Making friends isn’t required

Share

You can be massively successful in your practice without “getting to know” more people or “building stronger relationships” with the people you already know.

I’m not saying relationships aren’t valuable. They are incredibly valuable and if you are so inclined, you should regularly meet more people and strengthen your existing relationships.

But you don’t have to. You can bring in all the business you can handle, and then some, without it.

You don’t need to “do” social media. You don’t need to network or blog or podcast. You don’t need to create content or do any of the other things the cool kids are doing. You can get new clients and increase your income by simply doing a good job for your clients and treating them well.

The old fashioned ways still work.

However, if you go that route, I suggest you also employ two additional strategies. They are easy to do, don’t take a lot of time, and could multiply your results dramatically.

First on the list: stay in touch with the people you know.

You don’t have to see them in person or do anything other than contact them regularly. Email is the easiest way to do that but you could also use regular mail.

Each time they hear from you, they’ll think about you and what you do and be prompted to talk to you about new legal issues, and/or refer people to you who might need your help.

Of all the marketing strategies in existence, staying touch with people who already know, like, and trust you is about as simple (and effective) as it gets.

The second strategy is also simple, and also likely to pay huge dividends.

No matter how much you avoid seeking out new relationships, they will occur naturally. A client or contact will give you a lot of work or send you a lot of referrals, tell people about you, send traffic to your website, and otherwise do you a solid.

Give these folks more attention.

Contract them more often. Send them an article or link you think might interest them. If you have good chemistry with them, invite them to coffee or to do something with you off the clock.

They could help your practice not just grow but multiply.

Yes, I know I said you don’t have to do anything like this. You don’t need to make new friends. You don’t, but with friends like that, you might want to make an exception.

How to use email to stay in touch with people who can hire or refer you

Share

You don’t have to read this if you don’t want to

Share

FBI hostage negotiators supposedly use a strategy that makes hostage-takers more likely to cooperate. The idea is that people are more apt to agree with something we propose when we affirmatively give them permission to say ‘no’.

You can use this when negotiating with another party or with your clients.

You might be talking to a client about the opposition’s offer and say, “I know you wanted more and if you don’t want to accept the offer, just tell me; I’ll understand.”

They might give you a hard no, but they also might soften their position and be willing to discuss it.

Or, instead of using an “alternative choice” close, e.g., “Do you want to get started today or is next week better for you?” you might say, “Are you ready to get started? If you want to wait, that’s fine.”

However you word it, you give them an out. They know they can say no, but telling them they can do that apparently makes it more likely they won’t.

Why does giving someone permission to say no make it more likely they’ll say yes?

Because people like to buy but don’t like to be sold.

Nobody likes to be pushed or told what to do. When you move forward towards them, they move back. When you back off and let them make the call, however, it empowers them. They relax and open to other options.

I’m not saying this is always the way to go. But it’s nice to have another tool in the toolbox.

Of course, you don’t have to use this approach if you don’t want to.

Share

I don’t need the practice

Share

I’ve done a lot of interviews and I’m looking forward to doing more. They are easy to do, bring high quality traffic to my site, and I enjoy doing them. If you’re looking for a simple and effective marketing method, interviews with bloggers and podcasters, authors and other influencers, gets my highest recommendation.

Anyway, I recently received an invitation to a one hour interview about “marketing strategies in the legal profession.”

Right up my alley, right? So why haven’t I replied to this invitation, or to the follow-up email seeking to schedule a date?

Because the person conducting the interview said she is “working with a client outside the legal profession. . . to increase our clients’ understanding of the often complex legal industry.”

That’s nice and everything, but. . . what’s in it for me?

Seriously. Why should I help you with this research project?

Will the interview be published anywhere lawyers might see it? Will I be quoted and get a link to my site? Will you compensate me in any way for my time and expertise?

Anything? Bueller?

Alrighty then. Imma need to sit this one out.

Actually, I did get something out of this. I got the opportunity to remind you that in your marketing, always tell people what’s in it for them.

Tell people why they should hire you (or let you interview them). Tell them the benefits. Tell them how will they be better off.

Even if it’s obvious.

Because what’s obvious to you may not be obvious to them. And because if you don’t tell them, or you aren’t persuasive enough, your message (like the one I just told you about) will probably wind up in the digital dumpster.

Why should anyone hire you?

Share

Law firm newsletter vs. individual newsletters

Share

Is it better for each lawyer in the firm to write their own newsletter or to have one newsletter for the firm with each lawyer contributing thereto?

Having one newsletter means each attorney has less writing to do. Once a week or once a month, each attorney contributes content. That doesn’t sound so bad until one or more attorneys are late and it throws off the entire schedule.

Someone has to coordinate everything and make sure the writing gets done on time. They also have to make sure the contributors don’t duplicate content or contradict each other.

When you do your own newsletter, you don’t have to wait for anyone or be concerned about what someone else says.

The bigger issue, however, is that a firm newsletter brands the firm, not the individual lawyers. That’s okay, but clients hire and refer clients to their lawyer, not the firm. When a client hands out your business card, they say, “Call my lawyer,” don’t they? Not “Call my law firm”.

Think about the purpose of a newsletter. Yes, it is to inform and to stay in touch with clients and prospective clients, referral sources, and others, but more than that, it is to build relationships with them.

You can do that more easily when it is your newsletter, not a group effort.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do all the writing.

You can ask other lawyers in the firm, or outside the firm, to contribute “guest posts,” or you can interview each other. You can also collaborate on longer articles.

A firm newsletter is a great idea, but if you’re inclined to publish one, do it in addition to individual newsletters, not in place of them.

One way to do both is to encourage the individual attorneys to write their own newsletters and periodically submit the “best of” their content for the firm’s newsletter. That way, each attorney can build their own following, while the firm showcases its talent and cross-promotes it to the readers of the firm’s newsletter.

How to build your practice with a newsletter

Share

The two most important questions you will ever answer

Share

It’s not clickbait. These two questions are the key to your future.

The questions are simple. The answers, not so much. The answers require some thinking and introspection, maybe some praying, and a willingnes to be completely honest with yourself.

The first question: What do you want?

Describe your ideal life five years from now. Where are you, what are you doing, who are you doing it with? What have you accomplished and what are you on the road to accomplishing?

In this vision, you can be, do, and have anything. No rules, no restrictions. This is your vision for an ideal (perfect) future.

Write it down. You will surely want to refer to it again.

Now that you know what you want, it’s time to answer the second question:

What are you willing to give up to get it?

Yes, give up. Because if you didn’t have to give up something, change something, you’d already have what you want.

You may believe you are on the path to your ideal life and the only thing needed is to give it more time. You know that if you keep doing exactly what you’re doing now, you’ll get there.

Even if that’s true, wouldn’t you like to speed things up?

Either way, you have to change something. What are you willing to change? What are you willing to give up?

Mostly, we’re talking about time and how you currently spend it.

Track your time for a week and you’ll likely find that you waste a lot of it. Three hours or more per day, according to some experts.

Are you willing to give up some of your indulgences, change your habits, and redirect some of your time and energy towards more productive things? Are you willing to give up an hour of TV or gaming or social media each day, and use that time to improve your knowledge and skills?

So, two questions. What do you want? What are you willing to give up to get it?

Plaintiff rests.

Share

Do you need more than one website?

Share

Do you need more than one website? Most lawyers and law firms don’t. But there are several reasons to at least consider the benefits of having additional sites.

If you do PPC ads or SEO and target highly competitive keywords, having a site that’s “tuned” for those keywords could give you an advantage. If you do broadcast or display advertising for major tort cases or consumer class actions, having sites dedicated to those matters also makes sense.

If you target very different markets, financial professionals on the one hand and first responders on the other, for example, or businesses and consumers, having separate sites that provide content, testimonials, use cases and offers appropriate for those markets may also be a good idea.

The same goes for your practice areas. Your business clients might not be interested in your criminal defense work and might actually see you in a different light if those practice areas are promoted on the same site. And remember, clients prefer to hire lawyers who specialize, so keeping what you do separate from what else you do might be a sound practice.

Do you have different locations or practice in different jurisdictions? Do you target clients who speak different languages? You might want to “localize” your marketing with separate sites for each location or language.

If you want to test special offers for new clients, without alienating your existing clients, maintaining separate sites is a good way to insulate yourself.

Finally, if you have more than one or two lawyers, especially in different practice areas, you might want each lawyer to have their own site in addition to the firm’s site.

That way, each lawyer can build their individual brand, post their own practice-area specific content, maintain their own blog, promote their own newsletter and social media channels, and otherwise do their own marketing, without getting in the way of anything being done by the other lawyers, or the firm.

So yeah, different websites might be just what the doctor ordered.

How to create a website that makes the phone ring

Share

Reframe and grow rich

Share

Many attorneys are uncomfortable with marketing. Or at least certain aspects of it. They don’t like networking, writing, or talking to people about referrals. They don’t like doing interviews or presentations. They don’t like advertising, generating traffic, or buying leads.

It’s out of their comfort zone and they resist doing it.

The old saying, “Do the uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable” comes to mind, but if you can’t or won’t start, you’re never going to get there.

There are two solutions.

The first solution, instead of trying to “jump” out of your comfort zone, ease out of it. Take baby steps until you learn to walk.

Make a list of options, different types of marketing and different ways of doing them, choose one, learn all you can about it, get some help if you need it, and do it on a very small scale, until you “get used to it”.

You don’t like networking? Take a friend to lunch or ask to accompany them when they go to their next meeting. Get your feet wet in a non-threatening situation where nothing is expected of you other than showing up.

You might find you don’t hate it as much as you thought and can eventually take the next step.

You don’t like talking to people about referrals? Try writing a letter to your clients about the subject and how it helps both them and the people they refer. Don’t send the letter, just write it for now. Maybe you’ll send it later. Or maybe you’ll read one of my books or courses and find better ways to ask or ways to get referrals without asking for them.

Baby steps, baby cakes.

The other solution? Sit yourself down and have a talk with yourself.

Talk to yourself about the activity you’re resisting and why you’re resisting it. Pretend you’re talking to a parent or teacher, and tell them all the reasons you don’t want to do it. Don’t forget to pout and say, “and you can’t make me!”

And then, talk to yourself as that parent or teacher and convince yourself that you can and should.

One way to do that is to reframe the activity by changing how you think about it, or contrasting it with the alternatives.

You did that somewhat if you looked at networking as just going to lunch with a friend.

You could explain to yourself that writing a weekly email may not be something you’re excited about doing, “but it’s a lot better than going to a weekly meeting” (if that works for you).

If you don’t advertise because you see it as an unnecessary expense, think about it as a investment which could have a very profitable return. Talk to someone who advertises, see what they do, play with some numbers, and you may find a way to eliminate your resistance and get excited about the possibilities.

Maybe you hate social media. You might remind yourself that, “It’s a lot better than cold calling or sending spam emails”.

You don’t want to do any marketing, it’s all horrible? Reframe this by telling yourself it’s a lot less horrible than having no clients and being one month away from getting evicted from your office, which is where I was early in my career, before I “got religion” and saw marketing as a better alternative to losing everything.

Baby steps and/or reframing. Two ways you can do what’s uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable.

How to get referrals without asking for referrals

Share

You have a goal? Good. Now forget about it

Share

You have a goal for this year. Nice. I hope it puts a big smile on your face when you think about it.

Now, stop thinking about it.

The goal has served its purpose. It caused you to decide what you want and inspired you to start the journey towards achieving it.

But that goal won’t help you get it.

What will? Activity or process goals. Goals that reflect and measure what you will do to achieve your outcome goals.

Focus on “the work”. That’s what you should think about and track.

Focus on making the calls, writing the articles, sending the emails.

Focus on talking to your best clients and referral sources and reaching out to new people you’d like to work with.

Focus on improving your website, getting more traffic, and building your list.

Set goals for each activity and be specific.

What will you do today and tomorrow, next week and next month? How many? How often?

Your big goal may be to bring in a new case or client every week. Fine. How many clients or contacts will you call each day? How many words will you write each week? How much will you invest in ads? How many bloggers or podcasters will you contact? How many people will you invite to your presentation?

What will you do, and when will you do it? How much, how often?

Your process goals don’t need to be massive. You can make a lot of progress in 15 or 30 minutes a day. But you have to be consistent, so set daily and weekly process goals you know you can do—and do them.

Every day, every week.

You know what you want. You know what you will do to get it.

Get excited. And then get busy.

Just starting your marketing journey? Start with this

Share

What worked?

Share

It’s time to let go of last year. That was then. This is now. This is the next chapter.

But before you turn the page, reflect for a few minutes on what went well last year.

What did you do that had a positive outcome? Which projects bore fruit? Which habits, mindsets, strategies, and methods helped you make progress?

Go through your notes, your calendar, or your journal. Meditate or free-write or just have a good think and find a nugget or two that belongs in the “win” column for last year, so that this year, you can do it again (or something like it).

While you’re at it, also note what didn’t work.

It may be a marketing strategy that flopped or a bad habit that didn’t serve you, like staying up late, not exercising, or spending too much time reading the news.

Identify what didn’t work, so you can stop doing it or do it less often.

Finally, ask yourself what you can do differently this year. Besides doing more of what worked and less of what didn’t, what could you change about the way you do the things you do?

How could you do them better or faster? How could you make them easier, more enjoyable, or less stressful? What could you change that might help you earn more, work less, or both?

You might want to enlist the aid of your employees to help you brainstorm ideas. They may see things you can’t see about yourself or your practice. They might offer some game-changing ideas.

Good or bad, last year’s story has been told. But before you put that book back on the shelf, do a quick re-read and find the lessons you can use to provide a happy ending to this year’s story.

How to make this year your biggest year

Share

How to make next year your best year

Share

You’ve probably seen a spate of articles and blog posts about things to do in the coming year to improve your law practice marketing and management.

No doubt these articles contain some good ideas for bringing in new clients, being more productive, lowering your expenses and increasing your income.

Save those articles and try those ideas. But not right now.

Most of these ideas will deliver only incremental improvement. If you want to make next year your best year, you need an idea, strategy or tactic that will help you double or triple or ten-times your income.

Find that idea, your “one thing,” and focus all of your attention on it.

No, I can’t tell you what it is. It’s different for everyone. I can only tell you it’s there and if you look for it and allow yourself to find it, you will.

Meditate, pray, ask your inner being for guidance. Let your subconscious mind go to work for you and point you in the right direction.

The thing is, there’s a good chance you already know what it is. You considered it once but rejected it, telling yourself it won’t work, it’s too risky, it takes too much time, or it’s just not for you.

Or you allowed someone to talk you out of it.

But it’s still there, lying dormant in your subconscious, and all you need to do to activate it is to give yourself permission to do that.

On the other hand, it might be something you’ve never considered. You never looked. You were too busy cranking out work and never needed to do much else.

Maybe today things are different.

If so, your “one thing” is to devote yourself to finding that one idea and get it up and running.

How will you know you’ve made the right choice? Don’t use logic to answer that. Use your gut.

The right idea feels good when you think about it. Exciting. Scary, too, but fear and excitement are two sides of the same coin, so if you feel either way, you’ve probably found your one thing.

If you feel indifferent, keep looking.

When you find (or remember) an idea that scares or excites you, what then?

Don’t study it. No research. No pondering. Don’t set any goals or new year’s resolutions, either.

Just start.

Allow yourself to get swept up in the excitement and do something. Take the first step. It doesn’t matter what it is, just move.

You’ll learn what you need to know and do as you do it.

And that’s how you’ll make next year your best year.

Share