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Or would you be better served if you converted into paying clients more of the leads you already have? You may need to do both, but I’ll take a big bet against any firm or lawyer needing lead-generation solely.

How Kin Became Microsoft’s Worst Failure,” a blog post about the embarrassingly brief six-week life of Redmond’s hoped-for iPhone-killer describes it as “a perfect example of how the best branding in the world is a complete waste of money if the customer experience and…sales process isn’t up to snuff.”

The author grants that “Kin’s brand marketing campaign made perfect sense,” and that “the tactical execution of this concept bordered on brilliant.” Yet, Kin crashed and burned immediately, selling an average of two — yes, two — phones per Verizon store.

Does this feel vaguely familiar? It should.

Lawyers have for two decades invested in increasingly creative and well-informed marketing communication schemes. Whether we’re talking about an AmLaw200 firm’s slick advertising/website/collateral materials or a solo’s inspired use of editorial media and social networking, neither seem to produce the type or amount of new business expected.

Why? Well, like all coins, this one has two sides.

Marketing” is about getting found by the right people for the right reasons, and motivating them to remain in contact with you. “Selling” is about getting chosen among those found.

Lawyers love to invest in getting found, especially if they can outsource it to a consultant or their firm's marketing department. The getting chosen part, though, they ignore to too great a degree. Unlike marketing communication, selling requires their direct, personal participation, and they see such activity as fraught with risk, i.e., of being visibly ignorant.

Think about this: If, alone, truly skilled marketing, applied on a scale available to Microsoft, can’t produce sales, why would any lawyer think their far more limited efforts could? Microsoft should have focused on making a more desirable product and creating a more effective sales force.

And, IMO, so should you.

Mike O’Horo

Learn how a well-chosen Door-Opener problem can simplify your life -- and that of those to whom you sell, too.