Pretend I’m 12

Share

I watched some videos on a powerful piece of software that interested me. The problem was, the guy doing the videos is the guy who developed the software and he flies through his demos, assuming we’re able to follow.

But I couldn’t follow.

I was impressed with what I thought his software could do but decided it wasn’t for me.

Because it looked too complicated to learn and use.

It might be worth learning, it’s true, but I shouldn’t have to invest a lot of time to find that out.

It’s the developer’s job to show me.

He should have slowed down. Assumed I needed everything explained. And showed me all the whats, whys, and hows.

When you’re trying to get someone to buy your product, your services, or your ideas, you need to meet them where they are, take them by the hand, and walk them over to where you want them to go.

If they like where you’ve taken them, you’ve got a chance at a sale.

This is not always easy to do. You have some serious balancing to do.

You don’t want things to fly over the heads of the people you’re trying to persuade but you don’t want to dumb things down so much that they are bored or feel like you’re talking down to them.

You also shouldn’t “tell” so much as “show”. Yes, even with abstract ideas, selling your services, or persuading a trier of fact to your client’s cause.

It can be done and it’s your job to do it.

Just because you’re good at the legal work (or writing software) doesn’t mean anybody will buy it. It’s your job (or your copywriter’s) to convince them.

Slow your pace. Explain everything. And make sure they understand what you’ve just told them before you move on to the next subject.

If you want to persuade me, pretend I’m 12.

The marketing course for attorneys who want to get big, fast

Share

P.S. I love you

Share

The other day, I mentioned TV detective Colombo and how, when he was finished speaking to a witness or suspect, when they thought they were off the hook, Coolumbo would turn to them and say, “One more thing. . .”

When he did that, everyone in the room paid attention.

Because people notice things after a break in the conversation.

The same goes for email. People almost always read the P.S. in your email, even if they only skimmed the rest of what you wrote.

Many people read the P.S. first, because they think important things reside there, and they’re usually right.

You can use the P.S. to include more information you want the reader to know, to remind them of something you said in the body of the email, including your offer, or to mention something new but relevant to the subject of the email or the reader’s interests.

If the body of your email is about the need to have a certain issue evaluated and you have offered of a free consultation, for example, your P.S. might remind them to call to schedule it. It could also point out that you’re only accepting a limited number of appointments this week or that time is of the essence regarding their issue.

You could also provide a link to your “contact” page, or to a FAQ page that talks about what to expect during a consultation.

In a follow-up email, you might use the P.S. to recall something they told you, or something you noted about their business or family, or about something you have in common, as a way to strengthen your relationship.

Your P.S. is valuable real estate in your emails (and letters). Give some thought to how you can make full use of it.

To learn how to write an effective P.S. in your email newsletter, slide on over to my email marketing course

Share

Use this checklist for better headlines, titles, and email subject lines

Share

A friend of mine uses a checklist to double-check his titles and headlines. It can be used for emails, blog posts, articles, book titles, presentations, ads, and more.

He calls it the “ABCD” Formula:

A – Attention
B – Believable
C – Care
D – Different

[A] The first job of your headline is to get attention. It needs to make people curious or promise a benefit, to flag them down and get them to read the headline. The headline should then compel them to read your email, blog post, or sales copy.

[B] If the headline isn’t believable, if it promises too much (and isn’t obviously tongue-in-check), the reader is likely to turn the page (or tune out of your presentation).

[C] Your headline or title has to be relevant to the reader or prospective client and their problem or desire They have to care about what you’re saying.

[D] Finally, in the age of massive competition for eyeballs and dollars, your headline or title needs to be different from the competition’s. Why should they read your article or ad when it appears to say the the same thing as a dozen others?

When a prospective client sees your ad or post, they’re asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?” You need to tell them that, and the telling begins with your headline, tile, or email subject line.

Because if it doesn’t start there, it doesn’t matter how good your sales page or email or presentation is, nobody is going to see it.

To learn more about writing effective headlines, titles, and subject lines, especially for your newsletter, check out my Email Marketing For Attorneys course.

Share

Vaccinating clients and prospects

Share

I watched a CLE video on what to do when you have “bad facts”. The evidence is weak, the client is a bad mamma jamma, the witnesses have a history of making things up.

Your case or client has issues; what do you do?

The presenter talked about inoculating the jury by bringing out the negatives of your case yourself because they’ll be better received when they come from you instead of opposing counsel.

The presenter told a story about Domino’s Pizza that took this to an extreme.

They ran a series of ads in displaying negative comments they’d received about their pizza. “The crust is cardboard, the sauce is thin and tasteless, it’s not real cheese,” and so on.

Can you imagine running ads telling the world things like this?

Domino’s did it. And then they said that most companies would never admit things like this, they’d try to cover it up or excuse it, but Domino’s took this seriously and have made dramatic improvements.

They said that the crust, the sauce, the cheese, the whole product is better, and we think you’ll like it. Come try it and see.

Within six months, sales were up 17% company-wide, which is an extraordinary increase for a company of that size.

Domino’s admitted their flaws, fixed them, and won the day.

Which reminds me to remind you to do the same with your practice.

If you’ve been criticized for not doing something other lawyers do, for example, inoculate clients and prospects by admitting this “flaw”.

And then, turn it into a strength.

I don’t handle X, I only handle Y. By specializing (focusing), I’ve been able to develop expertise many other lawyers don’t have. . .

If your competition does a lot of advertising and some prospective clients wonder why they’ve “never heard of you,” explain that you get most of your business by referrals and don’t “need” to advertise.

If clients think your fees are high, make it a selling point: “You can find lawyers who charge less but you get what you pay for. . .”

Inoculate your clients and prospects (and juries) by admitting your flaws before someone else points them out.

Careful, though. If your crust tastes like cardboard, change your recipe before you tell anyone.

Marketing strategies that can help your practice take a quantum leap

Share

The case of the florescent green house slippers

Share


I needed a new pair of house slippers and ordered a pair online. They arrived, I tried them on but didn’t like the fit. 

Back they went. 

I ordered a different brand and they fit alright but I couldn’t get used to the bright green lining which showed even when my feet were in them.  

You want to relax when you put on your slippers, don’t ya? Not feel like you’re at the circus. 

I sent these back and ordered a third pair. Plain black, inside and out. 

Guess what happened? 

They fit, they look good, they’re comfortable, and I kept them. I’m wearing them now, as a matter of fact. 

You may be wondering why I’m telling you this not-very-interesting and seemingly pointless story. (And why you spent valuable time reading it.)

It is to make a point about stories, and why you should use them liberally in your writing and presentations. 

Yes, you’ve heard this before. You know that stories are more interesting than facts, usually because they have people in them, you know that “facts tell but stories sell,” and you know that stories are a great way to connect emotionally with your reader. 

You also know that stories are a good way to show people what it will be like having you as their attorney. 

Showing instead of telling.

But there’s another reason why stories are effective. 

It’s because human beings are hard-wired to listen to them. 

It’s a survival instinct. When we hear stories, our minds seek to predict what happens next. 

When we sat in caves and heard tribal leaders tell stories of being chased by ferocious creatures and what they did to escape, we learned what to do when we’re chased by ferocious creatures. 

Our brains pay attention to stories to find out what happened. 

So the next time you want to persuade someone to do something,  don’t just tell them the facts, tell a story. 

If a busy professional like you will listen to my boring tale of buying slippers, imagine what your prospective clients will do when you tell them about your client being chased by ferocious opposing counsel and how you saved them from being devoured.

Put stories in your newsletter. Here’s how

Share

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