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Say ‘thank you’ for referrals. Loudly.

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One of the best ways to get more referrals is to thank the people who provide them. Do it quickly, sincerely, and appropriately. Make the referral-giver feel appreciated for their gesture and they’ll be more likely to do it again.

In addition, let your other clients and contacts know that you regularly get referrals and that you appreciate them.

Find ways to mention it in your newsletter, on your website, and in conversation.

For example, when you tell a client story (to illustrate a point), mention that the client you’re referencing heard about you from a co-worker who had a similar issue. Or you might say, “I just started working with a business owner referred to me by one of the tenants in his building we also represent.”

You can tell people that if they know someone who [has an issue you can help them with], to give them one of your cards. “Tell them to mention your name so I’ll know who to thank!”

When a professional sends you a referral, thank them, by name, in your newsletter, and give their practice a plug.

In your new client kit, describe how to identify someone who could use your help and how to make a referral. Mention that you get most of your clients through referrals and how much you appreciate your clients for supporting you.

It’s simple. Find ways to talk about referrals and you’ll get more referrals.

This will help

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Boring is for tunnels, not presentations

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Years ago, I recall reading that the optimal length of a presentation is twenty minutes. Any longer and the audience starts to tune out. If you have more information to cover, after twenty minutes or so, do something different.

Change the subject. Change the speaker. Tell a story. Survey the audience. Do a demo. Stop using slides or start using them.

Do something different to keep viewers or listeners paying attention instead of checking their phones or thinking about the rest of their day.

But that was then. This is now.

I just read an article that says (according to science) our brains get bored after ten minutes (not twenty). It noted that in view of this, at Apple product launch events they change the speaker every ten minutes.

If you do live presentations, videos, or podcasts, you might want to keep this in mind.

Want more referrals from other lawyers? This shows you what to do

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12 lists for organizing and managing your practice

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I like lists. They keep me organized, focused, and productive. I use them every day.

Take a gander at this list of lists, to see if there are any you might want to add to your productivity toolkit.

  1. Current Projects. Everything you’re working on (or should be). Having these in one place will keep you from neglecting anything and see if you’ve got too much on your plate and need to offload something.
  2. Next Projects. What do you intend to work on once you’ve completed your current projects? This will help you prepare for those projects, e.g., write down ideas, research, etc., so you can start them without delay.
  3. Ongoing & Recurring Projects. Other projects or responsibilities, e.g., updating your website, networking activities, content creation, client relations activities, your newsletter, preparing reports, etc.
  4. To Do This Week. 3-5 important projects to focus on in the next week to ten days.
  5. To Do Today. Look at your “this week” list, your calendar, your project lists, and elsewhere, and choose 3-5 “MITs” (Most Important Tasks) for the day.
  6. Routines. Checklists of weekly or daily tasks for tidying up, organizing, and planning your work. Examples: weekly review, inbox zero, cleaning up computer files, paying bills, morning and afternoon “startup” and “shut down” routines.
  7. Goals & Dreams. Monthly, quarterly, and annual benchmarks. Long-term goals or vision.
  8. Someday/Maybes. Ideas you’re considering but aren’t yet committed to doing.
  9. What’s Working Now. Questions that prompt you to reflect on what’s working well so you can do more of them.
  10. What’s Not Working Now. Questions that help identify problems, bottlenecks, and poor ROI, so you can eliminate, curtail, delegate, or fix them.
  11. Budget. Track income and expenses to reduce debt, increase profits, manage investments, etc.
  12. Remember. Ideas, quotes, or accomplishments you want to keep in front of you, to stay motivated, focused, and on message.

Do you use any lists that aren’t on this list?

My Evernote for Lawyers ebook

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Deciding what to do first

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Yesterday, I said that when you feel overwhelmed with too much to do you should make a big list of everything and then choose (no more than) three things.

But how do you choose?

Do you select something that’s urgent? Important? Easy? Challenging? Enjoyable? Do you choose something at random just to get moving?

There’s no right or wrong answer.

One thing you could do is go through the list and for each item, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen if I DON’T accomplish this today?” No doubt you’ll realize that most of the things on your list can wait but you still may be no closer to choosing.

One question that’s helped me choose is the one posed by Gary Keller in his book, The One Thing:

“What is ONE THING you could do such that by doing it, everything else would be easier or unnecessary?”

A simpler version: “If I could ONLY do ONE thing today, what would I do?”

When we limit ourselves to just one thing we make it easier to choose because we tacitly give ourselves permission to put everything else aside. It forces us to identify our priority.

Get your “one thing” done and even if you don’t do anything else today, you will have a good day. Get your One Thing done FIRST and you’ll have the rest of the day to choose what to do next.

Referrals every day

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What to do when you’re overwhelmed

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You’ve got too much to do. Too many ideas. Too many thoughts bouncing around in your head. You’re feeling anxious, confused, defeated, overwhelmed.

One of the best things you can do to gain some relief and clarity about what to do is to get everything out of your head and onto paper.

Grab a sheet or your favorite note app and do a brain dump. Write down every task, idea, and worry. Write quickly and don’t stop until your brain is empty.

When you’re done, you should feel a bit better. A little lighter, more centered.

What now? Take the rest of the day off. Go do something fun and life-affirming. Your list will be there when you return.

If you can’t do that, at least resist the urge to study and prioritize your list. That’s likely to make things worse.

Instead, read through the list quickly and choose (underline, star, circle) no more than three things that jump out at you. Things that are urgent or important and calling to you to get done.

Once you’ve done that, write down those three things on another list and put the first list away. Then, deal with those three things.

If they’re tasks, do them. If they’re decisions, decide them. If they’re problems, work on them, and continue doing that until you’re done or you have completed these three things or taken them as far as you can go.

Then, celebrate. You’ve re-established control and taken care of some important things. Pick up your list again and choose what’s next.

If “get more clients” is one of your three things, start here

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Rewarding and incentivizing clients

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Who says you have to charge all of your clients the same fee and/or the same terms?

You might offer

  • Former clients an incentive to return (e.g., lower fee, additional service as a bonus, extended payment plan, a free review, a free update, etc.)
  • First-time clients a special offer to try your firm
  • Existing clients an incentive to hire you for other services or to hire you more often
  • Longtime clients a lower rate or to “lock in” the existing rate for two years (by doing something)
  • A lower rate to new clients who provide a bigger retainer
  • Different packages, at different price points, to give clients incentives to “buy” more now instead of waiting

Are you getting any ideas?

Try it with a small segment of your client list. For example, you could send a letter to clients who haven’t hired you for ten years or more and make them a special offer. If you like the results, you could roll out the offer to other “old” clients.

Wait. Can you reward and incentivize lawyers and other professionals to provide more referrals? You betcha. You can learn all about it in Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals.

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Voicemail for grownups

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I don’t know about you but I hate voicemail messages like this: “Hey, it’s Don and I’ve got a quick question. Call me back. Thanks.”

Phone tag much?

If you want me to respond, ask me what you want to ask me or tell me what you want to talk to me about, and make it as easy as possible for me to reply.

Like this:

“Hey, it’s Don; it’s Monday and I’m trying to figure out which form to use for [whatever]. I have to file by Wednesday at 5 pm so if possible, could you get back to me by the end of the day Tuesday? I’d really appreciate it. You can either email me at [email] or text or call me at [number]. Thank you so much!”

Of course, your outgoing voicemail message should prompt callers to leave sufficient information:

“This is Joe Lawyer. Please leave your full name and a detailed message about the purpose of your call. Also, make sure you leave your phone number or numbers, even if you think I have it, and the best time or times to reach you. For a quicker reply, please email me at [email]. Thank you.”

You should also tell callers when you or someone from your office will get back to them so they know what to expect.

Oh, and when a caller follows instructions, praise them because so many people don’t.

Do you know the formula for getting more clients?

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The way the world works

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It’s called “the tipping point”. Whether you’re opening a new law practice or building an existing one, starting a project or promoting a cause, it is the point where you have built up sufficient momentum to trigger accelerated growth.

You start at zero. Just you and an idea. Everything seems difficult. You see little or no results. When you reach the tipping point, things change. Your results start to get bigger and come faster. Before you grew by addition; now you grow by multiplication.

This is what you’re working for. This is where you get big, fast and people think you just got lucky.

Unfortunately, many people give up or go in another direction before they reach the tipping point. They couldn’t see the harvest that awaited them so they stopped sowing.

You have to trust that your efforts will pay off. You have to keep sowing until they do.

Keep sowing until you see some momentum, the point at which things get a little easier, and then keep sowing and building on that momentum.

That’s the way the world works. That’s how you get from where you are to where you want to go.

Build momentum in your practice with referrals

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Gotta minute?

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You’ve just finished a meeting and have ten or twenty minutes before your next appointment. Or you’ve finished a research or writing project but don’t feel like starting anything new.

To stay productive, maintain a running list of tasks you can do in five or ten minutes.

Ideas:

  • Send a note/email/social media message: thank you, birthday, networking, praise, etc.
  • Call a former client to say hello
  • Call a business contact and invite them to coffee/lunch
  • Stretching exercises/get some air
  • Clean your desktop or your computer desktop
  • Read an article or two in your “read later” list
  • Un-subscribe from email lists you don’t read
  • Empty your email inbox (respond/file/delete)
  • Empty your task inbox
  • Organize computer documents
  • Add new contacts to contact management app
  • Review your to-do list, re-prioritize tasks
  • Shop for a gift
  • Edit/outline/proofread a document
  • Clean up bookmarks
  • Backup files
  • Update software

Once a week, you might create a short list of contacts to connect with for the week. That way, when you have an extra five minutes, you won’t have to use the time deciding who to contact.

So, what’s on your list?

Keep your list in this

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One of the simplest and most effective ways to build your practice

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I did a marketing consultation last week with an attorney who has an email list and uses it to stay in touch with 1100 clients, prospects and professional contacts.

That’s good.

He writes to them every few weeks or so, when he has news or information to share.

Here’s an expanded version of some of my suggestions:

He built and maintains the list manually. I told him to automate the list building by putting an email sign-up form on his website so visitors could sign themselves up. Offer an incentive–a report or ebook– to encourage them to do that.

You’ll get more subscribers by capturing “first-time/one-time” visitors to your site, many of whom need to hear more before they’ll hire you.

Use the autoresponder function provided by the email service provider to send an automated welcome message, deliver the report, and send them a series of additional messages over time.

Use the “broadcast” function of the email service to send them additional messages.

I suggested emailing on a regular schedule. Aim for weekly. You want subscribers to get used to hearing from you. You want to be “in their minds and their mailboxes” when they need your services and are ready to hire you, or they have a referral.

To write more frequently:

  1. Send shorter emails–a few paragraphs is enough
  2. Send all text emails–don’t bother with HTML, images, etc., just type and send
  3. Don’t limit your subject matter to legal matters. That’s boring for people who don’t currently have those issues. Write about consumer-related topics, personal stories, and anything else.

Make your emails informative and entertaining and use them to build a relationship with your subscribers.

This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to bring in more business.

This will help you create a report and get more subscribers

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