How to Be Found by Prospects That Are Looking for a Lawyer

Our experience in law firm marketing over the past decade has taught us that most people take a four-step approach when choosing an attorney, and this has been validated by recent research.

Savvy attorneys know they need to be accessible at each step in the decision process; here’s how:

Step 1: Information Gathering. Most people turn to the Internet to gather information and you need to be there to answer their questions via a blog or your website. You should have content that specifically addresses the type of situation that would lead someone to hire you and/or why they need legal counsel for their particular problem.

Step 2: Search. An active presence on social networking sites as well as your blog and website can help lead prospects to your door. Many may ask their Facebook friends for recommendations or turn to other social media sites for information about specific firms, so you need to be there.

Step 3: Validation. Having good reviews and posting testimonials (if your state bar allows it) on your website and blog will help put you front and center during the validation process. Don’t forget to beef up your profiles on Avvo, Lawyers.com and other directories as well as LinkedIn.

Step 4: Selection. Offer free consultations at every opportunity and when someone calls your office, return the call immediately. One attorney at the Vegas Rainmaker Retreat asked if two days was too long to return a call from a prospect – the answer is, definitely! Research shows that a hot lead can turn cold in as little as five minutes, so if you can’t get to them quickly, make sure someone else in your office can or that you have an automated system to follow up immediately.

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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.

 

How to Build a Lifestyle Law Firm, Part 5 of 7

Are you satisfied with where your law practice is currently? What are your goals for 2013? Are you on track for accomplishing them?

Marketing and business development are tools to help you reach your goals by attracting more referrals and increasing your revenues. However, marketing and business development take time and require a certain level of dedication and commitment in order to reach real results. 

When it comes to your business development efforts you have four choices:

  • Do it yourself
  • Delegate it
  • Don't do it at all
  • Done for you with outsourcing

Earlier this week I discussed tips and techniques to "Do It Yourself." In the next few days, we will go in-depth on how to delegate part of your business development efforts to your staff.

Do's and Don'ts of Delegating Marketing To A Staff Member

I was recently speaking with the Managing Partner of a 15-person, multi-million dollar law firm who attended one of our recent Rainmaker Retreat legal marketing intensives. On the phone with him was his 20-something-year-old Marketing Manager. It was a good call and we discussed several of the "Done For You" marketing services he had just hired The Rainmaker Institute for. 

When I asked him what part he envisions his Marketing Manager to have, the Partner's response caught me off guard: "He's going to oversee all the projects we are hiring you to do." 

As a business owner, my first thought was, since we provide a Senior Project Manager who oversees every step of every service we provide as well as a team of experienced marketing professionals who actually do all the work, why does he need a full-time Marketing Manager?

Please understand, I'm not against Marketing Managers or Marketing Assistants. In fact, I'm very much in favor of them, but not if their primary role is as a project manager. 

We work with dozens of Marketing Managers, Assistants, and Directors every year, but as a business owner you want them to be responsible for something other than just project management. 

You want them actually doing part of your marketing. I later coached my client to give his Marketing Manager some meaningful work to do so he could have a sense of accomplishment and "ownership" when it comes to the marketing efforts of the law firm.

Long term, I believe that's the only way to keep bright, talented marketing people motivated and focused.

I fully recognize that many of you reading this article are not in a position to hire a full-time Marketing Manager or even a part-time Marketing Assistant. When it comes to implementing your marketing plan there may be only two people you can rely on: a current staff member and yourself.  We’ll discuss that in tomorrow's post.

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Get More Proven Legal Marketing Strategies FREE from The Rainmaker Institute

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

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

 

If You Want to Say You're a Great Lawyer in Florida, You Gotta Prove It

Although today is April Fool’s Day, the latest ruling on lawyer advertising handed down by the Florida Supreme Court is no joke.

Well, actually, it kinda is. But not in the way you’re thinking.

Florida has long held the crown for some of the most convoluted and outdated advertising regulations for attorneys. So convoluted and outdated that even the FTC – hardly a bastion of liberal thinking – has stated that Florida’s attorney advertising regulations work against consumers getting good information about available legal services and don’t necessarily comply with the constitutional sniff test when it comes to free speech.

In a divided opinion, the Florida Supreme Court issued its own marching orders last week to the Florida Bar concerning lawyer advertising rules. In its order, the Court says that all advertising (including websites) that contains information about past results or testimonials must be “objectively verifiable.” 

Which means if you want to tout your successes, I suppose you will need to cite each case you won (but you’ll have to get the client’s permission first). Oh, and then there is this clear-as-mud instruction from the Court:

“...general statements such as, "I have successfully represented clients," or "I have won numerous appellate cases," may or may not be sufficiently objectively verifiable. For example, a lawyer may interpret the words "successful" or "won" in a manner different from the average prospective client. In a criminal law context, the lawyer may interpret the word "successful" to mean a conviction to a lesser charge or a lower sentence than recommended by the prosecutor, while the average prospective client likely would interpret the words "successful" or "won" to mean an acquittal.”

If this makes you emotional, then you need to simmer down, because emotion by attorneys engaged in marketing their practices will not be tolerated in Florida:

“A lawyer may not engage in unduly manipulative or intrusive advertisements. An advertisement is unduly manipulative if it: (a) uses an image, sound, video or dramatization in a manner that is designed to solicit legal employment by appealing to a prospective client's emotions rather than to a rational evaluation of a lawyer's suitability to represent the prospective client.”

And, as if to prove it is ruling via rear-view mirror, the Court even precludes lawyers from soliciting clients via telegraph...yet says nothing about social media.

So there goes all those job opportunities for telegraph operators in Florida!

If you’d like another take on this, read Josh King’s weekend post on Avvo:  Florida Whiffs (Again) on Attorney Advertising Regulation.

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FREE "Top 10 Mistakes Attorneys Make and How to Avoid Them" E-book

In a newly revised e-book, legal marketing expert Stephen Fairley outlines 10 of the most common marketing mistakes attorneys make that can lead to the failure of their business, and provides specific strategies and proven principles for avoiding these deadly errors. 

To get your complimentary copy online, click here.

Regardless of your specific situation, this free e-book will help you examine how you are currently finding new clients and recommend specific steps you can immediately start using to grow your practice. 

We have helped thousands of attorneys achieve their goals of creating a financially successful and personally satisfying legal practice. In this e-book you will discover specific principles and tools you can use to grow your practice, too.  

 

Happy Easter!

Easter Island was named by its first European visitor, Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who landed on the island on Easter Sunday in 1722. 

One of the most remote islands in the world, Easter Island is located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean and is most famous for its 887 monumental statues called moai, which were created by the early Rapa Nui people who inhabited the island in the 1st century.

Everyone here at The Rainmaker Institute joins me in wishing all of you a Happy Easter -- and hopefully many happy discoveries in the months ahead for your law practice.

Lawyers in Love: The Secret to Happiness in Practicing the Law

Florida attorney Brian Tannebaum is a regular contributor to the Above the Law blog and had a great post last week about finding the fun and happiness in the practice of law. It’s recommended reading from where I sit.

Tannebaum’s premise is that to love what you do, you need to derive your satisfaction from the satisfaction your clients get from your work. Makes sense. I don’t think I’ve ever met a lawyer that loves the mechanics of the law; most of the successful attorneys I know love what they are able to do with their talent to help clients. 

Sure, we all love the win. But the win is hollow unless it furthers a client’s goals, rights a wrong, reverses an injustice. It’s the human side of the law that attracts most lawyers to the work.

Conversely, what sours most attorneys on the law is having no control on the outcome – being a clog in the Big Law machine. And helping lawyers out of this rut is what I love most about my job.

Most attorneys want to work for themselves and their clients. Those are the attorneys we love to work with and help -- the solos and small firms that need just a little boost in their marketing efforts to see real success. 

If you are down on the practice of law because you are stuck in a job producing paperwork instead of solving problems for clients, then Tannebaum says there’s not much he can advise you to do except opt for some pro bono work where you can actually help someone.

If you want to get unstuck and love the law again, then learning how to create a lifestyle law firm may be just the thing for you. 

In that case, I invite you to attend a Rainmaker Retreat, our two-day law firm marketing intensive seminar that has helped more than 8,000 attorneys successfully market their practices through practical and effective legal marketing techniques.

Here are the dates for upcoming sessions:

  • April 5-6, 2013 – Dallas, TX
  • May 3-4, 2013 – Scottsdale, AZ
  • May 31-June 1, 2013 – New York City
  • July 19-20, 2013 – San Diego, CA
  • August 16-17, 2013 – Las Vegas, NV
  • September 20-21, 2013 – San Francisco, CA

Go to www.rainmakerretreat.com or call 888-588-5891 to register now. 

 

How to Beat Embarrassment When Asking for a Referral

We know that many attorneys build a good portion of their practices on referrals – yet, why is it so many feel embarrassed to ask for a referral?

I believe that these attorneys are not looking at referrals in the right way. They see them as asking for a favor, when in fact you should regard it as extending a favor. That’s right. You are not asking to get a favor, you are asking to bestow one.

The secret to getting lots of referrals is to make it about them, not about you. Think about what benefits you offer your referral sources and what problems you may help them solve. When you help someone help a friend, family member or colleague, you have done them a favor. 

Think about how referring you can make your client’s life better, and you will never be embarrassed to ask for a referral again. 

Attorneys who rely on referrals for new clients also have to have a referral mindset. Always look for those moments in your relationships with others to create referrals – when you have won a case for a client, when you have helped someone avoid litigation, when you have provided a referral – all opportunities for you to generate referrals.

You also need to make it as easy as possible for people to refer you. Provide them with a written document that outlines the characteristics of your ideal client. Create white papers or give seminars that solve problems their clients may be experiencing and co-brand them, so your referral source benefits. 

The real secret to feeling comfortable about generating referrals is to think give, not take. And to implement a system that creates a referral environment throughout your organization.

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

 

Law Schools Taking a Page From Medical Education Playbook

The New York Times ran an article last week about how a law school in my backyard – Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law – is taking a page from the medical education playbook and opening a “teaching” nonprofit law firm for graduates.

The ASU law school dean, Douglas J. Sylvester, got the idea when he visited the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and observed medical students and graduates gaining experience in the teaching hospitals there. He realized what his school needed was a “teaching hospital” for law school graduates.

As the article notes, Sylvester’s plan is one of a dozen or so efforts across the nation to address two seemingly contradictory needs: law school graduates with no job and people who can’t afford a lawyer. ASU’s nonprofit law firm will take in 30 graduates who will work under seasoned lawyers to provide low-cost legal services to Phoenix residents.

In a unique twist, Arizona recently passed a new law that lets law school students take the Arizona bar exam in their third year of law school rather than after graduation. The school also offers a North American Law degree that allows graduates to practice in the U.S. and Canada.

The incoming ABA president James R. Silkenat noted that one of his top priorities is to establish a “legal job corps” to match people with legal needs with attorneys who need the work, saying that, “There are unmet legal needs because of money and geography that seem to be growing, and the question of how to make use of unemployed recent graduates.”

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Proven Strategies to Win More Clients for Family Law, Personal Injury and Estate Planning Attorneys

Does this sound like you?

You spend thousands of dollars and countless hours trying to generate more business for your law firm. And still you end up with less business than you hoped. You’ve put “get more clients” at the top of your list, but have no time to do anything about it.

If someone calls your office and doesn’t make an appointment, what happens to them?

  • What if they don’t show up for the appointment?
  • What if they show up and don’t retain you?
  • What if they want to retain you and you never hear from them again?

If you answered, “I don’t know” or “We leave a message,” then this on-demand seminar is for you. Register online to receive the Proven Strategies to Win More Clients seminar, where you will 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
  • 3 steps for turning more leads into appointments
  • 5 ways to increase your “show up” rates
  • 4 ways to get more appointments to sign up this week
  • What to do when a prospect doesn’t sign up at the initial consultation

Lead Conversion is one of the most overlooked areas at consumer law firms. You spend tens of thousands of dollars every year trying to generate more leads…yet virtually nothing to ensure you convert the maximum amount of those leads into paying clients!

Lead conversion is the 5-stage process of converting more prospects into paying clients and turning more browsers into buyers. Over the last decade, The Rainmaker Institute has become a national leader in assisting consumer law firms to rapidly and dramatically increase their conversion rates.

We have worked with all types of consumer law firms to help them double and even triple their conversion rates within 3-6 months.

If you want to double your revenues this year there are 2 ways you can do it: either double the amount of leads you get each month or double your conversion rates!

Register online now for this on-demand seminar and discover how attorneys just like you are doubling their revenues by converting more of their costly leads into more paying clients!

 

How to Brand Yourself Online

More than one billion names are searched in Google every day and 94% of those searching never look past the first page of results. Knowing these facts gives you insight into why owning your own brand online is of utmost importance. 

You want the websites you own or control to be the first to pop up in a search. If you don’t own your brand in search, you will be subject to whoever has posted something with your name in it...and that can be a bad, bad thing.

I have spent thousands of hours building my brand online and the effort shows when you search for me on Google. Here is the first page of results when you Google “Stephen Fairley”:

For some tips on building your brand online, check out the infographic below. Better yet, come to a Rainmaker Retreat, where you will get the strategies and tools you need to build and maintain a comprehensive online brand that you can control.

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FREE Seminar: 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 seminar, 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 seminar 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 seminar.

 

How to Turn Client Problems Into Profits

It can be argued that one of the primary reasons why a person or company hires an attorney is to alleviate their "pain." They may use the words "goal," "challenge" "problem" or "issue," but their pain is whatever they are asking your assistance with.

I encourage clients to start actively looking for a prospect’s principal "pain," because when their "pain" becomes too big for them to ignore or too excruciating to handle is the time they call out for help.

Unfortunately, when a person or company 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).

Use this knowledge to increase your effectiveness:

  • You must know how your prospects typically define and describe their "pain."
  • You must 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.
  • You must give them a sense of hope, that things can get better and you know how to help.
  • You must project confidence in your ability to help.
  • You must listen to them and make them feel understood before they will listen to you.

In order to be successful, you must clearly and consistently state how you and your services can resolve your prospect’s pain. 

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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.

 

The 5 Compelling Truths About Referrals

Truth #1: People Make Referrals to Build Social Capital. Most people enjoy making referrals to their friends and associates as a way of building social capital. If you believe the way you practice law benefits your clients, then you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable about having clients refer you to others who may benefit as well.

Truth #2: Mitigating Risk is Important. All referrals involve risk – if you refer a business and it underperforms, you feel badly that you made that referral. Attorneys who count on referrals for business generation need to take necessary steps to mitigate this risk with communication, education and stellar follow-up.

Truth #3: People Refer Great Experiences. People who have had great experiences with a product or service tend to refer it to their friends and colleagues. Which is why cultivating a culture of great client service is a must for gaining referrals.

Truth #4: Referrals Require Trust. Even if someone raves to a friend about you, that referral is likely to search for you on the Internet. If the referral can’t find good content, reviews or social network participation, they will be less likely to proceed with contacting you.

Truth #5: Referrals Require a System. Attorneys need to create a referral strategy that includes a process for making referrals happen, a way to educate referral sources and a solid follow-up program. Once that is in place, you just need to operate the system.

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

 

On Valentine's & Every Other Day, We Love Lawsuits

I ran across this interesting infographic the other day that shows how much we as Americans love lawsuits:

And because we love our readers, see our special offer below. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Get All the Law Firm Marketing Strategies You Need to Create A 7-figure Law Practice with Rainmaker In A Box: Volume 2!

Newly released! Rainmaker in a Box: Volume 2 includes:

8 Proven Steps for More & Better Referrals

Discover the proven step-by-step system used to double your referrals from current and former clients and how to build a network of strategic referral partners. Top attorneys have used this exact system to double their referrals in 6 months or less!

7 Strategies to Recession Proof Your Law Firm

Watch and learn as I walk you through the specific strategies top lawyers are using to increase their revenues in this tough economy-and it doesn’t include reducing their fees!

6 Keys to Unlocking the Secrets of Social Media

Social media has emerged as the fastest way to build a massive platform of prospects! I pull back the curtain and let you in on little known secrets of how attorneys are generating dozens of leads every month from social media.

5 Core Components for Highly Successful Websites & Blogs

My interview with nationally recognized personal injury attorney John Bisnar on how his law firm uses search engine optimization and internet marketing to drive tens of thousands of unique visitors every month to his 30 websites and 10 blogs. Discover proven techniques for converting website visitors into paying clients.

Data DVD: 
Includes all 4 PowerPoint slides for all 4 presentations. We recommend you print all these off and take notes on them as you experience these information-packed DVDs!

***For Blog Readers, Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers and LinkedIn Connections – we are offering you a $50 discount for Volume 2 and a $100 discount for both Volume 1 and Volume 2 because of your social media presence with The Rainmaker Institute.

Click here now to order!

 

Law Schools Forced to Rethink Programs After Applications Fall Dramatically

The media and the blogosphere are aflame with commentary on a New York Times article earlier this week that shows law school applications have declined by almost 50% over the past decade.

According to the Times, several law schools are scrambling to reexamine their programs in the light of this new student drought. Maybe it took the lack of warm bodies to finally grab their attention – the old law of supply and demand has finally made its impact felt.

Universities that have been getting fat off the law school hog are now offering tuition discounts, while others are considering dropping their JD programs to two years instead of three or making the third year “more relevant” by providing hands-on training.

With a shrinking job market for attorneys and a plentitude of grads, salaries have fallen off their own fiscal cliff, leaving prospective students to decide (rightly) that bearing a staggering load of debt with no promise of a job is a career dead-ender.

My hope is that law schools struggling to reinvent their programs will consider partnering with their business school counterparts and offer legal students the business and marketing training they need to be relevant in a 21st century law practice. 

With Biglaw continuing to trim their staffs, small firms and solos will likely be the best alternative for new law school grads.   And they won’t succeed unless they can bring some real-world business and marketing savvy to the table.

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On-Demand Webinar: How to Leverage Your Firm’s Website to Win Clients

According to recent research…

58 million adults looked for an attorney in the past year

76% of them referred to the internet at some point in their search

While most law firms already have a website, the majority of them don’t produce new cases on a regular basis. Why?

Because they are doing it all wrong!

This webinar will teach you how to do it right.

Lawyers.com editor-in-chief Larry Bodine and Stephen Fairley join forces to deliver a compelling on-demand webinar on How to Leverage Your Firm’s Website to Win Clients; access this webinar now to learn:

  • 3 specific strategies that can immediately improve your website conversions
  • What elements you should and should not include on your website
  • How to effectively reach the 65% of consumers who like to gather information about their legal issue long before ever contacting an attorney
  • Ways to leverage top online attorney directories to control your online presence
  • Case studies on how top attorneys are using social media to attract more paying clients
  • Best practices for blogging and why Google loves them so much
  • The fastest ways to get to the top of Google

Click on this link now to receive the How to Leverage Your Firm’s Website to Win Clients webinar.

 

Reconnect with Your Top Clients & the Rewards Will Follow

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!)

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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.

 

How Much Do You Make? (And How You Could Be Making More)

The infographic below illustrates how much the average attorney makes by state – after adjusting for the cost of living, attorneys who practice in Hawaii make the least (but probably enjoy living there the most) and those who practice in Mississippi earn the most.

Surprised? See how you stack up, then keep reading about how you can increase your income from one attorney whose revenues and profit margins skyrocketed after he switched to flat fee billing. My one-hour interview with Lee Rosen is now available as an on-demand webinar (see below!).

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On-Demand Webinar: How to Make Flat Fee Billing Work for Your Law Firm

Lee Rosen is one of America’s top divorce attorneys and practice management specialists who transformed his practice from relying on hourly billing to charging flat fee prices.

In Stephen Fairley’s one-hour interview with Lee, he explains in detail how he set out to fix his cash flow several years ago and in doing so he fundamentally changed his practice – for the better!

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

Listen in as Lee and Stephen focus on hot topics like:

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

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

 

Creating the Lifestyle Law Firm: What Business Are You Really In?

"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.

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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.

 

Legal Marketing: Florida Bar's Proposed Online Ad Rules Bar Free Speech

That rumble you hear in Florida is not a typical summer thunderstorm, but a storm of protest from Florida attorneys regarding the Florida Bar’s proposed new online ad rules

If you’re not aware: the new rules would ban online testimonials, summaries of case results and what the Bar terms “deceptive, misleading, manipulative or confusing” audio or visual content.  In addition, consumers visiting a Florida attorney’s website would have to click through a series of disclaimers to even get to the site. 

Many Florida attorneys think that these latest rules proposed by the Florida Bar are a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech.  Florida-based First Amendment attorneys are organizing a loose coalition of some of the state’s largest firms, who received a recent extension from the Florida Supreme Court in which to submit commentary on the proposed ad rules.

First, let me say that I have an axe to grind and I recognize I'm not entirely neutral in this area because it directly impacts my business, which is teaching attorneys effective ways to market their law firms and in many cases actually providing outsourced marketing services to small law firms. These services often include lead generation and conversion from referrals and Internet marketing efforts.

Now that we have my biases out of the way, here's my take on these proposed Florida law firm marketing rules:

1.  These rules are overly restrictive on lawyers and may run afoul of First Amendment rights.

While I'm not an attorney nor am I an ethics expert, on the face of it these rules seem to go beyond the point of being ridiculous! I thought it was rather sad to see the ACLU completely back off once they were granted an exemption. Aren't they supposed to be the champions of free speech for everyone—even to the point of protecting hate speech?

While I have disagreed with various stands the ACLU has taken in the past, I would wholeheartedly get behind them to force the Florida Bar to back down.

As a side note, I could be mistaken on this point, but if I understand it correctly, the Florida Bar does not actually set new advertising rules for attorneys. Instead it is the Florida State Supreme Court. If you know differently, please let me know.

2.  They completely ignore the realities of Internet marketing and using websites and blogs to generate more business and new leads.

At one point, the Florida Bar required a law firm to have every change to their website reviewed and approved by the bar. These changes had to be submitted in writing along with a $50 fee per change. Then to go even further, they came out and said a blog is essentially a website. Imagine having to pay your bar association $50 and wait 2-4 weeks before you can post to your blog. Seriously, what were they thinking?!? They finally backed off that one.

It's going to be a little dicey if all Florida lawyers are suddenly “required” to use a 3-point disclaimer on every post they place on Twitter or Facebook.

3.  These rules do not take into account the hyper-competitive nature of the legal industry due to the concentration of lawyers.

I came across an article recently that estimated Florida will soon overtake New York as home to the 2nd largest number of attorneys of any state in the U.S., second only to California, which has about 213, 000 attorneys. Yes, I realize that hyper-competition is not a great reason to be lax on ethical rules and regulations, but commonsense should tell you that with the down economy, the job loss in the legal industry, and the increase in competition will drive some lawyers to cross the line by taking cases they are not competent to handle or overcharging clients trying to make ends meet. I not making excuses for this kind of behavior, but someone with a clear mind must realize there are always unintended consequences of actions like this.

4.  These rules do absolutely nothing to “protect the consumer” or the general public.

Is there a growing body of people in Florida we don’t know about who are complaining that “all these legal websites are confusing and misleading”? If so, I'd like to know who they are. Perhaps they are the same ones in Broward County who couldn’t figure out how to punch the ballot hard enough to remove the chad?

All these rules seem to do is make it harder for small law firms to aggressively compete on the Internet. Let's face it; most large law firms do not really even try to generate new leads from their websites. The majority of them are simply “brochure” sites. They look pretty, but are completely ineffective for doing anything other than credibility building.

This is absolutely not the case for small firms! Many of them are completely dependant on their websites for lead generation, especially in the area of consumer law (personal injury, bankruptcy, family law, criminal law, and estate planning to some extent).

5.  Florida already has the most restrictive legal marketing rules and regulations of any state and yet they want to make them even more limiting?

It's almost taking law firm marketing back to the Stone Age—or at least pre Bates v State Bar of Arizona (1977). State bars have long shown a tendency to over regulate law firm marketing. The line should be clear—do not put anything out there using any marketing format that is misleading, false or makes promises you cannot keep.

6.  Why do they selectively focus on the Internet rather than the more pervasive abuses that take place everyday on attorney television ads?

I have a client in a major Florida city who emphatically states that virtually every single ad one of the major personal injury law firms puts on television violates long-standing ethics rules, yet nothing is done to that law firm. You may relegate this to professional jealousy, but I can assure you I have seen many of those ads and they absolutely run afoul of the current Florida rules.

Certainly, the Bar should be more concerned about TV ads, where people who aren't even looking for an attorney or legal representation are forced to watch them (unless they have a DVR).  The only way a person surfing the Internet will come across a lawyer’s website is if they clicked on a link from Google or a legal directory or a paid ad that led them there. It's not as if they were reading an article on CNN.com or Sports Illustrated and BAM—there's a law firm marketing ad! Come on, people!

7.  If these Stone Age rules actually take place, it may greatly increase the importance of fully utilizing social media and attorney rating sites like Avvo.com and Yelp.com.

Many attorneys don’t realize that since Avvo.com, Yelp.com and Yellowpages.com (along with other review sites) are 3rd party sites not owned or controlled by a Florida law firm that they are exempt from the Florida bar rules. Therefore, attorneys can and should actively seek to encourage clients to write and submit testimonials on Avvo.com, Yelp.com and other online legal directories.

Even the Federal Trade Commission doesn't agree with the Bar’s proposed restrictions on not allowing any kind of client testimonials. In their response to the Bar, the FCC stated client testimonials “can convey valuable information to consumers and help spur consumers.”

My hope is that law firms will line up to file suit to get these rules thrown out! Easier said than done, but kudos to the first law firm that does so. Please let me know who it is so I can profile them on this blog.

What are your thoughts on these proposed rules? Any Florida attorneys out there?

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Phoenix Attorneys:  Learn About Social Media at July 21 Legal Networking Group

Join us on Wednesday, July 21, when Stephen will address a meeting of the Phoenix Legal Networking Group on Unlocking the Secrets of Social Media for Lawyers: Facebook and Twitter. 

You will learn:

  • Why Facebook is the 800 pound gorilla on the Internet
  • Who is using Facebook (this will surprise you)
  • What kind of practice areas are getting clients from Facebook
  • How to get started fast
  • Why Twitter is growing so fast
  • How to leverage Twitter to drive traffic to your blog or website
  • Top tips for using social media in your legal marketing strategy

The event will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 21 at Monti’s, 100 S. Mill Ave. in Tempe.  Cost is only $20 per person.

To register for this seminar, co-hosted by FindLaw, Attorney at Law Magazine and The Rainmaker Institute, click here.

Enter your email to receive our complimentary monthly newsletter, the Rainmaker Report.
For Email Marketing you can trust

Law Firm Marketing: Revisiting the Law of 7 on 7-7

The Law of 7 Touches is based on research that found it takes an average of 7 to 10 meaningful touches EVERY YEAR to move someone through the cycle from not knowing anything about you to being ready to buy from you. 

This is just the average, not a guarantee, because in hyper-competitive markets, like legal services, it often takes many more touches than that -- and to drive customer buying habits, it takes consistency. 

Consider the following statistics regarding the legal profession’s contact with prospective clients:

  • 48% of lawyers give up after the first contact.
  • 25% give up after the second contact.
  • 12% give up after the third contact.
  • 5% give up after the fourth contact.

In other words, 9 out of 10 prospective clients are never followed-up with more than 4 times.

If you want your law firm marketing to be successful, you must obey “The Law of 7.”

You’re probably thinking, “I know I should connect frequently and consistently with my prospective clients, but I just don’t have the time.”

True.  Which is why you should leverage the power of technology to build relationships with your prospects.

What you need is a strategy and a process that leverages the most recent advancements in technology (autoresponders, social media, blogs, for example) to simplify and automate your marketing efforts, building rock solid, long-term relationships and helping you earn more, work less and spend time doing what you love to do.

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Looking for more Rainmaker Institute Wisdom?

Then sign up for a complimentary Law Firm Marketing Strategy CD.  It contains information that will enable you to Generate More and Better Referrals, Find New Clients Fast, and Fill Your Law Practice.  The CD is free, so sign up now!

 

Take our Twitter Poll:  If you’re an attorney, we want your feedback!  Click here (or go to http://twitter.polldaddy.com/done/3364850) to let us know what business development topics you’re most interested in right now.

Enter your email to receive our complimentary monthly newsletter, the Rainmaker Report.
For Email Marketing you can trust

Law Firm Marketing In Action: BISNAR | CHASE Illustrates The Sixth Key to Becoming a Recognized Expert

Sometimes the planets align perfectly to illustrate a point. 

My 6th and final strategy for Becoming a Recognized Expert is Position Yourself as a Specialist, Not a Generalist.  And last night as I was preparing this, the perfect example fell into my lap.

BISNAR | CHASE is one of the nation’s top ranked personal injury law firms based in Newport Beach, California.  We’ve been proud to call them a Rainmaker client for over three years.  John Bisnar has attended our Rainmaker Retreats and has been kind enough to provide his testimonial as to what his firm has gained from practicing our law firm marketing principles.

Last night, Brian Chase was featured on a Los Angeles Fox News special report on defective car seats.  The segment highlighted the ever growing problem of automobiles equipped with defective seats as well as two lawsuits handled by BISNAR | CHASE.  They’ve posted a clip on their website – you can see it here.

BISNAR | CHASE has done a masterful job of positioning themselves as specialists in complex and economically significant personal injury and car accident cases.  And again, I’m talking about specialists in a marketing sense here.  Landing a feature as a legal expert regarding automobile defects on a major market news telecast is a huge win, and I am sure they are going to be promoting it like crazy to take full advantage of the big spotlight that just got shown on their firm.

Being a generalist is one of the most deadly mistakes that attorneys make for a number of reasons. First, it’s much more difficult to get referrals. If you say you do anything from IP to PI, they’re not going to send you any referrals because they figure there’s no way someone can be that good in every single area. You want to specialize because it gives you more credibility. You generate more referrals and you get more money for your services because you can charge higher fees when you’re perceived as a specialist versus a generalist.

There are several different ways that you can specialize:

  • By client industry
  • By client revenue size
  • By geography
  • By specific services

The most powerful way to specialize is when you do a combination of all four, when you’re specialized by industry, size of revenue, geography, and by the specific services that you offer.

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Check Out Your Peers As They Share Their Rainmaker Retreat Experiences

We would like to send you a DVD of your colleagues (and even your competitors) describing their experiences at our 2-day law firm marketing boot camp, the Rainmaker Retreat. Yes, we know you are skeptical -- so instead of us telling you how these 2 days will transform your business, we will let our clients do the telling.
 
Click here to order your complimentary DVD right now.

 

Addressing the NJSBA Annual Meeting on Law Firm Marketing

I am at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City today to address the Annual Meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association.  I am speaking to this annual gathering of over 1,700 attorneys and judges about law firm marketing.

I am looking forward to seeing some of the attorneys who attended our New Jersey Rainmaker Retreat in late March.  The group I met with then was energetic and eager to learn ways that they could grow their business to the level they dreamed of when they first started their firm.

As I travel around the country speaking to attorney groups, I find that the vast majority of lawyers are hungry to learn more about social media and creating systems that will lead to business success.  Social media has been a hot topic for the past couple of years.  The growth of sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook has fueled a revolution in how legal marketers ply their trade.

I will be talking to the NJSBA Annual Meeting today about how lawyers can leverage these new technologies to multiply their existing marketing programs and gain greater access to their target markets.  One of the most exciting aspects of social media is the ability to receive real-time feedback and have two-way conversations with prospective clients.

But I can’t be everywhere.  So if you are interested in building a lifestyle law practice through effective law firm marketing, then I suggest you come to one of our Rainmaker Retreats.  We have four of them coming up:

  • June 18-19, 2010       San Francisco, CA
  • July 30-31, 2010         Los Angeles, CA
  • August 6-7, 2010        Las Vegas, NV
  • October 8-9, 2010      New Brunswick, NJ

You can take advantage of Early Bird pricing by registering here

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Becoming a Rainmaker:  Business Building Strategies for Lawyers CD

Don't miss out on the 50% savings this week on our 3-audio CD program that covers dozens of practical recommendations and step-by-step sales and marketing techniques for solo practitioners and small law firms.

Click here to order yours now – if you order by tomorrow, May 21, you save 50%!

 

Phoenix legal marketing event coming next week

On Thursday, May 6, I have the privilege of addressing the inaugural meeting of the Phoenix Legal Networking Group, a group of solo and small firm attorneys looking to effectively market their law firm and grow their business.

This brand new monthly meeting is specifically designed to help attorneys and their staff
in small law firms and solo practices discover how to effectively market and grow their business.

We will meet each month for 2 hours to enjoy networking with other attorneys at small law firms and participate in a 45 minute practice building workshop.

During the meeting I will be presenting the 7 Strategies to Recession Proof Your Law Firm.  This presentation will explain why some attorneys are having their best year ever when others are struggling to even survive?   I will be demonstrating:

  • The secrets top Rainmakers are using in this economy
  • Learn what's working now and what's not.
  • The #1 thing you need to do right now that will fix your cash flow problems
  • Why you need to market differently 
  • How to easily track all your marketing efforts

For $15 per person, you will receive a networking session at 4:00 and the “7 Strategies” presentation begins at 5:00 p.m. and wraps up at 6:00.  The event will be held at the Country Inn and Suites on Scottsdale Road, approximately 15 minutes from downtown and the airport. 

Recessions are an excellent time to ramp up your marketing efforts because it is counterintuitive.  Most firms are pulling back, and your efforts will stand out because many of your competitors have reduced their presence.

You won’t find this kind of information and opportunity at this price anywhere.   Make an investment in your firm’s future and join your fellow legal marketers for this invaluable presentation. The information shared and the networking opportunity can open doors for your firm that will allow you take your firm to the next level.

To register for this seminar, co-hosted by FindLaw, Attorney at Law Magazine and The Rainmaker Institute, click here.
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Are you looking for specific marketing strategies you can use in your law firm?
Then order the Rainmaker in a Box 5-DVD set!
Some of the information and strategies you will learn include:

  • The 5 Immutable Secrets to Building a 7 Figure Law Practice
  • Secrets of Building a Referral-based Law Practice for Busy Practitioners 
  • The Top 6 Most Powerful Online Marketing Strategies for Attorneys 
  • Action, Accountability and Next Steps

This program also includes a data DVD which includes all 4 PowerPoint slides for all 4 presentations. We recommend you print all these off and take notes on them as you watch the 4 intense DVDs.
To order this information-packed set click here.
 

Don't be afraid to work Green into your law firm marketing

Today is Earth Day, when we as Americans place more of an emphasis on protecting the natural environment with which we have been entrusted.  Earth Day was created by President Nixon back in the early 1970s and has grown into a significant day in the United States.  It is also a good time to stress the “green” aspects of your law firm in your legal marketing messages.

Being green doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition.  Actually, many of the green practices will save you money over time.  Reducing the volume of paper generated in your office saves you on paper and toner costs, as well as shredding costs.  It also reduces the risk of papers inadvertently not being properly destroyed and being read at a later date.

Simple little steps, such as putting a tag on your email that says something to the effect of  “Please join us in protecting the environment by not printing this email unless absolutely necessary” shows your commitment to the environment, and saves you and your clients money.

Another green step many firms have gone to is telecommuting.  The security and speed of online document transfer networks has progressed to the point that work can be completed from home and delivered seamlessly to clients or to the office for mailing.  Your clients will never know when they call, since most telephone systems can route calls to any phone you may be using.

If you are in a green building, use that in your marketing.  Show some of the steps that you have taken to make the world a better place.  If your firm participates in environmental cleanup events, highlight that on your website.  It shows your human side and your concern for the community.  It is low cost legal marketing that will broaden your appeal.
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Have you heard about the 2-Day Marketing Boot Camp for Small Law Firms?
 
If you're struggling to build your legal practice or want to learn a proven law firm marketing system for that has helped attorneys discover how to generate more referrals and find new clients fast then you owe it to yourself to check out a Rainmaker Retreat.
 
We would like to send you a DVD of your colleagues (and even your competitors) describing their experiences at our 2 day law firm marketing boot camp, the Rainmaker Retreat. Yes, we know you are skeptical (we wouldn't have it any other way).   So instead of us telling you how these 2 days will transform your business, we will let our clients do the telling.
 
Click here to order your complimentary DVD right now.