Getting to “yes”

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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

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Audit thyself

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Once a year, or at least once in a while, sit down with your bad self and figure out how things are going.

Take inventory of what you have, what you want, and what you do, and see if you are on track to meet your goals.

Start with how you spend your time.

What do you do every day and every week to produce value for yourself and your clients?

Look at your calendar, task list, projects, and your plans for the next few months. What could you eliminate or combine with other activities? What could you delegate, outsource, or automate?

Cut out the fat and you’ll have more time to do things that produce more value, or more time for yourself.

Then, do the same thing for your expenses.

What could you cut out or cut down? Where should you consider spending more?

Changing these two areas—time and money—might allow you to claw back a few thousand dollars a month or free up several hours a week.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

You should also inventory your cases and clients. Some are worth more than others in terms of revenue and overall profitability. Which ones should you focus on? Which ones should you consider letting go?

Are you employees worth what you pay them? Maybe you should pay them more, or maybe it’s time to have that talk.

Examine the tech you’re using. Is it time for an upgrade? Are you still using something that is long overdue to be retired? Could one piece of tech replace two?

Examine your workflows. Go through your checklists, forms, and templates, and look for ways to make things more efficient and more effective.

Auditing your practice (and personal life) will help you reduce overhead, simplify (and shorten) your workday, and help you get more results with less effort.

That’s an audit you can look forward to.

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Survival mode

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What’s the minimum you need to earn to keep your practice going? To cover your basic overhead and take home enough to keep the home fires burning?

What’s the minimum you need to cover your “nut”?

Once you have a number, figure out what you have to do to earn that. The activities you need to do to be reasonably assured that you will continue to stay afloat.

Doing this will allow you to identify the activities that are important to your practice right now. What’s essential and what isn’t.

You might realize that if you continue to work with your current crop of cases or clients, you will generate enough work now and, via repeat business and referrals, enough work to keep you going for the foreseeable future.

Cool.

On the other hand, you might realize that while you’re okay right now, you’re not replacing cases or clients fast enough to sustain revenue and continue growing, and you need to do something about that.

Or you might realize that some of your practice areas, services or marketing strategies aren’t bringing in enough revue, at least compared to other things you do. You might see value in jettisoning them or changing them and freeing up resources that are better used doing something else.

Once you have a clear picture of your current reality, take stock of other options. Everything else you could do to create growth and build your future.

Doing this exercise will help you get clear about where you are, where you want to be in the next few years, and what you need to do to get there.

This will help you plan your future

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Make this your next project

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Before you do anything to bring in new clients, your next marketing project should be to win back former clients and engage or re-engage prospective clients with whom you’ve lost touch.

Former clients know, like, and trust you. Prospective clients may not trust you yet, but they know who you are and have given you permission to contact them.

Send them one or more emails. Reintroduce yourself and your services to people who can hire you or refer you, immediately or down the road.

It’s one of the most effective marketing strategies you can use.

What do you say to them?

Some clients left because they were unhappy about something. They should probably be called and you should be prepared to apologize and make amends. A surprising number will come back and forget all about their differences.

Most clients don’t have an issue, they simply drifted away. So, hearing from you again, even if you don’t say anything special, may be enough to get them re-engaged.

And, you can write about almost anything. Here are some ideas to grease your wheels:

  • Just checking in/How are you?/Thinking about you (It’s amazing how well this works)
  • It’s time. . . (to update something)
  • Have you moved? (Verify their contact info)
  • Check out this (article, video, post)
  • Happy birthday (or holiday)
  • It’s our anniversary (of working with you)
  • I’d like your opinion about (something)
  • I have a question for you
  • A client success story
  • A client who didn’t (do something and got hurt) story
  • A gift to you (free ebook, training, form, checklist)
  • Let’s connect (your social media channels)
  • I’m sorry (for not staying in touch)
  • News (about you, your services, a legal issue) that can affect them
  • An invitation to an event
  • Yeah, just about anything

A few guidelines:

  • Write from “you,” not “the firm”
  • Be yourself; speak plainly
  • Build on what they already know and value
  • Consider including a special offer
  • Tell them what to do (call to action)
  • Invite them to join or re-join your newsletter (so you can continue to stay in touch)

You invested time and money to bring in these clients and connect with these prospects. What might happen when you connect with them again?

You might find one or two former clients who hire you again or send you a referral.

You might find a handful of prospective clients who decide they’re ready to get started.

And you might find yourself smiling all the way to the bank because you’re bringing in an additional ten or twenty or fifty thousand per month that would have otherwise passed you by.

Why not write a few emails and find out?

Email marketing for attorneys

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How to add value (and why should you)

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What do you think would happen if you became more valuable to your clients and business contacts?

You’d get more repeat business and referrals. You would increase your gross and net income. Gross income because you’d have more work coming in. Net income because you could spend less on outside marketing and enjoy the economics of scale.

You would be “in demand”. Clients and influential people in your market would learn of your good work. They’ll want to hire you, network with you, interview you, and recommend you.

The more value you bring to the market, the more value you will receive in return.

It is law.

How do you become more valuable? You find out what the people in your market need and want and you help them get it.

What are they talking about, reading, asking, and doing? Survey your lists or talk to them individually. Everyone likes to talk about themselves. Encourage them to do that and they’ll tell you what you need to know.

You’ll discover their problems—legal, business, and personal. They’ll share their goals. You’ll learn what they want and what they need—information, advice, recommendations, ideas, clients or customers.

They’ll tell you how you can become more valuable.

If you can’t deliver what they need yourself, talk to your clients and business contacts and see what they can do.

Does a client need more customers for their business? Introduce them to a blogger or podcaster you know who can get them some exposure.

Does a client have a personal issue with a member of their family? Tell them about a book you heard about on that subject or give them some advice that has worked for you.

Did a professional you know mention the high cost of his insurance premiums? Maybe you know something about that and can offer some advice, or refer him to a broker you know who has worked miracles for some of your clients.

Adding value doesn’t just mean giving clients more deliverables or better outcomes, or helping them get more clients or customers. It also means doing things that give your clients a better experience.

It might mean simplifying your billing process or offering alternative payment methods. It might mean communicating more often, sharing information and ideas and recommended resources via a newsletter, videos, or podcast. Or it might mean cutting down the frequency and quantity of that information if that’s what they prefer.

Adding value can be as simple as getting to know your clients on a personal level and being there for them when they need another set of ears to listen to their idea or a shoulder to cry on when they’re having a rough time.

Value means different things to different people. Your job is to find out what it means to your clients and contacts, and then do what you can to help them get it.

The Attorney Marketing Formula

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How much should you charge?

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How much should you charge for your services? Well, how much are your services worth?

You don’t want to charge less than what you’re worth. That’s not fair to you or your kids.

But you can’t charge more than you’re worth because that’s not fair to your clients (or sustainable).

When it comes to fees, follow The Goldilocks Rule: Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold (but how much is ‘just right’?)

Well, you have to consider:

  • The size and complexity of the problem or goal
  • Clients’ willingness to pay to solve that problem or achieve that goal
  • Clients’ ability to pay
  • Urgency (deadlines, risks, pain, associated problems)
  • Your experience and reputation
  • The clients’ sophistication and experience in working with lawyers
  • How much other lawyers charge
  • The economy
  • And other factors

Yeah, it’s complicated. You can’t figure this out with a spreadsheet. So, let the market give you the answer.

It starts with you. How much do you want? Quote a fee and see what clients are willing to pay.

Willing buyer, willing seller.

If most clients complain or try to negotiate, if they hire you once and never again, you may be asking more than your services are (or appear to be) worth.

If most clients pay without blinking, however, you may be asking less than you could. A common affliction among our kind.

But if most clients pay what you ask, readily hire you again and refer others, your fees are probably about right.

But that doesn’t mean you should set them and forget them.

Over time, your kids (and creditors) want you to increase your fees and continue doing that until the market tells you no more.

But that’s not necessarily the last word on the subject.

If you want to increase your fees but the market says “too much,” you have three options:

  1. Add more value so more clients are willing to pay more
  2. Improve your marketing and salesmanship and increase the perceived value of your services
  3. Target a different market

The market tells you how much you can charge. But you have to ask. And listen.

The lawyers’ guide to stress-free billing and collection

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Pick two?

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I don’t know who first said it, but people are still saying it today. “You can get the work done quickly, you can get it done well, or you can get it done cheaply.” “Pick two,“ they say. “Because you can’t have all three”.

We’ve heard that said about all manner of products and services and undertakings. We may even say it ourselves.

But is it true?

Who says we can’t have all three?

In our world, the practice of law has three areas:

  1. Core legal skills: research, writing, presenting, strategizing, negotiation, etc.,
  2. Managing: hiring, budgeting, supervising, productivity, etc., and
  3. Marketing: bringing in the business, client relations, etc.

Who says they can’t be good at all three?

Clearly, they can. Many lawyers are excellent at all three.

But there are also many successful lawyers who are good at only one of the above.

They may be good at lawyering, all thumbs when it comes to running a practice, and clueless about marketing.

They may be good at running their practice (and making the most of what they have), but only “okay” in the other two areas.

They may be good at marketing but only adequate or reasonably competent at doing the work and running the practice.

So, I’m calling BS on the adage that you can only pick two. I say you can be good at all three. I also say you can be successful when you’re good at only one.

Now, something else they say. They say that we should focus on our strengths and not worry about getting good at everything. They say we can hire our weaknesses. They say we can be good enough at what we’re good at that we can succeed despite our weaknesses.

And to that, I’m going to agree.

Don’t ignore your weaknesses. But don’t spend a lot of time improving them (unless you want to). Get better at what you already do well, and everything else will take care of itself.

The Attorney Marketing Formula

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A simple way to lose clients

You want to increase your fees. It’s time, you deserve more, but, like many lawyers, you’re nervous about it because you don’t want to lose any clients who can’t or won’t pay more.

Understood.

There is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

The wrong way is to do what a certain app company did not long ago when they wanted to increase their revenue. They alienated a large percentage of their customers by taking away from them a bundle of features those customers were used to getting free and would henceforth have to pay for.

That’s a no.

Don’t take things from customers because when you do, you’re taking away something they already own (even if they got it free).

The company lost a lot of customers, suffered a slew of bad reviews and a loss of good will. Apple told them that they had violated their terms of service and they were forced to reverse course and come up with a different plan.

And that’s the plan I’m going to recommend to you.

Grandfather in existing customers (clients) and charge new customers or clients the higher rate (or make them pay for things your old clients got free.) Who says you have to charge all clients the same rate?

New clients won’t know and old clients won’t care.

You keep your old clients happy, at least until a suitable point in the future when you can justify raising rates for them, too. But whatever you do, don’t take away from any client anything that’s “theirs”.

Get the Check: Stress-Free Legal Billing and Collection

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https://www.attorneymarketing.com/2022/03/04/13297/

What’s the one thing you can do to build your practice?

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One of my favorite questions to ask myself comes from Gary Keller, founder of Keller-Williams real estate and author of The One Thing. Keller asks, “What’s the ONE Thing you can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?“

You can ask that about anything. Including the subject of marketing and practice development.

Let’s say your one thing is “referrals”. You’re thinking that if you could increase them significantly, everything else you might do for marketing would be easier or unnecessary. You’d have more income, which would allow you to hire more help and turn down marginal clients and open up new locations if you chose to.

More referrals would lead to better clients, meaning bigger retainers, less hand holding, more repeat business, and even more referrals.

It wouldn’t matter so much if your SEO wasn’t that great, you did fewer presentations (or none), and you pulled a lot (or all) of your advertising. Referrals would be your one thing. Focus on it and you’ll be on track to building your dream practice.

Make sense?

But once you choose your one thing, in this case, getting more referrals, you have another question to ask yourself: “What is the ONE thing you can do to get more referrals such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

You would examine your options and come up with an answer. The “one thing” that would help you achieve your “one thing”.

You might answer “networking with financial professionals who represent (the types of clients you want to represent)”.

Or, “teach my clients how to recognize a good referral for me and the best way to refer them”.

Or, “offer (generous) referral fees to (a type of lawyer)”.

Or, “write a book and ask my clients and professional contacts to tell their clients and contacts about it,” e.g. , get them to refer people to the book and let the book sell those folks on hiring you.

Which of these or other options would be best for you and your practice?

What’s your ONE thing? And what’s the ONE thing you could do to accomplish it?

If referrals are your ONE thing, you need to study this

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Do you need more than one website?

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Do you need more than one website? Most lawyers and law firms don’t. But there are several reasons to at least consider the benefits of having additional sites.

If you do PPC ads or SEO and target highly competitive keywords, having a site that’s “tuned” for those keywords could give you an advantage. If you do broadcast or display advertising for major tort cases or consumer class actions, having sites dedicated to those matters also makes sense.

If you target very different markets, financial professionals on the one hand and first responders on the other, for example, or businesses and consumers, having separate sites that provide content, testimonials, use cases and offers appropriate for those markets may also be a good idea.

The same goes for your practice areas. Your business clients might not be interested in your criminal defense work and might actually see you in a different light if those practice areas are promoted on the same site. And remember, clients prefer to hire lawyers who specialize, so keeping what you do separate from what else you do might be a sound practice.

Do you have different locations or practice in different jurisdictions? Do you target clients who speak different languages? You might want to “localize” your marketing with separate sites for each location or language.

If you want to test special offers for new clients, without alienating your existing clients, maintaining separate sites is a good way to insulate yourself.

Finally, if you have more than one or two lawyers, especially in different practice areas, you might want each lawyer to have their own site in addition to the firm’s site.

That way, each lawyer can build their individual brand, post their own practice-area specific content, maintain their own blog, promote their own newsletter and social media channels, and otherwise do their own marketing, without getting in the way of anything being done by the other lawyers, or the firm.

So yeah, different websites might be just what the doctor ordered.

How to create a website that makes the phone ring

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