Presentations, webinars, and playing the long game – how a new law firm built a client base during the pandemic.
Welcome to our first in a new ‘BD tips from the inside’ series where we interview business owners and fee-earners, to find out the secrets of their success.
It is all part of our approach at The BD Ladder to collaborate with our key contacts and new connections to bring to you a monthly guest contributor who shares their approach to business development and marketing.
This month, Elizabeth Petersen chats to Farrah Motley, the Principal of Prosper Law to get some inside BD tips. Prosper Law is a boutique online commercial law firm, established in January 2021.
Q: What is your backstory?
I studied law and accounting at university. This informed my business-like approach to the law. Throughout university and during my graduate year, I worked for private law firms. Working as a solicitor at law firms that operated the traditional time-billing model gave me an insight into private practice. It demonstrated to me how law firms have historically been run, how this model tends to encourage inefficiency and is often not beneficial to clients.
After several years of private practice, I moved in-house. Becoming an in-house legal counsel was a personal game changer. It was during this phase of my career that my business-like approach to the law was cemented. Not only did I have to provide technically correct advice, but I also had to develop strategies to achieve the commercial outcomes of the business I was working for. As an employed solicitor, the business you are employed by is reliant on your advice to make sound business decisions and this adds a new lens to legal practice.
Q: What led you to establish Prosper Law and what is the business model?
Having worked on both sides of the fence, both as a private practice solicitor and as a client engaging law firms, I have seen first-hand what works well, and what does not. I have experienced the frustration of paying top dollar for legal advice that has little practical application and the client is left wondering ‘now what’? I established Prosper Law, an online commercial law firm, to address my own experience of the deficiencies with many legal practices and deliver legal services that are truly outcome-focused and affordable.
Q: What business development and marketing strategies have you learnt and applied and what have been the most effective?
My clients consist of a variety of business sizes (small, medium and large) and in many different industries. To be able to tap into so many different client types, I have had to be very proactive in getting in front of my audience through industry-specific platforms. I have found that presenting webinars via industry bodies has been an effective tool to meet new clients and secure their trust in my capabilities.
For a time, I tried reaching out to prospects directly, however I found this to be ineffective given that the client-solicitor relationship is built on trust, and I found this hard to foster with cold-calls.
Q: Tips and tricks for building a network, business connections – how did you go about doing this?
I made significant efforts throughout my career and my dealings with other businesses to foster genuine relationships. I have always gone out of my way to help people, even if it didn’t directly benefit me personally. Because of this, I had several business connections that were very willing to help and put me in touch with their contacts when I opened Prosper Law.
It’s important to place a high value on professional and personal relationships, no matter who you are dealing with. You never know where someone will be in 5 or 10-years’ time and, in my experience, underestimating people is a big mistake.
Whether it was the office cleaner (I used to be one!) or CEO, I have always treated everyone with the same respect and eagerness to help. Those people who I gave the time of day to 10 years ago, who were in entry level jobs, are now contacting me for meaningful business relationships.
Q: Impact of COVID-19 and the way that you do business?
Prosper Law was opened in January 2021. Creating a business during a global pandemic meant that I had considered how the business could best serve clients from the outset. COVID-19 has not changed the way that Prosper Law operates, but it informed the business model. We operate online, Australia-wide and we offer flexible payment options (including buy now pay later instalments) to clients aiming to manage cash-flow through these challenging times. We also do not bill based on time spent on a matter. Instead, we charge clients a fixed fee based on the value our legal services can bring to their business.
BD tips from the inside – Conclusion
Farrah has provided some great insights regarding how she has embraced marketing and business development tactics and useful tips on how to win and keep clients.
Prosper Law’s innovative business model also demonstrates first-hand the importance of understanding your market and adapting to the current circumstances so that your business can offer payment flexibility and ultimately value for money legal services.
First and foremost, as all successful law or indeed professional services firms need to, Farrah has focused on building trusted client relationships rather than chasing transactional sales. This has enabled her to develop and grow her business, in a unique and testing economic and social environment.
About Farrah Motley and Prosper Law
Farrah is a passionate commercial lawyer who works with businesses across Australia. Farrah is passionate about disrupting the legal industry and delivering legal services that are outcome-focused and affordable. To learn more about Farrah and Prosper Law, visit www.prosperlaw.com.au. Farrah can be contacted on email@example.com