Law Firm Marketing Tip: Avoid The Flavor Of The Month
More than in any other profession, lawyers are prone to jumping on fads and believing hype. When it comes to law firm marketing, this is particularly true. Lawyers want to believe there is one magic potion they can drink before bed that will allow them to wake up rich, smart and thin. This makes them vulnerable to every huckster and con artist on the planet.
To make matters worse, there are a few dozen former lawyers out there who claim to be marketing gurus. The added dimension of professional accreditation works like catnip in attracting desperate attorneys eager to learn the “secrets” of law firm marketing at the feet of the latest marketing magician.
This is the world in which I live and work. Every day I receive questions from lawyers who have been listening to kids working out of their garage about backlinks and Google juice. I get bombarded with questions about the content of a LinkedIn profile and the color and graphic design of a website. After each speaking engagement, there’s always someone who tells me that he agrees with everything I have said, but he works with a Personal Injury Lawyer turned Guru who told him to self-publish a book on Amazon and he will get more clients than he can handle. Or they say a bankrupt Trust and Estates Attorney turned high priestess of manifesto marketing has told them to hire a virtual assistant and they will be beating the clients away with a stick.
The biggest problem facing lawyers who really want to build a good size law firm is knowing who to believe when it comes to law firm marketing.
Here are a few ways you can tell the good guys from the fraudsters:
Somewhere in their own marketing material, a great law firm marketing consultant will offer information about his clients and the results he helps them achieve. This information should also include what the average or typical client achieves as a result of his work with the guru.
Everybody benefits from the truth. The client benefits. The law firm marketing consultant benefits and the relationship between the two can get off to a good start because it is built on a foundation or honesty.
Every law firm marketing consultant should be able to provide you with references. These should be names and telephone numbers of people with whom he has actually worked. He should invite you to call the people on that list and ask them any question at any time.
Another critical “tell” of fraudsters is the one-size-fits-all approach to law firm marketing. They will funnel you into a group that meets once each quarter or onto conference calls with dozens of their other disciples.
You are a unique individual with unique strengths. How can you be expected to conform to the mold the guru believes will lead to success?
Marketing must be tailored to meet the wants and needs of the client but the delivery of the message must be done in a way that allows the lawyer to leverage his strengths.
If you are spending good money for help with law firm marketing you should be getting more than just some tips and tactics. You should develop a relationship with someone who you consider a trusted advisor. The support you will require when developing a law firm marketing plan for the first time goes beyond technical. You will need confidence and reassurance.
As you read the guidance and preaching of the law firm marketing evangelists, keep an eye out for these qualities. Although they are few in number, the legitimate law firm marketing consultants will always exhibit them.
If you want some additional guidance on selecting an expert, in any area, listen to the podcast I recorded over at the Valtimax Consulting Website (I own two consulting companies: Rainmaker Lawyer Consulting and Valtimax Consulting).
You can find that FREE resource by following this link:
Are You Serious?
The purpose of a business is to create value for its shareholders. Public company or private company, if your business is “for profit” it exists to create value for the owners.
If you are a lawyer, you are a professional. This means you have an ethical code of conduct you must follow and you took an oath to do so.
But if you own your law firm, you must also live up to your obligation as a business owner – to create value for you and any other shareholders.
These two things, ethics and profitability, are never mutually exclusive. You can be profitable and ethical. In fact, the best lawyers and the best businesspeople are both profitable and ethical.
When I find someone who runs a profitable business in an ethical way, I consider them a serious businessperson.
Too often, the attorneys I meet fall short in one of these areas.
No. It’s not ethics.
The vast majority of attorneys I have encountered during my time as a consultant to the profession have been ethical. In fact, most of the attorneys I know go out of their way to adhere to all ethical guidelines.
The area where most attorneys fall short is in value creation for the owners of their law firm. Essentially they shortchange themselves.
For most attorneys, the business aspects of their law firm are foreign to them. They invested their time, money and attention in learning the law and the application of the law but they did not invest any time money or attention in the business of law.
Does this describe you?
Think about your business. Think about the value you are creating for your shareholders. Think about the money you are making.
If you have followed the rules governing your profession but yet you are not delivering value to your shareholders – you are not making the money you deserve – you are falling short in your ethical obligations to yourself.
I know they didn’t tell you this in law school but that’s why I’m here.
Your ethical obligations extend to yourself and your family.
Ethically deliver value and ethically increase the value of your law firm.
Need some ideas?
I am conducting a one day workshop in New York in July that will serve as an introduction to these tools.
I am offering you a special “early bird” investment which will be honored until the end of next week.
You can find more details here:
I like working with serious businesspeople. Are you one of them?
Your Competitive Advantage
Think back to the first time a client paid you money for your services. Do you remember the feeling you had when you looked at that check?
You essentially created income from thin air.
Yesterday you didn’t have this client and this money and today you do.
As you read every word of this article I want you to keep that feeling with you. The euphoria you felt when you were paid by a client should stay with you throughout this article.
That first client (and that first check) is special. It’s special because it serves as a validation of your ability to “make it” on your own. It’s special because it reinforces your belief in yourself. It’s special because it pays (some of) the bills.
Now that good feeling has probably been replaced with the anxiousness you feel while you wait for the phone to ring.
And you wonder how you went from euphoria to anxiety so quickly.
Does this sound familiar? It is a common concern among lawyers. Everything is going well and then, all of a sudden, things just stop. Or they slow down to a trickle.
Why does this happen?
If you ask one hundred lawyers you would probably get at least fifty different answers. Then you’d probably get another forty-nine “I don’t know” responses.
The one person who could probably give you the accurate answer is the person who has figured out how to keep the phone ringing. That lawyer has learned the secret to attracting clients on demand. He’s learned how to manage his law firm so he can get home, on time, for dinner every night.
Just what is this secret? What is this competitive advantage?
The secret to keeping the clients coming in the door while living a great life is a dedication to continuous improvement.
The secret lies in constantly trying new things. The secret (which isn’t really a secret at all) is to constantly look for new and innovative ways to attract clients, engage referral sources and deepen relationships.
The minute you personally stagnate, your law firm stops growing. The minute you complain about “not having time to learn something new” you have doomed yourself and your law firm to failure.
The competitive advantage enjoyed by highly successful lawyers is the fact that they are always learning and growing. They implement one new thing in their law firm on a monthly basis.
When was the last time you implemented something new? What was the last good idea you had about law firm marketing, business strategy or productivity improvement?
Lawyer Gets Exactly What He Deserves
Every day people ask me if my business strategies will work in their practice area.
It doesn’t matter if they practice environmental law, personal injury law, criminal defense law or law relating to Native American Rights – everybody thinks their law practice is different. And they feel compelled to verify that the strategies I have developed over the years will work for them.
In this week’s Rainmaker Minute I’m going to give you a quick case study that will show you how applicable basic client acquisition strategy is and how you can use it to attract the clients you deserve.
A few months ago Steve Klitzner (a longtime client) came to me looking for a way to attract new clients to his tax practice. Steve handles IRS problem resolution.
What does that mean?
Well, think about people who have not paid their taxes for years and years. Now think about them waking up one day and deciding that they can’t take the feeling of impending doom any longer.
Who do they go see? They go see Steve.
A good portion of Steve’s business is developed as a result of referrals from accountants, bankruptcy attorneys and other lawyers. He does quite a bit of marketing and he is always looking for new ways to attract clients.
At one of our meetings Steve told me he was looking for a way to get more referrals from accountants. While he had booked speaking engagements to groups of accountants in the past, he had never been able to convert them into new business. With a speaking engagement to his State’s Association of CPAs coming up, he was looking for a way to make this event pay off.
Here is the exact strategy we developed and the results Steve received:
At the conclusion of his talk Steve offered all of the attendees a special report titled:
“EIGHT MISTAKES TAX PRACTITIONERS MAKE WHEN NEGOTIATING WITH THE IRS: Important Tips to Keep Your Client From Getting in MORE Hot Water”
About 40 CPA’s gave Steve their contact information and he sent them the report. They also receive his monthly newsletter on an ongoing basis.
In the three months since this event, he has received 8 referrals directly from accountants who got on his mailing list as a result of that strategy. If Steve’s average case value is $5,000 (and it’s not, it’s a lot more) he added an additional $40,000 to his billing as a result of that one strategy.
But that’s not the end of the story.
Steve then turned the report into an article and pitched it to several trade publications and industry newsletters. A prominent tax industry publication ran the article verbatim. That article landed Steve two additional speaking engagements and three additional referrals from CPAs.
This report, which took Steve two hours to create, will help him develop over $100,000 in new business this year…and this is just one of the marketing strategies he has in place.
Here’s the moral of the story:
Steve Klitzner is a successful IRS Problem Resolution Attorney because he takes action. I developed this strategy for him, but he put it into place and he got new clients as a result.
In the end, all of us get the business we deserve.
You just received the exact strategy Steve used to develop new business. It could work for you. But first you must take action.
Rest assured, whether or not you put this (or any other client acquisition strategy) into place, you are going to get the business you deserve.
If you come across a client with a tax issue send them to Steve. And you can find that special report he published on his website: http://www.floridataxsolvers.com
Ignore the Blowhards. Trust Yourself
I’m not sure why you came to this website.
Maybe you are here because you want more clients for your law firm. Maybe you are here because you are looking to hire someone to help you with law firm marketing. Maybe you are here just because you did a random Google Search and found it.
In any event, there are a few things I think you should know about law firm marketing before you read any further:
1: You can do it yourself.
You do not need to hire someone to help you with law firm marketing. You can go out and develop relationships on your own and those relationships will eventually lead to clients. Do not hire a law firm marketing expert until you try to do it yourself.
2: First be a good lawyer.
If you are a crappy lawyer you may still be able to attract clients but you will be doing the public a great deal of harm. If you suck as a lawyer, do not focus on marketing. Focus on finding a new career – preferably one that you do not suck at.
3. Embrace the True Definition of Marketing.
Marketing is relationship development. Sometimes this happens in a one-to-one setting. Sometimes it happens in a one-to-many setting.
Placing an ad on a billboard is a form of marketing just as a FREE consultation is a form of marketing.
Blogging is a form of marketing. There’s a lot of bullshit on blogs. Some people really believe the bullshit they write. That doesn’t mean it is true. It just means the author of the blog thinks it is true. Judge for yourself.
4. Do not fear the language.
In order for people to develop a relationship with you they must first know you exist. Marketing professionals have developed jargon to describe the process of relationship development. Just like someone must be an acquaintance before he becomes a friend, someone must be a prospect (prospective client) before he becomes a client.
If you want someone to “buy” (believe) your idea you must “sell” it to them (convince them).
Just words. Don’t get crazed.
5. If it smells like Bullshit, avoid it.
There are lots of unethical marketing practitioners in the world today just like there are lots of unethical lawyers. In many cases you need to get close enough to notice the stink of their bullshit. Do your homework. Ask for references before you hire one of them (from either profession). Do not rely on their words. Talk to the people who have paid for their service.
Do not judge one person because of the actions of another. If you have 10 bad experiences with lawyers does that mean that EVERY lawyer will be equally bad? No. The same is true of people who provide law firm marketing advice. You must do your homework and make sure you are working with someone who has your interests at heart.
Pompous assholes exist in every profession.
Use your head and do your homework (I might have mentioned that already). If you want legal marketing help, have conversations with several law firm marketing experts before you make a decision. There are a handful of true experts out there but they are hard to hire…mainly because they are busy. Just like lawyers…
Would You Trust a Part Time Dentist?
You have a terrible pain in your mouth. You know something is wrong in there and you need to get it fixed. You do not have a regular dentist so you head to the Internet and begin the Google Dance.
You find a dentist near your home and you call his office. You get a voice mail message. It says that the dentist’s office is only open two days per week. But you are in luck…he is in the office tomorrow.
You go to the office, fill out your paperwork and wait.
When you finally meet the dentist you ask him about his odd office hours. You find out that he only practices dentistry part time. Three day per week he is a car mechanic.
How do you feel as he fires up the drill and tilts the chair back?
Let’s face it, you would not knowingly trust someone who treats dentistry as a hobby to enter your mouth with a sharp object. But lawyers trust “law firm marketing experts” who only work on law firm marketing part time.
There are many people out there who claim to be law firm marketing experts. These folks will gladly take your money. The trouble with them is that they know a half dozen MARKETING TRICKS they learned at some seminar. They are not true marketing experts. And as it turns out, they teach these TRICKS to people in all different industries. They don’t know anything about marketing a law firm or about law firm marketing rules.
When it comes to law firm marketing, go with a pro. Ask good questions. Work with someone who focuses full time on law firm marketing.
Big Legal Marketing Opportunity for Small Law Firms
We should not have to convince small law firm owners about the opportunity to dominate their area of practice by using legal marketing, but we do. There are a few reasons solo and small practice law firms do not spend time and money on marketing. They are:
- No understanding of legal marketing.
- They have received bad information about legal marketing.
- Fear of the investment in legal marketing.
Let’s take a look at each of these reasons and help them work through them.
No Understanding of Legal Marketing
Most lawyers have no concept of what legal marketing is or how legal marketing should be attempted. They do not teach anything about legal marketing in law school. So when an attorney does some research on legal marketing, he finds a great deal of diverse information.
Some of the information is useful but most of it is crap. The Internet is full of false profits in every industry but when it comes to legal marketing these false profits are particularly sneaky. Most of the people who will take a lawyers money or offer a lawyer advice on legal marketing are, in fact, lawyers themselves. This makes them very appealing to the lawyer who needs marketing help.
The danger of hiring a part time lawyer for help with marketing or even worse, hiring a former lawyer for help with marketing, is that you will get wrong information. Most of the lawyer-turned-marketing-gurus do not intentionally give out bad information but they do not have the experience and knowledge to apply an appropriate solution for every practice.
The part time lawyer, part time marketing guru knows what you want to hear and they sell that to you. If they knew about building a law firm they would be doing that full time.
If you want to fully understand legal marketing and if you want to pick a set of strategies that will work for you do your research. You can start here at Rainmaker Lawyer and continue at our other legal marketing website Legal Marketing For Lawyers.
There is no shortage of bad information out there about legal marketing. Everywhere you turn there is some guru trying to sell you their Facebook solution for attracting more clients or their Social Media Success System.
Ultimately, you must thoroughly vet the people you listen to. You must review their track record and get a feeling for their ability to build a business. A law firm is a business. If you build it properly it should be an asset that appreciates in value. Your law firm marketing guru should be able to help you build and grow this asset into something you can sell when the time comes.
Look for a legal marketing expert who has a track record of building businesses. If they have done it they can help you do it.
Fear of the Investment in Legal Marketing
The Yellow Pages salesman ruined legal marketing for everyone. Back in the old days the Yellow Pages guy would walk into a law office and walk out with a $12,000 check. Each year several people would call as a result of seeing the ad in the Yellow Pages and the lawyer would attract a couple of clients. This would be enough to keep his interest albeit at a significant expense.
Today the SEO guy is the Yellow Pages equivalent. There are people out there who are promising they will get your website on the first page of Google in three weeks. Lawyers invest in these solutions and they invest heavily. Sometimes they work and the lawyer becomes completely dependent upon them. Most times they are a big waste of money.
This has made the lawyer scared of legitimate legal marketing solutions.
There is no need to fear the expense of legal marketing. You can invest as little money as you’d like and still get great results. Keep in mind that reducing the investment in dollars will most likely mean increasing the investment of your time.
The bottom line on all of this it that you should not feel apprehensive about working with a legal marketing expert. Do your homework and you will make a good decision.
Law Firm Coach: What Does That Mean?
Over the last few years, as the economy became more challenging, many solo and small practice lawyers closed their doors. Forced to feed their families, they decided to start calling themselves a “coach” and help attorneys do exactly what they could not do, build a successful law firm.
We have discussed this before.
On this website you can find my thoughts about lawyers who become law firm coaches.
You can also find my criteria for selecting a legal marketing expert.
You can read my thoughts about people who work as a part time law firm marketing expert.
The most troubling thing to me is the sheer number of lawyers who are flocking to these people without doing an investigation into their background and qualifications.
Here are three points to keep in mind as you look for help:
If you want a life coach you probably want a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
Do not hire a former lawyer to help you fix your life. Hire a professional. Hire someone who understands the human condition. Everyone could use a little therapy from time to time. Go to a real therapist.
Business is business and the law is the law.
A failed lawyer is not going to help you save your law firm. If somebody quit practicing law there was a reason. Do not hire that person to teach you the mistakes they made. Hire someone who knows how to build and run a business. Make sure they have experience in working with lawyers. But the key is to tap into their business skills.
Look for a system.
You do not want to work with a coach forever. Make sure this person has a system you can follow to help your build your law firm. If they do not have a system: Run away. Because they will just be “winging it”. They will be guessing at what MIGHT work for you and your law firm.
If you are reading this and you are a lawyer, you know how to do research. Take your time. Investigate all the people out there who work with lawyers on business strategy, marketing and practice management. Make a good decision based upon the facts.
Law Firm Marketing Expert Reveals Dirty Little Secret
Some people have called me a law firm marketing expert. This is probably because I work with law firms and I help them with marketing and business strategy (among other things).
I spend at least 40 hours each week immersed in the world of law firm marketing. And I see a lot of lawyers looking for some kind of magic bean or pill they can take to get more clients overnight.
Well, at the risk of disillusioning many of my new visitors to this site I am going to reveal a secret to you that most law firm marketing experts do not what you to know:
You cannot get rich quick with law firm marketing.
Let me repeat:
You cannot get rich quick with law firm marketing.
Law firm marketing is about building relationships. Relationships are built on a foundation of trust. People must know you, like you and trust you before they hire you as a lawyer (or before they refer someone to you).
If you are looking for some kind of get rich quick law firm marketing scheme, somebody will definitely take your money but it will not be me.
While I offer a Fast Start Marketing System it is just that…a start. It is a guide I give to my clients for them to review when we begin working together. I started selling it, along with a subscription to a monthly DVD (which includes a new law firm marketing strategy each month). This is to help people who cannot afford to work with me in a one-on-one setting.
But even though I help you get started quickly, you still have to do the work.
Real law firm marketing is an ongoing process that requires hours of time each month.
So here is the lesson in this article: If someone promises you that you will immediately make money from something related to law firm marketing, run away.
Legal Marketing Expert Criteria From Dave Lorenzo
The other day I was introduced to someone as Dave Lorenzo Legal Marketing Expert. While I like the sound of the term Legal Marketing Expert associated with my name I am also aware that people are fast and loose when they throw around titles.
Since there is no regulating or governing body to create criteria for the status of legal marketing expert, I am going to do it.
Below are the official criteria for being an Approved Dave Lorenzo Legal Marketing Expert:
A legal marketing expert must focus full time on legal marketing. He/she cannot have another part time job (like selling Amway, Mary Kay Products or practicing law). The legal marketing expert must be totally focused and dedicated to legal marketing.
A legal marketing expert must be a student of marketing and must be able to demonstrate his/her willingness to learn and keep current in this field. This means the legal marketing expert should be enrolled in some form of on-going education program that keeps them up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in legal marketing.
A legal marketing expert must have focused on marketing exclusively for a minimum of five years. This five year rule stems from the theory that it requires 10,000 hours of practice to develop expertise in any particular field or discipline. If you work 40 hours per week exclusively on legal marketing and you work 50 weeks per year, you reach 10, 000 hours in five years.
A legal marketing expert must demonstrate knowledge of marketing outside the legal profession. This is important because there are many things that are transferable from business to legal marketing. All ethical, professional and legal guidelines must always be followed, of course. But having a broad base of knowledge is required of a legal marketing expert. This may be demonstrated by experience: Ten years of marketing experience in various industries is a good objective criterion. This should also be demonstrated by education. A masters degree in marketing, strategic communications, business administration or integrated marketing communications is also a good criterion.
The final requirement for a legal marketing expert is a demonstration of good moral character. This means that information proclaimed by the individual to be true should, in fact be true, and verifiable.
These are the five basic criteria for becoming an Approved Dave Lorenzo Legal Marketing Expert. I will accept applications and begin interviews immediately.