Bah, humbug, period, paragraph.

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Tis the season to be jolly. Or not.

The last two weeks of the year is either a time of joy and celebration, or a time of stress and regret. You either want this time to last forever, or you can’t wait for it to be over.

If you love this time of year, Mazel Tov. Savor every moment. Give thanks for your blessings. Enjoy the big meal. Save me a hunk of pie.

If this isn’t your favorite time of year, or even if it is, recognize that lots of people are stressed out right now. They have too much to do. They may be spending money they don’t have. They may be worried about their future.

You can help.

You can be a ray of sunshine in their lives and make them glad they know you.

Ask yourself, “how can I make this a better time for my clients?

You might send them a funny video, like last year’s Christmas Jammies.

How about taking $100 off of their bill and telling them to have a nice dinner on you?

Or maybe give them a call, yes a phone call, and tell them how much you appreciate them.

Surprise and delight them. Show them you care.

If your clients are happy right now, hearing from you is going to make them even happier. If they’re having a rough time right now, your message or gift could be just what they need to realize that everything is going to be okay.

But here’s the thing. When you make other people’s lives better, you make yours better, too.

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Wrestling out of your weight class

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In high school, I joined the wrestling team. I thought it looked like something I could do. Okay, I thought I could meet some cheerleaders. Turns out, the wrestling team didn’t have any.

Anyway, the coach told me that with my height and frame, I should be in a certain weight class and suggested I drop some weight before the weigh-in which was two weeks away.

Off I went, running, lifting weights, dieting, and drinking gallons of water, determined to get down to the lower weight class.

I missed it by two pounds.

There I was, forced to wrestle bigger guys, exhausted by my efforts to lose weight, and not particularly good at wrestling.

I lost every match.

Turns out wrestling wasn’t my thing. And I’m fine with that. I found other things I was good at and enjoyed.

Author Richard Koch, in one of my favorite books, The 80/20 Principle, says

Everyone can achieve something significant. The key is not effort, but finding the right thing to achieve. You are hugely more productive at some things than at others, but dilute the effectiveness of this by doing too many things where your comparative skill is nowhere near as good.

High school is a place to try things. I’m glad I tried wrestling, and I’m glad I found out it wasn’t for me.

In college, you try more things, and find your career path, or at least a place to start.

In law school, and your first legal jobs, you narrow things down further. You find the practice areas that appeal to you, and the ones that don’t.

When you start your own practice, you learn more about what you’re good at. Or you find out that practicing law isn’t for you and you move onto something else.

If you’re lucky, you find your “thing” early in life. You find what you love and do best and eliminate the rest.

But the quest doesn’t end with the choice of careers. You try different partners, employees, and office locations. You try different niche markets, and different marketing techniques, continually searching for things where you are “hugely more productive”.

If you get it right, you are happy and successful. Things click for you because you’ve found the right path. If not, you keep looking.

I’m glad I found the right path. Because God knows, at my age, I would not look good in tights.

Are you ready to take a Quantum Leap in your law practice? Here’s how.

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What’s wrong with your website?

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My wife is nesting. Getting the house ready for Christmas company. Cleaning, polishing, making sure everything is ship shape. You know the drill.

I am amazed at the little things she finds that need repair. A chip in the paint that needs touching up, for example. I walk by it every day but never noticed. Why? Because I walk by it every day.

I’m used to it. So it doesn’t stand out. If you came to the house, having never been here, that chip would probably be the first thing you’d notice.

My wife is also proofreading my latest book. I’ve been through it more times than I can count. To my eye, it’s done. She spots typos on almost every page.

We all need fresh eyes to look at our work. We’re too close to it. We can’t see what’s obvious to others.

Take your website for example. Do you know what’s wrong with it? Can you spot the things that are missing or need improvement?

Even if you know what you’re doing, there’s a good chance you’re missing things, simply because you’re too close to it.

You need someone else to look at your website. You need fresh eyes.

Have a client go through your site with you. Have them narrate what they see and what they’re doing. Note the pages they go to first, and where they go after that.

Have them find and fill out the contact form. Have them find your bio, your list of services, and the directions to your office. Have them follow you on Twitter or Like your Facebook page. Have them share one of your posts.

You’ll see how others see and use your site. I promise you, it will be an eye opener.

You should also have an expert look at your site. They’ll find more things that need fixing. They can show you how to get more traffic, more subscribers and more social media followers. They can show you how to get more visitors to see you as the lawyer they should choose, and get them to call or email to hire you or take the next step.

You can hire me to do that. I’ll go through the site with you and tell you what to do. Or, you can have me do this for free.

Remember, when you order The Quantum Leap Marketing System, you get a free coaching session with me as a bonus. You can use that session to have me go through your site with you.

What’s wrong with your website? Have me take a look and help you fix it.

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It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it

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When I was in high school, lifting weights in the gym, I remember a song that played over and over on the radio. You might remember, “I never promised you a rose garden” by country singer Lynn Anderson.

If not, you can watch Ms. Anderson (and her big hair) on this video.

The song begins, “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden. . .” and that lyric is repeated throughout.

I heard that song so many times that eventually, I started playing around with the lyrics in my head. I changed the whole meaning of the title and primary lyric by emphasizing different words.

“I [emphasized] never promised you a rose garden.” Maybe it was someone else.

“I NEVER promised you a rose garden”. Nope, not once.

“I never PROMISED you a rose garden”. I might have mentioned it, but I never promised it.

“I never promised you a ROSE garden.” A garden, maybe, but not roses.

“I never promised you a rose GARDEN”. I said I’d plant a few roses, not a whole garden.

Crazy, but fun, especially for a word lover, and it passed the time while I was doing bench presses and squats.

Now, I’m not saying I think you don’t know the proper word to emphasize when you are speaking. I would NEVER think that. Okay, I might THINK that, but I would never say it.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the point is that while we probably don’t change the meaning of what we intend in such an obvious manner, we often do it in other, more subtle ways.

Suppose you’ve got a prospective client in your office and it’s time to talk about fees. You’re telling them the dollar amount they will have to pay. If you speed up your words even a little, or lower the volume of your voice, you might communicate that you are a little embarrassed about how much you charge, or afraid that they might say no. The same is true if you break eye contact.

Our body language and tonality often say things our words do not.

Our choice of words also matter. Telling the client that you hope to win isn’t the same as saying you expect to win. Saying you’ll do your best isn’t as good as saying you’ll do whatever it takes.

It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.

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The perfect time management system

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If you ever find yourself emotionally caught up in the need to get organized, if you continually try new techniques or apps only to abandon them in favor of something else, if you are on a never ending quest to find the perfect time management system, stop.

Just stop.

The perfect time management system doesn’t exist.

There are many productive, happy people in the world who use almost no system at all.

The have a calendar. They make a list of what they need to do for the day. They have files they can turn to when they need something. And. . . that’s about it.

The don’t make elaborate lists, with tags and contexts for every task. A post it note is usually enough.

They don’t obsess over goal setting. They might not set any goals at all.

But their system works. They don’t forget things. And they never worry about having too much to do.

Their system works because they trust their subconscious mind. They know that it knows what’s important and will tell them what to do next.

Don’t hate on them. Learn from them. They’re right, you know. Your subconscious mind knows what you need to do.

I know, you’re life is complicated and you need more. You can still use your favorite tools and techniques. Just don’t obsess over them, or spend so much time tweaking them that you don’t have time for anything else.

The new year is almost upon us. That’s a good time to re-think your system. Get rid of things that aren’t serving you and simplify everything else.

You might want to mentally start over. Pretend you have no system. One by one, add back things that work.

No system is right for everyone. Find the one that works for you.

What me worry? Nah, I use Evernote to organize everything.

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How to make 2015 your best year ever

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Is next year going to be pretty much like this year? Or do you plan to do bigger things?

I’ll assume you plan on growing your practice next year.

More clients. Bigger income.

That’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it?

I’ll also assume you would like to do this as quickly as possible. You don’t want to stumble your way through the year, growing incrementally. You want to BLOW UP.

I’d like to help you do that.

A couple of years ago, I released The Quantum Leap Marketing System for Lawyers. It’s a video training series that shows you how to quickly bring in a lot of new business. Over ten hours of videos and a bunch of bonuses.

On the sales page, I make the ridiculous (but accurate) claim that the course can help you DOUBLE your practice in 90 days or less.

Yes, you will have to work your pants off to make that happen, but it is possible. If you don’t want to work that hard, would you be okay with doubling your practice in six months or a year?

Anyway, as you may know, I like to offer some kind of holiday special each year, and this year is no exception. I’m putting Quantum Leap back on the market for a few days and offering it to my subscribers (that’s you) at a huge discount.

See for yourself.

You’ll see that one of the bonuses is a personal coaching session with me. I consider this to be the most valuable part of the entire program.

In our coaching session, we’ll talk about your practice–where you’re at now, where you’d like to be next year–and I’ll tell you what you need to do to get there. You can ask me anything. You can even have me critique your website.

So, if you’re wondering what to do to make 2015 your best year ever, this is the answer.

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Why you should stop selling your legal services

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If you’re selling your legal services, you’ve got to stop. Nobody wants to buy them. Nobody wants your work product.

What they want are the benefits your services provide. Money, freedom, safety, peace of mind. That’s what clients want and pay for.

So when you talk to prospective clients about your services, they really don’t care that much. Those are just details. Your services are merely the tools you use to create and deliver benefits.

I’m not saying that your services, skills, and experience are unimportant. Not at all. But to the client, nothing is more important than what you can do to improve their life.

We sell hope. We sell the promise of a better future.

When a client is in trouble, when they are scared or confused, when they want something but don’t know how they can possibly get it, you need to give them hope.

It’s the most precious thing you sell.

How to sell the benefits your services provide: The Attorney Marketing Formula

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How Neil Patel got to 100,000 visitors per month

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Neil Patel is a very smart, and very successful marketing guy. His blogs receive a boatload of traffic.

In a post today, he explains how he got to 100,000 visitors per month by following 7 rules for writing blog posts.

He’s an expert at SEO and social media, and I expected his rules to be oriented to those subjects. They’re not. There’s nothing technical about his rules. They are the softer side (my words) of writing blog posts to communicate with your readers.

For example, he talks about hooking your readers by framing your post properly, and writing about subjects you are passionate about. He also talks about the critical importance of headlines and building your list.

One thing he recommends that I think most lawyers intuitively understand: using data to build credibility. Citations, links, quotes from other experts, and our own opinions, backed up by our experiences, are routinely included in posts and articles by attorneys.

Often when I read Patel’s posts I come away thinking, “Okay, I don’t do that,” and “I don’t want to do that.” With this post, I was pleased to find that he and I are on the same page.

If you want to know how I handle SEO and social media, get this.

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How to write a blog post in ten seconds

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Every day, I quickly go through my blog feeds. I delete most of the articles, skim one or two, and save the rest to Instapaper to read later. I often use these saved articles as blog post ideas.

This morning, I opened an article which had an intriguing quote as the headline. It said, “Be the type of person you want to meet“.

I expected to find some advice on personal development. Or networking. Or how to “mirror and match” the people you meet.

But that was the entire article. Just the quote. Nothing else, not even the name of who said it.

Can you really use a single sentence as the entirety of a blog post? Or an email to your client list?

Why not?

If the quote inspires you or makes you think, if it’s something you’d like to share with your readers or subscribers, if you’re pressed for time and all you can come up with this week is a one sentence quote, then that’s what you should do.

Nobody will report you to the blog police.

The whole idea of staying in touch with your list is that they hear from you on a regular basis. You want to be “in their minds and their mailboxes” when they are ready to hire you or have a referral.

Sometimes you write substantive posts. Sometimes you share a story. Sometimes you promote something. And sometimes, you share a link, a photo or infographic, or a quote.

Of course if you’re like me, you’ll be forced to add something. Lawyers are windy, don’t you know. So you’ll add a comment or two about why you like the quote or whatever else you’re sharing. And sometimes, you’ll find that you’ve written 300 words. Like I found I just did in this post.

For more on how to write a blog post (or how to start a blog or newsletter), get this.

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NaturalReader Text to Speech Software for Proofreading and More

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Yesterday, I whined about how there are too many apps and not enough time to try them all. I said that we don’t need more than a few apps and tools to do our work. Sometimes, you stumble across a new category of app that is truly useful and worth examining. Sure enough, this happened to me last night.

I was reading a book about writing. The author said he uses text-to-speech software for proofreading. He says it allows him to hear what he has written the way his reader will hear it, so he can correct errors in punctuation, find doubled words, and improve the flow of his writing. He recommended the NaturalReader text to speech app, so I downloaded it and I’m giving it a spin.

I’m using the free version and so far I’m impressed. The voices are surprisingly natural sounding. The paid versions allow you to install even more natural sounding voices, we are told, and edit the pronunciation of words, which would be handy for legal and medical professionals.

You can also use Natural Reader as a productivity tool. Add articles, emails, pdfs, or anything else you need to read and listen to them while you do something else. You can convert audio files to mp3 (paid version) and listen on your smart phone or other devices. Paid versions have other features I haven’t had time to explore.

I’m proof reading a book I’ve just finished. I pasted in a passage and listened to what I wrote and adjusted the playback speed to -1. It’s allowed me to catch a number of errors. I pasted in the first draft of this post and the app let me hear that I had a doubled word.

I’ve tried several text-to-speech apps on my iPhone and found that generally, the voices aren’t natural sounding and get in the way of listening. I’ve also found them a bit clunky to use. I was expecting Natural Reader to be much the same, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I know there are many other text-to-speech options available, but this one is definitely worth a try. It’s available for PC and Mac and there’s an online version as well. I’ve found that the voices sound more natural on my PC than the online version, however, so try the free download before you make up your mind.

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