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The Rainmaker Blog

Law firm marketing and business development strategies

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Where to Learn Everything You Never Learned in Law School About Building a Successful Law Firm

Posted in Law Firm Development, Rainmaker Retreat Boot Camp

Where to Learn Everything You Never Learned in Law School About Building a Successful Law Firm If you are like many attorneys I know, you have been practicing awhile, and your law firm is doing all right, but you go to sleep at night with this uneasy feeling that you should be making a lot more money by now and achieving a level of success that still seems to elude you.

Maybe your revenues and profits are falling faster than you want to admit, and you are finding it harder to land qualified clients. Your overhead is the same, but with revenues being down, you are taking home less now than ever before.

If this sounds like you, then you are ready for the Rainmaker Retreat.

The Rainmaker Retreat focuses on the unique problems facing small law firms and solo practices. Here is just a small sample of the actionable methods you will learn:

Specific strategies highly successful attorneys are using right now online and with social media to attract hundreds of people to their websites and blogs every month, convert them to paying clients, and keep them coming back and sending a steady stream of referrals!

Dozens of ways to drastically reduce the cost of your marketing efforts and still get more clients than you might believe possible.

Cutting-edge lead conversion strategies to increase revenues and follow-up techniques that will set you apart from your competition.

How to implement low cost marketing tools and systems that let you control your practice – instead of your practice controlling you!

We are so confident you will benefit from the Rainmaker Retreat that we offer a 100% money back guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied at the end of the first day, just let us know, turn your materials in and we will refund your money.

You have nothing to lose and so much to gain by attending.  Here’s what criminal defense attorney Kevin Leckerman had to say after attending a Rainmaker Retreat:

After one month of utilizing the principles that I learned at the Rainmaker Retreat, I could already see positive changes in my law practice.  The number of calls from potential clients increased.   The number of potential clients converted to actual clients increased.  Moreover, the Retreat taught me how to put powerful systems in place to handle the influx of new business.  I give Stephen Fairley and the Rainmaker Institute my highest recommendation.”

If you want to start seeing real results like Kevin and thousands of other attorneys have, then attend one of our upcoming Rainmaker Retreats:

November 6-7, 2015 — New York City

December 4-5, 2015 — Los Angeles

Get substantial savings (50% off) through our Early Bird Registration, which ends November 4 for the Los Angeles Rainmaker Retreat.

You can register online for a Rainmaker Retreat or call 888-588-5891 for more information.  National Trial Lawyers members receive a discount. Please contact National Trial Lawyers at 866-665-2852 to receive the discount code.

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Law Firm Business Development: How to Turn Pain Into Gain

Posted in Business Development for Law Firms

Law Firm Business Development: How to Turn Pain Into GainThe primary reason why someone hires an attorney is to alleviate his or her “pain.” They may use words like “goal,” “challenge” “problem” or “issue,” but their pain is whatever they are experiencing that they want you to fix.

When their “pain” becomes too big for them to ignore or too excruciating to handle is the time they call out for help. And if you have been looking for the right signals, you can put yourself in the position to turn their pain into your gain.

First, you need to understand that when someone is in pain, there are some common problems:

They may not be thinking too clearly and may make irrational decisions (like hiring the wrong lawyer).

They don’t use the right terms to describe their pain (they ask for mediation when they really want a divorce lawyer).

They may not see what’s really causing their pain (they may focus on the immediate or surface problem and not see the root cause, in which case their pain may resurface in the future).

They may use things or people to conceal the true source of their pain (they may point to the wrong person or company as the source of their pain).

Once you understand the signs to look for, use these tips to turn a prospect with pain into a paying client:

  • Know how your prospects typically define and describe their “pain.”
  • Talk about the problem using their language.
  • They will feel you listened to them if you ask them a lot of questions about their problem and their pain.
  • Don’t waste time describing the process you will use to resolve their pain. Instead, focus on helping them understand your solution and results.
  • Give them a sense of hope, that things can get better and you know how to help.
  • Project confidence in your ability to help.
  • Listen to them and make them feel understood or they won’t listen to you.

Client acquisition begins with listening, then digging deeper to get the whole picture of a potential client’s needs and taking the time to talk with them about how you can help.

Attorneys are, as a group, notoriously gregarious, but you need to learn how to listen carefully if you hope to gain and retain clients.  It is by listening that you learn what clients want, and then you can give it to them. Which makes for more referrals and better client retention.


7 Lead Conversion Tips to Triple Your Appointments

Posted in Lead Conversion

7 Lead Conversion Tips to Triple Your AppointmentsThrough our Rainmaker Intake University, we have established a working process for lead conversion that is being used successfully by thousands of attorneys across the country.  It begins with understanding the five stages of lead conversion:

Stage 1: The number of leads that come into your firm.

Stage 2: The number of leads that make appointments.

Stage 3: The number of appointments who actually show up for a consultation.

Stage 4: The number of appointments who sign up for your legal services at the initial consultation.

Stage 5: The number of appointments who sign up at some later time after the initial consultation.

To be effective at lead conversion requires intervention and follow-up at every stage.  The way you follow up during each stage will determine how quickly and effectively you are able to move someone along from becoming a lead to a paying client.

The disconnect for many law firms comes during the attempt to turn leads into appointments. The reason many firms fail at this stage of the game is simply lack of follow-up and persistence in pursuing a lead. Your intake person makes a call or two and then gives up if they don’t book an appointment.

In fact, research shows that:

  • 44% of salespeople give up after just one follow-up
  • 80% of sales require a minimum of five follow-ups
  • 50% of sales go to the first responder
  • If you follow up with a lead within five minutes, you are 9x more likely to convert them

In our own research and practice in teaching lead conversion techniques to attorneys and their staff members, we have honed in on 7 tips that will triple the number of appointments you will be able to generate from your current lead flow:

  1. Institute a “5 Minute Follow-up Rule.”
  2. Never make an attorney responsible for follow up!
  3. Train a staff person at first. When you get over 30-50 leads per month, hire a dedicated intake specialist.
  4. Give staff person a performance bonus to set appointments who show up.
  5. Call a minimum of 5-7 times before giving up.
  6. Script every voicemail, test results and verify calls are being made.
  7. Send 4-5 educational emails via autoresponder, in addition to the calls.

Of course, to be truly effective at lead conversion, you need a system that actually helps you track and convert more of those leads into retained or paying clients. We have developed a software-generated approach that includes training and consulting with a firm’s staff on best practices, but at the heart of it is a software-driven system that tracks where all your leads are coming from.

This system tracks what your conversion rate is by office location if you have multiple offices, by attorney, how many of those appointments actually show up, how many convert to retained clients, and more. After the initial consultation, it sends out autoresponder emails that follow up and track every single lead. It has a series of action-trigger sequences. It’s a very, very comprehensive system, and if you want to run an effective lead conversion program, you can’t just use Excel.

For more information about this system, visit


More Data on How People Find Attorneys

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Orlando criminal law firm Moses & Rooth conducted a Google survey last month to determine how different demographic groups look for attorneys when seeking legal advice.

The survey netted 1,578 responses and the firm then whipped up an infographic to share the results (see below). Of particular interest is the gender and age demographic breakdown in the tools people use to look for an attorney.

For example, the top two ways that men find an attorney is through a friend or a referral. However, the top two ways that women find an attorney is via a friend or Internet search. For those over 45, friends and referrals are the top two ways people find an attorney. For those under the age of 45, there is a much heavier dependence on online resources.

The income category is eye-opening as well. The #1 way that those making $150K+ look for an attorney is online and getting a referral from a friend doesn’t count with this group at all.  Interesting stuff.

More Data on How People Find Attorneys

10 Ways Your Law Firm Benefits from Social Media

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

10 Ways Your Law Firm Benefits from Social MediaThe purpose of any marketing program is to deliver measurable results, whether that measurement is in terms of increased leads, sales or even improved SEO.  Too often, when it comes to social media, marketers fall in love with their number of “likes” and “shares” without discerning if these really add anything to the bottom line.

The conundrum many marketers face when it comes to social media is how to measure it since social media delivers as many if not more intangibles than it does tangible things like clicks, likes and visits.

To gauge the true value of social media for your law firm, consider these 10 ways that your firm may already be benefitting beyond the obvious:

  1. Brand building. Since social media is your unfiltered voice, you have a great opportunity to build your brand.
  2. Community. Social media is all about cultivating a community and engaging in a dialogue with prospects and clients who will tell you what they need and want from your firm. This is a great way to gather meaningful market research.
  3. Exposure. It takes a minimum of 7-10 exposures for a prospect to decide to make a purchase. Social media gives you a number of different avenues for getting repeat exposure.
  4. Authority. Social media helps you establish authority in your area of practice.
  5. Influence. As you build your authority, your influence grows – and the larger the audience, the greater the influence.
  6. Traffic. Social media drives traffic to your website or blog, giving you an opportunity to gather contact information so you can engage directly with prospects.
  7. Relevance. Prospects and clients are already checking to see if you are represented in social media whether or not you realize it. You risk being viewed as behind the times if you are not engaging them on major social media sites.
  8. Mindshare. You will probably never know how you are affecting people on social media, but you can bet you won’t have any chance of gaining mindshare if you don’t engage at all.
  9. One-up your competitors. There are lots of lawyers who are still not participating in social media, which provides you with a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
  10. Big wins. If a social media contact refers you on a big case or you get a call from a major media outlet to comment on something you’ve posted, that’s a big win. They don’t happen often, but when they do, they make your social media investment incredibly worthwhile.

Building a social media presence takes time. You cannot simply post a few articles on your blog and expect prospects to knock down your doors. Create content that is relevant to your targeted prospects, keep pumping out fresh content almost every day, and when they come, focus on converting them!


Legal Marketing Stats Lawyers Need to Know

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Legal Marketing Stats Lawyers Need to KnowUsing market trends to inform your law firm marketing efforts is a must for solos and small firms that have limited budgets and resources to market their firms.

Google recently aggregated research from FindLaw and its own inhouse data to provide a look at the legal market trends that should shape your legal marketing initiatives:

74% of prospects beginning a search online end up contacting the office via phone. (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

87% of people who contact an attorney go on to hire an attorney and 72% of them only contact one attorney. (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine. (Google Consumer Survey, Nov 2013)

38% of people use the Internet to find an attorney. (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

62% of legal searches are non-branded (i.e., generic: “Phoenix divorce attorney,” etc.). (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

74% of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action. (Google Legal Services Study Sept 2013)

25% of people researching legal topics visit YouTube during the process. (YouTube Internal Data 2012)

85% use online maps to find legal service locations. (Google Legal Services Study Sept 2013)

69% use both a smartphone and a PC for research. (Google Legal Services Study Sept 2013)

31% of all law firm related website traffic comes through mobile search (FindLaw Aggregated Hosted Site Data 2014)

71% of people looking for lawyer think it is important to have a local attorney. (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

So what do you need to do to convert leads based on these facts? Here are a few action steps:

Provide multiple contact options — phone, email, online chat, etc.

Provide a mobile-friendly version of your website.

Have an intake system that allows consumers to reach your firm on the first call and intake specialists trained to convert consumers into clients.

Concentrate on local SEO to ensure your website shows up well in local search.

Our Miami Rainmaker Retreat legal marketing seminar begins tomorrow, and we’ve got a full house eager to learn how to take advantage of consumer behavior to attract new clients. If you want to do the same, then attend one of our upcoming sessions:

November 6-7, 2015 — New York City

December 4-5, 2015 — Los Angeles

Get substantial savings (50% off) through our Early Bird Registration, which ends October 2 for the NYC Rainmaker Retreat and November 4 for the Los Angeles Rainmaker Retreat.

You can register online for a Rainmaker Retreat or call 888-588-5891 for more information.  National Trial Lawyers members receive a discount. Please contact National Trial Lawyers at 866-665-2852 to receive the discount code.


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The One Thing You Absolutely Must Have to Succeed at Email Marketing

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

The One Thing You Absolutely Must Have to Succeed at Email MarketingEmail marketing remains the most effective way to reach prospects and referral sources for all companies, including law firms. And there is one thing you absolutely must have to succeed at email marketing: a great mailing list.

Whether you’re in the beginning stages of building your law firm marketing email list or the mid-to-late stages, the key is to build, cultivate and vet the list on an ongoing basis.

Here are some proven ways to build a great law firm marketing list:

Insert a newsletter sign-up form on each page of your website and on your blog, including a brief summary of the benefits of receiving no-cost, ongoing legal information they can use.

Offer a free guide or report on your website and gather the email addresses of all those who sign up to download it.

When you have a speaking engagement, provide a sign-up sheet for your “complimentary” newsletter. This technique has a very high response rate because the audience is already interested in your area of the law.

When you take someone’s business card, ask if it’s OK to add them to your complimentary newsletter list.

Partner with other professionals who serve a client base similar to yours. For example, if your area of practice is estate planning, financial planners or brokerage houses might have a target client similar to yours.  Once you locate these “list partners”, you can insert your offer for a free trial newsletter into their outgoing communications to that client base (and they can do the same with yours).  In that way, you are getting permission from the recipient prior to sending your law firm marketing newsletter – which is much more effective than purchasing a list.

The overall goal of your list is to cultivate relationships that move the prospect to become a client.

A word about the value of Unsubscribe

The value of “unsubscribe” — allowing prospects on your email distribution list to leave your list at any time and for any reason they like – is that it helps you reach your goal of creating a highly motivated core list of clients and prospects more quickly.

Of course, there are many marketers who believe that openly allowing prospects to leave their list only encourages them to do so. And that may be true.

The question is – why would you want to keep sending free legal information to an individual who doesn’t want it, won’t use it and isn’t interested in your services?

The truth is that by allowing those individuals to leave your list, you are actually increasing the health of your list.

You are refining it into a tighter, healthier, more highly focused, highly motivated group of people who are interested in what you have to say and the services you have to offer.

So, don’t hide the “unsubscribe” option in fine print at the bottom of your newsletters or bury it in text in your e-mail tips or create a long, convoluted process for them to remove their name.

Display the “unsubscribe” option prominently along with a succinct message that spells out what they will be missing – insightful answers to their most pressing legal questions at no cost.


More Law Firms Sloooooowly Investing in Sales Professionals

Posted in Law Firm Development

More Law Firms Sloooooowly Investing in Sales Professionals The folks over at the Legal Marketing Association recently combined interviews of a small group of opinion leaders with an online survey conducted by the research team at American Lawyer Media to answer the question:

“Are traditional law firms resistant to hiring client-facing business development (i.e. “sales”) staff at a time when competition for and delivery of legal work continues to intensify?” And, “If so, why?” 

While explaining that their findings don’t set any industry benchmarks but are instead a “finger in the wind” to gauge potential trends, LMA highlighted the following from the ALM study of mid-sized and large law firms:

  • 42% of respondents said they had hired staff with primarily market-facing responsibilities.
  • 93% of respondents said their firm provides some type of business development training or coaching.
  • 64% of firms that had not hired sales professional cited “a culture adverse to change” and “partner objections” as the primary reasons.
  • 28% of respondents identified a “lack of knowledge of the formal sales process” as a hindrance to developing a stronger sales culture in the firm.

One of the largest hurdles is fitting sales professionals into an environment and culture where the responsibility for law firm sales has historically been with the firm’s rainmakers. Rainmakers typically possess strong client relationships and often view sales professionals as an unwelcome intrusion upon their territory. Clarifying roles is critical to introducing sales into a law firm’s culture.

Steve Bell, chief sales and marketing officer at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, notes, “Frankly, most lawyers aren’t good at initiating meetings or doing the follow up. Sales professionals can bring discipline and support to the relationship development and sales process.”

The report points out the primary advantages to law firms of hiring senior sales professionals:

  • Leverage and efficiency: Sales professionals can identify and research initial opportunities, bringing the lawyer into the process later.
  • Reach: Sales professionals often know more about a firm’s overall capabilities than most individual partners.
  • Mentorship: The right sales professional can act as a good model for lawyers to observe and emulate.

The LMA team was surprised that the ABA rule prohibiting fee sharing with nonlawyers was not a bigger obstacle to hiring sales professionals. In fact, the ALM survey of more than 300 mid- to large-sized firms found that only two respondents mentioned a potential violation of these rules as a factor in deciding whether or not to hire sales professionals.

In conclusion, the LMA report recommended that firms with a strong collaboration culture will be most effective in utilizing sales professionals if they hire and manage their sales team according to these rules:

(1) focus on the sales process,

(2) clearly define and communicate the role of the sales professional in the process,

(3) focus compensation on team success and sales management skills, and

(4) hire those who reflect the same character and qualities a firm would expect from its lawyers.

One of the things we have learned from our Rainmaker Intake University program is the necessity for a culture shift to occur in consumer law firms so that the individuals responsible for the firm’s intake process have a solid professional sales background.

Having attorneys be responsible for following up and qualifying leads is not only inefficient, it doesn’t work! By defining the roles clearly so that your sales team is responsible for qualifying and nurturing leads that can then be turned over to an attorney for developing the client relationship, your entire firm will prosper.

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3 Areas Where Your Law Firm Needs to Innovate…or Die

Posted in Lead Conversion

3 Areas Where Your Law Firms Needs to Innovate...or DieB2B attorneys continue to face declines in spending by corporate legal departments, and B2C attorneys struggle every day with increased competition and pricing pressure.

Law firms are facing increased demands for a bigger focus on efficiency, cost management and trying to do more with less. It really is a call to action for law firms to reconsider the way they do business and there is a lot of upside for law firms that find ways to innovate.

Look at any business in history and there is always more upside for companies that are more innovative. The downside is reserved for those that cling to the old ways of doing business, doing the same things they have always done and, somehow, expecting a different result.

Which, as we all know, is the very definition of insanity.

So when is the last time you really looked at your law firm business practices and questioned if they could be improved? Specifically, there are three areas you should be examining for innovations you can implement:

  1. Communication. This is fundamental to building a strong relationship with clients. You must stay on top of your email and phone messages. If you spend a lot of time in court, then you need to manage client expectations that they can expect a response by the end of the day. Be sure you have a staffer scouring your email for client requests that can be handled without your intervention (not legal advice, of course). What other ways can you make it easier for clients to communicate with you?
  2. Operations. Do clients find it hard to deal with your firm because you lack the systems to handle their business? There is no excuse for this since off-the-shelf software exists for every business function. Do you have the capability to bill according to their needs — i.e., getting your bills in by a certain date every month, billing by project rather than hourly, etc. You need to make it as easy as possible for clients to do business with you or eventually they won’t.
  3. Lead conversion. Do you have a system in place that nurtures your leads along a predetermined path until they sign up? A way of sending regular communications to former clients and referral sources to keep you top of mind for legal work? If you’re spending time and money on generating leads and then letting those leads languish, you might as well throw your money out the window.

In today’s hyper-competitive legal services market, necessity will surely be the mother of your reinvention. Don’t be afraid to make the necessary changes that will help ensure the survival of your practice.


Consumer Law Firms: Let Us Secret Shop Your Law Firm for Free!


Have you ever wondered what it’s really like for prospects that call your firm or worried that your intake process is not as great as you’d like it to be?

Or perhaps you already know your intake process is flawed, and those lead generation dollars you’ve been spending every month are going to waste.

This is why we have created the Rainmaker Intake University, specifically for consumer law firms that are:

  • Generating 30+ leads a month and are not satisfied with the number of new clients.
  • Employing one or more people to answer the phones and handle intake.
  • Not converting every lead possible.
  • Struggling to implement written protocols, training and systems.

We will secret shop your firm for free and critique you on the 10 critical factors for creating an exceptional experience for callers so you stand apart from your competition.

We will review the results with you over the phone and discuss a variety of effective strategies to implement immediately so your firm can convert more prospects into paying clients.

Register online now to let us secret shop your law firm for free. There’s nothing to lose and lots of lost revenue to gain!

8 Proven Ways to Boost Engagement for Your Facebook Posts

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

8 Proven Ways to Boost Engagement for Your Facebook PostsIf you’re using Facebook to “sell” your law firm, you are probably disappointed in your results.  You see, Facebook is about engagement and anything that smacks of a hard-sell is usually tuned out.

You will get much better results if you simply surrender to what Facebook can deliver, which is an opportunity to meet new prospects and to share your knowledge that may someday lead to new business.

A lot of new business connections occur on Facebook based on people you used to know –old high school or college friends that you connect with there and then educate them naturally on what you do now.  In that sense, approaching Facebook as a referral source cultivation opportunity could be a mindset that will pay you big dividends in the future.

That said, there are certain things you can do that research shows leads to more engagement with your Facebook posts.

According to Shareaholic research, social media now drives more traffic (31.2%) to the websites of people and organizations that post on social media sites than any other channel, including search. Facebook dwarfs all other social networks for driving that traffic, accounting for 25% of all website traffic coming from social media!

BuzzSumo recently analyzed 500 million Facebook posts to discover what types of posts create the most engagement. Use this data to plot your posting strategy and you will likely see an uptick in the number of likes, comments and shares your posts get on Facebook:

  1. Schedule evening posts. Posts published between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET get 88% more interactions than the average Facebook post.
  2. Use images. Image posts get 179% more interactions than the average Facebook post.
  3. Pose a question. Posts ending with a question get 162% more interactions than the average post.
  4. Use video. Videos are the most shared post type on Facebook, averaging 89.5 shares per video.
  5. Post on Sundays. Posts published on a Sunday get 52.9% more interactions than the average post.
  6. Keep posts brief. Posts with 150-200 characters performed the best, averaging 238.75 shares.
  7. Post directly to Facebook. Posting with a third party tool results in 89.5% less engagement than posting directly to Facebook.
  8. Link to longer content. Posts that link to long form content (2,000+ words) receive 40% more interactions than linking to shorter content.

Just like any social media network, the lion’s share of the attention goes to those who interact frequently – and genuinely – with followers and fans. Knowing how valuable and limited your time may be for social media marketing, you need to make efficient use of it to get the maximum benefit.  These tips can help you do just that.