Keeping clients

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My wife called to cancel a service we no longer need. After a few questions, the girl who answered the phone turned the call over to her manager.

He asked more questions. Were we unhappy with the service, did the rep do something wrong, is there anything the company could do to get us to stay, how about a free month of service?

Normal questions.

When we didn’t bite, the manager played the guilt card. He pointed out that the rep would suffer financially from our departure.

If that’s part of the script, they need a new script. Even if that strategy works, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

I’m guessing they’re getting a lot of cancellations right now and they’re feeling the pinch.

Anyway, the experience reminded me to remind you that having a retention strategy in place is important for lawyers.

When a client calls to tell you they’re leaving or they’re unhappy with something or they want you to stop working on their case, you should be prepared to ask questions, put out fires, and keep them on board.

And be prepared to work things out with them when they say (or it appears) they can’t afford to continue.

Think it through, write it out, spitball it with your team, and make sure everyone is trained on what to say and do.

Because it’s going to happen.

But, here’s the thing. There’s only so much you can say or do and only so many clients will stay.

That’s life.

What you can do is prepare their exit for their eventual return and for referrals.

Tell them you understand, accommodate their needs, apologize if appropriate, tell them they’re welcome back if their situation changes, and wish them well.

And whatever you do, don’t play the guilt card.

How to get former clients to send you referrals

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How to use clickbait to instantly get dozens of new clients

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If you’re reading this, my evil plan is working. I wrote something that made you curious and you wanted to know more.

Despite the obvious clickbait-y headline.

But my point isn’t to use trickery to fool people into reading your message. It is to illustrate the power of curiosity for getting attention.

When it comes to marketing, copywriting legend Gary Halbert said curiosity is even more powerful than self-interest.

Done right, your reader or audience “has to” know more.

How do you arouse curiosity? How do you compel the reader to open your email, play your video, or read your article?

You do it, ironically, by hinting at something that plays to their self-interest.

Mention something they care about, need or want. Give them a taste of something that will help them avoid pain or achieve gain. Add a touch of specificity that let’s them know “this is for them”.

For extra oomph, hint at something that sounds impossible or too good to be true. Make the reader “torture” themselves trying to figure out how this is done.

Example? Sure. Let’s say you’re a personal injury attorney writing a post or ad that offers a free report about increasing the settlement value of a case. You could make prospective clients curious with a headline like this:

“Injured? Free report reveals 5 easy ways to increase the value of your case (and ONE common mistake that can destroy it)”

What are those 5 easy ways? What is the one common mistake? Yep, they have to read the report to find out.

Of course, when they read the report, you make them curious to know if they have a good case (and how much it’s worth).

Yep, they have to hire you to find out.

Want to get more referrals without asking for referrals? Here’s how

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5 ways to build trust

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Marketing isn’t just telling people what you do and how you can help them. Marketing requires targeting the right people with the right problems and providing them with the right message and offer.

One of the biggest hurdles is building trust.

People are scared about their legal situation and skeptical about your ability to help them. They don’t know if you’re competent, honest, or charge reasonable fees.

They may like what you say but if they don’t trust you, they often keep looking.

It usually takes time to build trust, but here are 5 ways to speed up the process:

  1. Referrals. Prospective clients “borrow” trust from the people who refer them, thus making them more likely to hire you. Referral marketing shortens the sales process, saves time and money, and usually brings in better clients.
  2. Content marketing. Blog posts, articles, presentations, etc., allow you to show people what you know, what you do, and how you work with your clients. This works even better when you are published by or interviewed on authority sites or podcasts or speak at industry events.
  3. Social proof. Ask people to share your content with their friends and neighbors, colleagues, clients and customers. Get testimonials and reviews from clients and endorsements from influential people.
  4. Free consultations. Let people sample your advice and demeanor, hear more about what you can do to help them, and get their questions answered straight from the horse’s mouth.
  5. Build a list and stay in touch. A simple email newsletter allows you to build trust over time. It helps you get more clients, more referrals, more people sharing your content, book more free consultations, and get more testimonials and reviews.

If you want to see how to use a newsletter to build your practice, go here

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Questions are the answer

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When we have a problem, we’re told not to focus on that problem but to focus on possible solutions. But we can’t do that without spending time thinking about the problem.

More specifically, asking ourself questions.

Questions like, What happened, Why did it happen, Who caused it, Who can help fix it, and especially, What can I do about it?

If the problem is a drop in business and you ask why it happened, right now your answer would no doubt include the shutdown. Many people aren’t doing anything about their legal problems now because they don’t have the money or the presence of mind to deal with them.

Is that a problem you can do something about? I don’t know, but asking THAT question might lead you to some ideas.

Asking the right questions helps us to focus on what we can do, instead of what we can’t do.

Questions like, What can I do to bring in new clients right now? What can I do to lower my expenses or increase my revenue? What can I do to set the stage for the future once things return to a semblance of normalcy?

More.

What can I do or offer that other lawyers can’t or won’t? How can I position myself as the better solution? What can I do beyond my core services to attract and engage my ideal client? How can I become better known to my target market? How can I get more traffic and build my list? Where can I get more marketing ideas?

What if you don’t like the answers? Ask more questions.

Because questions are the answer. And because asking questions is better than stewing in negative thoughts.

Where do you go to find “next level” marketing strategies? Here

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The headline goes here

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I got a postcard in the mail, with this headline:

“The highest compliment we can receive is the referral of friends and family.”

Me: “I don’t know who you are or what you do and you’re talking about referrals?”

Into the trash. . .

But wait, I could use this as an example of really bad advertising, so. . . I keep reading. . .

Under the “headline” is a series of bullet points. See if you can figure out what this outfit does:

  • 9 Years in Business
  • 6 Months Federal Relief Program
  • Up to 60% Lower Payments
  • 4.7% Rating on Social Media
  • “A” Rating on BBB
  • Seriously Delinquent O.K.

Sounds like they do some kind of re-financing or workouts, but what do I know?

Next line: Visit Now [a website url that says nothing about the company or what they do]

Then: “Thank You for Your Trust, [Company Name].

And, finally, “Call Now” followed by a phone number.

And. . . that’s it.

So, no headline, no information, no benefits, no offer, no testimonials, no examples of before and after (e.g., lower payments). . . and no reason to keep this out of the trash.

Hold on, it’s a postcard. There has to be something on the back.

Ah, there it is. It says, “ARE YOU DROWNING IN STUDENT LOAN DEBT?”

Finally, something specific. A “sorting” question and a hint at a benefit. If you see this side of the postcard first and you have a lot of student debt, you might be interested enough to turn the card over to find out what this is all about.

But, when you do, you’re scratching your head, wondering what they do and why you should bother to call or visit.

To think, this company paid to have this printed and mailed. (I’m going to assume they DIDN’T pay a copywriter to write it.)

Anyway, if you want to know how to write an ad or directory listing, keep this handy and do the opposite of what they did. Or show it to your copywriter or agency and say, “Don’t do this.”

If you want a second opinion on your ad or sales copy, let me know

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Yesterday is a canceled check

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We’ve all been told it’s important to plan our week and month and year. Maybe our quarter, too.

The problems is, we don’t live our lives weekly or monthly, we live them one day at a time.

Author Kay Lyons Stockham said, “Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have – so spend it wisely.”

Planning your day is simple. Think about your goals and plan activities that move you closer to those goals.

If one of your goals is to increase your income, your plan for the day should include income producing activities.

If you want to grow your network, connect with one new contact every day.

If you want to get more repeat business and referrals, call or email or message three current or former clients each day.

If you want to get more traffic to your blog, write or edit or share new content every day.

Pick a goal you want to accomplish, then break it down into daily activities.

Because how you live your day is how you live your life.

This will help you plan your marketing

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The TRUTH about practicing law

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One of the simplest ways to get more people reading and sharing your posts, especially on social, is to make them controversial.

Challenge them, shock them, anger them–because everyone loves a good fight.

They most popular TV shows and online videos feature emotional content: anger and outrage, sex and love, pleasant surprises and massive disappointments.

People love conflict. And the algorithms promote posts and videos that feature it.

Platforms like Twitter have their entire business model built around people being angry at something. Or someone.

If you want to get more eyeballs and engagement and shares, write posts that “expose” the truth about something, including your practice area (especially your practice area).

Write about issues you know people disagree with, and tell them why YOU disagree with what other lawyers say or do: “Why I don’t agree with. . .” or “Why I don’t like/use/do. . .”

“Force” prospective clients who are searching for a lawyer to read your post with a title like, “Is [legal service] worth it?” or “What most [practice area] lawyers get wrong.”

Cruise through social media and record the titles of videos and posts that are being promoted or shared or that catch your eye, and adapt those titles and themes to your posts.

Throw some raw meat to the lions and watch them stick around for more.

There are more ways to attract and engage clients and prospects. In Email Marketing for Attorneys, I break these down and show you what to do.

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Writing is easier and more effective if you do this

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Everyone says we should write to and for our reader. We should have in mind an avatar of what they’re like and what they want and address ourselves to that person.

To be more relatable, we should use examples and references that conform to their life experience and world view. To get a higher response to our ideas and offers, we should talk about the benefits we know they need and want.

Yes, everyone says we should do this in our blog posts, articles, newsletter, and social media posts.

Including me.

But while this is generally good advice, it makes writing more difficult and less effective because when we appeal to one person or one ideal reader, we tend to exclude everyone else.

Sounds like a conundrum.

But there’s a solution.

Instead of writing for your ideal reader, write for yourself.

In your first draft, write what you want to write and say it the way you want to say it. Because if what you write resonates with you, it will resonate with others.

If you free your writing this way, you’ll attract your target audience organically. And it will be an audience that relates to you and likes you and tends to trust you.

Because you’re like them.

Then, write your second draft for your readers.

Tailor your message and offers to them. Add relevant examples and stories and use terminology they will recognize and understand.

The first draft is for you. The second draft is for your reader.

In case you’re wondering, the third draft is for your editor. Or someone else who’s got your back.

How to write a newsletter that brings in more business

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I don’t like your attitude, bub

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My wife and I went out for a ride yesterday. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed getting out of the house. We drove towards the beach and went to a grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner.

Outside the store was a young lady wearing a mask and offering to disinfect shopper’s carts. She greeted us warmly. On our way out of the store, she told us to have a nice afternoon.

On our way home, we remembered something we needed and stopped at another grocery store.

My wife stayed in the car while I walked up to the store. In front was an older man with a similar disinfectant set-up as the first store.

But this guy wasn’t friendly. He didn’t greet me.

As I walked up to the store, he said, “Do you have a mask? You can’t come in here without a mask.”

I had a mask in my pocket. I brought it with me just in case we went someplace that required it.

Like this store.

I could have put on the mask but I didn’t. There was something about the way this guy said what he said that rankled me. He was scolding me and I didn’t like it.

I didn’t complain, I simply turned around and walked back to my car.

The store lost my business yesterday.

Anyway, this isn’t about whether or not your establishment has a mask policy.

It’s about the subtle messages you send to your customers or clients that may push them away from you when you should be doing just the opposite.

It’s about lightening up a bit, and going out of your way to brighten their day, especially now when everyone seems to be on edge.

They say people make up their minds about you within 4 seconds of meeting you. Given my experience yesterday, I’d say that’s about right.

When you’re ready for your practice to take a quantum leap

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4 reasons you should read what other lawyers write

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Lawyers are writers and you should make time to read them.

Read their blogs, subscribe to their newsletters, follow them on social.

See what they’re saying and what they’re doing. Here are four good reasons:

  1. Law/legal news. Keep up with the law in your field and allied fields. Cases you need to read, proposed legislation, rules you need to know, emerging trends, etc.
  2. Content ideas. Get ideas for your own articles and posts. Agree or disagree with them, offer your own examples, slant, predictions, etc.
  3. Marketing and practice management ideas. Learn what your colleagues are doing to get clients and manage their practice. What marketing methods do they use? Which productivity methods do they use? Which vendors do they use?
  4. Networking opportunities. Find lawyers with whom you can conduct strategic alliances, e.g., cross-referring, writing for each other’s blogs, interviewing each other, creating an event together, promoting each other’s content.

My challenge: Before the end of the day, find one lawyer in your field and one lawyer in an allied field; spend 30 minutes reading their blog (and taking notes), (b) follow them on social, and (c) sign up for their newsletter.

You’ll thank me later.

Build your practice with an email newsletter

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