Selling legal services, et. al.


Let’s clear this up once and for all: Lawyers sell legal services.

There, I said it.

It doesn’t make you a salesperson, but you can’t deny the fact that when someone hires you, a sale takes place.

The more of your services you sell, the more you earn. Pure and simple.

But that’s not all you sell.

Clients pay for your legal services, but what they want and expect you to deliver, what they really pay for, are solutions to their problems.

They hire you to get the benefits you deliver.

Get better at selling those solutions and benefits and you will sell more of your services.

Hold on. We’re not done.

You also sell clients the “experience” of working with you. How your clients feel having you in their corner, how you treat them and make them feel appreciated, and everything else under the ‘client relations’ banner.

Do a good job of this and your clients will stick around, return, and tell others. Mess up and they won’t.

It’s all selling.

But before clients can see any of this, before they hire you, there’s something else they buy (and you sell).

Your reputation.

You’re judged by your record of accomplishments and the things people say about you.

Even when your reputation is stellar, you still need to sell it because many clients can’t discern this. To most clients, we all look alike.

It’s called “reputation management” but it’s really just more selling.

I’ve got one more for you. Something else you sell.

You sell information.

About the law, problems and solutions, the how-to’s,—via your articles and posts, reports and books, presentations and other content.

Clients don’t pay for this information but you need to sell them on reading or listening, because this information shows them you know what you’re doing and can deliver the solutions they want.

Get better at selling this information and you get more leads and prospective clients contacting you, pre-sold on hiring you.

In fact, if your information is good enough, it will do most of the selling for you.

Which is why I repeatedly tell you to create a blog and newsletter.


3 reasons to study other lawyers


This might be hard to believe, but some lawyers know things you don’t know. They may do things you’re not doing, or doing them better, and you can learn a lot by studying them.

You can get ideas for blog posts and other content by consuming theirs, for example. See what topics they’re talking about, especially if those topics are getting a lot of comments and shares, and write about those topics yourself.

Dissect their website. Sign up for their newsletter. Review their advertising, presentations, and offers. See what they’re doing to market or manage their practice.

They don’t have to be super successful lawyers with lots of experience. Just lawyers doing something right. In fact, you’ll probably learn more from someone at your “level” of experience, or a step or two ahead, than someone who is “killing it” in your field.

As C.S. Lewis said, “The fellow pupil can help more than the master because he knows less. The difficulty we want him to explain is one he has recently met. The expert met it so long ago he has forgotten.”

So, information and ideas is the first reason to study other lawyers. The second reason is to find lawyers who might be open to a marketing alliance with you. Someone who will interview you for their newsletter or podcast, for example, while you interview them for yours.

You can share strategies and resources, critique each other’s content, and promote each other’s practice. Help them get what they want and they’ll help you do the same.

Which leads to the third reason to study other lawyers—to find out what NOT to do.

Some lawyers are great at marketing. Most aren’t.

You almost can’t go wrong studying what “most” lawyers are doing and doing the opposite.

How to set up marketing alliances with other lawyers


Make this your next project


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


6 things I learned from writing 2,853 blog posts


I’ve written a lot of blog posts and thought I’d share some things I’ve learned along the way, to encourage you to either start or re-start your blog:

  1. It gets easier. The more you write, the easier it becomes to write—to find ideas, get the words down, edit, and publish. And the more you write, the better you get at writing, which helps with your other writing and speaking.
  2. It gets faster. The more you write, the faster you get at writing. You can write and post something in less than 30 minutes and get on with your day.
  3. Ideas are everywhere. Everything I read, everywhere I go, everyone I talk to provides me with ideas to write about. The idea for this post came from reading a similar post by a guy who started a blog to build his business.
  4. You can write whatever you want and have fun with it. You don’t have to use your formal lawyer voice if you don’t want to, or spend time finding images, formatting, responding to comments, adding citations or links. Your blog, your rules.
  5. Marketing gets easier. People find you—not just clients and customers, but people who want to interview you for their blog or podcast or present other opportunities (to speak, network, etc.).
  6. It works. My blog brings me a steady stream of (free) traffic, subscribers, clients, and customers. Each post gets indexed and brings more of the same.

And, having a blog means you can also have a newsletter—just copy and paste your blog posts and email them to your list.

You can add a blog to your website or on a separate domain. You can start by posting a handful of articles or anything you’ve written in the past, or answer 5 or 10 frequently asked questions you get from prospective clients (or new clients).

The technology is easy. You can set up a blog in a matter of minutes. And your blog can help you Make the Phone Ring


No time for marketing


Lawyers often ask, “How do I find time to build my practice?“

Sorry, there’s no such thing as ‘finding time’. Time isn’t found or made, it just is. The question is, how will you use the time you have?

And the answer to that depends on what’s important to you.

If building your practice is important, you’ll do it. If it’s not, you won’t.

It comes down to self-respect. Believing you deserve to be successful and that you have what it takes to do that.

But I’m not telling you to do anything you don’t want to do. That’s no way to live. You can’t do things you hate and expect to succeed (or be happy). Not long term, anyway.

If you don’t like marketing and aren’t allocating time to do it (but still want to build your practice), you have two choices:

You can find one marketing strategy you enjoy and do that. Do it enough, and that may be all you need.

Or you can find a marketing strategy you don’t hate and look for ways to make it more enjoyable.

Example? Suppose you are a decent speaker or presenter. You don’t love it or hate it, but you know you don’t want to set up a YouTube channel and record videos because you don’t want to appear on camera.

You can record “voice only” videos and post those. Or do a podcast. Or have your presentations transcribed and post the text on a blog. Or do webinars. Or do in-person seminars. Or speak at business luncheons. Or do CLE.

And. . .

Since time is money, money is also time. Which means there’s another question you might ask: “Where do I find the money for marketing?”

Of course you don’t “find” money any more than you find time. You have money. Decide to invest some of it to build your practice.

If that’s important to you.

Finally, if you can’t find anything you enjoy and don’t want to write checks, you have two more options:

You can get a partner who’s good at marketing. You do what you’re good at; they bring in the clients. (I have a friend who did this and their practice is thriving).

Or you can get a job that doesn’t require any marketing. But then you’d need to market yourself to get it.


How to avoid feeling unprofessional


Does marketing ever make you feel less than professional? Do you ever tone down your message or convey it less often because you don’t want to appear pushy or needy?

Why don’t you stop?

Stop writing articles and doing presentations. Stop blogging, networking, and advertising. Stop sending your clients anything other than what’s related to their case.

Stop marketing. And see where that gets you.

Or. . .

Continue doing what you’re doing, but change your approach.

And by approach, I mean your attitude. How you feel about what you’re doing.

Because if you feel better about it, you’ll do it more easily and more often and reap the benefits thereof.

How do you do this?

You reframe your marketing to see it for what it really is: another way to help people.

Do you truly believe you can help people? Not just with your services, but with what you show them and tell them even before they hire you?

Do you believe that providing them with information about their situation and the solutions and options that are available to them can comfort them and give them direction? Help them make better decisions, minimize their damages and pain, avoid additional problems, and otherwise make their life better?

Good. Now think about what prospective clients are going through just before they contact you and hire you.

Have you ever had a problem and gone online to see what you can do to fix it, or to find someone who can help you?

When you found the information or the person, did you feel better about your problem?

Ah, so you do understand how your prospective clients feel. You know what they’ve been going through.

Okay, then. Instead of framing marketing as self-promotion and distasteful to the extreme, think about it from the prospective client’s point of view.


People want to hear from me about this; they’re hurting and looking for answers. They don’t know what to do or where to turn and I’m doing them a lot of good by sharing some of my knowledge and wisdom and helping to guide them from where they are to where they want (and need) to be.

And I feel good about that.

You’re not a burden, you’re a welcome guest in their inbox. Instead of holding back on what you might give them, give them more.

That’s reframing. That’s how you see your marketing as a way to help people.

Is it okay if that leads to more business for you?

Email Marketing for Attorneys


I don’t know if my marketing is working


You’re spending money and time engaging in marketing activities, but you don’t know which of those activities are working or to what extent. You’re thinking you’re spending too much on advertising or wasting time on ineffective strategies and you’re thinking about cashing in your chips and looking for a Plan B.

Before you do that, here are some things to think about.

If you’re spending serious money on advertising, you need to track keywords, clicks, leads, clients, and revenue. Software can do most of that for you and you shouldn’t advertise without it. If you don’t know how to interpret the tea leaves, hire someone who does.

You should also ask everyone who calls or comes to see you where they heard about you, which keywords they used to search, and/or who referred them, or you won’t know if what you’re doing is working, or how well.

You need to know if that $1000 ad is showing a profit. If it isn’t, change it or pull it. But before you decide, you need to consider your back end—the lifetime value of a new client.

If you’re good at getting repeat business and referrals, you can actually come out ahead on ads that break even or lose money.

If you’re not doing a lot of advertising, or decide to cut down or move away from that, focus on other marketing strategies that don’t require a lot of money: referrals, networking, blogging, interviews, presentations, and other forms of content marketing.

You have to include the cost of your time, and/or the time of the people you hire to do that or help you do that, but if you do it right, you should see a significant return on that investment.

If you’re still not clear on what’s working and what isn’t, you might stop relying exclusively on bottom line numbers like the number of new clients and the amount of revenue, and consider “leading edge” metrics like email and/or channel subscribers, video views, leads, and appointments.

Because if those numbers are growing, your practice is probably growing—or soon will be.

Yes, who is on your list is important. But all things being equal, if you’re seeing more people watching your videos or listening to your podcast, if your email list is bigger today than it was six months ago, if you’re taking more calls and talking to more prospective clients, you’re doing something right—and you should continue doing it.

But don’t stop looking for ways to do it better.

Quantum Leap Marketing System—when you’re ready to get big, fast


Why attorneys fail at marketing


Compared to everything else attorneys do, marketing is easy.

So why do so many attorneys mess it up?

It’s not because they lack smarts, charisma, or resources. It’s because they don’t do enough of it.

They write an article or two and then nothing for months. They meet a few people but never follow up. They get invited to do a presentation or interview, but don’t seek feedback (or listen to it) and don’t get invited back.

So they get disappointing results and conclude that “it” doesn’t work.

End of story.

The secret to success in marketing legal services is that there is no secret. As with any skill, you have to keep at it. Do it over and over again until you get good enough to see some meaningful results.

Your first effort might be crap. Do it again and you’ll get better. Keep doing it and eventually, you’ll get pretty good.

Simple. So why don’t they do it?

They might tell you it’s because they don’t have the time, but we all know that’s not true. I ask them, “If you knew for certain that you could triple your income in the next 12 months, would you find the time?“

They might tell you “it” won’t work for their practice area or market, or it might have worked in the past, but it doesn’t work anymore—but that’s not true, either.

If they’re honest, they’ll admit that they don’t keep at it because they don’t want to. They don’t like it, shouldn’t have to do it, feel it is beneath them.

But that’s their ego talking. They should tell their ego to shut up.

The attorneys who get good results from marketing don’t let their ego get in their way. They aren’t smarter, more skillful, or harder working than other attorneys.

They just kept at it.

End of story.

Marketing legal services made simple


A little pain goes a long way


People buy legal services to solve a problem. The bigger the problem (or potential problem they’re trying to prevent), the more motivated they are to do something about it.

They’re in pain and want relief. It’s your job to remind them about that.

In your presentations, articles, posts, videos, reports, and other marketing documents, the best thing you can do for your reader and prospective client is to remind them that they are in pain, or will be if they don’t take action, and tell them why their pain is unlikely to go away by itself.

Tell them what their problem is costing them—or will cost if they do nothing.

Tell them about ancillary problems this might cause and what those might cost.

Tell them about how bad things can get if they ignore the problem or wait too long to do anything about it.

And then present the solution you offer and tell them how to get it.

But don’t just “mention” their pain, dramatize it. Make sure they feel it in their gut. Get them to imagine the worst-case scenario and feel the urgency of their situation.

But (and this is important) don’t overdo it.

You don’t want to come off as an alarmist or make them think you’re trying too hard to get their business.

Easy on the drama queenery.

The other reason for not overdoing it is that you don’t want to scare them off.

If you frighten them too much, pile on the urgent talk, rail at them to do something immediately, they might put their head under the covers and do nothing.

Or run into the welcoming arms of another lawyer who sounds more sympathetic and hopeful.

State the problem. Agitate the problem and the pain it is causing or could cause. Present the solution. And close by talking about the benefits of that solution.

Always offer hope.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to do all of the above is to tell them about one or more of your other clients who were in the same situation before they came to you—and how they’re doing now.

A little pain goes a long way, but only if you also offer hope.

The Attorney Marketing Formula


Tell less to sell more


When a prospective client goes online to look for a lawyer, they’re usually looking for help with a single legal matter. One case, one problem, one issue.

Even if they have several issues, one issue is usually the most pressing and they search for a lawyer or firm who can help them with that problem.

They might be interested in hearing about your other services and solutions at some point, but right now, they want to know how you can help get out of jail, get a divorce, incorporate their business, collect a debt, plan their estate, or protect their intellectual property.

So, tell them about that.

Too often, lawyers don’t. They want prospective clients to know about everything they do, no doubt thinking this will impress them, or that the more services and solutions they show people, the more likely it is they will get hired (for something).

But that’s not the way clients search. Or ask for a referral.

Am I saying you should market each service separately? I am.

Because when you don’t, your message gets muddled, prospects get confused, and often continue their search for someone who is talking about solutions to their specific problem.

Marketing each of your services separately fosters clarity, builds trust, and allows you to appeal to the prospect’s emotions. You can talk about things your prospective clients are thinking about and experiencing, and use examples and success stories that show them how you have helped others with the same problem.

It also helps you appear to specialize, even if you don’t, and clients prefer lawyers who specialize.

You can also market all of your firm’s capabilities and offerings with another website and other marketing materials. But don’t make that your first or primary showing.

Show them what you can do to help them solve their problem, alleviate their pain, or get what they want and need right now.

Show them “what else” you do after they’ve hired you or are close to doing that.

More: The Attorney Marketing Formula