Approachable you? 


Do you think your clients and prospects and professional contacts see you as friendly, open, and easy to talk to, or relatively impersonal or distant? 

It makes a difference. 

You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, but the more likable and approachable you appear, the more likely it is that you will be approached. 

You’ll get more prospects inquiring about your services, asking questions, making an appointment, and hiring you. You’ll get more people signing up for your newsletter, following you on social, and telling others about you. 

When people meet you, read your newsletter or articles or your posts on social (by you or by others about you), when they read the “About” page on your website or your clients’ reviews, what do they think about you? 

When you’re not in the room, how do you suppose they describe you? 

Image is fundamental to the success of a professional because, to a great extent, it determines how comfortable people are about approaching and hiring you. 

So, how do you appear to be approachable, especially if this doesn’t come naturally to you? 

The simplest way to do it is to use a conversational tone in your writing, presentations, and conversations. 

Don’t write in the third person or formally. Loosen up. Write (and speak) simply and plainly, as though you were speaking to a friend. 

Well, almost. There is such a thing as being too informal, sharing too much personal information, and appearing less than professional. 

Be professional, but friendly.

Get readers involved in the conversation. Ask what they think, what they have done, or what they want to know. 

And don’t make everything about you. Tell stories about people you’ve helped, not just the outcomes but some of the process, so readers can see what it would be like working with you.

And smile. In your photos and in person.

Show the world you are approachable by showing them you are a real person, a nice one at that. The kind of person they would like to know even if they weren’t looking for an attorney. 


Why you shouldn’t focus on getting new clients


You want more clients, of course, but the best way to get them isn’t to focus on new clients but to focus on your existing clients, professional contacts, friends and subscribers. 

Sure, you can get new clients through advertising and speaking and networking and writing, and I’m not saying you should give that up if it’s working for you. Or you’re new and don’t yet have a lot of clients or contacts or much of a list. 

I’m saying it’s easier to get more of what you already have, your existing or “warm” market, than to do everything from scratch, which is what you do when you focus on strangers in the cold market. 

In your warm market, you have leverage. In the cold market, you don’t. 

It’s easier to get an existing or former client to “buy” more of your services. It’s easier to get referrals from clients and business contacts who already know, like, and trust you. It’s easier to get better clients and bigger cases when you have a good reputation in your existing niche.  

Focus on your warm market. 

Learn all you can about their businesses, their industries, and their local market. Strengthen your relationships with the people in those niches and their advisors. Stay in touch with them and help them in ways that go beyond your core services. 

When you do, not only will you get more clients from your warm market, you’ll also get them from the cold market. 

How? Your reputation. Word of mouth (as opposed to actual referrals, but you’ll get these, too). 

People will hear about you and ask you to speak at their event or ask to interview you for their podcast or blog. People will hear your name a second or third time and decide to talk to you about their legal issue. 

You want more clients and you’ll get them by focusing on people who know your name and what you do. 

Just the way it works. 


Be normal


I don’t know what “weird” means, but I know it when I see it. (Why does that sentence sound oddly familiar?) Anyway, lawyers come in all shapes and sizes, colors and accents, and the world is better because of it. 

But let’s face it, clients judge lawyers by a lot of things beside their legal acumen, including their appearance—clothing, hair, manner of speech, sense of humor, and more—and if a lawyer is too different from what those clients are used to and expect, some clients might be uncomfortable and stay away. 

On the other hand, it depends. 

In the not-so-distant past, long hair for men was odd, and no doubt scared off many a client. Smoking was common. Tattoos weren’t. Casual clothing was considered unprofessional. And the list goes on. 

Anyway, my point is that while we don’t necessarily have to conform to current styles, we shouldn’t ignore them. That means we should probably “look like a lawyer” and act the way our clients expect a lawyer to act, and be willing to accept the consequences if we don’t. 

If you handle estate planning and work with a lot of boomers, for example, you might want to cover your tats, wear a suit when you meet with them, and talk about the new Beetles song (and video) instead of that Swift person. If you handle entertainment law, you might make different decisions. 

Clients want their lawyer to be normal, and they get to decide what that means for them. Unless you have a good reason to do otherwise, consider giving them what they want. 

Hmm, maybe I should dust off my old Nehru Jacket. . . 


Attraction marketing


The best way to find prospects is to get them to find you. You don’t want to chase people and they don’t want to be chased. So don’t do it. Because it looks to prospective clients as bad as it feels to you.

How do you do attraction marketing? By making yourself and your solutions attractive to prospective clients. 

You do that with:

  1. An effective website. It doesn’t have to be complicated (or expensive), it just needs to do a good job of telling people about you, what you do and how you help people. Include a form that allows visitors to request an appointment or get more information, and/or sign up for your newsletter.
  2. Content. Educate your market about their problems and available solutions. Tell them their risks and options. Share examples and stories to illustrate and inspire people to see that you are the best choice for them.
  3. Referrals. Equip your clients and contacts with information about your services, how to recognize your ideal client, and how to make an effective referral. Keep them informed about new content on your or blog and other channels, so they can share this with people they know who might like to see it.
  4. Staying in touch. You don’t lose posture by continuing to contact people who know, like, and trust you because they hired you or connected with you in the past, as long as you have their permission. If you continue to share valuable or interesting information, and remind them about what you can do to help them and the people they know, they will appreciate you and tell others.

These are the primary sources of new clients for many attorneys and they can be for you. Done well, they not only allow you to maintain “attractive” posture, they are likely to enhance it.  

Yes, you can also advertise, network, do public speaking, conduct seminars, write articles, and do other things to market your services, without chasing anyone. But you may not need to.

Isn’t that refreshing?


I don’t like my doctor


Pretend I’m talking about my lawyer because it works the same way. So there’s this lawyer (doctor) I “use” and I trust her medical skills (which is why I have continued to “use” her, including for two (minor) surgeries) but now that I’m “better” I don’t think I’ll go back to her if I have another issue.  

It would be convenient to go back to her, and a hassle to find someone else, but I can’t say for sure what I would do. 

Remember, “all things being equal (e.g., skills, trust, convenience, value, results, etc.), people prefer to hire professionals they ‘know, like, and trust’. 

I know her. I trust her. But I don’t like her. Use her again? Not sure. Refer others to her? Probably not. 

Much is said about the importance of trust, and rightly so. Not enough is said about the importance of liking. It should be, however, because in the competitive environment we find ourselves in today, likability makes the difference. 

You can only go so far in a professional practice built mostly on transactional relationships. If you want sustained growth, you need loyal and committed relationships that all but guarantee repeat business and referrals. To achieve that, you need people to like you. 

So, why don’t I like my doctor? The usual reasons. Essentially, not making me feel cared for or appreciated. 

She doesn’t listen as closely as I would like her to (or at least pretend to), and doesn’t respond as thoroughly and patiently as I’d like. 

I get that she’s busy. And that I ask a lot of questions and aren’t that warm and fuzzy myself. But I’m not asking for too much. Maybe just taking an extra second or two at the end of an appointment to assure me before turning and scooting out the door. 

Show me you care about me. Give me a reason to like you. And maybe I will. 


The best way to get prospective clients to find you


The best way to get prospective clients to find you is to get them to find YOU (not your blog or content, not “a lawyer or law firm” that does what you do—YOU. 

By name. 

Because if they search for a lawyer who does what you do, or content offered by lawyers who do what you do, they’ll wade through countless pages of content from your competitors and may or may not find your ad or article or listing. And you’ll pay a fortune to even be in the running. 

But if they search for you by name, they’ll find you. And it might not cost you a dime. 

Brand yourself. Your name. Your story. That’s what you want prospective clients and the people who can refer them to think about when they need help. 

Yes, you should also create content that can capture their attention (if they happen to see it) but the best way to use this is to show it to people after they find you. 

Get people to notice and remember your name and what you do. Then, when someone needs the kind of help you provide, they’ll go looking for you—the lawyer whose name they’ve been hearing about.

Do this and whether or not you advertise, your marketing will be much more effective. And profitable. 

How do you do it? By doing things worth talking about. And by making sure your existing network knows about them because they will tell others. 

Do something different. Something other lawyers aren’t doing or aren’t talking about. 

Do something bigger. Something that provides more value or benefits. Or something newsworthy. 

Do something that promotes a cause that is important to the people in your target market, or align yourself with people who do that. Sing their praises, recognize their accomplishments, and let the world hear your name when their name (and cause) is mentioned. 

Lawyer, promote thyself. That should be the mantra underlying all of your marketing.


Yes, it is all about you


People connect with people, not businesses or law firms. Your clients may like your partners or employees and think highly of your firm’s reputation, but they hire and refer you. 

That’s true of consumer and business clients alike. 

When they have a friend or business contact with a legal situation or question, your clients tell them about YOU, not your firm. 

They hand them your card. Tell them about their experience with you, the lawyer they know, like, and trust, and say, “Call my lawyer” — not, “Call me firm”. 

They promote your brand. You should too.  

Tweet (or whatever it’s called today) in your name, or at least create a handle that includes a version of your name, NOT your firm. 

Promote your speaking events, even if your firm is conducting the event. Write articles and keep a blog with your byline, not the faceless entity you call your employer (even if it’s your firm). 

When you are introduced, people should hear about you, your capabilities and your accomplishments. And hear something personal about you.

Because you are the one people will talk to, connect with, hire and refer.

It’s all about you, you stud. 

You may work for the biggest and best firm in town, and that’s worth mentioning. But you are the main attraction, no matter how wet behind the ears you may be. 

It’s your career. Your name and reputation. They are your clients. And you are their attorney. 




It’s not easy to define, but you know it when you see it. 

007 had it. He was unflappable. And unstoppable. You always knew that in the end, he would beat the bad guys and save the world, and no matter what happened, you’d never see him sweat. 

Your clients want that in you. 

Calm, cool, collected. Strong and confident, ready to save the day.

How can you convey that? 

Say less. Tell them how you can help them, but don’t try so hard. Let your deeds (and reviews) do most of the talking for you. 

Be willing to admit you don’t know everything, and don’t do everything yourself. You have top quality people who work for you or with you. You count on them and so can your clients. 

Don’t push, don’t convince, let the facts do that. 

Don’t react, respond. Your manner should display a relaxed intensity. Calm, cool, collected, remember? 

Don’t be a slob. 007 was always impeccably dressed. If he had a desk and an office, you know it would have been immaculate. 

Don’t talk about how busy you are. It makes you look needy. Instead, let them see a busy waiting room. And don’t always be available whenever they want to talk to you.

Don’t cut your fees. You’re the best and deserve to be paid accordingly. 

Don’t chase. You’re 007. Let ’em chase you. 


It just takes one


Public speaking at industry events and conferences has long been an effective way for lawyers to build their authority and reputation.

But there are some challenges.

  1. You can’t just waltz in and expect to be selected to speak. You have to build your authority and reputation outside of those events before you are recognized and invited (or accepted) to speak.
  2. Being a good lawyer doesn’t mean you’re a good speaker.
  3. You can build your reputation and authority, and an email list, through less demanding forms of content creation. Articles, a blog, a newsletter, interviews, podcasts, and the like, provide much greater exposure and many more leads. And your content will live online forever, continuing to do so.

On the other hand, speaking at a convention or industry event offers a big benefit. It allows you to put on your bio that you spoke at said event.

They invited you to speak, so you must be good at your job.

So, do it once or twice. Get yourself invited to a panel discussion or to the center stage. You’ll forever be able to say that you did this, as I shamelessly do when I mention speaking at an ABA convention.

But there is one additional benefit for speaking at these events. You get to meet influential people, which can lead to referrals, introductions, and other marketing and business opportunities.

And this should be your primary goal when you attend any event, even if you’re not one of the speakers.

It just takes one. Because if they are the right one, it can lead to massive growth in your practice and career.

How to take a quantum leap in your practice


How to appear more successful than you really are


We could call this ‘Fake it till you make it 2.0.’ but you can also use this if you’re already a top gun. 

You might not want to, however, because it can seem cheesy, especially if you overdo it. 

I used to share an office in Beverly Hills with an attorney who represented some celebrities. I know that because I used to see them in the waiting room. Sunglasses and all.

I also know that because he had photos of some of his well-known clients on his desk and on the walls of his office, autographed to him by name. Many of these photos were “two-shots” of him with the celebrity.

The message was, “I’m good at what I do; just look at some of my famous clients.” 

The thing is, not all the celebrities he posed with were his clients. Many he met at an event and made sure photos captured those moments. 

And from what I could tell, his strategy worked.

Let’s face it, people judge you by the company you keep. If you represent successful people, especially the rich and famous, or even appear to know them (by being seen with them), people think you’re also successful. 

Those photos are a kind of implied endorsement and mean something to many people.  

But you don’t have to get photos or autographs of celebrities to achieve this effect.

When you’re at a networking event, being seen speaking to someone well-known to and well-regarded by the attendees can get you some attention, even if your conversation is just in passing. So can being seen speaking on the same panel or on the same slate of presenters.

So can some well-placed name-dropping. In person or in your content.  

Mentioning the CEO of a well-known company, a famous author, or a big shot politician, by name if appropriate, or by category if it’s not, perhaps quoting something they said to you (or even something they said or wrote that resonates with you), imbues you with some of their magic dust.

The trick is to not be too obvious. Or overdo it. Because if you do, you risk appearing to be a wannabe, not a player.