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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The future of your law practice

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It should be obvious that some practice areas will soon be “hotter” than others, if they’re not already. Divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, loan workouts, evictions, and other areas are likely to be in high demand.

What can you do with this information?

If you’re starting (or re-starting) a practice, it makes sense to practice in one of these areas. Get ready for the coming wave.

If you have a general practice right now, get prepared to emphasize these those practice areas. Work on your skills, create more content, and explore ways to market your services to clients who need those services.

If you don’t practice in any of these high-demand areas, consider adding them to your repertoire.

Finally, if you don’t practice in any of these areas and you’re not inclined to start, align yourself with lawyers and firms that do.

When the wave hits and your clients and prospects ask you for help with something you don’t handle, you want to be able to refer them to someone.

Helping the client, and scoring points with attorneys to whom you’re referring business, can only lead to more business and good will for you.

Of course, this is something you should be doing anyway. It’s a smart way to build your practice.

Start by making a list of practice areas you predict will be in high demand. Then, make a list of attorneys you know who practice in those areas.

After that, begin looking for attorneys you don’t know. Start by asking your current contacts who they know who specialize in those areas.

Contact them, introduce yourself, and tell them you’d like to know more about what they do. As you get to know them, they will get to know what you do.

Which should lead to some referrals for you.

Start now. Get ready for your clients and prospects to ask you for a referral.

Because they will.

You can learn more about how to do this in my Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals Course.

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How to get more clients without advertising

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One of the simplest ways to get more clients is to work with professionals, business owners, bloggers, and other influential people in your niche.–people with clients, customers, or subscribers who might need your services or know someone who does.

Typically, you meet and network with them and eventually get some referrals.

That works, but there’s a faster way.

Step One: Find people in your niche who don’t compete with you and who have a following–a blog, a newsletter, a channel, a podcast, an active social media platform, or other list of people who know, like and trust them.

Step Two: Talk to them about “working together” for your mutual benefit.

That means using your respective lists to promote each other’s practice, newsletter, offer or event.

If you handle estate planning, for example, you might work with divorce attorneys and propose one or more of the following:

  • I’ll write about your practice, you write about mine
  • We do guest posts for each other
  • We interview each other
  • We mention each other’s offer in the P.S. of our newsletters
  • We promote each other’s upcoming events, book launch, or giveaway
  • And so on

You might close your newsletter with something like this:

“My friend Joe Lawyer has a successful family law practice and is offering a free report, ‘How to Lose Your Spouse Without Losing Your Shirt’. If you know anyone who might like a copy, give them this link: xxxx”

It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Step Three: Rinse and repeat. Run more promotions with them and find others with whom you can do the same.

I show you everything you need to know in my Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals course. You can read all about it here.

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How to get more referrals without mowing lawns

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Our new gardener is doing a great job. He shows up on time, does a thorough job–our yard has never looked better–and is very easy to work with.

Having gone through so many gardeners over the years, we’re happy campers.

My wife found him by posting a notice on a digital community bulletin board. Several neighbors chimed in and provided recommendations, and we hit pay dirt.

On that same board, my wife saw another neighbor asking for recommendations. My wife gave her our gardener’s name and number and told her how happy we were with him. She told the gardener to expect a call from Nancy; he was very appreciative.

Referrals rule.

The gardener got the referral by doing a great job for us. Is there anything else he could do to stimulate more referrals?

He could give his customers business cards or brochures to hand out to neighbors.

He could provide a few talking points about his services, explaining all the things he does, the neighborhoods he services, mentioning that he’s licensed and insured, etc.

And he could offer an incentive for protectively passing out his cards and talking about his services. Perhaps, “Refer a neighbor and get one month of service free”.

So, can you do these things?

Give your clients cards and brochures to hand out? Yes.

Give your clients talking points about you and your services. Yes again.

Offer incentives for referrals? Probably not, but you can do the next best thing by “rewarding” them after the fact.

If your clients own or manage a business or practice, you can reciprocate. Send them referrals. Feature their business in your newsletter or blog.

If your clients are consumers, you can send them a small gift (a plant, a book, a Starbucks coupon) to express your thanks.

And you can always show your appreciation by sending clients a thank you note or card.

When your clients know you appreciate their referrals, they’re more likely to send more of them.

My referral marketing course shows you how to create handouts and talking points that bring in more referrals. Details here.

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The simplest way to get more referrals

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I built my practice with referrals, prrimarily from my clients. What was my secret?

No, it wasn’t asking for referrals, although I did that and it’s a lot easier (and more productive) than you may think.

It wasn’t giving them something I call “referral devices”–a report, brochure, or referral card they could pass along to friends and family. But that works, too.

And it wasn’t doing good work for my clients, exceeding their expectations, and treating them exceptionally well, although that always has been, and always will be, the foundation of repeat business and referrals.

These strategies work, but I promised to tell you the simplest way to get more referrals. My secret, only it’s not a secret at all. You hear me talk about it all the time.

The simplest way to get more referrals is to stay in touch with your clients, past and present, because while they may never need to hire you again, they can and will send you referrals, and they’ll do that more often when you stay in touch with them.

Stay in touch with the people who already know, like, and trust you and they will lead you to other people. It really is that simple.

What’s the simplest way to stay in touch with people? You already know the answer to that, too. Email is easy, inexpensive, and massively effective. And because you can automate your email stay-in-touch efforts, it doesn’t take up much time.

Would you be willing to invest 30 minutes a week writing an email to your list if it allowed you to triple your referrals?

What do you write? How do you get started?

I show you everything you need to know and do in my Email Marketing for Attorneys program.

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It’s like referrals but without the sweaty palms

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Do you know any attorneys who could send you referrals but don’t? How about accountants, financial planners, insurance or real estate brokers?

You could ask them for referrals but. . . it makes you nervous. Okay, forget about that (for now). There’s something else you can do.

You can talk to them about a marketing alliance, where both of you benefit.

It’s a simple way for two parties to increase the reach of their marketing, reduce their costs, or both.

The result: more clients. Probably better clients, because the client finds out about you from a trusted source, just like a referral.

A simple example:

You send an email to your list and recommend the other professional’s services, webinar, or free report. They do the same for you.

Another simple example:

You interview said professional for your newsletter or blog, podcast or video channel, mention their special offer or book, and provide a link thereto. They do the same for you.

Another simple example:

You invite the other professional to write a guest post for your blog or newsletter; yep, you do the same thing for theirs.

Can you see how simple this is? And how it could bring in a lot of new clients?

Start with professionals you know who have a practice that’s a good fit for yours.

But don’t stop there. There are thousands more where they came from.

You can learn how to find them (and exactly what to say) in my Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals course. Details here

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5 ways to build trust

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Marketing isn’t just telling people what you do and how you can help them. Marketing requires targeting the right people with the right problems and providing them with the right message and offer.

One of the biggest hurdles is building trust.

People are scared about their legal situation and skeptical about your ability to help them. They don’t know if you’re competent, honest, or charge reasonable fees.

They may like what you say but if they don’t trust you, they often keep looking.

It usually takes time to build trust, but here are 5 ways to speed up the process:

  1. Referrals. Prospective clients “borrow” trust from the people who refer them, thus making them more likely to hire you. Referral marketing shortens the sales process, saves time and money, and usually brings in better clients.
  2. Content marketing. Blog posts, articles, presentations, etc., allow you to show people what you know, what you do, and how you work with your clients. This works even better when you are published by or interviewed on authority sites or podcasts or speak at industry events.
  3. Social proof. Ask people to share your content with their friends and neighbors, colleagues, clients and customers. Get testimonials and reviews from clients and endorsements from influential people.
  4. Free consultations. Let people sample your advice and demeanor, hear more about what you can do to help them, and get their questions answered straight from the horse’s mouth.
  5. Build a list and stay in touch. A simple email newsletter allows you to build trust over time. It helps you get more clients, more referrals, more people sharing your content, book more free consultations, and get more testimonials and reviews.

If you want to see how to use a newsletter to build your practice, go here

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Converting clients to advocates

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You want your clients to send you referrals, promote your events, share your content, provide positive reviews, and otherwise help you expand your reach and grow your practice.

You deliver good results and treat your clients with respect, and because you do, some of your clients will advocate on your behalf simply because they like you and want to help you and the people they know.

If you want more clients to do that, however, and do it more often, make it easier for them to do it.

One thing you can do is provide them with tools (hash tags, review templates, sample language for social media posts, emails they can forward to friends, etc.) so they can share their experiences with you.

Another thing you can do is make it easier for them to recognize your ideal client by providing them with a description.

Teach them what a good referral looks like, what they should tell them about you, and the best way to make the referral.

The more you inform and equip your clients to advocate for you, the more likely it is that they will do that.

How to equip your clients to send you more referrals

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A simple plan for getting more clients

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There are lots of ways to get more clients. Here is one of the simplest:

FIRST:

  1. Identify a problem you solve or benefit you deliver and the legal services you provide to do that.
  2. Describe your “ideal client” for that service. Who is likely to have that problem or want that benefit?
  3. Make a list of the types of people who might know people with the problem or desire you identified. Lawyers in other fields, other professionals, business owners, centers of influence, etc.
  4. Go through your contact list and find people you know who fit that description. If you need/want more names, go through directories, lists, and search engines to find additional names.

THEN:

  1. Email them or call them. If you know them, catch up, ask what they’re doing. If you don’t know them, introduce yourself, mention something you have in common and/or say something nice about their website or profile, and ask them to tell you more about what they do.
  2. Offer to send them a report or checklist or form that (a) can help them in their practice or business, or (b) they can send to their clients or customers.
  3. Send the report or checklist along with some information about you: the types of problems you solve, the types of clients you represent.
  4. Stay in touch with them.

You’ll renew old acquaintances and make new ones. Eventually, you’ll get more visits to your website, sign-ups for your newsletter, and followers on social media, all of which will result in new clients.

You’ll also get referrals.

To see how to do this in detail and step-by-step, go here

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How to get your SECOND client

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Let’s say you just got your first client.

Congratulations. What’s next?

Where will you get your second client? Or, if you have 100 clients, where will you get your next 100?

Many lawyers go back to doing whatever it is they did to get their first client (or their first 100). Networking, advertising, blogging, speaking, and so on, and that’s fine.

But there’s another way:

Leverage your relationships with your existing and former clients to get more.

Yes, I’m talking about referrals. But not just referrals in the way we usually think of them. And expanded view of the concept of referrals.

You know that some of your clients are willing to send you referrals but don’t have anyone to send you right now.

What else could they do?

They could refer you to (introduce you to) other professionals they know, some of whom might have clients they can refer.

Hold on. Those professionals might not have clients they can refer right now, or be willing to refer them.

What else could they do?

They could introduce you to other professionals they know who might have clients who need your help.

Hold on. What if they don’t know other professionals in your target market or they’re not willing to introduce them to you?

What else could they do?

They could introduce you to bloggers and podcasters and meeting planners and other people who write for, sell to, or advise your target market.

They could share your content or promote your event to their clients and contacts, subscribers, social media connections, and others they know.

Some of those people may need your services. Or know someone who does. Or know someone who knows someone who does.

Building a referral-based practice isn’t just about who you know. It’s also about who they know.

Everyone you know knows hundreds of people you don’t know.

And those people know hundreds of people.

Each person knows an average of 250 people, we are told. If each of those people knows 250 people, that’s 62, 500 people in your extended network.

You can build your practice by tapping into that network.

Where do you begin?

Start with my (currently free) introductory referral marketing course.

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