Boom, baby, boom

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I’m talking about Baby Boomers. Tens of millions of people who might need your legal services and probably have the money to pay for them.

How about that as a target market?

Yes, even if you don’t do estate planning or elder law or anything typically associated with older folk.

Because older folk get divorced. File bk. Get arrested. Start businesses. File patents. Sue and get sued. And God knows they get injured.

But here’s the thing: even if they don’t, they have family and friends who do.

You accept referrals, don’t you?

Boomers are also sought after by other professionals (financial planners, retirement planners, investment advisors, et. al.). When you target Boomers, you will have something in common with those professionals, which means you can network with them and tap into their other clients.

Put this on your to-do list: talk to Mom and Dad about their generation (or, look in the mirror and talk to yourself about your generation) and start paying attention to this market. 

Tens of millions of potential clients are waiting for you. (You do offer a senior discount, right?)

Need help choosing your target market? Here it is

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Read this for just 30 seconds

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I read an article about the scientific basis of procrastination  (short answer: we do it because it makes us feel better), and how to stop it.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that one of the keys to overcoming procrastination is to get started. According to research, any progress we make can be a big motivator to keep going.

Of course, getting started is often the hardest part. One way to do it, according to the article, is to “make getting started ridiculously easy”.

Here are 5 ways to do that, including one I’ve never heard of:

  1. Organize it. Gather your notes, open a new file, put a date on your calendar, set up a new “project” template, make a list of steps, etc. Any one of these means you’ve started.
  2. Talk to someone about it. Explain the task to a partner, or friend, ask for feedback or suggestions. Talking about it means you’ve started. It also means someone you know will probably ask you “how’s it going”.
  3. The Salami Technique. Carve up the task into tiny slices, things that you can do in a few minutes.
  4. Use a timer. Give yourself five minutes to work on it. You can do a lot in five minutes.
  5. Sit and think about it. According to the author of the article, “I start by just thinking about the task for a while, until I’m drawn in and can’t help working on it.”

The last one sounds intriguing. I imagine that sitting and thinking about something you’ve been avoiding gets you to start it because doing “something” is better than doing nothing.

Will any of these help you complete a task you’ve been avoiding? I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure they’ll help you get started.

Procrastinating on marketing? This will help you start

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What if I could?

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A while back I saw this post on Flakebook: “If you had to reach your five-year goals in 6 months, what would you need to do now?”

What a great question. 

We assume that five-year goals will take five years to achieve and so we plan and operate accordingly. This question forces us to think outside that damn box.

Let’s give this some context:

If you knew you only had six months to live and you wanted to earn $500,000 in (additional) cash to leave your family, what would you do?

Hold on while I put on my philosopher’s hat.

If you don’t believe you could earn an extra $500k in five years, how could you possibly believe you could earn that in six months? You need a different goal, right?

“What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve,” Napoleon Hill said, the key word being “believe”. We need a goal we believe is possible.

Really?

Does this mean we can never have big goals? Do we have to settle for what we believe is possible?

That’s no fun.

Maybe the point of this exercise is to ask “impossible” questions, to see where it takes you.

Questions that force us to dig deep into the creative recesses of our minds to find ideas we never knew we had.

Questions that force us to become better observers and researchers, to discover what other people are doing that we never thought was possible for us.

Questions that force us to ask, What if I could?

What if you could double your referrals this year?

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Finding your inner Stormtrooper

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Just read an article in the ABA Journal about an Arizona lawyer who loves Star Wars and “dressing up or ‘cosplaying’ as a Stormtrooper.”

She attends conventions, marches in parades, and belongs to an international organization of thousands of fans who have fun and raise money for charities. She also does some legal work for her local chapter of the organization.

Some lawyers would say that dressing up is unprofessional. Some would say it’s a waste of time.

I would say, nicely done.

C’mon, she gets to get out of the office and spend time with people who share her passion. She gets to raise money for hospitals. And, instead of building her network at boring Chamber of Commerce meetings, she’s building her network doing something she loves.

Not to mention getting an article in the ABA Journal about her.

I did a coaching call yesterday with a lawyer whose practice needs a shot in the arm. One thing we talked about is getting out of the office, doing something different, and meeting some new people.

I don’t know if he’s a Star Wars fan but I hear the Rebel Forces are recruiting.

Marketing your practice starts with The Formula

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To do: re-think this whole “to-do list” thing

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My wife doesn’t make to-do lists. And yet she gets a ton of stuff every day. She seems to know what to do and she gets it done.

How? You’re asking the wrong guy. I’m the guy who loves to make lists, try out different apps and different systems for managing my lists.

How about you? Are you a list maker? Or are you more like my wife and usually know what to do?

You know what? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we get our most important things done.

There seems to be a growing trend against the primacy of the to-list. I see articles that say “to-do lists don’t work” or to-do lists cause us to emphasize quantity over quality, or we should use our calendar to schedule our entire day.

I say, do what works for you (and quit spending so much time reading articles about lists).

Let’s say this is to-do list for today:

–Call Max to schedule lunch for next week.
–Review/respond to email.
–Pick up dry cleaning.
–Review lease for Smith.
–Meet with Sally about changes to website.
–Prep for Anderson trial.
–Order new desk lamp.
–Review/edit Blackthorne amendments.
–Finish laundry.

It should be clear that prepping for the upcoming Anderson trial is the most important thing on this list.

It’s the “one thing” that has to be done today. Everything else is number two.

And nobody needs an app to tell them that.

Evernote for Lawyers

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Are you the one?

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How do you get clients to see you as their one and only?

The one they always turn to when they need help?

The one who’s content they regularly consume and regularly share. The one they provide with positive reviews and testimonials. The one they talk about to everyone they know. 

By doing good work? Providing great “customer service”? Delivering more value than they expect?

Yes, you need to do these things. But doing them isn’t enough.

Maybe for some, but not for others.

No, if you want to get a preponderance of your clients to see you as “the one” and become life-long clients and fans, you need to do something else.

You need to show them that they are “the one” for you.

In every way you can, show them that you are dedicated to your client and others like him. Show him that you focus on attracting and working with clients like him and you are committed to that cause.

In other words, once you have identified a profile of your “ideal client,” let your clients who fit that profile know it.

“You’re the type of client I like to work with. You’re the type of client I’m dedicated to serving. Here’s why.”

And then, with everything you do, show your ideal clients why they are “the one” for you.

This shows you how to identify your ideal client

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I don’t know, stop asking me

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I’m playing around with a “time management” app I used many years ago. It was updated recently and so far I like what I see.

This, after many years of trying more apps than I can count and always coming back to Evernote.

Who knows, I may finally make a “permanent” switch.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about something I’ve been thinking as I transfer tasks from Evernote to the other app.

As I re-create the projects and underlying tasks in the old/new app, I have to make decisions about them.

Lots of decisions–about which projects should be front and center, which tasks should be “next actions,” which tasks should get a due date and what that date should be.

You have to decide what you want to accomplish.
You have to decide what to do next.
You have to decide when you will do it.

You know the routine.

Because you do, you know how easy it is to get overwhelmed with all those decisions.

It’s why we tend to drift away from what we’re doing and look for a better system.

Indecision causes stress and drains energy. In GTD parlance, unmade decisions (or rashly made ones, I suppose), are called “open loops”.

Open loops nag you and call you names. So you keep giving them attention when you should be doing other things.

If this sounds painfully familiar, I have a suggestion: Decide not to decide.

Decide that you don’t have to make a decision right now and schedule a future “review” date, where you will review the task or project and decide what to do about it.

Until then, you won’t think about it.

Assign a “start date” instead of a “due date”. When the start date arrives, do your review.

When you decide not to make a decision you are actually making a decision. When you become comfortable postponing decisions, you close open loops, gain clarity, and reduce your stress level.

Don’t let your tasks push you around. Tell them to go away–for now.

Have you seen my free referral course? Check it out

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Do you have to get a lawyer to get divorced in Indiana?

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Saw this question posted on Quora. If you’re a divorce lawyer in Indiana, should you answer it?

Should you go looking for questions like this for your practice area or jurisdiction?

My take:

Answering questions on forums probably won’t bring in a lot of business. More importantly, the business it does bring probably won’t be high quality. 

Yes, there are exceptions. You might indeed get some decent clients this way. If you’re just starting out or you otherwise have the time to troll through forums and answer questions, why not?

Just don’t make this your primary marketing method.

On the other hand, there are some very good reasons why visiting forums and answering questions can be a good use of your time.

You’ll get to learn what people want to know about the law in your practice area. You’ll see the words they use to describe their situation, their pain, and their desired outcomes. This can help you write more effective marketing documents.

You can get some ideas for blog posts and your newsletter. Hey, I got this idea from a forum, didn’t I?

You could get some traffic to your website from the answers you post. That might improve your website “score” in the eyes of the search czars, and that could bring you some good clients.

Now, are you thinking what I’m thinking? Did a divorce lawyer in Indiana ask someone to post that question so he could answer it?

Devious minds want to know.

Your best clients come from referrals

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I don’t wanna

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I don’t want to do it. I’m tired. Not feeling it. I’ve got other things to do.

Yeah, me too.

We tell ourselves we’d rather be at the movies or get a few more zzzzz’s or we pine for the good old days, but since we’re adults, we suck it up and do what we have to do.

We’ve got bills to pay and people to please. So we do it. Whether we feel like it or not.

Snap, crackle, pop, the day is over and we’re glad we didn’t give up and let our pouting inner child have their way.

What happened?

I saw this quote today that suggests an answer:

“Motivation follows action. Get started, and you’ll find your motivation follows…”

Sounds good but I don’t think it’s true.

We get started because we have bills to pay and people to please. That’s our motivation.

It’s not about the pleasure of a good day’s work. It’s all about pain.

The pain of not paying the bills and the consequences thereof outweighs the pain of doing things we don’t feel like doing.

When our inner child is having a tantrum and doesn’t want to do their homework, promising them an extra hour of TV if they finish might work, but in my experience, what works better is the threat of NO TV if they don’t.

Here’s how to get more lawyer-to-lawyer referrals

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How much is my case worth?

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I watch a lot of Evernote videos. Even when you know as much as (I think) I know, you can always learn something new.

In one video, a young woman starts out by telling her Evernote story–how she got started in 2013, how she has “so many” notes and how “it takes a lot of effort to keep everything organized”.

I’m closing in on 11,000 notes. I’m always interested in what others do to organize their notes.

Anyway, about midway through the video, the woman says that she has around 240 notes.

For her, that’s “so many”. That’s “a lot to keep organized”.

I got to thinking. I do that sometimes. I thought about how one person’s “so many” is another person’s “so what?”

I thought about how when we’re speaking to a client or witness and they tell us they’re in a lot of pain or they missed a lot of time from work or someone owes them a lot of money, we don’t write down “a lot” on our legal pads, do we?

We ask questions.

We are in the clarity and precision business. We assume nothing, ask lots of questions, and nail things down. Then, just to make sure, we go back and ask the same questions again.

A lot of people think we’re a big pain in the ass.

It’s ironic. Attorneys value clarity and precision and yet are often unclear and imprecise in their marketing and in answering a client’s questions, such as when the work will be done or how much their case is worth.

Because we don’t want to be pinned down.

Hey, we may be a pain in the ass but we’re not stupid.

How to get “a lot” of referrals

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