A simple way to dramatically improve your next presentation

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In any presentation, you want to engage your audience. You want them to think about and remember your words and feel an emotional connection to your message.

What’s the best way to accomplish this?

Carmine Gallo studied 500 of the most popular TED Talks and found a pattern:

  • 65 percent personal stories
  • 25 percent facts and figures
  • 10 percent information to back up the speaker’s credibility on the subject

In short, the key factor for better presentations is something I’ve been telling you since day one: stories.

But note that Gallo said “personal” stories, meaning stories that involve the speaker. Since you want your audience to know what you do and how you help people, when you tell stories in your presentations, articles, blog posts, or anything else, look for ways to include yourself in those stories.

Here’s a template for a client story you might use that shows you doing what you do:

A client had a problem and came to you. Opposing forces (other parties, the law, factual issues, etc.) worsened the problem and/or made it more difficult to resolve. You worked hard, overcame difficulties, and solved the problem.

As you tell the story, turn up the heat by describing the client’s pain–how the problem affected them emotionally, financially, or physically–and the relief they felt when you eventually solved the problem.

If possible, also describe how you felt. Show your empathy for the client’s situation. Mention how you struggled with some aspect of the case before you conquered it.

Yes, this type of story is easier to tell when you’re dealing with litigation but with a little effort, you can also tell an effective story about a simple transactional matter.

If a client wanted you to review the lease for their new business, for example, you can talk about the problems they might have encountered if they hadn’t had you review the lease, and the excitement they felt about their new business, which you helped them start.

Make sure your presentations include stories. Because facts tell but stories sell.

Need more referrals? This will help

 

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The best law firm marketing list money can buy

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Have you ever rented a mailing list?

If you handle estate planning, for example, you can rent a list of AARP members in your area and mail a letter inviting them to your seminar, offering them your ebook on estate planning essentials, or simply offering your services.

If you handle small business matters, you could rent lists of subscribers to publications that cater to start-ups or inventors or small business management issues.

You can rent lists based on public records, buyers of certain products or services, members of designated organizations, or people who have asked for information about just about any subject under the sun.

There are email lists available, too.

Ask Uncle Google or Aunt Bing to show you what’s available for “mailing lists” or “mailing list brokers” and see for yourself.

Not all lists are created equal, of course. Some are great and will produce many clients for you. Some won’t produce any. But you can test any list by mailing (or emailing) to a small portion of the list to find out. If you get a good return, you can roll out to the rest of the list. If you don’t, you can try something else.

Of course, the best lists are the ones you create yourself. They are usually much more responsive and profitable than any list you rent.

Here’s why.

Everyone on that list knows who you are and what you do. They came to your site and asked you to send them information. That means they’re either interested in hiring a lawyer who does what you do, right now, or they’re interested in the subject of your information and might hire you at some point down the line.

Some of the people on your list are ready to make an appointment. Others have questions and want to talk to you on the phone. Some aren’t ready to do anything but will be in six months. Some may never hire you but will send you referrals.

The people on your list can also help you build your list even bigger. They will share your website content, for example, with their social media friends and followers or their customers or clients.

Your list could bring you several new clients each month. Or more. All you have to do is send them the information they asked for and stay in touch with them.

Now, if a list like this were available from a list broker, how much would it be worth to you?

A pretty penny, me thinks.

If you think so, too, start building your list. You can use ads or social media, blogging or SEO, speaking, writing, networking, and many other methods of driving traffic to your law firm site or a separate one-page site specifically for that purpose. Visitors fill out a form, providing their email address, and you send them the information.

You can learn how to do that here and here

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If you aren’t better, be different

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I often talk about the value of showing prospective clients how you are “better or different” than other lawyers who do what you do. In The Attorney Marketing Formula, I show you how to do that, and how to construct your “Unique Selling Proposition” (U.S.P.)

Writer James Clear did a post recently with another take on this subject. He calls it, “Layering Your Skills,” and quotes Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, for explaining how someone who isn’t markedly better than their competition can stand out by being different:

“Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it.”

As you consider your strengths, don’t ignore those that aren’t obviously relevant to the practice of law. Include your undergraduate fields of study, businesses and industries you’ve worked in, sports you play or avidly follow, your hobbies and other outside interests. They can also help you stand out, especially in many niche markets.

I’m not the best chess player in the world but I am better than most people. Even if I wasn’t, if I was practicing today I could use my knowledge of the game to relate to and attract other chess players. I could appeal to tournament directors, coaches, and vendors. I could attract the attention of bloggers, editors, and meeting planners who cater to those markets.

I could become one of the best-known lawyers in the chess world, without being the best chess player or the best lawyer.

What are you good at and how could you combine that skill with other skills to show the world how you are different?

Show the world how you are better or different

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Focus and grow rich

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If you can remember getting interest on your savings account (if you can remember savings accounts), you recall that compound interest, as opposed to simple interest, allowed you to earn a bigger return because you earned interest on the interest.

Compounding gave you more bang for your savings buck.

The same principle applies to investments you make in your marketing.

One reason I preach the value of targeting niche markets is that by targeting small(er) niche markets, instead of “all” markets or “no” markets, your money, time, and energy compounds.

You get bigger results with less effort.

Instead of getting one new client when you deliver a presentation, for example, you might get five new clients because the people in that niche not only see your presentation, they also see your ads or read your articles or hear your name mentioned by one or more colleagues or friends.

Each instance of “you” in a niche market has a greater impact.

If you want to get more bang for your marketing buck, concentrate your efforts and dollars in smaller markets, especially where people know each other and word of mouth is strong.

In addition, group your “shots” by publishing more articles or running more ads in one or two publications (in the same week or month) instead of multiple publications. Publish a weekly or daily newsletter instead of a monthly newsletter.

You can expand your reach later, after you have saturated and dominated one publication (ads, articles), one organization (speaking, networking), or one niche market.

Most lawyers use a shotgun approach to marketing. Their message is weaker because they try to appeal to everyone. Their message is diluted, if not drowned out, by a sea of messages from other lawyers. They waste time and money and make a smaller impact by spreading their time and money too thin.

If you want to get more results (clients, referrals, traffic, subscribers, publicity, etc.), focus your message, your time, and your dollars in smaller markets, and let the magic of compounding go to work for you.

How to choose the right niche markets for your practice: click here

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When someone asks, “What do you do?” hand them one of these

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I read an article recently that said that brochures are obsolete. I admit, they’ve never been one of my favorite marketing tools but they have always had their place.

They still do.

There is value in having something you can hand out to a client or prospect, telling them what you do and how to contact you. You can put brochures on the counter in your waiting room, in your new client kit, hand them out when you meet someone at a networking event, or put them in the mail with a cover letter when someone asks you to send them some information.

And, because fewer and fewer attorneys use a paper brochure, or do anything on paper, your brochure gives you an easy way to stand out.

And an easy way to be remembered.

A web page is only a click away from being forgotten. A paper brochure in a desk drawer provides prospective clients another way to find you when they discover that they need legal help.

A brochure, by itself, probably won’t bring in much business. They are usually staid and devoid of emotion or stories. They “tell” the world what you do, unlike a report or ebook which “shows” them, or a sales letter which “sells” them. But used in conjunction with other marketing collateral, brochures can be a valuable addition to your marketing mix.

After you have put together an effective website and written one or more reports to use as handouts and lead magnets, consider adding a simple brochure to your marketing toolkit.

Here are some common types of brochures to consider:

  • Capabilities brochure (aka “firm brochure): This describes your practice areas, services offered, and your ability to deliver results. It details your background and experience, awards and distinctions, and other elements that demonstrate your ability to get the job done. A firm brochure also describes your target market, languages spoken, office hours, and contact information.
  • Service brochure: This brochure is dedicated to one of your practice areas, one of your services, or perhaps a group of related services. It too describes your capabilities but provides more information, examples, and details about your services, packages, fees and costs and the like.
  • Problem/solution brochure: This brochure provides information about a legal need or problem common to your target market and presents available solutions, which of course include your services.

Most brochures present much of the information with bullet points more than narrative text. They provide an overview or the big picture. Make sure you point to your website where the reader can get more information.

Brochures needn’t be fancy or expensive. You don’t need full-color graphics, photos, or glossy paper. Your brochure can be all text, with black ink on a heavier weight paper or colored card stock.

On the other hand, a professionally designed and printed brochure does lend a degree of class to your practice. It tells the world that you are serious about what you do and that you do it successfully.

Brochures are by no means obsolete or ineffective. They don’t do a complete selling job on their own, but they can help.

Before you create a brochure, make sure your website is doing its job 

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Why you shouldn’t hire a marketing manager for your firm

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Wouldn’t it be nice to turn over all of your marketing to someone else? Put a marketing manager in charge of your marketing? Let them take care of bringing in the business so you can concentrate on the legal work?

That may sound good but it would be a mistake. Marketing professional services cannot be delegated. Clients may write their checks to your firm but it is you they are hiring.

Nobody can build relationships with clients and prospects and referral sources like you can. Nobody can speak or network for you. Nobody can make the case for hiring you like you can.

So forget the idea of hiring others to do your marketing.

On the other hand, you can (and should) delegate many marketing support activities.

Have others do most of the leg work, organizing, research, editing, website updating, confirmation emails and phone calls, event planning, slide-making, and other activities that support your marketing.

Under your guidance and supervision.

You need to be involved and make the big decisions. You need to put your imprimatur on every ad, every article, and every email. You need to be in charge of your marketing.

Because clients hire you, not your firm.

Marketing assistants can help. Outside consultants and agencies can help. But you are the marketing manager for your practice.

Marketing starts with the right strategies. Start here

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You may not like this idea but you may love the results

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You want your practice to stand out in the crowd. You like the idea of free publicity. The idea of “going viral” appeals to you. You’d love to bring in a lot of new business.

Here’s an idea for a promotion that could help you accomplish all of the above.

Step one: find a “safe” charity or charitable cause

Choose a safe charity or cause to align with. Something that would appeal to your target market.

“Safe” means the organization is the real deal. Most of their revenue goes to causes, not overhead. There are no scandals. No political overtones to what they do.

It’s probably best to go with something small and local. You’ll be able meet with the people who run things, which can lead to additional marketing opportunities for you (e.g., networking, referrals, speaking).

Step two: choose one of your services you can give away free

(Yeah, that’s the part you may not like; but it could lead to results you’ll love).

This free service should be a “leader” or entry-level service, for new clients. For example, a simple Will package, incorporation, or an employee handbook review. If you bill by the hour, it could be a six-hour bundle.

Obviously, you’ll want to offer a service that is likely to appeal to the kinds of clients you target.

Make it as valuable and attractive as possible. Remember, the end game is to get publicity and traffic and new clients. The bigger you go, the more likely it is that your offer will accomplish this.

If you go really big, however, you may want to limit the number of “packages” that are available.

Step three: “Pay what you want—it’s for charity”

Promote your offer with a theme that new clients can pay what they want for the services and that 100% of the proceeds go to [name] charity.

Tell them the value of the package, or a suggested minimum donation.

For added punch, tie the promotion to a specific project the charity is running, e.g., the homeless shelter fund. And put a time limit on it.

Some clients may “cheat” and pay only a few dollars. But most people are honest and will do the right thing, if for no other reason than to help the charity.

Advertise and promote your offer as broadly as possible. Send out a press release. Email all of your lists and contacts and all of the bloggers and writers in your niche. Ask the charity to promote it in their newsletters, website, and bulletins. Ask them to ask their major donors and supporters to do the same.

You should get some favorable publicity from this. Traffic to your website and sign-ups for your newsletter. Meet some new referral sources connected with the charity. And get some new clients.

If all goes well, the next time you do this, you can partner up with other lawyers, other professionals, and other businesses, each of whom will promote this to their contacts, generating more goodness for all of you.

Leverage is the key to earning more without working more. Here’s the formula

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How to get prospective clients off the fence and onto your client list

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Over the weekend I was looking at a piece of software I was considering. I’d seen a few reviews and watched some videos. I liked what I saw but the developers didn’t provide a lot of information and I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the money.

Do I really need this? How much would I use it? Is it as good as it looks? What if I get it and find something better?

They offer a money back guarantee and I was leaning towards buying but decided to sleep on it. See if I could find more reviews, maybe write to the developer and ask some questions.

Today, I went to the website from another computer. Lo and friggin behold, the software was available for one-third of the price I saw last night.

Not one-third off. One-third of the original price.

I saw nothing about a “sale” or promotion. Were they price-testing? Did I somehow load an old page?

Who cares. I bought the sucker.

It really wasn’t that expensive at the original price. But at one-third the price, it was a no-brainer. Take my money.

Two lessons for you my young Padawan.

First, don’t scrimp on the info. Make sure your website and other marketing materials show prospective clients as much information as possible. Make sure you have lots of reviews and testimonials. Answer every question a prospective client might ask about you and your services. Do your best not to give them any reason to “sleep on it” because they might not come back.

Second, don’t lower your “prices” but do offer lower-priced alternatives. If a prospect sees your full-priced package but isn’t sure they want to go ahead, your lower-priced package could be just the thing to get them to take the plunge. Get the client, even at a lower fee. You can sell them on buying additional services later.

When it comes to pricing and the perception of value, context counts. A $3,000 fee may seem expensive when that’s all the client sees, but a bargain when they are first presented with your $9,500 package.

Increase your income with effective billing and collection strategies: click here

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How many clients have you seduced this week?

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Marketing is a seduction, not a bludgeoning. You don’t walk up to a prospective client and ask them to hire you, nor do you dump a truckload of information on them or talk their ear off. You introduce yourself, tell them almost nothing about what you do, and ask them about themselves.

You don’t sell your services to them from the get-go, you pique their interest in learning more.

You might do that by commenting on something they say or sharing a story that relates to their situation. You let them know, with questions and body language, that you know something about their business or situation and then see if they ask questions.

Eventually, they’ll ask for your card. Or they won’t. If they don’t need your services, the chemistry between you is wrong, or they don’t want any information, you’ll part company. No date. Not this time.

Your website shouldn’t be an information dump, either. It should also pique interest. It should first show visitors the big picture about what you do (e.g., your practice areas and target markets), and invite them to “drill down” through the pages to find information that addresses their specific interests.

When you meet someone and they don’t ask for your card, you should ask for theirs so you can contact them again. You might offer to send them some information about something you discussed.

Your website should do the same thing. It should ask visitors to sign up for your newsletter or download your report to learn more. Let them give you permission to stay in touch with them.

Any kind of marketing–advertising, speaking, writing, networking, social media, joint ventures, referrals–should seek to connect with prospective clients and the people who can refer them, pique interest, and invite them to take the next step.

Don’t ask everyone you meet to go to bed with you. Seduce them. Let them get to know you, see how smart and charming you are, learn something about what you have to offer, and decide that they’re ready to go on that date.

Marketing is simple. Lawyers aren’t. 

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Winning

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You may not be a legal scholar. You may not have a lot of experience in your field. Other lawyers may have more cash or better connections.

It doesn’t matter. You can beat them. You can build a fabulously successful practice if you do the one thing most lawyers don’t do.

Focus on marketing.

Many lawyers take marketing for granted. Or use flawed strategies that do little to bring in new business. Even when they choose the right strategies, they often get poor results because their heart isn’t in it or they don’t stick with it long enough.

You can do better.

Where other lawyers seek to attract “anybody” who has a certain legal issue or need, you can laser focus on specific segments of the market and dominate them.

Where other lawyers use a weak and ineffectual marketing message, you can show prospective clients and the people who refer them the benefits you offer and the results you can help them achieve.

Where other lawyers provide good “customer service,” you can deliver outstanding customer service that surprises and delights your clients, ensuring long-term repeat business and referrals.

Where other lawyers merely provide their core legal services, you can help your clients be more successful in their business or personal life. If a client wants to refinance their home, for example, you can give them information and referrals to help them do that. If a business client needs more customers, you can use your contacts to help their business grow.

You can work smarter than your competition and deliver a better overall client experience. If you do this thoroughly, consistently and enthusiastically, clients and prospects will come to see you as the lawyer they want to represent them.

It doesn’t take much to beat the competition. Look at what most lawyers do and do the opposite.

Start marketing smarter with this

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