What will you do with the time you save?


Seth Godin asks, “What will do with the time you save?”

It’s a good question.

We read books and articles about productivity, buy courses, download apps, adopt new strategies, and tweak what we’re already doing, in an endless quest to get more done in less time.

But why?

Why do you want to save time? What will you do with it?

Would you go home (shut down) earlier? Start a side business? Write a book?

Would you read more? Exercise more? Sleep more?

Would you work on improving your skills? Spend more time with your family? Indulge in more “me time”?

Or, would you simply do more billable work?

The answer, of course, depends on what’s important to you–what you want to accomplish and the lifestyle you want to create or maintain.

But you could be wrong about what you want, or change your mind.

You might start doing more billable work and find that you only have so much energy each day and the quality of your work starts to suffer.

Or, you might use the time you save by working a shorter day, only to find that you’re bored.

You could try to figure out what you would do in advance, so you have a goal to work towards, or you could save the time first and then decide what to do with it.

It’s nice to have options. And to know there’s a purpose behind all the time you spend figuring out how to save time.


3 Ridiculously Simple Ways to Get More Referrals


There are many ways to get more referrals. Here are 3 simple, “set-it-and-forget it” ways to do it.

1) Let your correspondence do the talking for you

Every email, cover letter, or invoice you send to your clients is an opportunity to remind them to send business. Add a prompt to the bottom of the document or to your email signature to do that.

Some examples:

  • “We appreciate your referrals”
  • “If you know someone with a legal issue or question, please have them call our office at xxx-xxx-xxxx and ask for me.”
  • “We offer free consultations. No obligation, no pressure. If you know someone who might need to talk to an attorney, please have them call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx”.
  • “If you know someone who might have a legal issue, please forward my contact information to them.”
  • “When you refer a friend or business contact to us, please tell them to mention your name, so we know who to thank”

2) Let your website do the talking for you

Add prompts like the ones above to the footer of each page of your website, at the bottom of each blog post, on subscription “thank you” pages, and on your website’s contact form. The contact form could also prompt the visitor to supply additional information about the referral or to request that you send them a brochure, report, checklist or other information.

3) Let your marketing materials work harder for you

Your marketing materials have a dual purpose. To get the recipient to understand what you do and how you can help them, and to prompt them to provide referrals. So, make sure you add a referral prompt to each document, handout, or download.

Include your contact information and a simple “Referred by________________” so your clients and prospects will be reminded to hand these out or forward them to people who might need your help.

Adding referral prompt to your website, emails, invoices, and other documents, provides a cumulative benefit. Each time a client or prospect sees one of these prompts, they are reminded that referrals are commonly provided to your office, making it more likely that they will eventually make them.

For more ways to get referrals from your clients, get Maximum Referrals


You already said that


In one of his newsletters, legendary copywriter Gary Halbert tells a story about a reader who urged him to re-read a newsletter he’d written nearly a decade earlier. When he did, he found that the earlier newsletter was “almost word-for-word the same” as his latest.

Oops? Not at all. Halbert said, “. . .what I wrote almost ten years ago is as accurate and important today… as… it was back then.”

He added:

“It Is More Important To Be Reminded Of “Core Fundamentals” Than To Be Dazzled With Some New Piece Of Contemporary Creativity!”

For those of us who write newsletters and blogs and other content, the takeaway is clear. It’s okay to say things you’ve said before.

In fact, it’s a good thing. Here’s why:

  • You continually have new subscribers and followers, reading you for the first time.
  • Most people don’t read everything you write.
  • Most people don’t remember what you said before.
  • Some people may not have needed to hear your message before but very much need to hear it now.
  • You may repeat the basic points but use a different headline, lead, examples, stories, or quotes. You may say it more persuasively or make it more memorable.
  • Some people need to hear it again (and again) before they’re willing to do something about it.

If what you say is important, if you’re writing about “core fundamentals,” the best thing you can do for your readers is to write about it often.

So don’t worry about repeating yourself. Say what you want to say, as often as you want to say it. (Just don’t make it boring.)

And, on those days when you can’t think of anything to write about, find something you wrote about before and write about it again.

The core fundamentals of a lawyer’s newsletter


The biggest sin in marketing legal services


There are a lot of ways to go wrong in your marketing. Here are just a few:

  • Wasting time or money on strategies that aren’t working
  • Shotgun marketing: trying to sell everything, e.g., all of your services, to everyone at the same time
  • Not pre-qualifying prospective clients
  • Chasing instead of attracting
  • Not using a “call-to-action” (telling prospects what to do)
  • Not differentiating yourself from other lawyers
  • Not following up with prospects
  • Not building a list
  • Not staying in touch with former clients

These can all cost you clients and hurt your bottom line.

The biggest sin in marketing, however, is being boring.

People won’t read boring articles. They won’t watch boring videos or listen to boring podcasts. They won’t follow boring people on social media.

You might get your marketing message in front of a lot of people who need your help or who can refer people who do, and get nowhere because they never read or relate to your message.

If you want people to hire you or build a relationship with you, you’ve got to get and keep their interest.

Fortunately, this isn’t difficult to do.

It starts with researching the people you want to attract.

Study their market or industry, their problems and desires, so you can show them you understand them and what they want or need, and are uniquely qualified to help them get it.

How to research your target market and ideal client


Targeting newbies


As you refine the definition of your target market and ideal client, consider giving some attention to newbies:

  • Startups
  • Recently married
  • Recently graduated
  • New parents
  • New drivers
  • New in town
  • New empty nesters
  • First time home buyers

And so on.

3 reasons:

(1) Less competition

Many lawyers tend to seek out established businesses and people with lots of money. Newbies may not be able to pay top dollar but they are likely be an easier sale.

(2) Long-term allegiance

If you brush your teeth with a certain brand of toothpaste early in life, the odds are you’ll still buy that brand many years later. Similarly, when a client hires a lawyer, they tend to stick with that lawyer.

As their business grows or they upgrade their lifestyle, your practice can grow with them.

(3) Referrals

Newbies tend to associate with other newbies and can introduce them to you.

In the right hands, the newbie market can be extremely lucrative. Many businesses and professionals target newbies for the same reasons.

A furniture retailer may buy lists of new home buyers, for example. A Realtor may buy lists of newly married or newly divorced.

You can buy (rent) those kinds of lists, too, or run ads targeting the same markets.

You can also network with business owners and professionals who buy lists or advertise and get their referrals and/or promote each other’s business.

For more on choosing your target market, get The Formula


Important questions to ask every new client


You’re hired. A new client has signed up and paid you and you’re ready to get to work. Before you do, you should ask them a few questions.

You probably ask, “How did you find me?” as a matter of routine. Make sure you also ask follow-up questions to get the details.

If they were referred, ask what they said to or asked the referring party, and what the referring party told them about you.

If they saw an ad, ask where they saw it, how many times they saw it before they responded, and what persuaded them to (finally) respond.

If they found your site via search, what keywords or questions did they use? What article or post on your site convinced them to call or fill out the contact form?

If they’re on your email list or follow you on social media, was there something you said that prompted them to take the next step?

If they heard you speak, read an article you wrote, or read an article about you, ask where they saw this and what impressed them the most.

Get the details. You can use this information to improve your marketing.


But you’re not done. There’s one more question to ask the new client and it might be the most important of all.

Ask, “Why did you choose me?”

Many clients considered other lawyers before they chose you. Find out what it was about you that tipped the scale in your favor.

Was it something about your background or experience? Something on your website? A review on a third-party site?

Was it how you treated them when they called? Something you or staff said that gave them hope?

Was it how you explained their risks and options? A story you told? Was it that you weren’t pushy?

Have them fill out a questionnaire and/or ask about these things when you talk. This kind of feedback is marketing gold.

Get more referrals by telling your clients what to tell others about you. Here’s how


Do your clients like you?


The prevailing wisdom is that, “all things being equal, clients prefer to hire lawyers they know, like and trust.”

How do they know they’ll like a particular lawyer before they hire them?

They read reviews and testimonials that attest to the lawyer being “nice” or having a great personality or going out of their way to help them.

They get feedback from someone who referred said lawyer.

Or they size up the lawyer when they meet them networking, via a free consultation or by hearing them speak.

Sometimes, a client doesn’t do their homework, or is fooled by what others say, and they hire someone they don’t like. Or they get along with the lawyer in the beginning and something happens to change things.

They may stick with the lawyer out of convenience or because the lawyer is very good at their job, but. . . all things being equal, I’d rather have my clients like me, wouldn’t you?

There are things we can do to increase our likability. Becoming a better listener, for example, is a skill that can be learned and is an important factor in likability.

But sometimes, we tick all the boxes and some people still don’t like us.

It happens.

I’ve said things to clients I regretted saying, and apologized, but felt my words had tainted the relationship.

Sometimes, it’s just bad chemistry. Maybe you’re aggressive and they want someone who is gentle and understanding.

What can we do to improve our likability?

We can ask for feedback and conduct surveys, but clients may not be honest with us, or it might be too late.

We can ask our employees if they think the client is happy with us and if there’s anything we should work on, but they might be wrong.

We can self-assess. Think about our conversations with our clients, give ourselves a grade and make notes about ways to improve, but that might not be enough.

We can work ourselves. Read books and take courses on personal development and practice our interpersonal skills.

We should do all of these things, and more. We must be ever-vigilant and continually seek ways to keep our clients happy and make ourselves likable.

If we don’t, we’ll have to rely on our ability to consistently deliver good results and I don’t think any of us should take that for granted.

There are many ways to improve likability (and trustworthiness) detailed in The Attorney Marketing Formula.


Minimalist Marketing


You don’t like marketing. You don’t want to network, build a list, write or speak or do anything on social media.

You’re willing to do something, as long as it doesn’t take a lot of time or money or require you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.

What can you do?

Go old school, 21st century style:

(1) Set up a one-page website that identifies what you do and how to contact you.

If you want, you can add something about your experience and accomplishments (why you’re better or different), and a few FAQs.

Set this up with your name in the domain name to make it easier to remember.

The primary purpose is to give your clients and contacts a place to send people who are looking for legal help, so they know how to contact you.

(2) Stay in touch with your clients and contacts.

Periodically send letters or emails to let them know you’re still in business, when you have news (eg., you’ve moved, added a practice area, etc.), and to wish them a happy birthday or new year.

Contact them if/when it’s time for their annual review or when you want them to know about a change in the law that affects them.

Consider calling your best clients and professional contacts once in awhile, to say hello and see how they’re doing.

(3) Ask yourself, “What would Dale Carnegie do?”

Read (or re-read) How to Win Friends and Influence People and do what it says.

Say please and thank you. Use their name. Make eye contact. Listen more than you talk. Treat them like you would like to be treated.

This is how you get repeat business and referrals.

This is “old school” marketing and it still works.

If you want to grow bigger, faster, this is what you should do


Poker, practicing law, and elections


I caught the tail end of an interview recently. The reporter asked an expert about the election and the expert used an expression that caught my attention: “The best possible outcome vs. the best outcome possible.”

You want to win everything (best possible outcome) but you have to accept the best outcome possible–under the circumstances.

As a lawyer, you want to win every case but you can have a successful career if you win a preponderance of them. You want to sign up the biggest cases or clients but you can earn a great income with smaller ones.

I played a lot of poker in college. I wasn’t as aggressive as I could have been and was rarely the biggest winner for the night. But most nights I walked away with a tidy profit. A fellow player was very aggressive. He bet big and often went “all in”. He won a lot of big pots but lost a lot, too. Most nights, he finished down.

No matter what our path, most of us will agree we need to know “when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em”. You do the best you can and live to fight another day.

Some will say, “that’s not how I want to live my life”. For them, it’s full speed ahead, no matter what.

Sometimes they win. Sometimes they crash and burn. Either way, we hope they have our phone number on speed dial.

How to grow your practice big, fast


My election predictions


I predict my side will win and this will be good for our country. If I’m wrong and the other side wins, I predict bad things will happen.

I predict everything is about to get even messier and we are unlikely to know the results any time soon.

I predict that some polling firms and media outlets are going to radically change their methods, but most won’t, at least until enough people stop listening to them.

Pretty lame predictions, huh? No specifics about who or what I favor or why.

Because if I did that, it would likely alienate half of my readers, and why do that?

Unless you regularly write or speak about political issues, you’re trying to build a following of people on one side of the spectrum, or you’re running for office, I suggest you stay away from politics, especially when things are as polarized and emotionally charged as they are in the current election.

But don’t stay away from predictions.

Predictions appeal to your reader’s curiosity. They get lots of clicks and engagement.

You’ll get more readers reading, commenting or asking questions. You’ll get more shares. And people will continue to read or listen to you and look forward to your next prediction.

People want to know what smart people like you think will happen, and why. They want you to explain what happened and what it means.

So share your predictions and explanations. Just make sure you choose the right subject.

How to build your practice with a newsletter