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Law firm marketing and business development strategies

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7 Bad Behaviors That Are Sending Clients to Your Competition

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

7 Bad Behaviors That Are Sending Clients to Your CompetitionAre you wondering why your competition seems to be attracting new clients while you are not?  While there could be a number of reasons for this, the truth is that you have no control over what they do — only what you do.

When it the last time you took a good look at how clients are really experiencing your law firm?  You may find that the answer to your question lies there.  I can think of seven common bad behaviors that send clients to the competition — are you committing any of these?

Pushing for a commitment. If a prospect visits and doesn’t sign up with you right away, their “no” may really mean “not right now.”  Take this as an opportunity to stay in touch with them and keep feeding them useful information on the legal matter they came to see you about, with a reminder that you are still here to help.  This is easily done with an automated email system that doesn’t require any of your time to administer.

Failing to set expectations. Most relationships with clients that go south do so because of unmet expectations. Be realistic about the services you provide and the outcome they can expect, and do it up-front.

Ignoring clients after they become clients. You don’t mean to ignore them, but you’re busy and time slips by. If you had a process in place for communicating with them regularly, this wouldn’t be a problem.

Talking over their heads. Some attorneys have a very bad habit of making clients feel stupid by using too many legal terms in conversation. Stay on your client’s level and always make sure they understood what you are trying to communicate.

Not responding. When clients need you, they don’t like to keep leaving voicemail messages — worse still is a full voicemail box. Offer your cell phone number or a way they can reach you when they need you.

Not listening. Most clients just want to be heard, especially by their own attorneys. This takes time on your part, and an effort to understand their point of pain and how to alleviate it.

Handing them off. Is the only time a client ever sees you when they are ready to sign on the dotted line? If you only make an appearance when money is on the table and then hand clients off to junior associates, you have just created a major disconnect in the loyalty chain.


How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients

After paying your employees, the most costly part of your law firm is Lead Generation.

This year your law firm will spend almost 10 times as much generating new leads as it does servicing existing clients!

Generating leads for your law firm is very expensive, yet a common complaint of many attorneys is that they “need more leads.”

Lead Conversion is the most overlooked area at most law firms and it has the potential to save you tens of thousands of dollars this year!

How? By helping you convert more of those costly leads into more paying clients!

Get this on-demand seminar to learn:

  • 3 major areas to examine when analyzing your law firm
  • 5 numbers every law firm must track to increase their conversion rates
  • A simple diagnostic tool you can use to track your leads and fix your follow up
  • A proven system for converting more leads into paying clients

You can watch the How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients seminar at your convenience by clicking here now.


How to Determine Your Budget for Legal Marketing

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

How to Determine Your Budget for Legal MarketingImplementing an under-funded legal marketing plan is just as bad as not using any marketing plan at all.  This is because of the Law of 7 Touches – which means that it takes 7 to 10 meaningful “touches” to move someone through the sales process to get them to the point where they are ready to buy from you.

If your marketing plan only has enough money behind it to produce a couple of meaningful touches, it will be almost as if you never touched prospects at all because it won’t break through all the other marketing efforts made by other attorneys vying for that person’s time and money, including your biggest competitors.

So how much do you need to spend for marketing your law firm?

There are several things you need to consider when setting your legal marketing budget:

Your practice area.  Some practice areas require significantly more time and money to market, like litigation and personal injury.

Your profit margins. The larger your margins, the more you can invest on marketing and new business development. Some practice areas have bigger profit margins (litigation) while others have notoriously low profits (insurance coverage and residential real estate).

Your annual revenues. It is not unusual for successful law firms to spend between 15% and 40% of their annual revenues on marketing and business development.

Your target market.  Any time you are marketing directly to consumers, your marketing budget must be bigger because of the intense competition for consumer’s attention.

Your market area. For many professional service firms, like doctors, lawyers and accountants, it is usually limited to up to 25 square miles.

Your competition.  Analyze your competition—are there lots of you vying for the same business or just a few?  What kind of marketing strategies are they using? How are they positioning their firm?  If you have to compete with lots of other firms for the same target market, you will need a bigger budget.

Your systems. In general, the better systems you have in place for implementing the plan, the less money you have to use. For example, if you use direct email marketing as part of your plan, you can reach potential clients with greater frequency at a low cost.

The typical marketing cycle. How long does someone take to make a decision after they have gathered all the information they need? Is it measured in minutes, days, weeks, or months? The longer the marketing cycle, the more money you need to spend on marketing because after you have given them the information they need, you still need to stay in touch with them.

Your average sale. How much does your average client spend with you? $500? $5,000? $500K? $5 Million? Typically, the higher the price tag, the more you need to educate your client as to the benefits of your services and provide more evidence of your credibility.

The lifetime value of your average client. How much does your average client spend with you over a given timeframe? If they spend $1,000 a month with you annually, and the average client stays with you for three years, then the average customer is worth around $36,000 to you. If you know that, you know how much you can afford to spend on landing each client before it starts to negatively impact your profit margins. If your average client only makes one “purchase” from you and never comes back, then you will need to use lower cost marketing strategies to reach them.

Once you have figured all this out, you’ll have a good idea of what you need to adequately fund a marketing plan for your law firm.


money targetKnowing the Numbers That Run Your Law Firm

We are now providing one of our most popular seminars – Knowing the Numbers That Run Your Law Firm – in an on-demand format, so you can watch and learn at your convenience, as many times as you wish.

Over the last decade we have helped over 10,000 attorneys market and grow their business. During this time we have identified many of the key characteristics of highly successful law firms.

One of the more consistent ones is that they track specific numbers and key indicators that give them instant insight into how their law firm is performing on a weekly and monthly basis.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the numbers that make your law firm run. By analyzing these critical metrics, partners and owners of law firms can easily determine whether they are on track to achieve their goals or if they need to retool and refocus their marketing and business development efforts.

In this fast paced seminar, you learn:

  • How to easily identify the 12 key metrics your law firm needs to track and measure
  • How to set up a system to identify these numbers
  • The 7 critical systems every law firm must have
  • CPL and CPC: the 2 most important numbers every attorney must know in order to succeed
  • How to avoid “paralysis by analysis” and being overwhelmed by too much data
  • Delegating roles and responsibility to your staff
  • Using software to track your KPIs

If you’re a spreadsheet and data driven individual then you will love this seminar! However, if numbers scare you or you tend to ignore them because you have a hard time making heads or tails of all the different data you see, then this seminar is a “can’t miss” event!

We cut through the clutter and give you clear and easy to understand guidance on which numbers really matter the most, how to track this information, and what to do with it once you have it!

To get this on-demand seminar, click on this link: Knowing the Numbers That Run Your Law Firm.


The 3 Habits of Law Firm Marketing Masters

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

The 3 Habits of Successful Law Firm MarketersLaw firm marketing is a competitive business. And there are many reasons why certain law firms fail to thrive or even survive.

However, in my working with more than 10,000 attorneys over the years, I’ve discovered that there are essentially three common denominators among attorneys who succeed in growing their practices:

1.  Time.  Attorneys who succeed in marketing and growing their firms dedicate time to law firm marketing.  It may not always be their time, but they have someone who tends to the knitting day in and day out.  They know that the world is full of lawyers who don’t take the time to market themselves – and they use this to their advantage consistently.

Here are a few common examples of what many attorneys try to do single-handedly when they would be better off delegating to someone else in the firm or outsourcing:

  • Creating, maintaining and writing for a monthly e-newsletter to send to current and prospective clients
  • Setting up and writing a blog
  • Setting up and maintaining social media accounts for your firm
  • Writing and distributing press releases
  • Creating and launching a lead generation email campaign
  • Maintaining their own law firm websites
  • Search Engine Optimization to increase traffic for your Internet marketing efforts
  • Designing a comprehensive law firm marketing plan or strategy
  • Implementing systems and processes to better manage client and prospect relationships

2.  Systems.  Firms that excel in legal marketing have systems in place to run, monitor and measure their law firm marketing programs.  Leveraging readily available software and technology, attorneys can create a “lifestyle practice”—a practice that supports the lifestyle you want to lead, rather than one that dominates your life.

3.  Strategy.  Legal marketing gurus know that a comprehensive strategy to grow your law firm is essential to your long-term success. Otherwise, you and your team lack direction.  When you use a proven legal marketing strategy that consistently produces results, you can then set up legal marketing systems that, in turn, free up your time while increasing your client base, thereby increasing your revenue.


GrowthLadder copy7 Strategies for a 7-Figure Law Firm

If you’re like many of the attorneys I speak with every week:

You’ve been practicing over 10 years, you own a small firm with a handful of staff, you work hard month after month, but you never seem to get ahead.

You’ve tried all the traditional methods of marketing your law firm, but so far nothing seems to work very well.

You have goals, dreams and ambitions, but after all these years you’re still struggling to break or consistently break the million dollar mark…and every once in a while you wonder if it’s really worth it all.

I need to tell you from one business owner to another-the skills that helped you build a good 6-figure practice are not the same skills you will need to build a great 7-figure business.

So if you’re tired of beating your head against the wall and you’re ready to take a fresh look at how to break out of the negative cycle you’re stuck in then you really owe it to yourself to attend this webinar.

Join us and discover:

  • What it really takes to build a 7-figure law firm — no hype and no b.s.
  • Insider tips from managing partners running multi-million dollar firms
  • How to position yourself as a recognized expert and attract higher quality clients
  • 3 biggest reasons why you’re not getting more referrals and how to overcome these hurdles
  • The 2 things every Million Dollar Law Firm has in place (you will never achieve 7-figure revenues without both of these)
  • 2 key metrics you must measure every month if you want to grow your law firm

Click on this link now to access the online webinar, 7 Strategies for a 7-Figure Law Firm.

Use the 5 “Ps” to Build an Unbeatable Law Firm Marketing Program

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

MarketingHaving trouble figuring out the most effective law firm marketing methods? It’s important to avoid losing time and money to trial and error, and stumbling and fumbling around is a sure-fire way to waste lots of both when it comes to law firm marketing.

If you don’t know the secrets of law firm marketing, you give your competition a huge advantage. Here are 5 principles of law firm marketing that will get you started in the right direction. Look for ways they apply to your current campaigns.

People: Identify your target market. Analyze the characteristics of your best and worst clients and determine why they need your services. Look for a niche you can serve.

Product: Pinpoint what services you provide and how you can best present these to your prospects. Put yourself in their shoes. Ensure they know exactly what services they will receive.

Positioning: Study the competition. Learn why you are different from your competition and educate your prospects about why they should hire you and no one else. This convinces clients to do business with you and no one else.

Packaging:  Project an image that makes people want to work with you and micromanage the client experience so your clients actually feel what makes you different from the first time they walk in the door.

Place: Make sure that a prospective client can find you when they need your services by building a strong Internet presence through social media networking, blogging and ensuring your website is designed to appeal to search engines.

These 5 principles lay a firm foundation on which to build your law firm marketing plan. A realistic appraisal of them will tell you where you are as opposed to where you want to be. If you are not sure where to go from here, consider attending a Rainmaker Retreat, where you will learn proven marketing strategies that are working for other attorneys and how to apply them to your practice.

Our December 4-5, 2014 Rainmaker Retreat in Los Angeles is sold out (you can get on our waiting list for this event here), but you can still register for our Miami Rainmaker Retreat on January 17-18, 2015.  Early bird registration is now open until December 21, 2014, for the January session, which enables you to save $200 on your registration.

The January session is a joint Rainmaker Retreat event with the National Trial Lawyers Association, just prior to their Annual Summit in Miami.  National Trial Lawyers members receive a discount — just contact National Trial Lawyers at 866-665-2852 to receive the discount code.


NEW “Rainmaker Retreat Unplugged”
DVD Set Now Available!

This 6-DVD set is a live recording of the Rainmaker Retreat, a 2-day legal marketing intensive led by legal marketing expert Stephen Fairley that covers over 65 proven online and offline marketing and business development strategies for law firms.

You will discover:

  • Lead Generation Techniques: how to generate more leads from the Internet, social media and blogs.
  • Lead Conversion Techniques: a proven system to track incoming leads and improve your conversion rates to turn more of those prospects into paying clients.
  • Client Retention Techniques: specific tools to double your referrals and to help you with “Building a Lifestyle Law Firm®”
  • Engaging activities to help you identify your ideal target market so you can powerfully market to them.
  • Over 65 PROVEN online and offline legal marketing strategies.

Click here now to order Rainmaker Retreat: Unplugged.

Give Those Most Likely to Leave Your Law Firm a Reason to Stay

Posted in Law Firm Development

leavingBloomberg recently did an article on a report entitled, Assessing Lawyer Traits & Finding a Fit for Success,  which detailed the results from an online test taken by more than 1,400 people in the legal profession, the majority of whom were practicing attorneys, to assess why attorneys stay at their firms.

The report was co-authored by Right Profile, a Chicago talent selection and data analytics firm, and JD Match, an online legal recruiting website.  They estimate that when an attorney leaves a firm, he or she takes anywhere from $400,000 to $800,000 worth of business with them.  Hence, the desire on the part of firm management to keep the workhorses in the corral.

The test found that the attorneys who are most likely to leave their law firms have “higher levels of resilience, empathy, initiative and sociability.”  This makes sense to me.  It does take resilience and initiative to leave a firm, either for a better opportunity or to go out on your own.  These are also traits that law firms should treasure, so why aren’t they doing more to develop their people?

Far too many firms fail to hire the right people because they only look at skills, not personalities.  As the report notes, how law firms recruit, develop and retain attorneys has not changed much in the last 40 years — and the lack of focus on the human side results in almost a mass exodus of associates after three years (46%!).

Law firms need to give serious consideration to changing their work environment and culture so it rewards those personality traits you do want — and I would say that resilience, empathy, initiative and sociability would be on that list —  instead of reinforcing all the negative ones you don’t want.

You can get the complete report here.


NEW FREE REPORT:  How to Tap Into One of the Most Cost Effective Marketing Tools for Law Firms & 4 Steps to Get Started Today

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:

  • 10 reasons an e-newsletter is necessary to your legal marketing strategy
  • The cost benefits of an e-newsletter
  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter

Click on the following link to receive your free report on How to Tap Into One of the Most Cost Effective Marketing Tools for Law Firms & 4 Steps to Get Started Today.

One BigLaw Firm Abandons the Billable Hour

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

ice waterBigLaw labor and employment firm Jackson Lewis says that it is eliminating the billable hour in 2015 for its associates, who will now be measured on client service, responsiveness, and efficiency as well as how good a team player they are and how committed they are to pro bono work.

So are people in hell now being served ice water?

According to a quote from firm chairman Vincent Cino in an American Lawyer article,

“The billable hour is directly opposed to the best interest of the client and to the provider of service because by its very nature it adds an artificial barrier to the accomplishment of the only real objective, which is a quality legal product for a set and expected price.”

Yes, this is good for Jackson Lewis associates.  Instead of having to deliver 1,900 billable hours per year to qualify for a bonus, they will now be tasked with delivering real value to their clients and community.   And maybe will even be able to carve out a few hours for a life outside work.

The real beneficiaries here should be the firm’s clients, which chairman Cino so correctly notes have one real objective:  quality work at a set price.  Which is something that many of my clients, mostly small firms and solos, have been delivering for some time now.

Especially for consumer law, alternative billing solutions simply work better.  The client knows how much representation he or she can afford and will no longer tolerate an open spigot.  Spurred by the economic recession, the market continues to demand transparency on pricing.  And you can’t put the genie back in the bottle on this one.

Several years ago, divorce attorney Lee Rosen was just like many other consumer law attorneys…struggling with ever increasing amounts of accounts receivable. Yet while everyone else was still weighing the “pros and cons” of flat fee billing, he set out to fix his cash flow and in doing so he fundamentally changed his practice – for the better!

As a direct result of this “radical” decision (which many of his colleagues told him couldn’t be done) his revenues have never been higher, his profit margins are larger, and he’s building a lifestyle law firm.

I interviewed Lee last year and created a webinar from that interview called How to Make Flat Fee Billing Work for Your Law Firm.  We discussed:

  • Why clients love flat fee billing
  • How to use flat fee pricing as a major differentiating factor
  • The inherent conflict of charging by the hour
  • Specific steps on how to position it with clients
  • Which practice areas can benefit from flat fee billing
  • Real world case study for consumer law attorneys
  • Practical considerations for litigation-based practices
  • How to improve your cash flow using flat fees
  • Best practices when implementing flat fee billing
  • 3 quick and easy ways to get started
  • Potential pitfalls to avoid when setting up your system

To access this exciting one-hour interview with Lee Rosen, click on this link:  How to Make Flat Fee Billing Work for Your Law Firm.



How to Use Local Search for Leads

Posted in Internet Marketing for Lawyers, Law Firm Marketing

local searchFormer House speaker Tip O’Neill famously said, “All politics are local,” meaning that a politician’s success is directly tied to his or her ability to appeal to the concerns of their local constituency.   And the same can be said for law firm marketing:  local influence is key to obtaining qualified leads.

To realize the importance of being proficient at Local Search, all you have to do is search for your area of practice on Google.  Without even typing in a city or state, Google will serve up law firms that match your search query that are geographically closest to you.   Google knows that if you are in Chicago and are looking for a personal injury lawyer, it is highly likely you want one that is close to you.  Hence the importance of Local Search.

Here are some tips law firms can use to rank better in local search results:

Use the proper keywords.  You have to use the same words in your content and tags that your prospects are using when they search online.  List 20-30 keywords you believe prospects use and then research them further using the Google Keyword Tool and

Use local terms in your content.  Be sure you are using geographically specific words on your website.  Include your company name and address as well as a geo sitemap on your site.

Beef up your law firm listings.  Be sure to list your law firm on Google+ Local, Yahoo Local, Bing, Citysearch, Avvo and review sites like Yelp.  You must ensure your listings on each of these sites are consistent — they must be exactly the same everywhere on the Internet in order for your website to earn citations, which is key to being found in Local Search.

Obtain reviews.  Google has decided that reviews of local businesses are important, which means that you need to encourage clients who are happy with your services to review you on sites like Google and Yelp.

Optimize social network pages.  Wherever your law firm is visible on social media — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. — be sure you have posted your firm’s name and address information on those sites.  Remember to keep it consistent with all your online listings!

Optimize your site for mobile.  More than half of website visits are now made on a mobile device — tablet or smartphone — so your website must be optimized for mobile.  The best way to do this is to use responsive web design for your main website, which guarantees that it will perform well no matter what size screen a prospect is using to find you.


Get More Proven Legal Marketing Strategies FREE from The Rainmaker Institute

One click of your mouse will take you to our website where you can see the current issue and subscribe to our complimentary monthly e-newsletter that will be delivered to your inbox every month.

Each issue is chock-full of legal marketing information you can put to use right away and share with your staff to maximize the effectiveness of your legal marketing plan.  Click here now to subscribe to The Rainmaker Institute Law Firm Marketing Newsletter.

Lead Management: 3 Steps to Slash Your No-Show Rates

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

money down the drainOne of the most frustrating things for a consumer law firm to deal with effectively is no-shows.  You’ve gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to get prospects to call and set an appointment.  And then they don’t show.  It feels like money down the drain.  But it doesn’t have to be.

There are three proven lead management strategies lawyers can implement tomorrow that will reduce your no-show rates significantly.:

  1. Call to confirm the day before and the day of the appointment
  2. Email to confirm with specific directions to your office
  3. Incentivize your staff with a performance bonus (NOT a fee split!)

ALL of your appointments should be confirmed. You should call them the day before, and if you have a really bad no-show rate – meaning at least 40% or higher – you should also call them the day of the appointment.

Make sure that you get a cell phone number during the initial call, because if you’re calling the home phone number and they’ve already left work, you’re not going to be able to remind them.

As soon as you get off the phone after confirming the appointment, you then want to send them an email confirming all the details. Include driving directions and a photo of your building.  If you’re in any kind of a metro area where parking is difficult, you want to make sure that people can visibly identify how to get to you. Make it stupid-simple for people to get to your office.

If they still miss the appointment, make sure that you call them 10 minutes after the no-show. Someone from your staff should be on the phone with them leaving a voicemail and saying, “Just want to let you know we’re still here, we’ve got an appointment, we’re waiting for you, please call me back as soon as you get this message.”

Never be rude if they no-show. Assume that something happened in their life and that they want to come back in for an appointment. My rule is that every single no-show gets four to five calls before you give up – four to five calls after the no-show with the purpose of getting them to reset the appointment and get them in.

You must use both phone calls and email to increase your conversion rate. It’s not enough to just use one or the other, you have to do both.


SuccessSign225x243FREE Webinar Tomorrow 11/18:  Discover the Top 10 Habits of Successful Rainmakers

Join me and KLA Marketing Associates Principal Kimberly Alford Rice for the free Top 10 Habits of Successful Rainmakers: Turning Contacts Into Contracts webinar on Tuesday, November 18 at 2 p.m.ET/11 a.m. PT.

We will examine the characteristics of top Rainmaker attorneys—lawyers who consistently bring in the big files and the big clients—so you can learn from and adapt these qualities to your personal marketing approach.

Join us and learn:

  • How to devise a dynamic and highly effective marketing action plan, and actually implement it!
  • The imperative of stepping up your communications with clients and contacts
  • Cost effective techniques for staying in touch with referral sources, clients, and contacts.
  • Techniques for leveraging social media marketing tools without being time intrusive.
  • The secret sauce to marketing success – it works every time!
  • Tips for turning contacts into contracts

Register online now for the Top 10 Habits of Successful Rainmakers: Turning Contacts Into Contracts free webinar on Tuesday, November 18 at 2 p.m.ET/11 a.m. PT.  If the time doesn’t work for you, register anyway to receive a free recording of the webinar that you can watch at your convenience.

Discover the Top 10 Habits of Successful Rainmakers on Nov. 18

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

rainmakerWouldn’t you love to find out exactly what lawyers who are successful rainmakers have in common so you could replicate that success for your firm?

Now you can.  Next Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, I will be sharing this information during the FREE Top 10 Habits of Successful Rainmakers: Turning Contacts Into Contracts webinar.

I will be joined by Kimberly Alford Rice, principal at KLA Marketing Associates and founder of the Women in the Law Rainmaker Forum.  Kimberly is a nationally recognized legal marketing executive who has worked with rainmakers across the country to help them generate record-marking profits.  She has great information to share with you!

Of course, I’ve learned a thing or two about what makes a successful rainmaker during my years of working with more than 10,000 attorneys on implementing proven marketing and lead conversion strategies for their firms.  I’ll be sharing with you the common traits successful rainmakers share during this free one-hour webinar.

Join Kimberly and me on Nov. 18 to learn:

  • How to devise a dynamic and highly effective marketing action plan, and actually implement it!
  • The imperative of stepping up your communications with clients and contacts
  • Cost effective techniques for staying in touch with referral sources, clients, and contacts.
  • Techniques for leveraging social media marketing tools without being time intrusive.
  • The secret sauce to marketing success – it works every time!
  • Tips for turning contacts into contracts

Register online now for the Top 10 Habits of Successful Rainmakers: Turning Contacts Into Contracts free webinar on Tuesday, November 18 at 2 p.m.ET/11 a.m. PT.  If the time doesn’t work for you, register anyway to receive a free recording of the webinar that you can watch at your convenience.

This One’s Just for Fun: 52 Common Myths Debunked

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Sometimes I wonder how I entertained myself before the Internet came along.

Oh sure, I love the World Wide Web for learning about what I want to know and performing tasks that were pure drudgery before it came along and put a world’s worth of knowledge at my fingertips.  I love the endless possibilities and opportunities the Internet presents to marketing aficionados like me.

And sure, I decry the bad things about it like cybercrime and cat videos.

I ran across this delightful inforgraphic the other day that debunks 52 common myths and am sharing it with you for the pure entertainment and even educational value.  It’s by data journalist and graphic designer David McCandless, who has just published a book called Knowledge is Beautiful.

Learn and enjoy!