What’s the secret?

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In interviews, Jerry Lewis was routinely asked for the secret to comedy. He would often ask the interviewer to repeat the question.

Before they could finish asking, Lewis would interrupt with the answer: “Timing”.

Which usually got a laugh. Because it was a display of spectacularly bad timing.

Sometimes, he’d go in for seconds. “Okay, ask me again.”

After they repeated the question, Lewis would say nothing. Dead air. Then, after a few beats, he would repeat the answer.

Yes, timing is the key to comedy, and displaying bad timing is not only a great way to make the point, it’s funny.

Sometimes, Lewis would explain the key to developing your timing: lots of practice.

You do your jokes and shtick often enough and your timing improves.

Isn’t that what Jerry Seinfeld said about his process? When he was starting out, he wrote at least one new joke every day. He’d mark an X on a wall calendar each day he did this. Eventually, he had a chain of X’s, leading to his oft-quoted advice, “Don’t break the chain.”

Because that’s how you improve any skill.

The point is that if there’s something you want to improve, a skill or a habit, you practice it. Do it often enough and you get better.

If you write every day, you become a better writer. Faster, too.

If you regularly practice your presentation, your delivery improves.

Practice is the key to improvement in sports, playing an instrument, our work.

And marketing.

If you want to get better at networking, for example, you practice networking skills.

Introducing yourself to a stranger. Building rapport. Finding out what the other person needs or wants so you can find a way to help them.

Telling someone about yourself is another networking skill. It’s also the subject of my latest book, “How to Sell Your Legal Services in 15 Seconds or Less”.

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4 out 5 people don’t open your emails (and that’s okay)

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The “open rate” for emails in the legal “industry” is 22%, according to this article. About average, it turns out, across all industries. 

So, why do I rap incessantly about how effective email is for marketing a law practice?

Because a low open rate doesn’t matter. Just seeing your name show up in their email inbox makes a difference. 

Not everyone who gets your email needs your services when your email arrives. Nor do they have time to read every message. But, every time they get an email from you, they see that you’re still helping people solve legal problems and still sending out your newsletter as promised. 

You make an impression every time you send. 

And, when they do need you, or talk to someone who needs your help, they remember you are in their life (and inbox) and read your latest. 

You may be curious about my “open rate”. It must be through the roof, right?

I don’t know. I don’t track my open rate or click rate or any other rate. It’s not important to me. As long as I’m getting sales, that’s all that counts. 

I write something I think you’ll find interesting or useful, makes you think or makes you laugh. I tell you about my products and services, books and course, and tell you what they can do for you. 

As long as people buy or hire me, I’m good.

I don’t get bogged down in the minutia. I don’t sweat the small stuff or spend a lot of time trying to write the perfect missive.

I put some words on “paper” and send it out.

Which is precisely what you should do with your newsletter.  

You can learn everything you need to know right here.

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It takes two to tango

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Marketing isn’t about you. Oh, you’re an important part of it, just not the only part. You have a partner, a prospective client, the person you’re courting, and you can’t ignore them.

Just like you can’t ignore your partner on the dance floor.

You lead, of course, because it’s your dance. But you can’t make your partner do anything they don’t want to do.

Dancing has rules.

You don’t walk up to someone and start dancing, you ask them if they’d like to dance and give them your best smile. If they agree, you take their hand and lead them to the dance floor.

You start by getting to know them and letting them get to know you. You hold them and make them feel safe with you, and let them get into the rhythm of the dance.

You take a step, they move with you. You take another step, they do too.

On and on you go, guiding your partner, until the song ends and another begins. If they enjoyed dancing with you, they’ll let you know they want to continue. If not, they may go powder their nose and never return.

Marketing is like dancing. You lead, they follow, and, if all goes well, both of you have a good time.

When the dance is over, you have a new client.

And then you begin a different dance.

Marketing isn’t something you do on your own. You do things to attract people who might need what you offer, you show them what you can do, and you pay attention to how they respond.

You lead, they follow. You take them from where they are to where they want to go.

If you do well, if they like your moves (and you), they might want to come home with you.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

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When the typo hits the fan

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I heard from an attorney who liked my new Kindle book but. . . found a typo. A big, hairy one I can’t believe I missed because it was in the introduction. In fact, it’s the word “introduction” which was missing the letter “r”.

Did you catch it? Neither did I.

Neither did my writing software. Or my editing/spell-check software. Or Amazon’s upload mechanism which gave me the “all clear” on spelling when I uploaded it.

I’ll take the blame but that software has some ‘splainin’ to do.

Anyway, Christine, the attorney who caught it, pointed out that the error could cost sales and she’s right. People judge you on things like this. So, as soon as I heard from her, I fixed it. It took a couple of minutes and the updated book was available within a few hours.

Which is one of the nice things about publishing ebooks. A few clicks and you can fix or update your book or the sales page and get back to work.

So, if you want to write a book but are concerned that it might not be your best work (or might have typos), go ahead and do it anyway.

But you might want to send a copy to Christine because she’s got a great eye for typos.

NB: “How to Sell Your Legal Services in 15 Seconds or Less” will be coming off the free promotion tomorrow so if you’d like a copy, grab it now.

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So simple, so easy to mess up

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Have you ever been interviewed and had the interviewer try to “share the stage” with you, talking too much instead of asking questions?

I have and it’s not good.

When you are invited to be the guest on a podcast or conference call, the host should edify you to their audience. They should present your background, say nice things about you, and make you look every bit like the expert you are.

They should make you look like you walk on water and glow in the dark so their audience will get excited about hearing you.

If they did that and then talk over you or share too much of their own knowledge and experience, they de-edify you.

Why did they invite you if they know what you know?

The host should introduce you, ask questions and let you do most of the talking. They shouldn’t interrupt you or contradict you or do anything that detracts from your image as an expert.

That doesn’t mean they can’t ask some sharp questions. It means they shouldn’t do anything to make you look bad.

Not in that kind of interview, anyway.

Edification is an important skill and it’s not that difficult. Take yourself out of the picture (mostly) and shine the spotlight on your guest.

Edification can also be used when you make a referral to another professional, introduce a guest at your event to another guest or to the speaker, or when you recommend a product or service or resource.

The only place you shouldn’t use it is when you’re talking about yourself.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

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Paid content vs. the other kind

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You’ve got content you give away to get leads and build your list. Because it’s free, it may or may not bring you high-quality leads.

But, you’ll take them.

If you get 100 sign-ups this month by giving away a report and only 5 “buy” your services, you could make out like a bandit.

The other option is to offer paid content.

Being a professional doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) create seminars or books or other content that people pay for. You may earn some extra income that way (or turn it into a new business as I did), but there’s another reason to do it.

Better leads.

If your content provides value and is targeted to your ideal client, the leads and subscribers you get, while smaller in number, will usually be higher quality.

Which can bring you more clients. Probably better clients. With less effort because your content does most of the “selling” for you.

In my humble (but correct) opinion, you should consider creating both free and paid content. At the very least, publish a short book and use it to get traffic to your website.

On Amazon, you can run free promotions for your paid books, to get your book into more hands and improve the ranking.

Which is what I’m doing over the next few days for my latest book, “How to Sell Your Legal Services in 15 Seconds or Less.”

Starting tomorrow (Friday), for the next few days you can download the ebook at no cost.

You can get it here

It’s a quick read that spells out how to quickly get other people to understand what you do and how you can help them (or their clients). It also helps you find out if they are a candidate for your services and then transition to the next step such as an appointment or phone conversation.

So, check it out.

If you like the book, I’d appreciate your showing me some love and leaving a review. Even a few words help.

How to Sell Your Legal Services in 15 Seconds or Less.”

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Never forget rule #1

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Rule #1 of marketing: Nobody cares about you, they only care about themselves.

They don’t care about your office move–unless your new office is more convenient for them. They don’t care about your new website design–unless it makes it easier for them to find things they want. They don’t care about your vacation, what you ate for dinner, how you broke your leg or the birth of your latest grandchild.

Not really.

They may be mildly curious, they may congratulate you or wish you a speedy recovery, but they have their own lives to lead and they care about that far more than anything–or anyone–else.

I’m not saying you should never mention news about your work or anything about your personal life. You should. It allows people to get to know you better and that’s a good thing.

Just don’t talk about it too much or too often or think that anyone really cares.

Because they don’t.

Instead, talk about things they care about. Things that interest them or help improve their life or their business.

Talk about THEM. Name names if you’re able and talk about their business or industry something going on in their neighborhood.

If you target tech professionals, for example, talk about market trends (laws, changes, news, etc.) that affect them. Talk about people they know or might want to hear about. Talk about problems and solutions, predictions and stories related to their niche.

They’ll read every word you write.

They’ll also see you as someone who understands and supports them and they will share your content and recommend you to their colleagues and advisors.

You’ll build a reputation in their niche as THE attorney for that niche. Which means your marketing will be easier, less expensive, and more effective.

Where do you get all this information? From your clients and from other professionals who target that market, and from doing some research.

Inside Email Marketing for Attorneys, I’ve included guidelines to help you do that.

To see what it’s all about, go to Email Marketing for Attorneys.

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Should you hug your clients?

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A 2017 study underscores the importance of providing physical contact with infants, especially when they are distressed.

In fact, the study says that cuddling can “actually affect babies at the molecular level, and the effects can last for years.”

So, human touch is important to little humans. What about for grown-ups?

When a client is upset or needs reassurance that everything is going to be okay, I don’t need a scientific study to know that giving them a hug is just what the doctor ordered.

But I also know that in today’s PC climate, hugging a client can get you into a heap of trouble.

If your motherly or father instincts tell you the client needs comforting, I think it’s worth the risk. But I’d probably ask permission, make sure the door is left open, and not hug them too long.

If you’re not sure, there are other things you can do that might be “close enough”.

A pat on the shoulder might do the trick. Or a warm handshake and eye contact that sends them a virtual hug.

You could be a bit more solicitous–asking if they’d like some water, handing them a box of tissues, and offering additional words of comfort.

You could tell them a story about another client who had a similar situation or concern and that everything worked out okay.

Whether physical or verbal or a little bit of both, consider giving your clients a hug when they need it. It could be just what the doctor ordered.

Marketing is everything we do to get and keep good clients

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The four motorcycle riders of the apocalypse

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Early this morning I heard a very loud motorcycle gunning it down our otherwise quiet residential street.

Why so loud? Doesn’t he know people are still asleep?

I thought his indiscretion might be because

  1. He’s late for work.
  2. Force of habit. He’s always pushed the speed limit and continues to do that without thinking.
  3. He’s a jerk. He likes to ride fast, he wants to show off his expensive toy, and he doesn’t care if it bothers anyone.

Anyway, it made me think about the things lawyers sometimes do that might not serve us, doing things too quickly or habitually or just not thinking about others.

The times we rush through a presentation or a meeting because we’re late for something else. When we rush, we might miss something or leave a bad impression on our audience.

Lesson: slow down, leave enough time.

The way we do the same things we’ve always done the same way we’ve always done them. Conducting a deposition, for example, asking the same questions in the same order, without thinking or listening or paying attention to body language.

Lesson: mix things up, try a fresh approach from time to time.

The way we sometimes talk about ourselves too much instead of letting the other person do most of the talking. Not only do we risk coming off as uncaring, we may not get all the information we need to do a good job for our client.

Lesson: talk less, listen more.

So yeah, that’s what I thought.

But wait, there are four horsemen. That’s only three.

Okay, Sherlock.

I asked my wife if she heard the motorcycle this morning and told her what I was planning to write about. I told her the three reasons I thought the guy was gunning it through our street.

She said, “Or, he needed to give it more gas to get up that hill.”

Yeah, didn’t think about that.

Something else lawyers sometimes do, but shouldn’t: thinking we’ve got it all figured out.

If you know you don’t have it all figured out, here’s what you need

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Why clients choose you

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You ask your clients, “How did you hear about me?” Good. That’s important to know because it lets you do more of what’s working and less of what’s not.

Another helpful question to ask is, “Why did you choose me/our firm as your attorney?”

The odds are you were hired because of one or more of these reasons:

  1. They know you. They’ve hired you before or know you (or one of your employees) personally. Or, they follow you on social media, came to your seminar, or subscribe to your newsletter.
  2. They were referred to you. They know one of your clients, a professional or business contact, or someone else who recommended you.
  3. You offer something other lawyers don’t offer–better results, different services, house calls, etc.
  4. They chose you randomly. They saw your ad or found your website and saw that you do the kind of work they need, or your office is close to their house or on their way to work.

You can’t do much about the third and fourth reasons on this list. Where you can shine is with the first two. Which are about. . .

Your reputation.

You want clients and contacts to know, or be told by others who know you, that you are good at your job, but more importantly, that you are passionate about what you do.

You love your work, you love helping your clients, and it shows.

You give your clients extra time and attention. You make the evening call to see how they’re holding up after they get bad news. You go out of your way to help them with advice and recommendations and information that go beyond your legal services.

You show your clients you really do care about them.

Ultimately, most clients, certainly the best clients, choose you because of YOU.

Client relations is everything

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