I’ve been working extremely hard over the past several weeks to try to convince lawyers that 2014 is going to be the year of the Podcast. Yesterday I held my first Webinar in which I discussed why podcasting is such a tremendous opportunity for lawyers.
Unfortunately, lawyers are a stubborn bunch…
I received numerous responses to the survey I posted above (here is a link), as well as feedback on the webinar yesterday, and the theme starting to develop is that lawyers don’t care so much about podcasting – right now anyway.
So what do us lawyers care about?
Based on the survey responses I have received so far, lawyers care about three things (among others):
- How to attract more Paying Clients to your law practice
- Step-by-step information on how to market their law practice
- Making sure they can pay the bills next month
Even though these are three separate and distinct answers, there seems to be a single theme permeating through all three responses – lawyers want to know how to attract, systematically, new paying clients to their law practice so that they can afford to pay their bills and take care of their families.
So how do you do that?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to legal marketing. You have to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are and develop a system that plays to your strengths. If you are introverted and don’t like to speak in front of others, a speaking tour of CLE events won’t work. If you hate being in the office and have to interact with others, blogging and internet marketing may be less important to you. I once heard someone say, “I can’t tell you one way to get 87 new clients, but I can tell you 87 ways to get one new client.”
I can’t tell you one way to get 87 new clients, but I can tell you 87 ways to get one new client.
The same is true of legal marketing and building a law practice. There are lots of small little things that you will need to do to help build your practice into one that works for you. The problem with most lawyers is that they are so used to doing things “their way”, that they don’t want to change and implement systems that will make their practice easier. However, in order to grow and build a better practice, you have to go through some growing pains first.
One small thing you can do is to start taking time to work ON your practice instead of IN your practice. You must recognize that to turn your practice into a business enterprise, you must rely on systems that you can build and implement – and then tweak – so that your practice runs smoothly day after day, and month after month. I frequently tell lawyers I meet with that the first thing they need to do is stop answering the phone. If you don’t have an assistant yet, sign up for a service like Google Voice and leave a voicemail message that sounds something like this:
“You have reached the Law Office of John Doe. Mr. Doe is either in a meeting or at court – but will return all calls after 4pm this afternoon. Please leave a message after the tone with a phone number that you can be reached at later today.”
Ideally, you will either have a legal assistant to answer your calls (you will need to train them with a phone script), or you can use a service like Call Ruby (they are a preferred vendor of mine, use this link and they will waive the setup fee – I highly recommend them).
I challenge you to try this for one week.
Will it be hard? Yes.
Will you be tempted to take a call? Yes.
I stopped taking inbound calls six months ago and it has made a profound difference in my practice.
The second thing you can do immediately is to block off some time each and every week to work ON your practice. This is an appointment with yourself that you must keep sacred to you. It is every bit as important as a court hearing or a meeting with a client. This is time that you will spend writing and developing systems to implement into your practice. You can prepare templates, phone scripts, a mission and values statement, policies for how to hire employees, procedures for opening and closing client files, etc. The list is endless. But once you have these systems in place, you can begin to implement them into your law practice.
Finally, you should be spending time each day and week marketing your law practice. I challenge you to do one thing every day. Make one call to a potential referral source. Send one email to an old client to see how they are doing. Send a thank-you note to someone who recently hired your firm. Plan a webinar or in-person seminar for potential clients. Do something. Little steps like these will lead to a huge payoff if done on a regular basis.
What’s Next? How can I help you?
As a result of the answers I mentioned above and some additional feedback that I received from a fresh new lawyer that I had coffee with yesterday, I have decided to switch up the focus of my next webinar. I’ll be focusing much more on the steps and actions that I have taken to build not one, but two successful law practices over the past 9 years (in two different states). The webinar is scheduled for April 3rd at 2pm. You can click here to sign up.
I’d love to hear more from you about what topics you think would be most helpful as I put together an outline for this webinar. Here are some topics that I am happy to cover – all of which I have implemented successfully in my own law practice:
- Referral Marketing – How to build an army of folks that will constantly refer you business
- Sales Funnels – What they are and how to build one for your law practice
- Pay-per-click marketing – How to not waste thousands of dollars a month
- Building a solid website that sells your law firm for you – What to do and what not to do
- Getting involved in your local bar association – Good investment or a waste of time?
- How to build clients into raving fans of your law practice that will continue to refer you new business
- Deciding how much to charge
If you have a preference, please feel free to leave a comment below or fill out this survey if you want to remain anonymous. I want to build this website into a valuable resource that is beneficial to you and will help you build a better law practice. I look forward to hearing from you.
Nick Kringas says
Stop taking calls, work on your business and market every day – sound advice. Would you say most attorneys resist treating their practice like a business? If so, why do you think that is? Or do they simply not know what to do? I’ve been taking a course and one of the exercises is to finish the following sentence: “If I could just…”
I keep think, “If I could just focus on being a lawyer and not worry about growing my practice I’d be much happier.” Do you think this is accurate for most attorneys?
Jim Hart says
I think that most lawyers think that as long as they have legal work to do, they are successful (regardless of whether or not they are actually getting paid for that work). If a lawyer wants to focus on being a lawyer and doing legal work – that is fine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that – and there are plenty of law firms to choose from. If, however, you are more entrepreneurial and are interested in building a business that provides premium legal services, then you should do that. Hope that makes sense?