All lawyers market their services, although some don’t realize it


I got an email from an attorney who wanted to hire someone to do all of her marketing for her. She said she’s “not good at marketing and not interested in it.” She doesn’t realize it but she’s already engaged in marketing. Every lawyer is.

Every time you say thank you to a client or referral source, you’re marketing.

Every time you hand someone you business card and ask for theirs, you’re marketing.

Every time you have a meal with someone, you’re marketing.

You may be doing it poorly, or getting poor results, but it’s marketing nevertheless.

Marketing is defined as, “everything you do to get and keep clients”. Key word–“everything”. All of the little things you say and do, the warmth of your handshake, the sincerity of your smile. It all counts.

You do yourself an injustice when you conclude that marketing is something you can hand off to someone else.

You can hire people to assist you. They can do most of the behind the scenes work. They can advise you, create your ads, run your blog, and promote your seminars. They can set up meetings with people on your behalf.

But you have to be at those meetings.

Building a law practice means building relationships and that’s not something that can be delegated.

If this is an anathema to you, if you are terminally shy or you just don’t like people, you’ll be a lot happier finding a partner who is good at what you don’t enjoy. Let him or her be the face of the firm, while you do what you’re good at.

But guess what? You’ll still be marketing.

Every time you say thank you to a client, you’re marketing. Every time you give someone your card and ask for theirs, or have a meal with someone, you’re marketing.

You can’t escape. Everything means everything.

If you want to improve your marketing, you should read (and apply) The Attorney Marketing Formula. 


Undecideds win close elections and build law practices


In a close election it is undecided voters who carry the candidate or cause to victory. One of the biggest blocks of undecideds are “low information” voters–people who ordinarily don’t pay much attention to politics until a few weeks before the election.

Another block of undecideds are supporters of third party candidates who, at the last minute, realize their candidate doesn’t have a chance to win and are open to choosing another candidate.

In most consumer-based law practices, prospective clients are “low information voters”. Unless and until something occurs in their life (divorce, accident, arrest, lawsuit, etc.), they won’t pay much attention to anything you might say. They don’t have a problem (that they are aware of) and they aren’t in the market for an attorney.

In a business oriented law practice, prospective clients are often “third party supporters”–they have an attorney they are reasonably happy with and aren’t looking to switch, at least for now.

In either case, your prospective clients aren’t interested in what you can do for them. They won’t notice your ads or ask their friends for a referral. There’s no impending event that forces them to pay attention.

But eventually there will be. Your objective is to be there when that occurs.

Your strategy is to put mechanisms in place that allow you to be found and recommended when prospective clients are finally in the market for an attorney. Depending on your practice area, target market, and personal preferences, this might include:

  • A strong Internet presence–blogs, search engine optimization, social media connections
  • Referral strategies–equipping your clients and professional contacts with information they can disseminate
  • Search-based advertising–classifieds, PPC, directory ads
  • Networking–meeting those who are in the market and the people who can refer them

Position yourself to be found when prospective clients realize they have a problem and go looking for a solution. This is usually more profitable than targeting “pre-need” prospects–people who don’t yet have a problem or aren’t ready to do something about it.

However, you may also want to target pre-need prospects who have a problem but don’t fully understand the risks or their options. Estate planning seminars, for example, can be effective at persuading “no need” and “vaguely aware of a need” prospects into becoming paying clients.

The best plan is to target all three types of prospects. Focus primarily on those who are looking now, but don’t ignore those who will be looking later.

The Attorney Marketing Formula shows you six key marketing strategies for getting more clients and increasing your income.


Another lesson from Apple: how to get clients to pay higher legal fees


Yesterday, I wrote about Apple’s pricing strategy with the new iPad Mini. Instead of competing with other tablets for the low end of the tablet market, they’re letting other companies duke it out while they target the more profitable high end. The same is true for their entire product line.

Apple fans are willing to pay more for Apple products (and stand in line to get them) because they believe it’s worth it. They believe they get more value for their dollar.

Style is certainly one aspect. So is functionality. But more than anything, I think what appeals to Apple users is ease of use.

Apple’s slogan, “It just works,” is arguably responsible for converting legions of PC users, frustrated with complicated, buggy, and virus prone machines to the Apple brand. True or not, the impression Apple’s marketing team has created is that with Apple products you won’t have continual crashes or blue screens, and you won’t have to take a class to learn how to use it. You just turn it on and it works.

And that’s exactly what Apple’s customers want.

Well guess what? That’s what your clients want, too. At least the clients you should be targeting. They want to know that when they hire you, you’ll get the job done.

They don’t want complications. They don’t want to know the boring details. They want the peace of mind of knowing that when they hire you, they’ll be in good hands. If you can give this to them, they’ll pay you more than what other attorneys charge.

Now I know many attorneys will cynically argue that their clients are very price conscious and won’t pay a penny more if another attorney will do it for less. And that’s true–THEIR clients are price conscious and won’t pay a penny more. But that’s not true of all clients.

Didn’t the PC world say the same thing about Apple when their prices first became known? “Why would anyone pay double for something just because it’s nicer looking?”

The answer was, and still is, because “it just works.”

You can follow in Apple’s footsteps. Target the higher end of the market for your services. Show them that when they hire you, everything is taken care of for them. They won’t have to worry about getting a bill filled with surprises, or an attorney who doesn’t explain things or return their phone calls. Show them that “you just work” and they’ll pay you more. Because it’s worth it to them.

Learn how to earn more than you ever thought possible. Get The Attorney Marketing Formula.


If Charles Darwin managed your law firm


Some cynics contend that lawyers aren’t human. They say we are a different species who kill and eat our young and should not be allowed to mate and reproduce.

If Charles Darwin were around, he might point out that the traits that make us good at our jobs, i.e., skepticism, competitiveness, toughness, argumentativeness, etc., allow us to survive and thrive as a species. If that wasn’t true, we would have died out a long time ago.

So there.

There are parallels between Darwin’s theories and the management of a law practice. Darwin concluded that the species that fights for survival, or is adept at avoiding it, is the species that has the best chance of survival. In the food chain, there are those who eat and those who are eaten.

Lawyers aren’t allowed to flee. We have to stay and fight for our clients. By helping them survive, our practice survives. Our clients have more work for us. Other clients are attracted to the strongest lawyers.

Does that mean lawyers must be cutthroat? In the big firm world, I think it does. There are too few clients and too much jungle to cut through. For solos and small firms, there are more options, particularly for those lawyers who embrace Darwin’s other hypotheses.

Darwin said that the species with the best chance of survival are the species that have learned to specialize. There is less competition when you’re the only one with a long snout that can find ants buried deep in the ground. If Darwin were managing your firm, he would tell you to differentiate yourself from other lawyers and look for gaps in the market that you can exploit and dominate.

Sound advice, but advice few lawyers follow. Most lawyers follow the herd and thus, earn average incomes. Skepticism and risk adverseness may make a lawyer good, but it doesn’t make a lawyer wealthy.

Darwin’s theory of adaptation is another area where lawyers are weak. The theory says that to survive in a world of changing demands and conditions requires a species to adapt to those changes and evolve. Lawyers are famously not comfortable with change, however, and often find themselves playing catch up.

Change doesn’t mean recklessness. It means staying informed, being open minded, and willing to try. Lawyers who don’t have a robust Internet presence, for example, are clearly falling behind.

Darwin told us it is, “the survival of the fittest.” If he was managing your firm, he might say that while you may be ready for the competition, if you don’t specialize and you don’t adapt, you may still find yourself on the endangered species list.

If you want to learn how to differentiate yourself from the competition and not get eaten alive, get The Attorney Marketing Formula today.


You are friggin amazing!


When was the last time you patted yourself on the back? If it’s been awhile, you might want to take a few minutes to do that.

Think about what you have accomplished in your lifetime. No doubt it’s quite a list. Remembering those victories and achievements makes you feel good about yourself. It gives you confidence about the future.

If you can’t remember all your accomplishments, or even if you can, I suggest you create a “Book of Achievements” to collect those memories. Probe your mind, dig through those storage boxes, ask your spouse for help. Record your accomplishements on paper or digitally, so you can look at them from time to time.

If you’re blue, you need to remind yourself that the future is bright. If you feel good, reviewing your past accomplishments will help you feel even better.

You can decorate your book and add photos if you like. Make it fancy and detailed, like a scrap book, or keep it simple, a line or two about each accomplishment.

Have fun remembering what you have done. Go back to your chidhood. Remember that school play or the paper with the gold star.

Remember passing the bar exam. The awards, the big cases, the letters of thanks.

Most people will never do what you have done. Hell, most people will never try.

Your life is a series of accomplishments. You have done more than you realize. You have helped a lot of people. You have made the world a better place.

You are friggin amazing. I hope you remember that.


Great advice on starting a new law practice (or growing your old one)


Marketing legal services is simple. A lot of common sense, really. You don’t need a bunch of high tech solutions or a complicated process. What you need are people.

An article in today’s Forbes Magazine tells the story of a Los Angeles lawyer who started her own practice in the summer of 2010 and in less than two years built a successful estate planning practice.

In, How I Got My First Client and You Can Too, attorney Sonia Tatiyants outlines what she did to get her first client and beyond.

She didn’t advertise or build a powerful web site. She didn’t have the money to do that, even if she wanted to. What she did is decidedly low cost and low tech. She began by contacting everyone she knew to announce the opening of her new practice.

It doesn’t get simpler than that.

By the way, if you’re not new, find a reason to contact everyone in your database and remind them that you are still here. Someone on your list needs your services, or they know someone who does.

Tatiyants followed that up by starting a lunch group where she could network with other estate planning attorneys. She also networked with “like minded, driven, entrepreneurial individuals. . .,” who collaborated with her and became a source of referrals.

Taking things a step further, Tatiyants also realizes that her clients can not only send her referrals, they can become a source of business for the professionals in her network. In positioning herself as a “trusted advisor,” her clients and contacts look to her for referrals when they have a problem or need. She refers them to the other lawyers, CPAs, financial planners, and insurance agents in her network.

She also understands the importance of keeping her clients happy. One way she does that by making sure they know what to expect with their case. By managing their expectations, her clients don’t get frustrated with delays or when they get something in the mail.

Finally, she understands that for her practice to continue to grow she needs to put systems in place that will allow others to do administrative tasks so she can focus on the lawyering (and marketing).

Great marketing advice for new lawyers and old. Even lawyers who are very old.

But there’s something she left out of the article that I know every lawyer would like to know. How did she get featured in Forbes magazine?!


We’re putting our lives on a diet


After decades of acquiring and complicating, I’m going in the opposite direction. I’m downsizing. Uncomplicating. Uncluttering.

This week, my wife and I started a major spring cleaning. (You can do that in February in California.) We’re going through closets and storage cabinets, file boxes and dresser drawers.

It’s astounding to see how much we have collected. We’re not pack rats. We’re pretty good about “not buying too much” and “not keeping too much”. And yet we’ve already gone through and disposed of (trash, re-cycle, give-away) more than I thought we even owned.

Simple. Clean. Minimal. Relaxing. That’s the feeling I want to achieve.

I donated over thirty boxes of books to my library bookstore. They were taking up room in storage. If I want to read any of them again, I’ll replace them with an ebook version.

Lean. Light. Uncomplicated.

We’re getting rid of TVs we no longer watch. (We cancelled cable two years ago. If there’s anything we want to see, we watch it online.) And furniture we no longer use. We’re going through everything, drawing hard lines about what we will keep and what we won’t.

Less. Fewer. Modern. Efficient.

One of my goals is to become paperless this year. We’ve already converted most of our billing accounts to online. We no longer carry subscriptions to newspapers or magazines. We print very few documents anymore. We prefer to save them to Evernote where they are searchable and safely stored in the cloud.

I work from home. My wife and I agree, we want to live and work in an environment that is simple and uncluttered. Sometimes it’s difficult to get rid of possessions we’ve had in our lives for many years, but once you begin, it gets easier. And since we began, I can tell you it feels great.


My Wish for You in 2012: A Plan for Building Your Law Practice


business development plan for attorney lawyerAre you hoping things will get better in 2012? A lot of people are, but unfortunately, “hope is not a strategy“.

If you want things to get better, you need to make them better. But how?

Don’t start with technique, start with strategy–a plan. What do you want to happen, and why? What will do you do to make it happen? Is this really something you want to do?

Too often, people grab hold of a technique they hear about and run with it. They spend time and money doing the requisite activities, without considering why they are doing it. They install an expensive motor on their row boat hoping it will get them to their destination faster, but they never look at a map.

Techniques are important. Using the right tools for the job, execution, timing–can make a big difference in your results. But without the right strategy, the latest techniques won’t help you to get where you want to go.

What are you good at and enjoy? Writing? Speaking? Networking? Technology? Make it the core of your business building strategy.

Your strategy doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, the simpler it is the better. But simple is not synonymous with small. Your plan should inspire you to accomplish big things. After all, the goal isn’t merely to survive, it is to thrive, and you cannot do that by dabbling.

I’ve seen great practices built by using only one or two techniques. Once you know where you want to go and you have a plan to get there, you don’t need dozens of techniques.

Without the right strategy, no technique is good enough, no matter how much it costs or how hard you work at it. With the right strategy, almost any technique will do.