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

Tooting your horn when your horn needs tooting

Share

When you win a big case, get an award, or achieve an important milestone, don’t keep it a secret.

Tell people about that great testimonial or endorsement you received. Tell people about the results you obtained for a client.

Don’t hide your light under a bushel.

Tell you clients and prospects about your accomplishments, because they want to know they are dealing with a lawyer who knows what they’re doing. It validates their decision to hire you or send you referrals, or tips the balance in your favor if they haven’t yet taken that step.

Share your good news, especially if it suggests you’re growing–your new hires, new offices, new clients, new services or new practice areas.

When you write a (new) book, start a video channel, update your website, start a newsletter, or get invited to speak at a prestigious event, let everyone know.

It’s not bragging if it’s true.

And if it’s true, it can help you.

On the other hand, while your clients and business contacts like knowing they work with a lawyer who is smarter than the average bear, nobody really cares that much.

It’s nice, but they’re a lot more concerned about themselves.

So, toot your horn when your horn needs tooting, but don’t lay on the horn.

Because that can get annoying. Maybe even make some people jealous.

How much is too much tooting? I’d focus mostly on the big stuff, the stuff that moves the needle, and the stuff that directly benefits your clients and contacts.

Tell them about cases you win that make new law or receive a lot of press. Tell them about your new office, your new services, or the new content on your website.

But don’t ignore the review you got from a client who thanked you for being so supportive and working hard to help them. Or the new software you installed that makes things easier for you and your clients.

And when you toot, make sure you look good doing it.

Be brief, say you’re honored or thrilled, thank the people who need to be thanked, and move on.

Toot well, my friend.

Share

Give ’em the pickle

Share

Your client asks you for something extra. It’s small but you would be justified billing for it.

Don’t do it. If at all possible, give it to them, no charge. Because you are in a service business and that means keeping your clients happy.

At least that’s what Bob Farrell, founder of Farrell’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor, would tell you.

“Give ’em the pickle,” Bob would say.

The other day, I watched a video about Farrell’s, which I remember from my youth. They had a big menu and a huge selection of outlandish ice cream dishes, all served up with a big dose of fun.

The video told the story about a regular customer who always asked for and got an extra pickle with his hamburger. One day, he asked a new waitress for an extra pickle but she insisted on charging him for it. He left the restaurant and wrote a letter to Bob Farrell, complaining and vowing never to return.

Farrell wrote back, apologized, offered the customer a coupon and encouraged him to return, which he did.

Farrell began training his employees and corporate staff on the importance of going the extra mile to take care of customers. His “Give ’em the pickle” policy and training was a big success for Farrell’s and many other companies that adopted it.

It’s the little things we do for clients that make a difference. The little things are often the reason clients return to you with their next legal matter, and the reason they tell their friends about you.

So, when they ask for something extra, look for ways to give it to them. The cost to you is negligible compared to the lifetime value of the client (and his referrals).

But don’t wait to be asked. Client’s appreciate the extra touches–your handwritten thank you note, personally greeting them in your reception area, or calling to see how they feel after their latest medical procedure.

Whether or not a client asks for something extra, look for ways to give ’em the pickle.

Treating client’s right is the key to repeat business and referrals

Share

Is it okay to tell a client, “I don’t know”?

Share

When we prep a client for a statement or depo we tell them it’s okay to say, “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember”. It’s safe. A way to keep them from guessing or lying and getting caught.

If you don’t know, you don’t know, so that’s what you should say.

But what if it’s something they should know? Won’t they look bad if they say they don’t?

Sometimes they will.

If the question is, “Where were you seated in the vehicle?” yes. They will look bad if they say they don’t know.

You sign ’em up and you take yo chances.

But what about us? Lawyers who have clients (and spouses) who ask us questions we should be able to answer. Is it okay to tell them you don’t know?

Sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s not.

When a client asks, “How much is my case worth?” you better not give them an answer that doesn’t include the words “it depends.” On the other hand, if your spouse asks, “Do you love me” you damn well better have a different answer. And, for the record, if your spouses asks, “How much did you have to drink?” you probably don’t want to say you don’t recall.

But those are easy. What about difficult questions?

When a client asks you about the law, is it okay to say you don’t know? Should you offer an ambiguous “it depends” type of answer, tell them you’re not sure, or admit you don’t have a clue?

If you admit you don’t know something you should know, doesn’t that show weakness?

It’s certainly a good way to show the client you respect them and aren’t trying to bluff your way through an answer. It’s refreshing to hear an attorney provide a straight answer for a change, isn’t it?

Yeah, I know, it depends.

If you don’t know the answer, and you don’t know if you should admit that, I’d suggest going with, “I need to do more research.”

On the other hand, speaking from experience, I can tell you that’s not a good answer when your wife asks you (anything).

Share

Give people what they want? Maybe

Share

A YouTuber who “reacts” to musical artists posted a survey on her channel. She asked her subscribers to vote on which artist she should (continue to) react to.

87% chose one artist over the others.

As a result, she’s going to do more reactions to the fan favorite. But she’s also going to react to other artists, “out of fairness” to people who have other preferences.

Is that a good strategy? Or should she stick with what her subscribers overwhelmingly told her they want, because the customer is always right and we are all in the business of serving our customers (or clients)?

Well, if you polled your subscribers and followers, clients and prospects, and asked them what topics they wanted you to write or talk about, or what services they wanted you to provide, would you give them what they want because they want it?

Your answer should be “maybe”. Because the customer (client) isn’t always right.

Steve Jobs put it this way:

“Some people say, “Give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!'” People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.”

If I write about a marketing method you aren’t interested in, you might tune me out. If I write about it all the time, you might find someone else to read.

On the other hand, you might hear me talk about the benefits of that method and how you can do it effectively, and change your mind.

You might not know what you want until I show it to you.

But sometimes, our subscribers want things we can’t give them. If your readers or clients ask you to write about investing in crypto currencies or precious metals and you don’t know anything about the subject, don’t be too quick to say no and don’t try to fake your way through it.

Think like a marketer, not a lawyer and invite an expert to write a guest post on the subject. Or interview them. Because we really are in the business of serving our customers.

Give people what they want. If you can’t or don’t want to, find someone who can.

How to get more referrals from other lawyers

Share

Here’s the real reason you should take notes at a client meeting

Share

Some lawyers write a lot, some jot down key points, but most lawyers take notes when they meet with a client.

Why do it?

To document what was said? To record your thoughts about what was said? To write down additional questions, issues to research, or what to do next?

These are all important. But not the most important reason for taking notes.

The most important reason for taking notes is to let your client see you taking notes.

To show them you’re listening, recording ideas, plotting ways to help them.

You’re not just taking up space in the room, you’re working.

Taking notes is a way to document effort. The client sees that you’re doing what you were paid to do. Win or lose, they see that you tried.

Taking notes is also a way to validate the client. It tells them you value what they say, and, therefore, you value them.

When a lawyer doesn’t take notes, what’s a client to think?

Who knows?

It’s also important to take notes at a deposition, statement, arbitration, or hearing. You want opposing counsel, the adjuster or other parties to see you taking notes. It suggests that you are hearing things you can use to harm their case or enhance yours.

It’s a way of getting in their head, throwing them off their game.

You might think it works the other way around. You intimidate the opposition by not taking notes, showing them you’re not at all concerned about their case. Your nonchalance suggests you don’t see them as a threat, they’re not saying anything worthy of note. It makes them wonder if there’s anything they’re missing.

Which strategy is best? I’ll let you decide. But if my client is in the room, I’m taking lots of notes.

Want to know how to get more referrals? Here’s how

Share