Where does it hurt?

Share

If you want to communicate more effectively with clients and prospects (or anyone) and motivate them to act, you need to understand what makes them tick.

You need to know what they want and what they want to avoid or stop.

We’re talking about pain (what they want to stop) and it’s ugly cousin fear (what they want to prevent or avoid). Nothing motivates people to act more than these two felons.

When you understand someone’s pain, you can offer them relief. Someone is in trouble, they want to be rescued. Someone is threatened, they want protection.

When you know where they hurt or what they fear, you know what you need to say to get their attention.

You can also persuade them that you can deliver the outcomes they seek by referring to ideas and examples from their industry or market and by telling stories about clients you’ve helped overcome similar problems.

Before you talk to another prospective client, write your next article or email, or create your next presentation, take some time to discover your target market’s pain or fear, and the words they use to describe this.

One easy way to find their pain points is to find groups where your target market hangs out (Facebook, LinkedIn, et. al.) and search for words that indicate pain or problems.

General words like “help” or “trouble” or “discouraged” can point you in the right direction. More specific keywords related to what you do will give you additional fodder.

Note how people describe their problems and their pain, their frustrations, and their failed attempts to fix what ails them.

You don’t need that much. A few details, a story or two, can go a long way.

When you better understand your target market and what you need to say to the people in it, you’ll get more prospective clients to see you as the right attorney for them.

For more places to find your target market’s pain points, check out my video course on using email for marketing your services.

Share

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Share

You can never assume that prospective clients understand how you can change their life. You have to tell them.

Tell them you can give them what they want. And then, dramatize it. Because people make decisions based on emotions, not logic.

The success of your marketing message depends, in part, on how skillfully you use the granddaddy of emotions, fear, to get prospective clients to act.

Especially fear of loss and fear of failure.

Tell them what’s at stake if they fail to act (aka, fail to hire you).

What will their life be like? What additional problems might ensue? How might delay or inaction make things worse?

And tell them how they might feel when that happens.

Your job is to paint a picture (tell a story) about not getting what they want so the prospective client will decide to call you or write that check.

They may want what you offer but hesitate. Give them a glimpse of their future if they don’t make that call.

But hold on. You can’t bludgeon them with horror stories and tales of horrible consequences. Too much fear and people tune you out.

So, don’t overdo it.

Don’t give them a laundry list of risks and negative consequences, unmitigated pain, and unrelenting problems without relief.

Give them some hope.

Tell them you have the solution. You can deliver a happy ending to the movie you’ve had them watching. Tell them what their life will be like once you’ve done your work and you’ve delivered the solutions they want.

And then tell them what to do to get it.

Learn how to do this with email

Share

Words don’t teach

Share

Educating clients and prospects–about the law, about their risks and options, about what an attorney can do for them, and about why they should choose you as their attorney–is a viable marketing strategy.

The more they know, the more likely they are to understand why they should hire you and the more likely they are to do it.

The problem is, words don’t teach. Telling isn’t teaching. At best, it is only an introduction to the subject.

What does teach? Experience.

That’s one reason lawyers offer free consultations. The prospective client gets to see what you think about their specific situation and how you treat them, and get a sense of what it would be like having you as their attorney.

The experience teaches them what they need to know.

To a lesser extent, this is why lawyers speak in public, do interviews, make videos, network, and otherwise get themselves in front of prospective clients (and the people who can refer them).

What about writing? In your ads, blog, newsletter, articles, and elsewhere–where it’s just your words? How do you use experience to teach?

Use your words to help people remember relevant experiences in their life similar to what they’re currently experiencing. Help them to recall what happened–how they felt, what didn’t work, and what did.

And share stories of people like your reader or listener who have had the same types of problems and desires and how they found the solutions.

Your words are important. But not as important as the listener’s or reader’s experience, real, remembered, or imagined.

How to get more clients to say “you’re hired”

Share

Spoilers

Share

I love a good hamburger and one of my favorite hamburger joints is In-N-Out Burger.

This morning, a video presented itself to me with the title, “BRITISH Try IN-N-OUT BURGER for the FIRST TIME!” so naturally, I read the description: “This is probably our most requested video EVER! We FINALLY GOT TO TRY IN-N-OUT and we LOVED it!”

Color me surprised.

Videos like these usually don’t tell you the verdict. You have to watch the thing to find out. Now I don’t have to.

For the record, even if they hadn’t revealed their opinion, I wouldn’t have invested 11:50 to find out.

Okay. I don’t know if posting “we LOVED it!” in the description was done intentionally, but in marketing, we do our best to come up with irresistible headlines and clickbait-y titles, to draw in readers and listeners to our content.

So, you have to wonder, is there anything to be gained by revealing the takeaway in advance?

The answer is, “maybe”.

If you’re a fan of the couple who made the video, if you’re one of the many who requested it, you watch it because it’s your thing.

If you’re crazy about IN-N-OUT and are curious to see what they ordered or to hear what they liked best or you want to know what they thought about the crowds or the service or the decor, or you’re bored and looking for something new to watch. . . maybe you watch even though you know how the movie ends.

Different strokes.

But this raises another question.

When you’re making videos, writing blog posts, or creating other content and hoping to get more eyes and ears on your creations, how do you know when (or if) you should provide spoilers?

You don’t.

But when you know your market well, eventually, you develop your Spidey Sense and know when it’s okay to break the rules.

Which is why you need to research your target market and make sure you know it inside and out (In-N-Out).

You can learn how to do that in my Email Marketing for Attorneys course.

Share

Do your marketing documents sound like Klingon?

Share

When someone visits your website, reads your email or article, or hears your presentation, you want to make sure they understand what you said and what you want them to do.

When you send them your bill, you want them to understand what you did and why you did it.

Too often, we assume we’re writing or speaking clearly when we’re not.

Either avoid using legalese or other arcane references or explain what they mean.

But this may not be enough.

Even when you explain what you mean and give examples to illustrate, people may not understand what it means to them.

When you list your practice areas, for example, prospective clients may know what you do but not understand what you will do for them.

When you perform your services, what does the client get or avoid? How is he better off?

Clients don’t pay for your services so much as they pay for the results and benefits you deliver. Your services are merely the mechanism you use to deliver those benefits.

Make sure you translate what you do (features) into “benefits”–what your clients get as a result.

How will they better off? What will they be able to do, avoid or prevent?

One way to translate features into benefits is to use a transitional phrase, “Which means. . .”, between them.

A few examples:

“We’ll file for a restraining order against your ex., which means the court will order him to stay away from you and your son.”

“Once we settle a case, we usually have the funds in our Client’s Trust Account within 3-4 business days, which means you should be able to pay your bills within the week.”

“We’ll prepare you for your testimony. You’ll know what to say and how to say it, which means you won’t have to worry about making a mistake.”

“We’ll send you a monthly report and copies of all of the documents and correspondence, which means you’ll always know what’s going on with your case and won’t have to call us to find out.”

Translate your words from Klingon to plain English. Explain what you mean and what this means for your clients.

When you do this, you’ll get more clients and have fewer misunderstandings.

Which means you’ll earn more and not have to work so hard to do it.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

Share

Most attorneys miss this

Share

People want to know about the solutions you offer–your services, how they work, what you do better or differently than other attorneys. But if you only talk about your solutions, or you open the conversation or presentation by talking about them, you’re missing the boat.

Prospective clients are far more interested in themselves than you. If you want them to appreciate what you offer and how you can help them, you need to talk more about their problems than your solutions.

In consultation, in a seminar, in your newsletter or blog, on your website, talk about problems. That’s what a prospective client is thinking about, after all. That’s what’s keeping them up at night.

Ask questions to help them identify the nature and extent of their problems. Help them understand their risks and how bad things can get.

Then, get them to acknowledge that they want to fix their problem.

Now you’ve got their attention. Now, they’re ready to listen to your solutions and much more likely to take the next step.

Focus on problems and pain. They’re far more interesting than your legal services and far more likely to get prospective clients to say, “Where do I sign?”

Need help writing effective marketing messages? Let me know

Share

Tripping over your marketing message

Share

I heard a radio ad for a company selling gold. It offers a free guide to gold investing as a lead magnet.

Fine.

The spot ends with the tag line: “We promise to add massive value before asking for your business.”

What do you think about that proposition?

I’ll tell you what I think. I think it sounds weird. And gimmicky.

Don’t promise to add value, just do it.

When you say that’s what you’re going to do, you sound like you’re saying something a consultant or copywriter advised you to say, to build trust.

But it doesn’t build trust. Just the opposite. It sounds like you’re trying too hard, suggesting that you have something to hide (even if you don’t).

Tell me about this “value” you’re promising. Tell me about the guide you’re offering. What will I learn? How will I be better off?

That’s what they should talk about.

The word, “massive” doesn’t help. It makes it worse. It calls attention to their offer and not in a good way.

Finally, everyone knows they’re going to ask for their business. They’re not scoring any brownie points by revealing that “secret”.

They tried, but all they’ve done is call attention to their marketing instead of their offer.

True, all of this is in the ear of the beholder. Some may think the ad is okay, or better than okay because it’s different. 

Different is good. Unless it’s not.

Tell prospects how you are different, in a good way

Share

We love practicing law!

Share

I got a postcard from a real estate broker team in my area looking for listings. The first thing you read on the postcard is a series of bullet points:

  • We LOVE Real Estate!!!!
  • We LOVE our clients! Thank you for your support over the years.
  • We LOVE listings! We get the most eyes on your property.
  • We LOVE negotiating! We fight hard for your money.
  • We LOVE selling houses! That’s what we do best.

And so on.

Anything wrong with this? Plenty. 

Whether real estate broker or attorney, clients don’t hire you because you like what you do. They hire you because of what you can do for them.

A postcard featuring what YOU like about what you do doesn’t get the job done. Especially when that’s what you lead with. 

In any marketing communications–websites, emails, ads,  postcards, or anything else, you have a few seconds to catch the prospect’s attention and compel them to continue reading. 

Talking about YOURSELF first doesn’t do that. Instead, talk about what’s on the reader’s or listener’s mind, what’s going on in their world (and their head). Talk to them about their problems and desires. Then talk to them about your solutions. 

The bullets on this postcard mention some benefits: “We get the most for your property, We fight hard for your money, We get the most eyes on your property,” but they aren’t “in focus”.

The brokers are in focus–what they love, what they’re good at. 

In addition, the benefits in these bullets are weak and common. You read them and your eyes glaze over. 

Look: 

You have to get the prospect’s attention before they will read the content of your message. You can’t do that by telling them about yourself, you have to talk about them.  

You have to tell prospects what’s in it for them. What benefits do you offer? How can you help them become better off? Quantify and dramatize the benefits; you can’t bore anyone into hiring you. 

And you have to tell prospects why they should choose you instead of anyone else who says the same things. How are you different? Why are you better? What do you offer that others don’t?

Because if you say the same things everyone says, you’re really saying nothing. 

One more thing. Putting a pretty picture and “Happy Valentine’s Day” on the front of the postcard doesn’t help. 

Share

I might not be the right lawyer for you

Share

Scrivener is my favorite writing app for long documents. I use it on two Windows machines and my iPhone. 

But Scrivener has a flaw.

Because of the way the software is built, you can’t use iCloud to sync between devices, you have to use Dropbox. 

(Funny, I use another writing app that doesn’t play well with Dropbox; I have to use iCloud to sync.)

Anyway, on the App store, Scrivener generally gets great reviews, but there is a chorus of complaints from customers who want to sync via iCloud and are PO’d that they cannot. So they give Scrivener one- or two-star reviews and call it a day.

The sales page says that syncing “requires a Dropbox account (not compatible with iCloud” but it’s a footnote and, apparently, a lot of folks miss it. 

If I was in charge, I would put the “no iCloud”disclaimer up front and center.

I would explain the technical reason why you can’t use iCloud and talk about why had to do it this way so that customers could get certain unique features that are key to Scrivener’s greatness. 

This will cut down on bad reviews but it should also lead to more sales to customers who are intrigued enough by the unique features of the app that they’re willing to switch to Dropbox to get them. 

In sales, this is known as “admitting your flaws”. It’s designed to reduce objections, buyer’s remorse, and bad reviews. Telling customers the flaws of your product or service before they discover them on their own builds trust and allows you to turn a weakness into a strength.

It works the same whether you’re selling software, houses, or legal services. 

I heard from an immigration attorney recently who isn’t an “accredited specialist” in his country because he doesn’t do the type of work that the accreditation accredits. He wanted to know how he should handle this on his website and other marketing. 

He should be upfront about it.

Admit his “flaw”. Explain that he specializes in a different area of immigration law and that accreditation isn’t required to practice in this area. 

He should do this because some prospective clients are no doubt wondering why he isn’t accredited, as they see other lawyers are. 

Give them a good explanation and most of them will not only be satisfied, they’ll see that you specialize in precisely the services they need (instead of everything) and thus see you as the better choice. 

He added, “It’s interesting because just yesterday I was reading the website of a competitor who is an accredited specialist and I was more drawn to his personal story about why he does migration than his credentials. If I was a potential client of his that’s what would get me.”

Me too. 

What to put on your website

Share

No, I guess I can’t handle the truth

Share

I heard a radio ad for a nutritional supplement. The ad began with, “Studies show the average person needs ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day.”

I don’t know if that’s true but it doesn’t sound true. Or maybe I don’t want to believe it because there’s no way I’m going to eat ten servings of fruits and veggies every day (and I like fruits and veggies).

In marketing, you can’t depend on the truth. Your premise or promise has to have verisimilitude—the appearance of truth or, “the quality of seeming real,” according to Merriam-Webster.

If it doesn’t, it will be rejected, or require a lot more proof than you have or are prepared to offer.

The ad then compounded the problem, claiming their product supplies the nutritional equivalent of 30 servings per day. Maybe it does. But coming on the heels of their first statement, I’m still riding the “I don’t buy it” train.

What could they have done differently?

They could have said “studies show that 7 out of 10 people don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables each day,” (if that’s true) and then talked about their product.

I’d buy that.

Or they could have said, “If you’re only eating three servings of fruits and vegetables per day, studies show you’re not getting enough of the vitamins and minerals you need. . .”

I’d buy that, too.

And then, I might listen to the what they’re selling.

Tell the truth in your marketing. Unless the truth sounds unbelievable.

Share