Motivation follows action (not the other way around)


YOU: I want to bring in more clients; I’ve made a list of 18 things I could do but I’m not motivated to do any of them. Do you have any advice?

ME: You’ve come to the right place, son. Pull up a chair and let me set you straight.

Now, the way I see it, you have 3 options:

Option 1: Make another list. Go find 18 more things you could do, and keep looking until you find something you want to do. There’s got to be something, right?

If not, go to option 2.

Option 2: Get out your checkbook. Pay someone to do something on your list for you, or babysit you and coach you while you do it.

If you don’t want to do that, you have option 3.

Option 3: Pick something on your list and do it anyway. Even though you don’t feel like it. Because research tells us that motivation follows action, not the other way around.

Pick something you hate the least, or pick something you hate the most so you can prove to yourself you were right, or pick something at random.

Just pick something, and start.

Do something, however small and insignificant, so you can say you started.

Because motivation follows action, not the other way around.

What will happen? Well, you might find it’s not as bad as you thought and decide to continue. You might find a way to make it easier or better. You might start to see some results, get excited, and say to yourself, “I wish I’d started this sooner.”

Or, you might hate it, in which case, you can choose something else and try that, or go back to option 1 or 2.

Those are your options. I hope this helps. I’ll put your bill in the mail.

How to create a simple marketing plan that works for you


A simple way to create (a lot) more content


A common reason offered by attorneys who haven’t started a blog or newsletter is that they won’t be able to keep it up. Either they don’t have the time, or they don’t think they’ll have enough to write about.

But. . .

You’ll never run out of ideas to write about. I promise.

Even if you practice in a very narrow niche, the law changes, the cases and clients change, the strategies change, the ideas change, and your readers change.

Besides, you aren’t confined to writing exclusively about the law, nor should you. (Get my Email Marketing Course and you’ll never run out ideas for your newsletter or blog.)

As for the amount of time it takes to write a new article or post, hear ye, hear ye, if you’re taking more than an hour, you’re doing something wrong.

And, you can save yourself a boatload of time if, when you sit down to write an article, you write two articles. Or five.

Here are some ways to do that:

  1. Instead of writing a 2500-word post, write a 300-word post. Save the rest for tomorrow or next week.
  2. Write different versions of the same article for each of your target markets or practice areas. Use the same basic information, change the examples, stories, and tips.
  3. Create a series. This week explain the problem, next week talk about the risks, the following week explain the law, after that present one of the solutions, and keep going: other options, other solutions, different client success stories, things that don’t work, mistakes to avoid in the future, resources, etc.
  4. Interview (by email) 5 other professionals or experts about the subject: What do you think, how do you handle this, what advice would you give to someone in this situation, etc. Add your comments at the end of each piece.
  5. Answers to FAQs. What do new clients and prospective clients usually want to know? Ten questions, ten answers, ten articles.

Life is good when you know what you’re going to write about six weeks in advance.

Get it here: Email Marketing for Attorneys


Is it a good idea?


You want to try some new marketing ideas. How do you know if you’ve got a good one?

A bad idea tends to feel bad almost right from the start. You’re forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do, and feel like you’re wasting time and/or spending money you shouldn’t spend.

A good marketing idea, on the other hand, tends to have these characteristics:

  • Offers services with strong market demand, giving people what they want, not necessarily what they need.
  • Has the potential to provide significant growth or profit. If successful, it could triple your revenue over the next year or two, for example.
  • Generates its own momentum. In the beginning, you’re supplying all the energy to get the idea off the ground. Eventually, you see things starting to happen seemingly on their own. People contact you, for example.
  • Is a good fit for you–your skills, experience, niche, network, and your style. It feels right, especially compared to other things you’ve tried.

The trick is to give the idea enough time and space to prove or disprove itself. You don’t want to hang on to a bad idea too long, but you don’t want to give up on a good idea too soon.

Knowing which is which is the hard part if all you do is look at the numbers. You have to learn to trust you gut.

Good ideas often reveal themselves when you’re in the middle of doing other things. So, make sure you try lots of things, and give them enough time to show you what they’ve got.

When you’re ready to take a quantum leap in your marketing, go here


If you don’t like marketing, do this instead


If you’re the kind of attorney who says, “I didn’t go to law school to be a salesperson,” or who just doesn’t like marketing in any shape or form, I have a suggestion.

No, I’m not going to tell you you can stop doing it, or that you can outsource all of it. I’m going to tell you to change the way you think about it.

I’m guessing you don’t actually hate the idea of writing things or talking to people, or even how much time it takes or how much it costs.

What you don’t like is letting anyone see you do it.

Because they might think you need the work.

Thus, my suggestion.

Don’t use the word “marketing”.

Substitute the word “communicating,” because that’s really all you’re doing.

You communicate with clients and former clients, prospective clients and professional contacts, and other people in your warm market–sharing information and updating them about what’s going on with you.

You don’t have to “push” or promote; just stay in touch.

You also communicate in the “cold market,” via ads, social media posts, articles, interviews, networking, and presentations. You don’t know these people, yet, but you can communicate with them just the same.

Telling them something, offering them additional information, asking them to contact you if they questions.

It’s not marketing (okay, it is), but it’s also communicating, something you’re good at.

So, if the word marketing leaves a bad taste in your mouth, take a bite out of the word communicating.

All you have to do is decide with whom you will you communicate, what you will say, and how you will get your message to them.

I suggest you start with your warm market, and use email. You can learn everything you need to know, here.


When was the last time you took inventory?


Of all the things you do, in your practice and personal life, some things contribute more value than others. By taking inventory of everything you do, you can identify your most valuable activities, so you can do more of them.

You’ll have the time to do that, of course, by curtailing activities that contribute little or no value.

Taking inventory starts with choosing an area of your life where you’d like to be more productive or successful. Let’s say that’s your practice.

The first step is to write a list of everything you do in that area–all of your tasks, projects, habits, and routines. For your practice, include the different kinds of client work you do, all of the admin, and all of your marketing.

Add a number to each activity on your list. If there are 50 activities, number them 1-50, so you can identify each one separately.

Next, make a second list. Write down all of your successes in this area of your life. In this case, your practice.

These successes might include things like winning one or more big cases, getting a lot of traffic from a profile of you that appeared in a prominent publication, meeting a well-connected professional who helped you get a spot on a speaking panel, a successful ad campaign, or things you did to reduce your overhead without hurting your bottom line.

These could be one-time wins or things that bring you ongoing benefits.

When your “success” list is done, go through it again and next to each item, add the number of each “activity” (on your first list) that contributed to it.

For example, you might connect “reading blogs in your target market’s industry” and “writing articles for your target market’s publications” with the positive result of being introduced to a major center of influence in your client’s niche, which led to several new clients.

By connecting activities with results, you can see where the things you’re doing are working.

Whatever is left–activities you can’t connect to significant results–should either be eliminated, minimized, systematized, or delegated.

Finally, look at your success list and identify things you didn’t connect with an activity. Ask yourself what you could do to make results like these happen more often.

For example, maybe you met someone accidentally who hired you for a lot of legal work. Ask, “What can I do to meet their colleagues or counterparts?”

When you take the time to link your activities with your results, you’ll be able to see where you should spend more time and resources, and what you should do less of, or not at all.

How to meet and get referrals from other professionals


The ultimate marketing metric


You want more new clients. You focus on traffic, visits, clicks, friends, follows, likes, comments, and subscribers. In an online world, these are the metrics that count.

You focus on growing your list because you know that the bigger it gets, the more new clients (and repeat business) you’ll get. You create more content for the same reason.

Or, maybe you keep things simple. You note the number of calls or email inquires or leads you got from prospective clients this week, how many make an appointment, and how many signed up.

If you are an experienced networker, you record the number of prospective referral sources you met this week, or how many phone calls or online chats you booked.

It’s all good. These numbers are valuable. They give you a way to track your time and your dollars. They let you make better decisions and improve your results.

I’d like to suggest another metric, however. Something else to look for and add to your spreadsheet.

At the end of each day or week, record the number of opportunities you found for helping people.

Brian Tracy said, “Successful people are always look for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are asking, ‘What’s in it for me?'”

Corny? Impractical? Imprecise?

Maybe. Or maybe it’s the answer to everything.

It keeps you focused on speaking to people with legal problems you can solve. How many did you find and talk to this week?

It keeps you focused on prospective referral sources–professionals, business owners, bloggers, and others who need your referrals, your introductions, or your knowledge to share with their readers or listeners.

More than this, more than counting their numbers, when you focus on finding people you can help, it changes the way you think about marketing.

And, continually asking yourself, “What can I do for them?” instead of “What’s in it for me?” will also change what others think about you.

Which means instead of needing to look for clients and opportunities, you’ll begin to attract them.

Which is the ultimate measure of marketing success.

If you’re ready to take a quantum leap in your marketing, go here


How to loosen your marketing sphincter


Many attorneys are uptight about marketing. So they put forth a token effort and see poor results, or they don’t do it all.

If you’re in there somewhere, this is for you. Marketing can become your best friend if you let it.

Start by letting go of bad memories–ads that bombed, speeches that flopped, networking that left you cold. Let go of all the time you wasted and the money you flushed down the drain.

Also let go of negative feelings you may have about about marketing making you uncomfortable. It doesn’t have to. And it won’t, once you realize that marketing is merely a conversation you have with people you know or people who have expressed interest in what you can do for them.

Marketing doesn’t mean shoving anything down anyone’s throat. Marketing is answering questions, something we both know you’re good at. It’s sharing information, something you no doubt you have plenty of. It’s providing examples about other people you helped, and letting their stories persuade people that you can help them, too.

You like helping people, right? Marketing lets you do more of that. It helps the people who read or listen to your words to better understand their situation and find their way to a better outcome. Without this, their pain might continue, or they might choose the wrong attorney, making things worse.

You don’t have be great at marketing to be effective. In fact, a little clumsiness can be a good thing. People don’t want “slick,” they want “real” and down to earth.

You don’t have to do all kinds of marketing. You can focus on what you like and what you’re good at.

I like writing. I like doing interviews. I like advertising. I really like email. So, that’s what I do.

How about you?

You have a lot of options. Find one that feels good and start there.

If you’re not sure, I suggest starting with your website or blog. Post some information about the law, about your services, and what you can do for someone who visits your site and needs your help.

You know, the kinds of information you already share with people who ask what you do.

My course, Make the Phone Ring, shows you what to do.


Choose wisely


Let’s say you want to grow your practice so you ask yourself, “What can I do right now to move my practice forward?”

You have many options.

You could. . .

  • Contact old clients (stimulate repeat business and referrals)
  • Start an email newsletter
  • Write a blog post
  • Run some ads
  • Create a new lead magnet
  • Talk to other professionals about doing a cross-promotion
  • Work on a new presentation
  • Find some (online) networking opportunities

And so on.

Which do you choose?

Choose the right option(s) and you might quickly get more leads and inquiries, speak to several prospective clients, or meet someone who is willing and able to send you referrals.

Choose poorly and you may waste a lot of time and money.

Yes, there is value in trying lots of things–to see what works, and what works better, to see what you like and are good at, and what turns your stomach, to see what you can scale and what is likely to work only once or twice.

Try everything, and keep trying until you find what’s best.

But there’s something else you can do. You can ask yourself another question:

“What should I NOT do right now to move my practice forward?”

This can actually be a more valuable question to answer, because it can help you avoid making mistakes or overwhelming yourself with too much to learn and too much to do.

Knowing what not to do can save you a lot of time.

To answer the second question, look at what most lawyers in your field are doing to build their practice and. . . do the opposite.

Most lawyers, even successful ones, don’t get marketing right. They might be successful because they’ve been at it for a very long time. They might have contacts who give them an edge. They might have gotten lucky. And they might have no idea how they did it.

So don’t take what you see at face value.

Some lawyers are very good at marketing, however. When you find them, study them, reverse engineer what they did, and if they’ll talk to you, try to get the complete story.

You could also hire someone who knows what they’re doing and ask them to tell you what NOT to do.

“Start with this ONE THING. . .” or “Don’t waste your time with that right now, do THIS instead. . .”

It can help cut through the clutter and give you the direction and clarity you crave.

You may already know what to do, and what not to do. Sometimes, it helps to get a second opinion.

If you don’t know, talk to someone who does.

If you’d like to talk to me, contact me here


What if you’re not different or better than other lawyers?


I just read an article about marketing that points out something you and I already know:

“Competition is fierce. . . consumers are inundated with options and may develop decision fatigue. So. . . they tend to [rely] on referrals and reviews from friends,” she says.

“Highly competitive spaces breed the “who you know” type of purchasing decisions, or can drive you to offer a lower price as a competitive edge.”

She makes it sound like referrals are a bad thing. Hey, that’s where we part company.

Then she makes a good point, stressing the value of “offering a novel and truly innovative product or service” to stand out.

We agree. Marketing is easier and more effective when you do something most attorneys don’t.

Then the author makes another good point. She says that being different keeps you from focusing on your competition, and makes you more likely to focus on your client or market.

“There’s only so far ahead you can get if all you is follow or copycat a competitor.”

Preach, sister.

But, alas, most attorneys are in the copycat game. Most attorneys don’t innovate or do things differently.

We use the same forms, the same process, and follow the same timetable. We offer the same services and charge the same fees.

We look alike, because we are alike. (Okay, some of us have better jokes.)

What’s the solution? How do you stand out when you’re not different or better?

The thing is, you don’t actually have be different, or better, at least not demonstrably. You can “be” different by appearing to be different.

That’s where marketing comes in.

To wit:

You and 1000 other attorneys in town all begin the case by interviewing the client, getting all the facts and details, and asking the same questions to flesh out what happened.

Boring, isn’t it? Not to the client.

Clients want an attorney who is thorough and works hard to get all the facts, so they can do a better job for them. Yes, other attorneys do the same thing, but if you’re the only one describing this process in your marketing, in the eyes of your market. . . you are different. Or better.

And that’s why it’s a good idea to study your competition, what they do and how they market their services.

It’s how you find ways to differentiate yourself.

For more ways, get a copy of The Attorney Marketing Formula.


Your mind to my mind… your thoughts to my thoughts…


When was the last time you had a mind meld with your clients? And by that I mean, when did you spend time studying your target market and ideal client?

To learn what they want, how they think, and what they already know?

Do you know what they read? Who they listen to? What ideas are roaming around in their head? Do you know how they talk? Are you up-to-date with the legal and non-legal issues in their industry or market?

I ask this because understanding your client is the single most important element in your marketing, and most attorneys spend very little time studying their market and the people in it.

But you should.

It will make your marketing more effective, by allowing you to show your clients, prospects, subscribers and followers, that you understand them.

Other lawyers show them they know the law and can provide solutions to their problems. When you show prospective clients you understand their market, and them, they don’t have to be convinced you can help them, they know it.

When you tell them something, they’re less likely to doubt it. When you offer them something, they’re more likely to accept it. When you ask for their help, they are more likely to comply because they know, like, and trust you and want to help you.

They’re also more likely to forgive your errors and omissions, less likely to stray, and less likely to second-guess your judgment or your bill.

Knowing your market also makes your marketing easier. In a few minutes, you can dash off a short email or blog post, for example, without having to figure out what to say or how to say it–you already know.

Knowing your market also helps you develop deeper relationships with the professionals and advisors in that market. When they know someone who needs an attorney, they’ll be more likely to give you the referral.

So, what are you waiting for? Start (or re-start) studying your market. The first step is to write down what you know about your target market and ideal client.

Then, start asking questions and getting some answers.

This will help.