Thank you for reading this

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I don’t know about you but I get annoyed with people who don’t say thank you. As a kid, the importance of saying please and thank you was drilled into my head. Today, I wouldn’t dream of forgetting my manners.

I expect others to be equally polite and appreciative. When they aren’t, I notice.

Saying thank you isn’t just good manners. It’s also good for business, and for our personal relationships.

When you say thank you, you make the other person feel appreciated. As a result, they are more likely to like you because you made them feel better about themselves.

Saying thank you also makes it more likely that someone will continue doing whatever it is they did to earn your appreciation. When someone sends you a referral, for example, telling them thank you, and meaning it, makes it more likely that they will send more referrals.

Saying thank you also makes you look good. Good manners suggest good upbringing. It makes you appear considerate, mature, and trustworthy.

Saying thank you is especially powerful when you do it for someone who was simply doing their job. If I hire you and pay you, we’ve had a fair exchange. Still, I will go out of my way to say thank you for a job well done.

Finally, saying thank you makes you feel good about yourself. When you put a smile on someone’s face and tell them you recognize what they did and appreciate it, it doesn’t get any better than that.

So thank you for reading this. I appreciate it. (I really do.)

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Who’s your favorite client?

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Quick question: who’s your favorite client?

You know who I mean. The one who pays you big money and hires you more often. The one who sends you lots of referrals, promotes your website, and shares your social media posts. The one who follows your advice and never causes problems.

Bottom line, if you could clone him, you would be one happy camper.

So who is it? What is his or her name?

(I’m going to call him Jim.)

What’s that? You have more than one Jim? Good stuff. You can do this with each of them (and trust me, you’ll want to).

Okay, remember waaaay back where you said you would be happy if you could clone Jim? Let’s see if we can do something like that.

Get Jim on the phone, or you can do this the next time he’s in the office. Tell him he’s one of your favorite clients, that you enjoy working with him and you want to ask him a few questions so you can do a better job for him and your other clients.

Then, interview Jim.

Start off with a few easy questions about his work and family and what he likes to do for fun.

Next, unless you already know, ask him how he went about finding you. Did he find your website? What did he search for? Was he referred? By whom? Did he see an ad, come to a seminar, or meet you at an event?

Then, ask him what he liked best about the work you did for him and how you and your staff treated him.

Write this stuff down. It’s golden.

Once Jim has said some nice things about you, ask him, “What could we do better?”

Next on the list, ask him for the names of a few other professionals he works with and recommends. What does he like best about them? Will he introduce you to them (or would it be okay if you use their name)?

Finally, ask Jim what you can do for him outside of your legal services. What does he need or want? Does he have a problem? Can you send him more business? Help him find a new vendor or employee? Write a college recommendation letter for his oldest? Buy his youngest’s girl scout cookies?

Okay, what have you learned?

You’ve learned how people like your favorite client are finding you. Now you can do more of what’s working and attract more clients like Jim.

You’ve learned what you’re doing well and what you need to improve. This helps you fix anything that needs fixing and do more of what makes you great.

You’ve learned the names of other professionals you can reach out to. You can meet them and start a referral relationship and you also have a high quality professional you can recommend to your other clients.

Finally, you’ve learned what you can do to help Jim. You’ve got something you can do that will make your great relationship with him even better.

Oh yeah, one more thing. When you asked Jim what he liked about you and how you helped him, you can use the nice things he said about you as a testimonial.

After the interview, send Jim a thank you note. Tell him how much you appreciate his help. Maybe enclose a gift card or send a fruit basket.

After that, make sure you continue to let Jim know how important he is to you. Call him, just to say hello. Send him articles he might find helpful or interesting. Give him freebies from time to time. And make sure he hears from you around the holidays, his birthday, and his anniversary.

If you want more clients like Jim, focus on Jim because what we focus on grows.

To learn how to create a profile of your ideal client, get the formula

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Stop writing blog posts and articles and do this instead

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Instead of writing blog posts and articles and emailing them (or a link thereto) to your email list, I suggest you consider doing the opposite: write emails first and then post them on your blog.

Why?

Because an email is faster and easier to write. You can write one in a few minutes. And because emails get more engagement and a higher response to whatever it is you’re asking your subscribers to do.

Emails are short. They are personal, natural, and direct. They simulate you talking to your ideal client.

Blog posts and articles tend to be longer and more formal, or so we tend to make them. They take more thought, more research, more writing. There’s a natural tendency to delay and defer writing something so “important.”

If you want to write more easily and more often, write more emails. If you want to have more engagement with your list, if you want to get your readers to respond  (call, write, fill out a form, sign up for your webinar, promote your event, etc.) in greater numbers, write more emails.

Post some or all of those emails to your blog, with graphics and links if you want. Or not. Your blog can continue to provide lengthier content and serve as link bait and proof of your legal prowess. But do that in addition to, not in place of sending more emails.

How to write blog posts and emails, and make the phone ring

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When zombies invade your law office

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You say you’ve got problems? Watch a couple episodes of “The Walking Dead” and say that again. Now those people have problems. Their lives are a living nightmare. The world they once knew is gone forever. Every minute might be their last.

So unless a horde of zombies have invaded your office, don’t tell me you’ve got problems.

You don’t have problems, you’ve got situations. Challenges. Opportunities to improve. Whatever is it, deal with it. Come up with a plan. Find a solution.

Can you write a check? Great, no more problem. You don’t have the money? Put it on a credit card and get back to work.

What if it’s something you can’t fix? What if someone you love has a terminal illness?

That’s sad, but unless you have a cure, all you can do is be there to comfort them and promise to take care of the ones they leave behind.

Years ago, I gave up using the word “worry”. The word comes with too much emotional baggage, so I sent it packing. Today, I may be “concerned” about something, but never worried.

Life is too short to dwell on anything negative. Worrying is a worthless emotion. It never solved a problem. Not once.

The characters in “The Walking Dead” don’t worry. No time for that. They’re too busy surviving. They are scared and tired and hungry and vigilant, but never worried.

If you have a problem, don’t worry or complain or dwell on the worst case scenario. Do something about it. And count your blessings. Things could be one hell of a lot worse.

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Don’t die with your music still in you

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I received an email today from a marketer friend. It started with a quote from Anne Frank:

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

My friend noted that we also don’t need to wait a single moment to improve ourselves. He said, “If we wait for the “perfect moment,” you can bet it will never come. Life gets in the way. We create more excuses. Our goals keep getting shoved to the back burner. So forget about waiting for the perfect moment to begin, because that moment is NOW.”

This struck a nerve with me. I’ve put many goals on the back burner. I’ve often told myself I’ll do something later, when the time is right.

How about you? What have you put off doing until the time is right?

Wayne Dyer said, “Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul. Listen to that inner voice, and don’t get to the end of your life and say, ‘What if my whole life has been wrong?”

You don’t need to wait a single moment more. The right time is right now.

If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to start, wait no more. Start today.

If you think that what you want might not be possible, start and find out.

If you think you need more money, start anyway and trust that it will come.

What’s nice about starting is that you can do it by thinking a thought or writing down an idea. There, you’ve started. What’s next?

Don’t die with your music still in you.

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Go to law school and join the Billionaire Boys Club

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I read an article about the top five industries in which the world’s self-made billionaires made their fortunes. Financing and investments were at the top of the list with a little over 19%. Surprisingly, technology wasn’t one of the top five.

Not surprisingly, the legal industry wasn’t on the list. In fact, I can’t name any lawyer who became a billionaire practicing law. I do, however, know of more than a few billionaires who have a law degree under their belt.

Practicing law may not be a direct path to earning ten figures, but it clearly is an indirect path. Your law practice can introduce you to entrepreneurs and others who are on their way to joining The Billionaire Boys Club, and if you play your cards right, you can come along for the ride.

When you know the right people, you can use those contacts as a stepping stone to wealth. Even if they are not your clients, being a lawyer can give you access to people, information, advice, and the opportunity to invest in other people’s ideas or go to work for their companies.

My father pointed this out to me when I was in high school. He wanted me to go to law school, something I was pretty sure I did not want to do. He told me I didn’t necessarily have to practice law, my law degree could open doors for me and prepare me for anything else I might want to do.

I did practice law, for more than twenty years, and it seems he was right. I made a lot of money in my law practice, but I’ve made a lot more doing other things.

How about you? Is being a lawyer your end game or do you see it as a stepping stone to something else? Do you want to join the billionaire club or would you be happy with tens of millions?

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Write better by writing faster

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If you could write faster, you would get more work done in less time. You could crank out more billable work product, complete more projects, and free up time for other activities. You could also bring in more new clients by turning out more website content and marketing documents.

You probably know some of the mechanics of writing faster and producing more content:

  • Use boilerplate language and fill-in-the-blank templates.
  • Re-purpose content. Convert a slide presentation into an ebook; revise old articles into new ones.
  • Use outlines and mind maps to organize your writing.
  • Divide big projects into a series of small ones.
  • Dictate into a digital recorder or smart phone. Use a transcriber, or transcription software.
  • Dictate while driving, commuting, taking a walk or a bath.

It turns out that one of the best ways to write better is to write faster.

I’m talking about the speed with which you put words on the page. The faster you do that, the better your writing tends to be.

Many people think that writing fast leads to poor writing. But that’s not true. More often than not, my best writing comes out of my head to my hands and onto the page when I don’t think, I just write. Quickly.

Write your first drafts as quickly as possible. Don’t worry about getting the words right. That will come in subsequent drafts and in the editing process. Don’t analyze what you’re saying, and don’t stop until you have nothing else to say.

If this is a challenge for you, like it was for me when I started a big writing project that ultimately took me three years to complete, give yourself permission to write the first draft badly. That’s what I did. In fact, I taped a piece of paper onto my computer monitor to remind me to keep going. It said, “Progress, not perfection.”

I focused on getting words down and reminded myself that I could fix everything after the first draft was done.

When I was done with the first draft, I found out that it wasn’t bad at all, it was actually quite good. With comparatively little re-writing and editing, that project became my first marketing course for lawyers and earned me millions of dollars.

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Why didn’t the client hire you?

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You’ve met with a prospective client. You’ve given them a free consultation or done the dog-and-pony show. It’s decision time for them and unfortunately, the decision is “no”. You didn’t get the job.

You need to find out why.

Ask them why they chose someone else.

In your presentation or conversation, did you forget to say something they wanted to hear?

Did they think you don’t have enough experience? The right experience? What would have made a difference?

Did they see a bad review online or talk to someone who said negative things about you?

Were they unable to afford your fee? Would they have said yes if you offered a payment plan or accepted credit cards?

Were they expecting you to be more solicitous and comforting? Did you do something during the consultation they didn’t like (e.g., taking calls, checking texts, not making eye contact)?

Was it your website, or lack thereof? Were you lacking in content that proved you are good at what you do and have helped others?

Or was everything “okay” but other lawyers looked better or offered more? Clients have been known to hire the lawyer who offers free parking over the equally qualified one who doesn’t.

You need to know. If you made a mistake, if you don’t offer something clients want, if your bedside manner needs improvement, you’ll want to fix that so it doesn’t happen again.

So ask: why didn’t we get the job?

But here’s the thing. When they DO hire you, you should also ask why. What are you doing right? Why did they choose you instead of others?

Fixing your mistakes and neutralizing your weaknesses are important, but it’s even more important to maximize your strengths.

If new clients consistently tell you they like all the great content on your website, for example, that it helped them see the depth of your knowledge and experience and get a sense of what it would be like to work with you, you’ll want to do more of the same. If they chose you because of a referral from another professional, you’ll want to thank that person, reciprocate, and find more like them.

Clients will tell you why they did or did not hire you and their feedback is invaluable. But you won’t get that feedback unless you ask.

Turn your website into a client magnet. Here’s how.

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The three quickest ways to get new clients

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You want (need?) new clients and you want them fast. You want them today. Next week at the latest.

I understand and I can help.

Here are three quickest ways to get new clients:

1. Referrals

Not only can you get clients quickly through referrals, those clients tend to be better clients. Because they trust the person making the referral, they are more likely to hire you, more likely to follow your instructions, and less likely to complain or argue about fees. They are also more likely to refer other clients.

The simplest way to get referrals is to ask for them. Contact your clients and former clients and professional contacts and social media contacts and ask for referrals. You can do this in an email, letter, post, or phone call. Say, “Who do you know. . .[who fits the description of your ideal client/might have a specific legal need]. Ask them to have these people call your office to schedule a free consultation or visit a page on your web site to learn all about how you can help them.

Instead of asking for referrals directly, you can ask indirectly. You do this by offering a copy of your free report, ebook, planning guide, checklist, coupon, or other goody, and telling your contacts they can forward your email or share you post with anyone they know who might want one. Give them a download link to make it easy. For step-by-step instructions, get The 30 Day Referral Blitz.

You’ll get referrals, build your email list (which will lead to more new clients and more referrals), and self-referrals, i.e., people who hear about your request or offer and contact you with their own legal matter.

2. Advertising

If you get it right, advertising is an incredibly quick way to bring in new business. You can place an ad today and have new clients calling within minutes.

The key is to test different headlines, offers, and media/lists, until you find a combination that works. When you do, repeat those ads, and run them more often and in more media.

You can offer your services directly, or offer a free consultation or other incentive for new clients. You can also offer your free report, planning guide, etc. Which leads me to the third method of getting clients quickly.

3. Special offer to your list

If you don’t have a list, you need to build one immediately. Include prospects, friends of the firm, people who have attended a seminar, newsletter subscribers, former clients, and other people in your target market. People who know who you are and what you do.

If you have a list, you know you can make things happen with the click of a button.

Send your list an email and remind your subscribers about what you do. Some of them need your services right now and will contact you. Others will know people who need your services and refer them.

Spice up your email with a time-sensitive special offer, something that gets the maybes off the fence. Your special offer could be a bonus service for new clients who come in this week, a one-time discount for new clients, something extra for returning clients, or you can get creative. For example, you could enter all new clients into a drawing for free tickets to the World Series or dinner for two at a good restaurant.

You wanted quick, you got quick. Go forth and slay ye some new clients.

Create a referral blitz in your practice with this

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More on lawyers testing a “mimimally viable product”

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In response to yesterday’s post about expanding your practice by offering a “minimally viable product” (service) to test the waters, I heard from two lawyers who disagree. Their comments and my responses follow.

The first lawyer I heard from added this comment to the post itself:

Not very good advice here, and would possibly lead one down a path to malpractice, test a “minimally viable service”? really?

The “start up world” is not analogous to the practice of law

Could offering a service you’re not competent to handle lead to malpractice? Of course. If you’re not at least minimally competent to handle this new service, don’t offer it. I never suggested otherwise.

If you’re thinking of offering estate planning services, for example, you wouldn’t start by offering to form offshore trusts if you’ve never done that before. You would start with simple wills, powers of attorney, and health care directives, assuming you know where to find the forms, how to fill them out, and what questions to ask to determine if the client needs anything else.

The operative word in the term “minimally viable service” is “viable”. It means the product or service does what it’s supposed to do. It may not have all the bells and whistles or options, but it solves the client’s problem.

This is the second comment, received in a tweet from Richard W. Smith:

“David – enjoy your posts, but disagree with this approach: “Make it as attractive as possible, and price it as low as possible”

He didn’t elaborate, but I’m guessing he doesn’t have an issue with making your service and offer as attractive as possible, he disagrees with the idea of pricing it as low as possible.

If we were talking about offering your regular services, I would agree. I’m the last person to suggest wholesale discounting or competing on “price”. In fact, I believe and have often said most lawyers don’t charge enough. But things are different when you’re testing.

When you’re testing a new service, you want to know if there is a market for it. Your goal isn’t to maximize revenue or profit, it is to see if you can get anyone to buy. So you offer a minimally viable service at an attractive price point. If your test works, if you get clients or opt-ins or inquiries, you then add to the offer (more features, more options), raise the price, and put more time and money into marketing.

If you don’t get “sales,” or you decide you don’t want to handle that new practice area after all, you close the door and move onto other things.

I should have added that in testing the new service, you shouldn’t price it so low as to cheapen what you are offering. Test a new service (or market) by asking for a fee that is low enough that your “price” isn’t the reason prospective clients don’t hire you, but not so low that they think something is wrong with you or the service.

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