Showing posts with label Get Clients. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Get Clients. Show all posts

Friday, April 22, 2011

Freakout Friday (if you skip the freakout, the value's at the end)

It's spring and what's hatching in my email box are a million offers for:
  • Game-changing tactics
  • Complimentary trial offers
  • Free memberships
  • Recordings of calls that will "blow you away"
  • Roadmaps, blue prints, game plans
  • Secrets, exclusive secrets, never-before-revealed secrets
  • New ... "guaranteed like a guillotine"
  • Boot camps, summits, symposiums
  • Elite circles/ platinum masterminds
  • Step by step ...
  • Insider's success tips
  • No-fail strategies
  • BIG & really BIG deals
  • Millionaire this
  • 6-figure that
  • Amazing free bonuses
  • Thousands of dollars of bonuses
  • Special Spring Announcements
  • Unique opportunities
  • Free report reveals
  • Shhh! Don't tell...
  • Don't let it start without you
  • It ends tomorrow
  • In case you missed it
  • Time is running out
  • Encore offers
  • Top 3...or Top 5...or Top 10 ways to
  • Exclusive free
  • Just for my subscribers
& my favorite, because it's so personal:
  • Especially for you, Barbara
Stuff.  Lots of stuff. Reports, MP3's, calls, webinars, live events, books, e-books...

Actually, there's a lot of good information to be had.  Terrific expertise.  Authentic testimonials. I recommend some of the authors of those subject lines.

I support high-priced programs, by the way.  I have no problem being paid a lot of money for changing someone's life.  Even if it happens fast and seems too easy.  Like many of my clients, I have had a problem asking to be paid a lot of money, but that's neither here nor there! (& hopefully in my past, actually)

In my more skeptical moments, I worry that some lawyers take the courses, buy the memberships, get the brochures, etc. and feel like they're working on their practice, without actually applying what they learn to get the promised results. Taking a course won't get results. Even a great course from a hugely successful expert.

Put yourself in my shoes. My Friday Freakout is figuring out where my services fit in.  It's disconcerting to think my ideal clients are out there exposed to all this stuff.  Buying it. One person I know bought a $59,000 program, he was pleased to get it at the unbelievably discounted price of $10,000.  That's pretty interesting. I wonder if he was attracted by one of the phrases in my email box. Probably the testimonials. Don't get me wrong, if he applies what he learns, he can definitely improve his bottom line significantly.  Remember, I have no problem with high-priced programs that deliver results. I'm a little freaked out at how they're being sold.

All right, if you're still with me, thank you for indulging me here.  Perhaps you can relate my situation to your own. Let me offer you a little something of value for your time.  Here it is:
If you aren't comfortable with every possible marketing technique- you don't have to use them. Even if they work for someone else. 
Do stretch and examine your reactions and feelings about different tactics, because truly, unless you're trying to take advantage of gullible people, it isn't bad to try and get the people you can help to hire you. They need you. Make it easy for them to find you so you can help them as soon as possible.

Also valuable:
It isn't bad to charge what your results are worth. People may say no. Other people might be so excited about results they would have paid much more. Work with the people who want the results you offer. Don't worry about the others.
Sometimes you make money in one place so you can do things pro bono in a different place.  Sometimes it's so you can afford to help your kids through college or so you can take your friends to Tahiti.  There's nothing bad about being paid well.  However, bottom line- if it feels fake or phony coming from you, it likely is. You have to know you deliver the value you promise.  Doesn't mean you have to win every case, if that's your gig.  Means you have to get the best possible outcome while delivering the best possible client experience.

This was the first Freakout Friday, for new readers.  Don't judge the blog on the basis of this post. Fair warning - it probably isn't my last!

Have a great weekend, all!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How's that "top of mind" score? Check out automated "e-nurturing"!

HARO's newsletter yesterday was sponsored by Happy Grasshopper.  According to the tagline, the company supports "effortless e-nurturing".  I love that idea!  I'm in no position to recommend the service, but I'll be keeping an eye on it.  The service has a lot of press in the realtor market space, but it would work for certain types of legal practices as well. I hope you'll give me your opinion on that!


Happy Grasshopper will create and send short, newsy, personalized email notes to your contacts.  They write and email them.  The emails come from your email account and replies go to you. Before you poo-poo the idea, check out the sample.  You do have to give them your email address, but I think it might be worth it.  The emails they send are conversational relationship-builders. No ad copy, no sales copy, just something interesting to make sure your contacts think of you.  Automating that process- you can approve the email before sending, so you still have control over what goes out- would be effortless e-nurturing indeed!


Choose a set of marketing actions that you'll do daily. Something like "send an email with an item of interest to 5 contacts per day".  I'm going to have to decide if using a service like this is cheating! If so- and it works, I'm in favor of it!


Even if you don't use the service, use the idea.  See a movie? Perhaps you send a mini-review along with a hello to a group of contacts.  Have a great meal at a local restaurant? Share that.  Ask someone if they know a restaurant you should try. Music might be another connection point, or even an experience you've had as a parent. The point is connection and ease.  You can keep in touch conversationally, creating an open exchange that just might bring you new business.


I'm usually not on the side of automated copy or blast emails and I flat-out dislike the snail mail card services used by lots of people that I respect. For some reason this just doesn't seem phony to me.  Maybe it's that it's a short note and email doesn't seem to be that "personal" in the first place.  Not sure. At any rate, let me know if you try it, I'll be interested to see the results.


One way or another, make it a point to connect with clients, prospects and referral sources in a systematic way. Persistence beats perfection every time!


 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Don't Settle for "Maybe", Baby!

When you're talking to someone who is able to buy your services, and you ask her if she's ready to move forward- don't settle for anything but a definitive answer.

If the answer is yes, collect a fee at that time to seal the deal.  Take a check or if you're on the phone, take a credit card. On the spot. At yes. Create a client. Send the paperwork out afterwards.

Why?
  1. Energy and time spent on 'getting to yes' is a sunk cost to both parties. As with all expense, it's best to minimize it!
  2. Decisive people are often easier to work with.
  3. If you're determined to get to an answer, you'll do the prep work around ensuring that the value of working with you is clear, that you have an answer for any possible objections, and that you're making the ask.
  4. If you get a no, then you can get on to the next yes without distraction.
If you're generating quality inquiries, the people who reach the point of saying yes or no to hiring you are ready to make a decision, even if they think they're only looking for more information. Make it as easy as possible for them to choose you, so that you can start solving their problems as soon as possible. Win/win.

Take a look at the conversations you're having; do you make it easy for prospects to choose you?  Create scripts to improve your confidence. Keep track of your results, make changes, find what works for your style and your prospects.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Want more referrals? Can your newsletter do the job for you?

Everybody knows referrals are one of the most effective ways to build your business.  Are you leveraging that throughout all of your marketing and communications vehicles?  Here's a good example of how a newsletter can include an effective call for referrals.

I'm a fan of attorney Sandra Rohrstaff's firm newsletter.  You get a good idea of who she is; the newsletter builds the "know, like, trust" factor that all marketing communication should target.  The newsletter is warm, it's local, it showcases her expertise and the firm's offerings. It even has a recipe!

What I'd like you to notice specifically is the message that appears in the footer of page 3 in the January newsletter:
Thank You
We always appreciate referrals, we hope you think of us if you, your family, or friends, have any legal matters that need attention. If we are not able to help you, then we will find a law firm that is. We welcome the opportunity to help you and those you care about.
Then, check out the March newsletter, page 4 footer:
We always appreciate people who refer matters to us. This month, we thank: [6 people are listed by first/last name, 3 of them identified as attorneys]. These cases involved issues of insurance coverage, injury from automobile negligence, child injury and malpractice.
Brava! I love this. The messages are gracious, the detail in the second one gives credibility to Rohrstaff Law because it identifies referrals, and, better yet, includes referrals from other trusted professionals.  The specifics of the matters that were referred remind the reader of the breadth of problems the firm solves.  If someone gave me their copy of the newsletter- which is mailed out as well as posted online- for the recipe, and I saw the referral information, I would remember Sandra Rohrstaff if I needed a lawyer or knew someone else who does.

The Rohrstaff Law newsletter is getting better and better each iteration.  Good newsletters are a win/win.  Readers get valuable information they can use, and you get a chance to make a meaningful connection.  You don't need to feel "pushy", because people can opt out of it if it's online, and, frankly, they can send it to the circular file if they aren't interested in your paper version.

If you aren't using a newsletter, consider whether it would be a good tactic to use with your target audience.  If you do publish a newsletter, check in with it.  Are you leveraging the connection effectively?  Take a look at other newsletters out there,  across a variety of professions.  See what you might learn.

This example might not appeal to you.  Maybe you wouldn't include personal information or family pictures.  Maybe your version would be more of an educational piece, more of a procedural.  Doesn't matter.  Whatever your style, use it.  Make it easy for people to refer you business by asking and by reminding them of the work you do. Regularly.  One place to ask is your newsletter.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hate "selling"? Send an "item of interest" to create connection.

If you're trying to build your practice, you're probably looking for reasons to be in touch with your contacts without feeling like you're "selling".  One great reason is to come up with something valuable to share.  Always be on the lookout for something you can use as a connection point. In your reading, in your conversations, you never know what might come to your attention. 


Recently a lawyer referred to an article from the Wall Street Journal on the solosez listserve.  It's called "A Tough Talk With Mom and Dad".  The article discusses issues related to aging parents, it's a warm, wonderful resource and a great opportunity for connection.


If your practice is trust and estate planning,  think of some ways you might use this article.  Here’s my brain dump:



  • Order reprints from the WSJ and mail them out with a  personal note, perhaps an invitation

  • Send out “hand” written emails, and point to the article with a call to action in the email

  • Summarize and link to it from your electronic newsletter

  • Have reprints in your “back of the room” and leave-behind materials inventory

  • Include a screen shot of the article and use it in your presentations

  • Create a product around the idea of the "strategy plan" as described in the article

  • ...


Even if your practice has nothing to do with estate planning, this is a great piece for any adult. Write a friendly email and invite recipients to share the information with anyone who might be facing these problems. Make sure your signature line or tag line includes information about your practice areas.  You might even use it as context for a call to action around any type of prevention that aligns to your practice area. 


One step further- even if you aren't a lawyer, something like this could provide value to your connections.


There you have it- a real example of an “item of interest” to send as a valuable offering to prospects, referral sources, and past and current clients. If you're scratching your head trying to come up with a reason to contact 4 people a day this week, reserve a half an hour of marketing time and look for something they'll be grateful to hear about.


Note:  The solosez listserve  is a resource for solo attorneys, it's a great community, though just as with family, sometimes you'll love it and sometimes it will make you crazy!  I'm a fan.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Go public! Your next client might be right in front of you.

I use the term "findability factor".  Marketing is about establishing "know, like and trust" relationships, and ensuring that you have ongoing contact points. That way, when someone needs you, they remember and can easily find you. Usually I'm talking about consistency and persistence- but recently I'm hearing stories about chance encounters with prospects that become instant clients. Yup. Instant clients.


Lawyer was sitting in surgical waiting room during her mother's surgery. Struck up a conversation and when the fellow discovered she was a small business lawyer, the lawyer discovered a new client! Next -this one isn't about lawyers, but it's still good- lawyer's personal trainer leaves the profession without referring the lawyer to another trainer. Lawyer stops training, stops exercising, is really frustrated in attempts to find new trainer. Lawyer goes to home store, needs merchandise he can't move, fellow shopper says, I can help, I'm a personal trainer.  So the personal trainer found the instant client!


So- go public! Tell people what you do; you never know who might be trying to find someone just like you. Worried about being obnoxious?  You're far too shy about marketing to worry about that! Try telling 15 people a week what you do. You'll create a habit that will serve you well.


Whether it's a chance encounter or a prospect in your pipeline, make it easy for people to find you when they need you.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Using shotgun marketing? Try changing the ammunition!

I got a speeding ticket. I deserved the ticket. I had zero interest in contesting the ticket. The last one I got was about 100 years ago, on the highway from Spokane to Coeur D'Alene, heading out for a day of sailing on the lake. I was due for the one I got in a (shock and horror!) school zone in New Jersey! I'm still a little embarassed. 

I got 11 letters from attorneys within about 25 miles. Each assumed I was outraged and wanted to contest. 7 of them had information about points and consequences, which was helpful. Two made me feel as though I'd been moved into a category called "criminals". 

To my surprise, none of the lawyers who wrote mentioned other services. What if I don't need a lawyer who to contest a speeding ticket, but I do need a will, or a real estate attorney? Maybe I feel that I'm ready to have a family lawyer relationship of some sort. I checked the lawyers out; none of them were SOLELY focused on traffic or vehicle violations. All of them missed an opportunity. 

Event marketing can be a terrific way to get in front of new prospects. Traffic ticket or other violations are triggers. You still need to choose the ammunition that will be most effective.  My intent isn't to offer lawyers sample marketing letters for prospects who get speeding tickets. What I want is for you to look at your current marketing efforts and see if you're missing opportunities. If you're marketing but not seeing the type of clients or revenue you'd like- then consider tweaking the approach. 

In the current example, would it be worth the effort to research more information about the person you're writing? Might you send a different mailing to someone in one zip code or age group versus another? Would you send a different one to owners of a particular type of car? Can you tell if it's a first offense? 

Don't want to do research? I'm big on marketing intimacy and focus, what would you write to your ideal client? For example, say she's a professional woman with a family and some assets. She's more concerned about the fact that she doesn't have a will or other basic legal protection than she is interested in fighting a traffic ticket. Still too complicated? What about simply trying a different letter for every 50 mailings? Vary the font size, change a few key words, see what happens. 

I don't know the hit rate for the kind of mailing I received. Maybe the numbers make sense. To me, it was a miss. I didn't want to contest the ticket, and I didn't want to meet the lawyer behind the letter. The point is to review your marketing, track the results, and make sure your aim is on target! 

Note: Anne Miller is a terrific writer, coach and speaker who works specifically with people to use metaphors effectively.  Clearly I haven't yet taken advantage of this great resource!  HOWEVER, don't let this discourage you from checking out her free newsletter, the Metaphor Minute. There are also free podcasts and other materials, it's worth your time if you're interested in writing and speaking resources.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yours truly, feeling awkward at a networking event!

Last night I went to a dinner honoring my client. It was a "40 under 40" award given by the city's business journal. I had 2 tickets and my husband was going to join me, but he got stuck in a "can't miss" meeting that was 2 hours away from the dinner event. GAWK! I was on my own.  Rarely do I end up in a solo situation;  network with a buddy is a golden rule of mine. I felt awkward
.
What did I do? Well, first, I got a glass of wine, which got me into the room and gave me something to hold. Then I surveyed the room and found someone who looked as awkward as I felt. I walked up to her, asked if she was waiting for someone, and suggested we talk in the meantime. I was honest about feeling like a fish out of water and we laughed. She was in the same boat. It turned out to be a great conversation. She happened to be a lawyer and was curious about business coaching.  She offered me her card and today I'll send her a copy of my book, Market You Must, with a postit on the page about bringing a colleague to a networking event!

I always recommend you have an intention for every networking event and the one that I like best is to simply meet one person that you'd enjoy following up with afterward. Marketing is all about relationship building- meeting, deciding if there's enough in common to stay in touch, and moving forward. I don't know if my new friend will ever become a client or refer one. I don't know if she'll connect me to a speaking gig or maybe send me a resource I've never seen before. Maybe she'll just be a familiar face at another event. I know I'll send her information periodically, if there's something relevant to the topics we discussed.
After my client arrived, I had a lovely time celebrating her award. I met people that I'll be in touch with and it was very easy. However, that first connection might have been the most valuable one of the evening. Painful though it felt in the first moment!

If you're doing your marketing job, you'll no doubt be in the very same situation at one time or another.  When it happens, take a deep breath and step out of your comfort zone and into a conversation. Even if you don't meet someone you'd like to see again, you'll gain a little more experience for the next time.  Experience leads to confidence. Add a little persistence and you'll build your business!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Spinning is to my health as marketing is to your….

This morning I'm due at the gym for a 9:30 spinning class. UNTIL NOW, I've had an irrational fear of this form of workout, having tried (& loathed) it once before. However, it's something that could help me get something I REALLY want, so I've made a public commitment to try it four times. That thing I REALLY want is to once again look like the picture on my website- which  was 15 pounds ago... That blue jacket doesn't button anymore.  DANG, I hate that! 

Spinning is a proven, effective way to burn lots'o calories, so I've decided to give it another chance. Four times is three more than I think I can bear, but should be a good trial. I made the commitment to the class leader, the manager of the place, and my daughter's best friend's mom. Any of them will not let me forget it, so I'm locked in.  The class leader promised they have silicone gel seat covers...

Maybe you dread marketing in general, or maybe it's just some kinds of marketing activities.  Still, you know you REALLY want to build your business; you want to do more of what you love to do- so you need new clients. Rubber, meet road.

Try telling yourself UNTIL NOW, I dreaded marketing, and choose something you're ready to try.  Get it on your calendar. What to do is another topic. This message is about getting into action. Forward motion.  If you want more business, more revenue, more of the work you want to do- choose a tactic, make a public commitment, and try it out.  Let's see what happens!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From ticked off to satisfied! Client service that makes sense.

The negative impact of an unhappy/noisy client will generally far outweigh the positive impact of many happy/silent ones. It's worth your time to try to resolve client issues. The effort that you make might just be enough to satisfy the client, even if the outcome isn't what she wanted. What follows is the story of how my cable company turned a complaint into a success story, almost in spite of itself.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Is your marketing message compelling?

Have you seen the carpet cleaning commercial that sends you running to rent a steamer?

2 women are chatting in an all-white living room. Suddenly a boy's voice bursts in excitedly, "Mom, you've gotta see this!!" The women ignore him and keep chatting, but the boy calls out again. His mom exchanges an annoyed look with her friend and still doesn't respond - until she starts SHRIEKING!!  Panic! "NO! Toby NO! Get him out of here!" The family dog has entered the room- showing off the trick the boy taught him. He is dragging what my daughter would call his "bottom" across the white carpet. Sitting and scooting. Get the picture?

I LOVE that commercial. It's diabolically creepy. Chances are, if you own a dog, at some point you've had a little worry in the back of your mind about what might be on the rug. Especially if you have kids who like to roll around with the dog or lie on the floor watching the latest High School Musical DVD with friends.

Unless you have an event coming up, carpet cleaning is one of those things you know you should do, but never get around to.The commercial is amazing because it creates an immediate desire for the remedy.  I'm not a clean freak, so it can't be just me. Heck, if you have a vivid imagination, you might be switching to google "carpet cleaners" right now! (can't get that dog scooting across the carpet off my mind!)

The idea is to find a marketing message that taps into people's concerns in a way that compells them to address them. More easily said than done for most of us. However, if you start with that approach, your message will be more effective.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Lousy Post: How to Win Clients for Life

The point of this story is that if you do the following five things, you will have extremely grateful and loyal clients who will not hesitate to pay your full fee and will recommend you to anyone with a similar problem.

  1. Define your clients and know their pain inside and out

Friday, October 10, 2008

Networking for Haters of Networking

When you're just starting to get out in the world as a lawyer, any opportunity to network can be valuable. My first job out of undergrad was as a territory marketing manager for a large beverage company. I called on fast-food restaurants to help them market soft drinks. I had this huge yellow company station wagon filled with point of sale material, glass promotion samples, clocks, etc. I still can't believe I did that...but it's relevant, because that's where I got over my fear of strangers.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Don't miss a great connection opportunity! Greetings are in order.

Halloween to Valentine's Day, and all the holidays in between create opportunities for you to connect with people and build stronger relationships. If you use cards, postcards, or send gifts, now is the time to get into action. Even if you're sending email greetings, planning makes the process work more smoothly.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Marketing habit: Try an "Add to Contacts" Email Folder

I receive a lot of contact information via emails. To follow up, I need to move it from the email (Outlook) into my contact management software (ACT) with relevant information. (a clue as to how we connected) HOWEVER- I don't always switch gears to add the information immediately, and before I know it, that contact is lost in my email clutter. Or, equally ineffective, I add the contact's email address to my address book automatically, with none of the supporting information.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Marketing tip: Ask for a business card

Have you ever watched someone walk into a business event and start circulating with the obvious intention of giving away as many business cards as possible? It's a little like marking territory, hit one and move on to the next. Not something I'd recommend.  The best time to give someone your card is when they ask.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Marketing Tip: Even your plumber needs a speaker!

Speaking is one of the most effective ways to gain visibility and credibility, yet it often seems impossible to get a gig. Here's the thing- everybody knows somebody who needs a speaker. If speaking is a strategy you're just starting to employ, then seek out every opportunity.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Use an Editorial Calendar for your Legal Blog

Delivering good content on a schedule is nothing new for magazine or newspaper publishers. Editorial calendars keep them on track and allow for strategic planning related to seasonal topics, etc.

My current favorite go-to site for blogging "how to" information is ChrisG.com. In my quest to become consistent and organized in my posting, I discovered his terrific post that lays out how to put an editorial calendar together.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Write it down & be more successful.

Much press has been given to the results of a recent 6-month Kaiser Permanente weight loss study finding that participants who kept a food diary lost more than twice as much as participants who did not. Weight Watchers has been proving this for years, but it must be an idea whose time has come!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Have blog? Need post. What’s an uninspired lawyer to do?

Sometimes you must update your blog, but can't come up with a topic and your "blog ideas" file is empty.
  1. Leverage other material. Given a presentation? Written an article? Update the material, summarize it, or target it to a different audience.

  2. Pick up the phone and call a client or someone involved in your client's world. What's going on? What do they care about today?