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.