability for and interest in working on a case, the impression you make on him will weigh more than will a slight difference in credentials between you and your competition.
The "why you," should be determined as you begin creating your marketing plan. You will not only express the "way" in the "who" of your program and sometimes even in the "what," but, more importantly, the "why" may be the variable that leads to successful engagements.
Edited by Jerry McCarthy
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