Some clients don’t know they have a problem

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Some of the clients and prospects on your list don’t know they have a legal problem, let alone that you have the ability to help them.

You need to educate them.

Tell them what they need to know about their problem or potential problem, and what might happen if they do nothing about it.

Don’t leave it up to them to figure this out. Don’t make them wait until their problem worsens. Tell them what they need to know.

And keep telling them because they might not be ready or willing or able to do anything about it the first time you tell them.

Describe the problem and tell them how to recognize it. Describe the risks and their options. And describe the benefits they get when they do something about it, ie., hire you.

Tell them how they will be better off. Tell them about how they will save money, protect themselves (family, business, etc.) against negative consequences. Tell them how they will be safer and enjoy peace of mind.

And then give them examples of other people, like them, who were in the same situation and, with your help, obtained those benefits.

It’s a simple and effective formula for marketing your services.

What’s that? You don’t have any other services to offer to your list?

No problem. Do you know any attorneys in different practice areas who can help your clients? If a client contacted you with a problem that attorney could handle, would you recommend them?

Great. So why not recommend them (their services, their website, their seminar, etc.) now?

Your clients will appreciate that. So will the other attorney, who might do the same thing for you with his clients.

If you want to know how to build your practice with email, my email marketing course shows you everything you need to know.

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Fees matter only when nothing else matters

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If you’re like most attorneys, you pay attention to what your competition charges and make an effort to keep your fees in line with theirs.

You don’t have to.

Because fees are way down the list of factors clients cite for choosing their attorney. And because there are things you can do to distinguish yourself from your competition, making it more likely that clients will choose you (and stick with you) even if you charge more.

How can you differentiate yourself? Here you go:

Better results.

If you’re better than other attorneys in your field, don’t keep that a secret. Let prospective clients and the people who refer them know you’re better than other lawyers in your field. Prove it by highlighting your accomplishments, reviews, testimonials, and endorsements.

Better service.

Yes, clients will pay more for better service. At least the kinds of clients you want. But quality service isn’t enough, you have to deliver amazing service. You need to be so good your clients wouldn’t think of going anywhere else. So good they want to tell everyone about you.

Specialization.

Clients prefer lawyers who specialize and they’re willing to pay more for them. They see specialists as having greater skills, knowledge, and experience. They believe that a lawyer who specializes can do the job better and quicker and with fewer problems or distractions, and this is worth more to them.

They also prefer lawyers who specialize in their niche, market or type of client.

Know, like, trust.

Other lawyers may do what you do, deliver the results you deliver, give their clients incredible service, but they aren’t you.

You are unique.

When your clients and referral sources know, like, and trust you, they will usually continue to choose you. 

Build relationships with your clients and professional contacts. Get to know them (and their families, partners, and key people) on a personal level, and make sure they know you, too.

Show your market that you are better or different. If you do, your fees won’t matter. If you don’t, your fees will be the only that matters.

More ways to differentiate yourself

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Binge marketing

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So many ideas, so little time. So many ways to promote your services, generate leads, make new business contacts, and improve response to your existing campaigns.

It never stops. Which is why sometimes, you never start.

Having options is a good thing. But it can be overwhelming.

The solution, or at least one sensible approach, is to choose one idea, channel, strategy, tactic or tool, and (temporarily) go “all in”.

Let’s say you’ve decided that LinkedIn is your new bey. You know (or you’ve heard) it’s a good place to find prospective clients, professionals with whom you can network, influencers, bloggers, and other people you’d like to know.

Whether you’re already a LinkedIn ninja or a complete noob, put everything else aside, set up a new project, and dive in.

Read articles and books. Watch videos. Listen to podcasts. Take a course. Talk to friends.

Read, watch, learn, and take notes. Then, do something.

Yes, but what?

Do you go organic? Do you advertise? Do you focus on publishing content?

What do you do first with your profile? How do you get people to see it, read it, and engage with you?

You: “Thanks a lot! Now I’m more confused than before I started.”

Me: Relax. It’s a process. You’re learning something new. Go back to your collection of information, sift through it again, add to it if necessary, and choose. . . something.

It doesn’t matter what. What matters is that you start, because you learn the most by doing, not reading. And because the objective is doing, not learning.

Do something, then do something else.

One more thing. Don’t give yourself too much time. Give yourself a week or a month, but no more. Otherwise, you might wander and get sucked into the muck.

Remember that video I mentioned the other day about how you can learn a new skill in just 20 hours?

Sounds like a plan.

For a simple marketing plan, go here

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Marketing when you don’t feel like marketing

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How do you keep the marketing fires lit when you’d rather do other things? What strategies or tactics do you use?

Have you’ve eliminated things you especially don’t like and replaced them with a few you do?

Do you automate and delegate as much as possible?

Do you “chunk it down” into small, easy-to-do tasks you can do a few minutes at a time?

Do you accept that marketing is important, put on your big boy pants, and do it anyway?

All of these are good solutions. I do them, too.

When I have to write something and I’m not feeling it, I’ll break it up into baby steps–a few minutes to find the idea, then take a break; a few more minutes to make some notes, then another break; write for five minutes, then walk away.

And so on.

And, if I’m still not feeling it, I do it anyway. Because it has to get done.

Something else I suggest. It works for marketing or any activity you may be resisting:

Put it on your calendar.

Make an appointment with yourself. Don’t schedule anything else at that time. Don’t take calls or check email. Use the time you’ve scheduled to do the thing you’ve committed to doing.

For extra credit, schedule the appointment early in the day, first thing if possible. You’ll get it out of the way and won’t have to think about it for the rest of the day.

You know this. But do you do it? If I look at your calendar right now, what would I see?

We all have things to do we don’t want to do. Client work, errands, things around the house. We do them because they’re part of the job we signed up for.

But sometimes, we need something in writing staring back at us, reminding us to do it.

Want bigger marketing results with less effort? Here’s what you need

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When is the best time to ask for referrals?

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According to a financial advisor who posted an answer to this question, the best time to ask for referrals is at the time you deliver the work-product (document, settlement check, etc.) or other benefits.

I agree. This is the best time.

The client is feeling good about you and their decision to hire you. They’ve seen tangible evidence of your ability to deliver results. They may be thinking about people they know who could benefit from your services.

But while this is the best time, you can also ask at other times.

Of course, it depends on what we mean by “asking”.

You can “ask” by handing the client a letter or brochure that describes your “ideal client” (how to spot them, how to refer them) at any time.

Your “new client welcome kit” should include such a document.

You can “ask” in your newsletter. After sharing a client success story, you could include a call to action to download your aforesaid document or read it on your website.

When a client is in the office for any reason, you could hand them a few of your business cards and casually say, “in case you know someone who needs an attorney. Tell them to mention your name.”

You can (and should) also talk to prospective clients about referrals. After a free consultation, for example. You can also ask in your declination letter.

There are different ways to “ask” for referrals. Pick something and use it.

The more you do, the more referrals you’ll get.

Here’s how to get maximum referrals

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Following up with prospective clients

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Most people don’t hire you the first time they speak to you, visit your website or watch your presentation. You need to follow up.

When you follow-up you get more clients.

But how? And when? What do you say, what do you offer, what do you send them? How often should you contact them?

That’s what you need to figure out.

You need a follow-up plan for each point of contact with prospective clients, and each stage of the “buying process”.

Your plan should spell out what you will do

  • after a free consultation–in the office and on the phone (they’re different)
  • with people you meet at networking events
  • with people who attend your presentation (in person, online)
  • with people who subscribe to your newsletter or download your report
  • with first-time clients, to convert them to repeat clients and stimulate referrals
  • with lapsed clients
  • and so on.

Your plan should also answer the following questions:

  1. Who? Should you follow-up personally or can an assistant do it? Should you do it the first time and then have someone on your staff do it?
  2. When? You’ll want to send a “thank you” or “nice to meet you” note immediately but what’s the schedule for additional follow-ups? How often? Over what period of time?
  3. How? Calls, emails, letters? A combination? Should you text? Invite to lunch or coffee? What can you automate?
  4. What? What will you say? What will you ask? What will you tell them or invite them to do?

You also need a follow-up plan for the professionals and prospective referral sources you meet.

Your plan doesn’t need to be complex, nor do you need to figure out everything in advance. Start with one point of contact and one or two follow-ups; once you have this in place, you can add more.

But start. Because in business, the fortune is in the follow-up.

If you need help creating or implementing your plan, let me know.

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Better than average

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Marketing goo-roo Dan Kennedy once said, “Your success in business is directly proportional to the number of industry norms you defy.”

In other words, if you do what everyone else is doing, you will be unlikely to achieve more than average results.

What can you do if you want to do better than average?

!. You can offer better services than the competition.

If you deliver better results, more benefits or value, or a higher level of “customer service,” you will probably get more clients, higher quality clients, and/or be able to charge higher fees than average.

You should also get more repeat business and referrals.

2. You can use better marketing.

If you do a better job of getting leads, packaging and selling your services, and building relationships with your clients and other professionals, you will get more clients and earn more income than average.

That’s because more prospective clients (and the people who can refer them) will hear your message and/or be persuaded by it.

Both options are good. Either one can help you become more successful.

But why not do both?

If you want to learn a step-by-step system for marketing and building your practice with email. . .

Go here

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Sixty-second marketing

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What are you doing for the next sixty seconds? Okay, after you finish reading this?

You could be using that minute to market your practice.

I just watched a one-minute video by a guy walking and talking into his phone. No intro, he just started talking. He shared his thoughts on a subject and the video ended.

No promotion, no request to Like or subscribe or hit the bell. Sixty seconds and he could get on with his day.

It wasn’t scripted, and it wasn’t brilliant, but it wasn’t boring, either. He gave me something to think about.

The next time one of his videos comes up in my feed, I’ll probably watch it. If he continues to share something interesting, I may subscribe.

That’s how you build a following.

You could do the same thing. Just you and your phone, or you and your computer screen. Press record and talk for one minute.

You could record audio only, convert it to text and post that on social.

Or use that text in your email newsletter.

In sixty seconds, you would probably push out 150-180 words, and yes, that’s enough for a short email newsletter. If you have more to say, speak for two minutes instead of one.

What do you think? Do you have a minute to talk about something your audience or subscribers would find interesting or valuable?

If so, go record something. Like I did. Right here.

How to build your law practice with email

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Most attorneys miss this

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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

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If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave

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I heard a public service radio spot featuring advice from Smokey Bear and the need to make sure your campfire is completely out before you walk away. “If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave,” Smokey advises.

That’s the takeaway. The nugget listeners should remember. In my opinion, it’s better than the traditional, “Only you can prevent wildfires (previously “forest fires”).

It’s better because it doesn’t lecture us about preventing forest fires, (yes, but how?), it reminds us to make sure our fire is out and provides a simple way to do that.

Easy to remember, easy to do.

Anyway, it got me thinking again about tag lines and slogans, something most attorneys don’t usually adopt but perhaps should.

A slogan or tag helps people understand what you do and how you can help them. It helps them remember this so that when they have a legal situation, they think about you. And it gives them something they can tell others about you.

He’s the lawyer who. . . , She helps people with. . ., They’re the law firm that. . .

My website has the tag line, “Earn more, work less.” That’s what I want visitors to know, remember, and tell others about me and what I offer. It’s simple, easy to understand and contains important benefits.

Tags or slogans don’t need to be brilliant, and this certainly isn’t. But it does the job.

Give some thought to creating a tag or slogan for your practice. Ask yourself, What do I want people to know about me, remember about me, and tell others about me?

Once you have something, take it for a test drive. Share it with your staff or a lawyer friend. Add it to your email footer. Survey your clients.

But don’t take what anyone says as the last word on the subject. Friends may tell you “it’s great” because they don’t know what to think or they don’t want to hurt your feelings.

The best place to test it is with prospects. Someone who doesn’t know you or what you do. If they hear your tag and ask you to tell them more about your services, you may just have a winner.

For more advice on building your practice, go here

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