5 Tips to Help Attorneys Generate Leads Through Speaking Engagements

I am a big believer in public speaking as a lead generation tool.  I do lots of it, and have gotten some great clients from it.  And you can, too, if you follow these five tips:

Make an offer they can’t refuse.  Don’t charge a fee or honorarium for your speaking services.  Instead, ask the sponsoring organization for a copy of the attendee list or request permission to add a few comments about your firm’s services and capabilities during your talk.

Provide great content.  Put some real meat on the bones of your presentation. Even if you feel like you are “giving something away for nothing”, the truth is that giving people the information they want and need will entice them even more to come to you as the expert to help them solve a problem or navigate a legal issue.  I always educate my audience about how they can actually do what we do – and find that most attorneys would rather have it done for them!

Tap into referral partners.  If you have a few referral partners you work with regularly and refer clients back and forth, offer to speak to a group of their clients on a legal topic of interest to them.  This helps you both while giving you exposure to a greater number of potential clients.

Make a plan for following up.  Before you speak, have a plan in place for following up with attendees.  If the sponsoring organization won’t share a contact list, then solicit contact information from the podium, offering attendees a copy of your presentation or a free report about the topic you just spoke about in exchange for their business cards.

Make it easy to contact you.  You’ll probably find that some people are reluctant to approach you after your presentation to discuss a potentially personal legal matter.  Make it easy for them to get in touch with you afterwards by having a pile of your business cards they can pick up as they leave, and have your contact information – phone and email – as a closing slide that stays up as you take questions at the end of your talk.

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New! Free Report! The 4 Keys to Becoming a Recognized Expert in 180 Days: The 2nd Key – Public Speaking

One of the biggest builders of credibility and an important key in becoming a recognized expert is speaking on your area of law practice at local or regional events.

So why doesn’t every attorney do it?

What we hear from many attorneys that we work with is that they’d rather jump out of an airplane without a parachute than speak in public.

But if you do it right, you can generate business as well as enhance your reputation as a solid and recognized expert.

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

  • How to make sure you’re speaking in front of the right people
  • Different approaches to conquer your fear of public speaking
  • How much information to share with your audience
  • How to follow-up in order to generate business
  • …And much, much more!

Click here now to receive your free report on The 4 Keys to Becoming a Recognized Expert in 180 Days: The 2nd Key – Public Speaking.

The Solo and Small Firm Perspective on the Goal of Social Media

Last week Kevin O’Keefe (@kevinokeefe) and I had an interesting discussion on Twitter about the goal of social media for law firms. Nancy Myrland (@NancyMyrland) and Jabez LeBret (@jabezlebret) graciously joined in. Then Kevin posted a good article summarizing our discussion and explaining his perspective that the ultimate goal of social media for lawyers should be to build relationships. I disagree with this perspective.  

Since it's a little difficult to fully articulate one’s thinking on any topic in 140 characters, I thought a follow up post was in order. Kevin’s article was very thoughtful, but I believe it is wrong in several of its conclusions. I believe two of the reasons why he takes his positions come from his background as a litigator and his current work as CEO of LexBlog.

From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like most of LexBlog’s clients are attorneys in mid to large law firms, some of them in the largest law firms in the nation. Indeed, reading LexBlog’s client list is similar to a “Who’s Who” in the legal industry. The majority of our clients are small law firms with 2-25 attorneys in them. The pressure on attorneys in many larger law firms is, “If I don’t bring in new clients, I won't make partner some day.” The pressure on our clients is, “If I don’t bring in new clients, I don’t make payroll,” or, “If this marketing doesn’t pay off soon, we won't be able to afford a family vacation this year.” They can't afford to “join a country club or coach youth sports” with the hope that it some day might result in a new client. They need a specific plan of action that directly results in more and better leads.

In addition, many attorneys in those larger firms are corporate attorneys who work with large clients. Industry recognition and credibility are of utmost import to them. About half of my clients are consumer attorneys (personal injury, criminal defense, family law, estate planning, SSDI, and workers’ compensation) who are more concerned about their current cash flow.

From my client’s perspective, the goal of social media is lead generation and business development, pure and simple. How you get there is by building targeted relationships, providing solid content, and consistently adding value. At my company, The Rainmaker Institute®, we specialize in working with attorneys and regularly receive 100-250 new leads every month just from our efforts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. That’s the point!

We don’t use social media because it makes us feel good or because we want to impress our peers or provide free marketing advice to attorneys. We do it for the express purpose of generating new leads and ultimately new clients! The way we achieve that goal is:

  • By providing excellent content on legal marketing every day of the week
  • By connecting with attorneys in our target market
  • By engaging with others in the legal industry on topics of interest to us
  • By liking posts by our clients so they know we are thinking of them
  • By commenting on posts made by prospective clients so we can better engage with them
  • By inviting interested prospects to visit our blog or website to download a free report or sign up for one of our free webinars
  • By nurturing those relationships with regular, targeted communication

Both Kevin and I would agree that selling on social media is not helpful and will usually result in turning people off rather than attracting them to you. Where we part ways is on the next step to take. Based on his article, I believe Kevin would say once he has developed the relationship on social media that’s as far as he will go. If the person wants his help they can always look him up. I take it one step further and use the opportunity to directly invite the person to:

Back when I lived in Chicago, I had a very well-connected business partner. He had deep roots in the business community and was formerly the CEO of a multi-million dollar business. In fact, the primary reason I brought him into my company was specifically because of his knowledge and his connections. I ultimately found out that those connections did very little in landing us new business because he saw relationships as the end goal, not new clients.

While some may be tempted to misread me and believe I am being manipulative of my relationships, I can assure you that would be missing my point. I have relationships specifically focused on friendship (both on and off of social media). I have relationships specifically focused on mentoring others and being mentored, but I am clear in my goal with the relationships I develop via social media on behalf of my company—it's for the purpose of developing new business or referral partners.  

“The best lawyers get their work via relationships and word of mouth. Always have and aways [sic] will. The Internet and social media did not change that,” wrote O’Keefe in his blog post. Really? I could not disagree more! Outside of rural America, there has been no more powerful force in transforming how attorneys get clients than the Internet and more recently social media.  For many small law firms the Internet is the great equalizer. They cannot compete on television with the mega-firms and their 7-figure budgets and they certainly can't afford to wait 5 years for a relationship to evolve into a new client. They are looking for the most direct route to reach and connect with clients who are looking for an attorney right now.

Many of the best lawyers do not get most of their work from relationships and word of mouth. It is outdated and inefficient views like this that keep attorneys from fully achieving the potential of social media. By the way, just because some attorneys get some of their business from word of mouth does not disprove the rule. Exceptions actually go to prove the rule. The sheer number of attorneys out there today, especially in consumer law, make it virtually impossible to just grow organically by word of mouth. You must be much more proactive and intentional about your business development efforts than just sitting back and letting your work speak for itself.

The Internet and online marketing (including social media) are the fastest growing ways consumer attorneys are finding new clients. Perhaps this is not true of AmLaw 200 attorneys, but it is why more and more small to mid-sized law firms are turning to the Internet and social media as a cost effective tool to grow their business. How do I know this? Because of my experience working with over 10,000 attorneys nationwide and because social media is the #1 topic I get asked to speak on by State Bar Associations. It is also one of the fastest growing parts of our “done for you” marketing services that we offer law firms.

For the majority of attorneys in small to mid-sized law firms, online lead generation and lead conversion has dramaticaly changed over the last decade. Perhaps it's time for the rest of the legal industry to catch up. 

Happy Easter to You & Your Peeps!

 

Learn to Increase Your Online Exposure at April 24 Free LawMarketing.com Webinar

You probably already know that content marketing is a top strategy to attracting and building relationships with new leads. Consumers are turning to the Internet like never before to research answers to legal questions BEFORE they even consider calling an attorney or scheduling a consultation.

Hundreds of top law firms write new blog content every month, but most of their posts are never read by their top prospects! 

What can you do so prospects want to continually read your blog posts?

On Thursday, April 24, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, LawMarketing.com Editor-in-Chief Cindy Greenway will present a free webinar on 7 Tips to Creating Blog Content That Makes Prospects Want to Read! ... And 3 Tips to Get More Exposure Online.

In this fast paced 60-minute webinar, you will discover:

  • How to create a no-fail content marketing plan for your law practice that can run without you
  • 3 tips to brainstorming key topics to write about, specifically for your target
  • 4 ways to repurpose your blog content and gain additional visibility
  • Where to find help writing blog content when you get overwhelmed
  • How to get your staff involved in supporting your content marketing strategy

Sign up for this FREE webinar and learn specific step-by-step guidance on how to easily create and implement a solid content marketing plan for your law firm.

The 6 Keys to Effective Legal Marketing

Successful legal marketing programs can be boiled down to six key components; maximizing your expertise at each of these will enable you to build the law firm you’ve always wanted and one that will enable you to lead the kind of life you want. 

Here are those six keys:

Expert Positioning: Media and Market Specialization. To differentiate yourself from your competitors, you should develop an expertise and begin positioning yourself as that recognized expert, by using the media (online and offline) and by targeting a specific practice niche.

Create Your Success Team. Every successful attorney recognizes the importance of having a quality team that supports their success. You should consider who you need on your team, how to find them, and how to train them to help you grow and prosper.

Automate Your Marketing System. To free up your time and your staff’s time and to ensure that your marketing is ongoing, it’s important to automate all that you can through the use of technology and the Internet.

Building Your Platform. Your “platform” is the number of people you communicate with on a regular basis (prospects, clients, and referrals sources). There are several proven methods for increasing the size of both.

Referral Relationships and Networking. There are several different strategies to find referral sources and a process for actively cultivating those resources.

Action Orientation. Knowledge without action is just knowledge -- nice to have, but ineffective in helping you achieve that lifestyle law practice you desire. So you need to put this knowledge into action and the sooner, the better.

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Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

At The Rainmaker Institute, we define a “7 figure lifestyle law firm” as one that allows you to have the lifestyle that you want to live!

It’s more than just money or achieving a million dollars in revenue.

It’s about creating a lifestyle where you do what you love and building a business around your core values and interests.

In this recording of an interview between Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, and nationally recognized attorney John Bisnar, Stephen asks John to share with us some of the secrets he has used to create a law firm that allows him to go into the office only one day a week and take, on average, 3 to 4 months of vacation every year - all the while managing a very successful, multi-million dollar law firm!

You will receive either a CD or MP3 recording, plus we will email you a pdf transcript of the interview.

This interview will help you discover:

  • The difference between a law practice and a business
  • How to identify superstar employees to help you run your business
  • The difference between an Office Manager and a Business Manager
  • The 7 essential systems your firm must have & how to implement them
  • How to micromanage the client experience
  • Critical keys to success
  • And much more!

Click this link now to order Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

Avvo Gets $37.5M to Fund New Product Development, International Expansion

Avvo, the online legal directory and lawyer rating website, has attracted $37.5 million in venture capital funding that it says will be used to develop new products and expand to international markets.

Avvo introduced its attorney rating program in 2006 and has become the gold standard of legal directories, rating more than 97% of U.S. attorneys.  Avvo says that six million consumers visit its site each month, making it the go-to place for consumer research on attorneys as well.  (If you’re wondering how this compares with Martindale-Hubbell, see my Feb. 25 post on Are Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com Dead? Why Every Martindale Client Should Care.)

According to Avvo, the site is the largest legal forum for consumers to get answers to their legal questions, with more than 5 million questions on the site with a 99% answer rate.  Avvo says that over 160,000 attorneys currently participate on the site.

Avvo founder and CEO Mark Britton says that Avvo’s business model is far different from sites like LegalZoom that seek to take attorneys out of the equation.  Instead, he says that Avvo believes that consumers actually want a lawyer and their mission is to provide products that make navigating the legal profession as easy as possible for consumers while helping attorneys get more business.

Coatue Management provided the new funding, with additional investment from existing investors Benchmark Capital, Ignition Partners and DAG Ventures.   With the new capital infusion, total funding in Avvo is now $60.5 million.

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On-Demand Seminar: 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.

Top 3 Reasons Attorneys Fail to Grow Their Practices & What You Can Do to Succeed

Law firm marketing is a complex and competitive business. And there are many reasons why certain law firms fail to grow or even fail to survive.

However, in my working with more than 10,000 attorneys over the years, I’ve come to find that there are essentially 3 main reasons why attorneys fail to grow their practices:


1.  Lack of time. This is the single biggest complaint we hear. You’re stressed for time. You barely have time to serve your clients, much less market your practice. Not to mention spend time with your family.

2.  Lack of strategy. From a marketing perspective, a comprehensive strategy to grow your law firm is essential to your long-term success. Otherwise, you and your team lack direction.

3.  Lack of systems. There are several simple systems attorneys can use to create a “lifestyle law firm”—a firm that supports the lifestyle you want to lead, rather than one that dominates your life.

These “lacks” can be overcome so that you can create that lifestyle law practice you desire.  Many of our clients are proof of that.

Isn't it about time you started growing your practice, instead of struggling just to get by?

If you are continually asking yourself, "What are the most effective ways to bring in new clients?", then you need to get yourself to a Rainmaker Retreat, where we will teach you a proven system that will bring you several new clients every month.

Learn our proven system at the Rainmaker Retreat, our 2-day marketing boot camp, at our next session in San Antonio, TX  on Friday, April 25 & Saturday, April 26. 

Right now, we are offering a special $200 discount for the San Antonio Rainmaker Retreat.  Just use the special code SAN when you register online.

I guarantee these two days will transform your practice.

Free LawMarketing.com Webinar on Creating Engaging Blog Content & Getting More Exposure Online

Hundreds of top law firms write new blog content every month, but most of their posts are never read by their top prospects! 

What can you do so prospects want to continually read your blog posts?

You probably already know that content marketing is a top strategy to attracting and building relationships with new leads. Consumers are turning to the Internet like never before to research answers to legal questions BEFORE they even consider calling an attorney or scheduling a consultation.

On Thursday, April 24, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, LawMarketing.com Editor-in-Chief Cindy Greenway will present a free webinar on 7 Tips to Creating Blog Content That Makes Prospects Want to Read! ... And 3 Tips to Get More Exposure Online.

In this fast paced 60-minute webinar, you will discover:

  • How to create a no-fail content marketing plan for your law practice that can run without you
  • 3 tips to brainstorming key topics to write about, specifically for your target
  • 4 ways to repurpose your blog content and gain additional visibility
  • Where to find help writing blog content when you get overwhelmed
  • How to get your staff involved in supporting your content marketing strategy

Sign up for this FREE webinar and learn specific step-by-step guidance on how to easily create and implement a solid content marketing plan for your law firm.

Here's One Banker Who Can Really Help Your Law Firm Grow

Meet Wally Hayes (that’s him on the right), vice president of Bank of America Practice Solutions and one banker who can really help your law firm grow.

If you’ve attended any of our West Coast Rainmaker Retreat sessions, you may have met Wally.  I’ve had him speak a few times, and he’ll be at the Las Vegas Rainmaker Retreat on May 30-31.  I wouldn’t waste your time, or mine, if I didn’t think he had something important to convey to attorneys who may need some financial assistance for things that can contribute to your firm’s viability but that you may not have available cash to fund.

First, a little background:  Bank of America started its Practice Solutions group 18 years ago to provide lending to health care professionals – doctors, dentists and veterinarians.  It turned out to be a great business model for them, so they expanded it three years ago to include attorneys, CPAs and insurance professionals.

Here are the lending products Bank of America Practice Solutions offers for attorneys:

Partnership buy-in program – if you are ready to be a partner in your firm but lack the cash for the buy-in, you can obtain financing for up to 10% ownership in the business (up to $200,000).  BofA offers flexible payment options to fit your firm’s capital distribution schedule, and loan terms can be for up to 10 years.

Express loan program – BofA can lend an attorney up to $75,000 via an express loan application that they can typically turn around within 24 hours.   These funds can be used for marketing expenses, consulting fees, technology hardware, software, or even upgrading office furniture. 

Practice debt consolidation program – attorneys can leverage the equity in their practice to consolidate business-related expenses.  BofA will lend up to 65% of annual revenue to improve cash flow and lower monthly expenditures.

Commercial real estate program – this conventional loan product provides loans up to $5 million for the purchase or refinance of commercial real estate.  This is a 85% loan to value program, so attorneys will need a 15% down payment.  Terms include six months no payment, 12 months interest-only option and a payment schedule of up to 25 years to keep payments affordable.

Line of credit – BofA lends up to 10% of a firm’s previous year’s revenue.  Minimum loan amount is $10,000.

None of these loan products are tied to SBA lending, and they don’t provide loans for firm acquisitions.  Plus, you can’t just walk into your local BofA branch to get one; you’ll need to reach out to Wally via email at wally.hayes@bankofamerica.com or at 614-572-7644.

You can go here to learn more about Bank of America Practice Solutions for attorneys.

Of course, I am most excited about this program’s ability to provide working capital to attorneys and law firms for marketing consulting expenses.  There are so many lawyers we speak with who want to invest in marketing to take their firms to the next level, but don’t always have the cash on hand to do it.  This program is an affordable way to fund your dream of a more profitable practice.  Can’t beat that!

5 Tips for Fixing Your LinkedIn Profile

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?

Here are 5 tips for fixing your LinkedIn profile:

1. Assess your goals. Why are you on LinkedIn? If it’s to market your firm, then you need to be sure your profile page reflects everything your firm is about, and that starts with loading it with great keywords to attract the broadest possible audience.

2. Kill the clutter. If you have basically uploaded your resume and it reflects all the jobs you’ve held since college, kill the entries that have nothing to do with what you do now.

3. Be personable. Add some flair so people know you as a person. People hire people, not profiles.

4. Include your photo. If you don’t have a photo uploaded yet, do it. A photo acts as your logo; a bad one does nothing for you and a missing one tells people you don’t care. Your photo should reflect who you are as a professional, so skip the vacation photo.

5. Get recommendations. Testimonials are irresistible to read, and tell people visiting your page what it’s like to work with you.

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New On Demand Webinar:  How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn

The Rainmaker Institute’s business development specialist Alec Borenstein is featured on this online webinar that is now available on demand:  From LinkedIn to Lunch: How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn.

Most attorneys already have a profile on LinkedIn, but very few know how to effectively use it to build a powerful referral network. With over 238 million professionals on LinkedIn, it has become one of the easiest ways to rapidly identify strategic contacts and build relationships with them!

In this advanced, information-packed 60-minute webinar you’ll learn:

  • How to generate targeted connections using LinkedIn
  • How to join and create LinkedIn groups to target your key referral sources and clients
  • Tools to land 2-4 lunches every month with your connections and referral partners
  • What to say during these meetings to ensure prospects remember you
  • How to follow up after your LinkedIn lunch

Click on this link now to access the one-hour webinar, From LinkedIn to Lunch: How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn.