one lawyer. 1000 true fans

If you’re a regular reader here, you know that I devote a good bit of this space to nurturing the conversation on the lawyer-client connection. I take a bit of an unconventional approach by tapping into similar dialogues going on in other industries and disciplines – like design, health care, business management, marketing, music and non-profit development. Really, anywhere there are customers/constituents/clients, you’ll find vibrant discussions about offering them meaningful, relevant and engaging experiences via products and services.

Like thousands (millions?) of others, I gain a lot of insight on this front from marketing expert Seth Godin. Some time back, in a post titled 1000 true fans, he pointed to Kevin Kelly’s popular article by the same name.

According to Kelly:

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living. A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. [ ] True Fanship is doable. Pleasing a True Fan is pleasurable, and invigorating. It rewards the artist to remain true, to focus on the unique aspects of their work, the qualities that True Fans appreciate. [ ] Instead of trying to reach the narrow and unlikely peaks of platinum hits, bestseller blockbusters, and celebrity status, [you] can aim for direct connection with 1,000 True Fans. It’s a much saner destination to hope for. You make a living instead of a fortune. You are surrounded not by fad and fashionable infatuation, but by True Fans. And you are much more likely to actually arrive there.

While Kelly works his theory with creatives in mind, I think it applies to lawyers, especially solos. It strikes me as a second cousin of the customer evangelism theory (pdf) I’ve visited (and revisited) here – the idea (and reality) of offering such great service that your clients shout your praises until the rafters ring (or permanently ink your name on their bodies).

The challenge, and opportunity, is to figure out how to nurture and support our True Fan base. I’ll try to shed some light on this in future posts.

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