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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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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Client street is a two-way street

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Keep your clients happy. Deliver good results. Service (with a smile). Do a good job for your clients and you will be well-paid for your work.

Yes, but that’s not the whole story. 

You work for your clients, it’s true, but your clients also work for you. 

Oh, not literally, but that should be your attitude. You should expect that your clients will do things for you beyond merely paying your bill (on time). 

You should expect them to provide a positive review about you, for example, on one or more review sites. 

You should expect that they will provide you with a written testimonial, and give you permission to use it in your marketing. 

You should expect that they will “like” and “share” and “upvote” your articles, posts, videos, and other content, promoting you to their friends and followers and social media connections. 

If they have a blog or channel, you should expect them to mention you or interview you or offer you a guest post. 

You should expect them to tell their friends and clients about you, pass out your cards and brochures, and refer people who need your help.

Now, some lawyers actually talk to their clients about these things. They ask them to share and post and refer. There are ways to do that without making either the lawyer or client feel uncomfortable. But you don’t have to ask.

When you expect clients to refer, even if you never come right out and ask them to do it, they’ll pick up on the idea and come through for you. 

I call it “building a referral culture in your practice” and I talk about this in my (free) referral marketing course.

Here’s the link to the course.

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Three simple steps to getting more referrals

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Some of your clients are holding back on you. They know people who need your services but they don’t refer them.

Do you know why? 

More importantly, do you know what to do about it?

Yes, asking your clients for referrals will work. But we both know you don’t want to do that. You don’t want your clients to think you “need” business, or you don’t want to be “pushy”.

Even though I can teach you ways to ask for referrals that won’t make you (or your clients) uncomfortable, you wish there was another way.  

Fair enough. 

I just created a video course on how to get more referrals from your clients–without asking. 

The course is 90-minutes and (for now), it’s free. You can get it here

You’ll learn a simple 3-step system that works for any practice. And you can start using it immediately. 

Let me know what you think about the course or if you have any questions. 

Here’s the link again.


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You will always have competition and that’s good

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Are you concerned that there too many attorneys in your market? Don’t be. As long as there is demand for the legal work you perform, it doesn’t matter how many other attorneys there are competing for it.

The reason? Clients buy you before they buy your services, and you are unique. Build relationships with prospective clients and referral sources and you will effectively have no competition.

But hold on. Having competition is good.

It’s good because the existence of competition proves the existence of demand. If the work wasn’t there, the other attorneys would find something else to do.

Having competition is also good because it forces you to find ways to differentiate yourself. When you do, marketing is easier and more effective because you are able to show your market an advantage to choosing you.

Your competitors can also provide a fertile source of ideas. Follow them on social, subscribe to their newsletters, study their ads and blog posts, and discover what they’re doing that you can do better or differently, or discover market segments they have overlooked.

Meet your competition and get to know them. Find out what they need and how you can help them. They can become a source of referrals (conflicts, clients that are too big or too small, etc.) for both of you. And, if you find yourself on the opposite sides of a case, your relationship might help you reach a better resolution.

Don’t worry about the competition. Embrace it.

How to get referrals from your competition

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A checkup from the neck up

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Successful estate planning attorneys regularly contact their clients to inquire about life changes that might necessitate an update to their plan.

No matter what area you practice in, you should do something similar.

Once a year (at least), send your clients information about changes in the law and a questionnaire. Invite them to talk to you.

Do this even if your handle litigation or bankruptcy or another area where your clients are unlikely to need you again.

Why?

So you can find out about other issues or changes in their life or business that necessitate a referral to another attorney or to another professional.

Create your questionnaire or “legal checkup” checklist by asking other professionals to provide information. Ask an insurance broker, for example, for a list of questions your clients should ask themselves about their current risk-levels and coverage. Ask a CPA for questions related to taxes, a financial planner about investments or retirement, and other attorneys about their practice areas.

In addition to asking your “referral partners” to help you prepare your legal checkup, ask them to provide a special offer for your clients, if appropriate. A free consultation or document review, for example.

Once you’ve got your legal checkup up and running, help your referral partners do the same thing for their clients.

An annual legal checkup will allow you to better protect and advise your clients and stimulate referrals to you and your referral sources.

It’s a beautiful thing.

How to get referrals from other attorneys

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