Last time we were together, I shared with you the 5 common mistakes lawyers make when it comes to engaging clients, and how to solve them. (Read that here)
We got great feedback on the article (thank you, I love hearing from you) and one of the things I heard was — Alexis, thanks for the great tips about engaging more clients in my law practice, but what I really need to know is how to get my phone ringing. So today, I am sharing the 4 mistakes you are making and the secrets that will fix it.
Mistake 1: You Aren’t Marketing
Okay, so let’s start with the basics. If you aren’t marketing, it’s no wonder your phone isn’t ringing. Seriously, fixing just this one thing can change everything for you.
And, you do need to do more than just go to networking lunches to get your name out there and get clients coming in the door.
A strong law practice marketing plan includes speaking engagements (designed to result in initial client appointments, not just interest), advertising, highly purposeful networking (not just random lunches or networking events), structured referral relationships that lead to high quality clients, expos, and even direct mail, radio and TV (after everything else has been implemented).
Most lawyers simply aren’t doing any of it other than relying on word of mouth. What about you?
Fix this mistake by… drum roll, please. Marketing! It might seem obvious but, if your phone is not ringing enough, you need to look closely at your marketing efforts.
One of our lawyers, says it best,
“I listened to one of your recordings and you said that lawyers could not just rely on one type of marketing. Stop the bus! Marketing? My marketing over the past 15 years had been word of mouth – that was it. I was floored there was something I could do and should do. Not one of the attorneys I worked with used any sort of marketing.”
~ Jill Gregory
Mistake 2: You Are Offering Something People Don’t Want
Now, before you get all excited and realize that you aren’t marketing and most of your problems can be solved by marketing, you really need to solve this mistake…
Because if you start marketing and only market free initial consultations, which really no one wants except people shopping around for a lawyer based on price (and, trust me, you don’t want those clients), you are going to spend a lot of time with lookie-loos and people not ready to hire you.
The free initial consultation is just what lawyers offer because that’s what every other lawyer offers, so we think we have to and it works.
It really doesn’t.
What does work is to offer a meeting with a name, a purpose and a value. A meeting that will provide value to your prospects whether they engage your services or not and will set you apart in your community as a trusted advisor people can count on for a great experience.
Now, I’m not saying to charge for this meeting. Instead, what you are going to do is charge for this meeting under some circumstances and give people plenty of ways (via your marketing) to get that meeting at no charge.
Someone walks in off the street, they pay for the session. Someone comes from an ad, a referral, an expo, a speaking event, they bring a certificate for a free session with you. And, the session has value, as I discussed in my previous article.
Mistake 3: You Market For Your Competition
When you do market, if you do not handle it in the right way (most lawyers simply are not because you are probably doing what most of your colleagues are doing), you are wasting your money and marketing for your competition.
Your prospects will hear you speak, see your ad, get educated on why they need your services and then hire the guy or gal down the street. Wah, wah. It’s such a bummer when that happens. Nobody wants to waste their time like that. (And you probably can’t afford to!)
Make sure every time you market, you generate leads and build a relationship with those leads. But we discuss that next…
Mistake 4: You Don’t Follow Up and Build Relationship
So, let’s imagine you are marketing, you are offering a meeting of value instead of a free initial consultation, and your phone still isn’t ringing enough. What could be going wrong?
You aren’t building relationship with your prospects.
Most people (some studies say 97%) of the people you come into contact with are not ready to buy from you the first time they come into contact with you.
It probably goes something like this… you meet someone, you educate them (hear you speak at an event, meet you via networking or see an ad of yours), they are interested in your services, but not ready to take the plunge and hire you.
Then, that’s it. They never hear from you again.
You are too shy to send out a weekly email newsletter or offers or newsletters by mail. Or don’t want to bother people. Or have been convinced that people don’t want it.
If you are doing it well, they do.
I had 5,000 people on my email list when I sold my law practice. Each week, I sent out an email newsletter that was opened by about 20% of the people on my list. That meant that every week, I was in front of 1,000 people who would now remember my name when it was time to hire a lawyer or when someone asked them for a referral.
My email list didn’t start with 5,000 people on it. It started with 1 person on it. And slowly over three years or so, I grew it.
You can do this too. And you really need to do it.
Of course, the key is your newsletter can’t be the same old, boring, dry, lame newsletter most lawyers send out. And it’s not the only way to build a relationship…
So next time we will talk about how to make your email newsletter and all relationship building efforts something your prospects and clients and referral sources actually want to open and read.
For now, if your work-life is out of balance, and you would like to know how you can have clients for life (as well as stable income you can count on every month)…