Are you making this expensive advertising mistake?

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The other day I heard a radio commercial for a real estate broker. The show’s host said he’s the only broker he recommends and provided examples of some of the great results the broker has obtained for his clients.

The commercial ended with the host telling the audience to call the broker, provided the phone number, and repeated it.

The broker sounds like a real player, someone you should talk to if you’re thinking of buying or selling. But there was something missing. Something that could help this broker massively increase his income.

It’s a common advertising mistake. Sad because it is so easy to fix.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

There are three categories of people who hear this ad. The first category is the smallest but provides the most immediate revenue: people who like what they hear, pick up the phone and call.

The second category is the largest: people who will never call. They don’t own property, aren’t planning to buy property, have a brother in the business, and so on.

They’re not prospects.

The third category isn’t as big as the first category (those who call) but offers the most long-term profit potential. It consists of all of the people who were interested but didn’t call.

They didn’t have time to call. They’re not yet ready to buy or sell. They want more information. They don’t want to talk to someone who will try to get them to make an appointment.

Lots of good meat left on dem bones.

At some point, many people in the third group will be ready to call. Unfortunately, they won’t remember the broker’s name and will call the next broker who comes along.

The solution is simple.

Tell listeners to call OR visit your website.

At the website, they get tips about buying and selling, information about the market, hear more success stories, learn more about your greatness, and generally sell themselves on making that call.

If they’re still not ready, perhaps they will download your special report or planning guide, giving you their email and allowing you to stay in touch with them until they are ready to call.

Some won’t ever call (for a variety of reasons) but will tell their son or daughter, friend or neighbor, about you, and they will call.

Mr. Broker, by not giving listeners another option besides “call now,” you’re leaving a boatload of money on the digital table. Yes, you can continue running ads and appeal to people who are ready to call, but why not also begin a conversation with the ones who aren’t yet ready?

If there’s enough of them on your list, you may never have to run ads again.

Let your website do most of the marketing for you. Here’s how

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Let me help you achieve your goal

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Think of a goal you would love to accomplish. Something important, perhaps something you have wanted for a long time.

It could be a monetary goal, a weight-loss goal, or anything else that would make a significant difference in your life.

You’ll know it’s a good choice because when you think about the goal, you get excited. You feel a little tug in your gut that makes you say, “This is it; I’m doing this!”

Make sure your goal is S.M.A.R.T. — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based.

It might be a huge stretch but it should be realistic, possible for you to do by the deadline you set.

Got it? Good. Would you like me to help you achieve your goal?

Before you answer, let me tell you the rules.

If you want me to help you, you’ll need to send me an email and describe the goal and the deadline. I’ll hold onto your email and wait to see whether or not you hit the goal.

I’m going to hold you accountable to your goal.

When the deadline date arrives, send me another email and tell me if you hit the goal. (If you don’t email, I will assume you didn’t make it).

If you hit the goal, I will congratulate you. Get excited for you. Do a happy dance for you.

A good time will be had by all.

If you don’t achieve the goal, however, I will tell my entire email list that you didn’t make it.

I’ll tell them your name and city, your goal, the deadline, and your results.

That’s what I mean by holding you accountable.

You’ll either make it and wear a smile all day long, or you won’t and you will suffer the embarrassment of having lawyers all over the world know it.

Yeah, the pressure will be on.

But that’s the point. The pressure will help you to do what you’ve always been able to do but didn’t. It will prevent you from giving up. You’ll do whatever it takes to reach your goal. No excuses, no backtracking. You’ll reach the goal because you must.

In your email to me, make sure you acknowledge your understanding of the rules. Give me permission to hold you accountable and, if you don’t make it, to reveal to my list your full name, city, and your results. If you want me to report your results if you do hit the goal, so that we can all celebrate with you, please state that as well.

Here’s what I predict.

I predict that most people who read this won’t respond. They won’t take the chance. They’ll either keep their goal to themselves or they won’t even bother setting a goal.

I also predict that the few who do respond and ask me to hold them accountable will succeed. They will achieve their goal and be very glad they took the risk.

If you’re not prepared to accept my offer, consider asking someone else to hold you accountable. Accountability is strong medicine. It can make you do things you long for, dream about, but otherwise never accomplish.

If your goal is to get more referrals, this will help

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Stop chasing clients and make them chase you

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An immigration lawyer agrees with the concept of offering more value to prospective clients but is frustrated. He says, “more than 90% of the people out there want free information and advice.”

He sent me some correspondence he’s had with a prospective client. “I’ve been following up with him for more than a month,” he says.

In a nutshell:

The wealthy would-be client wants to know if he has a case. The lawyer explains why he needs to interview him to answer that question and asks a modest fee. He spends a good deal of time explaining everything, making the case for the interview, describing all the work that goes into it, and laying out his qualifications.

The client doesn’t see the value/doesn’t want to pay.

What’s wrong with this picture? What’s wrong is that the lawyer is trying too hard. It makes him look like he is chasing the client.

A lawyer shouldn’t have to personally make the case for the client taking the next step. The lawyer shouldn’t have to personally “sell” the client on his ability to do the job. The lawyer should let his website (reports, brochures, recordings, articles, etc.) do (most of) the selling for him.

By the time you correspond with a prospective client, they should be nearly ready to hire you. They may have a few questions, and that’s fine, but if those questions are answered on the website, the lawyer (or better, an assistant, so the lawyer can maintain posture) should point the client at the documents that address those questions.

The website should have a sales page for the consultation. It should explain why it is necessary, describe (in detail) what you will do, and enumerate the benefits.

What will the client learn? What will they get? How will they better off?

Spell out what they get, e.g., a summary of the law, an analysis of the facts, instructions for improving their odds of success, advice and recommendations, clarity, peace of mind, etc.

Consider hiring a professional to write this for you.

Consider offering 100% credit for the consultation fee if they go ahead and hire you to do the work.

If your consultation delivers a lot of value to the client, and the sales letter does a good job of selling it, you should charge more than a modest fee. Weed out the cheapskates and freebie seekers and create a higher perceived value and demand for your services.

And, no matter how much you charge, if they don’t see the value and they’re not willing to pay, wish them well and move on.

Don’t chase.

It may seem that most people want everything free but if that were literally true, there would be no immigration attorneys making a living and that’s obviously not the case.

What do the best ones do? They charge top dollar, and get it, all day every day, from people who sell themselves on hiring them. By being the pursued, not the pursuer.

Be generous with free information but charge dearly for your time and advice. Make it easy for clients to sell themselves on hiring the best and paying top dollar for the privilege.

How to make your website sell

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In the midnight hour she cried, more, more, more

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The secret to success isn’t really a secret. You already know it. You know that the key to building a successful business, career, marriage, or life lies is giving people more than they expect.

More than they want, more than they need, more than they deserve.

Even more than they paid for. When a client pays you $1000, give them $1100 of value.

If you can’t do more, do it better. Faster. Or cheaper. When the client expects the work to be done in two weeks, do it in one. When they expect to pay $5000, send them a bill for $4500.

Give your referral sources more referrals and more introductions. If you pay referral fees, give them a bigger percentage. Give your prospects and subscribers more information and more attention.

When you give people more than they expect, you earn their appreciation, their (repeat) business, and their referrals.

No, not everyone will reciprocate. Some will hire you, some won’t. Some will send you lots of referrals, some won’t send you any. Some will promote your events, share your content, and give you positive reviews, some won’t lift a finger.

That’s okay. Because giving more isn’t about quid pro quo. It’s about establishing a mindset of abundance and a reputation for generosity. It’s about invoking the Law of Attraction.

When you give everyone more, you will get more. You just won’t know when or from whom.

You don’t have to go crazy and give away the store. Value comes in many different colors. Write and call a little more often. Be a little nicer or a little more accessible. Serve a better brew of coffee in the office (and use real half-and-half, not that powdered stuff, k?).

Continually ask yourself, how can I do more in this situation? How can I exceed expectations?

When giving more becomes your default, you will find yourself getting more.

One way to exceed expectations is to manage expectations. This shows you how

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How smart lawyers get better reviews

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I heard from a couple of smart lawyers who shared what they do to get better online reviews.

Sharon said, “I only ask clients for a review if I’m confident they were happy with my services. If they don’t get around to it, I do not repeat the request–I don’t wish to annoy people.”

Joshua said, “One thing we do at our office to control or screen for good reviews is that we do an in-office review first before asking for an online review. If someone had a great experience then we will ask for an online review and follow up with them a few times.”

A few takeaways and suggestions:

(1) Make sure the client is happy before you ask for an online review. 

If the designer I talked about yesterday had done that, she would have known not to ask me to post a review.

At the end of the case or matter, interview the client about their experience with your firm or ask them to fill out a form. Get their feedback and comments. Find out if they would recommend you to others.

If they’re happy, ask them to post their comments online.

If possible, while the client is still in the office, call up the review site of your liking on your computer. Help them register and post their review, or at least show them how to do it (and give them a copy of their in-house review), so they can do it when they get home or back to work.

(2) If the interview or in-house review reveals issues, fix them. And learn from them.

If you fix the problem quickly and completely, or the problem wasn’t your fault and you can make the client see that, it might be okay to ask for an online review. Do another in-office review first, however, before you decide to do that.

(3) It’s okay to remind clients to leave an online review. Remind but don’t push.

At the time they complete the in-office review or interview and agree to post an online review, ask for permission to remind them. “I know you’re busy, I’ll have my secretary send an email reminder, okay?”

Thank them again for their positive review and point out that posting that review online is important. It will help other people who are looking for an attorney, and it will help you.

If you want to get more reviews, and better reviews, this is how you do it.

Earn more without working more. Here’s how 

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Don’t push people to leave a review

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I hired a graphic artist recently to do a book cover but she didn’t do a good job. Frankly, her first effort was abominable. After many revisions, I accepted the work but I wasn’t crazy about it.

The designer asked me to leave a review. I usually do that but in this case, I knew the review would be negative and I thought I would give her a break. No, I wasn’t happy with her work, and no I won’t use her again, but life is too short to dwell on negative things. Move on, I told myself. And I did.

But she persisted. Emailed again, asking me to post my review. And again. “Still waiting. . .” she said.

She obviously didn’t know what I was thinking. So I told her.

I said, “If I leave a review, I will say that the work is adequate, but nothing special.” I then pointed out several of her shortcomings that I would address: lack of basic design skills, laziness (copying and pasting the copy I supplied, instead of designing), blatantly ignoring instructions, being argumentative, and more.

Yeah, I beat the crap out of her. And asked if she still wanted me to leave a review.

I was more upset about repeatedly being pushed to leave a review than I was at the work itself. Note to self: don’t push people to leave a review.

I felt bad about blowing my top but (don’t tell anyone) I also felt good telling her off.

Life is complicated.

I didn’t think I’d hear from her but I did. She said I was ungrateful after all of the revisions she’d done (aka, “you’re a jerk”), and said, “go ahead and post the review if it will make you fell better”.

It won’t make me feel better. I should have followed my original plan and kept my mouth shut.

On the other hand, maybe she needs to hear some of the things I said. I didn’t have to be so mean about it, but if she listens to the substance of my complaints and changes her ways, she would be better for it.

Am I right or am I rationalizing?

Well, this morning, the other shoe dropped. I got an email from Amazon telling me that there are technical problems with the cover and I might not be able to use it. Karma, for me being a jerk? Or further evidence that this gal doesn’t know what she’s doing?

I don’t know. All I know is I’m not going to let it bother me. If I have to hire someone else to fix it, or start from scratch and have a new cover done, that’s what I’ll do. End of story.

On the other hand, she did tell me to go ahead and post the review. . .

Make your website bring in more clients

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The simplest way to persuade people

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Yesterday, I said that the goal of your professional writing is to persuade people to do something and that you should decide what that is before you write. Knowing what you want them to do allows you to tailor your writing to your call to action.

If you want readers to download your free report, for example, you might use some of the content of that report in your post, leaving the reader hungry to hear more.

One of the simplest ways to persuade people is through repetition. Tell them what to do in the body of the text and again at the end. The more often they hear what to do, the more likely they are to do it.

You can also use repetition by writing more frequently. Instead of long emails once a month, for example, write short emails once a week.Each message is another opportunity to tell them what to do.

You’ll notice that my emails are relatively short. That’s intentional. I want you to read my email as soon as you get it. I know that if you save it for later, you might never get around to it, and that doesn’t help either one of us.

Shorter pieces are also easier and quicker to write. Instead of spending three hours crafting a comprehensive article, you can take 15 minutes to write a few paragraphs and get it out the door.

Longer pieces certainly have their place. The sales letter for my first referral course was 32 pages. But I wouldn’t expect you to read that much every day.

If you want to persuade more people, write shorter emails and send them more often. You’ll have that many more opportunities to tell people to do what to do.

Get more referrals with less effort. Here’s how

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When you’re done reading this, there’s something I want you to do

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The next time you sit down to write something, before you begin, ask yourself, “What do I want them to do?”

Figure out what you want your reader or listener, judge or jury, prospect or client, to do when they are done hearing your words.

Yes, begin with the end in mind.

Why? Because unless you’re writing to entertain, you want the reader to do something. That’s the only way they will get a result. And you want them to get a result because that’s good for them and good for you.

When someone reads your article, for example, and that article persuades them to do something, e.g., read another article, sign up for your newsletter, contact you to ask questions, or contact you to make an appointment, they benefit and so do you. They get information or help and you get a new client or someone who is moving in that direction.

Don’t write merely to inform. Write to persuade. And don’t assume they know what to do next, tell them.

You’re almost done reading this. When you’re done, I want you to write the sentence, “What do I want them to do?” on a sticky note and post it somewhere on your desk or your computer where you’ll be able to see it when you are writing.

If you do, you’ll be more likely to ask yourself that question when you’re writing and if you do that, I know you’ll get better results.

Better results is good for you, obviously, and also good for me. As you get better results from my advice, you’ll be more likely to come back for more advice, more likely to buy my products and services, and more likely to tell others about me.

Decide what you want your reader to do and persuade them to do it. I’ll have some thoughts on how to do that in a future post, so stay tuned.

(See what I did there?)

Know other lawyers? Here’s how to get them to send you more referrals

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Use ‘before and after’ photos to sell more legal services

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In our community, mailboxes are uniformly displayed on wooden posts, four boxes to a post. After nearly twenty-five years, our post was looking shabby. My neighbors and I chipped in and hired a guy to repair and paint the post and replace the mailboxes.

He did a great job and we’ve recommended him to some of our other neighbors.

On a recent walk through the neighborhood, I saw some mailboxes that could use his services and I thought about what he might do to get more work. One thing he could do is create a flyer with before and after photos of his work. Those photos tell most of the story. “If your mailbox looks like this [before] and you want it to look like this [after], give me a call.”

How can you use this idea to sell more legal services?

No, not by taking photos of your clients. By using word pictures to describe their situation before and after they hired you.

On your website and in your marketing materials, describe how some clients “looked” when they first came to you, and how they looked at the end of the case or matter.

If you handle divorce, for example, you would describe your client’s marriage situation in sufficient detail to let prospective clients “see” it. Include the facts, the legal issues, the emotional turmoil, and what was at stake.

Follow that with a word picture of the client’s situation after you worked your magic.

It’s storytelling, pure and simple, something you should be doing in most of your writing but especially in your marketing documents.

Facts tell but stories sell.

The best stories are dramatic, of course, but with a little effort, you can inject some drama into even the most mundane or routine legal matters.

Give it a try. Think about a recent client and describe their before picture. What did they want or need and why? What was at stake? What did they fear? What might have happened if they didn’t hire you?

Then, describe the after picture. Resolution. Protection. Compensation. Peace of mind.

Before and after. Photos or word pictures. It’s the same formula. It works for marketing mailbox repairs and legal services.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

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What will you do today to bring in some business?

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I got an email this morning from a representative of the company that develops Write!, a text-based writing app. He offered to set me up with a free account so I could try the software and, perhaps, mention it or review it on my blog.

I’m a good candidate for that since I have mentioned my use of Scrivener and other writing apps before, and because lawyers do a lot of writing. But I already own the app. I bought it several months ago and use it nearly every day. I like it and recommend it. You should go take a look.

So there. I mentioned it. I won’t review it because that’s not something I ordinarily do.

The email I received is a good example of simple but effective marketing that anyone can do.You probably won’t contact strangers and offer free legal services but you might offer a free report or book. (If you don’t have one, get cookin.)

But there’s another point I want to make about the pro-active nature of contacting people you don’t know.

Most lawyers do little or no outbound marketing. They sit and wait for their ads to work or for search engines to send them traffic. They wait for someone to find them and invite them to speak at their event. They wait for someone to send them referrals.

There’s so much more they could do.

Reach out to someone you don’t know, by email or phone, and introduce yourself. Invite them to submit a guest post for your blog or ask if they would like you to provide one for theirs. Offer to interview them for your podcast or video channel. Query a publication about an article. Post comments on someone else’s blog. Go to a meeting and shake some hands.

Attraction marketing is good. I love it when people find me and send me money (or free software). But we shouldn’t always wait for something to happen. We should get off our bums and make something happen.

How to write a report that could get you more referrals

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