Should you “sell” in every email?

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You have an email list. You regularly mail to clients and prospects. Should every email promote (sell) something?

Yes.

You have services that provide solutions to problems. You owe it your subscribers to do everything you can to persuade them to avail themselves of those services. If you don’t, their problems and their pain will continue. They won’t get what they want and need.

So yes, sell your services in every email. But that doesn’t mean every email should be a full-on sales letter.

You can sell your services by educating subscribers about problems and solutions and providing a link where they can get more information. You can sell yourself as the provider of those services by sharing ideas and information that show people how you think and how you do what you do.

Every email should sell, but come at the sale in different ways.

Talk about your clients. Tell stories about where they were before they found you and where they are today. Talk about people who chose other solutions, or waited too long before they came to you, and made their situation worse.

Talk about things you do outside of the office, about your passions and hobbies, and about the important people in your life, to show people what makes you tick and what it would be like to know and work with you.

With some emails, you should overtly talk about the four corners of your services and why people need them. In other emails, just mention your services and provide a link so people can find out more.

Because I email frequently, most of my emails are designed to show subscribers that I know what I’m doing and that I can help them. A little education, a little entertainment, and a link to something in a P.S.

When I release a new product or service, I send out emails that talk about nothing else.

But every email sells something.

You want to get more clients and increase your income, yes? Here’s how to get more referrals 

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How to quote your fee and get more clients to say yes

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Here’s an interesting tidbit about how to quote your fee.

According to an article on pricing strategies, researchers have found that “prices” that contained more syllables were perceived by consumers as drastically higher than their fewer-syllable counterparts. Their findings were published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology:

When these pricing structures were shown to subjects:

* $1,499.00
* $1,499
* $1499

… the top two prices seemed far higher to consumers than the third price. This effect occurs because of the way one would express the number verbally: “One thousand four hundred and ninety-nine,” for the comma versions versus “fourteen ninety-nine” for the unpunctuated version. This effect even occurs when the number is evaluated internally, or not spoken aloud.

I know that when I hear prices or fees quoted verbally in a commercial or presentation, I listen to how that fee sounds and think about whether there’s a better way to say it. “Two-hundred and ninety-nine dollars” sounds like a lot more than “two ninety nine”.

I do my best to use this in my marketing, but there was this one time when it caused a bit of confusion.

My secretary was on the phone with an attorney who wanted to know the cost for a product we were offering. Per my counsel, she told him “one-ninety-five” based on a price of $195.  Sure enough, a week later, we got a check in the mail in the amount of $1.95.

So be careful. Especially with lawyers.

The least you need to know about fees, billing, and collection

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Tell clients why you’re worth more than other lawyers

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You’re not the cheapest lawyer in town. That’s good. You don’t want clients who want the cheapest lawyer in town, you want clients who understand that they get what they pay for and who are willing to pay more to get more.

Have you explained this to your clients and prospects? If not, you should.

On your website, in your marketing materials, when you are speaking to a prospective client, tell them that you’re not lowest guy or gal in town. Tell them you cost more than other lawyers and then tell them why you are worth it.

First, tell them why low-cost legal fees aren’t always what they seem. Tell them that some lawyers hold down costs by

  • Using lower paid staff to do much of the work, increasing the chances of errors or poor results
  • Advertising only part of the work the client will need, when they often need more
  • Billing separately for costs and other things that drive up the overall cost
  • Cutting corners in terms of customer service

Of course you’ll also mention that most lawyer who charge lower fees do so because they have less experience.

Then tell them why you are the better choice:

  • You have more experience (years practicing, number of clients, prestige clients)
  • Your staff has been with you for X years and are smart, efficient, and your clients love them
  • You get better results (verdicts, settlements, notable wins, endorsements, testimonials, awards)
  • You are top dog (you teach CLE, Judge Pro Tem, arbitrator, mediator, articles by you, articles about you, books you’ve written, speaking)
  • You specialize (so you are better at what you do, and more efficient)
  • You specialize in your client types (so you know their business, their issues, their problems, etc.)
  • You offer something others don’t (your unique selling proposition)
  • You offer flat fees or other alternatives to hourly billing, so your clients know in advance what they will pay

Also tell them what you do to keep your expenses down: you aren’t on Rodeo Drive, you don’t advertise, you have systems in place that allow you to do your work more quickly and efficiently, and so on.

If you want clients who willingly pay higher fees, tell clients why you’re worth more than other lawyers.

How to write a bill clients WANT to pay

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How to get more clients with “The Puppy Dog Close”

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The Puppy Dog Close is a well-known concept in marketing and sales. Here’s the skinny:

You go into a pet store, just to look. The salesman sees you playing with the puppies in the window. You’re almost there, but the salesman can tell you’re not sure. So he says, “Why don’t you take one of these little fellas home for the weekend. No charge. If it doesn’t work out, bring him back on Monday.”

You bring the puppy home, give him a name and fall in love. There’s no way you’re bringing him back.

The salesman didn’t have to close you, you closed yourself.

You may recognize this approach when you go looking at new cars. The test drive is a form of The Puppy Dog Close.

Okay, so you don’t sell puppies or cars. How can you use this approach in your practice?

The odds are, you already do.

Think about it. Aren’t you giving people a “free sample” of your wisdom when you do a seminar or other presentation? When you write articles or blog posts or give away reports or videos, aren’t you showing people how you think and giving them a sense of what it might be like to work with you?

You also do it when you network. As people get to know you, they begin to like and trust you, and that leads to hiring you or sending you referrals.

If you offer free consultations, prospective clients get a chance to try you out and fall in love with you, or at least the benefits you offer. You help them gain clarity about their problems and the available solutions. You help them see a way out and a way forward and they like you for it. It’s hard for them to walk away from that.

You might want to take this up a notch. In addition to offering free consultations, you might offer a free entry-level service. Prepare a free simple Will, for example, as a gateway to doing a trust or other estate planning services. Give prospective divorce clients the first hour free, so they can see how much value you deliver.

Once a prospective client tries you for an hour, they’re probably not going to take you back to the lawyer store.

Crazy talk? I don’t know. How about giving this idea a try before you say it’s not for you. You might fall in love with this puppy.

To learn more about promoting trial, get The Formula

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Another example of email done wrong

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I got an email yesterday that said “Hey David, I just came across your LinkedIn profile and decided to reach out.”

Alrighty, but he didn’t send the email to the email address I have with LinkedIn. Lying in the first sentence? I don’t know, but we’re not off to a good start.

Oh, and addressing me by first name instead of waiting for permission? Manners, please.

He introduced himself: “I’m with [company]–we connect entrepreneurs like you with the marketing talent that can grow your business.”

A sales pitch already? That didn’t take long. And, did he even read my profile or go to my website? If he had, he might have noticed that I’m in the marketing game myself.

Onward.

“I hope you don’t mind the cold outreach, but I thought you’d be interested and decided to go for it. Here is the link” and he provided a link to his website.

Interested in what? He didn’t say. He didn’t give me a reason to click the link.

I wouldn’t necessarily mind a cold email, but not done this way. How about earning my trust, first? How about giving me a reason to pay attention? How about a little finesse?

He closed the email and “signed” it with his first name as the CTO of his company. Again, he thinks we’re on a first name basis. And, you want me to trust you but you haven’t told me your full name.

Sup wit dat?

More bad vibes: There’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email, which means he went ahead and subscribed me to his list without my permission. A one-time cold email is something I can live with. A subscription without permission and you’re going straight to Internet jail (spam).

Look, it’s okay to send email to people you don’t know. But don’t lie to them or pitch them right out of the box. Say something that lets them know you are a real person who wants to introduce themselves and that you are someone who might be worth knowing.

The recipient knows you’ve got an agenda of some sort. Everyone does. Put it in your back pocket for now and take the time to turn a cold name and email into a warm prospect.

As a lawyer, you might think that you would never send a cold email to someone you don’t know, particularly someone you would like to have as a client. I wouldn’t contact consumers unless I had been invited to do so, but you can contact professionals you’d like to know. You could also contact potential business clients, if you do it right.

Start by showing them you know something about them and what they do and that you’re not sending spam to the masses. Compliment them on something you like, tell them how you are similar in your interests or your work, or ask them a question.

Your motto: “friends first”.

Then, offer something they might find valuable and relevant. A blog post, video, report, or something else that’s free and easy to access. Don’t make them go to your website to see if you have anything interesting, tell me what it is, how it would benefit them, and where to get it.

But maybe you should save that for your next email.

For more on email marketing, get Make the Phone Ring

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Are you too good at your job?

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Your clients want you to solve their problems. The quicker you can do that, the better, right?

Maybe not.

If you’re too good at your work, if you finish too quickly and display an apparent lack of effort, your clients may not appreciate your superior ability and may object to the amount you charge.

Psychologist Dan Ariely tells a story about a locksmith who told him that as he got better at his job, his customers didn’t value what he was able to do.

“He was tipped better when he was an apprentice and it took him longer to pick a lock,” he said. “Now that it takes him only a moment, his customers complain that he is overcharging and they don’t tip him.”

“What this reveals is that consumers don’t value goods and services solely by their utility, benefit from the service, but also a sense of fairness relating to how much effort was exerted,” Ariely explains.

So what should you do if you’re too good at your job?

Perform some magic. A little slight of hand.

Don’t let clients know that you did the work without breaking a sweat. If you can prepare a document in 30 minutes, because you have the forms and because you’ve done it 100 times before, consider holding onto it for a few days before sending it to the client. Let them think that you worked and re-worked the document to get it just right.

Caveat number one: Don’t lie. It’s okay if they think you took three days to do it, but don’t tell them you did. Also, if you bill by the hour, obviously you shouldn’t bill for more time than you actually took. (Yet another argument in favor of jettisoning the billable hour.)

Caveat number two: Don’t overdo it. Many clients do see a benefit to your ability to get the work done quickly. In fact, quick turnaround might be a marketing point of differentiation for you. So don’t drag things out.

The best course of action is to manage your clients’ expectations. Under-promise so you can over-deliver. If you can do it in 30 minutes, promise to deliver it in a week. Then, deliver it in three or four days.

Marketing legal services is easier when you have a plan

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Everyone is an entrepreneur. Including you.

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It doesn’t matter whether you’re employed or self-employed, you are an entrepreneur.

Deal with it.

You are an entrepreneur because every day, you take risks with your career. You may get fired today. Your partnership may break up. Your biggest client may leave you.

You are in sales, too. You sell your services (and yourself) to an employer or to individual clients. Every day, you sell or re-sell yourself on getting and staying hired.

But every day you also have the opportunity for gain. You may get a raise. You may get a big case. You may start to embrace marketing and double your income.

Risk and reward. The yin and yang of the entrepreneur. The only question is, how much risk are you willing to take?

You do know that a job doesn’t mean safety or security? In fact, it means just the opposite. You don’t control your fate. Others do. Just ask people who lost their job two years ago and are still unemployed.

Starting your own practice or business isn’t risk free, of course, but if you fail, you will at least have a skill set that allows you to start over.

In fact, the very act of failing makes you more likely to succeed the next time. The greatest risks are often borne by those who have never failed.

Venture capitalist Ben Narasin says that he sometimes funds startups run by people who have never failed at anything. He says,

Sometimes these prove to be the founders most likely to fail. They’re likely to fail exactly because they are afraid of doing so. They’re so used to winning, so used to the orderly, structured, achievable goals… conquerable by brain power and effort alone, that they are ill-prepared for the entirely messy reality of entrepreneurship.

Being an entrepreneur is messy. You might fail. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Building a law practice is easier when you know The Formula

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Will you REALLY fight for me?

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A personal injury lawyer used to (still does?) run TV ads which ended with him pointing at the viewer and saying, “I’ll fight for you!”

But will he?

It depends.

Is it a good case? Are there enough damages? Does the other party have insurance?

If he were being honest, when asked if he would fight for the client, he would say, “We’ll see”.

“We’ll see” is a lawyer-like answer. But it won’t get the client to call.

Clients want more commitment. They do want you to fight for them. They don’t necessarily expect that you will win every time, or bring in a massive settlement, but they expect you to try.

“We’ll see” doesn’t cut it, so although you might be thinking it, don’t say that to a client.

Most lawyers recognize that their clients expect (and their oath demands) that they provide “best efforts” and they will tell the client something along the lines of, “I’ll do my best”.

That’s much better, but what if their best isn’t good enough? What if they don’t have enough experience? What if the case needs resources they don’t have? What if. . .

Your clients don’t want to hear that you’ll do your best, they want to hear that you’ll do “whatever it takes”. And that’s the message you should convey in your marketing.

This is also true for non-litigation matters. Clients want to know that you’ll do whatever it takes to help them achieve a good outcome. If you’re negotiating a contact, or drafting documents for them, they want to hear that you’ll do whatever it takes to protect them, deliver value, and make them happy.

“I’ll do my best” isn’t good enough. Tell them you’ll do “whatever it takes”.

If you want to earn more, make sure you have The Attorney Marketing Formula

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Email marketing done wrong

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I got an email this morning, from a guy in Russia. The subject, “Let’s do business”. The message:

I’m running a digital marketing agency focusing on local businesses that need help getting leads using PPC and Facebook ads.

One of the niches we’re definitely interested in are attorneys and you seem like an expert on this topic.

I’m not sure what kind of marketing services you provide to your clients but it would be good to have a quick talk and and see if we can bring more value to your customers by working together on some projects.

I won’t want to bore you with excessive details. . . get back to me if you’re interested in general. . .

You don’t know what kind of services I offer? Why not? You want to work with me on some projects? Yeah, I think I’ll pass. But I’ll use your email as an example of email marketing done wrong, thank you.

I don’t want to talk to this guy. I don’t know him and he obviously doesn’t know me. But even if he said something brilliant and I wanted to learn more, it’s waay too soon to talk.

So no thanks. Delete. Bye.

What could he have done differently?

For starters, how about personalizing the email? Show me you’ve actually read something I wrote or at least know what kinds of services I offer.

Then. . . let’s see. . .

How about mentioning the name of someone I know who referred you to me? That would get my attention.

Or how about mentioning the name of someone in my field you’re working with whose name would impress me and show me you’ve got some credentials?

How about friending me on social media, first? Like and share my posts, engage me, talk to me about something we have in common. When you email me, then, you can mention that we’re connected and remind me that we already have a “relationship” before you take the next step.

How about offering me something I might be interested in? A free report, a tip sheet, a checklist, a video, for example, that shows me how to make more money, save time, get more leads, or something else that interests me, related to what you do?

How about offering me a free trial of your product or service, so I can see if it’s something I want to use or recommend to my clients?

How about at least giving me your website, so I can learn something about you and how you can help me?

Get my attention, first. Show me you have something beneficial to offer to me or my clients. Earn my trust, before asking me to talk.

Attorneys can use cold emails in their marketing. But don’t just blast them out and hope for the best. Don’t “spray and pray”. Learn something about the prospective client or referral source, meet them where they are, take them by the hand and walk them towards where you want them to go.

They’ll come, but at their pace, not yours.

Marketing online? Here’s what you need

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Using email in your marketing

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I spoke with an insurance broker yesterday who is using email in his marketing. He was about to send an email to prospects he had spoken to who had asked him to “send some information”. He wanted my feedback about the email he had composed.

He started reading to me but I stopped him after the first sentence because it sounded like he was selling something, which of course he was.

He had cold called local businesses, seeking to make appointments to show his wares. I told him that when someone tells you to send some information, it usually means they don’t want to see what you have to offer, they want to get rid of you and this, they believe, is a polite way to do that. I suggested he consider a policy of not sending information (in this context).

A better alternative is to “drop by” the business and introduce yourself to the owner. It turns out that this is his usual method of operation.

And then I put on my metaphor hat and described the posture anyone in sales should adopt, and that includes lawyers. We sell too, you know.

I said, “You don’t want to be seen as the “sales person” who comes into the store or office through the front door and sits in the waiting room waiting for an audience with the decision maker. You want to position yourself as a colleague, a fellow business owner, who comes in the back door and doesn’t have to wait because he and the owner are on a first name basis.”

Anyway, when he read his email to me, I stopped him because it was just like every other sales letter business people receive every day and it’s not going to be read or do anything to help him get an appointment.

I told him that if you look and sound like a sales person, your email will get put in the “B” pile, with all the bills and spam and advertising messages, to be read later, or more probably, not at all. You want to be in the “A” pile, which is comprised of email from people you know. The “A” pile gets read.

“If you want to send information via email,” I said, “I would write one or two lines and say something like, ‘here’s the info I promised, Joe,” and provide a link to it on your website”. In other words, keep it short and sweet, like you do when you send information to a friend or business acquaintance.”

That will stand out more than anything you could say in a sales letter.

In order to close more business, you have to get more people looking at what you have to offer. In order to do that, you have to stand out from the crowd. The best way to do that is to go in the back door.

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