Most litigation attorneys have a difficult time building a consistent book of business. They go from one extreme of having too much work to handle to the other extreme of waiting around for the next case.
On Thursday, May 16, at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET, I will share with you the secrets we have uncovered from working with thousands of top litigators on how they have transformed their business from the traditional “feast or famine” approach to having a consistent pipeline of clients by implementing a proven referral system.
You will discover:
- The top 2 reasons why you aren’t getting more referrals right now and how to fix it
- How litigation attorneys can easily keep in touch with all their former clients, prospects and referral sources in less than 1 hour a month
- 6 questions you must pro-actively answer to get more referrals
- The top 4 referral sources for litigators and where to find them
- How to use LinkedIn to connect with referral sources
- The 5 best times to ask clients for a referral
Register here for the May 16 online seminar and discover how attorneys just like you are using this information to build 7-figure law firms.
If the time doesn’t work for you, register anyway and we’ll send you the recording of the full online seminar to watch at your convenience.
Join me at the Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association (PILMMA) Legal Marketing & Management Summit on June 6-8 in Myrtle Beach, S.C., when I will be making a special presentation on Secrets of a Lead Conversion Specialist: Turning Browsers into Buyers & Prospects Into Paying Clients.
There are a host of other nationally renowned speakers who will be joining me for this three-day super summit, including:
Erin Brockovich is President of Brockovich Research & Consulting, and is currently involved in numerous environmental projects worldwide. Erin is a true American hero whose icon status and “stick-to-it-iveness” only fuels her determination to expose injustice and lend her voice to those who do not have one.
Jay Henderson began his corporate training career with the Covey Leadership Center, helping to launch Dr. Covey’s best-selling book, First Things First. He has helped many organizations implement Covey Leadership Training. He also is a certified instructor of Dr. Covey’s three internationally recognized leadership programs: Principle Centered Leadership, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and First Things First.
Josh King is Vice President of Business Development & General Counsel of Avvo. He is responsible for the company’s business development, finance, business operations and legal affairs. He is also a frequent writer and speaker on First Amendment, media and professional ethics issues.
You should also know about PILMMA’s 100% money-back guarantee – if, after the end of the Summit, your trip has not been worthwhile, PILMMA will refund 100% of your registration fee and up to $500 in documented travel expenses.
For those who are not already members of PILMMA, you will be able to attend this two-day summit and get three months of PILMMA Gold Membership rights at one all-inclusive rate. PILMMA members and non-members can register online -- simply click this link and learn how you can start growing your law firm faster than you ever imagined!
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.
A recent post at LawMarketing.com is a good read for every attorney struggling to get repeat business from existing clients:
What Clients Really Want
A client who has hired a lawyer as outside counsel assumes that the lawyer is qualified to do good legal work. Otherwise, the lawyer would not have made the cut in the first place. Quoting a client, Nat Slavin, former publisher of Inside Counsel, said: “Smart is what gets you in the door. How you manage the relationship is what keeps you inside.” The relationship is what builds loyalty.
“We have conducted more than 1,000 client interviews,” said Slavin, who now runs a company that helps law firms grow their businesses. “As a result, I have a pretty good sense of ‘what clients want.’ They want lawyers who can fix their problems. They want lawyers who can make their lives easier. They want lawyers with whom they can have a close and enjoyable personal relationship.”
In 2011, the Association of Corporate Counsel conducted a survey of chief legal officers and general counsel. Forty-two percent came from private companies, 34 percent from public companies, and the rest from non-profits, subsidiaries of foreign companies, LLCs and other organizations.
Survey respondents look for good value for the money they spend, reasonable cost, transparency between the lawyer and the client, and understanding of issues facing the client and its industry.
The most pressing issues expressed are:
- Keeping apprised of company issues with potential legal implications,
- Reducing outside legal costs,
- Dealing with too much work and too few resources,
- Staying on top of developments in the law,
- Communicating changes in the law to management, and
- Demonstrating the value of the legal department to management.
The biggest challenges include regulation/legislation, general economic outlook, growth, globalization, competition/maintaining market share, controlling risk, being sole risk manager, increasing litigation, lack of funding, healthcare reform, compliance, internal actions with legal implications, quality of law firms, being spread too thin, need for a strategic business partner, and training and motivating a law department as well as the company’s executives.
And be sure to sign up for this great free report on LawMarketing.com’s home page: 15 Strategies for Attorneys to Increase Google Rank, Control Online Reputations and Maximize Content.
A New York Times article earlier this week focused on something many lawyers are looking for: a place to practice with virtually no competition. That place is rural America.
According to the article, nearly one-fifth of Americans live in rural areas, but less than two percent of law practices are located there. In Bennett County, S.D., Fred Cozad, the lone lawyer that has been serving this county seat for 64 years, is retiring. When he does, the nearest lawyer will be 120 miles away.
Last month, South Dakota became the first state to pass a law to incentivize attorneys to practice in rural areas, offering an annual subsidy similar to the ones healthcare providers have enjoyed for years.
Cozad says there is plenty of work and opportunity for lawyers in Bennett County. The county and the city of Martin have to bring in lawyers to handle municipal legal matters, further taxing already slim budgets.
Thomas Barnett, executive director of the State Bar of South Dakota, says that opportunities for highly varied legal work is especially great in rural areas, where help is needed for everything from land law to estate planning to contract law to family law.
The new law designed to attract lawyers to rural areas in South Dakota goes into effect in June, and includes a $12,000 annual subsidy. A five-year commitment is required, and the pilot program hopes to attract at least 16 participants.
Of course, South Dakota is not the only state facing this problem. If the thought of 6-month winters depresses you, there are other more temperate states with underserved rural areas, including Georgia, Arizona and Texas.
If this has piqued your interest, check with your state bar; several have programs already in place to seed attorneys into rural areas.
FREE REPORT: 8 Reasons Small Firms & Solos Should Publish an E-newsletter PLUS 3 Steps to Get Started
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:
- 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
- And much, much more!
To get your free report now, click here.
This post at LawMarketing.com sheds light on a hot topic right now: the legal billing system and the rise of alternative fee arrangements:
Law firms are under increasing pressure from clients to reduce costs and justify expenditures, and alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) are rising to the challenge. While AFAs aren’t exactly a new concept to the legal industry (personal legal services have been offering them for years), they are now becoming more prevalent in new practice areas, such as corporate law and litigation work.
It’s a major shift for a profession that has historically been married to the billable hour. If we go all the way back to 1958, it was the American Bar Association’s Special Committee on Economics of Law Practice that first recommended the billable hour approach, which was widely adopted and deeply entrenched in the legal industry for decades.
But the Global Financial Crisis brought with it significant changes for everyone, including law firms, which have responded in a resounding way. Budget conscious clients now have an endless array of options; fixed fee, phased fee, collared fee, value fee, holdback, blended rate, contingent fee, for just about any legal service.
According to a 2010 survey by Altman Weil, 95% of law firms now have some kind of alternative fee arrangement in place. Yet according to a whitepaper from Jaffe PR that same year, clients – not law firms – are spearheading the use of AFAs. So is the legal industry really ready to embrace the AFA model?
As a virtual data room provider used by law firms to reduce costs and increase efficiencies, Firmex takes a great interest in the AFA conversation. They’ve brought together a series of research findings to help paint a clearer picture of what impact AFAs are having on the legal industry:
NOTE: Go sign up for this great free report on LawMarketing.com’s home page: 15 Strategies for Attorneys to Increase Google Rank, Control Online Reputations and Maximize Content.
Many of us are so busy trying to find new leads that we forget about the best source - our past clients. But there is new business from old contacts to be mined; here is how you do it:
Start by identifying your top 10 clients and set up appointments with them face-to-face over the next couple of months. Have an open and honest discussion with them about the state of their business, how the economy/tax law changes/healthcare law changes are affecting them, what actions they are taking as a result, what resources they need and how you can help them.
Perhaps they really need a business loan and you know of a local banker you could introduce them to. Or they may have to let a few employees go and are afraid of being sued. Maybe they need to do some asset protection right away in case their business fails to protect them against creditors.
The idea here is to not wait until they come to you; be proactive and address the issues in an open and honest way. They'll appreciate a listening ear and your legal advice. (And for heaven’s sake, don't bill them for the lunch!)
Looking for more Rainmaker Revenue-Generating Ideas?
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.
Confused about how the new Facebook Graph Search will differ from Google Search? Here is a simplistic look:
I would venture to say that this infographic may be a tad harsh with Google – for example, when I Google “best coffee shops” I did get some local listings for coffee shops in my area, but they were just coffee places close to me – not ones that I or anyone whose opinion I care about would necessarily say are the “best” coffee shops. Google also served up some articles from the Huffington Post and other publications for the best coffee shops in Houston and D.C., which I don’t care about.
What Facebook Graph Search is supposed to do for me when I type in “best coffee shops” is show me the places my friends like. That is an endorsement I can use.
See the difference?
On-Demand Webinar: 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 webinar 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
"What business are you in?" We all get asked this question a lot, and most attorneys would respond by saying, “I’m a lawyer” or “I practice (fill in the blank) law.”
But in actuality, you run a business. If you are not in business, you are not practicing law. And the success of your business lies in how well you are able to:
Market your legal skills. As a solo practitioner, a partner in a small law firm, an associate or of counsel, your primary focus, after gaining competency as an attorney, is to understand the key principles of business development and law firm marketing and to apply them every single day. Not every attorney will be a top Rainmaker, but everyone can do something to grow and market their practice.
Create extraordinary experiences for your clients. John Bisnar, founder of Bisnar Chase and a multi-million dollar Rainmaker, speaks often about the need to “micromanage the client experience”—controlling every aspect of how the client experiences your law firm. From how the phone is answered, to greeting them by name as they walk in the door, to minimizing the amount of paperwork you ask them to complete, to reserving your conference room with their name on the door, to returning client phone calls and emails consistently and promptly, everything should be focused on creating a positive experience for your clients.
Build deep and lasting relationships with your clients. Far too many attorneys only have a transactional relationship with their clients. They create an estate plan for them, they file a lawsuit on their behalf, or they set up a corporation for them. To be successful over the long term, you must think long term.
You must develop long-term, meaningful and influential relationships with your clients because the most expensive thing you can have is a one-time client. The first step is to stay connected with them. Regular, non-billable communication with clients is more important than ever in these difficult times.
You should be communicating at least 10 times a year with every current and former client. Send out an e-newsletter or email them an article you authored or read that would be of interest to them. Create a game plan for how you can build long term, meaningful and influential relationships with your clients and you will have built a solid foundation for a lasting business relationship.
New Webinar: How to Attract Clients in Today’s Marketing Jungle
When it comes to law firm marketing, it is truly a jungle out there! Mastering social media, SEO and Internet marketing strategies – and making sure your efforts align with legal marketing rules – can give even the most eager attorney pause.
In his new one-hour webinar, Stephen Fairley will lead you through the step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues. You will learn:
- How to target market to get your ideal client
- Why your firm is not getting more referrals and how to change it
- How to select the right marketing tools that will work for your practice and personality
- Effective online and offline marketing strategies
- How to create a financial plan to fund your marketing budget
- The 5 critical components of a Marketing Action Plan (MAP)
- 4 ways to create a unique competitive advantage
- What is critical to have in place today’s hyper-competitive online focused marketplace
This FREE webinar will also give you a preview of the 65 different marketing techniques and strategies taught at our 2-day legal marketing boot camp.
Click on this link to register now for the FREE How to Attract Clients in Today’s Marketing Jungle webinar.
I have been talking about the law firm marketing system that every law firm needs to have in order to be successful. Today’s post wraps up that discussion with referrals, the lifeblood of any successful law firm marketing plan.
Referrals don’t just happen. They must be cultivated. Sure you may get an occasional referral from a former client or someone you know, but if you want to take your legal marketing to the next level, you need a referral system. How do you do build a referral system that will bring you the results you need?
You start by developing relationships with potential referral sources and generate consistent referrals from them. These sources may include accountants, investment advisors, business leaders, or anyone who has influence with your target market. Depending on your practice area, your referral sources will vary.
Developing a relationship is a two-way process. It can’t just be you asking them for referrals when you see them. It requires regular contact and you showing as much concern for their business as you are asking them to show for your practice. Ask them how you can assist them in achieving their goals.
Another key component of your law firm marketing plan is to create a system for connecting with prospects, clients and referral sources on a regular, consistent basis. This should include:
- Monthly newsletters – keep them apprised of what your firm is doing, new employees, and content that is beneficial to them.
- Annual Client Satisfaction Survey – find out what your clients think about the service they have received from your firm.
- Keep In Touch letters – on a regular basis, every 2-3 months, send a letter to referrals, prospects and clients just to touch base. This top of mind awareness is crucial for generating referrals.
- Referral Education System – your referral sources need to know what kind of prospects you are looking for. It does no good for them to refer prospects to you who are not looking for what your firm offers. Keep your referral sources updated on your practice areas and any changes in your firm if you want to receive high-quality referrals.
There are a number of systems that are vital for your law practice to be successful. But your law firm marketing system is the one that drives the traffic in the doors. Don’t skimp on your legal marketing system if you want to achieve the level of success that you dream of.
Unsure about attending a Rainmaker Retreat?
If you are still unsure about attending a Rainmaker Retreat, sign up for one of our complimentary teleseminars. These free one hour calls give you valuable law firm marketing and business tips that you can implement in your law practice right now. Don’t miss this opportunity to preview something that can revolutionize your law practice!
For many law firms, business slows during the holidays. And that makes it a perfect time to review your law practice.
Start by Asking 3 Questions
- Am I on target with my goals?
- Are my numbers lining up? (Examine your overhead, major expenditures, profit margins, etc.)
- Am I creating a business that supports and enhances the lifestyle I want to lead?
Create an Action Plan
After you’ve collected the data and done a bit of reflection as these 3 questions require, you’re only half-done. You now need to create an action plan. To help you with this, here are a few questions to answer and suggestions to guide you:
On Your Goals
If I’m on target with my goals, is there something I can do differently to make those goals happen sooner? What are these things I can do? If I’m not on target with my goals, what’s preventing me?
On Your Numbers
Do the numbers look good? Could they look better? How? What actions should I take? (i.e, “improving law firm marketing,” “cutting costs,”)
If I am creating a business that supports the lifestyle I want to lead, is there something that could be improved even more? What are those items? If I am not creating a business that supports the lifestyle I want to lead, what are the obstacles?
Now take a look at each category. List what you came up with. For example, under “goals,” depending upon how you answered the question, you could have listed either 1) Things you could do to make the achievement of those goals happen sooner, or 2) Obstacles in the way of your achieving your goals.
After you’ve listed all the respective items in their categories, then rank them from “Urgently Need to Address;” “Need to Address Soon” “Nice to Address But Not Essential.” And congratulations! You just created your blueprint for a better law practice in the coming year.
A Better 2009 Is Now Yours
By taking a little time at the end of the year to review your law practice, you’ll position yourself for an even better start to the New Year. Plus, by taking this simple step now, you’re already ahead of the competition, since most won’t be using the holidays to review their own law practices.
So . . what are you waiting for? Now’s the time to review your law practice and get a step closer to all that you deserve.
Ask any lawyer which area of law firm marketing they find the most difficult and you are likely to hear the same answer – over and over again – “I can’t find good clients”. Law firm marketing can be challenging; learning how to attract the ‘right’ prospects can be especially challenging. If you don’t find a way to attract good prospects, then your law firm marketing efforts stand little chance of succeeding.
The actions of law firm marketing for attorneys are absolutely essential. “Who” you market to is just as important. You will want to develop a law firm marketing plan that attracts only those clients which you can help and those who will be the most profitable to your law firm.
Five Proven Strategies to apply to your law firm marketing plan for attracting the best clients:
- Target your clients – You must identify your Ideal Target Market (ITM). Without completing this first step, your law firm marketing strategies may be in vain.
- Demonstrate your service – Be clear and concise. Learn to bridge the language gap between you and your clients.
- Create a powerful audio logo – This is an extremely successful law firm strategy to have in place when meeting with prospective profitable clients.
- Use effective law firm marketing tools - When developing law firm marketing materials, remember, this may be the first impression you make on prospective clients – make it a good one.
- Disqualify clients – Don’t be afraid to say ‘No” to a client; you’ll be doing you both a favor if you are not a good fit.
Attorneys who implement these crucial law firm marketing strategies can rest assured they will be attracting only the most qualified clients.
Successful law firm marketing requires a number of things; not the least important being gaining an intimate knowledge and understanding of the Ideal Target Market (ITM). This is a very important factor in implementing a strategic law firm marketing plan. Some attorneys balk at the notion of spending the time required to identify their ITM. The amount of time spent getting to know your target audience will be more than worth the effort. In fact, not doing so can cause your firm to bypass valuable clients and to miss out on thousands of dollars in potential revenue.
Choosing a law firm marketing strategy to attract your ITM does not have to be a complicated process. In fact, by following these three suggestions, you will be on the road to accomplishing that goal.
Three Factors to Consider When Developing an Law Firm Marketing Strategy to Attract ITM:
- When you choose a law firm marketing strategy and incorporate it into your plan for ITM attraction, ask yourself the following: Does this strategy increase overall awareness about our firm; does it spell out who we are and what we have to offer?
- Will the law firm marketing strategy you choose convey a positive message? Will the ITM like who you are and what you offer?
- Will the law firm marketing strategy chosen increase your credibility, reliability and trustworthiness in the eyes of your ITM?
If you have answered “No” to any of these important questions, you might consider revamping the law firm marketing techniques you are considering to attract your ITM.