Does your practice need more sales people?

Share

Before you say no, give me one minute to convince you of the value of hiring a sales person for your practice. Someone who would talk to prospective clients and referral sources on your behalf and convince them to hire you or send you their referrals. Suppose that this was legal and ethical and could be done with little or no cost.

This sales person could deliver a steady stream of new business for you. Every day, prospective clients will call your office to make an appointment. When they meet with you, they are either sold on hiring you and ready to sign up or they have a few questions about their legal matter, and then they sign up.

So. . . how many sales people would you hire?

Hold on. Calm down. This is doable. In fact, there’s a very good chance that you’re already doing it. You already employ one or more sales people who are bringing you new clients.

Okay, I’m not really talking about people. I’m talking about information.

Articles, blog posts, reports, ebooks, videos, audios, podcasts, seminars, and other content you deploy on your website and elsewhere. This information attracts prospective clients who learn what you do and how you can help them, and persuades them to call you, fill out a form, or otherwise take the next step towards becoming your client.

Your content does what a sales person does, but in many ways, it does it better. It works for you 24 hours a day, never complains, and never asks for a raise. And once your content is deployed, it works for you tirelessly, endlessly, for many years to come.

So the next time you’re looking for a way to bring in more clients, start writing, or hire someone to help you, and get more content out into the world.

Here’s how to create content for your website

Share

Is your online presence costing you business?

Share

Our washing machine is failing so we’ve been shopping for a replacement. My wife spent lots of time reading reviews before making her selection. Unfortunately, the one she wants is slightly too big for the space occupied by the current machine. There is a cabinet overhead and the lid of the new machine wouldn’t clear it.

We went to a store to see if there was anything we could do. We talked to a friendly sales person and asked about switching the positions of the washer and dryer, which would solve the problem (our dryer is front loading), and the sales person told us that they do this all the time.

Only they don’t.

According to another sales person at that store, due to legal concerns, their installers won’t move the dryer. We would have to buy a new dryer, which we don’t need. He also pointed out some other issues with respect to the position of the existing hookups.

Was the first sales person telling us what we wanted to hear? Was the second sales person being overly cautious?

We didn’t know so went to another store and asked the same questions.

That sales person told us there should be no problem switching the machines, but he would check with their installers and let us know.

His shirt indicated that he was the head of the department and we wondered why he didn’t already know the answer to this question. In addition, he made absolutely no eye contact with us while he said “no problem.” My wife and I walked away thinking we couldn’t trust him.

Now, do you think prospective clients go through a similar process when they are shopping for a lawyer?

Yes indeed. And if they don’t trust you, they won’t hire you.

If a lawyer doesn’t have a website, many clients will pass them over, even if the lawyer was referred by a friend. In addition, according to one study, 75% of consumers say that not having a professional email address (you@yourdomain.com) is an important trust factor.

I’ve mentioned this before. If you have a generic gmail or hotmail or aol email address, you’re probably losing business.

Prospective clients don’t hire lawyers they don’t trust and if you don’t want to lose business, you need to tick as many “trust” boxes as you can. Start with your online presence, which is what they see first. Your website doesn’t need to look snazzy, but it should look professional, be easy to navigate, and have lots of good content.

And when they come to see you, make sure you make eye contact and tell them the truth, not what you think they want to hear.

The 9 elements of an effective website

 

Share

How to put (a lot of) your marketing on autopilot

Share

Writing a weekly blog post and emailing that post to your email subscribers is one of the smartest things you can do to build your practice. If you don’t have an email list and a sign-up form on your website or blog, put that at the top of your project list under the category of “incredibly effective marketing”.

Don’t argue with me, just do it. And then email something to that list at least once a week. You’ll thank me later.

See, one reason many lawyers don’t do this is because it seems like too much work, relative to what they believe will be the outcome. That’s because they don’t know how effective this can be in bringing in new clients, repeat clients, referrals, and other marketing goodness.

If you found out that doing this could double or triple your client intake this year, would it be worth it?

One way to ameliorate the “burden” of writing a weekly email is to collect some of your past emails and add them to your autoresponder sequence.

Autoresponders let you send “broadcasts,” which is what you do when you write and send fresh material, and “newsletters” when you want the software to automatically send emails you have already written on a schedule of your choosing.

Are you with me?

Go through the emails you previously sent to clients and prospects and website visitors and select the best ones that are “evergreen”. You may have some that you can edit (remove dates and time-bound offers and “current” events) and add them to your list.

Still with me?

If you have 20 evergreen emails, you can put them in your autoresponder queue and send them to new subscribers automatically. Those new subscribers won’t know (or care) that you wrote them in the past; to them, the information is new and valuable.

That’s 20 weeks of new emails you don’t have to write. You can also send these to “old” subscribers, many of whom have already received those emails. Just because you sent it to them before doesn’t mean they received them, read them, related to them, or were ready to act on them.

When you have 52 evergreen emails, you can add them to your queue and take the next year off. When the year is over, you can instruct the autoresponder to repeat the process and start sending those emails again.

You’ll want to add new emails (broadcasts) throughout the year, however. To notify your list when you have a new article or blog post on your site, invite them to your event, or make a special offer. But that’s easy to do because you won’t be writing emails every week. Unless you want to. But that’s a subject for another day.

Here’s how to do it: Marketing online for attorneys

Share

A simple plan for quickly bringing in new clients

Share

There are lots of ways to bring in new clients. Referrals, writing, speaking, networking, and other “reaching out” methods all work. But nothing is quicker than advertising.

Done right, an ad can pull in new clients within minutes after it appears.

Not only that, in the online world especially, advertising gives you unprecedented control over your message–where it appears, how often it runs, and who sees it.

You can test different headlines, copy, and offers, to find out what works best. You can start out with inexpensive PPC and classified ads, and when your ads are working, increase your budget to maximize your return.

Maybe you don’t like the idea of advertising. I understand. But don’t hang up the phone until you hear what I propose., because what I propose could be your ticket to quickly growing your practice.

Many lawyers who reject the idea of advertising do so because they think it’s unprofessional or inconsistent with the image they want to portray. Or they believe it “won’t work” for their type of practice or their target market.

I’m not going to debate any of that right now. Instead, I’m going to propose a different idea.

Instead of advertising your firm or your services, what if you advertised a book or a report?

The spotlight wouldn’t be on you, it would be on the report.

Many attorneys write books and other information-based “products”. What’s wrong with advertising them, either for sale or as a free giveaway?

Nothing. Nothing is wrong with that.

Okay, so you have to write a book or report. But you could do that in a weekend.

“The 30 Day Referral Blitz” shows you everything you need to know to quickly write a “Special Report” you can advertise, and use for other marketing purposes.

You could also hire someone to write the report, or help you write it, but don’t overthink this. If you can pass the bar exam, you can write a report that prospective clients will want to read.

Once your report is written, you advertise it and give it to prospects who visit your website (or a separate website dedicated to the report, if you want) in return for signing up on your email list. Your website can handle the sign-ups and delivering your report, automatically.

Then what?

Your report provides your prospective clients with valuable information on a subject that interests them. It also shows them how you can help them. If they like what they see, and they’re ready to hire an attorney, you’ll probably get the call.

And this can happen immediately. Some prospects will request your report, see what you do, and call you even before they read the report.

Others will read the report, follow links to your (other) website where they can learn more, and then hire you.

Some won’t be ready to hire you, but they’ll be on your email list and you can send them additional information about what you do and how you can help them. When they’re ready to hire an attorney, there you will be–in their minds and their (e)mail boxes.

It doesn’t get simpler–or quicker–than that.

The 30 Day Referral Blitz shows you how to write and deliver your report

Share

Wake up the marketing genius inside you

Share

In the last 30 days, how many blog posts or articles did you write, for your site or any others? If you published a video or audio you can count that, too.

So how many?

If you’re like most professionals, the answer is probably not in the double digits. It might not have any digits at all.

I know you understand the value of publishing lots of content. I mention it enough, and so does everyone else who is worth listening to. More content brings more traffic to your website, more prospective clients learning about what you do and how you can help them, more sign-ups for your list, and. . . more clients.

I also know why, despite this knowledge, you don’t publish more content.

No, it’s not that you don’t have the time. You can write something worth reading in 15 minutes. Remember the bar exam? Look at how much you wrote when you had to.

It’s not that you don’t know what to write about. Uncle Google and Aunt Bing are your friend. Type your practice area or one of your services into the search bar and see where it takes you.

If you still don’t know what to write about, look at what other lawyers in your field are writing about and write something about the same subject.

No, the real reason you don’t write more content (or any content) is that every time you sit down to do it, or think about doing it, you think you have to create art.

And you think you will be judged by that art, and found lacking. So you resist.

But here’s the thing. You don’t have to write brilliant words, you just have to write words. That’s something you do every day. Do you have any trouble writing letters and emails? I’m guessing you do not.

So instead of writing articles and blog posts, write letters and emails.

In fact, here’s your assignment: send me an email and about either of the following:

  • “Three things people always ask me about [your practice area/services],” or
  • “The strangest/best/worst/funniest case or client I ever had”

Don’t spend more than 15 minutes on this. A few paragraphs is all you need. Go ahead, do it now. Don’t think too much. Write quickly and get it done.

Then, go through it once and do a quick edit. One more pass to polish that puppy. And send.

Only don’t send it to me, send it to your clients. And post it on your website. Because what you just wrote will probably make some good reading.

See how easy that was? A lot easier than creating art.

Content ideas for your website: click here

Share

The real formula for success

Share

Jerome Howard once shared the formula for success. He said, “If at first you don’t succeed, keep on sucking until you do suck seed.”

But that’s not really true. Continuing to do what you’ve always done, expecting different results, isn’t a formula for success. The real formula for success, if there is one, is to figure out what the masses are doing and do the opposite.

Most lawyers earn average incomes and have average practices. If you do what they do, you are unlikely to achieve more than average results. It’s the same for most endeavors. In the investing world, for example, when everyone is buying you should probably be selling.

Most lawyers either don’t have their own website, or if they do, it is severely lacking in (a) valuable content, and (b) personality. Their website is banal, devoid of anything that might attract a prospective client, let alone persuade them to hire the attorney.

Okay, there are degrees of banality, but you get my point: most lawyers don’t get much bang for their website buck.

So, do the opposite of what they do. Make your website a compendium of articles, posts, videos, reports, and other content that shows prospective clients how you can help them, answers their basic questions, and persuades them to call.

Put lots of “you” into your site. Share your opinions, tell your story, and talk about what drives you. Where most lawyers perfunctorily present “just the facts,” make your website an extension of yourself so that someone who visits can get a sense of what it will be like to work with you.

In addition, talk about your clients. Tell their stories. Show how bad off they were before you helped turn things around. Use their comments (testimonials, reviews) to shine a spotlight on your greatness, so you don’t have to do it yourself.

Look at your competition–other attorneys in your practice area and market–and look for ways you can do the opposite of what they do.

Obviously, you won’t always be able to do the literal opposite of what they do. But you can easily distinguish yourself by doing things differently.

If most attorneys see clients five days per week, between 8 to 5, for example, you might stand out in a meaningful way by opening your office for a few hours on Saturday, or by opening early or staying late once or twice a week.

If most attorneys have their staff meet with clients most of the time, you might not have the time to see them all yourself, but if you’re in the office, you could make a point of greeting them when they arrive or wishing them well at the end of the appointment.

Most lawyers do what most lawyers do. Top lawyers do things differently. Study what the top lawyers do. and learn from them. Examine their process, tools, and messaging. Find out how they get new clients, and how they work with them. Talk to them and seek their advice.

But if you have limited access to the best of the best, you can probably figure out what they’re doing by looking at what the masses do and doing the opposite.

How to get your website to make the phone ring

Share

Get better at writing by invoking your inner couch potato

Share

One reason I’m able to turn out emails so quickly is that I’m lazy. I get ideas from lots of sources but I primarily write what’s in my head.

I don’t slow down to do research, or spend time looking for graphics. I don’t stop to ask myself if I’ve addressed the subject before or worry about contradicting myself. I don’t spend time hunting down every typo.

I just write. Fast. You can, too.

It doesn’t matter if you said something before. This time, you’ll say it differently. But even if you don’t, no worries. Repetition is the mother of learning. Your readers might not have absorbed your message the first time, or the 31st time. Maybe this time, they will.

Your readership is constantly changing, too. Every day, new people come to your website or blog and subscribe to your list and they’re hearing your words for the first time.

Marketing isn’t solely about delivering information. That’s part of it, but an even bigger part is that you are regularly touching the lives of the people on your list. You know, the people who can hire you or send you referrals. Yeah, those people.

Write a few paragraphs and tell people what you’re thinking or how you feel. Share an idea or comment on someone else’s. Ask subscribers questions, ask them to do something, or just say hello.

Stay in their minds, and their mailboxes and they will hire you (again) and send you referrals and traffic and promote your events.

Write a lot, and write quickly. It will make you a better writer. Writing quickly allows you to bypass the filters in your brain that tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, or that tell you you’re not good enough.

Just write, okay? Don’t worry about what comes out. Emails aren’t briefs or white papers or reports. Nobody is expecting you to be scholarly or brilliant. Besides, you know more than your readers do and they won’t know if you left something out or got something wrong.

Stop trying so hard. Get lazy and write something.

Want ideas for blog posts and emails? This is what you need

Share

Have you pissed someone off today?

Share

Yesterday’s email was about the seemingly uncontroversial topic of dressing like a lawyer. I heard from several lawyers who shared their thoughts.

Some cheered my message and deplored the way some lawyers dress today. An entertainment lawyer friend had mixed feelings about the subject. One lawyer told me he wears a pony tail and does just fine.

Another said, “Perhaps you should set aside your fatuous fashion jihad for a moment and review the fundamentals of grammar, to wit: The plural of “client” is “clients,” not “client’s.”

Fatuous fashion jihad? Hmmm. . . Something tells me he’s upset about something. Call it a hunch.

And does he really think I don’t know how to pluralize “client”? Me thinks not. That’s his anger talking.

Apparently, he strongly disagrees with my opinion that lawyers should “wear the uniform” and “look like a lawyer”. He didn’t say why. He didn’t share his preferred sartorial style, nor offer any reasons why everyone else should accept it.

But I like that he spoke up. I like that he disagrees with my old fashioned take on the subject. In fact, I wish I heard from more people who were pissed off at me.

Look, if you’re not not upsetting some people, if everyone agrees with everything you write, you’re going to put people to sleep. Lawyers tend to be especially boring and bland in their writing.

We need to stir things up.

Conflict keeps people watching TV shows and it keeps people reading your writing. So court some controversy. Push the envelope. Say things that make people go “huh?”

You’ll stand out, be read and remembered, and build a following of people who like your style. They’ll share your content, buy your products and services, and recommend you to their friends.

Of course you will also get people who think you’re an ass-hat, say you’ve gone too far or you’re too vulgar for their taste, and they will un-subscribe.

Good. You don’t want them. They’re not your fans and will probably never hire you or recommend you. They need to go. Give up their seat so you can fill it with others who like what you say, or at least like that you’re not afraid to say it.

For more on email and marketing online, go here

Share

Bad clients are the result of bad marketing

Share

Bad clients are the result of bad marketing.

What do I mean by bad clients? Hmm, let’s see. . . how about. . .

Malcontents who blame you for things that aren’t your fault and then post bad reviews and ratings about you.

Price shopping clients, penny pinching clients, slow paying clients, and no paying clients.

Clients who don’t follow your advice, don’t show up for appointments, and don’t remember anything you told them.

You get my drift?

Every lawyer gets the occasional lemon, but if you get more than your share, bad marketing is usually the culprit.

So what do I mean by bad marketing?

I mean targeting the wrong market, or, more commonly, no market, so you wind up with whatever shows up at the door.

I mean relying too much on Internet and advertising, which attract price shoppers and harder to please clients, instead of focusing on repeat business and referrals.

I mean failing to educate prospective clients about the law and procedure, their risks and their options, or much of anything without the meter running. Low information clients are like low information voters. They don’t understand, they don’t appreciate, and they don’t always make good decisions.

Bad marketing means talking only about features (what you do–practice areas, services, office hours, etc.) instead of benefits (what the client gets–solutions, outcomes, peace of mind, security).

Bad marketing means failing to differentiate yourself from other lawyers in a meaningful and memorable way.

It means failing to surprise and delight your clients with amazing “customer service,” and failing to stay in touch before, during, and after engagements.

Bad marketing also means taking on clients you know you probably shouldn’t, and failing to “fire” clients who prove themselves to be more trouble than they are worth.

Oh yeah, bad marketing also means doing all the right things but simply not doing them enough.

So yeah, bad clients are the result of bad marketing, but this is good news because bad marketing can be fixed and bad clients can be replaced with good ones.

Good marketing starts here

Share

If Goldilocks handled your law firm marketing

Share

Is your porridge too hot? Do you give prospective clients too much information on your website or in your other marketing materials?

Probably not. If you’re like most lawyers, your porridge is too cold. Your give them too little. Prospective clients can see what you do and where you are located, but not much more.

If Goldilocks handled your law firm marketing, she would tell you that you have to get your porridge just right.

How much information is “just right”? More than you think. When someone goes online to find an attorney it’s because they have a problem and they want information about their problem and the available solutions before they will consider you for the job.

Don’t just list your practice areas and services. That’s not enough. That’s too cold.

Teach people about the law and procedure. Discuss the risks and the options. Tell them about other people who have had these problems and, with your help, overcame them. Tell them about people who waited too long or made the wrong decisions and made things worse.

But don’t expect them to wade through too much information and understand how it all fits together. That’s too hot.

You need to give people enough information so they can see how you can help them, and make it compelling enough to motivate them to take the next step.

You have to capture their attention with provocative and benefit-rich headlines. You have to keep them reading with a narrative thread that speaks to their emotions and shows them that you understand their pain. You have to tell them that you can help them, like you have helped others. And you have to tell them what to do next.

But don’t explain everything. You want to make them curious enough to contact you. Don’t get too specific about fees on your website, for example. Give them guidelines, perhaps, but make them call to find out more.

So that’s the challenge. That’s the art of marketing. And porridge making. Not too hot, not too cold. . . just right.

Learn how to make your online law firm marketing just right: click here

Share