2/3rds of Consumers Concerned about the Perceived Quality of Legal Services to be offered by Supermarkets and Banks.

The effect of this headline from the Law Society can be summed up in a few words:

Develop your Brand.

Apart from the actual question being somewhat loaded (respondents “agree that they would be concerned about the quality of services”) so slightly dubious, it demonstrates a key point in the world of marketing – you need to get your brand out there and known to your customers and future customers.

Clearly the word “solicitor” does not immediately dissuade potential customers from using your services if this report is correct, and in fact encourages them.

Are you doing everything you can to do marketing at low cost or for nothing? I recently noticed a press release online (free to do by the way) from a family solicitor discussing the recent split of Jordan and Peter Andre, which appeared to have attracted rather a lot of hits via an online press release website.

Have you issued press releases this month? Are you devising a marketing strategy to use over the next 4 weeks? What efforts have you made to find new clients in the last two weeks when Wednesday afternoon comes and you are bored? What incentives have you given your staff to bring new work into the firm?

Visit www.chesterwebmarketing.co.uk for any online marketing advice you may need including client generating, Google webmaster tools & analytics and online advertising.

How to recruit A List candidates not C List

Hiring is always hard.  One of the hardest jobs within a company is recruiting and hiring the right people.  It was really hard when the economy was doing well, but it can be even harder when times are tough.

Before anyone falls off their chairs in astonishment at this bold assertion, we mean it!  Recruiting in tough economic times can considerably harder than when times are good. In a downturn, the amount of resumes from C List candidates massively increases, whereas the amount of resumes from the A List will remain the same.

Firstly, assuming you always try to hire A List Candidates because they are just so much more productive than B and C List (an ‘A List’ is productive, smart and  has that ‘it’; the movie star factor).  This means that you will not settle for people who are good but instead hold out for people that are great.

Great people – the A-List – are a very different breed from the good (B List) and not so good (C List).  Great people are more likely to be employed with a company since a great person can be over 3 times as productive as a good person.  A study at Yale in 2007 found that the fastest students finished their workload as much as ten times faster than the slowest students (average was 3-4 times faster).

The (Un)Employed A List Candidate

In troubled economic times, anyone can get laid off, but a disproportionate number of layoffs tend to fall on C List Candidates.
This is because they are usually the lowest performing people in a company (and sometimes the highest paid) and there generally are more C List candidates at a company than any other.  Most large companies are chock-full of C List Candidates.

A smart company would (or should) never lay off a great person unless her/his job function is eliminated.  For instance, if a smart company had to lay off one of two members of staff with one being an A list and the other a B List, it will very likely lay off the B List employee and retain the A List employee. Again, this is the logic that smart companies should follow.  Then again, there are many dim-witted companies that lay off their A List Candidates for odd reasons and so you’ll find some great people out of those laid off.

Where to find that A List Candidate

Some A-List Candidates are less likely to be looking to jump ship during tough times due to job security or financial reasons.  They are happy where they are and more likely to work harder in tough times.  On the flipside there are A List candidates that are more likely to leave.

Tough times often push companies into a corner and force them into routine mode rather than innovation.  A Listers like to innovate and usually NEED to innovate.  It’s usually very hard to keep these type of A List Candidates caged-up and thus this presents a big opportunity for recruiting.

It’s also worth noting that A Listers are often first to leave sinking ships.  They don’t feel they need to stick around for a severance because they are confident they can always get another job.

A List type people are just really hard to find.  Let’s say for sake of argument that A Listers -players make up 1% of the population that could do the job, B-List Candidates are 19%, and C-List Candidates comprise the other 80%.  It’s uncertain if these percentages are accurate, but there definitely are more C-List Candidates than B-List Candidates and more B-List Candidates than A-List Candidates.

If people find out that you are recruiting it probably means you are going to get a massive influx of CVs from C-List Candidates. Many of these resumes will be indistinguishable from those of A-List Candidates (it’s often hard to distinguish on paper).  It’s important to screen for A List Candidates in order to get rid of all the dead wood applying.

Unfortunately, it is really hard to tell the difference between an A-List Candidate, B-List Candidate, or C-List Candidate just from a CV.

Which means you need to engage with candidates and therefore you’ll have far more candidates to deal with given this economic climate.  My guess – for a standard job announcement, you’ll have three times the number of C-List Candidates applying, twice the number of B-List Candidates, and the same number of A-List Candidates. 

One way to decrease the number of applicants and thereby increase the amount of quality is to specifically target candidates rather than to post a job ad.  If you register the vacancy with an agency we can identify A List candidates and keep the C List Candidates away from your organisation, saving you time, money and effort. The amount of telephone calls and enquiries that each vacancy can generate in a downturn can be overwhelming to any size of business.

Be sure to fill your company with only A-List Candidates and thereby creating your own A-Team.

www.ten-percent.co.uk – legal recruitment specialists.

Using Twitter to generate business

Twitter is the most recent internet phenomenon. It started with a simple question:

“What are you doing?” Yet, it has become so much more–relationship builder, marketing tool, community organizer, open conference line. Here are 3 simple strategies to have Twitter grow your business.
Setting Up Your Twitter Profile
Your Twitter profile is your resume–design it as such. When you follow people, they follow you, and in the course of any dialogue they are looking at your profile. So, make sure it quickly communicates what you can do for them and the benefit they will receive.
There are a couple of places you add this information:
• Twitter Name: Use your real name–it makes it easier to find you and follow you
• More Info URL: Make this your business website (it can be the company you work for, a blog, or affiliate site, but it should be where you make money or prospective clients can hire you)
• One Line Bio: This is 160 characters make it convert–keywords or benefit statement
• Background Image: Create a benefits and contact landing page–don’t forget your email address and telephone number

Value, Benefit, Contact–3 steps to building a profile that converts.
Add Value By Telling What You Do
With a solid profile in place it is time to drive traffic to it.
The quickest way to get more people to look at your profile is to find and follow prospective clients. Twitter has made this marketing research very simple–Twitter Search. Simply search keywords that you think people would use when looking for your service.
Follow the ones that are looking, talking, and promoting keywords related to your services in their Tweets.
Now that you have a few people you are following begin Twittering about:
• What you are working on
• Successes you are having
• Challenges you are thinking through
• Links to interesting posts and articles
• Links (in moderation) to your own blogs and articles

All the time keeping and eye toward your services keywords and quality (value) of each Tweet. You are going to build a following based on your Twittering, assuming it is interesting. If you keep your Tweets focused and keyword rich it should draw you a nice stable of potential clients.
Help Others Get Business Referrals
Also, within you following will be other people with complimentary skills and services. These are people that can help you on larger projects, as vendors, or simply as referral partners. To maximize this part of the Twitter opportunity make sure you are quick to refer someone if you see an appropriate inquiry.
Listen for Twitter Opportunity
The combination of a compelling profile, value added to the community, and reciprocity of giving out referrals will bring you opportunities. Tune your alerts and keyword triggers to listen for and highlight these inquires and you will see significant business opportunity flow from your Twitter network.

Six Sigma Theories – how can they be applied to law firms?

Six Sigma is a business management strategy, initially implemented by Motorola, that today enjoys widespread application in many sectors of industry. Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and variation in business processes.

To put this into a nutshell, it saves money.

It uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization (“Black Belts” etc.) who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified financial targets (cost reduction or profit increase).

Six Sigma asserts that –
• Continuous efforts to achieve stable and predictable process results are of vital importance to business success.
• Business processes have characteristics that can be measured, analyzed, improved and controlled.
• Achieving sustained quality improvement requires commitment from the entire organization, particularly from top-level management.

Up until 2006 Motorola reported over US$17 billion in saving from Six Sigma. By the late 1990s, about two-thirds of the Fortune 500 organizations had begun Six Sigma initiatives with the aim of reducing costs and improving quality.

The main method of Six Sigma is called DMAIC:

• Define high-level project goals and the current process.
• Measure key aspects of the current process and collect relevant data.
• Analyze the data to verify cause-and-effect relationships. Determine what the relationships are, and attempt to ensure that all factors have been considered.
• Improve or optimize the process based upon data analysis using techniques like design of experiments.
• Control to ensure that any deviations from target are corrected before they result in defects. Set up pilot runs to establish process capability, move on to production, set up control mechanisms and continuously monitor the process.

There are many practitioners of Six Sigma but usually the senior practitioners are called Master Black Belts, the practitioners called Black Belts and the more junior workers with an understanding of the work are called Green Belts. In industry a Master Black Belt commands a salary or package in the region of £65,000-£110,000, depending on the level of experience.

If you would like to benefit from the services of a Master Black Belt you can contact a range of consultants who usually charge around £1,000 per day for their services on a one-off basis. Their success is measured in savings and so can be quantified quite easily.

Kaizen Sigma Lean Consulting are independent cost-cutting consultants who can assist your firm or business to look processes, save money and cut costs. www.kaizensigmalean.co.uk

Investigations – The Case of the Disappearing Lover

A recent case from the Diary of a Private Investigator Blog

We were instructed on a case not so long ago that involved a spouse concerned that her partner was cheating on her because he kept disappearing at weekends for fairly long periods of time, and was telling her that he was at work, when a coincidental telephone call had indicated to her that he was not there.
He would also sometimes come back with mud on his knees or in his hair and be smelling a bit of beer. She was very concerned so she instructed TP Investigations (http://www.tp-investigations.co.uk) to undertake some investigation work for her, to see where her spouse was going.

Ccovert surveillance was awkward because the target lived in a very rural area, which necessitated the visibility of the private investigator.

We sent our private investigator in disguise, and he was able to shadow the husband to a local cricket ground.

The private investigator sat and watched as the husband opened the batting for a local team, and it soon became obvious that he had been too scared to tell his wife that he had been playing cricket, and had instead told her he was going into work.

This is fairly common, but we would estimate that in 60 – 70% of cases, where a spouse suspects their partner is having an affair, they are usually correct, or the spouse has lied to them as to their whereabouts, in order to pursue some other interest or activity.

We were able to reassure the spouse of their husband’s infidelity with the game of cricket, but we would not have liked to have been in their house that evening.

Where he was getting his cricket whites washed we have no idea…

Free Outplacement Services and Jobsearch Support for Newly Unemployed Professionals

Ten-Percent.co.uk Limited has been awarded a 2 year contract by the Department of Work & Pensions to provide Job Search Support services to Newly Unemployed Professionals. Clients referred to us by Jobcentre Plus will receive free career coaching & counselling, CV reviews, interview practice, covering letter and email preparation, career changes, networking and job search techniques, both online and offline. The contract is for two years and it is estimated that up to 20,000 professional people per year will benefit from the programme.

Ten-Percent and JB Fagan & Associates have been coaching professionals for over 8 years in good times as well as bad. We have offered standalone CV, careers, interview and job searching advice throughout this time and as part of the DWP contract we cover the whole of the UK. Appointments can usually be arranged within 24 hours, and the service is conducted over the telephone and online where relevant. 

How does this help your business? If you make any staff redundant, you can advise them of the above scheme and the employee can get outplacement services free of charge. We have already assisted three lawyers, one of whom found a wills & probate job within 2 weeks of attending this scheme.

The current economic climate is forcing many businesses to downsize and make redundancies. Whilst in most cases this is necessary, unavoidable and unpleasant, it is in the best interest of affected companies to ensure their employees are well looked after during the process, particularly in specialist industries where the talent pool is small and bad news travels quickly.

To manage the process sensitively, many companies are turning to outplacement because it offers invaluable support and advice to help employees get back on their feet. It is also appealing to employers as it ensures their reputations are not damaged whilst making sure that surviving staff remain as motivated and engaged as possible.

Outplacement involves a number of stages, from coaching and counselling when candidates initially hear the news, to education on the current market and economy. The process enables candidates to clarify their objectives and expectations before creating their CV, job applications and attending interviews.

For further details of the services offered by Ten-Percent, please visit