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Sixty Things You Can Do This Week

Below is an excerpt from the new book 8 Simple Keys to Building and Growing a Successful Mediation or Arbitration Practice: The Peace Talks Marketing Book, By Diana Mercer, J.D. and James Michael Davis, B. M. F., M.B.A., J.D.

Want to get started right this second? Pick one marketing task to do each day.  By devoting a few minutes each day to marketing, you start putting good habits into your routine and a successful marketing plan is all about consistent efforts and follow through.  The most important thing is to get started. You’ll make mistakes and you won’t do everything perfectly. That’s okay.  The plan is to get moving on your marketing efforts, figure out what works, do more of that, and figure out what doesn’t work, and stop doing that.  Easier than it sounds, of course, but the best marketing is marketing you will actually do. So start with what appeals to you most.

Not clear to you what “convening” is (#4) or what an “elevator speech” is (#27)? Don’t worry, they’re explained later in the book.

My thanks to Natalie Armstrong of Golden Media for compiling this list with me.

What Works:

  1. Educate your staff and make them "ambassadors of ADR.”
  2. Print business cards for your staff. Make it easy for them to tell people about you.
  3. Give staff incentive to bring in cases.
  4. Hone your convening techniques.
  5. Be polite on the telephone.
  6. Serve before you sell.
  7. Speak to gatekeepers (people who come into contact with your prospective clients over and over again).
  8. Write for gatekeeper publications.
  9. Network with gatekeepers.
  10. Have a client-centered office.
  11. Have a content-generous web site that is easy to navigate and easy to use to contact you.
  12. Exemplify good business manners.
  13. Dress like Central Casting sent you and what your clients will expect you to look like given your background, training, and fees you are charging.
  14. Keep operating expenses down without being penny-wise and pound-foolish. This goes for office overhead, personnel, supplies and marketing.
  15. Ask people to lunch.
  16. Write thank you notes.
  17. Return telephone calls promptly.
  18. Thank those who send you referrals in a meaningful way.
  19. Treat clients like guests, or better yet, royalty.
  20. Provide snacks, sodas, and coffee.  Make your office comfortable.
  21. Provide good, thorough, accurate follow up work.  For example, send out detailed summary letters after the session with interim agreements and a "to do" list for between session action items.
  22. Give clients a little extra without charging them. Clients hate to be nickel-and-dimed.
  23. Always do good advance preparation work, even on your own dime (read briefs, review the files).
  24. Proofread carefully.
  25. Exercise quality control over your office image to outsiders.  If there are files and documents stacked everywhere, what does this say about how on top of your work you are, and how you’ll treat their file?
  26. Carry business cards with all of your current contact information with you at all times.
  27. Refine your Elevator Speech.
  28. Be easy to work with.
  29. Be pleasant to clients and prospective clients even when you do not feel like it.
  30. Be easy to contact.  Be easy to find, and easy to get a hold of.
  31. Use publicity, not advertising.
  32. Volunteer for gatekeepers, e.g., sponsor or hold a peer mediation training at your local high school if high school teachers or parents of high school students are your target market.
  33. Specialize in one or two fields, and market those skills to targets groups (rather than generalizing).
  34. Develop professional looking information you can send to people as follow-up (brochures, folders, copies of articles) in either print or electronic form.
  35. Tirelessly follow up in a tasteful way with prospective clients.
  36. Do what you say you are going to do, and do it promptly.
  37. Do not annoy anyone, especially not your gatekeepers.
  38. No back-stabbing, even if you lose a client.  If clients are shopping around and have spoken with other qualified potential providers, underscore the value of ADR as a process, even if they do not choose you.
  39. Anticipate your clients’ concerns and address them in advance, no matter how simple.  Example:  send out a map with directions to your office and suggestions for parking with your information package.
  40. Confirm appointments and ask if people have last minute questions or concerns before coming in.
  41. Ask clients to refer people if they’ve felt your services were worthwhile.
  42. Under promise and over perform.
  43. Use and stay up to date with technology.  Let your clients know that you are ahead of the curve, not behind the times.
  44. Know when to let a case go, and trust your instincts on choosing not to work with certain clients.
  45. Accept credit cards and post dated checks for payments.  Make it easy for clients to pay you.
  46. Send out evaluation forms and modify your practice based on the feedback.
  47. Realize that you are a businessperson who specializes in mediation-not a mediator trying to build a practice.
  48. Write blog or newsletter and email it to all your past and prospective clients.
  49. Host a holiday party.
  50. Send holiday cards.
  51. Write letters to the Editor.
  52. Respond to all talk radio topics and reporter services like Help a Reporter Out
  53. Send press releases about topical events.
  54. Provide specific trainings for your clients and prospects.
  55. Publish articles. Guest blog.
  56. Actively participate on a panel or committee that is otherwise populated with your prospects and gatekeepers.
  57. Make your fees as straightforward and as all inclusive as possible so that clients are never surprised by the bill.
  58. Offer clients the use of your office, library, office machines, etc.
  59. Pay for clients’ parking.
  60. Ask for referrals.

Diana Mercer

Diana Mercer, Esq. is an Attorney-Mediator and the founder of Peace Talks Mediation Services in Los Angeles, California ( ). A veteran litigator, she now devotes her practice solely to mediation. Outgoing and down-to-earth, she makes clients and attorneys feel at ease in solving family law disputes, divorces, custody,… MORE >

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