You may be boring but your message shouldn’t be

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Yesterday, I said that being boring isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a lawyer. Having a sober and level-headed countenance suggests that you know what you’re doing and are confident in your ability to help people.

But while you might be boring, there’s no excuse for having a boring message.

If your articles, blog posts, and presentations are boring, people aren’t going to read or listen, and if they don’t do that, they’re not going to act on them. From your headline or title all the way to call to action, your content must grab the reader by the collar and keep them engaged. It doesn’t necessarily have to be exciting but it can never be dull.

There are many ways to put life and energy into your writing and presentations. One of the simplest is to put people in your content.

Your written and spoken content should include stories about your clients and cases. Illustrate your points by talking about people you have observed or heard about. Provide quotes from experts and other people who have something interesting to say.

In a way, your content should resemble an appellate opinion. Present the facts and the outcome, of course, but drape the facts on the shoulders of real people.

Write a blog post about your client’s business or cause. Interview a colleague about their work or their life. Tell success stories about clients who had problems, hired you, and had a successful outcome.

It is often said that, “facts tell, but stories sell,” and it’s true. Stories sell because they have people in them.

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Every lawyer needs to be able to tell these 5 stories

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When speaking to prospective clients, an audience, interviewers, or professional contacts, you need to be able to tell them about you and what you offer in a way that is interesting and memorable. They should be able to see and understand the people behind the brochure or the web page.

Here are 5 stories you should be prepared to tell that make that possible:

1. Why us

What you do for your clients, the benefits you offer, the kinds of clients you work with, and why someone should hire you instead of other lawyers.

2. Your/your firm’s mission

The big picture about the work you do, your vision for the future.

3. Your personal story

Stories about your past, personal interests, family. The person, not the lawyer, although you can add why you became a lawyer.

4. Client stories

Success stories about people who hired you and received positive results. Have one or two for each practice area/problem and niche market.

5. Partner and/or staff stories

Be prepared to talk about other people in your firm. Clients like to know something about other people who might work with them.

A list of credentials and accomplishments has its place, but to be more effective, talk about people: yourself, your staff, and your clients. Tell stories that show who you are and how you make a difference. Because facts tell, but stories sell.

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3 ways to leverage every case or client to get your next case or client

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Get a client. Do the work. Look for the next client.

That’s what you do, isn’t it? It’s always been that way. It always will be that way. It’s the circle of life.

Hakuna matata.

You can’t change the process. But you might make it more fruitful. Before you move from one case or client to the next, take a few minutes to reflect on how you can leverage that case or client to expand, enhance, or streamline your practice.

Here are three ways to do that:

TALK ABOUT IT

No matter how routine or boring, there’s always something you can talk about. It could be as simple as saying, “I have a new client who. . .” or, “I just finished a case where. . .” and then sharing a detail or two about your client’s background, industry, occupation, demographic, or niche, as well as their issue and what you did for them.

Talk about your cases and clients in conversations with clients, prospects, and professional contacts. It gives you ways to start a conversation or validate a point being made by someone else. It gives you ways to illustrate points in your presentations. And it allows you to remind people about what you do and for whom you do it without talking about yourself.

WRITE ABOUT IT

Every case and client is a story. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. You should be telling those stories in your blog, newsletter, and articles.

If it’s a great story, feature it. If it’s routine, mention it in connection with other mentions about other cases or clients, e.g., “my last three clients.”

Use these stories to illustrate points in your reports or marketing documents. Or use them as prompts when you don’t know what to write about.

At the end of every case, make a few notes and put them in an idea file. You won’t write about every one but you never know which one might provide you with exactly the idea you need.

THINK ABOUT IT

At the conclusion of every matter, take five minutes and ask yourself two questions:

  1. What did I do well?
  2. What can I do better?

By answering these questions, you will almost always find ways to improve your work, your client relations, or your marketing.

There’s one more thing you can do at the end of every case.

Send thank you notes.

To your clients, to expert witnesses, to opposing counsel. Thank them for putting their faith in you, for their help, for their professionalism.

Every case or client presents an opportunity to connect further with someone and set the stage for a deeper relationship. Thank you notes will bring you repeat business, referrals, and a reputation for being someone worth knowing.

Marketing is everything we do to get and keep good clients. Here’s The Formula.

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