2 questions to help you prioritize your work

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You have legal work and admin work. You have urgent tasks and important projects. How do you figure out what to do, and what to do first?

Prioritizing your work doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need a complex formula or checklist. All you need to do is ask yourself 2 questions:

(1) “If I could only work 2 hours today, what would I do?”

Pretend you have a medical condition that only allows you to be at your desk for 2 hours a day. You have to choose what you must do and what can wait until tomorrow.

What’s urgent? What’s essential? What’s at the top of your list in terms of importance?

That’s what you should work on today.

But not before you ask yourself question no. 2. . .

(2) “If I could only work 2 hours this week, what would I do?”

This helps you to identify the tasks and projects that are likely to provide you with the most value and advance you towards your biggest goals.

This is where the majority of your time and energy should be invested this week, and also today.

Yes, you’ll have to do some juggling. You can’t fill your day with urgent tasks without taking time away from your most important work, but you can’t ignore things that have to get done today to work on your big projects.

You have to balance them. Get clear on what’s really important.

Which is what these questions help you to do.

The Quantum Leap Marketing System for Attorneys. Details here

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It’s easier to keep your clients happy than to get new ones

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We hired a new gardener recently because our previous one didn’t show up, or call, or text. He’s missed days before, but always let us know, so we figured he’d flaked out and moved on to greener pastures.

Turns out he hadn’t.

We got a text from him yesterday, asking why we removed him from our gated community’s guest list. “Is there a problem? Did I do something wrong?”

We filled him in. He got angry. But didn’t explain why he didn’t show up, contact us, or respond to our numerous texts.

So, he lost our account, and the tree-trimming gig he was booked to do later this month. We know he needs the money because he continually nickled-and-dimed us about everything, and because he mentioned needing the money in his last text.

We have needs, too. We need to know that our yard is being taken care of by someone we can count on.

Maybe he’ll learn a lesson from this. Maybe he’ll realize how important it is to take care of your customers, and that it’s easier to do that than to find new ones.

Hey, I hear a lawnmower outside. Guess out new gardener is here. Right on time. Just like he promised.

Marketing is everything you do to get and keep good clients

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Maybe you should teach a class

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CLE presenters don’t teach classes for the money. Why do they do it? Why should you?

Here are 6 reasons you should consider teaching a continuing education course:

  1. It will make you a better lawyer. You’ll necessarily stay current with the cutting edge aspects of your subject.
  2. It will make you a better presenter. You’ll learn how to craft an interesting and persuasive presentation.
  3. It will expose you to other lawyers who take your class. This can lead to referrals, associating on cases, and other networking opportunities.
  4. It looks great on your bio. Just being able to say you teach other lawyers in your field gives you an edge over other lawyers who don’t.
  5. You’ll have more content for your blog, newsletter, guest posts, videos, podcasts, and seminars.
  6. It can lead to book deals, invitations to speak on panels or sit on committees, and other opportunities to get more exposure and elevate your reputation.

So, what are you waiting for? Sharpen your pencil, and your tongue, and outline your first CLE class.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

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Is it time to get outside help with your marketing?

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The National Law Forum article, 13 Signs It Is Time to Hire an Outside Marketing Professional, offers a variety of reasons why a lawyer or firm might consider getting outside help with their marketing.

Basically, when you recognize the need, but lack the time or expertise to do the job in-house, go outside for help.

There’s some good advice here, but I’d like to differ with one of the “reasons” offered:

Marketing Takes Up More Than 15 Minutes of Your Billable Time

As an attorney, you should spend most of your time doing what you do best. If you spend more than 15 minutes per day writing and scheduling tweets, checking marketing metrics, or optimizing your blog posts, you are wasting time that should be spent researching, meeting with clients, or preparing for court. Outsource these tasks to a professional.

Of course you should have someone else handle marketing-related tasks like editing, checking stats, and the like. But that’s admin, not marketing.

Marketing means building relationships with prospective clients and referral sources, something you can’t (shouldn’t) delegate.

Marketing means strengthening relationships with existing clients, to foster repeat business and referrals. You can have your staff help you with this but you need to be at the helm.

Marketing means investing time with personal development, to improve your communication, sales and interpersonal relationship skills.

And marketing means familiarizing yourself with the elements of technical strategies, e.g., Internet, PPC ads, etc., so that if you hire someone, in-house or outside, you’ll know what you want from them and you can make sure they’re giving you what you want.

And, all of this takes time.

So, although I suggest dedicating 15 minutes a day to marketing, please understand this is just a start.

Many lawyers won’t do more more than that. But some lawyers, the ones who are good at marketing and are getting lots of new business as a result, may find it more profitable to continue doing what they’re doing and delegate more legal work.

Which is what I did in my practice. It allowed me to multiply my income and reduce my work to three days per week.

Learn more here

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The first rule of productivity

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Productivity isn’t about how much you do, or how fast your do it. It’s about the quality of your work.

But it’s difficult to deliver the kind of quality your clients want and expect when your plate is overflowing.

The first rule of productivity is to eliminate most of what you could do, to free up resources to do your most valuable work.

High achievers say “no” to almost everything. You must, too. You might call this the ‘prime directive’ in the achievement universe.

Cut out most of the tasks and projects on your lists. Say no to most of the requests from others. Do less than you think you could do, so you’ll have time and energy to excel at the few things that matter most.

When you do less, you can do more of what you do best. You’ll have more time to improve your most valuable skills, develop key relationships, and work on your most promising projects.

Eliminate practice areas that don’t excite you. Let go of marginal clients and cases. Stop marketing to “everyone”.

When you do less, your days are less crowded. You may not crank out as much work or close as many cases, but you’ll earn more because the quality of your work will attract better clients and bigger cases.

Years ago, when I decided to do less, it was hard to let go. I thought I could do it gradually, but that didn’t work. What worked was doing it all at once.

I eliminated practice areas and stopped taking certain clients. For awhile, I had much less work to do.

It was frightening, but liberating. I was free to build the kind of practice I wanted. And I did, faster than I thought was possible.

My income multiplied, I had more time for other areas of my life, and I was happier.

If you want to be more productive and more successful, do less.

This will help you focus

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One new client

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If marketing is on your mind, you’re probably thinking about ways to quickly bring in a metric ton of new clients.

We all do that. We want to go big and go fast, because we’re busy and we like to maximize our time and money.

But that kind of thinking can lead to frustration and poor results.

Because it’s not easy to do what you want to do, and it forces you to compete against some tough hombres who will show you no mercy.

I propose a different approach.

Instead of searching for the Holy Grail of marketing ideas, get quiet and think about what you can do to get just one.

Because one new client is all you really need.

How so?

If you find a way to bring in one new client, you can use that tactic over and over again, in different ways and in different markets, and get a steady stream of new clients.

If you write a blog post that brings in a new client, for example, you can re-use that post to bring in more.

You can update it and publish it again. You can re-write it and optimize the keywords for different markets. You can re-purpose it by turning it into a ebook or other lead magnet.

If you find a new client via a networking event or social media group, your own or someone else’s, you can put more effort into that event or group and get more clients.

Fish where there are fish and you’ll get more fish.

Of course, the other reason one new client is all you need is that the new client can lead you to others.

The new client can refer others. They can introduce you to professionals they know who might work with you and send you business. They can promote your event, share your content, and help you build your list by sending traffic to your site.

One new client can lead you to 100 new clients.

To get big, think small. Try lots of ideas and pay attention. When you find something that works, do it again.

You can build a big practice this way.

I built my business with email. You can, too.

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It’s like referrals but without the sweaty palms

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Do you know any attorneys who could send you referrals but don’t? How about accountants, financial planners, insurance or real estate brokers?

You could ask them for referrals but. . . it makes you nervous. Okay, forget about that (for now). There’s something else you can do.

You can talk to them about a marketing alliance, where both of you benefit.

It’s a simple way for two parties to increase the reach of their marketing, reduce their costs, or both.

The result: more clients. Probably better clients, because the client finds out about you from a trusted source, just like a referral.

A simple example:

You send an email to your list and recommend the other professional’s services, webinar, or free report. They do the same for you.

Another simple example:

You interview said professional for your newsletter or blog, podcast or video channel, mention their special offer or book, and provide a link thereto. They do the same for you.

Another simple example:

You invite the other professional to write a guest post for your blog or newsletter; yep, you do the same thing for theirs.

Can you see how simple this is? And how it could bring in a lot of new clients?

Start with professionals you know who have a practice that’s a good fit for yours.

But don’t stop there. There are thousands more where they came from.

You can learn how to find them (and exactly what to say) in my Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals course. Details here

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I have the answer to your problem but you can’t have it

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It’s better to have people ask you to send them information than you for you to ask them if they want it.

It’s better because when they ask, they’re raising their hand and telling you they want it and will probably consume it.

It’s also better posture for you. “Be the pursued, not the pursuer.”

So, how do you get people to ask?

My favorite way is to use a “takeaway”. Let them know what you have but don’t offer it to them.

To wit:

YOU: “I just wrote a report that shows how to [solve a painful problem]. Do you know anyone who might like a copy?”

You have something that, ostensibly, a prospective client wants but you’re not sending it to them or offering it to them. If they want it, they have to ask for it.

And they will. “Could I get a copy?”

YOU (Surprised): “Oh, well, sure. . . I can send you a link. What’s your best email address?”

If they don’t ask, they’re either not a prospect or your report title/description needs improvement.

How well does this work? Brilliantly. I’ve used a takeaway successfully more times than I can count.

It’s a beautiful thing hearing the other person (prospect or professional) ask if THEY can have a copy.

Sometimes, they’re not interested but they know someone who might be. That’s fine. They help their friend or client get information that could help them, and they do some “advertising” for you.

Sometimes, they’re not interested and they don’t know anyone.

That’s fine, too.

At least they know what you have and if their situation changes or they run into someone with a problem your report addresses, they know where to turn.

Who do you know that’s ready to take their law practice to the next level?

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Do you trust me?

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If you’ve been getting my emails for a while, there’s a good chance you trust me, at least enough to open the email and read what I say.

If I recommend a marketing idea, you’re inclined to try it. If I have something for you to buy, you’ll probably take a look. If you know someone who might need what I offer, you’re open to recommending me.

And it works the same way with you and the people on your list.

We write a newsletter, we write a blog, we post on social media, because, among other things, it helps us build trust.

And, as Seth Godin said in Permission Marketing, to be heard, you’ve got to earn trust.

Otherwise, our messages get drowned out by the messages of (so many) others.

When you get referrals, trust is part of the deal. The prospective client trusts you because his friend or advisor trusts you. When you speak at an organization’s event, the audience tends to trust you because you were invited to speak by an organization they trust.

When you advertise, there is no trust. You can point at various trust elements, e.g., your experience, etc., but there’s more doubt than trust. That’s why the rate of response is so low.

When you blog or write a newsletter, you build trust by showing up and delivering value, and by doing it consistently over time.

The nice thing about having a blog (podcast, video channel) is that all of the content you previously created is available for visitors to see. You can build trust faster that way.

We create content to attract prospective clients, and once they visit our blog or sign up for our newsletter, to build trust and encourage them to take the next step.

I have a course that shows you how to do that with email; details here

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Our best ideas choose us

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What should you write about on your blog? Which book should you read next? Where should you go on vacation?

The best idea is probably the one you can’t stop thinking about, or the one you keep coming back to.

Our subconscious minds know what we like, what we want, and what would be best for us, and finds ways to tell us what to do.

Our job is to listen.

Most of us write down our ideas. Some of us “think on paper,” writing out the options, describing how we feel, weighing the pros and cons.

I’ve got a long list of ideas for all sorts of things. Maybe you do, too. We check our lists, and choose the next task or project or idea. When we see the right one, we know it, don’t we?

Stephen King doesn’t write down book ideas. He says his best ideas stick with him, sometimes for many years. Writing them down, he says, would dissipate them.

Whether we keep our ideas on paper, in an app, or we let our subconscious mind hold onto them, one thing is certain.

Our best ideas choose us.

More marketing ideas than you can shake a stick at

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