Your services, your firm, or you?

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When you are marketing in the “cold market”–to people who don’t know you–should you market a specific legal service, your capabilities and practice areas, or yourself?

The answer is, you should market what clients want to buy.

When a prospective client has a legal problem or objective, they want (to buy) a solution to that problem or a way to achieve that objective. That’s what you should lead with and feature in your marketing.

Once you have their attention, tell them about your services, experience and capabilities, because these are the resources you use to solve their problem or deliver their objective.

But lead with benefits.

Show them you can solve, prevent, or minimize their problem. Show them they can have the “better future” they desire.

Start with why. Only then should you talk about how.

When you market to your warm market–people who already know you, clients and former clients and business contacts–things are a bit different.

You already have their attention and permission to stay in touch with them. Continue to remind them about the benefits and solutions you offer, different use cases and examples, success stories and testimonials, because they might need your help again or know someone they can refer; and also also tell them about your other services and solutions.

As you continue to stay in touch with clients and prospects and build or strengthen your relationship with them, tell them a bit less about your services and a bit more about you.

Start here: The Attorney Marketing Formula

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Is your email inbox other people’s to-do list?

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Many people use their email as a task list. Email comes in, they do what is requested or needed, and issue a reply. If the “ask” requires a simple reply, they do it, using the so-called “2-minute rule” (anything that can be done in 2 minutes or less should be done immediately).

But what if the email is informational and doesn’t need a reply? What do they do with the information so they can find it when they need it?

Where do they record what was requested or done? Where do they keep notes about the case or a list of what to do next? And what do they do with email that can’t be handled with a quick reply?

Clearly, email is not a good task manager or a good place to store notes. Use apps that are designed for those purposes.

Keeping a to-do list and notes separate from your email (and postal mail) allows you to record a transactional time-line you can review, along with your thoughts and ideas and a list of what to do next.

Keeping those functions separate also provides you with a buffer of time to consider the request or information, and your response or next action.

Keeping to-dos separate from email helps you to be proactive instead of reactive. You decide what’s best and most important to you at any given time and do that, not necessarily what was asked of you in the morning mail.

Check out my ebook: Evernote for Lawyers

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Nobody wants to join your email list

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You write an email newsletter and you want more subscribers. More subscribers leads to more clients, more repeat business, more referrals, and other benefits you don’t get if you don’t have a way to stay in touch with people.

When I started my newsletter 20 years ago, I said something like, “If you like the information on this site [my blog], subscribe to my newsletter to get more tips, ideas, and resources. . .”

And I got a lot of subscribers.

Today, that wouldn’t be good enough.

Everyone is overwhelmed with email and nobody wants to join your list. They have enough to read, they don’t care about you staying in touch, they don’t want to hear you pitch your services.

So, if you want more subscribers, don’t make it about your list or newsletter.

Offer them an incentive.

Something of value. Something that allows them to obtain a benefit or avoid a loss:

  • Information that helps them solve a specific problem.
  • A form or checklist that makes something easier, better or faster.
  • A video that explains how to do something they want to do.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. You don’t have to give away the store. A report or short ebook is fine.

Tell them what to do to get it, ie., fill out the form, and how they will benefit once they do.

Subscribers are precious. You have to earn their subscription.

If you’re building a law practice, it’s one of the smartest things you can do.

My email marketing course shows you what to do and how to do it

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Put this in your “new client” kit

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You sign up a new client and mail them a welcome letter, a supply of your business cards and brochures, and information you want them to know about their case, your firm, and about other matters you handle.

You should also enclose information about referrals: a description of your ideal client, what the client should tell people about you, and how to go about making the referral.

You want to make it as easy as possible for the client to refer others to you, and suggest that this is something clients customarily do.

To make referrals more likely, add an additional document to your new client kit: a sample email the clients can copy and paste and send to people they know.

The email should explain who you are, what you do, and how you can help the recipient with specific legal issues.

It should spell out your address, phone, email, social channels, a link to the contact form on your website and a link to a page where the prospective client can learn more about you and how you can help them.

It should also provide space for the referring client to say something about how they met you, why they hired you, and why they recommend you.

The email should come with “instructions”–who to send it to (your ideal client) and when to send it (when their friend or contact says or does something that suggests they might need your help).

Thank the new client for telling people about you and remind them that their friends will appreciate them for making it easier to get legal help when they need it.

For more ways to get more referrals, get my Maximum Referrals course.

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Thank you (and a challenge)

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Thank you for being a loyal reader of my blog and newsletter and for everything else you do.

Thank for your comments and questions. They help make me better at what I do.

Thank you for your reviews and testimonials. They show other lawyers that “this stuff really works” and encourage them to take a chance on me.

Thank you for sharing my content with colleagues. It helps me build my list and my business.

Thank you for buying my books and courses and hiring me to coach or consult you. Your support helps me continue to do what I do.

So, thank you. I appreciate you and want you to know that.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I’m sure you’re telling your clients and others that you appreciate them. Most people don’t say thank you, and when you do, don’t for a minute think it goes unnoticed.

Which leads to my challenge:

Send a “thank you” email to someone every day.

Send a thank you to a new client. You probably already did that; do it again.

Send a thank you to a fellow professional for sending you an article or for sharing your article with their clients.

Send a thank you to a prospective client for considering you as their attorney.

Send a thank you to someone who referred someone to you, even if they didn’t hire you.

Send an email to opposing counsel, thanking them for making your job a little less miserable.

Send a thank you to a personal friend, for being your friend.

Put “thank you” on your daily calendar, to remind yourself to thank someone for something. Train yourself to look for reasons to tell someone you appreciate them.

What will happen when you do?

You’ll make someone feel good about what they’ve done, and about themselves, making it more likely they’ll do it again.

You’ll feel good about yourself for remembering to shine a light on someone’s good deed or ongoing support.

You’ll stand out in a world where most people don’t say thank you, or don’t say it enough.

Imagine waking up, opening your email and waiting inside was a message from someone telling you how much they appreciate you. Imagine what you’ll think about that person.

Make a daily “thank you” email your new habit. You may be surprised by how much it improves your career and your relationships.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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When you don’t feel up to it, don’t do it

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Finally, a bit of common sense about planning our day.

In the article, “11 Time Management Myths That Are Hurting Your Productivity,” Gabriella Goddard with Brainsparker Leadership Academy, offered this advice:

“When you just focus on managing time, you don’t take into account your natural bio-rhythms and energy levels. Trying to take on a tough task when your energy is at rock bottom is a recipe for procrastination. So, if your energy is high in the morning, then focus on the more difficult projects or actions. If, by Friday, you tend to feel flat, then schedule less important meetings and administration.”

Don’t be rigid about your schedule. Listen to what your body and brain tell you. And don’t follow a productivity author’s advice if it isn’t right for you.

If you’re not a morning person, for example, don’t Eat That Frog first. Don’t tackle your most difficult or important tasks first.

Wake up first.

Start your work day with administrative or other less demanding tasks. Do your most important or most difficult tasks later.

It’s good to get your most important work done as early as possible in the day. Just don’t try it before your third cup of coffee.

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Client relations starts before the client hires you

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Everyone touts the importance of excellent client relations, aka “customer service”. And rightly so. 

Making our clients feel appreciated, minding our manners, giving clients more value than they expect, being fair and honest in our fees and billing, keeping clients informed–this is how we build trust, get good reviews, and generate repeat business and referrals. 

We build our reputation and a loyal client following by the way we treat our clients, at least as much as by the outcomes we deliver. And we generally do a good job of it.

But we can do better. 

Because it’s not just how you treat a client after they come to see you, it’s the entirety of the client experience, which begins before you ever speak with them. 

When someone refers a prospective client to you, what do they tell them about you? 

When a prospective client watches your video, reads your article or blog post, or hears you speak, what does your content and delivery tell them about your abilities and experience?

When they visit your website, what do they learn about your services, your experience, and what it will be like to have you as their attorney?

When someone subscribes to your list, what do you send them, tell them, and offer them, and what does that say to them about you?

And when someone contacts you, to ask a question or schedule an appointment, what are they asked, what are they told, and how do you make them feel?

Because your success depends on how you make people feel–about their case or issue and about you.

A successful legal career isn’t a series of transactions so much as a journey, and how many people you can bring with you. 

And that journey begins well before the client’s first appointment, and continues long after their last one.

The Quantum Leap Marketing System for Lawyers

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My desk was clean and now it’s cleaner

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I like a clean desk (and computer desktop). I find it easier to focus when the only thing in front of me is whatever I’m working on. I also like the aesthetic of a clean workspace. The lack of clutter has a calming affect on me and I work better that way.

Up until recently, the only things on my desk were the monitor (attached to an arm so it can be moved out of the way), 2 small speakers, a microphone (attached to an arm clamped to the side of the desk), my keyboard and mouse, and a large pad under the keyboard and mouse. I have a pair of headphones hanging from from the side of the desk.

A few days ago, I was looking at the green power light on one of the speakers when I realized that I rarely use those puppies. I almost always use headphones, for a more immerse experience. Well, as quickly as you can say, “Objection, your honor,” I unplugged the speakers and removed them.

Better.

Everyone has their own thang. That’s (one of) mine.

What’s my point? I have two, actually.

The first point is to suggest you unclutter your desktop if it isn’t already. Try going Spartan for a week or so and see how it feels.

You may prefer a modicum of clutter (or a mountain, thereof) and that’s okay, too. But at least give “lean and clean” a try.

But that’s not my main point.

My main point is to prove to you that when it’s time to write your newsletter or blog and you don’t know what to write about, don’t worry–you can write about anything.

Like I just did.

What to write about in your newsletter or blog

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Send this email to all of your clients

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Your clients (and prospects) have other legal needs besides the ones you handle. They need a divorce and you only handle bankruptcy. The want to start a business and you only do estate planning.

Some of your clients know they can ask you for a referral, and some will, but many don’t know and won’t ask.

Tell your clients (train them) to come to you for ALL of their legal needs.

Why?

So you can introduce them to good attorneys, sparing them the time and effort of searching and the risk of making a bad choice.

And so you can help attorneys you know by sending them referrals, setting the stage for them to reciprocate.

Send your list an email reminding them that you only handle [your practice area(s)], you know they may have other legal needs or questions and you want to help them.

Tell them you know a lot of attorneys with experience in other practice areas.

Tell them to call you, in confidence, about their legal matter or question, so you can refer them to a good attorney.

Put this email into your autoresponder or calendar to send a few times per year.

What if you don’t know an attorney who handles what your client needs? That’s your cue to find someone and thus expand your referral network.

You can do the same thing with other professionals. Businesses, too.

My course, Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals, shows you everything you need to know.

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I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. Demille

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“Zoom Gloom” is causing a dramatic rise in plastic surgery. People are getting face lifts, Botox treatments, and other procedures, because they don’t like the way they look on camera.

“Noses and wrinkles seem to be the most common complaints generated by this phenomenon, which the experts have dubbed ‘Zoom Dysmorphia'”

Hey, I’m not crazy about seeing myself on camera, but aren’t there other things we can do besides surgery?

Many articles and videos show how to position our camera and adjust our lighting for a more flattering look. The right lighting can hide wrinkles and blemishes and even out skin tones.

A better camera might help.

More ideas:

  • Makeup that suits your skin tones, especially under harsh light
  • A different hair cut, style, or color
  • A tan
  • Teeth whitening
  • Losing weight (or gaining it) as appropriate
  • Different eye glass frames
  • Different clothing (style, color)
  • Drinking more water (just not before you go live!)

For many of us, just getting more sleep can make a big difference.

We all want to look our best. These are some thoughts about how to do that without going under the knife or needle.

By the way, if you haven’t seen Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, here’s the infamous scene. If you’d like a good laugh, check out one of Carol Burnett’s Nora Desmond parodies.

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