Get more referrals by doing something referable


Referrals aren’t limited to someone (a client, colleague, friend) telling someone else about you and encouraging them to call you about their situation or question. Referrals also occur when someone tells someone about something you did or said.

Something interesting, noteworthy, or helpful. 

Because when people share that, it is a referral by another name. 

When a client tells a friend about the case you are handling for them, about your upcoming event, or even about a humorous situation you told them about, it might prompt the people they tell to realize they need to talk to you about a legal situation. 

That’s a referral. 

When people hear your story, example, how-to, or interesting nugget of information, they often pass it along to others. 

And while this can and does happen organically, you can make it more likely to be passed along by putting your story or nugget in writing and sending it to your clients and contacts.

Some lawyers call this a newsletter. But it can also be delivered via a blog, a handout or mailer, or in a presentation. 

Start by collecting things you do throughout the day, or things you hear or read that might have some interest to or benefit for your clients and contacts or the people they know. Be especially alert for things that are remarkable, timely, humorous, or contrary to conventional wisdom. 

Anything surprising is a good bet.

Make it easy for them to share by summarizing it in sound bites or bullet points. Tell them what it means and who might want to see or hear it. Give them lists, flyers, or reprints, and make sure everything includes your website and contact information.

You don’t have to do anything more than share your story or nugget. If it’s interesting enough, the people you share it with will do the rest. 

How to get more referrals from your clients


How to build a law practice without social media


Extremely successful, perpetually cranky copywriter Ben Settle, who I have followed for a long time, famously built his list, top-shelf newsletter and businesses without social media. 

He was recently asked how he does it. 

By doing things people did to build their lists before social media.
It’s okay to use it, if you want to.
But only amateurs buy into “needing” social media for list-building.“

Ah, a man after my own heart. 

What did people do before social media? About what you think:   

Advertising, networking, public speaking, interviews, joint ventures, seminars, sponsorships, writing articles/books. . . and mentioning their offer (website, newsletter, services, etc.) to people connected with their target market. 

Things that work just as well today, and arguably better. For building a business, a newsletter, or a law practice.

There’s also SEO and publicity and direct mail and handouts. Some work better than others. Some require money but very little time. And some are incredibly labor intensive and not a lot of fun. But work.

What you should do depends on your field, your niche, what you offer, your budget (and tolerance for risk) and what you like and are good at. 

I know, too many choices. Pick something that’s not social media and run with it. 

On the other hand, if you’re okay with social media but find it challenging to find time to do it, your best bet might be advertising on social media.

Could be the best of both worlds.


How to start a presentation


How do you start your presentations? Most people start by welcoming the audience and giving them a glimpse of what they are about to learn or hear. 

The problem with this is that the audience often tunes out before you get to the meat and potatoes—the benefits they showed up to hear.

You’ve got 7 seconds to get the attention of your audience. Don’t squander that time by clearing your throat.  

What should you do instead? Start “in the middle”. 

Open your presentation by hitting the audience over the head with a rhetorical two-by-four. To wake them up and get them to listen.

There are many ways to “start in the middle”. You can lead with the “bad news,” the crisis, the problem, or the pain. You can open with the moment just before the outcome or in the middle of it. You can start with a surprising statistic, a shocking statement, a bold promise, or an embarrassing confession.

Or you can lead with an emotional story, especially about a subject your audience will relate to.Something they have experienced or something they fear.

In fiction, they say start in the middle of the action. In law, we call it “in medias res.” Both describe the importance of disrupting the thoughts in the mind of your listener and bringing them into your world. 

One good way to do that is to lead with a question. 

If you start by asking what they think about a problem that concerns them, for example, they’ll immediately think about that problem and are thus immediately engaged in what you say.

Keeping them engaged is easier when you start out that way, and an engaged audience is an audience who will listen when you ask them to do something. Which is how your presentation should end. 


It’s not supposed to be easy


Practicing law. Marketing. Building your career. None of it is supposed to be easy.

Sometimes it is easy. But not always. Don’t expect it to be.

If it was always easy, if everyone you talk to wants to sign up, if everything you write goes viral, if everything you sell is purchased and clients keep coming back for more, you’re playing it too safe and limiting your growth.

Don’t do that.

Don’t make it your top priority to please everyone or avoid offending anyone. Don’t avoid all risks or wait until you’re 100% sure before you begin.

Don’t sell cheap. Don’t give it all away.

Be nice, but don’t be a pushover.

When you lose, accept the loss and keep going. Loss, rejection, struggle, pain—are part of the process. And you should welcome this because the more you lose, the more opportunities there are to learn and grow and do bigger things.

On the other hand, it’s not supposed to be unbearably hard. Don’t believe it, or accept it.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Success is truly just around the corner. Things do get better.

Assume that everything is always working out for you. Because it is.


Tell me about your law practice


When someone asks you to tell them about your work—what you do, the problems you solve, how someone can tell when they need your help—the words come easily to you. When they have questions, you have answers. 

We’re talking about interviews. A simple and effective way to market your services.

Someone with an audience invites you to talk about your work, you get to tell their audience all about what you do, give out your website and other ways people can learn more, and how to get in touch with you.  

Blogs, magazines, newsletters, podcasts, and other publishers and contact marketers are not only are willing to interview you, they need you, because their audience needs you. 

These publishers know you are an expert and can cogently apeak about subjects about which their audience is interested. They know you will provide valuable information, which is why lawyers are in high demand for interviews. 

Many interviewers welcome you to provide them with your introduction and with questions they can ask you. It makes their job easier and makes for a better interview.

Once you do a few interviews (and add them to your bio), getting additional interviews becomes even easier. 

If the interviews (or transcripts) are published online, they can be a continuing source of traffic and leads leads for you. 

How do you get interviews? You can start with a simple letter of introduction you send to publishers and podcasters. Look for those who do interviews about legal and related topics. Tell them about your experience as an attorney, about other interviews and presentations you’ve done, and a roundup of the types of subjects you can speak about. Invite them to contact you if they are interested in exploring further.

Yeah, as simple as that. 


The best way to grow a valuable network


Every lawyer in private practice wants to develop a network of business contacts, referral sources, and influential business connections. People who can lead them to others and lead others to them.

Ready for some good news? 

You don’t have to have a massive network to accomplish that. If they are the right people, you only need 5 or 10.

The right people are those who know have influence with people in your target market and are willing to work with you.

That means they like and trust you and want you to prosper, or believe you can be of value to their clients and contacts.

These people are worth their weight in gold, which is why you only need a few. 

Where do you find these folks? Generally, not at formal networking events. The kinds of people you want to meet rarely attend these. 

The best way to find influential people and connect with them is to deliberately target them. 

That means identifying high quality prospective clients in your target market, or people who sell to or advise them, and creating a plan to meet them. 

Sometimes, that can be as simple as contacting them and introducing yourself. But the most effective way to meet them is to talk to your existing network and find out who knows them and will introduce you, or let you use their name. 

Where do you start? By identifying twenty or thirty key people in your target market. Make a list, study them, and create a plan to meet them. 

What then? What do you do after you meet them? You find out what they need or want and help them get it. 

That’s where the work begins. 

It may sound daunting, but this is a lot easier than trying to build a network of hundreds of people who aren’t influential or won’t work with you.

Find out the top twenty or thirty people in your target market and focus on them. Because you only need a few.

How to find and meet lawyers and other referral sources in your target market


I quit! 


I start a lot of books, articles, and videos, I never finish. I start a lot of projects and abandon them. I download a lot of apps and delete them in seconds.

I guess you could call me a serial quitter. 

If you do, I’ll say ‘thank you’ because quitting is smart. A productive use of our time. 

When you try things, you get ideas for other projects that are quicker or easier or a better fit. I get a lot of ideas for content that way. 

Trying lots of things helps you confirm that what you’re already doing is “good enough” and you don’t need to spend more time on something new. I do that with apps all the time.  

You learn things you can use with the things you currently do. You may find a better way to organize your notes or tasks, for example, by watching videos about other apps or what others do with them.

When you start a project, you learn whether you enjoy working on it, or whether it will succeed. If you don’t try, you may continue thinking about it when you would be better off moving on. 

You may start something, like it, but realize that now isn’t the time to do it and put that project on hold for the future, giving you time to plan and collect more information you can use when you’re ready to dive in. 

Trying new things can also be a pleasant distraction from your regular work. It may or may not lead to something, but it is a productive use of your time because it might. 

In fact, I just read about a productivity expert who makes “quitting” his default. He starts a lot of things with the express intention of not finishing them. 

By quitting a lot of things, he has time for the best ideas. Sometimes, he finds them right away. Sometimes, they stick with him after he’s quit, and he goes back to them. 

If you’re still not convinced of the value of quitting, think about what would happen if you never quit. You’d be overwhelmed with projects and ideas that eventually go nowhere. 

Quit fast and avoid the mess. 


Sorry, I don’t want to live out of my calendar


Let’s talk about your schedule. The things you put on your calendar, like appointments, conference calls, court appearances, and other time-bound tasks. Things you need to do on a certain day and at a certain time.

Not a lot to say about that. You schedule them so you don’t forget them and you do them. 

But what about everything else? 

What about things you want to do or need to do at some point, perhaps soon, but not necessarily today or this week? What about routine tasks you need to do to keep the wheels greased and the motor running? 

Some people put those on their calendar, too. They schedule time for their morning routine, for example, or block out time during the day to work on a certain project. 

Some people schedule everything. 

They know what they’re going to do today, tomorrow, this week and next. Sometimes, down to the minute.

This is a great way to get things done, but it’s not for me.

What do I do?

I calendar appointments and meetings, of course, but for everything else, I make lists.

Every day, my task app gives me today’s list (based on what I decided to do during a weekly review). At the top are the “must do” tasks, e.g., appointments, etc., and anything else I need to do that day. What you’re reading right now is one of those things. 

Under the must do’s are other things I should do or want to do today, but not necessarily at a specific time. Nor are they “must do’s” so I can do them the next day or in the days to come. 

Finally, there are my routine tasks. Things I try to do every day (or week).

It’s a simple list and, other than appointments and must do’s, everything is a suggestion. 

Actually, it is a very sensible way of working.

I don’t force myself to do anything “now” (unless it’s a must do). I can do it later. 

As long as you do what you need to do, it doesn’t matter when you do it, does it? (If it does matter, it should indeed go on the calendar.)

By the end of the day, I usually finish most of the things on my list. Not everything, but that’s okay. Tomorrow or next week are okay.

If you want to try this, here are some guidelines: 

  1. Make your list for tomorrow the night before, after you’ve looked at tomorrow’s calendar.
  2. Keep this list short. A few things, not everything. 
  3. Keep a second list of things you want to do this week (or so). Keep this short, too. 
  4. If you finish today’s list and have time and energy to do more, look at “this week” and choose something else. 
  5. Keep additional lists for daily, weekly, and monthly routines. Reference these when you make tomorrow’s list or let an app remind you.  

Working this way allows me to stay productive without pushing myself to do more than I can do, and flexible enough to keep me getting things done.

But maybe tomorrow.  


Have fun with this


If marketing was fun, would you do it more? Get better at it? Get better results?

No doubt. 

So, how can you make it fun? 

First, by believing that it can be fun. Not drudgery, something you enjoy and are good at. Because if you don’t believe that this is possible, you’re always going to have a rough time. 

And then, you draw a line in the sand and do only those things you like doing and delegate or outsource or ignore everything else. 

You don’t have to do paid advertising or social media. Not one bit. You don’t have to go to formal networking events and talk to strangers. You don’t have to get on stage or in front of a camera and do presentations. 

Unless you want to. 

Do what you enjoy or find a way to make what you do enjoyable. 

Yeah, but what if I don’t like any of it? Not. One. Stickin. Bit?

Really? You don’t enjoy doing good work for your clients and treating them with kindness?

That’s marketing. The best kind there is. 

You don’t like staying in touch with the people who put food on your table? That’s marketing, too.

You don’t like providing information about your practice area and your services with people who tell you they want to know? 

C’mon now. 

Anyway, do yourself a favor and make having fun a priority. “If it’s not fun, I won’t do it” would be a good mantra. 

If you don’t want to write a 500-word newsletter every week, write 150 words whenever you feel like it. 

No rules. Do what you have time to do and want to do, and don’t worry about anything else. 

If it’s not fun, don’t do it. 


Come with me if you want to live


You want your clients and contacts to see you as someone they can count on when they are in trouble, need help or information. Legal advice or anything else—business advice, referrals or introductions. Whatever they need, you want them to contact you first, so you can help them or help them find someone who can.

Why would you want to do something that seems so time consuming and may not lead to legal work? 

Because it might indeed lead to legal work, but you won’t know that if they don’t contact you. 

And while it might not lead directly to legal work, it might provide give you someone you can refer to another lawyer and that lawyer might then reciprocate and send you a referral. 

Helping your clients and contacts this way might also lead to goodwill, which eventually leads to legal work, e.g., traffic to your site, growing your list, filling seats at your event, or other things that bring you more leads or business contacts. 

And hey, what’s the alternative? People ask for something and you turn them away? 

Bad karma. And bad business. 

For starters, make sure you tell your clients, prospects, and business contacts to call you about any legal matter, because “I know a lot of lawyers in other practice areas.” (If you don’t, this is your chance to go meet some.)

If you have the ability to refer 5 or 10 clients a month to other attorneys, even if it’s just to get some questions answered, do you think that might bring you some referrals from those attorneys?

If it takes up too much of your time (it won’t), you can stop doing it. But you won’t want to. Because the more you help people, the more people will help you. 

Prove me wrong. Try it for 60 days and see what happens.

Once you see good things happening, teach your clients and contacts to call you if they need anything else—an accountant, a real estate or insurance broker, a financial advisor, a vendor or business, or. . . anything.

You want people to call you first because it’s good karma and good for business.