Sorry, you don’t qualify to hire me


Wouldn’t it be great to be able to pick and choose who can (and can’t) hire you?

It would and you can start doing it immediately.

Decide who you want as a client in terms of demographics, industry or market, and other factors, and don’t accept anyone else. Or, accept them if you want to, but don’t target them.

Invest your time and resources attracting your “ideal” client.

This will necessarily be a small segment of the entire market of people who might need your services. Why limit yourself?

Because it will make your marketing much more effective and your practice more profitable and enjoyable.

You’ll bring in better clients, the kinds you have determined you want to work with, and eliminate ones you don’t.

Many prospective clients will seek you out because they’ve heard about you from people they know and trust. They’ll be pre-sold on you and your services and won’t need a lot of persuading to sign up.

These clients will be able to pay you and will have a lot of work for you (because you targeted clients who do). They’ll also have more referrals for you, people like themselves who are a good fit for you.

Professionals and businesses in your target market will more readily steer people your way, because they’ve also heard about you from people they trust, some of whom will be their existing clients.

Is this starting to sound too good to be true?

Maybe it is. Maybe your message won’t resonate, your reputation won’t precede you, or people won’t trust you or want you anywhere near their clients and contacts.

But maybe they will.

How about finding out?

Start by understanding that “not everyone is your customer” and that you get to choose.

Choose well, my friend. You might be pleasantly surprised and handsomely rewarded.

If not, you can always go back to marketing to everyone and taking what you get.

Here’s how to choose your niche market and ideal client


The chicken AND the egg


Most lawyers don’t think about it. They present what they do to the world and see who’s interested.

“Here’s some information about the law and about me and my services. If you have this problem or that desire, here’s what I can do to help you.“

When someone shows interest, they talk to them and show them more.

In time, these lawyers get to know more about their clients and their markets and are better able to serve them and more easily market to them.

This works.

But there’s another way.

The other way is to build your audience first and tailor what you do and how you present it to appeal to that audience.

You find a niche that has a need (and the ability to pay a lawyer). You study the niche and learn all about it. And you create marketing materials, websites, and approaches that speak to that audience.

With the first approach, the market is bigger, but there is more competition. It is harder to stand out, and marketing is less effective and more expensive.

The second approach has less competition, marketing is less expensive and more effective, but by definition, the chosen niche is smaller than the broader market.

Both approaches work; which approach is right for you?

Maybe both.

Offer your services broadly and see who finds you. Learn about them and their market and build relationships with them and the people they know.

At the same time, choose a niche market, study it and target it.

I used both approaches in my practice. I started broadly, learned how to practice law and how to pay my bills.

And then I settled in on a couple of niche markets, which allowed me to grow bigger, faster.

Sometimes, the easiest way to find a niche that’s right for you is to look for it among your existing clients.

How to find the right niche for your practice


They key to effective marketing


You want to bring in new clients and better clients and have them send you lots of referrals, don’t you?

Okay, no brainer.

You also want this to happen almost effortlessly, without requiring a lot of time or effort.

More empty-skullery

Now, you might think I’m going to give you a complicated formula for achieving this—a long list of things you have to know or do.

But I’m not.

I’m just going to give you one thing you need to do. Because if you embrace it and do it, it will bring you everything you ask.

I’m not exaggerating. It was the key to my success in my practice and my businesses. The “one thing” that made everything else work.

It’s not a strategy, technique, or tool. The key to effective marketing is simply understanding your market.

To know all about the market or niche and the people in it. What they want, what they need, what they talk about and worry about. Because the more you know your market, the more you’ll know what to say to them to get them to see you as the solution to their problem.

Not just one solution, the best solution.

The more you understand them and the world they occupy, the more easily you can relate to them and they to you. And the more likely they will be to say yes, give you all their legal work, and refer their friends and business contacts.

Study your market and the people in it. Learn about their fears and insecurities, their pain, their desires, their fears and their doubts.

Yes, it is that simple.

Of course, in order to know your market, you have to have a market. This will help you choose the right market for you.


My services are for everyone!


Lawyers, hear me. While it’s true that you can perform your services for anyone with certain legal problems, if you target your marketing to “everyone,” you’re making a mistake.

Not everyone will hear your message, let alone relate to it. Not everyone will be ready, willing, and able to hire you. Not everyone will be able to provide you with repeat business and referrals, which you should know by now are the sine qua non of a successful practice.

When you target everyone, you target no one.

Instead of targeting everyone, define and market to the clients you define as ideal.

You’ll get more clients and better clients when you do.

You may not want to narrow the field, because you don’t want to miss out on someone who might hire you or refer you. But if you’re willing to let go of people who aren’t your ideal, you’ll more than make up for any lost business from the people who are.

Because the narrower you define your target market and ideal client, the easier and more effective (and profitable) your marketing will be.

You’ll get more clients with less effort. You’ll spend less time and less money to find them (actually, have them find you), deliver your message, and convert them into clients.

Those clients will also pay you more because they know you are the one everyone in their niche is hiring and talking about.

More good news.

Targeting an ideal client (instead of “everyone”) doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t reach others. You will. Other people will hear about you and make their way to your door.

Take their money. Tolerate clients who aren’t in your target market.

But don’t target them.

Spend your time and money and tailor your marketing message to a laser-focused ideal client.

Who is your ideal client? That’s what you have to figure out.

To start, ask yourself, “Who is NOT my ideal client?”

I’ll help you start your list:

  • People who don’t live or work in a jurisdiction where I am licensed
  • People who don’t hire lawyers
  • People who don’t have/won’t spend money to hire a lawyer
  • People who are hard to work with, e.g., they’ve previously hired and fired (or been fired by) several lawyers on the same matter
  • People who aren’t married (if you’re a divorce lawyer); yes, they might get married some day, and they might have referrals for you, but we’re looking for your “ideal” client

And go from there. (And yes, “people” includes businesses.)

You can define your ideal client by age, industry or profession, and many other factors.

And you should.

The more specific you are, the more likely you’ll be to be sought after and hired by clients who are a great match for you.

To learn how to choose a target market and ideal client for your practice, pick up a copy of The Attorney Marketing Formula.


It doesn’t get any niche-ier than this


“F-F-F space, J-J-J space” — I can still hear the sound of my high school typing teacher called out the cadence for us as we learned the home row keys on our manual Remington machines.

I used typewriters for many years, in school and beyond, but I can’t say I enjoyed it. Too much fussing with the paper and ribbon, keys getting stuck and, oh, those damn corrections.

But some people like typing on typewriters, even today. I just saw a few minutes of a video by a guy who is clearly a typewriter nerd. He types on them, he collects them and fixes them, and he talks about them on his channel with folks who share his passion.

Suppose there was a lawyer who belonged to that group, or who regularly networked with the people in it? What if the group had meetings and invited speakers and the lawyer was a regular? What if the group had their own publication and the lawyer wrote for it?

Most of the people in that group would know the name of that lawyer.

When someone in the group needs a lawyer, do you think they would talk to him? If someone has a friend who needs a lawyer, do you think they would tell that friend about their typewriter-loving lawyer buddy?

Yes and yes.

That lawyer could be the “go to” lawyer in that group. He would probably own that niche and get the lion’s share of the legal work in it.

Word of mouth is strong in a niche market, and there is less competition. Which makes it easier to stand out. Which is one reason niche marketing is so powerful.

Ideally, you want to find a niche that’s small, but not too small. You want to be the big fish in a small pond, not a whale in a one-gallon fishbowl.

Some would say that the typewriter-loving niche is too small, too niche-y to be worth a lawyer’s time.

But here’s the thing about niche markets: passion trumps size.

Everyone in a niche also belongs to other niches. When you are well-known by the members of one niche, you potentially have access to everyone else they know in other niches.

Typewriter-man may be the retired CEO of a big company in your target market, and have a list of contacts as long as your arm. If he knows, likes, and trusts you, because you connected via your shared interest, you may be in like Flynn.

How to choose the right niche for you


Do you speak your clients’ language?


I just read an article about working with clients who aren’t proficient in English. There were some good tips, but no surprises.

For most of my legal career, I maintained offices targeting non-English speaking clients. So I was surprised to see that the article didn’t mention hiring staff that speak those languages, which is what I have always done.

No, you can’t do that for every language. You also have to be ready to use one of the other options mentioned, e.g., hiring interpreters and using translation services.

But having full-time staff who spoke the languages spoken by a preponderance of the people in my target market not only made sense, it also gave me a competitive advantage over offices that didn’t.

When people in the community heard about me or saw my ads in their language, they felt more comfortable coming to me and referring their friends, customers, or clients. Even if they were fluent in English, I know they appreciated the effort we made to accommodate others who weren’t.

Niche marketing isn’t just about providing foreign language capabilities, however. Every niche has its own lexicon, its own fabric of experiences, and targeting niche markets allows you to show them you speak their “language”.

You can create content and marketing messages that are more relevant to that market. You can use their buzzwords and provide examples and stories that reflect their world. You can talk about niche-specific issues, quote influential people they recognize, and be seen as an advocate for their causes.

And thus show them you understand their market, care about it, and have experience in helping the people in it.

Word of mouth is strong in niche markets. Which means if you do things right, you can usually build a practice more quickly in a niche market than you can outside of it.

But only if you speak their language.

How to choose your niche market


Your mind to my mind… your thoughts to my thoughts…


When was the last time you had a mind meld with your clients? And by that I mean, when did you spend time studying your target market and ideal client?

To learn what they want, how they think, and what they already know?

Do you know what they read? Who they listen to? What ideas are roaming around in their head? Do you know how they talk? Are you up-to-date with the legal and non-legal issues in their industry or market?

I ask this because understanding your client is the single most important element in your marketing, and most attorneys spend very little time studying their market and the people in it.

But you should.

It will make your marketing more effective, by allowing you to show your clients, prospects, subscribers and followers, that you understand them.

Other lawyers show them they know the law and can provide solutions to their problems. When you show prospective clients you understand their market, and them, they don’t have to be convinced you can help them, they know it.

When you tell them something, they’re less likely to doubt it. When you offer them something, they’re more likely to accept it. When you ask for their help, they are more likely to comply because they know, like, and trust you and want to help you.

They’re also more likely to forgive your errors and omissions, less likely to stray, and less likely to second-guess your judgment or your bill.

Knowing your market also makes your marketing easier. In a few minutes, you can dash off a short email or blog post, for example, without having to figure out what to say or how to say it–you already know.

Knowing your market also helps you develop deeper relationships with the professionals and advisors in that market. When they know someone who needs an attorney, they’ll be more likely to give you the referral.

So, what are you waiting for? Start (or re-start) studying your market. The first step is to write down what you know about your target market and ideal client.

Then, start asking questions and getting some answers.

This will help.


Are you focusing on your market or your marketing?


It all comes down this: generic marketing (which most lawyers do) vs. marketing that is customized to your target market.

Generic marketing is “one size fits all”. It focuses on the lawyer or firm, not the market or client. Because of that, their marketing tends to produce poorer results because one size does not fit all.

If you handle family law, for example, every service you offer could be (should be) packaged and presented differently for each of the different types of clients you target.

The prosperous professional fighting tooth and nail to modify a visitation order is very different from the millennial who just wants to get things over with.

Your marketing must reflect those differences.

That’s why you need to decide who you are marketing to (and who you are not) and understand what makes them tick.

What do they want? What will get their attention? What will persuade them? What type of lawyer will they relate to?

Study your target market. What are their highest values, most painful problems, and most fervent desires?

When you’ve figured that out, your marketing is much more effective.

You spend less time and less money marketing to them. Your words and examples resonate with them. You get more of them to make an appointment and more to sign up.

Because they see that you understand them.

Generic marketing is simple. But so much less effective. Everyone hears the same message, and most people tune you out.

You have to work harder and spend more time and more money getting your message out into the world. You have to make sure your fees are “competitive” because the clients you’re likely to attract are comparing your “offer” to everyone else’s.

If you want your marketing to be more effective, if you want to get a higher percentage of people saying yes and paying more, don’t focus on your marketing, focus on your market.

As a friend of mine puts it, “Go so deep into a single niche that you know your customers [he advises businesses] better than they know themselves.”

I show you how to do that in my email marketing course


How to get paid more for your services


If you want to earn more than other lawyers in your field and do it more consistently and with less effort, I have some advice for you:

Target people with money.

Not the low end of the market. Not the price shoppers. Not merely people with problems you can fix but people with problems you can fix who have the money to pay for the solutions you offer.


Hold on. In order to land this type of client, you need to persuade them that you can give them what they want.

What do they want?

They want an expert. A lawyer who specializes in problems like theirs and clients like them.

They’re willing to pay more for that lawyer because they believe a specialist has a higher degree of knowledge and experience and, more than anything else, they want a lawyer they can count on to get the job done.

They want to know that if they hire you, you will take care of the problem, without unnecessary delays or complications.

They’ve buying peace of mind, and they’re willing to pay top dollar for it.

There are many ways to convince these clients you can do the job, but the simplest way is to get referred to them.

The referring party, client or professional, essentially vouches for your expertise and reliability.

You don’t have to persuade the client you can do the job, the referring party does it for you, in great part simply because they are referring you.

So, if I were in your shoes, I’d do what I could to make referrals the core of my marketing.

And, in order to get referrals to clients with money, I’d make sure I got some clients with money and made friends with professionals who represent clients with money, so they can refer their friends and clients to me.

Because you get referrals to clients with money by targeting clients with money.

This will help you get more referrals


Gene Gene The Dancing Machine


Bet you know some successful lawyers who aren’t especially talented. They’re like Gene Gene The Dancing Machine on the old Gong Show.

They can’t dance but hey, they’re on TV.

Sure, some of them get on TV by saying and doing outrageous things. But I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about ordinary lawyers who don’t be-clown themselves in public but are still able to get the clients and make the money.

How do they do it?

Connections? Hard work? Luck? Are they smooth talkers, good at getting people to buy their act?

It could be any of these.

Or it could be they’re good at marketing themselves.

One way they do that is to find a niche and focus on it. They learn everything they can about that market and dedicate themselves to it. They identify some of the centers of influence in that market and get to know them.

They get a few clients and then leverage their relationships with those clients to get more.

They stay in touch with their clients and prospects, and with professionals in their niche, keeping their name in front of them, building their reputation.

That leads to introductions, word-of-mouth referrals, and more clients and professional contacts in the niche.

If they network, they do it with primarily with prospective clients and centers of influence in their niche. By going “deep” instead of “wide,” they are able to get more results with less effort.

If they speak or write a blog or create videos or other content, they make sure they tailor their information to the issues and people in their niche.

If they advertise, they target the people and problems in their niche and ignore everyone else, thereby lowering their lead costs and increasing the effectiveness of their ads.

In other words, they don’t try to compete with everyone. They focus their marketing on a small niche market and eventually dominate it.

They become the big fish in their small pond. And then, if they want to, they find another pond.

Something even untalented lawyers and dancing machines can do.

If you want help choosing a good niche market for your practice, The Attorney Marketing Formula is required reading.