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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Sorry, I hired another lawyer

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I’m sorry. I hired another lawyer. You probably want to know why.

It wasn’t because of your services. You’re a good lawyer and I had no complaints about the work you did for me.

It wasn’t poor “customer service”. You always kept me informed about my case, answered my questions, and made me feel appreciated.

It wasn’t fees. I thought your fees were reasonable and I had no issues with your billing practices.

It wasn’t personal. I liked you and got along fine with your staff.

So, why did I hire another lawyer?

Because I had a different legal matter and didn’t realize you could help me with it. You didn’t tell me about your other practice areas, or if you did, it was a long time ago and I forgot.

I asked a friend if he knew any attorneys who practiced in this area and got a referral.

Why didn’t I call you to find out if you could help me or ask you for a referral?

Honestly, it never occurred to me.

I haven’t heard from you since you finished my case a couple of years ago and you know what they say, “out of sight, out of mind”.

I wish you had told me about the other matters you handled. I wish you had stayed in touch. I’ve referred several clients to my new lawyer but I would have sent them to you.

An email newsletter is an easy way to stay in touch with clients and prospects

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You’ll get more referrals if you do this

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This is one of those things that might sound simplistic. Something you already know and do.

Don’t underestimate it. Because it invokes a very basic but powerful aspect of human nature. And because it works.

If you want to get more referrals, look for ways to remind people that other people send you referrals, and you appreciate it.

I’m not saying you should ask for referrals–just let the people in your world know that other people in your world send you business and/or tell others about you (your website, your content, etc.)

And you’re grateful for it.

I just got a “Happy Holidays” email “card” from my dentist that did just that. It included a holiday-themed image and a message from his-and-her nibs (my dentists are husband and wife).

The message said the usual things, “We’re grateful. . . honored to serve you. . .thank you. . . wishing you happy holidays. . .”.

Sandwiched in the middle of the message was the following:

“We appreciate the many referrals that you have made to us of friends and family, coworkers and neighbors. Your referrals are truly the greatest compliment and a testament to your trust in us! We strive to always reciprocate that trust by taking great care of your oral health with the highest level of care and service.”

In other words, they get a lot of referrals from their patients, and they appreciate them.

Note that they also mentioned who was referred–friends and family, coworkers and neighbors of their patients–suggesting that we (the recipient of the message) might have some of these people in our lives.

Simple, subtle, and effective.

Something every professional can do.

Not just during the holidays but all year long.

I do most of my marketing via email. You can, too.

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How to get paid more for your services

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If you want to earn more than other lawyers in your field and do it more consistently and with less effort, I have some advice for you:

Target people with money.

Not the low end of the market. Not the price shoppers. Not merely people with problems you can fix but people with problems you can fix who have the money to pay for the solutions you offer.

Capice?

Hold on. In order to land this type of client, you need to persuade them that you can give them what they want.

What do they want?

They want an expert. A lawyer who specializes in problems like theirs and clients like them.

They’re willing to pay more for that lawyer because they believe a specialist has a higher degree of knowledge and experience and, more than anything else, they want a lawyer they can count on to get the job done.

They want to know that if they hire you, you will take care of the problem, without unnecessary delays or complications.

They’ve buying peace of mind, and they’re willing to pay top dollar for it.

There are many ways to convince these clients you can do the job, but the simplest way is to get referred to them.

The referring party, client or professional, essentially vouches for your expertise and reliability.

You don’t have to persuade the client you can do the job, the referring party does it for you, in great part simply because they are referring you.

So, if I were in your shoes, I’d do what I could to make referrals the core of my marketing.

And, in order to get referrals to clients with money, I’d make sure I got some clients with money and made friends with professionals who represent clients with money, so they can refer their friends and clients to me.

Because you get referrals to clients with money by targeting clients with money.

This will help you get more referrals

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What are your clients saying about you?

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Wouldn’t you like to know what your clients and professional contacts tell people about you and your practice?

Are they saying good things? Accurate things? Powerful, amazing things that get people interested in working with you?

Are they telling their friends how you saved the day and rescued them from dragons, how you gave them an incredible experience and made them fall in love with you?

Are they helping people understand what you do and the kinds of problems you solve? Are they telling people why they should choose you instead of any other attorney?

What would you LIKE them to say about you?

What words would you like them to use to describe you and what you do? What stories would you like them to tell?

Take some time to think about this and write down 3 or 4 sentences, “sound bites,” or stories you would love people to share.

Once you have these, create a plan to get people to start sharing them.

One of the things on your plan should be to give your clients an experience that lives up to the amazing statements you would like them to say about you.

Give them some new stories to tell.

People are talking about you. If you’ve ever received word of mouth referrals you know that’s true.

This is a way to get a lot more of them.

More ways to get more referrals

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Getting referrals from people you don’t know well

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Yesterday, we talked about using email to reach out to strangers, to see if there’s a basis for initiating a relationship.

But don’t forget the people you already know.

Friends, clients, colleagues, people you’ve worked with–your close contacts can and will send you business, so stay in touch with them, too. An email newsletter is a simple way to do that.

And. . . don’t ignore your casual contacts. Professionals you’ve met once or twice, vendors, consultants, bloggers, and others who sell to or advise people in your target market, can open a lot of doors for you.

These so-called “weak ties” may be a great source of referrals and other opportunities.

Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, said:

“In fact, in landing a job, Granovetter discovered, weak-tie acquaintances were often more important than strong-tie friends because weak ties give us access to social networks where we don’t otherwise belong. Many of the people Granovetter studied had learned about new job opportunities through weak ties, rather than from close friends, which makes sense because we talk to our closest friends all the time, or work alongside them or read the same blogs. By the time they have heard about a new opportunity, we probably know about it, as well. On the other hand, our weak-tie acquaintances— the people we bump into every six months— are the ones who tell us about jobs we would otherwise never hear about.”

Schedule time each week to check-in with a few casual contacts. Send an email, ask what they’re working on, give them some news, or share an article or video you found that might interest them.

Some of these casual contacts will bear fruit, merely because they heard from you and were reminded about what you do and how you can help them or their clients.

But don’t leave it at that.

When the time is right, tell them what you’re looking for. Ask for information or an introduction. Or ask for advice.

Because your casual contacts can open a lot of doors for you, some of which you didn’t know even existed.

Email marketing for attorneys

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When is the best time to ask for referrals?

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According to a financial advisor who posted an answer to this question, the best time to ask for referrals is at the time you deliver the work-product (document, settlement check, etc.) or other benefits.

I agree. This is the best time.

The client is feeling good about you and their decision to hire you. They’ve seen tangible evidence of your ability to deliver results. They may be thinking about people they know who could benefit from your services.

But while this is the best time, you can also ask at other times.

Of course, it depends on what we mean by “asking”.

You can “ask” by handing the client a letter or brochure that describes your “ideal client” (how to spot them, how to refer them) at any time.

Your “new client welcome kit” should include such a document.

You can “ask” in your newsletter. After sharing a client success story, you could include a call to action to download your aforesaid document or read it on your website.

When a client is in the office for any reason, you could hand them a few of your business cards and casually say, “in case you know someone who needs an attorney. Tell them to mention your name.”

You can (and should) also talk to prospective clients about referrals. After a free consultation, for example. You can also ask in your declination letter.

There are different ways to “ask” for referrals. Pick something and use it.

The more you do, the more referrals you’ll get.

Here’s how to get maximum referrals

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A missed opportunity?

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If you’ve ever been to the Old Town Mall in Scottsdale, Arizona, you may have noticed the statue of a bronze cowboy seated on a bench, near some of the shops. You may have seen the many tourists who pass by and touch his hat or sit down next to him to have their picture taken.

But The Bronze Cowboy isn’t a statue at all, he is a man dressed, head to toe, in an amazingly realistic costume, much to the surprise and delight of the passersby who see the statue wave at them or put his arm around their shoulder when they sit down.

When the statue moves, his “victims” are startled and then laugh as they realize they have been fooled by what they were sure was a “real” statue. It’s great fun and makes for some great video content.

The Bronze Cowboy has a satchel on his lap and a few folks put a dollar or some coins in it but surely that’s not enough to justify sitting in the hot sun for hours at a time. No doubt his income comes from ads on his videos.

I was watching one of his offerings the other day and thought he’s missing a great opportunity to build his channel.

No doubt most of the dozens of people each day who sit next to him and have a good laugh would like to see themselves on youtube. Why doesn’t he give them a card with a link to his channel?

Many victims would subscribe to the channel and tell their friends to go watch them. Those friends would tell others.

But he doesn’t pass out a card. He remains silent and in character, waiting for his next victim to sit down.

Maybe he does hand out something and edits this out. Or maybe he has an assistant hand out a card off camera.

I hope so. With a little promotion, his channel and income would multiply.

The lesson for lawyers: The best source of new clients are your existing clients.

Encourage your victims, uh, clients, to tell their friends about you, your website, your presentation or offer, and your numbers will grow.

And you won’t have to get dressed up or sit in the hot sun to do it.

This shows you what to hand out to clients

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