Sorry, I don’t want to smack that bell

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Everywhere we turn, somebody is telling us to do something. Fill out a form, download a pdf, watch a video, like, comment, share, subscribe. 

It’s annoying, but it works. We’re more likely to click something when we’re asked to do it.

Which is why everyone asks. And why you should too. 

If you want more subscribers, ask (tell) people to subscribe. You’ll get more subscribers. If you want more clients, tell people to call for an appointment. You’ll get more calls. And clients. 

You’re reminding them to do something that’s good for them. The more you ask or remind them, the better off they’ll be. So don’t feel guilty about asking. They’ll thank you later, after you’ve helped them solve their problem.

Ultimately, people do what they want to do. I do that; you do that. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell you to do something or buy something, you won’t do it—unless you want to. I can’t make you do it, just as you can’t make a prospective client write you a big check. 

But while we can’t compel people to do things, we can make it more likely that they will. 

The simplest way to do that is to tell them why. Give them one or more reasons or benefits for doing what you ask. Tell them what’s in it for them. Because they might not know. They might not remember. They might not have wanted or needed those benefits before, but now they do.

This doesn’t mean you have to pile on the benefits. You don’t have to smother them with extras and bonuses, or go to great lengths to persuade them to do what you ask. People like helping you. They like telling others about you and what you offer. It makes them feel good about themself to do that.  

Which is why many people will do what you ask simply because you ask.

But more will do it if you tell them why.

The Attorney Marketing Formula

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People lead you to people

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Some people can hire you. Some can’t. Or won’t. Some people can send you referrals. Some can’t. Or won’t. 

Here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter what someone can or can’t do. They know people you don’t know and can lead you to them.

Your new client might know no one who needs your services. But their boss, accountant, neighbor, or friend might. It’s not who you know, it’s who they know and can lead you to. 

You still need to be refer-able. You still need to get introduced or have your contact give them your card or a link to your website. But it gives you a path. A modus operandi. When you meet someone new—online or in person, through formal networking, speaking to a new client or prospect, or chatting with a stranger in line to get coffee, your job is to find out who they know. 

Emblazon it on your brain. “Who do they know?” (Or “Whom…” if you were an English major.)

If they mention they work at a certain company, find out what they do there and who they work with. Do they know any of the executives, directors, vendors, or shareholders? Do they know anyone who does?  

You might start by asking if the company has in-house counsel or works with an outside firm. It would be good to meet those lawyers. Even if they are your direct competitor, they might have a conflict or otherwise be unable to represent a client or take a case (e.g., too big, too small, wrong industry, etc.) and might refer them to you.

NB: get to know other lawyers.

What if your client or contact doesn’t know the in-house counsel or hesitates to introduce them? Pick up the phone, call that lawyer, tell them you have a mutual business contact (the employee at their client’s company) and want to introduce yourself and find out more about what they do. (Psst, and who they know). 

It works the same way with everyone. When you sign up a new client, find out the name of their insurance broker, accountant, financial planner, or attorney. 

More people you want to know.  

As a friend of mine used to put it, “Don’t look ‘at’ them, look ‘through’ them—because it’s not who you know, it’s who THEY know. 

My guide to Lawyer-to-lawyer referrals

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Do I really need to do this? 

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Lawyers use a lot of checklists, don’t we? We figure out the steps, the best order to do them, and get to work. When we tick all the boxes or complete all the steps, we know we have left nothing out. The next time we do that task or work on that type of project or case, we don’t have to think about the steps again, we just do them. 

It’s efficient. Unless we wind up doing things we don’t need to do. 

That’s why, instead of automatically following our list, we should routinely ask ourself, “Do I really need to do this?”

Ask yourself if you could eliminate that task or skip that step. Because if you can, you can use that time for something else.

More time to do other work you need to do. More time for marketing. More time to rest or have a little fun.

Over the course of a day or week, you might reclaim hours of time unnecessarily spent doing things you don’t need to do. 

So, every day, ask yourself, “Do I really need to do this?”

Do you really need to attend that meeting every week? Would once a month be sufficient? Do you really need to go at all?

When you review a case or prepare a client for depo or arbitration, is every step necessary? Could you do any of them more quickly? Do you have to do everything yourself, or could you delegate any steps?

Any task you eliminate frees up valuable time. Any task you can do in 5 minutes instead of the usual 20 minutes does likewise. It might only be a few minutes here and there, but those minutes add up.

How often do you check your email? Could you safely do that twice a day instead of the 4 or 5 times you’re used to? 

Look at your calendar. Is there an upcoming task or event you could eliminate? Is there anything scheduled for 45 minutes you could do reasonably well in 25? 

Eliminate whatever you can. Cut wherever you can. Would something bad happen if I didn’t do this? Could I skip that step or do it in two minutes instead of ten?

Remember, every minute you save is a minute you can use doing something else.

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Flexible task planning

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We all have good days and bad days. Busy days and days we don’t get a lot done. Days when we’re full of energy and days when we need a nap.

So, why do we plan our days assuming we’ll always be at our best?  

We’re not always at our best. Sometimes, we’re tired or ill or overwhelmed. We don’t feel up to everything. Other days, we feel great and are ready to take on the world. 

Instead of rigidly planning our days, assuming we’ll be able to work at full speed, what if we create two versions of our day’s schedule?

  1. Bare minimum (to use when we’re tired, feeling sick, overwhelmed, feeling down, etc.) 
  2. Crushing it (when we have lots of energy and feel like doing everything) 

When you’re tired or feeling bad, you do the bare minimum. You take care of deadlines, important obligations, things that can’t wait. You get through the day and live to see another.

And, when you’re full of energy, excited about the day ahead, you put on your Superman cape, look at your other list, and crush it. 

In other words, you pay attention to how you feel instead of following a rigid schedule. 

You don’t literally need to make two lists. Just put a star next to everything on the list that qualifies as “bare minimum”.

Most days, you probably feel somewhere in the middle. You do more than the minimum, but probably less than you might do when you’re fully charged. With two versions of your day’s list, you can ramp up or scale down, depending on how you feel.

Of course, there will be days when you feel good in the morning but poop out in the afternoon. Or high energy early in the week and low energy as you approach the week end. That’s another way to use your lists.  

I know, we’re told consistency is our friend and we should make a schedule and stick to it no matter what.

But hey, Superman never gets sick or tired, but the rest of us need some options.

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I don’t have time for marketing

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A lot of lawyers say that. How about you? 

If you do, does this mean you have more work than you can handle and don’t want any more? You’re good.

Great. Live long and prosper. 

But before you declare yourself “done” with marketing, I want to point out a few ways you can “do” marketing without spending any more time. 

It comes down to things like

  • The words you use to describe your services 
  • How you answer questions asked by clients and prospects
  • The way you dress and the car you drive
  • What you say to a client at his or her first appointment 
  • Your fees and billing practices and how you describe them
  • What you send new clients to describe what happens next and how they can help you get the best results for them 
  • What you send clients at the end of a case or engagement, to make them glad they chose you and more likely to return 
  • What you say (and don’t say) that makes it more likely you will get referrals
  • How you handle a client who is unhappy
  • How you speak to other professionals and centers of influence in your market about your practice, your services, and about yourself. And about their business or practice.
  • What you say and do to differentiate your firm from the competition
  • How often you stay in touch with clients and what you tell them or send them when you do
  • The professionalism of your marketing copy
  • The range of services you provide, and how this compares to what your competition offers 
  • How you accommodate clients who have a special request or need
  • How you turn down a case or client
  • How you handle phone calls and interruptions when a client or prospect is in your office
  • The causes, charities and groups you support 
  • How quickly you respond to inquires and the tone of your response
  • What you do and don’t do on social media
  • Your advertising messages—content, tone, frequency, and offers
  • The energy and enthusiasm you show in person, on stage, and in interviews
  • The quality and content of photos and graphics used in your website and marketing documents
  • The stories you share about your cases and clients
  • How you treat your staff

It’s all marketing. Everything you do is marketing. 

It’s all part of how you inspire confidence in you and your ability to get excellent results for your clients, and it doesn’t take any more time to get it right. 

You may not have time for other kinds of marketing, but surely you have time for these. 

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Think big. Really big.

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Are you growing as fast as you’d like? Or do you want to get bigger results? Much bigger. So big, every day is exciting?

It’s up to you. 

If you want to earn a lot more this year than last year, you can but you have to change how you think and what you do. 

Because nothing will change unless you change. 

The first thing you need to change is your goal. It has to be bigger. So big, it sounds impossible. So big, it scares you. 

Because that’s the kind of goal that will excite you enough to get you to do the things you need to do to reach it. 

A goal to grow 20% this year might sound good, but you can do better. Change it to 200%. 

Impossible? How would you ever achieve that? You’re right. Forget it. You’ve got too much work to do to waste time daydreaming.

Or…. maybe…

If a goal makes your heart beat faster just thinking about it, it might be exactly what you need to do.

Because a goal like that forces you to make different decisions. Do things you haven’t been doing. In ways you might never have considered. 

You’ll make different plans. Instead of thinking about creating a new presentation, you might think about buying another lawyer’s practice, tripling your ad spend, or hiring a marketing firm. 

You might not do those things, but at least you’ll think about them, and that’s precisely the kind of thinking you need to get where you want to go.

Or, you can stick with your 20% goal, focus on getting your work done, putting our fires, and using the same marketing and business strategies you’ve been using.

It’s up to you.

It’s true, thinking bigger might lead to bigger mistakes. You might not come close to achieving your bigger goal. 

So? 

Set a goal to grow 200% and miss it by 50% and you will still double your income. Miss it by 75% and you’ll still be ahead of the original goal. 

Think big. Really big. So big that when you tell someone about what you’re doing this year, THEY get excited. 

The Attorney Marketing Formula will help you

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Why you need a story diary

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You are a storyteller. You tell them to friends, colleagues, clients, and juries. You put them in blog posts, articles, and presentations. You use them to make a point or share a light moment. 

Stories are how humans connect with each other. They help us win friends and influence people. 

And you need a steady supply of them. 

Where do you get them? By keeping your eyes and ears open and noting what other people talk about, write about, and do. You get them by observing your world. 

The best stories are usually about things you did or that happen to you because you have an emotional connection with those stories (and the people in them).

You solved a problem, did something new and interesting, or met someone who made an impression. When you share these stories, you help people understand, appreciate, and remember your message. 

And you.

When you talk about a troublesome case, for example, you help the reader or listener step into your shoes, see what you saw, and feel what you felt. It’s an effective way of illustrating something important or something you care about and think your audience will, too. 

Now, since stories are so valuable, you should create (or expand) the habit of collecting them. 

Set up a “story” file and add notes and articles and quotes you might use someday. In addition, take two-minutes at the end of each day and make a note of what you did (or saw or heard) that day. 

Who did you speak with? What problems did you solve or work on? What did you see or hear?

Did you sign up a new client? Settle a case? Improve a skill or start learning a new one?

Record your day in a diary or journal. You don’t need to write out the entire story. Just jot down enough details to help you remember it when you want to use it.

Your journal will make you a more effective writer, speaker, and communicator. It will help you win more friends and influence more people.

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Make it easier for clients to say ‘yes’

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According to a number of studies, giving customers too many options makes it less likely they will buy anything. In one oft-cited experiment, grocery shoppers were given the choice of a dozen flavors of jam to choose during a promotion. They sold more jam overall, however, when they gave shoppers fewer choices.

Too many options tend to lower response, ostensibly because shoppers get overwhelmed and can’t decide which to choose. Too many choices, apparently, means too many chances to make a poor choice.

But if too many options lower response (and profits), can the same be said about giving customers too few options? 

Most lawyers give prospective clients only two choices—hire me or don’t. What would happen if they offered more options? 

If you handle estate planning, for example, you might offer a basic estate planning package and a more comprehensive package. Does this make it more likely clients will hire you? Will you generate more revenue if you give clients two choices instead of one?

When I sold my referral marketing course, I started by offering one option. You could buy the course or not. When I added a Deluxe version, I got more sales and more revenue. (60% bought the higher-priced Deluxe package).

Two options were much more lucrative than one. 

But selling courses and selling legal services aren’t the same thing. The only way to know what is best for you is to test different offers and see what happens. 

Try one option, e.g., buy or don’t, vs. two options, e.g., Basic or Comprehensive, and three options, e.g., Basic, Comprehensive, and something in between. 

Crunch the numbers. 

But keep in mind that getting more new clients might not be as profitable as getting fewer new clients who pay a higher fee. And don’t forget the “back end”–the lifetime value of a client via repeat business and referrals. 

So, it’s complicated. But worth testing different options. Just not too many. 

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Look for the pony

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There’s an old joke about a boy who fell into a big stinky pile of dung. Instead of trying to escape, he dives headfirst into it and stays there, splashing around. When he finally extricates himself, he’s asked why he did that.

“With all that horse poop, I figured there had to be a pony.”

Dumb joke, but it illustrates an important point about maintaining a positive attitude in the face of a mess. 

When you have a problem or crisis, you might want to ignore it, curl up in a ball, or run away, but no matter how bad the problem is, there’s always something you can do.  

At least that’s how you should think about it. 

You can’t control what happened. You can control your response. 

Stay calm. You can’t panic yourself out of a crisis. Take 5 minutes for a pity party if you must and then take a deep breath and focus on what you can do.

Problems have solutions. Ask yourself “What happened?” “Why?” and “What can I do about it?” You might not enjoy revisiting the problem, but asking questions like these, and answering them, allows you to get clear about your situation and find a solution.

No matter what the solution, it will require action. You have to do something and it will almost always be something you haven’t been doing. That might mean getting out of your comfort zone and if that’s something you resist, consider that the discomfort it causes might be a lot less than what you will feel if you don’t fix the problem.

Take action, continue to do that, and fully expect that you “can fix this”. Because you are unlikely to fix it if you don’t believe you can.

While you’re at it, look for something good about what happened. Maybe you learned an important lesson. Maybe you explored some new ideas you can use in good times and bad. Maybe you lost something but gained something even better. 

When you fall into a pile of dung, look for the pony.

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A proven way to get more newsletter subscribers and seminar attendees

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The theory is that people sign up for your newsletter or attend your seminar or other event because they want to learn your wisdom, ideas, and advice. Or they want to know more about what you do and how you can help them. 

That’s the theory but, unfortunately, they don’t always take the time to do that. That’s why most professionals who write a newsletter or conduct seminars, etc., offer an incentive or bonus, aka “lead magnet” to entice more people to sign-up. 

And it works. In fact, more often than you might think, people sign up primarily (or solely) to get the bonus.  

But only if they believe that said bonus offers sufficient value in return for giving you their email. 

And so, if you want more sign-ups, make sure you create an effective lead magnet. 

How do you do that? You work just as hard (or harder) on the report or other bonus as you do on your newsletter or event. 

Because if they don’t sign up, it won’t matter how good your newsletter or seminar might be, prospects won’t see or hear it. 

The key to an effective lead magnet is the headline or title. It must instantly get the reader’s attention and persuade them to read or listen. Tell them what they will learn or get or be able to do as a result of reading or consuming the report.

Your report should help them solve a (painful) problem, one they know they have and want to get rid of. Or it should help them achieve a meaningful objective they ardently desire. 

Something they want or something they need. 

Ideally, your description of the report should say or imply that they can’t (easily) get this information anywhere else. One way to do that is to point out that your report is based on your years of experience working with clients with the same problems or desires as your reader, or it is a form or checklist you use regularly in your practice. 

The length of the report isn’t important. As long as it does what it says it does, and is something the reader wants or needs, you’ll get more sign ups. But since the ultimate goal is to get more clients, consider giving them a lot of high quality information. 

The more value, the better. 

You want them to think, “If she provides this much value in a free report, she must truly know what she’s doing and can afford to be this generous. I can’t wait to see how much value she gives paying clients.”

This gives you great posture—and a lot more sign-ups. 

How to create an effective newsletter, get more subscribers and more clients

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