Maybe you need a new box

“Think different,” Apple used to say in their ads. Today, everybody tells you to “think outside the box”.

Maybe you’ve tried that. You’ve tried coming up with different ways to promote your services but you’ve run out of ideas.

Maybe you need a new box.

Instead of promoting yourself or your services, aka your box, how about promoting something else. Something you don’t promote now. Something that’s not you.

Like a book.

Write and promote a book and let the book promote your services.

With your book in hand, you can do things you may never have considered regarding your services.

Like cold calling someone to tell them about your new book and offering to send them a review copy.

Like advertising your book, maybe even at a discount (egads!)

Like setting up a table at a trade show and selling your book.

Like conducting a contest and giving away copies and cash prizes.

And other things you wouldn’t be caught dead doing as a lawyer.

As an author, you can do these things (or hire someone to do them), because these things are normal in the world of books.

It’s a different box.

So, when people hear about your book, they want to hear more about you.

Bloggers hear about your book and want to interview you.

Event planners hear that you’re an author and want you to speak at their event.

Your book gets reviewed or mentioned and people visit your website to learn more.

People read your book and want to talk to you about their case or issue.

So, there’s your new box. Write a book (it’s a lot easier than you think) and self-publish it (also easier than you think), and start promoting that sucker.

If you want some help, let me know.

Calculation fatigue

That’s the title of an article in this month’s Chess Life magazine. The sub-title is, “The dangers of delving too deeply into one particular variation”.

The article is an examination of a botched game by a strong player, a game that might have been awarded a brilliancy prize but for the player’s errors occasioned by following one idea too far and losing the central theme of the game.

What does this have to do with practicing law? Everything.

Because lawyers (and other very smart people) often do what this Grandmaster did. They focus too much on the details, the minutia of a case or an issue, and sometimes lose a won game.

I’ve done it. I’m sure you can think of times when you’ve done it, getting lost in researching an issue to the nth degree, perhaps, making a big deal about a small point.

You see it during oral argument when the judge or jurors eyes glaze over and you know they’re didn’t follow your last point, or no longer care.

You see it in marketing. You get bogged down in choosing better keywords or creating better funnels, months go by and thousands of dollars have been spent and you find you could have gotten better results with something simpler.

You see it in a lot of websites. A would-be client visits, hoping to learn something about his problem and what you can do to help him and is confronted by a library of information. There’s too much to read, he doesn’t know where to start, so he leaves.

(NB: keep the library but hide it and link to it for those who want more information.)

We see it in presentations where we try to make too many points and leave no stone unturned and we simply confuse the audience (and a confused mind says no).

What should we do? We should periodically stand down from business as usual, put aside all the small stuff and focus on the big picture.

The strategy, not the technique. The main argument, not the “Hail Mary” we throw in just in case.

You started practicing with a few simple ideas and you did okay. If you’ve found yourself getting off track lately, a return to fundamentals might be just what you need to reset and revitalize your practice.

It might even earn you the brilliancy prize.

The Attorney Marketing Formula can help you get back on track

Here’s your plan

What if there was a law firm that provided top-notch, added-value legal services instead of the “me-too” services most lawyers offer?

What if there was a law firm that understood what their target market and prospective clients wanted–not just their legal needs but also ways to improve their business or personal life–and worked diligently to provide this?

What if there was a law firm that dedicated time each week to improving their workflow, systems, tools, and other processes?

What if there was a law firm that had highly effective marketing strategies in place that consistently brought them traffic, leads, subscribers, and new clients?

What if there as a law firm that worked hard at making every client feel appreciated so their clients never left them and went out of their way to send them referrals?

Now, what if a law firm like that moved into your area and targeted your clients and future clients?

Don’t let this happen to you.

Don’t wait for other lawyers or firms to pose a threat to your livelihood.

Do something now, to make sure YOU are the one to beat.

Commit (or re-commit) to creating and continually improving superlative marketing and management systems.

And get busy.

Because you never know how many other lawyers or firms are doing this right now. Or reading this right now and are about to get started.

This will help you create a simple but effective marketing plan

What to do when business is slow

It happens. You’re not bringing new clients at the same pace as before. You may have lost some clients. Your income is down.

Don’t panic.

Or maybe you should panic if you’re in denial about what’s happening.

Either way, there’s something you can do to turn things around.

Here is a 3-step plan to help you sort things out:

STEP ONE: ASSESS

Take half a day, or several days, to stand down from your daily routine and figure out where you are, how you got there, and what you can do about it.

Start by looking at your numbers. What’s different from before (when things were good)? Where have you lost ground? What’s stopped working?

Look at last year at this time. Do you see any pattern? Is this a seasonal fluctuation that’s gotten worse?

Look at your competition. Are things slow for them, too? If not, what are they doing differently?

What’s still working for you? Where does most of your new business come from? Which sources, which strategies, which markets, which types of cases or clients?

Look at your marketing. What worked before that you’ve stopped doing? What worked before that you’ve changed? Where are you spending less time? Less money?

Look at your target markets. What’s happening to your client’s businesses or industries or niches that might be affecting their need for legal services?

Look at your referral sources. Has their business slowed, too?

Talk to your colleagues. What are they doing that’s working well?

Talk to your employees. What do they see that you might be missing?

STEP TWO: PLAN

Brainstorm your options. Things you can do to get more traffic to your website, more sign-ups for your newsletter, more prospects calling to make an appointment?

What can you do to get more people to take the next step?

What can you do to get more referrals from your current and former clients?

What can you do to get more referrals from your professional contacts?

Where can you meet new referral sources? New prospective clients?

What marketing methods can you start doing again? What new marketing methods can you start doing?

What relationships can you/should you strengthen?

How can you improve your marketing message? Your website? Your lead magnet? Your offers?

What skills do you need to improve? Acquire? What tools do you need to acquire or upgrade?

After you’ve exhausted the possibilities, write a one-page plan. Choose no more than three strategies (for now). Decide on the best one and focus on that first.

STEP THREE: EXECUTE

Get your team on board with your plan and get busy.

Do the things that only you can do and delegate everything else.

Track your results so you can do more of what’s working.

Get help. Get a workout partner. Join a mentoring group. Hire a company or consultant to advise you. Hire a coach.

Keep a journal throughout this process to record what you’re doing and what you will do to prevent future slowdowns.

If you want help, let me know

Start by asking a different question

How do I get more traffic to my website? More social media followers? More butts in seats at my events? More subscribers to my newsletter? More people booking an appointment?

Those are all good questions. Questions you may want to ask and answer at some point. But asking them first might not get you what you really want. 

Getting more clients is one thing but maybe what you really want are better clients (i.e., with more work, able to pay higher fees, etc.), or bigger cases. Maybe what you really want is a way to increase your income.

Start by asking how you can get those things. It might lead you in a very different direction.

Asking “How can I increase my income?”, for example, might lead you to do things you previously hadn’t considered. 

You may realize that you can increase your income by moving your office to a better location (or opening a second one) or hiring more staff. You may decide to set up a new website, start advertising, or write a book.

Asking “How can I get better clients?” might compel you to find a different target market, network with professionals and influential people in that market, or create a different presentation for the decision makers in that market.

Start with the big picture. The end result. The outcome you really want. Ask yourself how to get that.

You may not need more clients. You may need fewer clients who can write bigger checks. You might not need more traffic to your website. You might need a new website. 

Ask a different question and allow yourself to discover how to get what you really want. 

This will help you figure out what you really want

Taking inventory

Today is a holiday for a lot of people. If it’s a slow day for you, you might want to spend some time taking inventory of what’s going on in your life.

Reflect on what you’ve worked on recently and how it turned out. Think about what you’re working on now and what you have to do to complete it. Look at the list of tasks and projects you plan to start soon and identify the ones that look most promising.

Look in the digital mirror and tell yourself what you see.

Are you taking massive action to achieve important goals or are you just trying to get through the day?

Yes, you have to draft the documents, make the calls, see the people, and settle the cases. That’s what keeps the wheels turning and the people fed. But if that’s all you do, if you never think beyond what’s on your calendar for today, you make it more difficult to realize your potential.

Jim Rohn said, “A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.”

Is that you?

We get paid in proportion to the size and complexity of the problems we solve and the assets we create. If you handle small problems all day, you earn small fees.

If you want to build a multi-million dollar practice, you need to bring in clients with bigger problems.

As you take inventory, consider not only your current caseload or list of clients but the kinds of cases or clients you want attract. Who? How many? How big?

And then ask, What am I doing to attract them?

If you don’t like the answer, you have some work to do.

Start here

Building your law practice by design, not default

When you need a new computer and visit a retailer to see what’s available, the sales person (if they’re doing their job) will probably ask you a series of questions:

  1. What will you be doing with it?
  2. Are there any “must have” features?
  3. Anything that’s “good to have but not required?”
  4. What’s your budget?

Your answers will help eliminate from consideration computers that don’t have the power or features you want or need or that cost more than you want to spend. From the remaining options, you can zero in on the right choice.

It seems to me that these questions can also help you make the right decisions about managing and growing your practice.

What type of work do you do or want to do?

What practice areas, niches, target markets, and types of cases or clients?

Start with the big picture. Eliminate what you don’t want so you can focus on what you do want.

Must have features?

You might say, “I don’t want partners, I want a preponderance of my clients to come from referrals, I don’t want to do any paid advertising, and I want to commute no more than 40 minutes to my office.”

Good to have but not required?

You might say, “I would like to able to work from home two days per week, I don’t want any full-time employees, and I would prefer do little or no litigation.”

What’s your budget?

How much time and money are you willing to invest to manage and build your practice?

How much on overhead (dollars and/or percentage of gross)? How much on advertising (if any)? How much time on marketing each week?

There are no right or wrong answers, of course, but thinking these things through can help you zero in on what you need, what you want, and what you’re willing to do.

No high-pressure sales people required.

For a simple marketing plan that really works, go here

Your 30-Day Marketing Challenge


I keep hearing about 30-Day challenges. For writing, for creating new habits, for getting your home or office organized. Apparently, you challenge yourself to focus for 30 days on something new and efficacious and work your booty off to get it done.

So, how about a 30-day marketing challenge?

Choose an area of your practice you want to improve or grow. Something you can measure like new clients or new subscribers would be good. Then, pick a number: how many in what period of time?

Notice, it’s not “how many in 30 days”? You probably won’t see the bulk of your results until well after 30 days. 

With me? 

Next, what can you do to bring about that result?

I suggest you choose one or two strategies–no more than three–because you’ve got to keep things simple (or you won’t do them). 

Got it? 

Let’s say you want to bring in two new clients per month within 90 days and you’ve chosen networking to find new referral sources as your strategy to do that. 

You can do this in person, online, or both. You can find professionals by showing up at a group (again, in person or online), or by asking your current referral sources (and clients) to introduce you, or both. 

Your plan calls for you to introduce yourself, find out what they do and tell them what you do, and look for ways you can work together. 

That’s a good plan, by the way. Simple, do-able, and likely to produce results. 

Next, set up a schedule. Every day, for the next 30 days, what will you do? Block out 15 minutes or 30 minutes or 60 minutes a day on your calendar to do it. 

You can take this challenge on your own or with a workout or accountability partner. Find someone who wants to take the same challenge or a similar one and help each other. 

You can accomplish a lot with 30-days of sustained effort. All that remains is for you to do it. 

Here you go: Lawyer-to-lawyer referrals

Don’t make things harder than they need to be

The new year is here and you’ve got some heap big goals. This is the year you’re going to tackle that thing, reach the new level, or (finally) stick with your resolution. 

No more delays, no more excuses, no more failures. 

THIS. IS. IT. 

Okay, I hear you. But before you get started, I have a suggestion. 

Give yourself a break. 

Cut yourself some slack for what you haven’t done. Let go of the crushing pressure to perform. Relax, detach, and let things happen naturally, easily, the way things are supposed to happen. 

Because if you don’t, you might be setting yourself for more disappointment. 

Learn that new skill because you are drawn to it, not just because it’s on your list. Start exercising because you want to feel better, not because you’ve promised yourself you’ll lose a specific number of pounds by a specific date. 

You don’t need to work out everything in advance. You don’t need a better process or a new tool. You need to know what you want and why, and you need to know the first step. 

That’s enough planning. Let go of the rest and take that first step. 

Let your life flow. Let it be effortless. Don’t fret over the missteps, delays, or problems. Don’t think so much or worry so much. 

Just take the next step.

Next step, read this

Here’s your plan

With a little planning, next year could be your best year ever. 

Start by deciding what you want to improve or expand or what problems or bottlenecks you want to remove. These should be relatively high-level strategies that relate to your long-term goals. 

Things like

  • Entering a new market or niche
  • Developing a new skill or improving an existing skill
  • Offering a new service
  • Finding new referral sources/jv partners
  • Improving your billing and cash flow
  • Starting a newsletter, blog, or video channel
  • Cutting overhead
  • Trying (or increasing) PPC advertising
  • Hiring more employees/outsourcing
  • Streamlining your workflow

There are many more possibilities. 

Make a list and then choose no more than three to five strategies for the year. (If you get them done, you can go back for more).

The next step is to decide what “success” looks like for each strategy. 

What’s the desired outcome? How much/how many? When do you want this to occur? 

It might help to think about why you want this result. What will it help you do, have, or become? How will it materially improve your practice or life?

Write a short description of each desired outcome or goal. 

Once you chosen the what and why, it’s time to consider the how. How will you implement these strategies? How will you achieve these goals?

For each strategy or goal, write down specific action steps.  Make each step as simple as possible. Break up big tasks or projects into small, bite-sized pieces. 

Organize all of your action steps into logical order and add them to your task management system or calendar.

And there’s your plan. 

This will help you create a simple marketing plan