The easiest way to increase your income


How much do you spend to acquire a new client?

If you don’t know, go through your paid bills for the last 12-18 months and tag everything marketing-related: advertising, direct mail, websites, networking groups, newsletters, software, outside services, signage, marketing assistants, and everything else.

Add it up. These are your hard costs.

Next, look at your calendar and figure out how much time you spent on marketing activities: networking, writing articles, blog posts, and emails, conducting interviews, creating and delivering presentations, meeting with referral sources, posting on social media, and so on.

Assign a dollar value to that time and add the result to your hard costs.

Take your total marketing expenses and divide by the number of new clients you brought in. The result is your average cost to acquire a new client. If a new client is worth $10,000 to you, you can make an intelligent decision about how much you’re willing to spend to acquire them.

Next, go back and look at the breakdown of your expenses. Assuming you track where new clients come from, (please say you do), you’ll be able to increase your profits by managing your marketing expenses.

If your ads are working, you might increase ad spending. If you’re wasting time with networking, you might cut down on the number of groups you belong to.

By far, the easiest way to increase your income is to focus less on acquiring new clients and more on retaining the clients you already have.

Repeat clients (and the referrals they provide) come to you at very little cost. You’ve already paid to acquire the client. From this point forward, what they pay you is nearly all profit.

Referrals are the quintessence of profitability. Here’s how to get more


It’s time for you to come out


I know, you didn’t go to law school to become a sales person. But guess what? That’s exactly what you are.

When a client hires you, money is paid, services are delivered—a sale takes place. You make that happen. You sell legal services.

Be proud.

You help people. You provide solutions to their problems. You remove or ameliorate their pain. You protect them, make their lives better and safer and more prosperous.

Tell people what you do. Don’t make them guess. Don’t make them ask. Tell them.

You don’t have to be pushy. You don’t have to hard sell, manipulate, or unduly frighten anyone into buying your services.

Just tell them what you can do for them.

Tell them about the problems you solve and the benefits you deliver. Tell them how you have helped other people with the same problems. Tell them what happens when they hire you. Tell them why they should hire you instead of anyone else.

Give them information. Encourage them to contact you if they have questions. Tell them what to do when they’re ready to take the next step.

If you’ve told them all this before, tell them again. Never stop telling them because you never know when someone might be ready to take that next step.

Is there more to selling legal services? Sure. There are techniques that can make the process easier for you and for the client. And you should learn some of those techniques.

But the most important part of selling your legal services is continually telling people how you can help them and that you’re only a click or a phone call away.

Learn the basics of attorney marketing


If marketing was easier would you do it more?


Marketing is hard. I don’t have the time. It takes too long to get results. I don’t like [marketing activity]. I’m not good at [marketing activity]. I tried [marketing activity] and it didn’t work. I already do [marketing activity]; I don’t need to do anything else. I’m not a sales person.  I don’t need marketing, I get clients by being a good lawyer.

Wow. You really don’t like marketing.

And yet. . . you want to get more clients and increase your income.

You want to buy nice things and send your kids to good schools. And maybe not work so hard so you can stay healthy and live longer.

Remember free time? You had it once for about two weeks before you started law school. Yeah, some more of that would be nice, wouldn’t it?

And let’s not forget retirement. Crazy, I know. But still. . .

Let’s cut to the chase. You want money and the time to enjoy it. You can have them. Through marketing. That’s how I did it. That’s how you can do it.

What’s that? You say marketing is hard? You don’t like it? You don’t have the time?

Enough with the whining.

Okay, let’s make a deal. If I can show you how to make marketing a little easier, would you agree to do some?


Let’s start with something simple. Like sending birthday cards to your clients. You know, the people who help pay your mortgage?

Yeah, those people.

You already do that? Well look at you, you sly devil. You’re marketing. I won’t tell anyone. It’ll be our secret.

Just to make sure, you sign the cards yourself, right? In blue ink so the client knows it’s a real signature? Maybe add a personal note, like, “How did Joey do on that test?” so they know you’re thinking about them and actually wrote the card yourself?

I know, it’s hard. You might have to sign three or four cards a day. Risk getting paper cuts and glue poisoning from licking all those stamps. Yeah, use a real postage stamp, not the meter. And hand-write the name and address on the envelope. No labels.

The personal touch. Showing your clients you know who they are and you appreciate them.

Yes, that’s marketing. A few minutes a day. But oh so powerful.

Marketing is easier when you know the formula


You learn to practice law by doing it


In law school, you learn the law, not how to practice law. You learn that by doing it.

Studying, answering questions under the glaring eye of your professor, and taking tests are important. But only when you start clerking do you begin to learn what it means to practice law.

You watch other lawyers negotiate, argue motions, and take depositions. You draft documents, talk to adjusters, and sit with clients and fill out forms. You immerse yourself in the environment of a real-world practice and do many of the things that lawyers do.

When you pass the bar and take your first job as a lawyer, you do more and learn more. If you open your own practice and have to sink or swim, that’s when you learn the most.

Learning how to practice law is a process and it takes place over time. The same is true of learning how to manage and grow your practice. Unfortunately, not much (or anything) about that is taught in law school. You won’t learn much from clerking, either.

Hiring and supervising employees, billing, insurance, compliance, and 101 other things, but especially marketing, without which you won’t have a practice, all require time to learn and become proficient. It’s up to you to learn it on your own.

And yet, most lawyers don’t take the time to learn these things. They dive in and see what happens.

That’s how I did it. There were no courses on marketing when I began practicing. Very few books. No consultants, at least none that I could afford. I didn’t know any lawyers who were willing to take me under their wing and teach me what to do.

I learned marketing by doing it. And you know what? That works, too.

Today, there are more options that make things easier. Lots of books and courses. You can learn how to set up your own website by watching youtube videos and complete everything in less than an hour. You can hire people to teach you what to do and to do much of it for you.

But you have to do something.

Don’t let a lack of experience stop you. As soon as you know enough to start, start. You’ll figure out the rest as you go along.

Don’t let fear stop you. As Mark Twain said, “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”

But do something. Because you learn how to practice law by doing it.

Start your marketing with the Attorney Marketing Formula


Follow up until they buy or die


How many times do you follow up with a prospective client? Over what period of time? What do you say, what do you do, what do you offer?

Do you call, to see if they got the information you sent them? Do you send a letter or email to follow-up after a free consultation? Do you send a note to thank them for attending your seminar?

And what do you do after that?

Following-up is different from staying in touch. Follow-up is planned in advance, a natural series of “next steps” after initial contact. When you follow-up with a prospective client (who might be a former client or even an existing client with another matter), you fan the flames of their need for help and guide them towards taking the next step.

Decide in advance how you will follow-up so you can execute without thought or delay.

Work out all of the steps. What will you say or do, what will you send them, how often?

Someone emails you or fills out the form on your website, asking questions. How will you respond? What will you invite them to do? How many times will you follow-up? Over what period of time?

Someone attends a seminar but doesn’t make an appointment. How will you follow-up? What will you offer? If they don’t respond, what will you do next?

Someone needs help but they have a small window of time. They need to hire an attorney this week or this month or it will be too late. You need to do more follow-ups in less time and you need to be more urgent. What will you say? What will you do?

Figure it out. Have the letters written, ready to send, before the next prospective client contacts you.

At some point, follow-up will blend into staying in touch. The initial courtship will have run its course and the client has either hired you or they have not. You shift gears from follow-up to staying in touch, but you don’t stop. You never stop.

You keep your name in front of them, reminding them that you’re still available to help them with their problem or with something else. You follow-up and you stay in touch until they buy or they die.

Because you never know when someone will finally be ready to take the next step.

Get more prospective clients so you can turn them into actual client. This will help 


You get what you pay for and so do your clients


I buy a lot of books. I also download a lot of free Kindle books. Many free books are excellent. Most are not. And since you “pay” for books not just with money but with the time it takes to read them, paid books are usually a better value.

There are exceptions. Some great books are free because they are on a promotion. Some paid books are over-priced because you’re paying a premium for the author’s celebrity or the higher costs associated with being published by a major publisher.

But when it comes to books, you generally get what you pay for.

How about when it comes to hiring a lawyer?

Many clients believe that better lawyers charge higher fees because they’re better lawyers. They have more experience, greater skills, and deliver better results. Clients are willing to pay more for that experience and those results, and fear they won’t get them if they hire a lawyer who charges (a lot) less.

Sure, many clients don’t appreciate this distinction and will opt for the lowest fees. But unless you operate a “discount” law firm (and you shouldn’t), you should avoid these kinds of clients.

Some lawyers take advantage of the “perceived value” concept and charge more than they’re worth. But I find that more lawyers charge less than they’re worth, less than the market will bear.

Most lawyers don’t raise their fees, or raise them high enough or often enough, fearing they won’t be able to compete. When most of your competition does the same thing, it drags down everyone’s fees.

Most lawyers charge what other lawyers charge because they’re doing what everyone else does. They offer the same services and do nothing to give clients a reason to choose them instead of their competition.

Show prospective clients that you are better or different and you won’t have any competition. You’ll be able to charge what you’re worth.

It’s called differentiation and it’s the key to marketing your services.

Here’s how to differentiate yourself


Your future clients are only a click away


Justin is an attorney in Australia and a long-time subscriber and client of yours truly. In response to yesterday’s post (about doing less so you can do more of what’s important), Justin wrote:

Love this – so many blogs and “success” tips out there but I always read yours and delete virtually all the others.

You are spot on! Big fan of DW over here.

Thank you, Justin. Mission accomplished.

When it comes to legal marketing, I’m Justin’s “one and only”. He reads me and no one else. What does that mean? It means that when Justin needs help with marketing his practice, the odds are he’ll look to me.

Imagine that happening to you. Imagine that you are the only lawyer your subscribers read.

When they need legal help, do you think they’re going to go to a search engine, drag out the yellow pages, or rifle through a drawer looking for the business card of a lawyer they met at a party three years ago? Do you think they’ll ask their friends if they know a good lawyer who does what you do?

Or do you think they’ll simply check their email, find your number, and call?

How about referrals? If someone asks them if they know a lawyer who does what you do, who do you think they’ll recommend?

You. Because they know, like, and trust you. They may have never spoken to you but they have a relationship with you.

So, how do you get there? How do you become their one and only, or at least one of the few?

By delivering value. Helpful information, presented in an interesting and/or entertaining way.

And doing it frequently. Emailing often, keeping your name in front of them, reminding them about what you do and how you can help them.

The people on your email list are the future of your practice. You owe it to yourself to stay in touch with them and email is the simplest way to do that.

To learn how to do it, go here


Is marketing a necessary evil?


If you look at marketing as a necessary evil, something you have to do but really don’t want to, you’ll never get as much out of it as you could.

What if marketing was something you actually enjoyed and were good at? What if it was fun?

Do you think you would do more of it? Do you think you would get better results?

The trick is to find some aspect of marketing that you don’t hate, or don’t hate as much, perhaps something you actually enjoy. Focus on that and don’t worry about the rest.

Start by visualizing yourself writing, speaking, and meeting people, since these are at the core of professional marketing. Imagine yourself at your keyboard. Imagine yourself speaking on the phone or in front of a group. See yourself meeting people, shaking hands, handing out your card.

Don’t worry about what you’ll say or write or do. Just think about the basic activity itself. Keep going until you find something that feels better than the alternatives.

When I run through the list I see myself writing. It feels natural to me. Something I’m good at and enjoy.

No surprise, most of my marketing involves writing. Email in particular. I do other things, of course, but if I could only do one thing, I would write emails.

If I found that writing emails was no longer working for me, I would write something else because “writing” is the essence of what I enjoy.

How about you? Do you like writing? Speaking? Meeting people?

Once you know that, the next step is to do it.

Start with something easy. Write an email to your former clients and say hello. Call your referral sources and tell them you’re just checking in. Find a new networking group and go.

Then, do it again.

You’ll get better at it. You’ll get better results. You’ll hate it less or enjoy it more. And you’ll continue to do it until it is a natural part of your routine.

Or you’ll fall back and do something else, but something that reflects the essence of the activity.

You may no longer have time to do self-hosted seminars, for example, but because you like speaking you’ll do webinars, teleconferences, or luncheons.

Marketing can be fun if you find some aspect of it you enjoy and you don’t worry about anything else.

Marketing is easier when you have a plan


What to do when you don’t have time for marketing


Okay, you get it. You know you need to do more marketing. But you don’t have a lot of time.

Two things.

First, there is a lot you can do to market your legal services that don’t require a lot of time. Go back and read my blog posts and see.

Second, if you have more money than time, consider advertising. You don’t have to advertise your services directly. You can advertise and give away (or sell) information (books, reports, videos, etc.) and let those “sell” your services.

Hokay. What if you don’t want to advertise or you aren’t allowed to by your bar association or firm?

I would invest in an assistant (or VAs) or outside consultants/freelancers to help you:

  • Add more/better content to your website so you can get more visitors from search engines
  • Start an email newsletter so you can stay in touch with visitors who aren’t ready to hire you immediately
  • Set up landing pages focused on specific keywords/offers, to increase your opt-in rate
  • Improve web copy to get more visitors to opt-in to your newsletter and call to make an appointment
  • Add additional websites, with content for specific practice areas and/or target markets
  • Create books, reports, videos, and other content to sell or giveaway
  • Keep your website(s) updated with fresh content
  • Reach out to prospective referral sources and centers of influence in your niche, for interviews, guest posts, and cross-promotions
  • Get you interviewed on blogs, podcasts, video channels; book you for speaking engagements
  • Manage follow-ups with prospective clients, networking contacts
  • Stay in touch with former clients
  • Write articles, blog posts, presentations, guest posts (your assistants research, outline, write first drafts, edit, publish)
  • Set up and manage social media marketing campaigns, if you swing that way

You should also allocate funds for:

  • Books, courses, training (for you and staff) on marketing, sales, client relations, and productivity
  • Software to manage communications with clients, prospects, referral sources, bloggers, etc.
  • A bigger office (or second office) and additional staff to handle all of the new business you’re bringing in

What do you do if you don’t have time OR money for marketing? You advertise. Many publications offer credit so you can bring in some paying clients before you have to pay for the ads.

Or you do what many of us did when we were starting out (or struggling): anything you can think of to bring in some business, so you never have that problem again.

Start your marketing with the right formula


Weeding out the riffraff


I heard a radio spot the other night by an ad agency describing how they helped a client company increase their sales dramatically, and inviting listeners to consider hiring them for their business. At the end of the spot, the announcer said, “…starting at just $9,000 a week…” and then gave the phone number to call.

My first thought was, “What kind of small business (which are the bulk of the advertisers on that station) have that kind of an ad budget?”

The answer, of course, is small businesses that are making a lot of money. And there are a lot more than people realize.

Plus, if you have a successful ad campaign, as new sales are made, you re-invest the initial week’s $9,000 ad buy over and over again. You can thus do a half-million dollars of annual advertising with a fraction of that much to start.

Anyway, next question: why did the ad agency announce the minimum investment an advertiser would have to spend to hire them? Because if they didn’t, they would talk to a lot of people who think they can get started with $1000 or $1500.

If you get a lot of calls from prospective clients who can’t afford you and don’t hire you, you should consider doing something similar.

In your ads, on your website, in your presentations, or when anyone asks, tell people what it takes to hire you. No, not your fees precisely. The minimum retainer or your smallest “package,” so they know whether or not they are in the ballpark.

There are times when you may want to keep things a little fuzzy, however. Some clients might get sticker shock when they first hear “how much” but have the money and pay it, once they consider the alternatives.

Another way to weed out prospective clients who are too small or otherwise “not right” for you is to spell out who you’re looking for in terms of revenue, number of employees, locations, or other factors that relate to size and ability to pay.

You can also do this with consumer-oriented practices. If you do estate planning or asset protection, you could promote your services to people with assets in excess of a certain amount. If you handle family law, you might promote your services to clients with a child custody dispute.

You can also target wealthier clients by running ads in publications for investors, direct mail to people who own larger homes, or by networking with accountants, financial planners, and insurance brokers who have the clientele you want to attract.

If you want bigger clients, stop promoting your services to “anyone” and start promoting them to bigger clients.

Here’s how to get bigger referrals (and more of them)