Frustrated, overwhelmed and disillusioned

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Somethings wrong. You’re working hard but spinning your wheels. You’re stressed out and you don’t know what you’re doing wrong.

Am I incompetent? An imposter? A fool?

Maybe. But probably not. That’s probably your frustration, overwhelm, and disillusionment talking.

More likely, you’re simply trying to do too much.

I’ve been there. Early in my practice. Ready to pull my hair out because I was working hard but not making any money.

I hadn’t heard about The Pareto Principle–the 80/20 rule–and the power of doing less to accomplish more.

But something told me I had to start taking things off my plate, and I did.

I eliminated or delegated things that weren’t working (or that I hated), no matter how “promising” they seemed or how much I wanted them to work, and freed up time and mental energy to do the few things that were actually working.

The “20% activities that produce 80% of your results”.

What happened? Besides being scared to death that I was cutting out too much and doing too little, my income went up.

Because I was focusing on (and getting good at) a few things, instead of trying to do “everything”.

I was earning more and working less.

One of the things I focused on was marketing. Ah, but not all kinds of marketing. I focused on a few strategies. One of these was learning how to bring in more referrals.

You can learn how to do that, here

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Have you taken your vitamin today?

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Back in the days when vitamins were first making their way into our collective consciousness, companies that made “multiple vitamins” would promote the simplicity and ease of taking “one a day”.

You don’t have to figure out which pills or what dosage to take, just take our “one a day” pill.

In fact, some companies still do this. They know that the easier it is for customers to do, the more customers will do it.

And that makes sense.

Of course, I see a parallel between taking vitamins and marketing legal services.

If I make it easier for you, you’ll be more likely to do it.

Yes or yes?

So, here’s your “one a day” marketing vitamin:

Once a day, connect with one person.

You could call a former client, to say hello, or send him an article you thought might interest him.

You could follow-up with a prospective client, to see if they have any additional questions.

You could call a professional contact, to schedule coffee, compliment their new article, or see what they’re up to.

One a day.

It doesn’t sound like much but for many attorneys, it’s more than they do now.

The key is to make a habit. Take your vitamin every day.

A simple but effective way to improve the health of your practice.

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Boom, baby, boom

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I’m talking about Baby Boomers. Tens of millions of people who might need your legal services and probably have the money to pay for them.

How about that as a target market?

Yes, even if you don’t do estate planning or elder law or anything typically associated with older folk.

Because older folk get divorced. File bk. Get arrested. Start businesses. File patents. Sue and get sued. And God knows they get injured.

But here’s the thing: even if they don’t, they have family and friends who do.

You accept referrals, don’t you?

Boomers are also sought after by other professionals (financial planners, retirement planners, investment advisors, et. al.). When you target Boomers, you will have something in common with those professionals, which means you can network with them and tap into their other clients.

Put this on your to-do list: talk to Mom and Dad about their generation (or, look in the mirror and talk to yourself about your generation) and start paying attention to this market. 

Tens of millions of potential clients are waiting for you. (You do offer a senior discount, right?)

Need help choosing your target market? Here it is

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Are you the one?

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How do you get clients to see you as their one and only?

The one they always turn to when they need help?

The one who’s content they regularly consume and regularly share. The one they provide with positive reviews and testimonials. The one they talk about to everyone they know. 

By doing good work? Providing great “customer service”? Delivering more value than they expect?

Yes, you need to do these things. But doing them isn’t enough.

Maybe for some, but not for others.

No, if you want to get a preponderance of your clients to see you as “the one” and become life-long clients and fans, you need to do something else.

You need to show them that they are “the one” for you.

In every way you can, show them that you are dedicated to your client and others like him. Show him that you focus on attracting and working with clients like him and you are committed to that cause.

In other words, once you have identified a profile of your “ideal client,” let your clients who fit that profile know it.

“You’re the type of client I like to work with. You’re the type of client I’m dedicated to serving. Here’s why.”

And then, with everything you do, show your ideal clients why they are “the one” for you.

This shows you how to identify your ideal client

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Too much business, not enough revenue

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A lawyer tells me, “I have too much business and not enough revenue. I feel that I am working myself to death.”

Ah, yes. Overworked and underpaid. I haven’t talked to every lawyer in the world, so I can’t be sure, but I suspect this is a common problem. 

He continued:

“Everything I take on seems to expand in complexity and it is hard to get the work done. I have hired assistants in the past but they don’t seem to work out very well.”

Okay, class. What would you suggest to this fellow traveler?

Mike?

“He needs to keep hiring assistants until he finds someone who works out.”

Yes!

I know finding and training people can be a frustrating experience, but it’s not impossible. You have to keep looking.

Use an agency to screen people. Be willing to pay more to get top talent. Hire temps until you do.

You can’t do all the work yourself or you will always be overworked and underpaid.

However, before our friend does this, he needs to do something else. Anyone?

Mary: “He needs to increase his fees.”

Bingo! Gold star, Mary. We’ve got some very smart people in this class.

Increasing his fees will simultaneously increase his revenue and decrease his workload. That’s what they call a twofer. 

Unless. . . well, sometimes, when you charge more you get more work, not less. You get better clients who are willing to pay more and they give you lots of work.

How about we put that aside for now. Any other ideas?

Jerry?

“What kind of practice does he have? If he doesn’t specialize, he should. It will simplify his work and attract better-paying clients because clients prefer specialists.”

That’s right. Good advice.

Well, I see our time is up for today. Excellent ideas for our friend. I’ll pass them along.

Okay, no homework tonight, guys. See you tomorrow.

How to earn more without working more

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No ideas? No problem

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You want more business but you’re fresh out of ideas. You don’t know what to do. 

Don’t worry. The fact is, you don’t need any ideas.

Nothing original, anyway. Find something that’s working for someone else and copy it.

Ideas are free. And (usually) non-proprietary. Find a lawyer who is bringing in business and do what they’re doing.

Your best bet? Your direct competition. They’ve proven that what they’re doing is working for their (your) practice area and your market.

Second best, a lawyer in a similar practice area or market.

Original ideas are rare. And unnecessary. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel.

Find something someone else is doing that aligns with what you’re doing, or want to do, and feels like a good fit. Something that fits your personality, budget, and work style.

Don’t try to improve the idea, however. You might mess it up. Copy it exactly. Later, when it’s working for you, too, you can tinker with it and make it better.

Right now, go talk to some lawyers. Observe them. Study them. Read their blogs, their ads, their websites.

You don’t need ideas. Use theirs.

Just in case, here are some great ideas

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Give it away, give it away, give it away, now

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Some lawyers are concerned that if they give away too much information–through a blog or newsletter or other means–the people who consume that information won’t need to hire them.

“I’m paid for my knowledge and experience and I’m not going to give that away,” they say. “If they want information, they need to hire me.”

But here’s the thing.

It’s true that some people will take your information and never hire you. They’ll use that information and do the job themselves. But that’s a very small percentage of the whole and those people are unlikely to ever hire you anyway so you lose nothing.

Some people will do the job themselves, mess up–because they can’t do what you do even if you tell them how to do it, and hire you to fix their mess. You’ll get more business this way, not less.

And some people will see that it would be too difficult or time-consuming or risky to do the job themselves and hire you. They might not have done that had they not seen your information.

In other words, giving away information helps you get more clients because:

It educates prospective clients about the scope of their problem, the risks of ignoring it or trying to handle it themselves,

It demonstrates your knowledge, experience, and ability to help them solve their problem,

It distinguishes you from other lawyers who say, “If you want information, hire me,”

It attracts people who find your information through search or sharing, thus increasing the pool of prospective clients for your services, and

It sells them on choosing you because they get to hear your “voice” in that information and see what it would be like to have you represent them.

If you’re smart, and I know you are, you’ll give away lots of information, and let that information do most of your marketing for you.

What information you should put on your website

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This post may not be for you

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You don’t want everyone reading your newsletter, coming to your presentations, or watching your videos. You don’t want the complainers, the lookie-loos, or the ones who don’t “get” you.

You want the ones who like what they see and want more of it. Everyone else is expendable and you might as well eliminate them up front.

The other night I was watching a “reaction” video of a woman watching a singer I like and offering her comments. As the video begins, this message appears:

“If you dislike edited reactions and pausing this is not a channel for you :)”

Judging by comments I’ve seen on other “reaction” videos, some viewers prefer the singer’s video to be played all the way through, with the comments to follow. No pausing. It looks like this youtuber got complaints from viewers who don’t like the way she does it, so she tells you up front what to expect.

She’s a bit brusque. I think English is a second language. But she’s got the right idea.

No doubt, she loses some viewers. But the ones who stay know what to expect.

When I tell people up front that I email every weekday, I’m sure some don’t sign up. That’s okay. The ones who do sign up don’t complain about my emailing too often.

What could you do to “sort out” subscribers and followers and clients in advance? How could you tell them that your content or practice might not be a good fit for them?

Being up front like this can not only eliminate some of the wrong people, it is an effective way to appeal to more of the right ones.

Telling people you might not be what they’re looking for gives you posture. You’re not like other attorneys who offer everything to everybody, you know who you want to work with and who you don’t.

And that’s very attractive.

Tell your clients how to identify a good referral and you’ll get more of them

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Ask your clients this ‘million-dollar’ question

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Years ago, New York Mayor Ed Koch used to walk up to people on the street and ask, “How am I doing?”

Really.

He learned what his constituents thought about the job he was doing and was able to use some of that feedback to make improvements.

He also scored points for being open to feedback, something most politicians usually run from.

Anyway, you can do something similar in your practice, but instead of asking your clients, “How am I doing?” ask them this question:

“On a scale of zero to ten, what is the likelihood you would recommend us to a friend or colleague?”

You could ask this at the end of the case, before they leave your office. You could email a survey question. Or you could have someone call them on your behalf.

However you do it, follow up (by phone or email) and ask,  “Why did you give us that score?”

You’ll get some interesting feedback, I’m sure. You’ll also plant a seed in your client’s mind about recommending you. If they give you a high score, i.e., a high likelihood that they will recommend you, they will be psychologically more likely to do that.

Nice.

A simple, one-question survey (plus follow-up question) is easy to implement and could bring you a lot more business.

You could instead ask, “On a scale of zero to ten, how would you rate the quality of our legal services?” Or, “The next time you have a legal issue, on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest, what is the likelihood that you would choose us as your attorney?”

So tell me, on a scale of one to ten, how would you rate the quality of this post?

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula.

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What else can I get you today?

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One of the simplest ways to increase your revenue is to make sure your clients know about other services offered by you or your firm, aka “cross-selling”.

(What’s that? You don’t offer other services? Have a seat. I’ll get back to you in a minute.)

Cross-selling is good for the client who needs additional services and might not know you offer them, and it’s obviously good for you.

Cross-selling can add decimal points to your bottom line, even if only a small percentage of clients “buy” your other services.

Don’t let the “selling” throw you. Just let your clients (and prospects) know “what else” you do. 

On your website, you can highlight links to pages that describe the other services. You can talk about the services in your newsletter. You can mention other services to the client at the end of the case or engagement.

No pressure. Here’s something else we do, would you like to get some information?

Now, if you only offer one service or group of closely-related services, if you don’t have any other practice areas, if you don’t work in a firm, you’re not out of luck.

Find other lawyers you trust and are willing to recommend and cross-sell their services to your clients and prospects.

If they offer (and you can accept) referral fees, great. If not, see if they are willing to cross-sell your services to their clients.

Make sense? Dollars, too.

More ways to work with other lawyers

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