The secret to success in the courtroom, boardroom, and new car showroom


If you want to win more trials, negotiate better deals, and make lots of money so you can buy new cars, the secret has just been revealed.

According to a study of over a billion Tweets during sporting events, being confident makes you more popular than being right. “The more opinionated [the tweeters] were, the more influential and trustworthy they were perceived to be,” the study found.

I’m not surprised. People are attracted to confident people. They listen to them and want to follow them.

I am a little surprised, however, by the researcher’s correlation of “loud” and “confident”. “Despite professional pundits and amateur fans making a similar amount of correct and incorrect predictions, the tweeters who ‘yelled’ louder were seen as more trustworthy and had more followers,” they said.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear people “shouting,” I see it as a lack of confidence. When you have the facts on your side, you don’t need to shout. But maybe that’s not true on Twitter where you have to make noise so you can be heard above the incessant chatter.

In the real world, I have occasionally raised my voice slightly to emphasize a point in a negotiation or in oral argument. It is done sparingly and it is very brief, no more than a word or two. Mostly, I rely on a calm and sober recitation of the facts. I’ll bet you do, too.

Maybe that’s why many attorneys aren’t loving social media. We’re too self-conscious. We want to win friends and influence people but we don’t want to shout to do it.

Fortunately, there is another way to be popular on social media. According to another study, referenced on the same page, “Twitter users who posted positive, easy-to-read messages that contained news and other factual information, gained 30 times more followers than grumpy, self-centred [sic] tweeters.”

So, if you want more friends and followers, and you want to win more arguments and more trials, be confident, stay positive, and share valuable information. And if you are inclined to shout, make sure it’s not about you.

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Please retweet this!


A fundamental precept in marketing is that you get a higher response when you tell people what to do. Tell them to buy, tell them to sign up, tell them to call, and more people will.

The infographic below, about The Art of Getting Retweets, has some interesting stats about the best days and times to tweet, optimal tweet length, and the use of urls and hashtags for maximum retweetability. It also offers compelling statistics that support the efficacy of telling (asking) people what to do:

“Please retweet” has a 51% retweet rate followed by “PleaseRT” which has a 39% retweet rate. Using neither of the two yields only a 12% retweet rate.

The Art of Getting Retweets
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Frequency of asking for a retweet must be a factor. Someone who constantly asks for a retweet, like the boy who cried wolf, probably doesn’t get a lot of retweets. It is the rarity of this request that undoubtedly gets people’s attention and compliance.

Although it is not stated in the infographic, it is also well known that a higher response occurs when you also tell people why they should do what you ask. This may be due to associated scarcity and fear of loss implied in a statement like, “Buy now before our prices go up,” but there’s evidence that that’s not the only reason.

I read about one psychological study involving a long queue at a copy machine in a college library. A female “student,” holding a sheet of paper, asks the person at the front of the line if she can cut in. When she gives them a reason for needing to cut in line, she gets a significantly higher percentage of the subjects to agree. What was remarkable about the study is that it didn’t matter what reason the student gave for asking to cut in line. Even when the “reason” was as empty as, “. . .because I need to make a copy. . .,” she got a higher response.

So telling people what to do and giving them a reason, no matter how weak that reason may be, will increase response.

Put this in your notes because you should should have this in your notes.

(Did you?)

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The Best Ways to Engage Clients on Facebook and Twitter are Also the Simplest


Get More Facebook LikesSocial media marketing is networking online. Having fans and followers without engaging them would be like going to a networking event and not talking to anyone.

What do you do when you don’t know what to post or you don’t have time to converse with your fans and followers?

A recent survey by Roost, a social marketing platform, has the answer. They evaluated more than 10,000 Facebook and Twitter posts by small businesses from over 50 industries and determined which posts yield the highest levels of interaction. It turns out the activities with the highest levels of engagement happen to be the simplest and most accessible.

According to blogger TJ McCue who wrote about the survey, “the best way to achieve Likes is through photo posts, quotes and status updates, with photos providing 50 percent more impressions on average than any other post type, and quotes providing 22 percent more interactions when compared to all post types.”

That’s good news. Photos and quotes are already streaming through your feed. All you need to do is is share the ones you like.

More good news: links are 87 percent more likely to be shared than any other post type. So, as you go about your daily reading of blogs and articles, find the ones you like and share them.

The bottom line is that you don’t need to spend a lot of time engaging your followers, nor do you need to have original content, although in my opinion that can only help. Unless, of course, you want to share all 187 photos of your family trip to Disneyland.

Social media is networking online and sharing of content is part of the conversation. But just because it’s easy to share everything doesn’t mean you should. Share content that you like, but even more, share content the people who follow you will Like (with a capital “L”).


The Internet killed all the good clients


questions clients ask attorneys lawyersI’ve represented thousands of clients in my career. As far as I know, only one prospective client interviewed me and chose not to hire me. The rest I either signed up or I chose not to.

I say “as far as I know” because there may have been others who interviewed me and I wasn’t aware of it. But the woman who thanked me for my time and was never seen again stands out in my mind because the experience was so unusual.

New York criminal defense lawyer, Scott Greenfield, says that in the Internet age, things are different. People read articles and blog posts that provide lists of questions a well educated consumer should ask lawyers before retaining them, and that’s what they do. Questions like, “how many cases do you have,” “how many have you handled in the past,” and “how many have you won?” are now common.

The problem, Greenfield says, aren’t the questions but the prospective client’s inability to interpret the answers. Greenfield quotes Matt Brown’s original post at Tempe Criminal Defense:

They want numbers about my experience, my practice, the system, and their case. It’s because numbers make an unscientific decision like hiring a lawyer seem somewhat scientific. It’s a complex decision, and the idea of boiling the process down to comparing statistics comforts some people.

Unfortunately, a little knowledge can be a bad thing. A numbers-obsessed prospective client can easily end up worse-informed than someone who doesn’t ask any questions. The problem isn’t the information, but their perspective. Information, especially numbers, can be misleading without context.

Greenfield says this is a relatively recent phenomenon, and I agree. “Rarely did people run around interviewing a dozen criminal defense lawyers whose names they found online. They sought recommendations and then acted upon them. Weeks and months weren’t lost to interviews, not to mention many hours of both lawyer’s and potential client’s lives, in this strange new process.”

Matt Brown wrote about the challenge of being interviewed by a prospective client with a list of questions:

They wanted an exact number, so I told them. At the time, the number was fourteen. I immediately realized they weren’t going to hire me.

The number startled them. They asked me how I kept them all straight. Fourteen seemed like a huge number to them. Without a frame of reference, I might as well have told them I was too busy to handle the case.

One client hears “fourteen,” thinks that’s a big number and that you won’t have time to handle their case. The next client hears “fourteen” and thinks, “that’s all; you must not be very good.” This is an issue you must be prepared to deal with, but it’s not a problem. It’s an opportunity.

When a prospective client comes to see you, armed with a list of questions, it is an opportunity for you to educate him and give him the context they lack.

Show them what the numbers mean in the real world. Explain how attorneys work and how you are different. Tell him what he needs to know and give him credit for being intelligent enough to make the right decision. And ask him questions to find out what he wants and to make sure he understands what you are telling him.

You see, it’s not his job to interpret the numbers, it’s yours.

Most attorneys provide a proforma answer to these questions and cross their fingers. Some attorneys get frustrated and wish people would stop asking. Smart attorneys are not only prepared for these questions, they welcome them.

Questions from prospective clients open the door for you to demonstrate your knowledge, your experience, and your compassion. In teaching prospects what the articles do not, with patience and respect, you provide value to the prospective client that he doesn’t get anywhere else. That value fosters trust and ultimately, clients hire attorneys they feel they can trust.

That’s why referred clients ask so few questions. Because a friend referred them, they already trust you.

Yes, it takes effort on your part to earn that trust when a client finds you online. If you want their business, if you want them to choose you instead of the many other attorneys they find online, you need to give them a reason.

Take a few minutes to teach them what they need to know, answer their questions, and make sure they understand and are satisfied with your answers. The extra effort is worth it. Once they trust you and hire you, they will refer other clients to you and you won’t have to work so hard.


Attorney Marketing 101: How to Improve Your Social Media Profile


Marketing legal services on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social media platform, begins with your profile. This is the first thing prospective clients and referral sources see.

Here are five tips for making a good first impression:

  1. Your account name. Ideally, this should be your name, not your firm or practice. Social media is about people engaging with other people. You may “like” or “follow” a company or product page but you can’t talk to that product, only to the people behind it. The ultimate purpose of social media marketing is to expand your “warm market,” i.e., the number of people who know, like, and trust you. YOU, not your firm. Brand yourself, not your firm. Your firm can also have a page or profile, but this is not a substitute for your own personal profile.
  2. Your profile photo. This should be a photo of you. Not your firm logo, not a group shot, not a sunset, not your dog. People want to see who are they are friending/following/engaging with/thinking about hiring. Anything other than your photo puts distance between you and them. Use a professional looking head shot. It doesn’t have to be a professional photo, but you must look “professional”. No mugging. Clients don’t hire clowns.
  3. Your bio. Don’t make it all about your work, include personal references. This invites conversation. The first step in any networking conversation is the “search for commonalities,” so if you like to play chess, as I do, include it in your bio. Also, your bio is not a resume. (If you’re looking for a job, include a link to your resume or linkedin profile). Therefore, don’t make your bio about your work history. Nor should it be an ad for your services. Talk about how you have helped clients in the past, so that prospective clients can see what you can do for them. One more thing: include your location. People hire local attorneys.
  4. Link to your web site and other social media accounts. Don’t rely on one account, give people as many ways to read about you and engage with you as possible. Someone may find you on LinkedIn, for example, but converse with you via Twitter. Also, I just updated my Twitter profile to include a link to my web site, even though I already had it in the box Twitter provides for that purpose. The reason: when you first look at a Twitter profile you don’t see the web site link until you click through to the actual profile. This post says that making this change increased the number of clicks from Twitter to her web site. Make sure to include “http://” to make the link clickable.
  5. Include keywords. Social media profiles show up in search results on the site itself and via search engines. Include your key words throughout your profile, so someone looking for an estate planning attorney in Tampa can find you.

Go take a look at your social media profiles. Can people find you? Are you making a good first impression?


Is Twitter marketing for lawyers a waste of time?


A new study, reported by Mashable, finds that while nearly half of Americans use Facebook, only 7% use Twitter.  So, is it safe to ignore Twitter in marketing your law practice? The answer lies in an understanding of who uses Twitter.

According to the study, Twitter usage is dominated by “power users,” (approximately 22%) who are responsible for the majority of Tweets (approximately 90%). While these probably don’t reflect the target market of most lawyers, it’s logical to assume that this group of regular Tweeters is comprised of well-connected, avid communicators who could turn out to be a great source of referrals for lawyers.

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here by suggesting that the frequent-tweeter club includes a lot of professionals, many of whom have followers in your target market. The numbers may be small but the influence is great. These are the folks you want to meet–and network with–and Twitter is a great way to find them.

Twitter is also continuing to grow and enter the mainstream. Those of us who have staked a small claim will benefit by that growth.

I don’t consider myself a power user of Twitter or any other social media tool. Far from it. But through Twitter, I’ve been able to meet some power users. And that’s the point. Networking is not about meeting everyone, it’s about meeting a few of the right people.


What do SEO and client relations for lawyers have in common?


“I’m a busy lawyer. I don’t have a lot of time to write a newsletter or blog.”

Good. If you have time to write a lot, your clients and prospects might not read what you send them.

While frequency of contact is important, quality is far more important. Instead of writing low-quality weekly messages, you’ll do far more to strengthen your relationships and build your reputation by sending a high-quality missive once a month.

I am subscribed to hundreds of blogs and email newsletters. My email inbox and RSS feed reader are inundated. Several times a day I peruse these offerings. I spend most of that time skimming the headlines and deleting or archiving nearly every article. I may scroll through ten or twenty percent but I probably read no more than two percent. The ones I read (and, often save) are where the real value for me lies.

I stay subscribed to this multitude of newsletters and blogs because they give me a sense of what’s trending in my areas of interest. I also find articles I can share with my Twitter and Facebook companions. And, I do find articles worth reading. If I don’t have time to read them on the spot, I save them to read later. Many of the publications I follow publish several times per week; some of the bigger publications publish twenty or thirty articles per day.

I filter through a large quantity of articles looking for the few of high quality. Sometimes they come from the multitude. More often, they come from the handful of sources that consistently provide high quality material. They may not post frequently and not everything they post is golden, but the most useful material (for me) usually comes from the same sources. Those are the ones I look forward to and make sure I read.

So, if you write a newsletter or blog, you don’t have to write every day or three times a week or even weekly. Write when you can but make it worth reading. Your clients and prospects will appreciate it.

Apparently, uncle Google agrees. Carolyn Elefant writes that while in the past, quantity of keywords and links to a web site determined primacy in search engine ranking, Google has modified its algorithm to better reflect the quality of those keywords and links. You don’t need everyone linking to your site, so long as you have the right ones.