I’m good, but don’t take my word for it

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You love getting positive reviews, don’t you? They’re worth their weight in Gold-Pressed Latinum. Same goes for testimonials.

Reviews and testimonials from clients, and endorsements (from other professionals, industry experts, and so on), are some of the most valuable tools you can use for marketing your practice.

If you get them, use them. Let your clients tell prospects how wonderful you are.

The easy way to get more reviews and testimonials is to ask clients to fill out a survey or evaluation form at end of the case. Allow room to “talk” about how they were treated, what they like about the results you got for them, and so on.

You’ll get something you can use.

What’s that? Your state or country or firm won’t let you use testimonials in your marketing?

Sounds like you better move.

No? Okay, don’t fret. You can use something that’s almost as good: success stories.

Write a story about a case or matter. Describe the problem, issues, and obstacles that were presented to you, what you did for the client and the outcome. 

“Recently, a client called me about [problem]. [Add details–costs, pain, obstacles–legal and factual–and, describe the client’s pain and/or frustration.]”

Describe what you did for the client and how happy they were as a result.

Simple.

Okay, sure, if you have to add “results not typical” or other crap you’re required to add, do it.

And then use the hell out of that story.

Prospective clients want to know what you do. They want to hear what it will be like to work with you. They want to know that you know what you’re doing and a success story is much better than you “telling” them that you do.

Success stories should be a staple in your marketing. Write one today and start using it tomorrow.

Next week, you can write a client horror story. You know, about that client who didn’t follow your advice and made things worse.

Good marketing starts with good ideas

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How to get endorsed on LinkedIn (and why you’ll want to)

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Recently, I’ve gotten several Endorsements from connections on LinkedIn. I’ve been endorsed for Blogging, Marketing, Published Author, Referrals, Productivity, and other skills. If you were kind enough to endorse me, thank you!

So what do these endorsements mean? They mean pretty much what LinkedIn’s “Recommendations” mean–someone thinks highly of you and wants the world to know. So what’s the difference?

“Recommendations” come with a narrative from the endorser, a personalized testimonial from someone who has hired you or otherwise done business with you. Endorsements are more casual observations that can be added with the click of a button.

Recommendations carry more weight than Endorsements because of the personal attestation, but because they take time to write, they are harder to come by.

I think there is a place for both.

How do you get Endorsements and Recommendations? This article suggests two ways:

  1. Ask for them. Send an email to your list, post on your blog, etc., and
  2. Endorse others. Many will reciprocate.

Comments under the referenced article suggest that the ease of getting Endorsements diminishes their value. That’s probably true. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have value.

When someone visits your profile, either because you sent them there or they found you through search, having lots of Endorsements will give them an instant dose of “social proof” regarding your skills and experience. Yes, there may come a time when Endorsements are so common people don’t notice them, but they will surely notice if other attorneys have them and you don’t.

Want to earn more? Of course you do. Here’s where to start.

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Why attorneys need to brag (and how to do it without opening your mouth)

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One of the primary objectives for any attorney interested in attracting clients is to show the world why they are a better choice. One way to do that is by bragging about your achievements.

Unfortunately, nobody likes a braggart.

The obvious alternative is to let others brag about you. That’s what word of mouth is all about. Happy clients telling others. Your task, then, is to make sure your clients and contacts know about your achievements and have an easy way to share them with others.

You need a “brag book”.

What is a brag book?

A brag book is a place to collect laudatory information about you. It’s a physical notebook, or the digital equivalent, with pages of clips and stories and information about you and your accomplishments.

Those clips and stories show people what you have done for others and suggest that you can do the same for them. The book is filled with third party validation, proving that you are experienced and knowledgeable and trustworthy.

What’s in a brag book?

Your brag book can have a variety of content:

  • Testimonials
  • Endorsements
  • Awards
  • Thank you letters
  • Articles about you, your cases
  • Articles by you, especially if they appear in an important publication
  • Photos of you with happy clients
  • Photos of you with important people
  • Photos of you helping a charity or important cause
  • Photos of you speaking from stage
  • A photo tour of your office
  • Success stories about your clients/cases
  • Stories about big/important verdicts
  • Press releases
  • Your CV or bio
  • Client survey results
  • FAQ’s that show how and why you are different/better

How do I use my brag book?

Use the contents of your brag book whenever you create a new marketing document. Having this information and these documents and photos in one place will make it easier for you or your copywriter to put together new brochures, seminar slides, web pages, or other documents.

You can also put together an entire book that can be shown to clients and prospects, meeting planners, publishers, and others you want to impress.

Use your brag book, or mini-versions thereof:

  • On the table in your waiting room
  • Framed on the wall in your office
  • As a page your web site; link to it from your “About” page
  • As a handout at seminars, networking events
  • As your “firm brochure”
  • In your “new client kit”
  • Send it to prospects who inquire about your services

How do I start a brag book?

Start by collecting these documents and putting them in one location. If you have paper documents, scan them. You could set up a separate notebook in Evernote for this purpose, or simply add a tag (i.e., “bragbook”) to any note that contains brag-worthy information or documents.

As your collection of items grows, you’ll be prompted to seek out additional documents to add to your book. You might ask more clients to provide a testimonial, for example, or make a point of saving copies of photos you have been tagged in on Facebook.

Once you have started your book, it will remind you to fill it, and use it.

Do you have a brag book? Are you going to start one? How will you use it?

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Testimonials vs. endorsements: why attorneys need both and how to get them

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Earlier today, I reported the news about one of my posts being chosen Pick of the Week by SmallLaw, a Technolawyer email publication. It is an honor to be recognized by one’s peers and I hope you are being similarly recognized.

From a marketing standpoint, awards and other mentions, particularly from a peer, are an endorsement of your character or abilities, providing a form of “social proof” to the market that what you do has value and can be trusted. This kind of approbation is even more valuable when it comes, as did this award, unsolicited.

Attorneys should have both endorsements and testimonials in their marketing tool box and leverage them to get new clients and build their reputation.

Testimonials are words of praise from satisfied clients attesting to your manner and abilities. They hired you, they were happy with what you did for them, and they recommend your services to others.

Endorsements are words of praise from peers or other highly regarded individuals attesting to your character or some aspect of your abilities with which they are familiar. Awards from peers are a form of endorsement. A letter from a judge you have appeared before, photos of you with heads of state, or a letter of thanks from the head of a charitable committee you served on are other forms of endorsements.

Testimonials and endorsements can be used throughout your marketing materials to convince people to hire you, to send you referrals, or to otherwise engage with you (e.g., booking you to speak). Their power lies in the value of “third party.” When you say you are good, you risk sounding arrogant (even if it’s true) and your words may be doubted. When a third party sings your praises, it is accepted and far more persuasive.

From this day forward, I encourage you to not only collect and use testimonials and endorsements, but to actively seek them.

You will get them without asking, just as I did my Pick of the Week award. But don’t limit yourself to what may come to you unexpectedly.

When a client says something nice about you, write it down. Send their words to them and ask if you can use those words in a testimonial. Yes, write your own testimonial, based on what your client says.

Or, call your best clients and ask them for a favor: “You’ve been happy with my services, haven’t you? Would you mind providing me with a testimonial letter I can use in my marketing?” When they agree, tell them you want to make it easy for them and ask them to say a few words about your services. Write them down and send them to the client for approval.

You can also solicit endorsements. Call an attorney you know who respects you and ask them. Tell them it’s for marketing purposes and offer to reciprocate.

Another type of endorsement can be had by volunteering on a Bar committee, community group, or other “good work”. You may not get an award for your efforts, but you will get the implied endorsement of the group by simply including your participation in your bio.

Clients often don’t understand what you do and are usually poor judges of your ability to do it. Third party testimonials and endorsements bridge the gap and convince them that you can help them because you helped someone “just like them” or because someone important says you can.

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