THE ”REAL” TRUTH OF MARKETING FOR SOLOS

HERE IT IS:  IT’S HARD WORK!!!

 

Marketing starts with( in this order):

  • Carefully Defining Your Target Market
  • Mission Statement
  • Elevator Speech to Incorporate into Marketing
  • Three Month Marketing Plan including all the marketing categories.
  • Goal Setting for the First Month
  • Calendaring the Goals Faithfully Each Week.

The only thing I left out was the different marketing categories which you need to take one by one and set out your goals.  They are:

  • Risk Reduction (what clients don’t you want).
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Direct Mail
  • Website and E Promotions
  • Endorsements
  • Branding
  • Networking
  • Budget

Take each of categories and write down how you will market through them.  Do some reading or call me for some help if you get stuck.

NOW YOU HAVE THE TRUTH, GO FORTH AND GET ORGANIZED FOR SUCCESS!

YOUR WEBSITE AND YOUR BEST BROCHURE

NOW THAT YOU HAVE YOUR “MISSION STATEMENT” IT’S TIME TO WORK ON YOUR WEBSITE.

Taking into account, the value you are going to give to your Target Market, you begin to build or modify your website.  Remember last week we  talked about a Probate/Trusts/Wills attorney’s possible mission statement? If you don’t recall, take a look at that blog and intertwine those values into the website outline that I’m going to give you.  Or even better, take out your mission statement and use it as a inspirational tool for updating or building your website.

CUTTING EDGE WEBSITE RENOVATION

Your website is your best brochure and your blog is your most effective device to keep in contact with your clients and colleagues.

Now that we have millions of websites to evaluate we have learned a few basic rules that are replacing the sort of random marketing that websites have produced.  Among those are that it needs to be EXTREMELY USER FRIENDLY, have great EYE CANDY  and allow the viewer to have a PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

DETERMINE YOUR TARGET MARKET:

What group of people do you want to reach? Where do they live? What is their wealth status? Is there anything unusual about them?

Define your target market as narrowly as possible.  Get it down to the ideal client that you would like to see walk in the door.  See the difference between “has a family law problem” and “has a family law problem and is financially able to retain an attorney”. One target market is very different from the other.  One narrows and one widens.  Exactly who you want to call you and take your precious time needs to be carefully thought out.

DETERMINE THEIR “WEED”:

After you have determined your target market, you need to find your target Market’s weed. What would be the most troubling thing to them? What is the “weed” in their garden that you can get rid of.  We have recently found out that lay clients look for their “weed” in your home page.  If they can relate to what you are saying you can help them with, they will be much more inclined to hire you than if you lay out in detail your credentials, etc.  They assume since you are a lawyer, that you will know what to do.

So find out what troubles your clients.  Ask old ones or pretend you are a client.  What would you want to see on an attorney’s Home Page that would tell you he or she recognizes your exact problem.

You might also want to explore the circumstances that has brought on their need.  In family law, it may be an unhappy or scary  scene.  In probate law, the actual need is a little different because the  need is for the future.  Being aware of these problems will help you to focus on what exactly is important to your future clients and create an up to date website.

WEBSITE HOME PAGE:

Simply and clearly restate your target market’s “WEED”. Use the magic words that will hit the search engines.

PROFILE PAGE:

 First of all, this is where your picture goes.  What kind of a picture should you have?  The usual rule is that you dress like your client would expect a lawyer to dress if he or she were to appear in court.  This does not meant that you flash the Rolex watch nor other expensive jewelry. And for heaven sake, smile.  Warm, friendly is what you are going for.

Then, the most important part of this page is to tell your story here.  Why did you become a lawyer? What type of cases have you handled? What has brought you joy as an attorney.  This is not a time to spill your guts but to be sincere and forthright about why you are doing what you are doing.  Don’t brag.  At the very end you can give a brief overlay of your education and experience.  Also do a link to a more extensive resume.

ENDORSEMENTS:

Get people to write comments about their experience with you.  Be sure to get their OK to use their full names.  No one believes testimonials that are from Jane D.

PRACTICE AREA PAGES:

Simple, Simple, Simple.  Again go back to the “Weed” and identify  and then address the client’s need in each area.

LINKS:

Make sure these are helpful and not just fill ins.

Add in anything which will make the site more useful and allow for more in depth viewing if the reader wants it.  This could be publications you have written.  Helpful tips about your area of the law or your blog.

EYE CANDY

Your entire site has to be attractive and something that an audience wants to look at for more than 20 seconds.  Choose your colors carefully.  If you are a Probate Attorney you don’t want a predominately black website.

Remember that most of your audience is visually oriented.  A few are auditorally oriented and even less are tactilely oriented.  So, if you have no sense of color or are unsure, get some help.  But do this with guidance from you.  What “feeling” do you want your viewers to bring away from your site.  Is it calming?  Is it aggressive?  Is it exciting?  It is very important that any designer or webmaster understand that you are at the helm and determining what is best for you.

THE FUTURE:

We are going to see a lot more video in websites.  These will be either a quick introduction on the Home Page with the attorney addressing the audience or links to videos in different areas.

If you want to venture into this area, make sure that you get professional help if you need it. Make sure that you have the right light and camera equipment to do good production.  Remember you are competing with 12 year olds that can whip out a professional looking You Tube rendition which will make them millions.

In helping clients cope with the new technology I have found that David Scott’s book, NEW RULES OF MARKETING AND PR to be very informative.

NOW I’VE GIVEN YOU YOUR MARCHING ORDERS.  I WANT TO SEE YOUR NEW WEBSITE.  PLEASE SEND ME YOUR LINK. I WILL BE GLAD TO ADD MY COMMENTS AND PRAISE.

RULES FOR GUERRILLA JOB HUNTING IN A DOWN MARKET

You must “work” every day, except Sunday, between 7-8 hours on finding a job. (If you have been unemployed for a year, you should have worked over 2,240 hours so far.) And if you are on unemployment insurance, that’s what the government is paying you to do.

  1. Plan every day what you will do with your time.
  2. Figure out the hard stuff that almost no one else is doing to find work. This is things like listing every adult friend or acquaintance that you or your family have ever known and informing them you need a job. Ask them for referrals to their lawyers where your “target market” exists.(that’s a breathing attorney).
  3. Identify the areas of law that have job openings and become competent in one or two (I think you can do that in 2,240 hours!). This means taking classes and networking with the attorneys while you are in those classes. Careful not to spend too much time with online classes and miss out on this opportunity.
  4. Face the hard truth that you may have to move out of your living area to find a job. Identify the areas of your city or state that have openings. Do you have any contacts in those areas (remember law school).
  5. Identify and attend ANY function that has attorneys at it. This means Bar Associations, Seminars, Political meetings and whatever else you find. Have a new business card made up with your contact information and a brief description on the back of what you are looking for.
  6. Set up a Website. Make it easy for people to find out about you. This is where the clever part comes in….it has to be different and unique with pictures and testimonials of how wonderful you are and put the address on your card.
  7. Establish a LinkedIn Profile. Make it simple and to the point. Put your longer resume in a link.  Be sure to explain your “value” as an employee both now and wherever else you have worked.  Talk about your flexibility and focus on the employer’s needs.  Be sure you get your nice looking picture in there.
  8. Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer. Especially if you are expanding or changing your practice areas. Be a law clerk in a firm where you can learn more ( yes, free). Or volunteer where powerful people in your community do.  You can easily fill in those hours and do some good at the same time. Also volunteer are “helpers” and this is the attitude of the people you need to be around now. Remember, Legal Aid is attorneys.
  9. Consider going Solo. While you are on unemployment insurance, this could be a good time to have some steady income while you do all the things to get started to go Solo before you begin earning. Of course, you are going to have to report any income that comes your way, but the government is very happy to do a little deducting from your checks. Remember, however, that going Solo means you must first figure out if there is enough business in your area of the law and the venue where you will be practicing. For goodness sake, don’t jump into this until you have researched both your financial obligations and the chances of success. Also check out your temperament.  Can you handle the stress?

Don’t get discouraged but know that the world is changing and you have to put a lot more time and energy into a job search today!  Let me know how you are doing and if you need any help.  I have been successful lately in helping attorneys to get hired even in this climate.

ARE YOU GIVING AWAY MONEY?

In 8 years of coaching I have found that some attorneys, especially solos, actually give away money! You may not even know you have been doing this, but usually because of circumstances somewhere in your background, its happening. The biggest underlying cause I have found is that some attorneys don’t feel their work is worth very much. If this is you, let me try to dissuade you.

See if any of the following is applicable to your practice:

Attorneys make money based on their time and expertise.  You have expertise and time……and you are an attorney, but are you giving money away?

So let’s begin by asking yourself these questions:

  1. How much am I worth an hour? — pleassssseeeee make it more than $150 an hour.
  2. How much of my time do I spend making less than my hourly rate?  doing what?
  3. Can I pay someone less than my hourly rate to do the cheaper time- consuming tasks? (now, don’t whine that you will just  have more time and less money….it doesn’t work that way).
  4. Am I consistently charging my hourly rate? or am I cutting it to get a client?  (the solution to that:   Up your hourly rate…..then you can lower it if need be.—this is all a psychological game anyway)
  5. Do I kid myself on the billing? This is when you really did five hours of work, but you feel you were slow, so you only charged the client for three hours.  That’s a big, huge NO NO.  Remember your product is expertise and time and you get to charge for both.
  6. Am I doing enough to get clients who have significant amounts of work and ability to pay? A $5,000 retainer is much nicer than 10- $500 jobs. You may have to target a completely different clientele.  Spend some of that time that you got from hiring someone else to do your grunt jobs and NETWORK. Decide exactly what kind of cases you want and learn to articulate your wishes in 35 words or less.   For example:

“ I’m the perfect lawyer for prosperous business clients with either significant problems or who want expert help in forming and growing their businesses while avoiding the legal pitfalls facing all entrepreneurs.”(see last week’s blog)

When you go to an event, commit to giving a spiel like that to at least 5 people. Hand them a card, smile and a Godiva chocolate.

Best of Luck and let me know if you can recognize yourself here.

ARE YOU AFRAID TO NEGOTIATE?

DID YOU COME OUT OF LAW SCHOOL DETERMINED TO GET RESULTS AND TO WIN AT ALL COSTS?

 

WERE YOU WILLING TO GET THOSE RESULTS EVEN IF IT REQUIRED INTIMIDATION, BULLYING AND THREATS?

DID YOU THINK THIS WAS THE WAY LAWYERS WERE SUPPOSED TO ACT?

AT SOME POINT DID YOU JUST GET DISGUSTED WITH YOURSELF?

This is where I find many lawyers ending up today in my coaching office.  As attorneys we had to fight to get into law school, compete with others to get good grades and on law review, and finally fight to pass the Bar.

Then we end up fighting to get a job and pay our ridiculous student loans back.  We finally end up at our desk one day fighting to find an error that our “adversary” overlooked and that we can ram down his/her throat.  This is not a nice way to live and grow in our quest to help people in the legal system.

Many lawyers are actually afraid to learn and use negotiation techniques. They are afraid they will look:

  • weak
  • not effective
  • scared
  • willing to settle for a small amount
  • lose their perceived superior position
  • not aggressive
  • not being a good adversary

These fears are causing attorneys to turn to alcohol, drugs, and all sorts of other techniques to self medicate themselves out of their awareness of what they are doing to themselves. Also  they need to convince themselves they are not lonely and isolated in being angry, aggressive and pig-headed.

BUT THERE IS A SOLUTION!

If lawyers begin to perceive adversaries differently, a paradox shift can happen.  Lawyer can:

  • begin to see the other side as partners in solutions.
  • to acknowledge that the adversary is a human being with all the complexity that humans have to deal with.
  • that a win-win result may be the best solution for your client.
  • that employing negotiations skills when appropriate is stress reducing.
  • that a skilled negotiator is made and not born.
  • that learning negotiation techniques broader an attorneys ability to serve each situation uniquely.

NOW THAT I’VE CONVINCED YOU TO LEARN A FEW NEW NEGOTIATION TECHNIQUES, STAY TUNED FOR NEXT WEEK’S BLOG!