I CAN DO IT!

WE’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT SELF-EFFICACY.  NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT BELIEF IN  ABILITY.

One of the key factors in gaining or having self-efficacy is the expectation that the goal can be accomplished. If there is no hope or little belief that the goal is attainable, forget even starting the challenge.

We discussed seeing a task as a challenge or a threat.  From that we can deduce that a threat would easily turn into I Can’t Do It with all kinds of reasons behind that decision. By identifying the task as a threat and questioning the validity of the threat, can produce some reduction in the view as a threat.  Then, as we also discussed, taking “baby steps”to shift the view of a threat to a challenge, success is in sight.

Now I am proposing even a broader approach to gaining self-efficacy through taking a more holistic approach by confronting the belief in the ability to do a task or meet a goal.  If there is self doubt that the person cannot achieve the goal at all, all kinds of minor threats will appear.  If, on the other hand, the person believes that he/she has the ability to achieve it, a whole new outlook will underline each step towards making the goal a reality.

Looking at a concrete example:  “The lawyer has worked for a firm for the past six or seven  years and is unhappy.  He/She knows that establishing a solo firm is possible because the funds are available and all those years of experience has produced competency in one or two areas of the law. Day dreaming has produced a sense of greater freedom in shaping his/her work life and that sounds like a great solution. ”

Now comes the overall pervasive feeling that he/she can’t do it. The belief is that the ABILITY is simply not there and thus the wish will fail.  This will, of course, stop any further planning, and creates a death to the idea. Sometimes, this realization takes a little while to appear and that can even more damaging because all hope will be abandoned even if the set back is minor.

The truth is that we, as human beings, are capable of all kinds of achievements we don’t even know about!

I remembered when I started painting.  I had no idea that I could actually paint something that might go on someone’s wall.  I took a class at the local junior college entitled: Art for Non-Artists.  I was amazed that I could do the assignments and come out with something that people seem to like (not just being nice). 15 years later, I have gotten better but still always have doubts that somehow things won’t work out because I don’t have the ability to paint.

We all must fight that notion growing up that we weren’t “big enough” to do activities we wanted to do.  This is obviously where some of this self doubt starts.  The truth is that we really don’t know what abilities we have. Not until we acknowledge that our capacities are greater than we acknowledge can we truly move forward.   So, I will never be a ballerina or an opera singer or a lot of other careers because I simply no longer have the  physical capacities. But we are only really  some what limited by very few restrictions.  Dare to know this. Dare to exceed your expectations!  

WHAT THE HECK IS SELF-EFFICACY AND WHY DO YOU HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT IT?

THE BIG GUY ON THIS ONE IS STANFORD’S ALBERT BANDURA.

Taking studies from scientists  trying to find out what is the most effective way to promote change in people, Dr. Bandura hit upon a massive element that goes into defining success and failure:  SELF-EFFICACY!

He defines it as as “people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives.”  A simpler version goes: “People’s belief about their capabilities to produce effects.”

After coaching for almost 10 years, I have come to believe that this is the key to allowing attorneys to commit to their goals plans and actually produce results.  Looking at a goal as a mastery and a challenge and not a threat is vitally important to success. Attorneys starting to be coached come with different degrees of self-efficacy.  If they have not succeeded in prior goal plans, then their belief in their abilities will be lower than those who have achieved results however they decided to go about change.

That’s the problem simply put, so what is the solution?

Bandura suggests that mastering a prior experience is a helpful beginning.  Unfortunately this experience must come before a giant failure which undermines that occurrence. This requires some tenacity which we have discussed in previous blogs.   Also, to build on the good events the failures must be in a similar category.

For instance:  An attorney decides to start a solo practice. He/she does a lot of pre-planning and sets up a practice based on knowing the important element of starting a practice. The 3 elements are INFRASTRUCTURE, COMPETENCY AND MARKETING.  Careful research and reasonable expectations have been met and for the first year, growth is small but constant as expected. Then whamO , the beginning of the second year finds a drop in the economy and the practice starts to slide downward.  If the attorney can feed off the skills that he/she learned from the first year’s success, there is a much higher likelihood of coming back strong. Simply going back over the 3 elements of a solo practice can even be the best answer.  As you can tell even from the little information you have, Marketing is probably the area that needs to undergo change.  To see this, however, will also boost the attorney’s ability to revise and reinvigorate  the resolve to face this as a challenge and not a threat.  After all, the attorney had very few or no clients when the practice was started. So this is the very same obstacle that was overcome earlier. Sometimes the attorney needs this pointed out to him/her. That’s one of the coach’s jobs!Time after time, however, I see experienced attorneys who want to change because they are no longer satisfied with their practices.  The excuses they use for not being able to change are enormous.

  •  they are too old,
  • they don’t have the time to become competent in another area,
  • they don’t have the financial ability to change,
  • they don’t want people to think they haven’t been successful
  • and on and on.

This is,of course, all “Malarkey” as my mother would say. I have had 2 major and 1 minor career change before I went to law school at 38 years old. Since practicing the past 33 years I have “morphed” 3 times, ending up with my favorite job as a legal coach.I will probably wind up with my head on my desk when the grim reaper comes but I had fun…most of the time.

My mother was an RN and my father only got to complete the 6th grade but they both had self-efficacy. Good examples of this concept are important as well as being told you can do it by someone you respect.

There’s more to this subject. Join me next week and we’ll go on this journey even further. 

TEACH THEM HOW TO FISH

 I know it says somewhere in the Bible something like: “Don’t give a hungry man a fish, teach him how to fish”. 

THAT MAKES A LOT OF SENSE!

We have hundreds of Vets coming out of service that have great benefits afforded them in future training.  I understand that some have as much as  five years of expenses paid for if they enroll in college or other training.  Yet, we have many veterans unable to find work and becoming homeless.    Obviously, they need counselors and coaches to help them plan a program that they can stick with and end up with a paying job.

For those that don’t need or want extensive training, short term study programs that have certificates are available.  These include online as well as college based short courses.  I was amazed that in Dr. Larry Richard and Tanya Hanson’s book THE NEW WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A LAW DEGREE, they list 800 not only possible job categories for lawyers who want to change but many of which could apply to veterans who have some work background but need a solid job pursuit now that they are out of the service.

Also in that book, at Appendix B is a long list of certificate and credential building programs that service related benefits would probably pay for. As many of these are for attorneys with degrees, there are still some which would apply for Vets with limited academic backgrounds. Also there are many of these lists available for short term education leading to good jobs.  Guidance counselors have these type of resources.

SO WITH ALL THESE POSSIBILITIES AVAILABLE WHY DO WE STILL HAVE VETS ON THE STREET?

THEY HAVE NO PLACE TO GET THIS KIND OF SPECIFIC COUNSELING.

I know this for a fact because I called our local veteran affairs office several times, offering my services as a job coach. Never once did I receive a return call. I then turned to the internet only finding a site which offers mentoring and support for Vets across the country, mostly by offering online suggestions to specific questions asked by the Vet. I did join and have communicated with several vets who are now in JAG or want to go to law school. ACP Advisers is the site if you want to join.

These are not Vets on the street. They need a specific place that they can come and get on going counseling on a one to one basis to support them in developing a plan to not only survive but carefully planning their future. They need consistent long term support and encouragement that will allow them to retrain themselves and become more sale-able. This process also provides a great deal of hope because it is future based, which helps with PTSD as well as just general depression.

I will be exploring this concept/idea more and will keep you posted.  Please let me know if you have any input into this very critical problem.  We can’t depend on the Trump Government to give us any help!

OK, I’M BACK AND BRACED FOR A LONG FIGHT

 Were you there?

This is only the beginning of four years of doing everything we can to uphold the Constitution and our civil rights and more important, save our children’s future!

I have, for the past few years, made this blog about giving attorneys things to think about during each week and hints about actions they can take to make their practices better.  I have the overwhelming need now to change direction, at least for awhile, to keep my audience aware of what they can do each week to resist the destruction of our beautiful nation.

This week Paul Ryan’s office is conducting a phone poll and wants to hear overwhelming opposition to the Affordable Care Act.  So here’s what to do:   call (202)225-0600 and press 2.  You will then hear instructions to press 1 if you continue to support  ACA or press 2 if you don’t support continuation.  There are a lot of other people calling in, so be patient and keep trying.  This doesn’t mean that you might feel the ACA needs tweaking but the basics need to stay in place. Please press “1” and send a message. Thanks to my friend Elena Nini Cohen for this information.

Many people are telling you to contact your senator and congressperson.  Living in California and in Santa Cruz, my representatives are aware of what the majority of their constituents  are wanting them to do.  This is why I think it is important that each individual takes the responsibility of acting each week to keep the values of the Women’s March alive and well.

You might also want to follow THINK PROGRESS on the internet and facebook.  The publication has hired 2 investigators to give us blow by blow accounts of Trump’s actions which are destructive for all humanity.  They are looking to hire 2 more investigators and are about $40,000 short of being able to do that.

I hope you will continue with me in this journey of resistance!

OH,OH, IT’S ALMOST RESOLUTION TIME AGAIN!


Dear Readers,

As the year comes to an end, you know I like to give advice about how to handle the new year.  Well, this year is no different. Both you and your clients have had some real difficult times and some very unique challenges this past year.  Between the stock market behavior , job problems and the election debacle, doom and gloom has run rampant.  Many lawyers have suffered significant disruption of their businesses as clients and employers try to keep their heads above water.

Now, some of the experts tell us that the recession has turned around.  Other experts tell us that there is more disruption to come as the government goes crazy.Whatever happens, guess what?  WE STILL ALL HAVE THAT PIECE OF PAPER THAT SAYS WE ARE LAWYERS! Most people in the world don’t have that piece of paper. We have infinite possibilities to use that piece of paper to not only provide us with a living but to give us job satisfaction as well.

In line with that thinking, for many of you it may well be time to review your work situation and make decisions about how you might want to change your practice in the coming year. Take a minute and do a quite survey about your present career situation by answering the following questions:

  1.  Am I making enough money to cover my business and personal expenses?
  2. Am I making enough money to fund my retirement account each month?
  3. Do I like to go to work each day?
  4. Do I like the people I work with?
  5. Do I like most all of my clients?
  6. Can I get my work done in 40-50 hours a week?
  7. Do I have enough time for my family each day?
  8. Do I exercise enough?
  9. Am I eating a healthy diet?
  10. Am I taking enough classes to keep up to date in my practice areas?
  11. Do I often feel lonely?
  12. Do I have mentors?
  13. Do I play and have fun on a regular basis?

OK, OK, you get the idea.  If you answered NO to a lot of these questions, then you need to start on your New Year’s resolutions early.  Think of change ( which is scary) as MORPHING.  Morph yourself into a more fulfilling career.

How do you do this?  Look at the “nos” above. Now decide one thing you could do today to start changing  that answer to a “yes”. Some people call that shifting your outlook. Yes, it takes work and focus but its certainly better than being whiny ( you know I hate that) and depressed. Call me.  I’d love to discuss 2017 with you.

Wishing you all a glorious and prosperous New Year…..

MY FORBES ARTICLE


THIS WEEK I’M STILL NUMB SO I’M ASKING YOU TO CLICK INTO MY NEW FORBES ARTICLE FOR YOUR MONDAY HIGH!

RESPECT: A DIFFERENT AND MORE POWERFUL PERSPECTIVE

 http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2016/11/18/respect-a-different-and-more-powerful-perspective/

HOW TO TALK TO YOUR TARGET MARKET WITHOUT CRYING

THIS IS YOUR TARGET MARKET!  WHAT NOW!

Look, everyone in your target market is smiling.  That should make you happy.  Now what do you say to them?

 

FIRST OF ALL  THE DON’TS:

  • Tell them how wonderful you are
  • Tell them how much you have accomplished
  • Tell them how much experience you have had
  • Tell them specifics about other clients
  • Tell them how much money you can make for them
  • Tell them that you can solve all their problems

WHAT TO DO:

  • Acknowledge their problem in specific terms
  • Outline the gap between where they are now and where you hear they want to be
  • Ask questions to get as much understanding of their needs as possible
  • Listen, listen and listen some more
  • Tell them you understand their problem and this is how you might be able to help
  • Tell them the ways that you have solved this problem for other clients in general terms
  • Ask them if they would feel comfortable in talking about how you would go about solving their problem
  • Ask them if they would feel comfortable talking about what you would need from them
  • Ask them if they would feel comfortable discussing the cost of the retaining you

IT’S A GOOD SIGN AT THIS POINT IF THEY ARE STILL SMILING

IF THEY ARE NOT SMILING:

  • Ask them what would make them feel better right now
  • Ask them if they have heard anything that bothers them
  • Ask what obstacles are standing in the way of working with you to solve this problem

IF THEY ARE STILL NOT SMILING:

  • Tell them it has been a pleasure talking with them
  • Tell them you hope that they find a solution to their problem
  • Tell them that if you can ever be of help in the future, to call you
  • Tell them that you hope they find a solution even if it with another attorney because you do see they need legal help
  • Wish them well

NOW LOOK BACK ON THE WHOLE CONVERSATION AND SEE WHAT YOU COULD HAVE DONE BETTER.

HOWEVER, IF THEY ARE STILL SMILING AS THEY SIGN THE RETAINER, TELL THEM HOW MUCH YOU APPRECIATION THEIR CONFIDENCE IN YOU AND THAT YOU WILL STRIVE TO GET THEM THE BEST POSITIVE OUTCOME TO THEIR PROBLEM.

MY TARGET MARKET: HERE I COME!

Last week we went over some ideas in how to figure out who your target market(s) is.

THIS WEEK, WE ARE GOING TO FIND OUT HOW TO CONNECT AND ALLOW THOSE TMs TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU CAN HELP THEM.

There are a few rules that should be discussed before we begin:

  • Always identify what your main TM’s needs are before you start.
  • Be sure to get as much information as set out last week, about your TM before starting.
  • Identify any person or entity that your TM might go for legal advice or referral.
  • Designate these “gatekeepers” as a new TMs and devise a strategy to contact them in the same way you are doing for other TMs.
  • Widdle down your TM’s description to the specifics.  Don’t worry about excluding anyone at this point.(for example- “People who don’t have a will or have an outdated one” TO “Parents  who don’t have a will or have an outdated one” TO ” Parents  who own their home and don’t have a will or have an outdated one.)
  • Ask yourself: What could I give to this TM that he/she can’t get anywhere else. (here it can be personal service like coming to their home or with the above example, it might be expert tax and wealth saving information).
  • Be creative. Think Outside the Box.
  • Decide what  tangible small value you can give to your TM right away. (example: A planning booklet to keep all the necessary probate information in and to let their heirs know what’s available).

NEXT MAJOR PLANNING ITEM FOR YOUR MARKETING PLAN IS TO DETERMINE YOUR BRAND.

How are you going to brand yourself????? As an expert? As an experienced attorney who can save time and money? As a parent and care giver yourself who understands the needs of his/her client?

Whatever your BRAND may be, it should reflect and answer the needs of your TM.  No client wants to hire an attorney who doesn’t know what they need and want.  Use stories of past successful results to assure your potential client that you want to take care of his/her problems. You have the knowledge and the expertise to do it!

PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM TRYING TO MAKE MARKETING AS SIMPLE AND DIRECT AS POSSIBLE. AS YOU GO THROUGH THESE EXERCISES YOU SHOULD BE KEEPING THEM SEPARATE FROM YOUR OTHER WORK. BE FOCUSED ON GETTING THAT GPS TO ALL THE CLIENTS YOU WANT. MORE NEXT WEEK……

STUCK IN THE SAHARA WITHOUT A GPS?

IT’S THE SAME AS RUNNING A FIRM WITHOUT A MARKETING PLAN.

Last week we talked about target markets and this week we need to see what the next step is to using that identified target market(s). So here we go:

  • Decide what the exact needs of your target market are.
  • If having trouble deciding do some interviews and find out.
  • Prioritize at least 3 Needs.
  • Taking those Needs, first incorporate them in your Website and Linkedin Accounts.
  • Now follow up those posts with how you would solve those needs. For instance if one of the needs to get information about a legal question, indicate that you can do that.
  • Be careful to only indicate how you will go about helping them solve the problem.

Next Steps:

  • Take the first of your identified target markets(if there is more than one) and decide the following:
  1. Where does your TM go to get advice (internet, friends, other attorneys, etc.)
  2. What does your TM read?
  3. What other interests does your TM have?
  4. What causes your TM stress?
  5. Can you identify which age group most of your TMs fall into?
  6. Is your TM within a certain financial baseline? what?
  7. Where does your TM spent most of his/her time?

Continue to do this and add more questions about the details of your TM until you feel like you really know their needs. Then do this with all your identified TMs.

THIS WILL BE THE BASIS OF YOUR MARKETING PLAN. MUCH MORE TO GO. STAY TUNED FOR NEXT WEEK WHEN WE WILL GO INTO HOW TO ACTUALLY LOCATE YOUR TMs AND HOW TO “TOUCH” THEM!

WHAT’S YOUR TARGET MARKET?

AT A RECENT SEMINAR FOR LAWYERS, I MENTIONED THE IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING YOUR TARGET MARKET. THE RESPONSE I GOT WAS “WHAT IS A TARGET MARKET?”

Target Market Means Aiming Strategy At Consumers Targeted

Since this is the basis of all marketing, I thought it would be appropriate to spend some time talking about what is a target market and how to locate yours!

A TARGET MARKET IS FIRST OF ALL:

  • Your best referral base
  • The focus of your marketing
  • Those sources that have the best possibility of directly becoming your client or referring clients to you (known as your “Gatekeepers”)
  • A good target market limits the number of cases you don’t want and increases the number you do want.

HOW YOU DEFINE YOUR TARGET MARKET:

  • Start with your mission statement.  What needs are you fulfilling for potential clients? Say for instance your mission statement is: Providing exceptional service to people who have been injured on the job, while maintaining  the highest professional standards, then your target market is people who have a work injury, with the expectation of those who might be a bit shady or not being truthful.
  • Now let’s change that to Providing exceptional service to people who are seriously injured on the job, etc.  Can you see that now you are limiting yourself to only seriously injured clients? Your target market is now narrower.
  • A clear, clean and precise mission statement is necessary to define your market.

HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY THE ACTUAL TARGET PEOPLE TO WHOM YOU WILL SPEND YOUR MARKETING TIME AND DOLLARS ON?

  • Your best referral base is your old clients because they have been within your target market because you have been able to help them.
  • The next best referral source for many practices is other lawyers. Perhaps you do cross referrals with these lawyers. Other lawyers refer to you because they have a clear idea of what you do and that you are ethical and very competent (also they don’t want to be named as a co-defendant in a malpractice action! )They also know you would support and refer to them if you have the opportunity.
  • Gatekeepers beside other lawyers are also in your target market.  Sometimes these are your family members or someone that your target market interacts with.  An example is a Marriage and Family Counselor who needs referrals for Family Law Attorneys and the lawyers who also needs referrals to counselors for their client. This is maximum cross-referring.

WHAT DO YOU DO AFTER YOU HAVE IDENTIFIED YOUR TARGET MARKET(S):

  • Now you need to put all their contact information into guess what? YOUR CONTACTS
  • I suggest you make three lists of contacts. One is A for people you know will refer to you.  This includes old clients and lawyers. Second one is labeled B and is people who you have met and might refer to you. Last is C with who you have a casual relationship but who you don’t want to forget you. Outlook will do this for you with different colors.
  • Important technique is to keep these people on your radar. The As at least 4 times a year. Bs at least twice and Cs at least once.
  • At this point you will also “Cherry-pick” the people who fit in your target market but haven’t produced yet. Here is where you spend some time and money on reaching out to them. What do they read? How can you provide value to them? Does your website SPEAK to your target market? Does it invite potential clients to call you? There’s volumes on this subject but once you have developed your real target market, you won’t waste time and money trying to get to people on board who will never refer to you.  As my friend says:  Don’t go to the Hardware Store to buy a Hamburger.
  • Hint: The best marketing tool I ever used was sending Birthday Cards to old and present clients. Don’t do it to lawyers because they are jaded and can’t believe you really want them to have a Happy Birthday but clients are different…..as long as you are sincere. One client told me it was the only birthday card he got!

SO NOW YOU AT LEAST HAVE SOME IDEA WHAT A TARGET MARKET IS.  Please feel free to contact me for a 30 minute complimentary consultation to help you with this if you want to discuss this further.