Spying on clients and competitors

Share

Do you know what’s going on in your clients’ businesses? The latest good news? The latest dirt?

You should. And you can. Just set up google alerts for the business and their key people and you’ll get an email whenever something happens.

When someone gets sued, investigated, or arrested, when someone wins an award, gets married, or dies, you won’t have to wait for someone to tell you, you’ll know. You can contact your client and congratulate them or express condolences.

Do the same thing for their industries and major competitors. When you learn something your client may need to know, they’ll appreciate your telling them, even if they already know.

If you represent consumers, set up alerts for their employers, their employer’s industries, their places of worship, and their local markets.

While you’re at it, set up alerts for your major competitors, your practice area, your referral sources, and yourself. You need to know when someone is talking about you or doing something that interests you or may concern you, things that present an opportunity or a threat.

And yes, you can also get a lot of ideas for your newsletter or blog this way.

Go here and set up an alert or two. You can always remove it, modify it, or add more.

Automate your market (and marketing) intelligence. Let technology bring the information to you so you don’t have to go looking for it.

The Attorney Marketing Formula

Share

Know thy client

Share

I read an article in the Wisconsin Lawyer that provided “tips for writing in ways that attract the attention of search engines, readers, and new clients.”

It’s good information. And a good reminder about the importance and value of writing in building a law practice.

But that’s not why I’m telling you about it.

At the end of the article, in her “bio,” the author tells a story about one of her consulting clients who was unhappy with her advice:

A few years ago, an attorney I was working with called me to complain because one of their former clients gave them a bad online review. I had encouraged them to follow up with clients to thank them for their business and ask for reviews, so the bad review they received was, in their mind, my fault. It didn’t occur to me that I needed to tell attorneys that they should only ask for reviews from clients they suspected had a positive opinion of them. I now emphasize that you should never ask for a review you don’t want. It’s the legal marketing equivalent of the age-old advice that you should never ask a question you don’t want to know the answer to!

It seems so simple. Ask for reviews; don’t ask for reviews from clients who might not love ya.

You want reviews. You need reviews. Good reviews can bring in a boatload of clients.

Seriously.

So you should ask for reviews.

But how do you avoid bad reviews?

Simple.

Ask for reviews, but do it in stages:

  1. Routinely send every client a form to fill out to provide feedback about you, your services, your office, etc. Include a question asking if they would recommend you to others, and why or why not.
  2. When the client provides positive feedback and says they would recommend/refer you, ask them to post this in a review (and give them a link to the site you prefer).

Keep your enemies close. Keep your friends (and clients) closer, because you never know what they might say about you.

The Quantum Leap Marketing System

Share

You can’t hire someone to do your pushups for you

Share

Jim Rohn said it, and he was right. Some things can’t or shouldn’t be outsourced.

Your marketing is one of them. Because professional services are personal services.

Committees and corporations may pay you, but you are hired by and build relationships with individuals.

You can outsource or delegate many marketing activities, but most of them should either be done by you or supervised by you.

You wouldn’t hire someone to go on dates with your spouse and you shouldn’t do that with your clients. You need to know them, so you can serve them, and they need to know you so they will give you that opportunity.

Staff and outside vendors can assist you, advise you, and do a lot of the legwork for you, but they shouldn’t do everything for you.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe you should delegate as much as possible. I’ll say it again, “you should ONLY do those things which ONLY you can do”.

One of those things is building relationships.

Where do you find the time to do that and also do the legal work?

I’m glad you asked.

The answer is to delegate as much of the legal work as possible.

If it can be done by an employee, it should be.

You diagnose the problem and write the prescription. Your staff carries out your orders. You supervise, make sure they’re doing the right things, and doing things right.

Marketing is a lot more than building relationships, but with a professional practice, it’s the most important part.

Make sure you allocate time to do that.

Ready? Quantum Leap Marketing System

Share

I don’t need you

Share

I want you to hire me, sign up for my list, and tell others about me.

But I don’t need you to do any of that.

I’m doing very well, thank you, and while I work hard to keep my clients happy and coming back to me, I’ll be just fine if they don’t.

That, my friend, is the attitude you should adopt with your clients and prospects and professional contacts. That is the attitude of a successful lawyer and it will attract a lot of new business.

Now, don’t say any of this. You’ll come off as an asshat. This is about your attitude, the attitude of someone who is good at their job and knows it. A lawyer who doesn’t chase business but has business chase them.

Success breeds success, because success is attractive.

What if you’re not quite there? How do you adopt that attitude?

Use your imagination. Literally. See yourself as the person you want to be. Feel what you would feel so you can “act as if”.

And keep doing that until you are that, and more.

The success you seek, the image you want to portray, is first a state a mind, then a state of reality.

When a prospective client meets you, they want to feel like they’ve found the right lawyer for the job. Your confidence and countenance will go a long way to doing that.

But be careful. Don’t overdo it. There’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness.

More than confidence, clients want a lawyer who appreciates them, so don’t forget to take your humility pills and thank your maker for your good fortune.

And thank your clients for choosing you.

Because no matter how good you are, or how successful you are, you couldn’t do it without your clients. And they didn’t have to choose you.

The Attorney Marketing Formula

Share

Why should anyone hire you?

Share

On your website, in your marketing materials, when you speak with a prospective client, your top priority is to tell people why they should hire you.

(1) Tell them why they need a lawyer.

If you haven’t spoken to them, use if/then language. Ask rhetorical questions, tell them their risks and their options, and make the case for hiring an attorney instead of doing nothing or trying to fix the problem themselves.

If you are speaking to them, find out what they want (don’t assume it), and explain how an attorney can help them get what they want.

(2) Tell them why that lawyer should be you.

Spell out your qualifications, explain why you are a better choice than other attorneys, tell them about your solutions/services and the pros and cons and costs of each.

Of course it’s not just what you say, it’s also how you say it and how you make them feel, so make sure you:

  • Build rapport, to help them relax, feel your strength and self-confidence, and build likeability and trust
  • Get the client to talk about themselves—what they think, how they feel, what they want to happen, and why. What’s at stake for them? The more they talk, the more they are likely to sell themselves on taking the next step
  • Ask appropriate questions, to show them you have experience with their problem, and show you care about helping them
  • Share stories of clients you’ve represented in the same or similar situation, to illustrate how an attorney can help them and show them how you have helped others
  • Confirm their understanding of each point before you go on to the next one, to eliminate potential misunderstandings and show them your thoroughness and patience
  • Answer their questions and handle their objections before they raise them, and invite them to ask you more

And then, when they have no more questions, ask them what they want to do.

Yes, you can assume the sale and hand them (or send them) the paperwork to sign, but it’s much better when they tell you they want to get started. They’ll be more likely to do that when you show them they need you rather than telling them.

New here? Start here

Share

Wham, bam, see the cashier

Share

I went to a new optometrist last week. To my surprise and delight, I was treated like a valued patient, not a commodity, as many doctors’ offices do.

I had an appointment and when I arrived, the young man behind the counter made eye contact and greeted me by name. I can’t be sure, but I think he had a smile under his mask.

I’d already filled out most of the paperwork online and was escorted to the exam room, get this, 2 minutes after I arrived.

The entire staff was friendly and treated me with respect. They made small talk while the machines came to life. They even laughed at my jokes.

And it was the most thorough eye exam and consultation I’ve ever had.

The appointment wasn’t just for a new prescription. I have an issue that needed addressing. The doctor patiently explained everything and answered all of my questions. I was there for nearly 90 minutes.

Before I left, I thanked the young man who greeted me for being so friendly and making me a priority instead of my insurance card. I also told the doctor about the great job he did and thanked her for her own patience and thoroughness.

When I saw an ophthalmologist for the same problem earlier this year, the doctor explained almost nothing, talked mostly to her assistant rather than me, and was done with me in 10 minutes.

Over the years, I’ve written about some of the less-than-stellar experiences I’ve had at doctor’s offices. I complained about having to wait (a big pet peeve of mine) and then being rushed through the exam or procedure.

Their time is valuable, but so is mine.

Now, I’m writing about an office that gets it right. No wonder they have a long list of 5-star reviews. They’ll continue to get my business and my referrals.

What does it take to achieve this?

Perspective.

Seeing your patients (clients) as your top priority. Giving them the time and attention they need and treating them like human beings, not livestock.

Show them you appreciate them, even if your accountant says you can’t afford it.

And remember to laugh at their jokes.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

Share

Thank you

Share

Every day, we’re presented with opportunities to say thank you.

To the new client who chooses you instead of any other lawyer, the existing client who sends you a referral, your assistant for covering for you when you’re late, the stranger who opens the door open for you.

And we usually say it.

We say it so often we don’t always realize we’re saying it.

We’re being polite. Saying what we were raised to say when someone does something for you. And in terms of civility, that’s good. But for the important people in our life, we can do better.

A recent study found that when it comes to showing gratitude, quantity doesn’t matter as much as quality.

So, what can we do to show people we truly appreciate what they’ve done? We’re not just being polite, we mean it?

The best way to show someone you mean it is to mean it. To feel it inside you and to share that feeling with them. Not just with your words, but with your tone of voice, your eyes, your complete attention to them.

When you are sincerely grateful, they know.

When you send a thank you note or letter, you can show them you mean it by personalizing the letter. Use their name, mention what they’ve done, and tell them why it means something to you.

You can also show people you appreciate them by showing them you’re thinking about them. Sending articles or links to videos you’ve found, about subjects you think will interest them, is a simple way to do that.

Remembering things about them—where they went to school, the names of their kids, the breed of their dog— shows people you care about them as a person, not just someone who helps pay your mortgage.

If you want someone to know you appreciate them, do what fiction writers do: “Show, don’t (just) tell.”

Share

Not all clients are created equal

Share

Some clients are worth more to you than others. I’m not just talking about billing or cases or revenue, or even the value of the referrals they send you—or could.

I’m talking about the people they know and could introduce you to. The doors they could open for you for networking, speaking, and publishing content. The information they have about their industry or market or local market, information that can lead you to opportunities you didn’t even know existed.

I’m also talking about the value these clients represent to you by allowing you to be seen with them. When important people in your niche see you interviewing other important people in your niche, for your blog or channel, the value of your “stock” tends to go up.

Because we are known by the company we keep.

Hold on. If you primarily represent consumers, if your clients don’t have the status and connections we’re talking about, you’re not out of luck. Your professional contacts can also provide this value.

Your homework: identify 5 or 10 of your top clients and/or professional contacts and go to school on them.

Study them and their business or industry. Find out more about what they do, how they do it, and who they know. Figure out what they can do for you (or your clients), and. . . what you can do for them.

What do they need? What do they want? What are their problems and goals?

If you can, interview them. Spend more time with them. Tell them you want to get to know better. Ask questions and take notes.

The things you learn will help you take your relationship to the next level.

Your research will help you do a better job for them as their lawyer, and for your other clients in that niche or practice area, and help you assist your inner circle in ways that go beyond your core services.

Good for them. Good for your other clients and contacts. And good for you.

There you have it. Off you go. You’ve got people to talk to and notes to take.

Make sure you have a copy of this in your backpack

Share

It’s a memo, Jim, not a newsletter

Share

Maybe you’re not ready to write a newsletter. Or maybe you tried it and gave up.

You see the value of staying in touch with your clients, but you don’t want to take the time to do it, or you don’t know what to say.

If you’re willing to reconsider, to do a “test drive” and see if it really is worth it, I have a suggestion.

Instead of a newsletter in the usual sense—sent to anyone who subscribes—consider sending something only to your clients.

You have their email and permission to contact them. You don’t need to add a form to your website or do any list building.

You already have a connection—they know, like and trust you, so you don’t have to do anything newsletter-ish.

And you don’t have to stick to a regular “publishing” schedule. You can write to them if and when you have something to share.

In prehistoric times, when a lawyer had something to share with their clients—an article, news, case summaries, business or consumer tips, or anything else they thought might interest their clients—they’d make copies and put them in the mail.

It was a way to keep their clients informed, add value to the relationship, and remind their clients that they were still there to help them (or someone they know).

You can do the same thing with email.

Set up a file, collect articles or tips or ideas, and when you have a few, put the blurb and/or a link in an email and click send.

You can comment on the tips or information if you want to, and while this is a good idea, it’s not required.

That’s right, you don’t have to do any writing or editing or make anything look pretty. Just send.

Because it’s not a newsletter.

And because most of the value of this exercise, to your clients, and to you, is in the sending.

If you’re ready to write a newsletter, this shows you everything you need to do

Share

If they say it, it must be true

Share

Clients pay for your advice but often don’t want to hear it.

They don’t want to hear bad news, expensive or painful solutions, or what they did wrong.

But hear it they must.

So, you have a choice. You can tell them what they need to hear or you can get them to tell themselves.

Because if you say it, they can doubt it and fight you or blame you; if they say it, it must be true.

So, you present the facts, the whys and wherefores, the options and risks, the process and costs, but hold back on telling them what to do.

Let them figure that out for themselves and tell you what they want to do.

Spanish philosopher Baltasar Gracian said, “When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.”

Remind them what they told you they wanted (or didn’t want) and ask questions. Lots of questions.

Questions about what’s important to them, about what they would think or do if something happened (or didn’t), about what they would think and how they would feel.

Ask questions and repeat their answers back to them, so they can hear what they’ve said and how it sounds.

“What you’re saying is. . . is that right?” Keep doing that until they decide. Guide them, but don’t decide for them.

If they ask what you recommend, go over what they’ve told you they want/prefer/want to avoid, and let them respond.

Sometimes, they’ll ask, “What would you do in my situation?” or “What do you recommend?”

What should you do when they ask that?

What do you think you should do?

Share