How to quickly get new clients

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If you want to quickly get new clients, here are three marketing methods you should consider.

(1) Advertising

An effective ad program can put your offer in front of a lot of prospective clients literally overnight.

If you’re not permitted to advertise your services, or you don’t want to, consider advertising your book or report or other information product.

You can sell that information or give it away, and each person who buys or downloads it will learn what you do and how you can help them. They also get added to your list so you can stay in touch with them, leading to more clients over time.

(2) Referrals

One of the best ways to build a law practice is through referrals from clients and professional contacts. For most attorneys, referrals happen when they happen. With a little effort, however, you can make them happen.

One reason people don’t give you referrals is that they don’t think about it. You’ll get more referrals if you contact them regularly and remind them how you can help their friends, clients, and colleagues.

One of the best ways to do that is to create a written document that describes your ideal client and explains the best and easiest ways to make a referral. My two courses, Maximum Referrals and Lawyer to Lawyer Referrals show you how.

(3) Joint ventures/strategic alliances

Another way to quickly bring in business is to align yourself with people with a list of clients or contacts who might need your services.

Professionals with a similar target market to your own can promote your webinar to their list, for example, in return for you doing the same for theirs. You can write guest posts for each other’s blogs or newsletters. You can promote each other as speakers at your respective networking events.

Advertising, referrals, and joint ventures give you access to other people’s lists, listeners, readers, or contacts. You can quickly get new clients by leveraging their relationships and getting your name and message in front of a large number of prospective clients.

Quickly get new clients through referrals

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What vs. How

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In a “how to” article, report, or post, you describe the problem and present the various solutions you offer, but you should also tell the reader what they can do without you.

Tell them how they can avoid the problem in the first place. Tell them how to mitigate damages. Tell them how to protect themselves in the future.

The question is, having told them what to do, should you also tell them how to do it?

If you say that filing a quit claim deed is an option, should you tell them where to get the form and how to fill it out? If they can file for a simple divorce on their own will you tell them how to do it?

These are things you need to think about.

You want to provide value to readers and that usually means telling them more rather than less. More information shows them you know what you’re doing and builds trust. Being generous with your knowledge and advice endears them to you, making it more likely that if they hire any attorney, you’re the one they will choose.

But the choice isn’t always simple. If you tell them how to do something and they mess up, you may lose credibility and expose yourself to liability. If they follow your instructions successfully, they may decide they don’t need you for anything else.

Should you tell them all of the “whats” but none of the “hows”? Should you tell them all of the “hows” but encourage them to contact you to look it over?

Decisions, decisions.

My advice? Err on the side of too much rather than too little. Add your “on the other hands,” cover your backside, and encourage them to contact you to learn more. But don’t hide from telling them what to do and how to do it. Remember, you’re writing a “how to” not a “what to”.

Marketing legal services successfully starts with successful philosophies

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What’s in your wallet? Briefcase? Desk drawer?

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When a client leaves your office, especially after your first meeting, what do you hand them? When you’re networking or running errands, what do you give to the people you meet?

It could be anything, as long as it has your name and website on it. Your business card, a brochure, your newsletter, a copy of your book or report.

I’m all for digital, but nothing beats a tangible handout for helping people to remember you and prompting them to get more information.

Put something in their hand they can take home with them and show their spouse or partner. Give them extras they can pass out to friends. “One for you, the other in case you talk to someone who might need my help”. Plant the seed and equip them to provide referrals.

Don’t rely on your handout to do the work, however. Use it as a mechanism to get their contact information. And make sure you follow-up with them, to tell them you enjoyed meeting them, to offer additional information, and to invite them to take the next step.

Marketing is simple. It’s even simpler when you have something to hand out.

The perfect handout 

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Getting referrals without breaking a sweat

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See, I get it. You don’t want to ask your clients or professional contacts for referrals. Even though I’ve shown you more than a few easy and natural ways to do that, you’d rather swallow a cup of nails than ask anyone to send you some business.

Alrighty then. Be that way. But let me show you another option.

Instead of asking people to refer clients to you, ask them to refer those folks to your content. Or more accurately, share that content with them and ask them to do the same.

Have you ever shared a video you like on Youtube or Flakebook? Have you ever shared a blog post or article with someone you think might like it, too? Of course you have. And you will continue to do that because we’re humans and humans like to share.

Why not do the same thing with your own content?

Tell folks about yur article and ask them to share it. Ask your clients to forward the link to your new report to anyone who might benefit from the information. Ask them to hit the share button on your blog post or youtube video.

When you’re networking and someone asks a legal question, give them a page on your website that addresses that issue.

People come to your website, consume your content, see that you know what you’re doing, and before you know it, you have some new clients.

Easy.

Your content shows people what you do and how you can help them or people they know. Your content sells them on hiring you, so you don’t have to. All you have to do is get your content out into the world and ask people to share it.

The catch? You have to have some content to share. You have to write something or record something that prospective clients want to consume.

So do that. And then share it.

Let me show you how easy this is.

Do you know a lawyer who might want to get more clients and increase his or her income? Forward this email to them so they can see that getting referrals is easy. Add a note to the top: “Joe, thought you might like this”.

(If you’re reading this on my blog, click the share button and send it that way).

Done and done.

See, that wasn’t difficult?

Now, go write something and share it.

More easy ways to get referrals

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3 reasons your email newsletter isn’t working

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As you can imagine, I get to see a lot of attorney’s email newsletters. Most have “problems”. If your newsletter isn’t working for you, if it’s not bringing in business or it’s taking up too much of your time, here are 3 probable reasons and what to do about them.

You’re writing a “newsletter” instead of an email

You can call it a newsletter but you’ll be much better off sending simple emails. Most newsletters get deleted. Or they are set aside to be read later but forgotten. That’s because most newsletters (especially from attorneys) are too long and too dry.

Instead, send an email. Short and sweet. 300-400 words, not 1500. An email from you (not your firm). Tell them what you’re doing. Tell them about your clients. Weave in a few words about the law, but focus on people, not statutes and decisions.

Use your emails to help your readers get to know you better. Show them how you can help them but keep it light and interesting and personal.

And forget about making it pretty. Graphics get in the way and take time to find and use. Just send text. Like a real email. When every other lawyer and vendor is sending “pretty” emails, yours will stand out.

You don’t email often enough

Once a month isn’t enough. People need to hear from you or they forget about you. If you’re writing interesting emails and delivering value (tips, resources, recommendations, etc.) they’ll want to hear from you.

Weekly isn’t too often. Even daily isn’t too often, if you’re up to it. And if you send short and simple emails, instead of trying to cram “articles” and “news” into one long missive, you’ll have the time to email more often.

No, your subscribers might need you right now (or ever) but they know people who do. Write often and you’ll get more referrals.

You’re expecting too much, too soon

Give it time. Your readers need to get to know and trust you. They need their problems to mature and get painful enough to decide to call you. They need time to save the money to pay you or to convince another decision maker that you’re the one to hire.

You also need time for your list to grow big enough so that there are enough “ready to go” prospective clients on it at any given time.

The biggest problem with email “newsletters”? Not having one. Done right, they can bring you all of the business you can handle, and then some.

If you don’t have an email list, start one. If you have one but it’s not working for you, you can fix it.

Learn more about using email to build your practice here

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The benefits of a daily writing routine

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Most attorneys write every day. It’s a big part of the job. But let’s face it, most of that writing is formulaic and dull. Here’s our demand, this is what that case held, the facts are as follows.

You can dictate this stuff in your sleep.

Set aside 15 minutes every day to do a different kind of writing. Write something that expresses what you THINK and how you FEEL. Share your professional and personal experiences and observations. Inspire people to think, act, and buy.

Writing every day will make you a better writer. Faster, too. You’ll also produce more content (articles, blog posts, ebooks, reports, presentations, newsletters) that can bring you new business.

You don’t have to show your writing to anyone just yet. Just keep writing. The day will come, sooner than you think, when you know it’s time to put your writing to work.

If you love to write, writing every day can be a guilty pleasure you don’t usually get to experience. If you hate to write, talk. Record yourself “thinking out loud”.

Write every day, even when you don’t feel like it. Especially when you don’t feel like it. If 15 minutes is too much, start with ten. Or five. Do three-minute writing sprints, squirting out words as quickly as possible, without thinking or stopping.

Have fun with it. Be funny, or bitch and moan. Write whatever you want to write. But don’t break the chain. Writing daily is as much about discipline as it is communication. Once you’ve established this new habit, who knows what you might be empowered to do next.

Make a habit of getting referrals

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Unintended consequences can mess things up big league

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Last night, my wife and I did some shopping. At the checkout, we were reminded that California has just passed a law banning single-use plastic bags. Our options were to bring our own reusable bags (or, portable germ factories as I call them) or buy their multi-use bags at ten cents a pop.

Curiously, the multi-use bags are also plastic, so I’m guessing this is less a landfill thing than a California revenue thing, but whatever it is, I’m against it. (Horse Feathers.) So, like many of our co-shoppers, on principle, my wife and I put our purchases back in the cart, bagless, and proceeded towards the exit.

At the door, we were met by an employee who asked to see our receipt and then did a quick look at the contents of our cart. We received her blessing and left.

I wondered why the store had implemented this new procedure of checking carts and my wife pointed out that it was the new law. They needed to have someone make sure customers didn’t roll out the door without paying, something they didn’t have to do when we all had bags.

I had to laugh. This store, and others no doubt, now has to pay someone ($15 an hour) to stand by the door to prevent shoppers from ripping them off. Will the store pass this cost along to customers? Will another store attract their customers with offers to absorb the cost of the bags? Will absorbing the cost of bags be cheaper than hiring additional employees to guard the door? How might this affect online purchases and deliveries?

Unintended consequences.

The point is that any time you introduce something new, you have to think it through. Your new ad campaign, seminar, or website may attract new clients, for example, but alienate or confuse your current client base.

Everything has consequences. Make sure you consider them.

Good marketing begins with a good plan

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How to choose the right tasks to do today

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Yesterday, I said that a good way to avoid being overwhelmed by a large to-do list is to make a list of 3-5 tasks you are committed to doing today and putting everything else out of the way (on other lists). I said your “today” list should be comprised of your most urgent and import tasks, but how do you decide what those are?

Urgent is pretty easy. These are tasks you must do today or bad things will happen. One expert says urgent tasks are ones you would be willing to stay late at the office to finish. If it can wait until tomorrow, it’s not urgent.

Works for me. But what about “important” tasks? How do we choose those?

One way to do that is to “start with the end in mind,” as Covey says, and work backward. That means first deciding on the outcomes you want to achieve today, this week, or relatively soon. Once you know the outcomes, brainstorm what you have to do to accomplish them, or take the next step in that direction.

If one of your desired outcomes this week is to file a motion in an important case, you would first write down all of the necessary action steps (e.g., assemble a factual time line, research, write points and authorities, write a declaration, write the first draft, and so on). From that list, you would choose what to do first and put that on your to-do list for today.

If a desired outcome this week is to get at least one referral from your professional contacts, possible actions would include going through your database to identify professionals you want to contact, writing emails, and making phone calls. Put one or more of those tasks on your list for today.

Now, how do you decide on the outcomes you want to achieve? By first looking at your goals. But that’s a subject for another day.

How to use Evernote for getting things done

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Getting things done by re-thinking the definition of a to-do list

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No matter what task management system you use, or even if you don’t use one at all, the odds are you have a seemingly endless list of things to do.

You might keep them in an app. You might keep them on paper. You might keep them in your head. But there’s your list, a mile long and growing every day, overwhelming you to the point where you don’t want to look at it anymore.

Okay, maybe that’s just me.

But I have a new weapon in the battle of wits between my lists and my sanity and you may want to use it.

It starts with thinking about a to-do list as simply a list of things to do TODAY.

Not tomorrow or next week. Today.

It is a list of 3 to 5 tasks you are committed to doing today because they are urgent or important.

Take a deep breath and imagine a list of ONLY 3 to 5 tasks. That’s a list you can and will do.

If you find yourself resisting a task, break it up into 15-minute bites. You’ll be less likely to procrastinate when “it’s only 15 minutes”.

You can also use 15-minute increments for bigger projects. I’m working on something right now that’s tedious and will take many hours to complete. I had put it off for a long time but I’m doing it now because my task list only commits me to 15 minutes. I can do more than 15 minutes if I want to, and I often do, but only if I want to.

Yay me.

Now, what do you do if you have more than 5 important or urgent things to do today? You keep them on a second list.

Your first list (today) has your most important or urgent tasks on it. Your second list is what to do after you’ve taken care of those tasks.

Your second list has no more than 15 or 20 tasks on it. It includes other things you need to do today, and things you need to do in the next week or so. Or things you’d like to consider doing.

When you have completed the tasks on your today list, you look at list number two and choose additional tasks.

Two lists: 3 to 5 most important tasks you are committed to doing today. 15 to 20 back-up or “next” tasks.

Check your today list frequently throughout the day. Check your second list once a day, after you have finished your today list.

Put everything else–all of the someday/maybes, ideas, things you’re not committed to doing–on a third list. Check that list once a week. Skim through it and find things to put on your first two lists and then put your third list away until the following week.

I’ve been doing this for about a week and it’s making a big difference in how I feel about my lists and in my overall productivity. My lists are much more manageable and much less daunting.

And, you can use this with any other task management system because it’s basically a way to combat overwhelm by limiting the number of tasks in front of you and the amount of time you commit to doing them.

One more thing.

While your first two lists are purposefully limited in number, list number three (everything else) will no doubt grow to hundreds of entries, many of which don’t need to be considered each week. To keep list number three from overwhelming you, at some point, you’ll want to segment it so that you don’t have to look at every task or idea on it every week.

You can do that by creating sub-lists or by using software to label or tag items to consider at some point in the future or under certain specified conditions. I have a list of more than 1000 blog post ideas, for example, but I only look at that list occasionally.

How to use Evernote for getting things done

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Today’s a good day to get organized

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Any day is a good day to get organized but the day before a holiday is especially good. You’re relaxed and looking forward to Thanksgiving. You’re probably not in the mood to do a lot of serious work. And you like the idea of starting the week without 102 things to do and no idea where to start.

Take a look at your email inbox. This would be a good time to zero it out. Go through the first few hundred (the rest are probably too old to bother with). When you find something that you want or need to do, tag or label it, or forward it to your task management software, and then archive everything else. It will still be there if you need it but you won’t have to look at it.

Take a look at your tasks and projects and do the same thing. Flag those that are important and should be done soon and put everything else out of sight (e.g., archive, someday/maybe, or tagged for future review).

Take a look at your current and upcoming projects. Consolidate your notes and ideas, clean up your outlines and task lists and get things ready so that when you see them next, you can finish them quickly or start them with aplomb.

Get organized today and then enjoy the morrow. Clear your mind, fill your belly, and give thanks for what you have and what the future has in store.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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