Friday, October 18, 2013
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Here's an email that a mastermind client sent to the group. If you do what you know to do, even when it's hard- soon enough it will become a habit.
Subject: Just have to show you a sentence from an email I sent today...
I sent this to an employment attorney who was sending me a potential case...
Well, I finally invested quite a bit in copywriters and designers for my baby, The Practice Target, and I have had the worst luck with getting a new site launched and a sales page up. If something could get in the way, it did. Which is why I'm going to give you information here. On my in-transition to G+ blog.
I have a six month group program called The Practice Target, starting in October- so it's time for imperfect marketing action on my part. Here's the scoop, it's a LONG description, so you have the chance to really "get" what the program is about- in short, the next step is to schedule a conversation if you're interested.
Bad news? Not a lot of prep time or time to choose. And that's the good news too. Think about that.
Here’s How I Can Help You GrowI've designed a 6-month program called The Practice Target. I’ll personally guide you through a transformation of your business. By the end of the course, you will have gone through a series of significant changes to your business.
The key point I’d like you to remember is that I’m there with you during the entire process. Each step is part of a gradual process that will result in an entirely new legal practice.
I’d like you to think of my course as a menu. I’ll offer you proven solutions and you’ll begin selecting the changes you believe are most important to your business. Remember, you are in charge. Over time, you’ll probably want to add more and more of the elements into the mix.
Very simply: each change you make will have an effect on your practice. When you implement more than one of these elements, your practice will begin to transform.
I’m not saying this to hype my program. I’m saying this because it’s the experience of the lawyers who have worked with me already.
Here’s Your Practice Target Roadmap
Month One: Time ManagementIt’s the number one frustration most lawyers face. Where does the time go? Most lawyers do not effectively manage their time. And what we’re really talking about is self management, not time management. Let me be perfectly clear. This has nothing to do with making lists or using alarms, buzzers or bells to keep you on task.
This is about your choice to manage your time and it sets the pace for all the work we will do together. There can only be one person managing your practice. And that person is you. This is the key principle which distinguishes between a well-run practice and one that runs in “last minute” or “crisis mode.”
We start our work together by putting you in charge of your time rather than the circumstances of the day.
Month Two: Setting Goals For Your PracticeIn order to know whether a room is hot or cold, you need a thermometer. If it’s cold, you raise the thermostat. If it’s hot, you lower the thermostat. It’s that simple.
Before we work together on growing your practice, we need to take its temperature. Together we will determine which way to turn the dial.
Most lawyers I work with need to turn the dial up – some by a great deal. This is not a reflection on your skills, talents or compassion as a lawyer. It’s just that you didn’t take any courses on growing or managing your practice. You were just thrown in and what you've achieved is because of your determination.
Now it’s time to grow and set specific goals for your practice.
Month Three: Getting Clients – A Step By Step PlanThis month is about creating a marketing plan that works for you. In this section, we’re going to decide who is the best client for you to work with. (Hint: it’s not anyone with a pulse who walks in the door -even if they’re carrying cash.)
We’re going to decide whom we want to reach and how we want to get through to them. In addition, we will decide what we want to say to them when we have their attention.
It’s the non-sleazy marketing plan built to last. You will never be stuck sitting in their office wondering what to do first or next to get clients after this month.
Month Four: Your Marketing In ActionThis is the month that will forever change your mind about the potential of your practice. This is where the rubber meets the road.
This is about making breakthroughs in your practice and discovering what is possible. Here we move from theory into day-to-day, boots on the ground. You’ll be transforming your practice and recreating it in your target image. Just like no two fingerprints are exactly alike – no two legal offices will do things exactly the same way.
You’ll be in at the bottom floor seeing the effect of the marketing program YOU chose. You’ll be astounded as you discover that getting more of the clients you want to work with is easier than you thought. There's no doubt that legal marketing can have a long cycle time, but by now, you will see a difference. You will know what to do to build your practice.
Month Five: Building Systems For Your Practice: Your Key To Having Clients and A Life At the Same TimeThe way to run an efficient office is to have systems installed. This way, when something happens, your office experiences the equivalent of a speed bump, rather than a crash.
If you use systems to run your office, it’s a much more professional office.
Let me give you an example. You've planned this summer vacation with your family for a year. Your kids have been looking forward to it since you told them. You’re packed and ready to go when suddenly, disaster strikes.
A member of your team becomes ill or wins the lottery and quits. Someone else is going to have to cover that work.
And your kids send you pictures of their vacation via text message. Unless…
You have the right systems in place to make sure a new staff member can step into the job and be up to speed in rapid time. No, this isn’t Disneyland. Law offices like yours can be systematized so they run more efficiently. When I talk about systems, I'm talking about establishing processes, templates, checklists, standards and the like. I don't recommend specific technology brands, but we will discuss technology to support your work and workflow.
When your office is purring on all cylinders, you’ll never be torn about whether or not you can spend time with your family.
When your office runs without you dealing with every detail, you can be more engaged with your clients giving them the highest caliber representation.
Month Six: Sound Financial ManagementI put Financial Management in here even though my clients are lawyers. Most of my clients can handle multiple trust accounts, crunch numbers in divorce settlements, and even keep track of wily accountants. But when it comes to tracking their own numbers, lawyers are way less effective.
Just about every law office I've worked with needs some guidance in this sector. Let’s face it, it’s exciting to see revenue coming in, but boring to truly manage the bottom line. Sometimes it’s scary to face the facts. Challenging to think about actually charging what your work is worth.
Now understand I put this last in the sequence for two reasons:
Number one: by this time I should have built a level of credibility in your eyes.
Number two: most of my clients are very hesitant to admit they need help in this area.
This falls into the area of “Shhh. Don’t talk about it.” No one wants to admit their practice is deficient in this area. But once we make some simple but solid changes, it will have a positive benefit on your practice and your life.
Bonus: Month Seven: Putting It All TogetherI include a seventh month as a bonus. Here’s where you graduate but ONLY after I show you how to efficiently integrate all that you have mastered.
In this month, we’ll make sure that you not only know what to do and how to do it but you've also implemented it.
It’s one thing to know ABOUT the topics we've covered. It’s another thing to actually DO them. Day in. Day out.
I want to make sure you do not feel overwhelmed or as if you are still juggling those balls or spinning plates.
I want you fully comfortable that you can maintain your new level of achievement without frustration.
Then and only then will I feel that I have helped you fully achieve your goals.
What’s Next?Remember how I told you I hate hard selling? Well it’s true. I’d like to invite you to a private conversation with me. This is a conversation – not a sales pitch.
If you are ready to end the frustration and grow your legal practice, I’d like to chat with you.
The consultation is probably an eye-opening experiences that you will encounter in thirty minutes or less. It is an enormously interesting experience. I’ve helped dozens of lawyers find enduring solutions to their practice challenges.
First... I will deeply listen to your situation.
Second... we will explore your own problems and solutions. You will see the possibility of creating this change with the support of a coach and a group of like-minded professionals.
Third ...we will determine if you really want to change your practice model.
Then....if you are a good candidate for program and only if growing your practice is something you really want to commit to... only then... will we discuss our Practice Target program. I've found that whether you have a new practice or have been established for years, we probably can get you better, faster, easier, and more…actually, enduring, results.
Last... You decide. No pressure. No sales. Just a powerful, personal meeting. I give you my word.
I’m either right for you or I am not. You will know it at the consultation that you have with me.
I have a high documented success rate for almost everyone that follows the simple, clear program we lay out together.
Because of the amount of time I spend with each client as well as the group, I actually have a hard limit on the number of clients I work with at any time. If I can not accept you into the October program, I will place you on the waiting list for the next time a place opens.
I am not looking for a commitment to the program. Just the opportunity to spend some quality time with you on the phone.
Please click here to fill out the brief questionnaire and schedule your consultation.
It’s the first step to a new practice. #lawpracticemanagement#
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Was WP, is Google Blogger.
In transition. Using a simple template. Imperfect action.
And is there a Barbara Nelson Coaching site? Nope, not yet. It's all here right now.
And is Successfully Solo coming down? Yup.
Why? Because while everyone loved the name, me most of all- clients refer people to Barbara Nelson. And prospects look for me that way. So.
The whole point of this online presence is to help the people who need my services find me- so I can meet my "impact 40 people's lives in a significant way" goal for the year.
A gorgeous site isn't the point. A snappy name isn't the point. Well, not in my business. It's about helping lawyers to set and meet their goals as efficiently as possible.
Welcome to Barbara Nelson Coaching. The coaching and programs are fully evolved. The online presence, not so much. Glad you found me. I appreciate you.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
I sent a private message to the lawyer as well, with kudos and a question. I was sure I was starting a relationship with someone who would be a worthwhile and interesting connection at the same time I could bring him some attention. In fact, the page got several "likes" and at least one more share and comment originating from my post.
What happened? Absolutely nothing. No response. No answer. I was disappointed and then I felt duped.
My conclusion? Someone else is posting to the page. The lawyer himself isn't monitoring the page. It's a pure marketing play. A bad one. It's the classic "standing on the corner with a megaphone" situation. What a waste. I would have been fine with a short acknowledgement, and truthfully- I'd be fine if someone had authored it for him. I respect time management; leverage where you can.
Don't let it happen to you. If you build it- don't blow it.
[And did you know you can interact with me on Successfully Solo's page? Please do! I'm around nearly daily- unless it's the weekends, when the world beyond "i-this-n-that" calls!]
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Every business writer should have an editorial calendar. Here's a terrific resource from a terrific resource, Amy Porterfield. It's called How to Use Google Calendar to Create an Editorial Calendar. Don't let the title fool you, Amy includes ideas and tips for generating content, it's not just about the technology.
Again- you know I'm a worst offender. I'm going to use the ideas in this article and improve my own posting habits. If you want to increase your search standings, blogging is a great way to do it at the same time you serve your clients great content. Create an editorial calendar. Blog posts, newsletters, Facebook posts and even twitter broadcasting can be mapped out. Begin with your blog and newsletter. Don't get hung up on doing it perfectly, start where you are. Just start.
Hey- it's January, whatever you want to put in place monthly- start now and you'll have a perfect record in 2013! [Subscribe to my 'newsletter' here. Please complain if it doesn't show up monthly.]
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Some of you charge retainers. Managed actively, they're a perfect match of cash flow to effort. Others will be working on a contingency or some other basis where you do the work before you get paid. That adds even more time to the period between signing a client and adding income. If you don't have tight communication and tickler processes, legal work that has no external deadline, like estate-planning, can stretch on and on due to client delays.
Get the picture? Take a look at how you're spending your time right now- and you can start to see how the year will end and what your pace will be as you hit the next quarter. Are you doing what you need to do to have your best year ever?
A day-to-day mindset won’t deliver a successful law practice. The results you see today are the product of the actions you took in the past. On your calendar, block out 60 minutes a week, call it “CEO-time”. You’ll start with a Financial Reality Check. More about that next time.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
I've gotten a lot of requests from lawyers who want me to "Like" their firm's Facebook pages recently. Usually I'm a little obnoxious and I write back asking what their strategy is and what return they are expecting from this investment of their marketing time. It's a challenge, but I hope it has an impact. Many of the pages don't add value, which makes them a poor investment. In fact, a bad or blah page is often worse than no page at all.
Here's a Facebook page I am happy to "Like": https://www.facebook.com/WholeFamilyLawAndMediation
Amy Martell's Whole Family Law page is branded, consistent with her website, full of interesting content that's presented in a variety of ways. The page has purpose and intention. A good example. Check it out.
Do you care if I "Like" your page?
Despite the fact that Amy and I have worked together in the past, and have a friendship- I never received an invitation to "like" her page! BRAVA! I'm not a potential client. I will never hire her, most likely won't be a significant referral source, and there is no business reason for her to invest her marketing resources to get me to her law firm's page. I'm glad she didn't waste her time on a campaign to have me "Like" her page. Very glad I wasn't swept into one automatically because I'm a friend on her personal page.
I may like you, and you may like it if I "Like" your page because you ask, but that doesn't make it a good investment. I already like you. It doesn't matter if I "Like" your page. I'd rather have had that time you spent on it having a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, or a phone chat with you instead. All "Likes" are not created equal. The number of "Likes" isn't a sign of much unless you have a specific strategy and a relevant audience.
Do what matters. Don't do anything that doesn't matter. You don't have time.
It goes for everything. If you're spending time on it, and you're calling it "work"- then your actions have to be connected to a target or goal. If you're investing in a Facebook page as a business strategy, learn how to evaluate and prioritize your spend. Facebook marketing is usually in support of two strategies:
- Engagement with potential clients and referral sources
- Credibility (with potential clients and referral sources)
There are objective ways to measure the effectiveness of your page as a connection or engagement strategy. [You can learn what's relevant in Amy Porterfield's online courses for Facebook marketeers.] In terms of credibility, not so easy- but you can get subjective data by asking prospects where they heard of you, if they've seen your page, etc. You can analyze your fans to know if they're either members of your target market or centers of influence for them. The level of analysis should be appropriate to the level of your investment of time and other resources.
Know what matters. Do what matters. Check your facts and confirm results. Don't do anything that doesn't matter.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Lawyers work with clients who are going through emotional issues; some of them are bound to be on their worst behavior. Here are some things to look out for:
- Clients who seem to see you as their new best friend, someone to confide in, complain to, and connect with constantly
- Clients who don't respond to your requests timely or completely, who require a lot of monitoring and follow-up
- Clients who create "stories" or excuses, and don't acknowledge responsibility
- Clients who are just plain stubborn or unpleasant to deal with, ones that "push your buttons" in some way
- Clients who are rude to your staff
Pre-screening is the most effective way to ensure that all of your clients are ones you enjoy working with. Block time on your calendar this month and review your client base. Can you learn anything that will help you avoid problems going forward? Are there clients you want to plan to let go?
Life is short. Working with clients you don't like, or clients that use up more time and energy than they warrant, is optional. Start work to optimize your client base and soon, you'll have more time and energy for the kinds of clients you love to serve.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
You must make it as easy as possible for the people who have the kind of problems that you solve to find you, choose you, and engage you when they need you. Consistency is not optional.
Take a look at what you've been up to in the past months. Are you seeing the results? Look at what you're doing right now, this month. What does that tell you about how your practice is going to look in the future? Will you be crunched at year-end or socking away cash to cover taxes?
Time to close the books on August. It doesn't take a full year-to-date analysis- you know if you're on track to make whatever you targeted to make this year. If you aren't on track, make September a transition month. New resolve. Get out of your office, off the listserves, and into your clients' communities as the best lawyer for the lucky ones who hire you.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
Had a recent conversation about asking for referrals, and here's a photo I got in my mail later that day:
It's a visual reminder, now posted in sight of the phone. Referrals are the easiest, least painful, most cost-effective way for you to bring in new business. When your clients are telling you how happy they are with your work, remember to ask them for their help as you build your business. There are a lot of tactics you can use to generate referrals, books on the topic, many scripts to try- but meanwhile, right now, would a postit help you remember to ask for a referral?
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Bet you thought I was going to offer you a white paper. Sell you a seminar? Nope, I'm offering you someone else's free marketing advice. It's terrific advice and I don't think I could present it better, so let's not waste cyber storage on another report.
There is no rocket science to marketing professional services firms.* The rocket science is in the doing. Everything you need to know has been put out there in enough formats that there is an effective one for you. Written, audio, video, courses, webinars, etc.
Visit http://hingemarketing.com/. Check out their research reports, their library, their webinars. DANG. Lots of knowledge capital, some original, some in collaboration with other experts. Very simple and presented extremely well. Instructive. Smart. As a 5 year-old might say, I like it so much I'm in love with it.
I leverage this terrific free material with clients, too. Fully attributed, linking to the Hinge Marketing site. Check out the sales closing webinar too, with another marketing wiz, Ian Altman, of Grow My Revenue! Thank you Hinge Marketing and Ian, and many, many others- because you help me stay smart. Is this dangerous? Nah. I think our target markets and what we deliver are different. If not, I'm in the abundance crowd anyway.
If your marketing isn't delivering the results you want to see, change it. If you don't know what to do- research it. If the problem isn't what to do, but actually doing it, then you need a different solution. That's another topic.
Let me know if you like these resources as much as I do!
* OK, there is marketing "rocket science", but most of my readers have room to create significant impact before they turn to outer space. In fact, you can use what's commonly available to grow to the point where you can easily fund rocket science!
Friday, September 23, 2011
A recent solosezzer asked for ideas to reduce the number of no-shows he was seeing for first appointments. One of my favorite responses recommends asking for a fee at the time the appointment is booked- a prepayment.
Here's what Christian M. Frank Fas had to say:
During the first phone call, whenever a PC tells me that they want to meet I tell them: "I'd love to meet with you, but in order to schedule a meeting you will need to pay the initial consultation fee of $X at least 24 hours before the scheduled meeting. Would you like to schedule the meeting now?" If they do, I write down the appointment in my calendar, and then send them an invoice or Paypal payment request. If the fee isn't paid EXACTLY 24 hours before, I just delete the appointment and carry on. If it is paid, I sit in my office and wait for them. I've had a 100% show rate in 4 years.
Before I required payment, and waited until they showed to get paid, my no-show rate was about 1/3 of all PCs. Paying before is a way of guaranteeing their commitment.
Some PCs have rescheduled the meeting, but they have already paid up front. The logic behind this is that if they're serious about meeting, they need to be serious about paying before. In fact, if I have to send them my engagement letter twice, I won't until they pay a certain "re-sending" fee for the work done drafting their first engagement letter, and then having to re-send it another time.
I DO credit their retainers with the initial consultation fee or re-sending fee if they choose to retain me. If not, at least I got paid for sitting in my office waiting.
Nicely done, and a script you can use as well. If you need more of a "push", check out another post I wrote on the topic of free consultations.
As always, the goal is to do what you can to ensure that you spend your time helping people who value your services. Requesting a prepayment is one way to screen out anyone who is simply shopping around.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Clients will choose or refer you because they know, like, trust & REMEMBER you. Staying in touch with former clients, warm prospects and referral sources without feeling like a nuisance can be a challenge. At some point, it gets hard to come up with new reasons to contact.
There are always the holidays, including signature ones that you can customize to your practice, and you can use all kinds of current events or headlines as conversation points. What about Irene, fires in Texas and beastly weather here & there? If you've clients or referral sources who live in areas that might be impacted, send them a note, "just thinking of you and hoping..", something along those lines. Example? What about clients you did a closing for? Don't forget their realtors.
Send a "may your adventures lead to exciting discoveries" on Columbus Day, or something like "life's not so spooky now that you have a will" for Halloween. Oh, how about a "how to survive family holidays" postcard? Everyone could use that. All depends on your style, you can guess what mine is, a bit lame. I know it. However, surely you'll come up with a much better idea. Build on it, readers! The point is to think about what's going on and use it to make a meaningful connection with people you already know.
Has Irene or anything else going on inspired you? Please share. Or, if you receive a note from someone, share that too. Obviously, I need some new ideas here!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
One of the best tips offered is to write down all the questions that people ask you, then use those to guide your marketing. Family lawyer Dan Fiskum's website is a great example of that, he leads with questions like:
Will you get your fair share?
Who will get the children?
What about my financial survival?
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
The title of a recent solosez post speaks to why I post a lot of second-hand success stories here. It was:
Marketing actually works!
posted by Michelle Rozovics, whose firm, Rozovics Law Firm, has this terrific slogan and artwork:
I think the post might have been called "Marketing actually works- sometimes not at all the way you expect it will!" Here's what happened.
Michelle sent a holiday gift of a large mug with her slogan and a number of other gifts inside to a regular referral source. Referral source had moved. The owner of the new business at that location received and kept the mug. Used it on a regular basis. When this person needed a lawyer, she called Michelle, telling her that the slogan was so on point she would never have called another attorney. Rozovics was the only firm she considered.
Niiiiiice. This fits with something a very successful attorney told me once about writing articles as a key to his success "articles have a very long life". As did the coffee mug!
I just got off the phone with a client who is experiencing the "marketing actually works" surprise as well. He sent a former client a request for a testimonial and a LinkedIn recommendation months ago. He never heard back and was discouraged and frustrated. Then, just last week, he got the testimonial, the recommendation and a sheepish note about it taking so long!
Yup. Marketing actually works. Persistent, imperfect action will yield results. Sometimes you see results in the same time horizon you expect them, sometimes you have to wait. Hard to keep score, don't you think? Give yourself points for staying in action. It's a numbers game.
Facts silence gremlins. Next time you think "I'm doing all this stuff, nothing is happening" - look at the facts. Don't assume your marketing isn't working. Don't assume someone is rejecting you. Don't give up too early.
You might feel like Sisyphus, but when you do, just imagine that there's a helicopter just over the top of the mountain, on its way. That friggin boulder is going to be lifted effortlessly to the summit and you're going to walk right past it on your journey.
What's your "marketing actually works" experience? Inspire us.
Oh, and check out an old post along these lines, one of my favorites: Just remember, this shit is not linear.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Another newsletter example for you today. Check out Lynda Hinkle's newsletter, Legalities. A good example of a very easy-to-produce piece with a clear next step. If you've been thinking a newsletter requires a lot of time and content- consider this one.
You'll see Lynda's practice areas, firm and contact information, and a call to action. The call is specific in terms of who:
- small businesses that have stood firm and lasted through these economically challenging times.
- be sure you have the appropriate business structure, contracts, leases, etc. to handle economic recovery, at an affordable rate
and, drumroll here- what to do next:
- visit our [link to site] and decide...
And, by the way- the link sends prospects to a page of packages for legal services for small businesses. Clear options and different price points. Another time we'll think about having the prices on the packages, it's a good conversation. I can argue pro & con, how about you? But back to the topic.
Eureka! You don't have to work so hard, folks. If you've been thinking that it would be a lot easier to do follow-up marketing if you only had a newsletter, you're right! It's time to take action. Make it a project. Give it a date. Get it done. Call it Version 1.o, if it helps get past the gremlin that's telling you it isn't good enough. Use a template. Work with a company that makes it simple for you.
The imperfect newsletter you produce now is much more likely to bring you business than the perfect newsletter you've been meaning to get out. You know what they say: "Keep it simple, stupid." Great advice.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
He is a criminal lawyer who markets to in-house counsel and other corporate executives. His niche is high-ticket cases and he has a track record. He's one of a few clients I work with who have realistic million-plus revenue goals. And he's a delight. Not arrogant. I know you were thinking he must be arrogant, but he's not a bit. (ahem, arrogant lawyers aren't the ones I attract, as you might imagine)