The Rainmaker Blog

The Rainmaker Blog

Law firm marketing and business development strategies

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12 Critical Elements Your Law Firm Website Home Page Must Have

Posted in Internet Marketing for Lawyers, Law Firm Websites

Far too often, a law firm website is a vanity project.  Many firms want a big, glossy photo of their attorneys (preferably in an imposing board room), and their awards or recognitions prominently displayed on the home page.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean anything to your prospective clients. Here’s what they want to know when they visit your law firm website home page:

You practice the kind of law I need.  Whatever type of law you practice should be spelled out clearly and be one of the first things a visitor to your law firm website sees.

You understand my problem.  Get all the lawyer words off your site and speak to your prospect in their language so that they understand that you understand.  This builds trust.  And if they don’t trust you, they won’t do business with you.

You have the knowledge I need to solve my problem.  Lots of law firm websites have information that clients want to know hidden under a “Reference” or “Resources” tab.  This is important stuff to prospects; don’t make them hunt for it.

I understand the benefits and value I will receive if I work with you.  This is a tough one for most lawyers because they don’t really understand the benefits of working with their firm, so you have to spend some time really giving this some thought.  Look at the testimonials you have gathered and glean from those what really means something to your clients.  Using terms like, “We care” is both trite and commonplace.

The infographic below from HubSpot details the 12 critical elements your law firm website home page should have in order to generate leads:

12 Critical Elements Your Law Firm Website Home Page Must Have

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Free Webinar 2/18: Law Firm Finance for Contingency-Based FirmsFree Webinar 2/18: Law Firm Finance for Contingency-Based Firms

Many attorneys don’t know the questions to ask or who to trust when it comes to law firm financing. And many traditional lenders will not even consider you if your firm is a personal injury, workers compensation, SSD or another contingency-based practice area.

Join me for a free training webinar on Law Firm Finance for Contingency-Based Firms on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. During this webinar, you will learn:

  • The most important financial concepts and terms you need to know
  • The most common challenges contingent-fee law firms face in the marketplace when seeking capital
  • 5 steps you can take to improve your financial health right now!
  • Insider recommendations for how to maximize your chances of landing funding for your law firm
  • The advantages, disadvantages, costs and risk abatement criteria for the 10 most common forms of capital accessed by contingent-fee law firms

Your webinar host is Michael Swanson, CEO of Advocate Capital, a Nashville-based commercial finance company that has developed proprietary financial products and services aimed at the upper echelon of trial law firms in the U.S.

Michael is the author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms, a definitive, common-sense book that explains how contingent-fee law firm funding works, who provides it, what it costs, and how law firms can acquire and use it efficiently.

If you are looking to significantly grow your law firm this year, getting the right financing can play a big role. Learn how by joining this free webinar.

You can register online now; registrants will receive a recording of the webinar to watch at their convenience so even if you cannot attend in person, please register to get the free recording.

 

4 Ways to Stop Wasting Your Inbound Leads

Posted in Lead Conversion, Lead Generation for Law Firms

4 Ways to Stop Wasting Your Inbound LeadsWe spend a lot of time with clients teaching them how to build a great lead generation and lead conversion system for their law firms. However, the fact is that many firms waste the precious inbound leads they get by making some very common errors — mistakes that can easily be corrected.

Here are four ways you can stop wasting your inbound leads:

  1. Delegate each lead to a specific person. To have an effective lead conversion system, you must have a process for following up. Just plotting them on a spreadsheet is no good unless you make someone specifically responsible for following up. More leads fall through the cracks due to lack of follow-up than for any other reason. Why would you spend money on generating leads that never get followed up on? Stop wasting your money and make the proper assignments to ensure those leads get a call or email back quickly!
  2. Qualify each lead. The first thing you need to determine is if the lead is a good fit for your firm. If you haven’t developed an ideal client profile, you must do that. Make it as specific as possible — company size, type of business, income level, age — whatever makes someone a good client fit for you needs to be identified and written down, then handed to your sales team to help them qualify each lead.
  3. Personalize your response. Once you have qualified a lead and find it a good fit, you then need to personalize your response to them. How did they reach out to you? If they came to you via your website, your response to them should mention this. Also mention any specifics about why they reached out to you — i.e., “I understand you need help with child custody” or whatever their problem may be.
  4. Keep following up. Persistence is important when following up with any lead. Research has shown that many sales people give up after 1-2 tries — this is simply not enough. People are busy and sometimes no matter how much someone wants to move forward with something, life just sweeps them away and it gets placed on the back burner. Remember they have a legal issue that needs to be handled.This can be scary for them and quite possibly they want to put their head in the sand and ignore it. It is your responsibility to communicate with them and get them to take action. Contact them a minimum of 5-7 timesbefore giving up. Of course, attorneys should always delegate this follow up task to a member of their intake team to be sure it gets done.

Establishing the right system to follow up with leads and automating as much of the process as possible will help you capitalize on the money you are investing in lead generation and turn those leads that are falling through the cracks into dollars that fall to your bottom line.

TRI Webinar_Banner-2

6 Techniques to Convert Prospects into Paying Clients

Posted in Business Development for Law Firms, Lead Conversion

6 Techniques to Convert Prospects into Paying ClientsWhy does someone decide to hire you and not your competitor? Usually it is not how good you are as an attorney, it is how you make clients feel and how well they understand the benefits of working with you.

The art of persuasion begins with an in-depth understanding of your prospect’s mindset.  You need to know their emotional triggers and their decision-making process and then leverage that knowledge to get them to act.

Here are six well-proven persuasion techniques you can use to convert more prospects into paying clients:

  1. Reciprocity. The need to repay a favor is deeply ingrained in human behavior. When you offer prospects a free ebook or newsletter, you subconsciously encourage them to offer something to you — their email address and permission to be contacted.
  2. Commitment. Humans have a natural tendency to want to follow through on their commitments. It is part of our self-image, that we are reliable and trustworthy. If you can get prospects to make a small commitment — signing up for a free consultation — they are more likely to make the bigger commitment of becoming clients.
  3. Social proof. People tend to want to do the things that other people do. On the Internet, that is known as social proof — which is why reviews are so widely used. Positive reviews of a product or service lessen the risk that we will be disappointed in our choices. There is security in numbers. Ways to demonstrate your social proof include having testimonials on your website to show others have been satisfied with your work and social media sharing.
  4. Likeability. People buy from people they like and trust, so likeability is a big influencer. You can build trust and relationships by using videos and photos on your website and blog featuring you and your staff, associating your brand with charitable causes and by creating content that mirrors your target market.
  5. Scarcity. People want what they can’t have. The theory of loss aversion — that people would rather avoid losses than acquire gains — is well proven in human psychology. Making limited time or one-of-a-kind offers — a webinar, a special report — will increase the desirability of those offers considerably.
  6. Authority. For the most part, we trust and respect people in authority. Authority can be conferred via a title, an endorsement, or an enviable track record of success. Hosting and posting to a blog regularly can increase your authority, as can participation in LinkedIn groups and publishing in legal directories. Publicizing your awards and your wins also helps boost your authority.

Understood and applied correctly, these time-proven persuasion techniques can help you boost your lead conversion rates dramatically over time.

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Free Webinar 2/18: Law Firm Finance for Contingency-Based FirmsFree Webinar 2/18: Law Firm Finance for Contingency-Based Firms

Many attorneys don’t know the questions to ask or who to trust when it comes to law firm financing. And many traditional lenders will not even consider you if your firm is a personal injury, workers compensation, SSD or another contingency-based practice area.

Join me for a free training webinar on Law Firm Finance for Contingency-Based Firms on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. During this webinar, you will learn:

  • The most important financial concepts and terms you need to know
  • The most common challenges contingent-fee law firms face in the marketplace when seeking capital
  • 5 steps you can take to improve your financial health right now!
  • Insider recommendations for how to maximize your chances of landing funding for your law firm
  • The advantages, disadvantages, costs and risk abatement criteria for the 10 most common forms of capital accessed by contingent-fee law firms

Your webinar host is Michael Swanson, CEO of Advocate Capital, a Nashville-based commercial finance company that has developed proprietary financial products and services aimed at the upper echelon of trial law firms in the U.S.

Michael is the author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms, a definitive, common-sense book that explains how contingent-fee law firm funding works, who provides it, what it costs, and how law firms can acquire and use it efficiently.

If you are looking to significantly grow your law firm this year, getting the right financing can play a big role. Learn how by joining this free webinar.

You can register online now; registrants will receive a recording of the webinar to watch at their convenience so even if you cannot attend in person, please register to get the free recording.

How to Be Better at Networking

Posted in Generating Referrals for Attorneys, Strategic Referrals

How to Be Better at NetworkingNot every business interaction is — or should be — online. While the Internet has opened up many ways to reach prospects and referral sources, sometimes there is just no substitute for getting out there and networking the old fashioned way: in person.

And since technology has been so ubiquitous for a number of years, it occurs to me that there may be a whole new generation of lawyers out there who simply don’t know how to put their best foot forward in a social setting. There are probably some others who need to brush up on those skills as well.

Networking is about establishing mutually beneficial relationships, not a contest to see how many business cards you can collect. And to secure those mutually beneficial relationships, you need to be strategic about the people you meet. Not everyone who crosses your path will necessarily qualify for that role.

Here are some networking tips — along with those in the infographic below — to keep in mind:

Join the right groups: Don’t focus on legal groups or groups where a lot of attorneys gather (unless you get a lot of your business from other attorneys). You need to go where the decision makers meet, not the gatekeepers.

Join elite groups: Groups that cost several hundred dollars a year are better than cheap groups; groups that require a member to sponsor you are even better.

Remember your primary purpose: Remember your primary purpose in going to networking events is NOT to get new clients. Your primary purpose is to build a relationship with potential referral sources and to offer yourself as a referral source to them. If you’re going to networking events to get new clients you are not only wasting your time, but you are also coming across as either pushy or desperate to the people you’re meeting.

When you understand the real reason for going to networking events, it takes all the pressure to perform off and keeps you focused on a more productive purpose—building relationships with people you could help and who may also be of help to you.

Ask open-ended questions: Use the 80/20 rule when you meet them — 80% of the conversation should be finding out about them. Ask open-ended questions like: What do you like best about the work you do? What are the biggest challenges your industry/company/profession is facing? How would I know if the person I’m talking to would be a good referral for you?

Be intentional in your follow-up: It does absolutely no good to go to a bunch of networking events, talk to people, collect business cards, and not follow-up. You must have a plan and reasons for following up with people you meet. Your primary reason is to learn more about their business and see if you would be a good referral source for them.

How to Be Better at Networking

 

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Free Webinar 2/18: Law Firm Finance for Contingency-Based Firms

Posted in Law Firm Development

Free Webinar 2/18: Law Firm Finance for Contingency-Based FirmsMany attorneys don’t know the questions to ask or who to trust when it comes to law firm financing. And many traditional lenders will not even consider you if your firm is a personal injury, workers compensation, SSD or another contingency-based practice area.

Join me for a free training webinar on Law Firm Finance for Contingency-Based Firms on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. During this webinar, you will learn:

  • The most important financial concepts and terms you need to know
  • The most common challenges contingent-fee law firms face in the marketplace when seeking capital
  • 5 steps you can take to improve your financial health right now!
  • Insider recommendations for how to maximize your chances of landing funding for your law firm
  • The advantages, disadvantages, costs and risk abatement criteria for the 10 most common forms of capital accessed by contingent-fee law firms

Your webinar host is Michael Swanson, CEO of Advocate Capital, a Nashville-based commercial finance company that has developed proprietary financial products and services aimed at the upper echelon of trial law firms in the U.S.

Michael is the author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms, a definitive, common-sense book that explains how contingent-fee law firm funding works, who provides it, what it costs, and how law firms can acquire and use it efficiently. Over the years, Michael and his team have studied the financial statements and business plans of hundreds of law firms from all across the county. He uses that experience to help trial lawyers maximize the financial management of their firms.

If you are looking to significantly grow your law firm this year, getting the right financing can play a big role. Learn how by joining this free webinar.

You can register online now; registrants will receive a recording of the webinar to watch at their convenience so even if you cannot attend in person, please register to get the free recording.

How to Dig Your Law Firm Out of a Hole

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

How to Dig Your Law Firm Out of a HoleHappy Groundhog Day!  Punxsutawney Phil poked his head up this morning and predicted an early spring – right in the middle of a huge blizzard blanketing the Midwest.

Meteorology has progressed significantly in the past 130 years, which is how long Phil has been predicting winter weather.  We no longer rely on a groundhog for our forecasts – and you shouldn’t rely on guesswork either when it comes to law firm marketing.

Our Las Vegas Rainmaker Retreat last month was full of attorneys anxious to learn over 65 proven, step-by-step legal marketing strategies.

At each Rainmaker Retreat, I pull back the curtain and teach you how hundreds of my top law firm clients have gone from having a good six-figure practice to a fantastic 7-figure practice and from working every day and every weekend, to taking 3 to 4 months of first class vacations every year.

Still skeptical? Good! So was almost every other attorney who has ever attended our Rainmaker Retreat! They may have been skeptical before they came, but they left believers:

“Great information on marketing. I intend to immediately start implementing Stephen’s ideas. The insights provided in this retreat would take years of trial & error to figure out on my own.”
- Patrick Devine, Solo

“As attorneys, we are focused on the daily “grind” that comes with our profession.  This retreat forces you to stop and take a serious look at the business.  After all, we all want to retire someday.  This retreat is invaluable.” –T.J. Roberts, Associate, Family/Criminal Defense, Angleton, TX

The Rainmaker’s lead conversion system is unlike any other conversion process I have ever seen. If I didn’t attend the Rainmaker Retreat, I would have never learned this system. I would recommend this retreat to any attorney who would want to beat their competition and gain more clients.”– Patrick Wright, Family Law, Solo, Dallas, TX

“The session on social media was so good I felt like it alone was worth the cost of attendance.”- Justin Taylor, Solo, Criminal and Personal Injury, Birmingham, AL

“This is the absolute best seminar I have attended in 37 years.  Stephen is direct and clear at defining what needs to be done to succeed.  He knows lawyer marketing and has many personal results from successful lawyers all over the country.  I am on board to be one of them.  Thank you, Stephen!” – Tom Blackburn, Partner, Personal Injury, Fort Wayne, IN

I intentionally limit the number of people who attend each Rainmaker Retreat. This is no ‘mega-seminar’ with hundreds of people and a new sales pitch every hour. The number of attendees is kept at a level that allows each attorney to receive individual attention in an intimate setting. You will leave with a complete written Marketing Action Plan (MAP) for your law firm that you will be eager to get going the first day back in your office.

Here are the dates for upcoming Rainmaker Retreats:

*This special Wednesday-Thursday Rainmaker Retreat will directly follow the National Trial Lawyers Summit on Feb. 7-9, 2016 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.

Plan ahead and take advantage of the Early Bird pricing, where you can save 30% off the regular price.

 

How to Build a Robust Referral Network on LinkedIn

Posted in Generating Referrals for Attorneys, Law Firm Marketing

How to Build a Robust Referral Network on LinkedInAs the premier professional social network, LinkedIn is not only a great way to stay on top of what is happening with the people in your own personal network but also a great source of professionals to grow your referral network.

Here’s how to use LinkedIn to build and expand your referral network:

Decide why you are using LinkedIn. Do you just want to connect with people you know? Are you building a referral network? Do you want to drive people to your website or blog?

Build out your profile.Take your purpose and craft your profile to reflect that purpose. The key is to compel the people you know and the people who are looking for someone like you to reach out and connect.

Connect with the people you know.Use LinkedIn’s built-in Add Contacts tool under the “My Network” tab to import your contact lists. Also check out the “People You May Know” section under the same tab to add even more people to your list

Get recommendations.Take advantage of LinkedIn’s built-in Recommendations feature to give and receive testimonials. Third party endorsements carry much more weight than your marketing message alone.

Learn the system inside and out. Pay special attention to the search engine feature, which allows you to search your extended network for all the resources you need to be successful. Also, search the Groups Directory. There are thousands of special interest groups inside LinkedIn where you can connect with thought leaders, experts, prospective clients and prospective referral sources.

Build your network out strategically.Each connection you make with someone you know grows your overall reach exponentially, but only connect with those who will help you further your goals for being on LinkedIn. Collecting contacts is not the name of the game here — connecting with people who can help you grow your business is the prize you need to keep your eyes on.

Leverage your networks.LinkedIn is a social network with a search engine, and those search results are categorized in relationship to you — 1st connections for those you have connected with directly, 2nd connections for those linked to your 1st connections, 2nd connections for those who are two people away from you and group connections. Not only can you search for the people in your network, you can also search your connections’ networks for potential referral sources. You can then request an introduction to connections further away from you from the person you are both connected to on LinkedIn.

Learn everything you need to know about building a robust referral network for your law firm at a Rainmaker Retreat.  We have extended discount pricing for our Miami session on Feb. 10-11 until Wednesday, Feb. 3.  Click on the link below to learn more.

miami rr

How to Get Good Client Reviews

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

How to Get Good Client ReviewsHad an interesting discussion on my Facebook page yesterday. I shared a recent post by Larry Bodine on why Client Reviews Are Critical In Getting New Business with a comment that his was a great perspective to keep in mind.

Not unsurprisingly, several of my attorney friends popped up to disagree. One wrote that “any lawyer worth his sophisticated salt does not look for client reviews like a fast food joint.” He also cautioned that “when you open yourself to reviews, you also open yourself to negative reviews.”

Believe me, I get attorneys’ frustration with client reviews. Lawyering can be a thankless business, and even if you get a good result for your clients, they can usually find something to complain about — usually the bill.

But here’s the plain truth: clients are going to review you. You have no more control over that than you do the weather. And potential clients are going to read those reviews. In fact, many studies show that most consumers today trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reading reviews when looking for a service provider is routine for most people today.

You also have to face the fact that you are going to get negative reviews too, since studies show that people are three times as likely to leave a negative comment than a positive one. The best answer to a negative review is to get as many positive reviews to balance things out. You don’t do that by ignoring the system. (See my previous post on 7 Effective Ways to Respond to a Negative Online Review.)

Here are some tips on getting good client reviews:

Just ask.  Most people enjoy sharing their experience with service providers, especially if it’s been a good one.  Just the simple act of asking a client to provide you with a review lets them know what they think is important to you – which makes them feel good.  You can start by contacting your old (happy) clients and asking them to provide a review.

Create great client experiences.  Cultivating a culture of great client service is a must for gaining positive reviews. Think about the greatest customer service experiences you’ve had and try to emulate them in your firm.

Implement a process for getting reviews.  Attorneys need to create a process for making reviews happen. Always look for those moments in your relationships with clients to create a review opportunity – when you have won a case for a client, when you have helped someone avoid litigation – all opportunities for you to generate a great review. Make it easy for clients to review you by emailing them a link to post a review on Google. Better yet, create an autoresponder email with a built-in Google review form and send it to them at the appropriate time.

Repurpose good reviews. If you have received good reviews or testimonials, post them on your website, in your e-newsletter and anywhere else that potential customers are likely to stumble upon them. And be sure to ask whoever provided you with that great review if they would also submit it to Google so it shows up in search.

Your reputation is your most valuable asset. Don’t leave it to chance by failing to manage your online reputation.

Michael-Gerber-Interview

The 5 Areas Your Law Firm Needs to Focus On in 2016

Posted in Business Development for Law Firms, Law Firm Marketing

The 5 Areas Your Law Firm Needs to Focus On in 2016One secret of every highly successful attorney is that they make time to plan for the future of their law firm. Now is the perfect time to evaluate achievements, set new goals and work on the things you need to do to achieve your law firm goals for 2016 and beyond.

Here are some of the areas for you to focus on:

Financial Goals – Don’t just focus on the money; focus on how you will get there.  If your average client spends $5,000 with you, you will need 100 clients to make $500,000 this year. That works out to about 2 new clients per week.  Unless you want a high volume law practice, you will need to develop a way to up-sell new clients into higher-end services.

Practice Area Goals — How many new estate plans do you want to do in the next 90  days?  How many new trials are you willing to take on this year? How many divorces can you handle? If you practice in more than one area, you need to plot specific goals for each practice area.

Marketing Goals – All the top law firms recognize the importance of marketing and business development.  You need to set measurable marketing goals. “I will meet with 4 new referral sources every month.” How are you going to meet them?  Who is going to set those meetings up?  Who will do the follow up?

Strategic Business Goals— This is where you start to think big about your practice.  Challenge yourself: how can you come up with another $100,000 this year? How can you go from your current five or six referral sources to 20 or 30 in the next six months?

Personal Goals – Perhaps you need to schedule a vacation for yourself every quarter.  Maybe you have an idea for a new business venture.  What place does your family, friends or significant other hold in your life?

What gets planned gets done. One of the best ways to plan for the future of your firm and to learn the strategies you need to implement to meet your 2016 goals is by attending one of our Rainmaker Retreats. Here are the dates for upcoming sessions:

*This special Wednesday-Thursday Rainmaker Retreat will directly follow the National Trial Lawyers Summit on Feb. 7-9, 2016 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.

Plan ahead and take advantage of the Early Bird pricing, where you can save 30% off the regular price.

If you’d like a preview of what we teach at each Rainmaker Retreat, join me for a free 60-minute webinar that will show you:

  • what you need to know3 critical areas you must focus on to make this your best year ever!
  • Why your law firm is not getting more referrals and how to change it fast
  • How to find more clients you love to work with and who consistently pay you on time
  • How to select the right marketing tools that will work for your practice and personality
  • The most cost effective online and offline marketing strategies for your practice area
  • The 5 critical components of a Marketing Action Plan (MAP)

This webinar is scheduled for January 19, January 27 and February 2. You will be able to choose the best date and time that works for you when you register for this free webinar.

 

 

A Cheat Sheet for Creating the Ideal LinkedIn Profile

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

Your LinkedIn profile can either present a compelling presence for you online, or it can just lie there like roadkill for people to pass by again and again.

You can do absolutely nothing to drive people to your LinkedIn profile, but they will find it. This is because when someone does a Google search for your name and you have a profile or page on a major social networking site, it will pop up in those search results.

If your profile has been crafted properly, that’s a good thing. If not, you are missing an opportunity to showcase your skills to potential clients and referral sources. Recent research shows that, like Facebook, Linkedin is really growing as a traffic referral source for websites.

LinkedIn is the best online tool for professional networking. It is the preferred network by far for in-house counsel and businesses, and produces results that you can easily measure.

The most important piece of real estate for lawyers on LinkedIn is your profile. You need to spend the necessary time to build and maintain it in order to stand out from all the other lawyers on LinkedIn and cultivate those important referral relationships.

I see a lot of attorney profiles on LinkedIn, since I connect with many of our clients and those who have attended our Rainmaker Retreat. And what I see mostly is room for improvement.

LinkedIn has become the de facto online Rolodex for keeping up with contacts and referral sources, and is a must for B2B law firms seeking ways to connect with prospects. So why wouldn’t you do your best to put your best foot forward at all times?

The visual guide below created by LeisureJobs is a wonderful cheat sheet for creating the ideal LinkedIn profile. It includes SEO tips that will help your profile appear in search results, how to get recommendations and some hidden features within LinkedIn that will enhance your profile.

A Cheat Sheet for Creating the Ideal LinkedIn Profile

Leisurejobs – ultimate Linkedin cheat sheet