December 26th, 2010
There is a group of lawyers out there who will tell you that law firm marketing is not necessary. They will tell you to ignore any advice about doing the work required to attract clients. They will tell you that learning to attract clients as a lawyer is beneath you. They will tell you that it is enough to just be a good lawyer and the clients will come.
They are wrong.
If you want to attract clients you must do some form of law firm marketing. Clients do not just fall out of the sky into your law firm. You have to make sure they know who you are, what you do and why you do it better than everyone else.
If you take law firm marketing seriously you will not need to worry about making money.
November 11th, 2010
Most attorneys are hesitant to discuss fees at any point during a client relationship. They simply do not feel comfortable talking about money and they avoid it. The feeling among attorneys is that if you can avoid a fee conversation and just send a bill, you are better off.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
You must discuss fees and you must discuss them up front, before you ever begin work on a client’s matter. It is better and less complicated to get the fee discussion out of the way so you can focus on the legal work.
How do you do this?
At some point during your initial client meeting you should ask if the client “has a budget” for this work or “has money set aside for handling this situation”. If the answer is “NO” (and it almost always is) you should feel confident enough to tell them that your work on this matter will require an investment of $xxxx (insert you number here). After you say that just shut up and watch their reaction.
If they accept it, just move on to completing the engagement agreement. If they do not accept it, help the find another attorney.
When it comes to money you must handle all issues up front.
November 5th, 2010
Seth Godin gives us the answer to the question: Why start a law firm?
Although Seth is talking about starting a business I believe the point is transferable. If you are a big law associate (or even a partner) you need to realize that the little voice that is telling you that you can do things better, faster, smarter and for more/better people is right. You can.
Starting a law firm is difficult. You will have to worry about how to get clients as a lawyer. You will have to take action and you will have to work hard. You may struggle for the first couple of years. But once things are moving along, nobody can take it away from you. Of you set it up right your law firm will keep you fat and happy for many years.
Why haven’t you started your own law firm?
November 4th, 2010
If you are visiting this website you are probably wondering how to get clients as a lawyer. I am going to answer your question as directly and succinctly as possible. Below is a three step law firm marketing plan that will help you get clients as a lawyer. Even if this is the only thing you do, you will be able to get more clients in the upcoming months.
Step One: Meet As Many People As Possible
This may seem obvious but you will be amazed at how many people sit in their office and wait for the phone to ring and wonder why they are not getting clients as a lawyer. Your goal is not just to meet these people it is also to begin to develop a relationship with them. This can be done by speaking at an event, by writing articles and encouraging them to contact you, or by good old fashioned networking.
Once you meet these people and you begin to establish a relationship with them, ask them for permission to put them on your newsletter list. Once they agree and provide you with their contact information you can add them to your database of referral sources.
Please not that I did not say add them to your database of potential clients. We do not know if they are going to be clients in the future but we do know that they are definitely potential referral sources.
Step Two: Send These People A Weekly Email
Immediately begin sending these people a weekly email. This email should be educational and it should be written in a friendly conversational tone. Do not worry about the frequency of the email. Weekly is fine. If your email contains good content, they will welcome it.
Step Three: Send These Referral Sources a Monthly Newsletter
Be sure to send these folks a monthly print newsletter every month. This may seem unnecessary since you are already emailing them on a weekly basis but it will definitely help to deepen your relationship with them. It helps because 1). Many people who do not read your email will read your print newsletter and 2). Repetition of your message will amplify it and multiply the reaction of your audience.
If you implement this three step process immediately you will be amazed at how easy it will be to attract more clients. This is a little work. It will take about six months for your to see consistent results but in six month time you will no longer be wondering how to get clients as a lawyer.
November 1st, 2010
These days everyone seems to be a legal marketing expert. We find people who build websites calling themselves legal marketing experts. We find people who do public relations work calling themselves legal marketing experts. We find printers who print brochures and newsletters calling themselves legal marketing experts. And of course we find former lawyers calling themselves legal marketing experts.
How do you know who is “the real deal”?
Here are three things to look for:
Education and Experience: Notice I said both education and experience. Having one without the other is like hiring a doctor who learned to operate only by practicing on (his now deceased) patients. You want to see some kind of business education as well as some kind of communications educations in your law firm marketing consultant’s background. A good education requires work and we want to make sure your consultant has that.
The experience should include actually helping a law firm of your size grow. If you are a big law firm, you should work with a consultant who has experience helping big law firms. Small firm attorneys should look for someone who works with solo and small practice lawyers.
Commitment to Continuous Improvement: The consultant you hire should always be learning new techniques. Each time you see him he should have some new strategy to recommend to you. This type of information comes from being a part of a group or organization that helps to foster an environment of continuous learning.
References: The legal marketing consultant you hire should have impeccable references and you should have speak with them before making a hiring decision.
These are three criteria from about 100 you should have for hiring a legal marketing consultant. Ask good questions and you will make a good decision.
October 30th, 2010
You may have noticed that I post to this blog (and my other blogs) frequently. There are two main reasons why and I have never disclosed them before.
Reason number one is to build a relationship with my readers. Think about some of the best relationships in your life. In those relationships you do not always like what the person says all the time. But the more frequently you speak with them, the more your realize that they say things you agree with more often than they say things you disagree with. In fact, if you speak with them often enough, you may even forget what they said that you didn’t like. Frequency of communication builds trust.
Reason number two is to encourage frequent visits from search engines. It is a known fact that the more often you post something the more frequent the search engines will visit your blog. As we get Law Firm Marketing Atlanta off the ground, I want the search engines visiting as frequently as possible so I will gladly live up to the nickname “Everyday Dave”.
If you are launching a new website, rather than barter with someone who may not know how to get it indexed in search engines quickly, simply start writing and build up a body of work quickly. That strategy will work if you put in the effort.
You can look for more tips and action oriented law firm marketing guidance like this here several times a week. See you soon.
October 29th, 2010
The recession and subsequent dismal economic conditions pre and post recession have brought out an alternative economy that many lawyers find intriguing. I am talking about the barter economy. Many lawyers (especially lawyers with good law firm marketing) are being asked to consider trade as an alternative to a cash fee.
Just like in colonial times when the blacksmith would barter shoeing a horse for free medical services from the town doctor, clients are approaching attorneys and asking for all kinds of alternative fee arrangements. Bartering services for services is not uncommon.
Should you enter into a barter arrangement?
The ultimate question is: Can a barter arrangement work for your law firm. The answer is a firm “maybe”. Success in these arrangements is contingent upon the services you are providing and the product/service you are providing in return.
It is easy to determine if you are getting a fair deal if you barter your legal services for some kind of product. The product has tangible value. You can look around the market and determine what it is work. A service on the other hand is nebulous. Its value is subjective.
The bottom line on barter relationships is: Be Careful. You must be prepared to not get adequate value in return for the service you provide. You should have a written agreement even though you will not be exchanging funds. Each party should have their obligations spelled out clearly. You must be willing to take action and remain persistent.
Barter is better than nothing but cash is always best. Get paid and get paid in advance whenever possible.
October 28th, 2010
A few days ago we showed you an example of a great law firm marketing system. The only problem with law firm marketing systems is that they only work if you work them. This means you must take action.
Having an action orientation is critical to being successful at legal marketing. This means doing the things that are important before the become urgent. It meas taking care of an issue before it becomes a crisis. It means executing on your legal marketing plan.
Take a moment right now and think about the things you want to get done during the course of the next week. Make out a “to do” list. Make sure this list includes the marketing initiatives you want to accomplish.
Now give a priority number to each of the things you want to get done. The number 1 means these things are the most important. The number 2 means second most important, etc.
Work your way through the list. Complete all the things with the number 1 next to them first. Complete the things labeled with a “2″ next, etc.
Forcing yourself to prioritize your tasks will help you stay on track. The key is not to get discouraged. If you take a little bit longer than you anticipated to complete a task, stay with it. You may want to break big tasks down into manageable smaller tasks.
In order to be effective at legal marketing you must be action oriented. Get to work on your list of action items right now.
October 18th, 2010
Contrary to the way most people think of the South, Atlanta moves fast. Law firm marketing in Atlanta means taking action and doing it quickly.
Here are three ways smart Atlanta lawyers are using law firm marketing action to their advantage:
One-On-One Networking at Least Twice a Week
Have a meal with someone who can possibly refer you business at least twice each week. This is a great opportunity to get to know someone on a more personal level. It is those personal relationships that will lead to business down the road.
There are three meal periods in each workday. There are five days in a work week. This is 15 different opportunities to meet with someone. You only need to have two meetings each week in order for them to pay off. Take the time to break bread with someone who can refer you business.
Send a Hand Written Note
Sending a handwritten note each day is a smart law firm marketing strategy. It gives you five personal touches with people who will be flattered that you took the time to reach out to them. At the end of the year you will have sent 250 notes to 250 different people. Do you think some of them will send you business?
Make One Phone Call
Each day before you leave your office make one last phone call to a referral source. If that person doesn’t answer, leave him a message saying you were thinking about him and wanted to “check-in”.
Again, this is a strategy designed to create a personal connection between you and a potential referral source. These five additional touches each week will endear you to 250 people during the course of a year. Even if they are the same 250 people to whom you send the notes, they will definitely be impressed.
Use these three law firm marketing tips in your practice and you will immediately begin to see the results.