Know, like, trust, rinse, repeat

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You’ve heard it before: “All things being equal, clients prefer to hire attorneys they know, like, and trust”.

You need all three but let’s take a minute and talk about “know”.

In a sense, it is the easiest of the three because it is the simplest. The more people who know you, the more clients you are likely to get. Assuming you are reasonably likable and trustworthy, getting more people to know you is the 20% activity that brings you 80% of your results.

Note that it’s not necessarily how many people you know, it’s how many people know you. How many recognize your name? How many people who go looking for an attorney will find you?

It’s called exposure.

One of the best ways to get more exposure is to leverage the contacts of influential people in your target market.

Centers of interest in your community. Professionals, executives, business owners. People who run blogs and video channels. Authors, consultants, and sales people who write for, sell to, or advise people in your target market.

They can give you direct referrals. They can publish your guest post on their blog or in their newsletter. They can interview you for their podcast or video channel. They can promote your seminar, become an affiliate for your book or course, and promote your free report to their subscribers.

They can give you exposure to a large number of prospective clients. Even better, they can influence them to follow you and hire you. When they promote you, or even just mention you to their clients, readers, and contacts, they are impliedly endorsing you.

That’s the best kind of exposure you can get.

Do yourself a favor and get to know more people like that. Start by asking your existing professional contacts to introduce you to other professionals in their line of work.

You still have work to do with these new contacts but the most important part is done. Thanks to your mutual friend, they now know you. They’ll take your call and reply to your email. You’re on your way to getting their contacts to know, like, and trust you.

How to get referrals and other help from attorneys and other professionals: here

 

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Can you really earn more by working less?

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We’ve all been taught that more is better so how is it that some people earn more and achieve more by working less?

They do it by choosing the right things to do.

The most successful among us focus on doing things that allow them to take giant leaps instead of incremental steps. The kinds of things that let them leverage their resources and get “eighty percent results with twenty percent effort”.

It’s not that they ignore the little things. It’s that at any given moment, they’re able to zero in on the one thing they can do that will give them the most bang for their buck.

Real estate entrepreneur, Gary Keller, made this the theme of his bestselling book, The ONE Thing. He says that we can become much more successful by finding and doing the one thing (activity, task, decision, etc.) that can allow us to achieve extraordinary results.

Keller suggests that we look at our goals and for each one, ask, “What’s the ‘ONE Thing’ [I] can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

If your goal is to bring in ten new clients per month within 90 days, for example, out of all the things you MIGHT do, you should find and do the one thing that is likely to make it most likely that you will achieve that goal.

Start by brainstorming possibilities. You’ll probably think of hundreds of ideas, and if you don’t, read through my blog and courses. Put your list aside for a few days, come back to it and look for your ‘one thing’.

You may reason your way to a decision, but it is just as likely that your “gut” will tell you. If you’re not sure, go through your list slowly, think about each idea and see how you feel about it. If it feels good to think about it, if you find yourself getting excited about it, the odds are that’s what you should choose.

Your ‘one thing’ will likely be different than any other lawyer’s. You might decide that your one thing is to hire someone to create a new website for you. Another lawyer might decide that his or her one thing is to meet prospective new referral sources. Someone else may decide that advertising is the right thing for them.

All of these things, and others, might help you reach your goal, but you should consider them later. Right now,  you should find your one thing and do it.

Your website can bring you a lot of new clients

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You don’t have time? What if you did?

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Fill in the blank: “I don’t have time to do ___________ [something that would be good for you. How about writing a weekly newsletter?]

Okay, play a little game with me. You say you don’t have time to write a newsletter? Well, what if you did?

What could happen?

What if your newsletter brought you five new clients every month? Take a moment to imagine what that would be like.

Now, how long do you think it would take you to write a weekly email newsletter? 30 minutes a week? An hour?

Let’s say you get paid $500 an hour. And let’s say a new client is worth $3,000 to you. So you would invest $2,000 per month writing your newsletter and bring in $15,000 in new business. Would that be worth it? Could you find the time to write a newsletter if it would increase your income by $12,000 per month?

Numbers don’t work for you? Adjust them If you don’t think you could possibly bring in five new clients per month, how about two? You don’t earn $500 an hour? Okay, ratchet down the cost. An average client is worth $8,000 to you? Bump up the income side of the equation.

When you do this exercise, you may realize that you can’t afford to not write a newsletter.

Look at it another way–if you’re doing billable work instead of writing a newsletter, you’re losing money.

Make sense?

So cut out a few hours of billable work if you have to, to make time for your newsletter. Or work an extra hour per week. Or how about this–hire someone to do most of the newsletter for you. Or hire someone to do some of the billable work you say is keeping you so busy.

When you start with what’s possible (i.e., five new clients each month), it changes your perspective. Or at least it should. You don’t have time to do something? What if you did?

Earn more without working more by working smarter, not harder

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Working hard or hardly working?

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All our lives we’ve been told that hard work is essential to success. The person who works harder than other people generally achieves more than other people.

But is that always true? Does someone who earns a million dollars a year work ten times more than someone who earns $100k? What about people who work incredibly long hours every day but continually struggle?

We’ve also been told that there are no shortcuts to success. It doesn’t happen overnight. Okay, then how do you explain the many tech entrepreneurs who are billionaires before they’re 30?

I don’t purport to have all the answers but clearly, there isn’t an absolute causal connection between effort and results, hard work and success. There are other factors at play. That’s why I continually look for ways to work smarter.

Working smarter is about leverage. Getting bigger (or quicker) results with the same or less effort. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to do that.

You frequently hear me prattle on about the 80/20 principle. I do that because it is the quintessential illustration of leverage and I encourage you to continually look for ways to use it to increase your income and improve your life.

Where does most of your income come, for example? The odds are that a high percentage of it comes from a few things you’re doing, the so-called “20% activities that deliver 80% of your results”. Look at your practice area(s), target market(s), and marketing methods. You’re likely to see that most of your income comes from a “precious few” things, not from the “trivial many”.

When you find your precious few, do more of them. Get rid of other things to free up time and resources so that you can make that happen.

If 80% of your income now comes from one or two marketing activities, for example, doing more of those activities could increase your income by 160%. That’s because you’ll have two blocks of 20% activities instead of just one.

Back when I was a cub lawyer, struggling to figure things out, I made three changes to what I was doing and my income skyrocketed. In a matter of months. I also went from working six days a week to just three.

So nobody can tell me there aren’t any shortcuts. Now, if you will excuse me, it’s time for my nap.

How I learned to earn more and work less. Yep, it’s all here

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Why you should spy on other lawyers

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If I ask you to name a lawyer you admire whom would that be? Maybe you admire their lawyering skills or their marketing acumen or the way they run their office. Maybe you know them and are impressed with their interpersonal skills.

Write down the names of lawyers you would like to emulate and then set up a file for each. Add notes about what you see them doing. Study their website. Search for articles about them and add them to your file. Find their ads or marketing documents and add those, too.

Study them so you can get ideas and inspiration and model their behavior.

What do they do differently from other lawyers, including yourself? What do they do that other lawyers don’t?

Study attorneys in your practice area and in other practice areas. Study some attorneys for their marketing prowess, and others for their speaking or writing or courtroom skills.

Find attorneys who are good at marketing online and digest their websites and blogs. How are they organized? What kind of content do they write? How often do they post? Study their headlines, bullet points, and calls to action. Do they publish a newsletter? Subscribe to it and see what they send to their list.

Study their social media platforms. Observe how often the post and how they engage with their connections.

You might study another set of lawyers about how they manage their practice. Study their fees and billing and payment options. Study their office hours and parking policy.

If you admire attorneys for their speaking and writing abilities, read what they write, find where they are speaking and show up to listen. To study trial lawyers, you might reach out to them, compliment them, and find out if you can attend their next trial.

As you do this, no doubt you’ll get a lot of ideas. You’ll also find inspiration as you realize that you can do what they do. Don’t accept everything as gospel, however. They may be successful not because of what they do but in spite of it.

The biggest benefit of this exercise is that you may find out how much you’re doing that is as good or better than what they do.

You’ll be inspired to keep doing it, and someday, other lawyers will study you.

Marketing is easier when you know the formula

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You’re good, but not at everything

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You’re smart. And good at what you do. But other people are better at some things and if you’re not hiring them or networking with them or letting them inform you through their books and presentations, you’re working too hard and limiting your growth.

I’m guilty of this myself. I do things I know are not my strengths, because I think I’m “good enough” or out of false economy (“I don’t need to pay someone to do that”). Or I fall into the trap of thinking, “It’s quicker if I do it myself.”

Even if that’s true, speed is not always paramount. Not for the long term, anyway.

There’s an old African saying on point. It says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Some say that TEAM (T.E.A.M.) is an acronym for “Together Everyone Achieves More”. No matter how good an individual is, no matter how much he or she can produce on their own, a team can produce more.

As Aristotle put it, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

What’s more, a team is more efficient because each individual doesn’t have to do their job and everyone else’s. You won’t have as much time or energy to try cases if you also do your own bookkeeping.

Whether you run your own practice or work for a firm or a company, you have a team. They may not be an employee, they may never have worked for you, in fact, but they’re out there, just a phone call away.

Think about all of the tasks that go into doing your job or running your practice. Some tasks should only be done by you. Many tasks, however, are best done by someone else.

Go find them and hire them. Or learn what they can teach you.

Earn more, work less: The Formula

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Finding more places to market your legal services

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I finally converted a Kindle book to paperback. It’s the same book, re-formatted and published on a different platform (CreateSpace), exposing my wares to paperback buyers, libraries and bookstores, and others. I plan to do the same thing with other ebooks.

With very little effort, I am increasing my income. You can do the same.

You already have marketing methods and channels that are working for you. Why not explore ways to extend what’s already working for you into different channels or markets, or increase your exposure in existing markets?

For example, you already get referrals from other lawyers, right? A simple way to get more clients is to find more lawyers who can and will send you referrals. (My Lawyer to Lawyer Referrals course shows you how to do that).

Go through your existing marketing mix and think about how you could find or develop

  • More professional referral sources
  • More places to run your ads
  • More free and paid online directories and referral services you can sign up for
  • More places to publish your content
  • More cities and venues for conducting live seminars
  • More podcasts and blogs to interview you
  • More online and offline publications to publish your guest posts or articles
  • More social media platforms where you can network, push out content, and gain more followers
  • More ways to get more subscribers to your email list
  • More professionals to interview for your blog, podcast
  • More websites, blogs, podcasts, to target different searches or market segments, or promote different services
  • More websites, blogs, podcasts, to target the SAME searches or market segments
  • More videos on youtube
  • More groups where you can speak and network
  • More clients empowered to recognize your ideal client and refer them
  • More (new) niche markets, client types
  • More ways to use existing content (i.e., re-purpose posts, presentations, videos, ebooks, etc.)
  • More new content to publish on existing platforms (i.e., new articles, blog posts, videos, etc.)
  • More ways to surprise and delight your clients (so they return, refer, provide positive reviews, and send traffic to your web site)

And so on. Maybe even more bookstores to sell your books.

It’s called working smarter. It’s called leverage. Taking something that’s already working and finding ways to make it work harder. So you don’t have to.

Get more referrals from your clients with MAXIMUM REFERRALS

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I’d rather have four quarters than 100 pennies

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I love keeping things simple. But simplicity for simplicity’s sake is a foolish economy if it results in fewer or poorer results. “Leverage” means getting MORE results with less effort, or at least more results with the same effort.

A marketing guy I follow echoed my philosophy when he said, “I’d rather have four quarters than 100 pennies”. He was talking about the value of having fewer but better clients.

Fewer clients with bigger cases, or fewer clients who have more work for you and are willing and able to pay higher fees.

Fewer but better clients means you have fewer hands to hold, problems to solve, and fires to put out. It means you can spend more time and more money bringing in new clients and keeping them happy. It means you can earn more income with less effort.

That’s why I talk about letting the mass market of lawyers handle the mass market of clients, while you focus on the upper crust. Let everyone else fight over the scraps while you feast on the steak.

Unless you are especially well funded or daring, you probably won’t be able to do this immediately. But you can immediately state this as your objective and start working in that direction.

When you make it your intent to transition your practice to better clients, you start looking at the universe of clients differently. You make changes to your ads and marketing documents and websites, you start networking with a different crowd, and you do other things that affirm the new direction of your practice.

Eventually, you will embrace this new paradigm and make bigger changes. You eliminate marginal practice areas, for example, and focus on one or two. You might cut down on marketing channels or techniques and focus on the ones that are better suited to the practice you are trying to create.

You may be nervous about some of these changes. I know I was when I started turning down business. There’s a big void in your file drawer when you no longer handle anything that shows up, but if your experience is anything like mine was, you will quickly fill that void with new and better clients.

Then, one day, you’ll get your first “quarter”–a big case or client–and you’ll realize that if you can get one, you can get more. And that’s when everything will change.

This helps you create a profile of your ideal client

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How to simplify your marketing

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If you have ever assembled a piece of furniture from Ikea, you know that some items are more complicated than others. Even with detailed instructions and proper tools, it’s easy to mess these up, or take much longer than you were led to believe.

The same is true of any task or project. The more complicated it is, the more moving parts or steps, the more likely it is that you’ll get it wrong.

Some tasks and projects are so complicated we put off doing them. Or we make the effort, get flummoxed and frustrated and swear we’ll “never do that again!”

Marketing legal services is like that. Do yourself a favor and make it simpler.

On the macro side of the equation, that means using fewer strategies, and for each strategy, fewer techniques.

Try lots of things, and then settle in with a few things that work best for you. That’s what I do, and that’s what I recommend.

On the micro side, you simplify your marketing by using fewer apps and targeting fewer markets. You use forms, checklists, and “scripts”. You memorialize your process, in writing, to make it easier to train new hires and temps and so that you can continually examine your process and improve it.

When marketing is simpler, it is easier and takes less time. You get better at it and get better results.

It’s the 80/20 principle. Figure out what works best for you and do more of it.

Simplify your marketing by doing more of fewer things.

Referral marketing is one strategy every lawyer should use. Find out how

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My biggest shortcut to success

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Think about someone you know, or know about, who has accomplished something you would like to accomplish. A lawyer, perhaps, who has the kind of practice you would like to build.

It might be someone you know, someone you met, or someone you’ve read about. It could even be an historical figure.

Find out all you can about them. Read what they have written and what has been written about them. Talk to people who know them or who have studied them. Immerse yourself in information about them–how they got started, their daily habits, the tools and resources they used, their philosophies, their priorities, and how they spend their time.

If you could talk to them and explain your situation and your goals, what advice do you imagine they would give you? If you know them or can meet them, ask them this yourself.

Study them and then reverse-engineer their accomplishments. Identify the steps they took to achieve their success. Then, use those steps to create a plan of action for yourself.

You may not do as well as they did. Talent, timing, and a host of other factors might see to that. But you might do better than you would if you didn’t follow their path, for one simple reason. They’ve shown you what’s possible.

When I wrote my first marketing course I knew about marketing and building a law practice but I didn’t know how to package and sell that knowledge. I’d never written a course before. How big should it be? What should it look like? How much should I charge?

I was fortunate to find a course that someone else was marketing to financial professionals and I used that as a model for my own.

I studied how he packaged his information, how he priced his course, and how he marketed it. I conscripted many of his ideas and my course finally began to take shape.

More than anything, what helped me get it done and (finally) up for sale, after three years of work, was being able to hold his course in my hands and know that I could create something like it, or, as it turned out, something better.

Without that course to model, who knows what I would have come up with. Who knows if I would have had the courage to come up with anything.

My biggest shortcut to success? Find people who have done what you want to do and model them. Let them show you the path, and let them show you what’s possible.

Need a marketing plan? Want to earn more without working more? Go here

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