Better than average

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Marketing goo-roo Dan Kennedy once said, “Your success in business is directly proportional to the number of industry norms you defy.”

In other words, if you do what everyone else is doing, you will be unlikely to achieve more than average results.

What can you do if you want to do better than average?

!. You can offer better services than the competition.

If you deliver better results, more benefits or value, or a higher level of “customer service,” you will probably get more clients, higher quality clients, and/or be able to charge higher fees than average.

You should also get more repeat business and referrals.

2. You can use better marketing.

If you do a better job of getting leads, packaging and selling your services, and building relationships with your clients and other professionals, you will get more clients and earn more income than average.

That’s because more prospective clients (and the people who can refer them) will hear your message and/or be persuaded by it.

Both options are good. Either one can help you become more successful.

But why not do both?

If you want to learn a step-by-step system for marketing and building your practice with email. . .

Go here

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Busy? You might want to rethink that

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The gold standard for success isn’t doing lots of things, it’s doing the right things enough to accomplish your goals.

It’s about focus.

In ‘The Dip’, Seth Godin said,

“A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.”

If you’re networking, instead of going to ten different events trying to meet dozens of new people, it’s better to stick with one event and get to know a few key people.

Instead of “spraying and praying” on social media, hoping someone will notice something you say, it’s better to develop a loyal following on one platform before moving on to others.

Instead of marketing to “anyone with a legal problem” and compete with all the other lawyers in your practice area, it’s better to target specific niche markets where you can stand out.

When you focus on one group, one platform, one niche market, you use the power of leverage to get bigger results with less effort.

The woodpecker understands this. Because he’s focused, not busy.

If you’re ready to use leverage like a pro and take a quantum leap in your practice, the Quantum Leap Marketing System shows you what to do.

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Are you an authority? You could be.

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Are you better than other attorneys in your practice area or market?

Better than some? Better than most? Does it matter?

Yes, it matters. Better clients prefer to hire better attorneys and they’re generally willing to pay more to get them.

But how do they know you’re better?

If you have 20 years experience, clients usually see you as better than attorneys with only two years experience. If you’ve won some big verdicts or have an office on “attorney row,” clients tend to see you as the better choice.

When you look successful, people see you as an expert, an authority in your field. They tend to trust you and value you more.

Brain scans confirm that people process information coming from authorities differently than from other sources. That’s why success breeds success.

What if you don’t have a long track record or a big office? What can you do to get prospective clients (and the people who refer them) to see you as an authority?

Positive reviews help. So do testimonials and endorsements from influential people in your niche.

Get ’em and feature them on your website and your marketing materials.

Public speaking helps, probably because so many people fear it. Do what you can to get in front of a room a few times and add this to your bio.

Finally, one of the best ways to be perceived as an authority is to publish a book. Authors are author-ites, so get to scribbling.

Give people reasons to see you as an authority and more people will see you as the better choice.

Want help writing and publishing a book? Contact me

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If you want to make everyone happy, sell ice cream

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John C. Maxwell said, “Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” By that definition, you are a leader.

People listen to you, not necessarily because of your title, skills, or experience, but because of your character, compassion, and strength.

People look up to leaders. They want to associate with them, learn from them, follow them. As a leader, you set the destination and the pace of the journey.

“This is where I’m going,” you say. “I hope you’ll join me.”

You show the world the path to a better future and some people choose to follow.

As a lawyer, you may be able to persuade them to follow. As a leader, you let them persuade themselves.

That’s influence.

Others will choose not to follow. You have to let them go. You can’t change the destination or compromise your values because of the whims of a few. You can’t slow down for the stragglers, they need to keep up with you.

You’ll disappoint people. You’ll face criticism. Your willingness to accept this is part of your strength, part of what makes others want to follow.

You can’t be an effective leader if you try to please everyone. You have to stay the course and be willing to accept the casualties.

As Steve Jobs said, “If you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader. Sell ice cream.”

Leaders build their influence through regular communication

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Getting nine women pregnant

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How long does it take to build a successful law practice?

It takes as long as it takes and you can’t rush it.

As Warren Buffett said, “No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”

It also takes focus.

You may have heard this Buffett story:

One day, Buffett’s long-time pilot asked him for career advice. Buffett suggested he make two lists.

First, make a list of your top 25 career goals, Buffett told him. Once he’d done that, Buffett told him to circle his top 5 goals.

His pilot then had two lists and told Buffett that he would begin working on his top 5 goals. Buffett asked him about the other list, the 20 items he didn’t circle.

The pilot said those goals were also important to him and he would work on them intermittently, as and when he could.

Buffett told him that was a mistake. “Everything you didn’t circle just became your Avoid-At-All-Cost list. No matter what, these things get no attention from you until you’ve succeeded with your top 5.”

Buffett knows a thing or two about focus. In his long career, he has achieved extraordinary investment returns investing in a handful of companies at a time.

“Diversification is a protection against ignorance,” Buffett said.
“It makes very little sense for those who know what they’re doing.”

So, if you know what you’re doing as an attorney, if what you’re doing is working, even though it may not be working as quickly as you’d like, stay the course.

Be patient. Stay focused. Your baby will be here when he gets here.

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Intellectual incest

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If you’re smart and work hard but aren’t reaching the levels of success you want, one reason might be that you’re not meeting new people.

You may feel you don’t have to. Or that you don’t have time. Or you prefer to spend your time with the handful of folks in your inner circle.

Let’s face it, meeting new people isn’t everyone’s definition of having a good time.

But spending all of your time with people you already know limits your ability to grow.

You and your friends or close colleagues share similar ideas. You may have similar habits and access to the same types of opportunities.

According to the Law of Association, we become like the people we associate with most, which means that your associations might be holding you back.

Sounds like I’m saying you need some new friends.

Maybe friends is too strong a word. How about some new acquaintances.

People who aren’t so much like you. People with different backgrounds and different ideas. People who can lead you to new opportunities.

You don’t need a lot. One is a good number to start with. If it’s the right one, they can lead you to others.

So, here’s the plan.

Go some places you don’t usually go (in person or online, if you must), and talk to people you don’t know.

It’s a small step but it may be a big step towards getting to the next level.

How to get more referrals from other professionals

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Spinning your wheels

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Did you ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere? You’re putting in time and effort but not making progress towards your goals?

Of course. We’ve all been there at some point in our life. Probably more than once.

What happened? What did you do to move forward?

Did you improve your knowledge or skills? Get some advice or help from someone with more experience? Work harder or invest more capital?

Maybe you did. Or maybe you just gave it more time and eventually figured things out.

Some would say that continuing to do the same things over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

I don’t buy it.

For one thing, the more you work–let’s say at your legal career–the more opportunities you have to “get lucky”.

To meet the one client or business connection that becomes a turning point for you. Or to win that one case that provides you with enough capital and confidence to take you to a higher level.

These things happen. Hang around long enough and they can happen for you.

But there’s something else going on.

As you continue to work, whether you see it happening or not, you continue to learn and improve your skills. Every time you do what you do you get feedback that allows you to make small changes.

Those changes might be as minuscule as using a few different words when meeting someone or changing the order in which you deliver a presentation or a closing argument.

Tiny things that don’t seem to matter. Tiny things you don’t know you’re doing.

Those tiny things combine with other tiny things, compound, and eventually change you. As you change, so do your results.

So, take some classes or get some help if you want to. Or, keep riding the painted pony and let those spinn‘ wheels spin.

Either way, you can get where you want to go.

How to get more referrals

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Freedom’s NOT just another word for nothing left to lose

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Last weekend, I went to my first Amazon bookstore. Yes, I got out from behind my computer and actually walked into a real store. 

It was nicely laid out, clean, and had an ample supply of books, considering the store’s small footprint. 

I didn’t find any of my books on the shelves, however, nor did I expect to. The store primarily carries books from major publishers and I am a self-publisher. 

I was approached by a legal publisher once. I submitted an outline but my heart wasn’t in it and the deal was never consummated. 

It would be nice to have a “real” publisher publish my books.  Give me a lot of exposure and prestige. Maybe even get the book into bookstores. So why did I turn it down?

Freedom.

As an indie publisher, I control everything. And I get the lion’s share of the royalties.

In other words, I turned down a publishing deal for the same reason I’ve never worked for a big firm or considered having partners. I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do or paying me what they thought I was worth.

We all have options in life. And we all tend to gravitate towards those options that align with our highest values and most important goals.

In my case, that means freedom.

Freedom can be a double-edged sword. Being free can be painful. So said Kris Kristofferson who wrote the song with that lyric.

Yes, freedom isn’t free. It comes at a price. I’m glad I was willing to pay it.

I built my practice with referrals

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Winging it

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We’re told that before we start a project (or a career) we need a plan and we need to know what we’re doing. Otherwise, we’re being reckless and inviting failure.

Sure. Only that doesn’t work for all of us, at least not all the time.

How many times have you just fallen into something, with no plan or reason to believe you will succeed? You took a leap and built your wings on the way down.

That’s how I started my practice, my brother.

I rented an office, bought some furniture, a typewriter and some supplies, and opened my door for business.

I didn’t know how to build a practice, or run a practice. I knew slightly more than jack squat about practicing law. I had no clients, no money, no clue.

If I had been a patient in the ICU, you would have said I was terminal.

But the patient lived.

So, here’s the thing.

Whatever you’re contemplating, be it project or career, plan if you must but don’t beat yourself if you feel like winging it.

I met my wife without a plan. Built businesses without a plan. Wrote books and courses without a plan. And started a law practice (twice) without a plan.

You know what? If I had forced myself to create a plan before I started the things I’ve done, I’m not sure I would have started most of them.

Oh yeah, what you just read? No plan.

Want more referrals? I wrote the plan for you

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Taking inventory

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Today is a holiday for a lot of people. If it’s a slow day for you, you might want to spend some time taking inventory of what’s going on in your life.

Reflect on what you’ve worked on recently and how it turned out. Think about what you’re working on now and what you have to do to complete it. Look at the list of tasks and projects you plan to start soon and identify the ones that look most promising.

Look in the digital mirror and tell yourself what you see.

Are you taking massive action to achieve important goals or are you just trying to get through the day?

Yes, you have to draft the documents, make the calls, see the people, and settle the cases. That’s what keeps the wheels turning and the people fed. But if that’s all you do, if you never think beyond what’s on your calendar for today, you make it more difficult to realize your potential.

Jim Rohn said, “A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.”

Is that you?

We get paid in proportion to the size and complexity of the problems we solve and the assets we create. If you handle small problems all day, you earn small fees.

If you want to build a multi-million dollar practice, you need to bring in clients with bigger problems.

As you take inventory, consider not only your current caseload or list of clients but the kinds of cases or clients you want attract. Who? How many? How big?

And then ask, What am I doing to attract them?

If you don’t like the answer, you have some work to do.

Start here

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