You post content on your blog or newsletter or on social. But you don’t have enough of it. 

I’ve previously talked about re-writing your old content—updating the law, explaining what’s happened since you last wrote about the subject, adding a new example, “changing your mind” about the subject, and otherwise updating or refreshing what you wrote before. 

It’s an easy way to get new content to write about.

But there are times when the well is dry and you need new material. New information, examples, or stories.

No problem. Someone else has what you need.

I’m not suggesting you reach out and find some guest posts, although that is an excellent way to get some fresh material (and some traffic from the guest-poster’s followers when he or she mentions it). 

I’m suggesting something simpler. Find something someone else wrote and re-write or re-tell it.

If you read a story about a lawyer who won an important case, for example, you can write about that. It’s their case, their story, but even if you weren’t involved, you can write about it.

You can tell the same story in your own words. Describe what they did and what you think about it. Do you agree with their strategy? Think they could have done better? Have a thought about what that case means for your practice or your clients’ industry?

Agree, disagree, offer another example—anything will do. Because you’re merely using their story to tell your own. 

You don’t have to spend extra time searching for stories or posts to re-tell. Keep reading what you usually read (or listen to) and use that.

Try that now. Open a bar journal and read something that interests you. Write a few bullet points about the article and use this to tell your readers what happened and what you think about it.  

The odds are your story will take very little time to write.

And, as long as other lawyers (professionals, business owners, consultants, etc.) continue writing articles and blog posts about things that are valuable for or interesting to the people in your target market, you’ll never run out of things to write about. 

Your readers will be impressed by your ability to continually share interesting new content. They’ll wonder how you do it.

Your secret is safe with me.


How to deal with an unhappy client


Your client is upset. Angry, frustrated, accusing you of (something). What should you do? 

Well, was it your fault? Did you mess up? Fail to tell them something? Charge more than they expected? 

If it was your fault, let them vent, tell you how they feel and what it will cost them, and what they want you to do. 

Hear them out. Don’t rush them. Let them say what they want to say.

When they’re done, take the blame, explain what happened, apologize, and do whatever it takes to fix the problem.

The only thing worse than having an unhappy client is having an unhappy client who leaves and tells everyone they know about their dissatisfaction with you. 

So, fall on your sword and make them happy. 

The good news is that unhappy clients often become happy, lifelong clients when the attorney apologizes, takes responsibility, and remedies the situation. Maybe they feel guilty for being unreasonable or they’ve simply had time to calm down.

But what if it wasn’t your fault? What if the client was upset about something in their business or personal life and took it out on you? They had a fight with their spouse, lost a bunch of money in the market or a business deal, or they had a flat tire and got grease on their new suit. 

What do you do when it’s not your fault? You let them vent and you listen. Show them you care about them. Offer to help. 

Treat them the way you would want to be treated if your roles were reversed. 

If you do, if you let them blow off steam and tell you what’s on their mind, the odds are they’ll realize that the problem wasn’t your fault, they’ll appreciate you for listening, and realize that they’re the one who needs to apologize. 

An unhappy client is an opportunity—to fix the problem if you were at fault or to be a friend if you weren’t.


Guaranteed to fail


Want to know how to succeed? Figure out how to fail and do the opposite. That’s the premise of a process called Inversion Thinking. And while it sounds simplistic, I think there’s a lot to say for it. 

Especially if you have too many options and can’t decide what to do or the best way to do it. 

For example, let’s say you have a goal to increase your firm’s revenue by 50% in the next six months, but you’re not sure how. You brainstorm ideas, strategies, workflow improvements, and search for new marketing methods, but you still don’t have a plan. With inversion thinking, you might ask yourself, “What would I do if I wanted to guarantee I would FAIL to achieve my goal?”

Ridiculous? Yes. And that’s the point. By identifying guaranteed ways to fail, you identify things to avoid and also things that you should specifically focus on (i.e., the opposite.)

So, you make a list of ways to guarantee you would fail to hit your revenue goal: 

  • Ignore former clients and prospects; they know where to find me if they need me
  • Immediately start as many new marketing projects as possible
  • Check social media constantly
  • Rely on “brand” advertising to build name recognition
  • Do everything myself (don’t delegate or outsource anything)
  • Do nothing myself (hire expensive consultants and have them do everything)
  • Make sure everything is perfect or don’t do it at all
  • Wing it; I’m smart, I don’t need a plan or schedule

And so on. 

Go a little crazy. Then, do the opposite: 

  • Prioritize staying in touch with former clients and prospects because they already know you, can provide repeat business and referrals, and there is no cost to find them
  • Focus on only one or two projects at a time
  • Limit social media to 20 minutes per day
  • Set up a schedule for working on these projects, put this on my calendar, and set up reminders
  • Progress is better than perfection; get started, make it better over time

You may not always know what to do to succeed, but you can usually figure out how to fail. Then, do the opposite. Or at least don’t do anything you know is guaranteed to fail.  


The quickest way to generate additional income for your practice


The quickest way to increase your revenue is to sell new services to your existing clients. It’s easier and faster and more profitable than finding new clients for your existing services. 

Your existing clients know and trust you. They hired you once and will hire you again. And you can communicate with (sell to) them at no cost. 

Start getting excited. 

Hold on. What if you don’t have another service to offer? 

Could you re-configure your existing services to create a “premium” version? Something worth more that can justify a higher fee? 

(Start working on that.)

How about optional add-ons or extra services to add to your current services? Perhaps an annual consultation package advising clients about taxes or investments, for example. You might team up with other professionals who specialize in those areas. 

Could you develop a smaller version of your standard services, without all the trimmings, to appeal to clients who don’t need (or can’t afford) your standard package? How about branching out to different niche markets with specialized services for those markets, or by appealing to different languages and cultural features?

Could you develop a consumer “division” of your business firm? Could you start a small business division for consumer clients who are interested in starting or buying a business?  

And, if you don’t want to develop a new service, or change any of your existing offers, there are always referrals—to and from other lawyers and businesses who may be able to reciprocate.  

Your clients have lives and interests beyond the services they hire you to perform. Find out what else they need or want and figure out a way to help them get it. 


Simple habits that will fix 97% of your problems


I stole the title of this post from a video that caught my attention. I’m sharing the headline with you as an example of a headline or title that works. 

It works because it is bold and promises a valuable, albeit impossible sounding benefit. But even if I’m dubious about the headline’s promise, I’d still like to know what those habits are, wouldn’t you?

I’d like to know if I’m doing them and, if not, what it would take to start. And, if I already do them, is there a way I might do them better?

Effective titles promise a desirable benefit or make the reader curious about something that interests them. This headline does both. 

But you don’t need to analyze every headline that makes you stop to get something out of them. Just note when something catches your eye, for whatever reason, because if it attracted you, it’s likely to do the same for others. 

Sometimes, with modifications; sometimes, “as is”.

A headline that said, “3 simple habits that can fix up to one-third of your legal marketing problems” for example, would get your attention, wouldn’t it?

Pay attention to headlines and titles that speak to you. Collect them, learn from them, and repurpose them in your content. 

Because the right headline, in the right context, will fix 97% of your legal marketing problems.


Business development leapfrog 


It’s all about networking. Meeting people who know people you’d like to know. High-level decision makers, General Counsels, CEOs, advisors, business owners, and other influential people in your target market. 

Your job is to identity people you’d like to meet and work backwards to identify people they know who can introduce you. Eventually, you identify someone you already know or can easily meet because they belong to a group you belong to or know people who do. 

Start with “categories”—types of advisors or professionals or decision makers in your target industry or market. When you know you’d like to meet a financial advisor, General Counsel or manager of medical groups (of a certain size or specialty), for example, it makes everything easier. 

Create a profile. Then, identify “candidates”—actual advisors or decision makers you’d like to meet. Then, talk to your clients and existing business contacts and ask if they know these people, or know someone who does. If they do, ask them if they would introduce you, or if it would be okay for you to mention their name when you talk to them. 

And yes, it is as simple as that. 

You don’t have to score a home run every time. A single or double here and there may be enough to get you face to face with someone who wants to know more about what you do and how you can help their company or their clients. 

If you “only” meet one or two of these top-level decision makers per year, it can lead to a lot of business. 

It’s all about networking. But you don’t have to attend a single networking event. 

Because the people you already know, know people you’d like to know, and you can leverage your relationship to meet them. 

Here’s what to do, step-by-step


The key to managing your time


You have a lot of tasks on your list. You know what to do, how, and why, but do you know “when”?

“When” you will do a task is the key to effectively managing your time. 

If you know when, and schedule the day (and time), you’re more likely to do it. If you don’t know when, you may not do it at all. 

Our days are full. Once we complete our scheduled tasks (appointments, meetings, calls), we might not have enough time or energy to do other things. 

Which means we often won’t do them. 

I’m not advocating time-blocking our entire day or giving everything a due date. But maybe we should give everything a “do” date. 

When you schedule when to do something, you’ve decided it’s important. If you don’t know, everything becomes “someday/maybe” and that often means “never”. 

Decide “when” you will do the task and schedule it. Mark the day and time on your calendar or tag it on your list. If you’re not sure of the time, at least schedule the day. If you’re not sure of the day, at least schedule the week. 

You can always change the day or week. But to do that, you’ll need to reconsider the importance of the task, and then renew your commitment to doing it or remove it from your list. 

Look at it this way: if a task isn’t important enough to schedule, maybe it’s not important at all. 

What if you’re not sure when you will do it? Schedule a date and time to review the task and then decide. 

Because “when” is the key to managing your time. 


Closing the sale


You’re sitting with a prospective client talking about their case or the services you can provide. You’ve made the case for why they need your help, explained what you will do, talked about fees, answered their questions, and you think they’re ready to sign up.

But you’re not sure. 

What should you do?

One thing you can do is “assume the sale”. Hand them the paperwork and a pen (or stylus) and tell them where to put their name. You might start with an authorization instead of a fee agreement or another document to fill out. 

If they fill it out, they’re saying yes to the dress.

If they have more questions or objections, they’ll let you know.

If you’re still not sure, ask them. “Are you ready to get started?”

It can be as simple as that. 

Actually, it should be. If they need you, can afford you, and don’t need to get anyone’s approval, it should be a done deal. 

So ask. 

“Are you ready to get started?” Or, “Would you like me to get started?” Or, “When would you like to get started?” Or, “Would you like to get started this week or is next week better for you?”

It’s all good.

You’re not asking for the sale. You’re asking what they want to do. If they’re ready, great. If they want to wait, that’s fine (although there are things you can say to get them to reverse course), but the best thing for you to do is to let them do what they want to do. 

Remember, they need you. 

Also remember, nobody likes to be pushed. And pushing makes you look desperate. And you don’t have to push.

Ask if they’re ready. If they’re not, their reasons or objections will tell you what you need to say to help them get ready. 

And there’s nothing better than a client who’s ready to put you to work. 


A few thoughts about GTD contexts


Getting Things Done (GTD) teaches us to identify our tasks by context—location, people, tools, and so on—so we can do things when and where we’re best equipped to do them. 

I stopped using most contexts a long time ago, since I can do just about anything from just about anywhere.

Calls, emails, reading, writing—I can do from the office in my pocket. 

I still use the @waiting and @errand contexts, but not much else. 

I’m going to take another look at my use of contexts, however, based on a short video I saw which makes the case for contexts based on “time plus energy”.

GTD has long recommended contexts for time and energy, but I like the way the presenter combines them:

  • Short Dashes: Tasks that require more than 2 minutes but less than 15 minutes. Most calls and emails fit here, don’t they? 
  • Full Focus: Tasks requiring maximum energy, no distractions, and longer periods of time; deep work.
  • Brain Dead: When you can’t do anything that requires a lot of thought.
  • Routines: Your weekly review, exercise, writing a blog post. 
  • Hanging Around: Tasks that don’t require a lot of time or energy and don’t have a deadline, e.g., light research, organizing notes, buying something online.

What do you think? Do any of these appeal to you? Do you already use something similar?

I like “Brain Dead” or “Hanging Around,” especially for things I can do after I’ve shut down work for the night. I’ll give this some thought later today. 

But first, I have some “Short Dashes” to take care of. 

I’m travelling today; this is a (slightly edited) re-post from 2021.


Go deep with fewer people


You don’t have to go to networking events, do seminars, write a newsletter or blog, advertise, or “chat” on social media. It can be beneficial if you do, but you don’t have to. As long as you regularly connect with the key people you know or want to know—your best clients, top referral sources, most promising business contacts.  

The plan is simple. Make a list of 5-25 connections who fit that description and call or email them once a month. 

What do you say? Anything. Because anything you say can make a difference. But here are some suggestions: 

  • “What’s new with you?” What’s new in their business, what are they working on, what’s the latest in their personal life? 
  • Congratulate them on something they’ve done (personal or business). 
  • Comment about news you read about their company, industry or market. 
  • How can I help? (Referrals, introductions, advice, information).
  • Compliment their new venture, campaign, website, product, or service.
  • Invite them to coffee or lunch; invite them to play golf. 
  • Invite them to accompany you to your next networking event.
  • Volunteer for their committee.
  • Offer to do a private seminar for their business.
  • Contribute to their favorite charity or promote their favorite cause.
  • Interview them (or let them interview you).
  • Send articles, videos, books that may interest them.
  • Ask, “What are you reading?” Get the book, share your thoughts.
  • Introduce them to your other business contacts.
  • Help their kids (get into college, support their team, buy their Girl Scout cookies). 

If you can’t think of anything else, just call and say hello.

Keep in touch with your most valuable business contacts. Help them, build relationships with them, be a friend. Inevitably, they will help you. 

The Attorney Marketing Formula