How to get more clients like your best clients

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Some clients are better than others. They have more work for you, they are willing to pay higher fees for better service, they treat you well and send you referrals.

Yes?

Ah, but while they may be better, they may not be your best.

Your best clients, your “ideal” clients, match a profile that you have decided is where you want to make your mark.

Your ideal clients have values that align with yours. They have needs and wants that you are better equipped to satisfy than most attorneys because you have more experience with clients like them. They have characteristics–personality, background, lifestyle, income–similar to those that identify your other ideal clients.

Your ideal clients provide you with your highest value and you want more of them. You’ll tolerate clients who don’t fit this profile but you target prospective clients who do.

Or at least you should.

Not just because you want more of them but so that you can appeal to them more effectively in your marketing.

When you try to appeal to everyone based solely on legal need, as most attorneys do, you dilute your message and diminish your results.

If you want your best clients to find you and hire you, focus your marketing so that it speaks exclusively to them. 

Most attorneys are “an inch deep and a mile wide” in their marketing. They aren’t intentional and they don’t focus.

Don’t do that.

To build a practice comprised primarily of your best clients, figure out what your ideal clients look like and show them why you are their ideal attorney.

This will help you create a profile of your ideal client

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Instead of setting goals next year, I’m doing this

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I know you’re ready to think about your goals for next year. Ready to put pen to paper, chisel to stone. 

Before you do that, think about the goals you had for the current year. 

How’d you do?

If you’re like me, you missed a lot of things and you’re not happy about it. You set big goals because you want to accomplish big things, but you’re tired of falling short. 

It’s discouraging. It makes you want to lower your goals, or do away with them completely.

Don’t do that. You need goals. You need to have a place you want to go.

Robert Heinlein said, “In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.”

I agree. But next year I’m going to do something a little different.

I’m going to call them “projects” instead of goals. 

Projects don’t define us the way our goals (and “life’s purpose” or “long-term vision”) do. If we don’t meet a project’s objectives, we adjust and carry on. Or we move the project from “active” to “inactive” or “pending”.

We’re in charge of our projects, unlike goals which seem to be in charge of us. 

Projects? Goals? Yes, these are just words, but words frame our thoughts and infuse them with emotions that attach to those words. 

So, no goals next year. Just projects. 

I can’t wait to see how they turn out.  

Plan your marketing with this

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Start before you’re ready

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Endless research. Planning. Preparation. Waiting for inspiration, the killer idea, the right timing.

Enough. It’s time to do something. It’s the quickest way to find out if your idea is any good, the best way to gain feedback so you can improve it.

John Goreman said, “Success isn’t about knowing more, it’s about acting on imperfect information.”

I know, you’re afraid of failure. Wasting time, losing money, embarrassing yourself. You want to do this right, or not at all.

Hey, I go through this with just about every project. My left brain keeps reminding me of all the things that can go wrong.

I put the doubts and fears in a lockbox and get on with it.

If you don’t do that, you never find out how far you could go.

So enough with the planning. Do something. And give yourself permission to create dreck.

One thing I’ve learned: dreck can be fixed.

You can take something that’s terrible and improve it. You can even make it great. But you can’t fix something you never start.

Another thing I’ve learned is that things have a way of turning out okay. They’re usually not as bad as you feared, in fact, they’re often damn good.

Look at all of things you’ve done in your life, all the completed projects, milestones, and accomplishments.

You’ve got some, right?

You can get more.

My advice: Look at your list of ideas. Take the one that scares you most, the one that looks too big, too risky, or too expensive, and put it at the top of your list.

It’s probably the one you should start next.

Notice I said “start,” I didn’t say “do” or “complete” or “launch”.

I said start.

Take the first step and see where it takes you. If you like what you see, take another step.

One foot in front of the other until you get where you want to go.

If you get lost, you can do more research. And start again.

If getting more clients is on your list, here’s where to start

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Be happy. Get rich. Part deux.

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Last month, I shared a quote from Albert Schweitzer, who said: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

“Actually, science says he’s right,” I said. “By mapping the brain to identify dopamine production they found that pleasure results in greater productivity.

I reasoned that, “When you feel good about what you’re doing, you give it more energy. You work harder and get better results.”

How it works might be open to debate. But I’m convinced that it works.

Another attorney who would tell you the same is my friend, Steve Emmert, who shared something I’d like to pass along to you:

Thanks for this note, my brother. It reminded me of something I reasoned out many years ago, before I decided to specialize in what I love doing.

I perceive that there are four kinds of jobs. Type A is one that pays you well, and you love doing it. That’s ideal. Type B makes you happy even though you aren’t getting rich. Type C doesn’t make you happy, but it makes you plenty of income. And Type D makes you neither happy nor wealthy, but it’s the best job you can get.

Many years ago – you know the story, because you told it – I knew I wasn’t happy in what I was doing. A quick check of my bank balance told me that I wasn’t starving, but I was nowhere near rich. That meant that, by default, I had a Type D job. I decided to transition to Type B, and spent plenty of time planning, then building, and then growing it. Guess what? I missed my target. I wound with a Type A career, by accident. Who knew? I mean besides Albert Schweitzer.

When he said I told his story, he was referring to the book I published based on the interview we did, wherein he shared many other pearls of marketing and practice-building wisdom.

It’s a good read, no matter what your practice area. It might be just what you need to create a Type A practice.

Read it free on Kindle Unlimited

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The thrill is gone. Here’s how to get it back

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Remember what it was like when you started practicing? Everything was new and exciting. Every day brought new challenges and opportunities.

Now? Not so much.

You’re doing okay. You know what you’re doing and you are comfortable doing it. But you’re a bit bored, the practice isn’t growing, or something feels off.

You want that spark again. You wan’t to grow but you can’t find the energy or the ideas.

Maybe I can help.

See, that excitement you felt when everything was new was primarily based on fear. And that doesn’t exist anymore. If you want to breathe new life into your practice, you need to get back to where you were when you were new.

When you didn’t know if you were going to make it. When you weren’t sure if you knew enough or were good enough or could bring in business fast enough.

When you were worried about losing everything.

Yeah, that kind of fear.

Offered for your consideration. . .

  1. Go buy some advertising. Spend more than you think you should. If you’ve never advertised before, this should put a shiver in yer timbers. If you’re a seasoned advertiser, change your messaging. Go with something daring, something that makes you swallow hard thinking about what people might say.
  2. If you can’t advertise, spend a bunch of money and hire an in-house marketing person or an outside consultant. Someone who will shake things up and force you to get out of your comfort zone.
  3. Another option: offer a new service. Either your own or partner up with another attorney and offer their services to your clients.

Something new. With an element of risk. That’s what you need to reanimate your slumbering practice.

Okay, one more: run for office.

Throw your hat in the ring. Get behind a microphone and say something half-way intelligent or completely unintelligent, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get to meet some new people and take the chance of embarrassing yourself.

That’s what I thought. That advertising thing is starting to look good, isn‘t it?

This will help you come up with a plan

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Breakage

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Retail stores allocate a percentage of their revenue for breakage, to cover losses due to damaged, defective, or stolen inventory.

They also use it as a warning signal. If they allow 2% for breakage, for example, and they have a month or a quarter with 3% breakage, they know they have a problem with something (or someone) and can look into it.

Lawyers should also have a breakage fund. Your accountant may have already set this up for you under “contingencies”.

Contingencies cover uninsured losses: claims, deductibles, lost deposits, bad checks, embezzlement, write-offs, and so on.

If you don’t already have this, consider it. Allocate, say, 1% of your net revenue, to cover contingencies. Deposit the money in a separate account, to prevent yourself from dipping into it.

If you sustain a loss, you’re covered. If you don’t, you can move the funds into savings or another account.

There’s another type of contingency fund you might consider.

Call it a “mad money” account. Or a “don’t worry so much” account.

You can use it to buy the deluxe version of something you want when you can only justify the basic version.

You can use it to buy things you want but don’t need.

You can use it to cover a loss when you buy something you never use or that breaks and can’t be returned.

Without guilt. Without giving it a second thought.

If you’re the type that beats yourself up when you make a mistake, this might be for you. If you’re typically tight-fisted about your budget, this might be for you.

Put $100 a month or $200 a month or $500 a month into a “I don’t care” account and use it to cover mistakes, flings, extravagances, and losses.

Take some chances. Live a little. Don’t worry so much about mistakes.

Breakage happens. But now, you’ve got it covered.

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No, I guess I can’t handle the truth

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I heard a radio ad for a nutritional supplement. The ad began with, “Studies show the average person needs ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day.”

I don’t know if that’s true but it doesn’t sound true. Or maybe I don’t want to believe it because there’s no way I’m going to eat ten servings of fruits and veggies every day (and I like fruits and veggies).

In marketing, you can’t depend on the truth. Your premise or promise has to have verisimilitude—the appearance of truth or, “the quality of seeming real,” according to Merriam-Webster.

If it doesn’t, it will be rejected, or require a lot more proof than you have or are prepared to offer.

The ad then compounded the problem, claiming their product supplies the nutritional equivalent of 30 servings per day. Maybe it does. But coming on the heels of their first statement, I’m still riding the “I don’t buy it” train.

What could they have done differently?

They could have said “studies show that 7 out of 10 people don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables each day,” (if that’s true) and then talked about their product.

I’d buy that.

Or they could have said, “If you’re only eating three servings of fruits and vegetables per day, studies show you’re not getting enough of the vitamins and minerals you need. . .”

I’d buy that, too.

And then, I might listen to the what they’re selling.

Tell the truth in your marketing. Unless the truth sounds unbelievable.

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How much information is too much information?

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I’m outlining a new project. This one will be a freebie. Don’t worry, you’re on the list. You’ll get a copy. (Wait. You haven’t been naughty this year, have you?)

I’m using my notes from a live training I did years ago and re-purposing it. The original presentation had 12 topics. I cut that down to eight.

When I looked at my updated outline, however, I realized that eight topics are still too many. So I cut it down to three.

Three of the best. Three things every lawyer can use to bring in more business.

With only three subjects, it won’t take hours and hours to consume, or weeks for me to create.

But it’s still too long.

I want you to be able to consume this in less than an hour, so you can start using it.

So I cut it down to one.

One subject. One strategy. One lesson.

There are two parts to this lesson. They’re both valuable. But guess what? There’s still too much information.

So this morning, I put one part aside. With only one (half) lesson, I’ll have time to flesh out the subject and give you something you can use instead of just read.

If you read a lot of blogs and articles, you see that most of them fall into the category of a “round up”–a  collection of quick tips, ideas, or resources. They’re valuable but they rarely go into enough depth on any subject to allow readers to take action.

I want this to be different.

But hey, if you’re naughty, I might add back the other half of the lesson.

How to use your website to make your phone ring

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A simple way to stand out in a crowded field

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Look at the typical law firm website.

Boring, isn’t it?

The message is bland. Lacking in personality and energy. Devoid of passion.

It fails to get anyone excited about the solutions offered. Hell, it probably doesn’t even mention solutions (benefits), it probably does what most lawyers’ websites do–provide a list of practice areas and a few bon mots about the attorney.

It’s ineffective. It looks like every other firm’s website. And it is very easy to ignore.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Clients often decide to hire an attorney based on how they feel about them and they make up their minds in the first 60 seconds.

If you want to stand out and get people excited about working with you, you can start by adding a little pizzazz to your website.

Don’t go overboard. Keep it professional. Dignified. Manicured and tailored. But pump some blood into its veins and add some color to its cheeks.

  • Show people the positive side of what you do. Show them how your clients like working with you and are thrilled with the work you do for them.
  • Show them your personal side–your background, your side interests, family, and what you do for fun.
  • Show them the passion you bring to helping your clients–why you do what you do.
  • Show them how your partners and staff love what they do, that your firm is a great place to work.
  • Show them that while you might deal with serious subjects and painful problems, your practice is imbued with a positive spirit, and a productive and happy atmosphere.

Show prospective clients not just how you can help them but that you are passionate about helping them.

Make people feel good about you. Put a little life into your website (and other marketing collateral) and you should see more clients signing up.

You should also feel more excited about coming to work.

How to make your website work for you

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A law practice is like a jigsaw puzzle with no picture on it

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I saw a jigsaw puzzle once that had no picture on it. Just plain white pieces. It’s harder to assemble because there is no frame of reference, no clues about what goes where.

You can’t line up the man’s nose with his eyes and mouth or the windmill in front of the mountain.

A puzzle without a picture is more difficult to assemble but you can assemble it because you know there is a solution. You know the pieces fit together so you keep going until you figure it out.

Can’t say the same about a law practice.

What does a successful law practice look like? There is no picture. You don’t even know if there is a solution.

That’s why one of the smartest things you can do to build your practice is to find other lawyers who have done what you want to do and model them.

Associate with successful lawyers in your field, watch them, learn from them, emulate them.

Do what they did and you can get what they got. Or pretty close, especially if they are willing to help you.

Jim Rohn said, “If you want to be successful, study success.”

No, there is no cookie cutter. A law practice isn’t a franchise. There is no operation manual to follow.

But if they did it, you can do it. And, like assembling a puzzle, knowing there is a solution makes it more likely that you’ll find it.

Marketing legal services: The Formula

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