Why isn’t the average consumer lining up for a collaborative divorce? What is John Doe looking for when he gets divorced? Do you want to launch this service in your own divorce practice, but not sure whether your clients will buy it? Or how to tell them about it, if you do, and why you’re offering it to them? Implementing the next best solution to divorce can be an exciting adventure for a small service-oriented office like yours. But can this service actually work in your office? In your market? Will anyone buy it?
One way to approach this conundrum is by preparing a proof of concept. And conducting market research is the necessary first step to that process.
What is Market Research?
Market research is how we’ll answer these questions, with the help of our clients, both those who’ve already used our services and those who have not (yet). In it, we evaluate the viability of a new service by going directly to potential consumers, by surveying specific audiences, interacting with sample groups, interviewing prior and potential clients, and otherwise identifying what our clients want.
Most of us small office professionals can’t afford traditional market research, but we can easily imitate such studies by using inexpensive on-line services, like those offered by Question Pro or Survey Monkey.
The overriding purpose of conducting market research is to determine how your target audience will react to your innovative, disruptive new service and how to market it. You can take the information you glean from your research to market the new service, i.e., to tailor your new pitch, to write your blogs, to craft your posts, to create your videos, etc.
Market research is also one of the best ways to achieve client satisfaction. Why? The information it provides about the value of your new service and about what your clients need and want will enable you to design and implement those services to best suit the clients you want.
Define Your Goal
Before initiating your research, decide what you’re trying to achieve. Do you want to grow traffic to your physical office? To your website? Do you want to increase consults? Convert consults to clients? Defining your objective helps you tailor your research and your future marketing materials. It will help you determine what kind of data you should collect.
Identify Your Target Clients
Your office already serves a specific client; your new service targets a certain client, as well. Identifying these clients allows you to understand what kind of language to use when crafting your marketing materials, and how to build relationships with your referral partners. When you take time to define your target clients, you can also identify the best services to sell to them.
You can gather this information by researching the types of clients who frequent offices like yours and like those you emulate. Consider their age, race, education level, income level, number of children, whether they own their own homes, etc.
Identify Who Do You Not Serve
If you only sell courtless divorces, you know that you’re not looking to attract folks in high conflict. This information enables you to create marketing messages that speak to your target clients and not to those on whom you don’t want to waste your time.
Meredith Hill said, “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”
Many times, we feel uncomfortable excluding folks from our target client base. However, for small businesses like ours, knowing who we don’t cater to can be essential to growth. Small office professionals in the divorce industry connect deeply with our clients. We want to focus our efforts on the right clients and not spread ourselves too thin. Don’t try to be all things to all people and thereby dilute your core message.
Learn From Your Competition
Unlike most small businesses, collaborative professionals often enjoy the unique opportunity to step into our “competitor’s” shoes; we work together with them on matters. We also work with their staffs, scheduling meetings, drafting documents, and in other ways. We take them to lunch, and we attend the same professional and social events. We commiserate and we brag together.
So, visit your competitor’s office. As you experience his business from the client or staff or professional’s perspective, keep your eye out for what he’s doing right (and wrong).
Ask your client in a matter you work with your competitor what she sees from her perspective and what she hears from the competitor’s client in that matter.
What needs improvement? How do your services compare? What’s the quality of their work? What about their staff? Are their clients pleased? What does their market segment look like? Who patronizes their services? Are they the same people who consult with you?
Answers to these questions will help you define your unique selling proposition.
Ask Your Clients
Good client surveys and debriefs afford you the opportunity to get inside your clients’ heads. Feedback can sometimes be harsh, but it’s also a valuable tool to point you in the right direction.
Creating surveys and debriefs is simple. Ask what you and your staff are doing right, and what you can improve. Ask what you screwed up. Ask what you did that made your client happiest. Ask what types of services they’d like to see you add. Clients are often delighted to offer feedback and happy clients will also be thrilled if you request their testimonials.
Why Does Every Business Need Market Research?
Your goal in conducting market research is to equip your office with information to make good decisions.
For more on how to practice collaboratively and successfully, and on how to profitably market your practice, reach out to me at Joryn@JorynJenkins.com or find me at Your Collaborative Marketing Coach, because your marketing is my marketing! And if you’d like to learn more about how to become a Collaborative Champion or a Legal Influencer, buy my toolkit or attend my training!