How to instantly connect with anyone

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I was speaking to a senior adjuster for the first time, taking a moment to get to know him before we talked about the case. He happened to mention the name of a defense attorney who had handled some of his big cases. “I knew Mike,” I said, and we started swapping stories about him.

Before we knew it, forty minutes had gone by.

Granted, we were getting along fine before that, but having something in common helped us connect on a deeper level. I’m sure it also helped me settle the case.

Whenever you speak to someone new, one of the best ways to “make a new friend” is to find something you have in common.

Ask questions and get them to tell you their story. Find out who they know, where they went to school, or what they do for fun.

When you find you have something in common, it changes the dynamics of the conversation and you can bond over that commonality.

You were a stranger a moment ago; suddenly, you’re friends.

Many people bond over sports. “Did you see the game last night?” is a great conversation starter for many people. Others bond over their shared experiences of raising kids.

Listen for clues. If the other person has an accent you recognize, you might ask where they’re from. If they talk about the mess their dog left for them last night, you might ask them the breed.

Anything can help you instantly connect with someone, and start you down the path to a new relationship. It might even help you settle your case.

Marketing is easy when you know The Formula

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How to use email to build your practice

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I had a new desk pad delivered yesterday. Today, I got an email from IKEA asking for feedback about my purchase. The kind of emails we’re all used to getting.

The kind of emails we should all be sending.

Do you send your clients a “how did we do” email at the end of the case? You should. Their feedback will help you improve what you do, but even if they don’t respond, your email shows your clients that you care about doing a good job for them, you’re organized, and you don’t want the case or matter to be the end of the “conversation”.

Here are a few more ways to use email to build your practice:

  • Thank someone. Look for opportunities to say thank you to the people you know and meet. Send them to clients for choosing you, being easy to work with, for their patience, for their referral or for telling someone about you.

    Send them to prospects who considered you, the adjuster or lawyer who was pleasant to work with, to the blogger or podcaster who interviewed you or mentioned you on social.

    Saying thank you shows people you noticed them and appreciate what they did. It makes them want to continue to know you and work with you.
  • Send news or information. Share articles and links with people in your network, even if they’re not subscribed to your newsletter. Share case updates with clients, in addition to your regular reports, telling them something you did for them or you’re about to do, and say something positive about their case or situation.
  • Praise someone. When you read an article or book you liked, write to the author and tell them so. When you hear about someone in your niche or local market who got an award or another accomplishment, send a note and tell them “good job”. When you hear about someone you’d like to know, write and tell them something you admire about them or their work.
  • Say hello. Write to a former client, an old friend, a former co-worker, or someone you haven’t seen or spoken to in a long time. Say hello, you were thinking about them, and ask how they’re doing.

Emails like these can lead to phone calls, which can lead to new clients, repeat business, referrals, and friendships.

Get in the habit of sending emails like this each week and watch your practice grow.

For more on email and newsletter marketing, get my email marketing course

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Networking up

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Most networking is a slow grind. Often, it’s a complete waste of time. No wonder many lawyers avoid it.

And yet, for some, networking is a remarkable tool for generating new business, new connections, and new opportunities.

The problem is that many would-be networkers target the wrong people or groups, people who are unlikely to need their services and are able to pay for them. They may also network with people who aren’t able (or willing) to refer the kinds of clients they want to attract.

I refer to this as “networking down”.

Many lawyers network “laterally”. They’re objective is to meet “anyone who might need their services” and/or professionals and business people who can refer them.

They attend general networking groups such as chamber of commerce mixers, and meet people who are looking for business but don’t have a lot to offer in return because they aren’t in their target niche.

Lawyers who achieve excellent results network “up”–with their ideal clients, decision makers, and professionals and advisors in their niche.

Not a cross-section of people who might need a lawyer or know someone who might, but a tight-knit group of top people in a niche.

An estate planner who gets a lot of clients through networking first defines the niche they want to target–medical professionals and their advisors, for example–and then research that niche.

They learn what the people in that niche want and need, what they know, and who they know. They learn the names of the influential people in the niche, where they speak or write, and where they congregate.

They create content tailored to the niche, using examples, success stories, information and ideas specific to the niche. This content shows the leaders in the niche that they understand them, have experience with them, and are dedicated to serving them.

They offer to speak to their groups and write for their publications. They find ways to get invited to their meetings, or network outside of the meetings by building relationships with members of those groups.

If they are allowed to join a group and attend meetings, they volunteer for committees, introduce themselves to the people who run them, and promote the businesses or practices or causes of the key people they meet.

They help these key people, or their clients or customers, and earn their favor. They network with no more than a handful of small groups and avoid wasting time with groups that aren’t a good match.

They focus on quality, not quantity, and giving before expecting to receive, and that’s how they get superior results.

How to choose your niche market and ideal client

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How to write an effective follow-up email

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“Follow-up to our call,” is not the most effective subject line in a follow-up email to someone you just met or spoke to. You want them to open the email immediately, if not sooner as my grandfather used to say.

The subject line should make them curious and/or promise a benefit, or otherwise get their attention.

Depending on the circumstances, you might use something akin to one of these:

  • “You asked for a copy of my xyz report–here it is”
  • “This [form, app, site, idea, etc.] has saved my bacon more times than I can count”
  • “I won’t be able to sleep tonight unless you do this”
  • “I was surprised when you told me this. . .”

Use humor if appropriate. And funny. (If you’re not sure, talk to my wife.)

For the body of the email, reference your conversation, thank them, and be yourself. Not your lawyer self if you can help it, your real person self.

More.

  • Keep it simple–one thought or question.
  • Keep it brief. The longer the email, the less likely they’ll be to read it.
  • Lots of white space. Short paragraphs and sentences, bullet points, and a smattering of bold and ALL CAPS, so they can skim or read it quickly.
  • Informal. You know them, now, so write like a friend or colleague.
  • Tell them what you want them to do. Ask for the sale, invite them to take the next step. Or tell them what you’re going to do next.
  • Consider using a P.S., to remind them what to do or to add something personal, eg., “Say hello to Jack from me,” or to say thank you (again).

Save your best messages as templates. Make sure to change the name of the recipient before you hit send, however. [Smiley-face goes here.]

How to market your practice with email

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Who’s on your “hot list”?

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You have contacts you want to stay in touch with. Clients, former clients, referral sources, prospective clients, centers of influence in your niche, and so on.

When you first met them or connected with them, you may have scheduled follow-up dates and stayed in touch. But you got busy, you forgot about them, or you ran out of things to talk about.

What can you do?

First, create a “hot list” of no more than 30 people you want to focus on right now–your “Focus 30” list.

Schedule time each week to look at this list. Choose one or two people and contact them.

Call, write, message them. Ask about their business, their family, their health, their latest project or their next one.

Keep notes about them and your conversations and emails. Keep a list of their websites and social platforms so you can see what they’re up to.

Keep another list of generic ideas or conversation starters, questions you can ask anyone on your list, things you can offer, things you can tell them about or invite them to.

NB: When you regularly create new content you always have something new to tell people about or offer.

Keep your list up to date. Remove people who aren’t responsive and add new ones when you find them.

Give your personal attention to your “Focus 30” and stay in touch with everyone else via your newsletter.

Here’s how to do that

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This marketing strategy may be the only one you ever need

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If you like referrals, if you like working smarter not harder, if you don’t want to spend a lot of time or money on marketing, if you want to build your practice organically and know you will never run out of clients. . .

I have some advice for you.

You can start doing this immediately. You can take tiny steps or go whole hog. You can do it in addition to everything else you do to bring in clients, or you can replace everything else with this one, simple strategy.

This:

Get to know everyone your clients and contacts know.

If you handle consumer matters, get to know your clients’ friends and neighbors and the owners and employees of the businesses they patronize.

If you have business clients (even if you don’t practice business law), get to know their customers or clients, vendors or suppliers, colleagues and competitors.

Instead of building your practice linearly, one new client or new contact at a time, build it geometrically–10, 50, 100 at at time.

Because each new client or contact is the gateway to hundreds more.

Because everyone knows other people who might need your services at some point, or know someone they can refer.

The average person knows 250 people. If you have 250 people on your current list of clients and contacts, your list can potentially reach 62,500 people.

Think about the leverage this gives you. People who know, like and trust you recommending you to people in their warm market.

When you meet someone new, don’t just look at them, look “through” them, at the people they know, because there are a lot of them.

How do you implement this? There are many things you can do.

Here’s a great place to start.

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If your net isn’t working

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Many lawyers find networking to be a waste of time. Ditto for networking online, aka Social Media. 

Some have been at it for a long time with little to show for it. They may have collected 1000 business cards from events they’ve attended, or have thousands of connections on LinkedIn (et. al.), but, their phone isn’t ringing. 

That’s because it’s not quantity that’s paramount, it’s quality. 

A handful of high-quality connections can eventually lead to a steady stream of new business for you. 

What is a high-quality connection? 

Someone who has influence in your target market. They know people who might need your services (or have clients or customers who do) and will listen to them when they recommend you.  

In other words, they have the ability to send you referrals or introduce you to business and professional contacts who can do that.  

That’s the easy part. There are plenty of people who meet that definition. 

The hard part is finding people who are willing to send you those referrals or make those introductions.

That’s a daunting task when you’re trying to sort through a thousand contacts. 

That’s why the best networkers don’t show up at events seeking to meet everyone they can. They don’t follow anyone they find on socials, hoping they will follow them back. 

Instead, they have found that the best way to meet and connect with the right people is to deliberately target them. 

Make a list of 25-50 of the most influential people in your target market. Contact them, introduce yourself, and find out what you can do to help them. 

Because helping them is the best way to get them to help you. 

Here’s how to find and approach influential people in your target market

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How to get free publicity–even if you don’t play the flute

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Legendary rock group, Jethro Tull, is lending it’s name to a new hand sanitizer. We’re told it’s reasonably priced, at a time when there’s a lot of price gouging, and all proceeds go to charity.

Nice.

I’m not sure if Ian Anderson stands on one leg to promote this but the radio spots I’ve heard do feature a lick or two of him wailing on flute.

Anyway, can you do something like this? Promote a product, service, or cause with a charitable tie in? Even if you’re not legendary?

Why not?

It’s good to do good, and you’ll look good while you’re doing it.

When your clients and prospects hear what you’re doing, they’ll likely see you in a favorable light, and tell others about what you’re doing. The cause (and you) get more exposure, more traffic to your website, and more good will.

As you get publicity, your name will get mentioned, meaning you get publicity, too.

More:

  • The charity may mention you in their newsletter and on their website. They may thank you publicly, too.
  • You can issue press releases and otherwise contact media outlets, which may mention your cause and book you for interviews.
  • You can use contact influential people in your target market, tell them what you’re doing, and ask them to join you by promoting the cause or offer to their list. In addition to helping the cause, this could lead you to marketing alliances, referrals, and introductions to others in the niche.
  • You (may be able to–check with the Bar) advertise the cause or promotion and get your name mentioned as a sponsor, without directly advertising your services

Sound like a plan?

Find a charity or cause you’d like to promote. If there is something about it that’s in the news, like the need for hand sanitizer, even better.

Talk to the company that makes the product or performs the service, and ask them what you can do to help them get the word out. See if they’ll provide you with a special offer to sweeten the deal.

And then promote it.

Let me know what you’re doing. I might mention it in a future post. If I really like it, I might bend over backwards to do it. Just don’t expect me to stand on one leg.

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

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Networking from home

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Meeting new people is easy, even from home. With a simple email, you can approach people you don’t know and begin a relationship that can lead to referrals, marketing alliances, traffic to your site, sign-ups for your list, and more.

What do you write in this email?

Tell them how you found them. Say something nice about their website or blog, article, or video, or about their story. Tell them something you have in common.

Then, ask to interview them for your podcast or video channel.

Or, invite them to write a guest post for your blog or newsletter.

Or, ask them if you can reprint their article or post, with attribution.

Or, go “old school” and ask them to tell you more about what they do. You can add that you want to see if there’s a way the two of you can work together for your mutual benefit.

Don’t say that much about your practice. Focus on them and what they do.

The goal of this email is to get a response, not to make an impression. If you don’t get a response, or they don’t seem terribly interested, move on. There are plenty of fish (lawyers, business owners, other professionals, etc.) in the sea.

When you do get a response, continue to exchange emails, invite them to a phone call or video call, and get to know more about them. Look for ways you can help them and ways they can help you or your clients.

Stay in touch and get to know them better. Just like you would if you met them in person.

If you want to learn more about how to find, approach, and network with other professionals, without leaving your home or office, my course shows you everything you need to know.

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How to get people to remember you

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You have an impressive background. You’re proud of what you’ve accomplished and when you meet people, you want them to hear all about it.

You want them to know about your practice areas. You want them to know about your big-name clients and major verdicts. You want them to hear about the benefits you offer and the reasons they should hire you or refer to you.

The problem is, they don’t care about you and if you give them a laundry list of your bona fides, they’ll remember none of them.

A better strategy is to choose one thing you want people to know and remember.

Just one.

Lead with that and leave them with that. Because it doesn’t matter what you tell people, what matters is what they remember.

Take some time to think about the one thing you want people to remember. One practice area or one story that illustrates what you do or one interesting or humorous nugget of information about yourself.

When you meet someone new, tell them the one thing you want them to remember. If they want to know more, they’ll ask.

Of course, you should do most of the asking. Find out what they do, what they need or want, how you can help them or the people they know.

Give them your card, so they can visit your website if they want to know more. Which they may do if they remember you.

In case they don’t, make sure you get their card so you can stay in touch with them.

Learn more:

How to Sell Your Legal Services in 15 Seconds or Less

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