Dead clients don’t pay your bills

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One of the best sources of new clients is old clients, that is, former clients who haven’t hired you for a while. That’s one reason I repeatedly pound on you about the value of staying in touch.

Anyway, if you haven’t been doing that, or even if you have, there’s something else you can do to “re-activate” lapsed clients.

In the mail yesterday was a letter (remember those?) from a dentist I don’t know but with a return address that sounded vaguely familiar. I’m always curious to see how professionals market themselves so I opened it. Inside was a $100 gift card, good towards any treatment with this dentist.

I don’t live anywhere near his office so why was he mailing this to me? With a quick search online, I figured it out.

It seems that the dentist I went to nearly ten years ago has retired and moved out of state. Before he retired, he took on a young partner, the dentist who send me the gift card. So, basically, my dentist sold out and moved out.

Mystery solved.

Anyway, the gift card is the size of a credit card and made of hard plastic. If you’re using gift cards in your practice, this is a good way to do it. Doesn’t cost you anything unless they use it and if they use it, well, Bob’s your uncle.

So, if you have former clients you’d like to bring back to the mother ship, why not send them a gift card? (The company that produced this card is www.vivaconcepts.com. I don’t know anything about them and don’t endorse them, I just wanted to tell you where you could get some information.)

The letter enclosed with the gift card said that the end of the year is almost upon us and that “now would be a good time to give the gift of a bright holiday smile, and remind you to utilize any unused insurance before it expires.”

Following this, it says, “Enclosed is a gift card for any treatment you may need addressed. You can also give this card to a family member or friend.”

Bingo. Don’t need any dental (or legal) work? You may know someone who does.

It’s called a referral, in case you’re new around here.

Clients can and do give referrals. Here’s how to get more

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Marketing legal services: And now, for something completely different

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Differentiating yourself from other lawyers in your niche market or community is an ongoing challenge. How are you different or better? Why should anyone hire you instead?

I provided many ways to address this in The Attorney Marketing Formula, but today, I want to give you an idea that very few attorneys have ever used. As used to be said on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “And now, for something completely different. . .”:

Gift certificates.

And why not? They work in retail. I’m sitting here looking at an Amazon gift card I got for Christmas that’s I’m itching to use. Why not utilize the same concept for marketing legal services?

You’re an estate planner. You create a gift certificate or card for the preparation of A/B Living Trusts, or a gift card for a $2500 estate planning package, or a $500 gift card that can be used towards any of your services.

You’re an immigration attorney. You create a gift card so family members can help their loved ones get here, or get legal.

You’re a family law attorney. You create a pre-paid divorce card fathers can give to their daughters as a wedding gift. (Don’t laugh. You’d sell a boatload of these in Hollywood.)

Anyway, you get the idea.

If you’re the only lawyer (or the first lawyer) to offer gift certificates or gift cards, people will notice. And write about you. And pay you money.

But it almost doesn’t matter if anyone buys one. You’ll get some great publicity and have something to promote in your newsletter, blog, speaking, or advertising.

Yes, I know there are some thorny ethical issues to contend with. But you’re a lawyer. You’ll figure it out.

Put on your thinking cap transactional attorneys. Small business attorneys, IP attorneys, this is a natural for you.

If you aren’t able to do something like this, there is something you can do instead. Find an attorney who can do this and promote his or her gift cards to your clients and contacts. What do you get out of it? No, not a piece of the action, although that’s not necessarily out of the question. You get a very happy fellow lawyer who will undoubtedly be inclined to reciprocate by recommending your services to their clients. Even though you don’t offer gift certificates.

For more traditional ways to differentiate yourself, get “The Formula”

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