Always be closing? 


Sales people are taught to continually look for opportunities to close the deal and that these can occur at any time. When a prospective customer or client says something about price or fees, for example, this is often one of those opportunities, because it usually means they have decided they (probably) do need or want the product or service and are thinking about how they can get it.

So, generally speaking, “Always be Closing” is good advice. But there is such a thing as trying to close too soon. 

When you talk to a prospective client for the first time, handing them a retainer agreement and a pen may be the right thing to do, or it might blow up in your face if they see it as being too presumptive or aggressive. 

Which is why sales experts tell you to not only look for opportunities to close but to see if you can create them.

You do that by using “trial closes” or questions designed to elicit responses that are consistent with someone who is ready to buy. “Are you leaning towards (Package A) or (Package B)?” is one example. 

When the prospect looks they are ready, go for the close. If they don’t, don’t push it. Don’t close before they’re ready. 

But we see marketers do this all the time. 

You see ads with a call to action that says, “Call today for an appointment”. That might be the right way to go, but what if the prospect is just starting to research their problem and isn’t ready to consider hiring an attorney? If the choice is between “Call for an appointment” or nothing, guess which one they’re going to choose? 

On the other hand, doing nothing might be best for you, too. If you’re doing lead generation advertising, you might only want leads of people who are ready to talk to or hire an attorney. 

But what about people who are ready to make an appointment? Shouldn’t you encourage them to do that? 

Maybe. Or maybe you should give them a choice: “Call for an appointment or to learn more. . .”

What should you do?

Should you close for the appointment? Tell them to sign up or your webinar? Tell them to call to ask questions or to download your report? Visit your website to learn more about the law or to learn about you and how you can help them? 

Lots of options.

I can’t tell you the right approach and neither can your marketing or advertising team. The only way to know for sure is to try several approaches and see works best. 

One offer may get lots of leads, but very few new clients. Another offer might bring in relatively few leads, but result in enough new clients to be very profitable. Another offer might lose money on your promotion but bring in a few clients who have lots of work for you after the initial case or engagement.

You “test” one offer against others. And let the numbers tell you what works best. And it works the same way with closing. When a prospective client looks like they’re ready to sign up, close them. If they aren’t ready, they will let you know.


Sign here


It’s the moment of truth. You’ve talked to the prospective client, told them what you can do to help them, answered their questions, and quoted a fee. Will they become your next new client? 

One way to find out: hand them your retainer agreement and a pen (or your tablet and a stylus) and tell them where to put their signature. 

And say nothing.

Actually, I like to give them authorizations and other documents to sign first, to get them in the habit of signing. Then the retainer.

But there’s something you can say to them before you hand them the paperwork to find out if they’re ready (or you have more work to do). 

Ask them, “Are you ready to get started?”

If they’re aren’t, if they need more information or have a reason they’re not ready, you want them to tell you. It’s called an objection, and when you get one, you know what you need to say or do to get them to move forward.

Another option, instead of asking if they’re ready, assume they are (and make them tell you they’re not). One way to do that is to ask, “Would you like me to get things started today or the first of next week?”

Either way, it means they want you to go ahead. But they still may ask more questions or offer more objections.

Answer these, keep asking about getting started, and eventually, you’ll get a yes or a no.

What if it’s a no?

Don’t push, negotiate, or try to scare them. That’s bad posture and isn’t going to help.

Instead, you simply say, “okay,” and ask, “Do you mind if I stay in touch?”

That’s good posture.  

Keep your name in their mailbox and when they’re ready, they’ll let you know. 

Email marketing for attorneys




When we want someone to do something we usually tell them what they will get if they do. We tell the prospective client the benefits for hiring us, the visitor to our website what our newsletter will help them learn and be able to do, and this is often enough to get them to take the next step. 

But there is something that is often more persuasive than telling people the benefits they get for doing what we’re asking them to do.

More powerful than telling people what they gain if they do something–telling them what they lose if they don’t. 

We tell the prospective client what might happen if they don’t have a lawyer protecting them from the insurance company, or they don’t choose us as that attorney. We tell the client what might happen if they don’t settle, or what might happen if they do.

We invoke their innate “fear of loss” (or Fear of Missing Out) and it often seals the deal. 

Because humans fear losing something already in their possession.

Fear of loss is often much more motivating than the desire for gain and you should use it in your marketing and in working with your clients. 

When you do, don’t limit your message to the big things they might lose (or gain). Sometimes, it’s the little things that close the deal.

For example, some prospective clients might choose your firm instead of another not because you’re demonstrably the best choice but because the picture of what it’s like working with you appeals to them. 

They like your personality, the way you write your articles, the causes you’ve talked about, or even the great Christmas parties you throw. 

And they don’t want to miss out on that. 

Make sure you show prospective clients the whole package that is you. Because if you don’t, they might not see the one thing that tips the balance in your favor. 

And hire someone else. 


Soft call-to-action 


When you tell your readers, audience, subscribers, or website visitors to do something you want them to do, e.g., Call to schedule an appointment, you’re using a call-to-action. And you should because the more you tell people what to do, the more likely it is that they’ll do it. 

Clearly, not everyone is ready to do what you ask when you ask it, which is why you should ask again. Put calls-to-action in most or all of your marketing communications. Remind them (often) to call, sign-up, or download something. And tell them why—the benefits they get or the problems this can help them solve. 

When (if) they’re ready, they will respond. Your job is to stay in touch with them and continually make the case for taking action by repeating your call-to-action, providing additional arguments and examples, reminding them about the benefits, and otherwise “selling” them on doing what you ask.  

Telling them to call for an appointment is a ‘hard’ call to action. If they call, there is an expectation that this will lead to them signing up for something and paying something, and this may not be easy for them because it requires a commitment they might not be willing (yet) to make.

Which is why you should also use the ‘soft call-to-action’. Asking (telling) them to do something that doesn’t require a big commitment. Something relatively easy for them to do:

  • Like, share, comment
  • Download this report
  • Fill out our survey
  • Hit reply and ask your question
  • Sign up for our free seminar
  • Watch this video, listen to this podcast, read this article
  • And others. 

Why use these? First, because they help you build a list, which gives you permission to follow-up and send additional information. 

And second, because the more often you ask them to do something, and they do it, the more likely it is that they will do something else you ask.  

Get a visitor to your website to give you their email address and download your report today. Tomorrow, it will be easier to get them to sign up for your seminar or listen to your replay. Eventually, it will be easier to get them to schedule that appointment. 

What’s interesting is that even if they don’t do the things you ask, the more you ask, the more they become conditioned to hearing you ask and the less resistant they become to (eventually) doing something you ask. 

The lesson? Ask visitors and readers and prospects to do things and never stop asking. 

Each time they hear you ask, they take a step closer to becoming your next client.

Marketing legal services is easier when you know The Formula


Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman


Wouldn’t it be great if the first time you talked to a prospective client about your services they said, “Where do I sign up?” 

It would, but they don’t. 

They usually want more information. Maybe a lot more. And they want you to explain things in enough detail that they not only understand it, they see that your solution is their best solution. 

Because they don’t want to make a mistake.  

They will have questions. As you answer those questions, they’ll often think of more. 

Getting them from not knowing to knowing, and from knowing to doing (hiring you) is a process, and it usually takes time.

The prospective client needs you to explain things again, in different want, so they can understand everything. 

And, no matter how good you are at explaining, not everyone “gets” it as quickly as others. Especially with something complicated (like the law) and scary (like the law) and expensive (like the law). 

When you’re sitting with the prospect, you can take your time explaining things properly, ask questions to make sure they understand, show them the paperwork, read their body language, and answer all of their questions. You can take as long as they need.

And you no doubt do all that. But it’s a different story when you’re communicating with them online. 

Putting up more FAQ’s, videos, and other information can help. But sometimes, all that information overwhelms or confused them, leading them to conclude they’re not ready to do anything.  

What can you do?

The answer isn’t to wait until their problem gets worse and they’re in enough pain to finally call. The answer is to stay in touch with them, via email. 

Send more information. Send them the same information stated in different ways. Send them more examples, use cases, and stories about others who had what they have and found relief by hiring you, or found relief by speaking with you (and then hiring you).

Don’t do this once or twice. Do it over and over again, for as long as it takes, because you don’t know when (or if) they will be ready.

Let your newsletter do the heavy lifting. Until they’re ready for you to get on your white horse and save the day.

Email marketing for attorneys


What’s important to you?


I was interviewed recently by the vendor of one of the marketing tools I use in my business. They wanted to know what I do, how I work, and especially how I use their product. 

As we talked, I realized that what was most important to me about this tool, or any tool, was how easy it is to use. 

The same goes for my process. I don’t like complicated workflows. Sometimes, they are necessary, but I like to keep things as simple as possible. 

Simplicity is one of my values. 

I told the interviewer how important this is for what I do, and for the tools I use to do it. Some of their competitors have more features, but they are overkill for me. 

So, if you’re trying to sell me your product or service, show me how easy it is to use. Because if it’s too complicated, it’s probably going to be a no for me. 

You may have different values, and you should explore them. It helps to know what’s important to you, before you buy something you may never use or hire someone who might be good at their job but otherwise not a good fit for you. (Been there, done that; lesson learned.)

It’s also important to find out what’s important to your prospective clients, so that when you talk to them about how you can help them, you’re telling them what they want to hear.

It makes a difference if a client wants to “crush” the other party and is willing to spend big money to accomplish that, or they want a reasonably amicable resolution at modest expense. 

Find out what’s important to them so you can show them how they can get it. 


You had one job


You had one job. You still do, and you always will.

I’m talking about persuading prospective clients who need your help to choose you as their lawyer and to sign up. Now, not someday/maybe.

If you don’t do that job, you’re letting them go their way without getting the help they need (and want, but may hesitate to get).

If you don’t persuade them to take action, their problems might worsen. Become more painful, more difficult to solve, and more expensive. They might also lead to secondary problems.

Yeah, a mess.

If you don’t do everything you can to make the case, create urgency, and make it easy to say “yes,” you’re doing them a disservice. (You’re not doing yourself any good, either).

Don’t wait for them to figure it out. Tell them. Give it all you’ve got. Tell them how it is and how it might be, without sugarcoating or equivocating. They need to hear this from you and hear it often.

They need to hear it in your posts and articles. They need to hear it in your presentations. They need to hear it when you speak with them and write to them.

Give them the facts, tell them what to do, and why.

That doesn’t mean being obnoxious or sounding like a broken record. You should talk to them as you would a friend who is in trouble, or might be, and needs your advice and help.

It also doesn’t mean showering them with nothing but doom and gloom. A litany of what might happen if they don’t act, try to fix it themselves, hire the wrong attorney, or wait too long.

Important points, but nobody wants to listen to a never-ending stream of awfulness. Too much of that and people shut down. And unsubscribe.

So make sure you also give them a healthy dose of benefits and happy endings. The good things that happen when take the action you recommend.

The trick is to know how much of each and how often. The answer to that is a big fat “it depends”.

But you need both. The bad and the good, the warnings and the solutions.

And you need to keep at it until they hire you.

Their future (and yours) depends on it.


Getting to “yes”


Do you have any clients or prospective clients who need one or more of your services but can’t seem to pull the trigger?

Of course you do.

They might have legitimate reasons for waiting and one day surprise you with the go ahead.

They didn’t have the funds, and now they do. They didn’t trust you (enough) and now they know you better. They needed approval from someone and finally got their blessing.

On the other hand, they might want to do it, plan to do it, but never get around to doing it.

Because they don’t feel the urgency to do it.

They might never feel that urgency. Unless you tell them something that tips the scale in favor of “now”.

Which is why you drip on them, via your newsletter or other mechanisms, providing them with reasons and social proof, and reminding them of the need to do it by continuing to show up in their mailbox.

Drip, drip, drip, and one day, they’re ready.

That’s a great plan. But there’s something else you can do to help them reach the tipping point.

And it’s pretty darn simple.

If they don’t yet feel the urgency, you can create that urgency through the use of scarcity.

Find a way to trigger their innate FOMO, their fear of missing out, by limiting the quantity of your offer or the dates when it is available.

Even something as simple as “There’s only one appointment left this week” can work.

Now before you say, “that’s manipulate and I won’t do it,” remember, these folks need what you’re offering, want to say yes, and plan to say yes, but have been dragging their feet.

You’re doing them a favor by giving them a reason to do what they want (and need) to do sooner rather than (possibly) never.

You and your little friend, FOMO.

Email is the best way to drip


Stop talking and sign me up


You’re sitting with a prospective client, discussing their situation. You describe the options, risks, and benefits of each solution and answer their questions. You can tell they’re interested, but when it comes time to do the paperwork, they tell you they want to think about it.

What went wrong?

It could be a lot of things. But sometimes, it’s because you kept talking.

They were interested and ready to go, but instead of handing them a pen and showing them where to sign, you kept giving them more information. You gave them more to think about and they got confused or frightened and backed away.

It happens. We have an obligation to make sure they know everything they need to know so they can make an informed decision.. And we don’t want to pressure them.

But when the client is ready, we have to STFU and hand them a pen.

Yesterday, my wife and I went to a phone store to get some information about one of their plans. We walked out with a new plan and two new phones.

In part, because the salesman knew when to stop talking.

At one point, he told us about the cameras in the different models. When I told him this wasn’t important to us, he stopped talking about them. When he told us about the extended care option and I shook my head, he moved on.

He didn’t push. He didn’t tell us what he wanted us to know, he listened and told us what we wanted to know. And when we were ready, he handed us a pen. (A stylus, actually).

The client tells you what you need to know and what you need to say to make the sale. We just have to listen.

Sometimes, that’s hard to do for people who earn their living explaining and persuading, but that’s the challenge.

Get it right and we get a new client. Get it wrong and they say they want to think about it.

Here’s the formula for building a successful practice


The easiest way to sell legal services


It’s funny, you’re in the persuasion business, but you don’t like persuading people to hire you.

You can “sell” a jury on finding for your client, negotiate a better deal for them, or write an article advocating for a social cause, but you are reluctant to use your persuasive abilities to get anyone to choose you as their attorney.

Seems like a waste of talent, doesn’t it?

But I get it. You don’t want to look like you’re bragging or desperate for work. You think it’s better for clients to choose you because someone else said you have a lot of experience, keep your promises, and deliver great results.

And you would be right to think this.

It is better to have someone else say those things. Because if you say it, people can doubt it; if someone else says it, it must be true.

Praise from third parties is the best and easiest way to sell your services.

What could be easier than getting some good reviews and quoting them or linking to them?

What could be easier than getting testimonials from satisfied clients along with permission to share them?

What could be easier than quoting other attorneys who speak about your good character, work ethic, and track record?

The answer is “nothing”.

Nothing is easier. Or better.

So, if you’re not doing this already, make it a priority to collect and use the positive things people say about you. Post them on your website, put them in your brochures and marketing materials, put them in your bio, and let other people sing your praises.

These aren’t difficult to get. But people are busy, so you need to prompt them.

When a client sends you an email thanking you for (something), tell them you appreciate their saying so and ask for permission to quote them. Disguise their name if need be, but showcase their words.

Send new clients a survey at the end of the case and ask them how you did. If they thought you were the bees’ knees, yep, ask to quote them. Or ask them to post a review online.

The next time you get a referral from a fellow professional, thank them and ask them why they chose you. When they say nice things about you, ask if you may quote them in your marketing.

If you already do this, do it more. Build a portfolio of praise from clients and professionals and put it front and center.

When you do, you should notice two things happening.

First, you should see more clients and business contacts willing to provide testimonials and positive reviews. It’s the bandwagon effect. The more praise you get, the more people want to jump on board.

Second, you should see a higher percentage of prospective clients signing up. When they see how much your clients like you and the work you did for them, they will be more likely to see you as the best option for them.

Because, while most attorneys have happy clients, they don’t have clients who are happy enough to put it in writing.

The Attorney Marketing Formula: it’s a formula, so you know it works