Go deep

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In a recent newsletter, James Clear said, “Double down on your best relationship. It’s the investment with the highest return.”

What did he mean?

He meant make the most of your existing relationships, they might be all you need.

Your existing and former clients will lead you to new clients. Your current professional contacts (referral sources) will lead you to new contacts, new opportunities, and the clients that go with them.

Go deep, not wide. Focus most of your attention on what you already have.

How do you do that?

Make a list of your top ten clients and another list of your 5 best referral sources and get to know them better.

Learn about their world, their industries, niches, and communities. Get to know their family, their employees, and their professional contacts. Add value to their lives by providing information, introductions, leads and traffic, advice and counsel.

Get to know everyone they know and look for ways to help them, too.

They will lead you to all the business you can handle.

You may start out with 10 or 20 people on your short list, but if you do this right, they will lead you to thousands.

You can always go wide. Network, advertise, blog, dance your ass off on social media. But if you focus on going deep, you may never have to.

The Attorney Marketing Formula

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I don’t need you

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I want you to hire me, sign up for my list, and tell others about me.

But I don’t need you to do any of that.

I’m doing very well, thank you, and while I work hard to keep my clients happy and coming back to me, I’ll be just fine if they don’t.

That, my friend, is the attitude you should adopt with your clients and prospects and professional contacts. That is the attitude of a successful lawyer and it will attract a lot of new business.

Now, don’t say any of this. You’ll come off as an asshat. This is about your attitude, the attitude of someone who is good at their job and knows it. A lawyer who doesn’t chase business but has business chase them.

Success breeds success, because success is attractive.

What if you’re not quite there? How do you adopt that attitude?

Use your imagination. Literally. See yourself as the person you want to be. Feel what you would feel so you can “act as if”.

And keep doing that until you are that, and more.

The success you seek, the image you want to portray, is first a state a mind, then a state of reality.

When a prospective client meets you, they want to feel like they’ve found the right lawyer for the job. Your confidence and countenance will go a long way to doing that.

But be careful. Don’t overdo it. There’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness.

More than confidence, clients want a lawyer who appreciates them, so don’t forget to take your humility pills and thank your maker for your good fortune.

And thank your clients for choosing you.

Because no matter how good you are, or how successful you are, you couldn’t do it without your clients. And they didn’t have to choose you.

The Attorney Marketing Formula

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What’s better than a referral?

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According to a study reported in Selling Power Magazine, 80% of all introductions turn into sales, whereas just 55% of referrals do.

Here’s what they found:

  • 1% of all cold calls turn into sales.
  • 5% of all leads turn into sales
  • 55% of all referrals turn into sales
  • 80% of all introductions turn into sales.

Knowing this, and knowing that asking for introductions is probably easier than asking for referrals, you should be asking yourself, “Who do I know I could ask for an introduction?”

Maybe everyone. Because everyone knows someone you’d like to be introduced to.

When you’re speaking to a client who mentions taxes, for example, you could ask them who they use to prepare theirs. When they tell you about their accountant, you could ask them to introduce you.

And when you’re speaking to an accountant who does taxes, you could ask them if they have any clients or contacts who are a match for (your ideal client). If they do, ask them to introduce you.

Any time you speak with someone who knows a professional, a business owner, or anyone else who is influential in your niche or local market, find out how they know them and ask for an introduction. This is a simple way to build your network.

And yes, you can also ask for introductions instead of referrals when someone mentions they know someone who needs your services, or is otherwise a likely candidate therefor.

Now, why do you suppose it’s easier to ask for an introduction than a referral?

Is it because a referral implies that you get something out of it, while an introduction seems more benign? Is it because an introduction seems less intimidating and easier to make than a referral?

Why the difference?

I don’t know. All I know is that according to a survey. . .

Of course, if you’d rather cold call and pay for leads, who am I to insist otherwise.

Lawyer-to-Lawyer (and other professionals) Referrals

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How to start a conversation with a brick wall

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You meet someone new, at a networking function or casually, in person or online. You don’t know what to say to kick things off or to keep the conversation going after the initial hello.

What do you say?

You don’t. You ask questions and let them do most of the talking.

Some folks need a little prompting and asking questions usually does the job.

If you’re at an event, you could ask how they like the program or the last speaker, or if they recommend the chicken or the fish. You could ask something about the schedule. But while these questions may break the ice, they won’t get you very far.

If you want to know something about the other person (and you do), if you want to establish rapport and make a good impression, you should FORM them.

FORM stands for:

  • Family
  • Occupation
  • Recreation
  • Motivation

These are the areas to ask about.

In a professional setting, you’ll probably start with Occupation, and that might be all you need to have a fruitful conversation. Ask what they do and at some point they’ll ask what you do. (See my ebook re how to answer that question and what to say after that.)

Family and Recreation are fairly standard areas of conversation. What about Motivation?

Motivation is usually talked about later in a conversation, after you’ve exchanged pleasantries and covered the basics. Motivation is a catch-all for why they do what they do. What are their goals or dreams? What big projects are they working on? What’s in their future?

Sometimes the acronym is FORD—the D is for dreams instead of motivation, but it means the same thing. Here’s a short video that does a great job of explaining how to use FORM (FORD) in conversation.

The next time you meet someone and don’t know what to say, FORM them. Encourage them to tell you all about themselves.

They’ll enjoy meeting you and look forward to your next conversation. You’ll know what they do and what motivates them, and what to ask about the next time you speak or email.

How to sell your legal services in 15 Seconds or LESS

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Lazy or busy?

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No doubt you’ve head the expression, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person”.

Why would you give it to a busy person? They have no time.

Maybe you’ve heard another version, “If you want something done, give it to a lazy person.”

Why give it to a lazy person? They’re… lazy!

But both versions make perfect sense.

Busy people and lazy people seem to be at the opposite ends of the productivity spectrum, but they’re actually on the same page.

Both want to get things done quickly and efficiently, with as little time and effort as possible. Busy people don’t have time to waste. Lazy people have time but don’t want to waste it.

Being busy (or lazy) forces you to be (a) more selective about what you do, and (b) more creative about how you do it.

Both lazy people and busy people avoid taking on projects that aren’t the “highest and best” use of their time.

They’re both good at delegating.

Both use shortcuts, templates, forms, and checklists.

Both look for ways to leverage their efforts, such as re-purposing content and (in the case of professionals) prioritizing repeat business and referrals over marketing to the cold market.

And both say no to good ideas to make room for great ones.

In short, both are effective and productive, because they’ve figured out how to make the most of what they have.

If you want to be more productive, be lazy. Or busy if you like that better. Either way, you’ll get more done.

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Why should anyone hire you?

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On your website, in your marketing materials, when you speak with a prospective client, your top priority is to tell people why they should hire you.

(1) Tell them why they need a lawyer.

If you haven’t spoken to them, use if/then language. Ask rhetorical questions, tell them their risks and their options, and make the case for hiring an attorney instead of doing nothing or trying to fix the problem themselves.

If you are speaking to them, find out what they want (don’t assume it), and explain how an attorney can help them get what they want.

(2) Tell them why that lawyer should be you.

Spell out your qualifications, explain why you are a better choice than other attorneys, tell them about your solutions/services and the pros and cons and costs of each.

Of course it’s not just what you say, it’s also how you say it and how you make them feel, so make sure you:

  • Build rapport, to help them relax, feel your strength and self-confidence, and build likeability and trust
  • Get the client to talk about themselves—what they think, how they feel, what they want to happen, and why. What’s at stake for them? The more they talk, the more they are likely to sell themselves on taking the next step
  • Ask appropriate questions, to show them you have experience with their problem, and show you care about helping them
  • Share stories of clients you’ve represented in the same or similar situation, to illustrate how an attorney can help them and show them how you have helped others
  • Confirm their understanding of each point before you go on to the next one, to eliminate potential misunderstandings and show them your thoroughness and patience
  • Answer their questions and handle their objections before they raise them, and invite them to ask you more

And then, when they have no more questions, ask them what they want to do.

Yes, you can assume the sale and hand them (or send them) the paperwork to sign, but it’s much better when they tell you they want to get started. They’ll be more likely to do that when you show them they need you rather than telling them.

New here? Start here

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You can always add more plates

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Next year will soon be this year, and this is a good time to do some planning.

New goals, new projects, updates, changes.

Do yourself a favor. Make it a short list.

Conventional wisdom tells us to shoot for the moon. Big goals, lots of projects, run hard and do as much as you can do. Cut your plans only if you run out of time or energy, because if you start small, you won’t accomplish as much.

For me, it’s the other way around.

If I start big, I find it easy to get overwhelmed. I prefer to start out with too little rather than too much. A few key ideas, projects, and goals.

When I look at my list, I want to feel good about what I see. I want to be inspired, excited, ready for the adventure ahead.

Some people like a schedule that’s filled to the brim. They want to always be busy. I prefer a schedule that’s relatively open, and fill in the blanks with whatever I’m drawn to.

I like to have a general idea of where I want to go, not a detailed itinerary with every moment thought out in advance. I like to add things as I think of them rather than subtract and postpone things because I didn’t have enough time.

Adding is fun. Subtracting isn’t.

I know that when I have too many projects and tasks, I’m busy working but not necessarily doing the things that matter most. When I have too many plates to keep spinning, eventually, I don’t want to look at my plates any more.

I like to get a couple of plates spinning, see how it’s going and how I feel about adding more.

Because you can always add more plates.

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How to remove the starch from your writing

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A newsletter is not the place for formal writing. Even if your readers are academics or others steeped in formality, they’re people before they are lawyers or professors and unless you have a good reason not to, write to them the way you would speak to them—informally.

Are you picking up what I’m laying down?

“Oh, I could never write like that,” says many a lawyer. They don’t want to appear un-lawyerlike.

You don’t have to go as far as I go sometimes. You don’t have to write completely informally to write less formally. (But you have to admit, it might be fun. Guess what? It’s fun for your readers, too.)

What you have to do is make clarity and simplicity your top priority.

When you do, not only will your readers be able to quickly understand your message, they will appreciate you for lightening their cognitive load.

(Sorry, some old starch found its way onto my keyboard.)

The simplest way to keep things simple, as I mentioned in a recent post, is to write an email, not an article.

If you need a little help to do that, follow the advice of writer Laura Belgray, who uses what she calls the Email From a Bestie (EFAB) technique:

“I write each email as if I am writing to a good friend, one who happens to have the needs of my target audience.”

Try it. Write a salutation. Write to your bestie (and leave out the starch). Close.

Then, remove or modify the salutation and close to suit.

When you do this, your readers feel there is a real person behind your words, and you’re speaking just to them.

That’s when they connect to you. That’s when they feel you’re the one.

When you’re done with your first draft, you may feel a little naked and self-conscious and want to add back some of the starch.

A little starch is okay. Because lawyer. Just don’t overdo it.

Ya feel me?

If you want to know how to do it right, with lots of examples, templates, and sample language, get my Email Marketing for Attorneys course

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Do you make this mistake in your newsletter?

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When you set up a new newsletter, one of the first things you’ll do is add one or more emails to the auto responder. These emails go out automatically as new subscribers sign up.

Typically, the first email will welcome them, tell them how often they can expect to receive your newsletter, provide a link to download the report or other incentive you promised, and a few other housekeeping matters.

But if that’s all it does, it’s missing the most important element.

Most people subscribe because they want the information you offer in your report. But they found your site or page because they were looking for an attorney to help them with a problem.

So, make sure your first email, and every email, tells them what to do to get your help.

Your contact information, sure, but more than that—tell them what to do and why.

Tell them to call or fill out a form. Tell them what happens when they do.

No, it’s not too soon to do that. No, you don’t need to send more information first, to warm them up and build value before you sell them on taking the next step.

They need help. They might be ready to talk to you and hire you today. So, tell them what to do.

If you don’t, their problem might get worse, or. . . they might call someone else.

You don’t have to hard sell. You don’t have to go into a lot of detail. But you should tell them what to do and why.

Show them the pathway to getting the help they need and want.

In every email.

Not everyone is ready to talk to you or hire immediately, of course, so deliver the information, too. Tell them about the law, their risks, their options.

But do that in addition to telling them to contact you, and why.

You might not need more than a sentence or two, with a phone number or a link. Sometimes, you’ll do more. But never do less.

How to build your practice with an email newsletter

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Better than free

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GetResponse, the company I use to manage my email marketing, recently announced a “forever free” plan.

Which is good news if you want to try email marketing or see if they’re better than what you currently use.

I’ve used them for many years and recommend them, and you can check them out here.

Yes, that’s an affiliate link.

Something else.

If you like what you see, you can continue to use the free plan “forever” and everything is included. But if you want to upgrade to a paid plan, which gives you more room to grow, they’re running a Black Friday promotion, which will save up up to 40% for life.

I signed up under one of their promotions years ago and still pay less than a lot of customers.

A limited quantity of discounted plans will be available, so if this sounds good, don’t dawdle.

Check it out, set up a free account, and take a look around. Let me know if you have any questions.

Here’s the link again

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