Push or pull? 


You tell clients what to do and what to avoid, but maybe you’ve noticed—clients don’t always listen. 

Neither do prospective clients.

You show them the benefits of hiring a lawyer (and why that should be you), but they often do nothing (or hire someone else). 

Your clients and prospects might not believe you. They might not have the money or want to spend it. They might think they can do “it” themself. Or they might be busy with other things and not pay attention. 

How do you get them to do what you recommend?

Repetition is a good option. If you want them to make an appointment or call you to discuss (something), you send them a series of emails and letters; you have an assistant call them, and then you call them. Or you write articles and blog posts and come at the subject in different ways, over an extended period of time, and eventually they get it.

But repetition doesn’t always work. Sometimes, you have to scare the hell out of them by telling them the bad things that can happen if they don’t follow your advice.

Sometimes you give them the facts. Sometimes, you dramatize the facts and get them to feel the heat.  

You want them to consider the plea deal, so you sit them down and explain the worst-case scenario. 

You want them to update their documents, but they drag their feet so you tell them what happened to some of your other clients who waited too long or didn’t do it at all. 

Fear of loss is the most powerful way to motivate someone, and you should use it when necessary.

Sometimes you push—emphasize the bad things that can happen if they don’t follow your advice, and sometimes you pull—emphasize the benefits if they do. 

Yes, tell them both. But they want to know what you think, what you would do if you were in their shoes. Don’t be too quick to answer. Walk them through it. And be as gentle or as tough as you need.