Say it again

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One of the most important principles in marketing is repetition. If you want to put more butts in seats at your events, get more people reading and sharing your content, and more people hiring or recommending you, once is not enough.

Because the first time you say it, offer it, or ask for it, the odds are nothing will happen.

Why?

Maybe they didn’t get your message. Maybe they didn’t read it. Maybe they weren’t ready to take the next step.

For a lot of reasons:

  • They didn’t have the money
  • They didn’t want to spend the money
  • Their problem wasn’t yet painful enough
  • They didn’t understand you, believe you or trust you
  • They needed to get someone else’s buy-in
  • They have another attorney and feel bad about switching
  • They didn’t want what you offered
  • They had more pressing issues

So, you say it again.

You send the same message, or a different message. You repeat your arguments, examples, and stories, or you use different ones.

But they still may not be ready. So you follow-up with them again. And again. And again. And when they’re ready to take the next step, they will.

But that’s not the end of the story.

You continue to stay in touch with them, even after they hire you, because they may have other legal matters that need addressing (and may not realize they do), or they might not need your services right now but know someone that does.

Each time they hear from you, each time they find your message in their inbox, you remind them about what you do and how you can help them.

And people need to be reminded.

On the other hand, guess what happens if you only send one message, or even two or three?

A year, two years, three years later, when they need you and are ready to take the next step, you will be a long-forgotten memory and some other lawyer will get the call.

So, two rules for your rulebook:

  1. Don’t rely on one message to close the deal, and
  2. Stay in touch with people repeatedly, over time.

When they’re ready, willing, and able to hire you (or refer you), there you will be, in their minds and in their mailboxes.

The easiest way to do this? Yes, email.

Hey, have you noticed that I’ve said this before? Many times, in fact?

Just practicing what I’m preaching.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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You can change your name, but not your stripes

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Jimmy, the protagonist in Better Call Saul, couldn’t do it. Changing his name didn’t change who he was.

That’s true for all of us. How we think, what we do, who we are.

Our beliefs about ourselves and the world are the core of our “operating system”. And while we can change our beliefs, we can’t do it by changing our name.

Our beliefs determine our attitudes towards the choices we make, the things we do and how we do them. Our activities determine the results we get. And our results determine our success and lifestyle.

Look at how this works in the context of marketing and managing a law practice.

(1) Our beliefs determine our attitudes

If you believe that that nothing is achieved in life without hard work, that there are no shortcuts, no such thing as “working smarter,” you will no doubt be skeptical about strategies that suggest otherwise.

You would be reluctant to try these strategies because they are inconsistent with your core beliefs.

If you did try any of these strategies, you might do so with an attitude that says, “Those things never work” and you may seek to prove you’re right.

On the other hand, if you believe that some “working smarter” strategies can work, you’ll be open to learning more and giving some strategies an honest try

(2) Our attitudes affect our activities

If you believe working smarter is possible, that you can increase your income without working more hours (and even by working fewer hours), you’ll be willing and perhaps eager to explore strategies that promise that outcome.

Your attitude will be “let’s see” instead of “no way.” And if you try those strategies, you’ll look for ways to make them work instead of trying to prove they won’t.

You may have always used hourly billing in your practice, for example, but you may be willing to try flat fee billing. If you’ve tried it before, you may be willing to try it again.

You’ll at least be open to getting more information about ways to do it effectively and to see how other lawyers are doing it.

(3) Our activity determines our results

Your activities—what you do, how you do it, how much you do and for how long, determine the results you get.

Do more marketing activities, do them better, and you’ll bring in more clients. Try different billing methods and if you find one that allows you to earn more from the same work, you’ll increase your income without putting in more hours.

Maybe even by working fewer hours.

(4) Our results determine our success and lifestyle

If you are able to increase your income by working smarter instead of working harder, in the case of our example, by successfully implementing flat fee billing, you will earn more without working more.

You’ll be able to do that because you believed it was possible.

Our beliefs guide our attitudes, our attitudes affect our activities, our activities determine our results, and our results are how we measure success.

How does this explain the success of people who lie, cheat, and steal their way through life? Who believe that the way to succeed is to do whatever it takes, even if it’s wrong?

They may get away with it, but only for so long. Eventually, their nature catches up with them.

And changing their name, or the name of their company, won’t stop that.

Get the Check: Stress-Free Legal Billing and Collection

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Just because it’s free doesn’t mean anyone will buy

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You offer a free consultation. A free ebook, report or other download. A free seminar, or even a free introductory service.

But just because it’s free doesn’t mean you’ll get any takers. You have to sell your freebies as much as you do your paid services.

Prospective clients don’t want to load up their hard drives with useless reading material that’s little more than a sales pitch for an attorney’s paid services. Or consult with an attorney who won’t give them any meaningful advice and will only push them to sign up.

And that’s what most prospective clients think about your free offers.

It’s up to you to show them the benefits they get by downloading your report or booking an appointment.

What will they learn? What will they be better able to do? What do they get and why should they trust you?

Give them the details. And tell them how other clients have benefited by downloading your report or speaking to you. Better yet, show them testimonials from those other clients so they can hear it from them, not you.

In the eyes of a prospective client, nothing’s really “free”. You’re asking them to spend their time and/or risk making a mistake.

They’re afraid. They don’t know you. They don’t trust you. And other lawyers offer the same freebies you offer.

Ease their concerns. Show them it’s safe to give you their email address or some of their time and show them how they will better off if they do.

Because just because it’s free doesn’t mean anyone will buy.

Get more clients and increase your income: The Attorney Marketing Formula

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Turning down clients for fun and profit

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When you’re a new attorney trying to pay the bills, you take any work that comes your way. At least that’s what I did.

If someone needed help and had a few bucks, I was your guy.

If I didn’t know what to do, I figured it out. It wasn’t as though I was taking time away from other better-paying work. In the early days, there wasn’t any.

So I did what I had to do and (eventually) built a successful practice.

If you’re just starting out, this might be a good plan for you. If you’re not starting out, however, this is not a good plan.

You can’t take “anything”. You have to be selective.

That means turning down work that doesn’t pay well. The small cases and clients, the work that doesn’t align with your vision and goals.

You can’t afford to take the small stuff because it takes time away from the big stuff.

Ah, but what if you’re not that busy? What if your dance card isn’t currently filled with high-paying clients and life-changing cases?

You have two options.

Option one is to take the small case, not for the money necessarily but as a marketing strategy. Help someone with a small case today, tomorrow they may bring you a big case. Help the start-up get going and they may one day have a steady stream of business for you.

The “low-paying” work you do for these clients is an investment in the growth of your practice. You earn less today so you can earn (a lot) more tomorrow.

I’ve done this. I’ve taken small cases that paid little or nothing and was rewarded with some fat, juicy cases down the road.

If you consider this option, the idea is to think in terms of clients, not cases. The case isn’t important, the client is. If it is a client who knows a lot of people, for example, they could send you a lot of business, even if their own case isn’t much to write home about.

Capiche?

Option two is to stick to your guns. Turn down (or refer out) the small stuff or the work that’s not in your primary practice area. When you do that, you can use the time this gives you to focus on marketing and bringing in the types of clients and cases you really want.

I’ve done this too. It was key to my going from “just getting by” to building a big practice.

So, both options work.

What also works is to do a little of both. Turn down most of the “wrong” work but take some of it when it makes sense to do that.

I know, it’s complicated.

Which option is best for you? You might find the answer by looking at a spreadsheet or your bank account. Or by trying it one way and then the other and seeing what works best.

If that sounds even more complicated, you might do what I did.

Stop counting beans and start trusting your gut.

This can help

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The most dangerous number in business

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In business, the most dangerous number is the number one.

If you have one client and they leave or go out of business, you’re in trouble. You want more than one client.

If you have one “price point” or package of services, you have nothing to offer the prospective client who wants something different.

If you have one marketing method and it stops working for you, if you have one target market and it becomes too competitive, what will you do to keep your pipeline full?

You don’t want your entire livelihood to depend on the number one.

Which means, as soon as you have something that’s working for you, start adding the next thing. A second market, marketing strategy, or offer.

But not another practice area. Not unless you’re in a small market.

The bigger the market, the more competition you have, the more you need to specialize, because you can’t compete with everyone on everything.

When you specialize, marketing is easier, cheaper, and more effective. You can stand out from the crowd and become known for what you do best.

Specializing allows you to become the top dog in your field.

That doesn’t mean you must turn away work that’s not your specialty. Take the work if you want to and can handle it. But don’t promote this, promote the “one thing” you do best and want to be known for.

Because when you specialize, one isn’t a dangerous number, it is your friend.

How to choose your specialty

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No, I don’t want more clients

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Last week, I pontificated about the value of limiting the number of clients an attorney takes on to 10, because it allows them to earn more and work less.

I also said most attorneys won’t do it.

Some attorneys do, however. Appellate attorney Steve Emmert is one of them.

In response to my email, Steve wrote:

(Heh, heh!) I currently have fewer than ten files open. Most of them have seven-digit deltas, of course, so I can still make a living. But you’re absolutely right about this.

This week I took a call from an ad guy at SuperLawyers, in which I’ve been listed for several years, though I’ve never advertised with them. He asked if I’d like to have an extra three or four clients a month. I’m probably the only guy who’s ever told him, “No” in response to that question. I told him that I start getting nervous when I have more than about 12 files open, and three or four more a month would drown me. He really didn’t know what to say.

Who wouldn’t like to be able to tell a sales rep they don’t want any more business?

Steve also shared a story that illustrates the same idea in a different way:

Years ago I attended a brilliant presentation by a guy named Mark Powers, of the legal-consulting firm Atticus. He described his trip to a big firm for an in-house presentation. As soon as the introductions were complete, Powers said, “Now, the first thing I want each of you to do is double your hourly rates.” The ensuing uproar subsided just long enough for one of the partners to stammer, “But, but if we do that, we’ll lose half our clients!”

“Exactly!” a triumphant Powers replied with a smile. He explained to them that if they got the same amount of money for doing half the work, they’d have a better quality of life.

Point, set and match.

I’ve had discussions about raising fees with many attorneys over the years. When I do, I can almost always hear the wheels turning in their head as they wrestle with idea. Sadly, their desire usually loses out to their fear.

Not my friend Steve, however, who figured this out on his own.

I know this because I interviewed him and published a book based on that interview. In it, he shares the secrets to his success, or, as he might describe them, the methods to his madness.

How to Build a Successful Appellate Practice contains valuable practice-building and career-building advice for attorneys in any practice area.

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How much is a new client worth to you?

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Over their lifetime, a new client is potentially worth a fortune to you. Their repeat business and referrals will certainly be worth many times what they pay you initially.

At least that’s how you have to look at it.

The “one time” client who pays you $1,000 could come back with bigger matters, or a series of smaller ones. They could refer other clients, tell their contacts about you, share your content, promote your event or blog or channel, or provide a testimonial or positive review, all of which can bring you more business.

Of course those new clients are (statistically) likely to provide you with more of the same.

Your next new client might provide you with enough business to pay your monthly mortgage or your groceries for a year. They might bring you your next multi-million dollar case or client.

Hold on. That’s a new client. An established client, someone who already knows you and your work, may provide you with even more.

When you realize this and embrace it, you know how important it is to make getting and keeping clients your priority.

The time you spend blogging, networking on social media, or writing a newsletter isn’t wasted time, it’s an investment with the potential to provide a massive ROI.

The money you invest in advertising, webinars, or other paid marketing methods, the time you invest in staying in touch with your subscribers and clients, and the resources you devote to hiring and training good staff, are time and money well spent.

So is your investment in personal development. Becoming a better lawyer, a better communicator, and a better marketer is worth it.

Because that’s how you get and keep good clients.

Ready to take a quantum leap in your marketing? Here’s how

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Why will this year be different?

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When you’re making plans for the coming year, the first you should do is review the previous year.

Take 30 minutes and think about what happened last year and what you can do to make this year better.

Tim Ferriss does an annual review by going through his calendar, week by week, and noting everything that was positive and everything that was negative. He uses this information to create a list of what to do more of in the new year, and a list of what NOT to do.

Another method is to go through your calendar, your project and tasks lists, your journal, and anything else you use to manage or document your life, and ask yourself 3 questions:

  1. What worked? What did you do that resulted in progress towards your goals? Which strategies were effective? What did you do well? What are you happy about?
  2. What didn’t work (and why)? What didn’t go well for you? What strategies didn’t bring good results? What disappointed you? And why?
  3. What can you do differently? What did you learn about your situation or yourself that can help you this year? Where can you improve? What do you need to stop doing? What new or better skills can help you?

If you need more prompts, here are some additional questions to ask yourself:

  • What did I discover about myself–my strengths, my challenges, my beliefs, my methods?
  • What did I discover that will help me this year: websites, podcasts, ideas, books, channels, people, methods?
  • What new habits helped me improve? What new habits can benefit me this year? What habits do I want to eliminate?
  • What did I appreciate about last year? (Experiences, opportunities, relationships, etc.) What made me happy? What was I proud of?
  • What kept me up at night? What have I/will I change this year?
  • What goals did I fail to achieve? What will I do differently this year?
  • What will I focus on this year? What are my “activity” goals? What are my “results” goals?
  • What else can I do to make this year better than last year?

To make this a better year, let go of the things you can’t change, your regrets, negative thoughts, and find a few positive things to focus on this year.

You might ask yourself the “focusing question” posed by the authors of The One Thing–“What is the ONE thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

If that “one thing” is “improve my marketing,” let me know what I can do to help.

The Attorney Marketing Formula is a good place to start

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5 ways to increase your income

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You probably know (most of) this, but you may not be doing most of it. Sometimes, it helps to have a list in front of you, so here you go:

1. Increase your fees

Many lawyers don’t charge what the market will bear. Increasing your fees is one of the simplest ways to increase your income. 

You may lose some clients along the way. If you don’t, you may not be increasing your fees enough.

The point isn’t how many clients you retain, however, it is how much you earn from the ones who stay and the new ones who come along who don’t know what you used to charge.

2. Increase your average “sale”

Raising your fees does this, of course. You can also do it by increasing the percentage of clients who hire you again, how frequently they do that, and by increasing the number of services the average client “buys”. 

You can also do this by bringing in bigger cases.

3. Bring in more new clients

Improving your marketing, increasing your ad spend, doing more marketing in more channels, will all help you bring more new clients to your door. 

If you also improve your website, follow-up processes, offers, sales skills, and the frequency with which you stay in touch with prospective clients, you will sign up more of them. 

4. Bring in better clients

You want clients who hire you more often, have lots of contacts they can refer or introduce you to, pay their bills on time, and let you do your work without micromanaging. 

How do you attract them? By targeting better target markets and/or ideal clients. Then, once you have them on board, getting them to refer people they know, who are likely to be a lot like themselves.

5. Decrease your overhead/marketing expenses

Building a referral-based practice will do this. So will lowering your cost per lead. You can also do it by improving your productivity, so you get more work done in less time and at lower cost. 

Which of these do you like best? Which ones will you work on first?

This can help you sort everything out

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There’s no such thing as a former client

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Everyone who has ever hired you is still your client.

At least that’s how you should think of them, even if you haven’t done any work for them in ten years.

They’re still clients and you should treat them that way.

Yes, you should give more attention to clients you’re currently working with but don’t ignore the others.

They may have another case some day. They may have referrals. They may promote your video or send traffic to your website. They may know someone who needs help with something one of your referral sources provides. They can help you build your social media following and your email list.

Stay in touch with them. Remind them that you’re still practicing, still available to help them and the people they know.

Do the same thing with prospective clients and professional contacts.

Send them information, keep them informed about what you’re doing, and invite them to stay in touch with you, too.

Because one day, maybe soon, some of your “former” client will wake up and become “current” clients, or do something else that makes you glad you didn’t forget them.

The easiest way to stay in touch with clients and prospects

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