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 more positive reviews

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You obviously know that positive reviews and testimonials are some of your most powerful marketing assets. If you’re not actively soliciting and using these in your practice, you’re missing the boat.

If you’re on the boat and you want to get more (and better) reviews, I’m going to show you how.

STEP ONE

Gather up a handful of your best reviews and testimonials. (If you’re lacking in this department, I’ll show you what to do.)

STEP TWO

Take three or four of your best reviews and send them to all new clients, along with a letter that says something like this:

“My practice depends on keeping our clients not just satisfied but delighted. That’s what I’m working to achieve. Enclosed are a few reviews I’ve received from clients that show me that I’m doing things right.

I’m proud of reviews like these and I will do my best to provide you with the same high level of service and satisfaction as expressed by these clients. That’s my promise to you.

At the end of the case, if you feel I’ve delivered on that promise, I hope you will also leave me a great review.”

STEP THREE

At the end of the case, when you survey your clients, include a letter reminding them of your promise and your hope that if they believed you delivered on that promise, they would be inclined to leave you a good review.

Enclose a few additional positive reviews and give them a link to your review profile or a page where you’d like them to post their review.

And that’s it. This should bring you more reviews and better reviews, because you planted the idea that reviews are normal, expected, and appreciated, gave them examples of great reviews, and at the end of the case, reminded them to leave one.

Now, what do you do if you don’t have great reviews to show your clients?

That’s simple. Write them yourself.

Write the reviews you’d like to receive from your clients. Include all the accolades you’d love to see, and more importantly, prospective clients need to see to convince themselves that you’re the one.

Send these to new clients as examples of good reviews.

Tell them you wrote the reviews yourself because although you have positive reviews (if you do), they are brief and you hope that by sending these examples to your new clients, when the time comes, they will find it easier to write a more detailed review.

Tell them you promise to work hard and keep them happy and that if you deliver on that promise, you hope they will feel compelled to write a review of that caliber.

Live up to that standard and it won’t be long before you’ll have some amazing real reviews to show your clients.

Make your website great again

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Reviews are starting to come in

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The first review for my new book, The Easy Way to Write a Book is in and it’s a humdinger.

It points out the value of the “real world examples” in the book and says, “Anyone should be able to use this guide to whip out a book in a week or two. Delivers exactly what it promises.”

Nice.

And very much appreciated. Not just by me but by book buyers who are looking for a way to write a book quickly, but aren’t sure if my book delivers.

Reviews help sell books, just as testimonials help sell legal services. I’m not shy about asking for reviews and you shouldn’t be shy about asking your clients to provide a few words about their experience with you.

How do you ask? You just do. You tell them you would appreciate them for leaving a review on XYZ website, or filling out a survey form you provide. Or you wait until they say something nice about you and you ask them if you can post their kind words on your website.

But ask.

Your clients are willing to tell the world what they think about you, but they are busy and need a little prompting.

So prompt.

Anyway, here’s my prompt:

If you picked up a copy of “The Easy Way to Write a Book,” and you liked it, please leave a review. Even one sentence can help someone who is on the fence make a decision.

Here’s the link.

Okay, maybe you don’t want to write a book. No problem. Remember, you can use the ideas in the book to interview professionals you know (or want to know) for your blog or newsletter or podcast. Interviews aren’t just a great way to create content, they are the consummate networking tool.

Maybe you want to write a book but you don’t want to interview anyone, you want to tell your own story. Okay. I heard from a lawyer who is using the ideas in the book to do exactly that. He tells me his book is coming along nicely and he will post a review as soon as he’s done.

So there.

The Easy Way to Write a Book is still just .99 cents, but I will bump up the price soon. (You can read it free if you have Kindle Unlimited).

And if you’re still not sure, you can read the first chapter online here.

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Another way your clients can help your practice grow

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Will you be seeing any clients today? This week? Good. When you’re done with your meeting, ask them if they can help you out with something and tell them it will only take 15 minutes.

When they ask what you have in mind, tell them you want to ask them a few questions about their experience with you and your office.

When they agree, ask them if it would be okay if you record the conversation. And then, do a brief interview.

Ask some basic questions about why they needed a lawyer, how they found you, and what you did for them. Ask about:

  • Their background/occupation
  • The legal issue or objective that prompted them to seek legal help
  • How they found you (referral, search, other)
  • If they saw your website, what did they read, what did they like?
  • Did they talk to other lawyers before they decided to hire you?
  • Why did they choose you?
  • What did you do for them/how did you help them?
  • What did they like best about having you as their lawyer?
  • Is there anything they think you need to improve? Anything you don’t do but should?
  • Would they recommend you? What would they say about you?

And so on. You’ll think of other questions, and they’ll volunteer statements about their experience with you and your firm.

At the end of the interview, ask them if it would be okay to post their comments on your website or put them in your newsletter. Ask them if you could use their name. You might also ask for a head shot photo, or take one on the spot.

Have the interview transcribed. You might use the transcript in it’s entirety, or lift quotes from it and use them in a “client profile”.

There are several benefits to doing this:

  • It’s an easy source of content for your blog or newsletter
  • You’ll get lots of readership. Your other clients and prospective clients like to see what others say about their experience with you
  • The interviewed client will “sell” readers on hiring you, so you don’t have to.
  • Their positive comments help your other clients feel good about their decision to hire you
  • The interviewee may share your post with their friends and followers, bringing you more traffic and more clients (indirect referrals)
  • If your client owns a business, this is a simple way for you to promote that business; they’ll also be likely to share your post
  • You’ll get feedback about what you’re doing right, and ideas you can use to add value

Go ahead, give this a try. Your clients will be flattered that you want to interview them. And once you see how easy this is, you’ll want to do it again.

Could you interview one client per month? Of course you could. If you do, and you write a weekly blog post or article, one-quarter of your monthly content will be taken care of.

More ways to get your clients to provide referrals

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Sell more legal services with better reviews and testimonials

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I got another five star review on one of my Kindle books (on network marketing). It was a great review:

“Probably the most valuable book on network marketing I have ever read. . . and that is saying a lot. If you are in direct sales or network marketing, you will find great benefit in this book. Buy it! Now.”

Nice, huh?

Yes. And very much appreciated. But as good as it is, it could have been better.

When a prospective buyer reads a positive review like this, they will want to know “why?” Why is it so good? How is it different? What will I learn? What will this help me to do? What has it helped you  to do?

They want specifics.

The same goes for reviews of your legal services.

When a client posts a positive review about you online, or sends you a testimonial, encourage them to provide details. If they say you treated them well, ask them to give an example. If they talk about the great job you did on their case, ask them to explain what they mean.

Did you get them a bigger settlement than they expected? Did you close the case quickly? Did you do something extra for them?

Were you nice to their kids? Did you regularly keep them informed about the progress of their case? If they had questions, did you answer them thoroughly? If you weren’t in when they called, did you call them back within 48 hours?

Specifics.

Specifics help prospective clients see the benefits of hiring you. They also make the review more believable.

Reviews that recommend you and your services will bring you more clients. Especially when those reviews explain why they are recommending you.

Want more referrals from other lawyers? Behold. . .

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Testimonials for lawyers: How to use them when you’re not allowed to use them

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Some lawyers aren’t allowed to use testimonials. They are precluded from doing so by their bar association or law firm. That’s a shame. Testimonials are powerful “third party” evidence of the lawyer’s skills, dedication, and trustworthiness. They can help you sign up more clients, get more referrals, and make new clients feel better about choosing you.

If you want to use testimonials, but you aren’t allowed to, here’s what I suggest.

First, make sure you know exactly what you can and cannot do. Carefully read the rules and any case law in your jurisdiction. Contact your bar association and get clarification. You may find that you can use testimonials in print, but not in electronic communication. You may be able to use testimonials if they don’t mention specific results but merely attest to your work ethic or “customer service”.

Look for the loopholes and use them.

Second, consider that a testimonial is essentially a story. The client had a problem, you fixed the problem, and the client lived happily ever after. When the client tells that story, i.e., in their own words, it is a testimonial. You may not be allowed to use their words, but you may be able to use their story.

Let’s say you have a page on your website where you would post testimonials if you were allowed to. What you could do instead is post “success stories” about clients you’ve helped and legal problems you’ve solved. You could title the page, “Recent Client Success Stories”.

You could do something similar in your ads, videos, and presentations. Anywhere you would use a testimonial you can use a success story.

Perhaps the best way to use these stories is to put them in your articles, blog posts, and presentations, to illustrate the points you are making. Weave those stories into your narrative, like this: “Last week, I had a client who. . .”. Describe the problem and the happy solution. You could also tell stories about clients who didn’t follow your advice and had a bad outcome.

To make this even more effective, describe the client. Give a detail or two about their age or background. Help the reader see them in their mind’s eye.

Are clients’ success stories as effective as their testimonials? In some ways, they are more effective.

In some contexts, testimonials may come off as crass and commercial or inconsistent with a lawyer’s image. A success story, on the other hand, especially one that is woven into the narrative of an article, doesn’t have that challenge.

Success stories are a natural, believable, and compelling way to depict you “in action,” solving problems and helping clients. They should be used in all aspects of your marketing, with or without testimonials.

Learn more about success stories and testimonials for lawyers. Click here.

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How clients find lawyers

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My wife needed dental work. After she was seen by her dentist and the work was scheduled, she saw an article in one of the newsletters she reads about a new and “better” procedure. After reading more about the new procedure, she was convinced that this is what she wanted to do and started looking for a dentist who offered it. She found one close by, had her first visit, and booked an appointment to have the work done.

She found “candidates” through a search engine. She choose the dentist she did because

  • They have a great web site. It has lots of information about the dentist and their office, and about the technology and procedures they use. There are also lots of testimonials on the site.
  • They have over 200 five star reviews on Yelp
  • They were friendly and helpful on the phone and when she went in for her first visit. They made her feel like she could trust them and that they cared about her.

By contrast, aside from not offering this new procedure, her now former dentist

  • Doesn’t have a web site
  • Doesn’t have any reviews on Yelp, or anywhere else she could find
  • Didn’t make her feel like he cared

Oh yeah, the new dentist is actually less expensive than the former dentist. Not critical, but nice.

People find lawyers like they find dentists. I’m just saying.

Marketing is easy. But you have do it. Here’s how.

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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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