What are you wearing?

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So, what are you wearing? Your prospective clients want to know.

When they go to your website or read your posts on social media, they want to see what you look like and what you do. It gives them a sense of what it would be like to work with you.

But they want the real you. Doing the things you do every day as a lawyer. So, after you have added a decent head shot or two on your web site and social media profiles, it’s time to add some photos of you at work.

Such as you

  • Speaking on a panel or on stage
  • At a networking event, meeting other important people
  • Behind the microphone (e.g., radio or TV interview)
  • At your desk (reading, signing papers, on the phone, typing, with clients)
  • On the courthouse steps

Photos like these help prospective clients get to know, like, and trust you. They show you doing important things and looking professional. They provide a human element that connects with people.

If you don’t have photos, start snapping. You don’t need to hire a photographer, nor should you pose or do anything staged. Have your staff snap some candids of you in the office. Bring someone with you to your next event.

If you’re camera shy, I understand. You won’t see me in many photos. If I was still practicing, however, I’d suck it up and get some photos of me doing my thang. And Photoshop the hell out of them.

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Get better results by asking better questions

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Yesterday, I spoke with an attorney who wants to increase his income and is transitioning into a new practice area. It turns out that if he had a choice, there’s something else he’d rather be doing career-wise and it’s not practicing law.

I slammed on the brakes and asked him to write a one page, “ideal life” scenario dated five years from today. I said there were no rules, he didn’t have to follow logic to explain how he got there, “just describe your life as you want it to be five years from today.”

Because you can completely re-make your life in five years.

Write your scenario in the present tense. It’s already happened. You’re living the life you want, doing the things you want, being with people you want.

What does your typical “ideal day” look like?

I’ve given this exercise to many people, and done it myself. I’ve found that people often have trouble being honest with themselves about their ideal day. They don’t believe that what they really want is possible so they choose something different, something they think is possible, or something they think other people in their life would approve of.

When you do this exercise, you must forget possible. Ignore “how” (for now) and simply describe “what”.

The idea is that once you have described your ideal life, you’ve got something to work towards. “Start with the end in mind,” and work backwards to make it so.

Anyway, today I was clicking my way through the Interwebs and found a blog post that asked readers a provocative question I thought was on point:

What would you do with your time if you weren’t allowed in your house from 8am – 7pm, didn’t have to work, and your children were being taken care of?

Answering this question can help you describe your ideal life scenario.

Once you have done that, once you know where you want to go, the next thing you have to do is figure out how to get there. You do that by asking yourself another question.

In the post, the author says

The better questions we ask ourselves, the better the answers will be. . . Your subconscious mind. . . will start working out ways to answer your question.

So, if you constantly ask: ‘Why do I never get what I want in life?’ Your subconscious mind will go to work to help you find the answer and it will always be negative. Whereas if you constantly ask yourself ‘How can I make this possible? your subconscious mind will get to work and start looking for ways to get what you want.

To get better results in life, first ask, “What do I want?” Then ask, “How can I get it?” Your subconscious mind knows the answers.

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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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