I’d like to interview you

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I’ve been interviewed a fair number of times, by reporters and bloggers and podcasters. A couple of weeks ago, a long-time reader of this newsletter asked to interview me for his podcast/radio program.

We did the interview the other day.

The host read my bio, introduced me, and ask me questions, starting with how I got my start. He asked more questions, I shared some pearls of wisdom, he promoted my website, and in 30 minutes we were done.

I get some exposure and traffic to my site, he gets content, and a good time was had by all.

Yes, a good time. It was fun. Who says you can’t have fun while making money?

Anyway, if you’re not finding ways to get your bad self interviewed, you’re missing out. It’s an easy and professional way to build your practice.

Here are three simple ways to make this happen.

  1. Build a blog or newsletter or social media following. If you put out enough content, you will be discovered and someone in your niche will ask to interview you.
  2. Hang out with bloggers and podcasters and other content marketers who sell to, write for, or advise your target market.

    Consume their content, leave comments, offer praise, and promote their stuff on social and to your list. Your list will appreciate hearing about good content and the content providers will appreciate the exposure.

    Some will recognize your value and reciprocate by promoting your content to their audience; some will ask to interview you.
  3. Contact bloggers, podcasters, et. al., in your niche and ask to interview them for your blog or podcast, et. al.

Where do you start? Ask a friend or colleague if you can interview them for your blog or newsletter. Or just for fun. And let them interview you.

You’ll get some practice doing interviews and being interviewed and you’ll be ready for prime time.

Who do you know you could interview today?

I interviewed an attorney and turned it into a book

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What are your prospective clients thinking?

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Prospective clients see your ad or your website, read your article, or hear you speak.

What do you suppose is going through their minds?

No, they’re not thinking about how knowledgeable or experienced you are. They’re thinking about themselves and their problems.

They don’t care about you. They don’t care about what you want them to see or know or do.

They only care about themselves.

When you’re trying to sell them your services, opt in to your list, follow your posts, share your content, or do anything else, their default response is “no”.

Because, why?

You have to show them why, and that starts by getting their attention.

Common ways to do that are to ask a question, make a bold statement or prediction, share an interesting fact or statistic, or tell a story.

In other words, use a headline or subject line that makes them curious or offers a benefit that relates to their situation.

Then, once they’re reading your article or email, watching your video, or listening to your voice, get them interested in what you’re selling. You do that by telling them how you can help them, solve their problems, or help them get something they want.

Next, tell them more. More about the relief they will experience when they hire you, how they will be better off, and how easy it is to get started. Give them reasons to trust you; tell about other clients like them you have helped.

You do this to help them transition from merely listening to your message to desiring your help.

But you’re not done.

The final step is to get them to take action. To make the call, fill out the form, sign up for your webinar, or otherwise do something that eventually leads to their becoming a client.

Four steps. Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. Otherwise known in marketing circles as AIDA.

All four steps are necessary to take the prospective client from “I don’t care about you” to where you want them to go, and where they need to go to get what they want or need.

The next time you create an email, blog post, article, or anything else that’s designed to attract prospects and convert them to clients, go through this checklist and make sure you have all four elements.

If you need help with that, let me know.

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Whelmed

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You’re underwhelmed when you have too little to do or a list of nothing but chores and other boring, unrewarding tasks.

Not fun. No way to live.

If that’s you, do something new and challenging. Read a book you don’t normally read, get out of your comfort zone, do something that scares you. Or start working on your new side-business or your book or another adventure.

What’s more common, especially for high achievers and perfectionists like us folk, is being overwhelmed.

We often have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Or we don’t know where to begin. Sometimes we’re paralyzed by indecision. Sometimes we don’t want to do anything.

There are many ways to get out of the funk and back on track. Here are some that work for me:

  1. Do a brain dump. Get everything out of your head and write it down. Everything you can think of that you have to do or remember or decide. Clear your mind of what weighs on it and you’ll feel better, more in control. And, by writing it down, you’re taking action, which helps build momentum towards getting the next thing done.
  2. Schedule it. Go through your list and note anything that has a due date or an important start date and put those on your calendar. More control, more peace of mind.
  3. Tidy up. Do something relatively mindless but useful, like dusting your desk, organizing digital files, or uncluttering drawers and closets. While you’re doing that, your subconscious mind is working on your todo list, figuring out what’s important and the best way to approach it. When you come back from your journey to Marie Kondo Land, you should have some clarity on what to do next.
  4. Choose three. Go back to your list, quickly scan it, and choose no more than three tasks or projects. Put those three on a sticky note or somewhere else you can see them and put everything else out of sight. Work on those three things until you finish them. Progress!
  5. Work on one thing at a time. Single task. I know, it’s difficult to work from home and simultaneously watch your kids, but you have to make space for yourself to do your work. Even one or two hours of uninterrupted quiet time can make a difference.

So, there you have it. A few thoughts on settling your mind and re-establishing control.

AKA, achieving whelment.

How to write a simple marketing plan. Here’s how

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If it sucks, I ducks

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A headline in an article I saw: “Networking Sucks–Do This Instead”. It wasn’t about alternatives to networking, however, it was about making networking less sucky.

Which is a good thing because if you can take the suckiness out of networking, there are a lot of benefits.

Meeting new business contacts and prospective clients is a valuable business building tactic for professionals.

So, when our ankle bracelets are removed and we’re allowed out of the house, what can we do to drain out some of the suck?

You can find ways to get yourself invited to an event, by a friend or a meeting holder, and have a wing-man available to introduce you.

You can get yourself booked as a speaker at lunches or conferences, and network with people who wait in line to meet you, get your card, and have your babies.

You can organize your own events, and thus have an excuse to invite the kinds of people you want to meet.

You can avoid formal networking completely, and do your networking only “as and when” you happen to meet people.

Or, you can use your newly acquired Zoom skills and do your networking online or over the phone.

But, let’s face it. If you’ve tried networking and hate it in every shape and form, don’t do it.

Don’t punish yourself when there are other ways to build your practice.

On the other hand. . . I have a prediction.

Once things get back to normal, a lot of people who have sworn off networking are going to have a change of heart.

Because while working from home has benefits, humans need to be around people.

So, we’ll go places and meet people and have a jolly good time.

At least for a little while. Until we remember that networking sucks and we go back to our antisocial ways.

How to get referrals from other professionals (over the phone)

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What do you do first every day?

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I read a round-up article that summed up what some young entrepreneurs do to start their day. Each has a different routine.

Some said they make a plan for the day. Some said they check their plan (and calendar) for the day.

Some read, some write. Some exercise, some check the news. Some check their email, some check their stats.

One interesting response: “I start every workday by writing three thank you notes.” Color me impressed.

I liked the one who said she follows the same checklist every day. She checks her calendar, reviews her project list, answers email, answers voicemail and texts, and clears her paper file. She says this allows her to process her inboxes and makes starting the day effortless.

One said she tackles her biggest priority first, “the one thing on my list that contributes the most to the bottom line.”

Similar to the previous response, one entrepreneur recommended the “Eat That Frog” approach: “Do whatever it is that you don’t want to do, but need to do most first thing in the morning”.

Another writer disagreed: “I’m not really a fan of the whole “Eat That Frog” concept. I start my day with three of the easiest tasks on my to-do list. This makes a little dent in my list right away, which makes me feel as though I’m on a roll. I always find that when this is the case, I burn through more tasks than I would when focusing on my biggest list items first”.

Me? I’m with the last guy. I don’t do my most important tasks first thing, I clear up a few easier tasks first, as a warm up for the day. Typically, that means checking email, calendar, and task list, to get a feel for what’s on tap for the day.

Once that’s out of the way, I sit down and do my MITs (Most Important Tasks).

But I don’t do any of that until I’ve had some coffee, do some light reading, and send articles and ideas to my Evernote inbox.

How about you? What do you do first?

Evernote for Lawyers ebook

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Decisions, decisions

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In running a practice or business, building a career and a life, we are continually called on to make decisions. 

Some decisions we make on autopilot. We’ve already worked out what we’ll do if X happens, so when it happens, we don’t think, we execute.

Other decisions come at us as first impressions. They may require research, the counsel of others, and copious amounts of ‘sleeping on it’. 

Ultimately, the direction and altitude of your career may come down to a handful of key decisions, and no more. Because most decisions, like most variables, don’t make a big difference.

In 80/20 parlance, they are the ‘trivial many’, as opposed to the ‘precious few’. 

The precious few are game changers. The ones that can quadruple your income, which is what happened to me early in my career when I decided to specialize and learn everything I could about marketing. 

The precious few can make a big difference in your revenue, your success and happiness. 

The rest will be forgotten by next quarter. 

One entrepreneur says that when he has a decision to make, the first question he asks himself is, “Is this big enough to matter?”

If the answer is no, make a quick decision (or no decision) and let it go. Spend your time focusing on big decisions. 

But remember, everything is relative.

For some of us, hiring a new employee, changing billing software, or moving to a new office are big decisions. For others, not so much. 

And yet, seemingly small changes can lead to big results. If done right, adding a call-to-action to your emails can be a game changer, for example. 

Making decisions is one of the most important aspects of building a successful life; it’s also one of the most difficult. 

My advice? Do yourself a favor and don’t make so many. Save your brainpower for decisions that are big enough to matter.

Get more referrals from other lawyers

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Slow is smooth and smooth is fast

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I just learned this is something taught to military snipers. I’ve heard (and used) a similar phrase: “Slow down to speed up”.

The both teach the value of doing the task slowly and deliberately, mastering the fundamentals first.

Indeed, that’s what will allow you to speed up.

In the context of building a law practice, some lawyers go for the gold right out of the gate. They run fast and break things, or try to spend their way to success.

They’d be better off slowing down and mastering the fundamentals.

Learn the basics of marketing, advertising (even if they don’t advertise), copywriting (even if they hire someone), and sales.

Get good at selling themselves before trying to sell their services.

Another way a lawyer can “slow down to speed up” is to focus on their warm market (clients, professional contacts, and others who “know, like, and trust” them), before venturing into the cold market.

Focus on repeat business and referrals first (and always) and get good at it. Use ads, social media, and other cold market methods (if you want to) only after you’ve mastered the basics.

And, when you’re ready to approach the cold market, don’t be in a hurry. Study the market, learn everything you can about it and the people in it.

And when you approach the market, use a high-powered sniper rifle, not a shotgun.

Here’s what to do

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Pretend I’m 12

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I watched some videos on a powerful piece of software that interested me. The problem was, the guy doing the videos is the guy who developed the software and he flies through his demos, assuming we’re able to follow.

But I couldn’t follow.

I was impressed with what I thought his software could do but decided it wasn’t for me.

Because it looked too complicated to learn and use.

It might be worth learning, it’s true, but I shouldn’t have to invest a lot of time to find that out.

It’s the developer’s job to show me.

He should have slowed down. Assumed I needed everything explained. And showed me all the whats, whys, and hows.

When you’re trying to get someone to buy your product, your services, or your ideas, you need to meet them where they are, take them by the hand, and walk them over to where you want them to go.

If they like where you’ve taken them, you’ve got a chance at a sale.

This is not always easy to do. You have some serious balancing to do.

You don’t want things to fly over the heads of the people you’re trying to persuade but you don’t want to dumb things down so much that they are bored or feel like you’re talking down to them.

You also shouldn’t “tell” so much as “show”. Yes, even with abstract ideas, selling your services, or persuading a trier of fact to your client’s cause.

It can be done and it’s your job to do it.

Just because you’re good at the legal work (or writing software) doesn’t mean anybody will buy it. It’s your job (or your copywriter’s) to convince them.

Slow your pace. Explain everything. And make sure they understand what you’ve just told them before you move on to the next subject.

If you want to persuade me, pretend I’m 12.

The marketing course for attorneys who want to get big, fast

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I’ve got good news and bad news

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Have you ever asked a client, “Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news?”

You might want to stop asking.

It turns out it’s better to give the bad news first and finish with the good news. According to research, people remember an experience more favorably when you finish the conversation on a positive note.

Psychologically, we prefer experiences that improve over time.

So, give clients the bad news first.

It works the same for you.

When you have to deliver bad news to a client, schedule them early in the day. That way, your day will end on a positive note.

Get the hard stuff out of the way so you can end the day on a high note.

I love it when a plan comes together.

How to get referrals without asking for referrals

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The market’s the thing

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In marketing, the single most important factor in your success is your market. Who you target is far more important than what you say or what you offer.

Your marketing may be brilliant. You may spend a small fortune delivering your message. But unless it’s a good market (for you), you’ll never earn more than an average income.

Here’s a good formula to remember:

Great market + average marketing = big checks.
Average market + great marketing = average checks.

So, what’s a great market?

It is a market (list, group of people, etc.) that

  1. Needs and WANTS the outcomes and benefits you can deliver,
  2. Has lots of repeat business and/or referrals,
  3. Has the ability and willingness to pay what you ask, and
  4. Is a great fit for you.

What is a great fit? Mostly that you like the people and the work. You enjoy working with these folks.

When you find a great market (for you), everything else falls into place.

Your marketing is easier; almost unnecessary. You get most of your work from referrals and don’t need to do much else.

If that sounds good to you, go find the right market and fall in love with it. Learn everything you can about the market and the people in it, get to know some of the key people, and enjoy the rest of your career.

This will help

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