GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR TARGET MARKET (think outside the box)

 

So you have taken a week to absorb my last blog and to reflect on EXACTLY who your target market(s) is. Next………

I’m sure you’ve been told the next step is to find out where your target market hangs out, what they read, etc.

FORGET THAT: START TO GET CREATIVE WITH THIS.

  • First, step into their shoes.  Again let’s take the example from last week about the probate, wills, trust attorney. If you were to target market(TM) the young family market, pretend you have just started a family(or remember when you did) and begin a journal about what your concerns are.  I think you will find Mothers have different worries than Fathers.  Also people who are starting their families later in life are in a different situation.   Think about any differences in concerns for that age group? Write this in your journal.
  • Instead of just finding out what the TM is reading, read it yourself.  Buy a parent magazine and see what the subjects are about.  Check out Amazon and find out what books young families s are buying. Read them. Put the information you find out in a separate part of your journal.
  • If you know a new family, interview them. Tell them you are writing an article on what worries new parents the most. To make this sincere and legitimate, you are going to also have to write the article as well, which is a good thing.

These are just a few ideas that I thought of to start thinking outside the box.  I’m sure you will come up with many more once you stop thinking in only the traditional way.

THE NEXT STEP: Believe it or not, is to start formulating your Business Mission Statement. 

You can go to the internet and find instructions about how to formulate a good mission statement.  I suggest you have both a business and a different personal mission statement. They will overlap somewhat but separating them seems to make more sense to attorneys.

Once your business mission statement is completed, you will use it as the basis for all further marketing including your LinkedIn profile, Website, advertising and all written communication.  Even a shortened version on your stationery!

Remember good mission statements are sincere and filled with real promises that you will fulfill.  Not just what you think you should be saying but how you plan on being of value to your clients.

Let me demonstrate using our example above.

BAD “I am a highly experienced and gifted attorney who will fulfill your every wish in the end of life documents I draft for you.” (this doesn’t tell the reader what needs the attorney is satisfying and is much too self serving and overblown. Additionally, the term, end of life, is scary.)

GOOD  “ A firm dedicated to helping you fulfill your wishes to have a secure and accurate distribution of your assets”(the word accurate is not exactly right, but best I can do right now). ( You can see the difference in that this ones speaks directly to the potential client and tell him/her your promise.)

This gives you enough to think about and implement next week.  Remember, I will be writing at least four more blogs on Solo Marketing helpful information. If you actually implement these new approaches you should see results in about three to six months.  Let me know how it is working for you.

WHY ISN’T YOUR SOLO PRACTICE MARKETING WORKING?

AS A SOLO YOU ARE DOING ALL THE TASKS SHOWN ABOVE. YOU ARE  NOT  MAKING ALL THE INCOME YOU WANT AND YOU ARE PUZZLED WHY YOUR MARKETING DOESN’T SEEM TO BE WORKING.

Read on.  This might just be the answer. 

You probably already know the elements of a good marketing plan.  Most of it is broken down in the illustration above.  Yes, you need to strategize your plan to access your target market. Wait, stop right there.

  • Do you really know your target market or are you reaching people who don’t want nor need your services?
  • Are you reaching too broad a market and are confusing the people you do reach because they have no use for your service?
  • Have you “niched” your services so that your market is identified accurately.

Let’s use an example so you will begin to see what I mean.

You are budding Probate, Wills, Trust Solo Attorney.  By the way, this is one of the most difficult areas to market because many people don’t want to think about their death let alone do something about it!

So your plan is to center your marketing around reaching people of a particular age group. That is to say older people. Maybe 60 to 80 years old.  So you spend big bucks advertising in AARP literature because you feel you are reaching the right age range. STOP.  WHAT WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE?

First, it costs a lot of your marketing budget and may preclude using those funds for more lucrative avenues of marketing.

Second, you will be reaching millions of people who already have a will or who feel they have no need of a will or any after death planning.

Third, you probably have no credibility with these readers…..YET.

If, however, you wrote a brilliant article and AARP published it, you will have at least made a small dent in your credibility gap and it didn’t cost you a dime. It will be the first step in building a ladder of dynamic branding and can go on your website and be a base for further speaking engagements directed to exactly the people who might hire you.

Now you need to question your first assumption also.  Is the 60-80 the correct group to target? Maybe not.  It is known that new parents of babies have the revelation that they need to provide for these little humans for a very long time.  What if they when they still have parenting duties after they are gone? Don’t they need some long range planning to secure their wishes for their kids?  These may be a group you have overlooked because you haven’t been thinking outside the box.  How about a brilliant article in Parent Magazine?

Are you beginning to see why the simple area of identifying your target market (s) correctly is vitally important to your entire marketing plan.

If you’d like to discuss your approach to marketing with me, give me a call and we can connect.  I’ll be writing several more blogs on this highly misunderstood area that solos foul up….so stay tuned.

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.

SOMETHING NEW FOR YOU

ATTORNEYS BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT FORUM

You’ll find this in LinkedIn Groups.  It’s brand new and I would ask you to join us.

  • A group formed to be interactive.
  • To give attorneys a place to really develop their business skills with advice and interchange.
  • To exercise your skill as a mentor if you’d like to.
  • To find information and new tools, including technology to expand your practice.
  • To be a consistent resource for creating business strategies which really work.

Don’t be scared by how few members we have so far.  I only got this up last week.  Please post.  This week we are having a conversation regarding “The Best Business Advice You Ever Received”.  Help to get us started on the path to success.

GO TO LINKEDIN TODAY.  SIGN INTO GROUPS. SIGN UP FOR ABDF!!!!!!

THE MAGIC THIRD KEY TO OVERCOMING CHALLENGE!

So you have identified your challenge and made certain that the description is accurate.  Then you decided on some goals and tasks to start working on overcoming that challenge.  The last piece is to do those action tasks until you have the desired results.

SOUNDS ALL TOO SIMPLE?  Actually this third step is the hardest.  Usually you start out relieved to have finally pinpointed exactly what the problem is.  Then you have taken precious time to decided what steps you need to take. Now you can start worrying that these may not be the right actions and/or that you can really do them.

NOW THE HONEYMOON IS OVER.  The last step is to pull out all stops and devise a method to actually do the actions tasks and to stick with them, revising along the way until you are rewarded with the right results.

This takes ACCOUNTABILITY.  Who are you going to be accountable to?  I always say that if you at least go out to the nearest tree and tell it your action tasks, that is on the right path to becoming accountable.  Actually having a live person to hold your feet to the fire is even better!

What about FOLLOW THROUGH?  Is there something that you must do to make sure that your action task actually got done?  Simply giving someone a call but never reaching them, is not enough.  Here you need to develop your “stick to”brain cells and write these further actions down!

TENACITY is the overall talent that makes all the other steps fall in place.  This may take some support as you begin to lose your will to push forward.  Some challenges take ten minutes to overcome and some take ten days, ten months or ten years.  You need the tenacity to stick with your goals no matter what.

AND THAT HOW YOU OVERCOME ANY CAREER CHALLENGE YOU FACE.

THE SECOND KEY TO OVERCOMING ANY CHALLENGE

Last blog I promised you that I would add the second key this week and next week will give you the third key.  Are you on the edge of your seat?

Second key is to TAKE ACTION.  What are your action choices you ask?

  • Therapy/counseling
  • coaching
  • find mentor
  • talk to your CPA
  • talk to your friends
  • talk to your family
  • google
  • find publications to help

These are a only few of the obviously choices to look for help.  Again, if you have specifically identified the correct challenge, then the action becomes simpler. For instance, if you believe that you are not making your monthly nut, and you have paperwork to show that, your best next step may be to sit down with your CPA and find out what part of your financial picture is suffering.  You may assume that it is lack of income but the real problem may be too much unneeded expense or something you never thought of.   A good CPA who is on your side and aware of your business can be a big help here.

After you have gathered as much information as you can from your CPA, then you  plan the next step.  You may need now to involve your family to see how to cut expenses or talk with your office staff.   If you are lost as how to proceed then it is time to get a coach involved to pinpoint your next action steps.

Do you see how it is so vitally important to properly identify not only the correct challenge but to whittle that challenge down to be able to see what action can be taken to overcome it? Insight is the first step to any challenge.

When you are sure you have gotten the challenge not only properly identified but also narrowed the needed action down, then you need to start developing action tasks to get to your goal of overcoming your challenge.  Again, a coach is very useful for this step because they are aware of how to focus you on the important goals as well as take into account your entire situation.  A good coach will make your goals due able so that you can have the greatest chance of success.

Stay tuned for next blog to find out the Third and Final Key to Overcoming Any Challenge!

A MASTERMIND GROUP CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

I wanted to let you know that we are forming a Mastermind Group for Attorneys here in Santa Cruz, CA.  Below is the announcement.  If you don’t live in this area but are interested in attending a group , let me know.  We will be expanding into other regions by skype or phone shortly.

                                      DYNAMIC  ATTORNEY MASTERMIND GROUP FORMING:
Led by Eleanor Southers, owner Professional Legal Coaching and Mastermind Facilitator

Mastermind Groups were originated by Napoleon Hill author of THINK AND GROW RICH and have helped people for several generations come together to support each other in reaching greater success and happiness. “Two minds create a third person”.

The structure of the Group forming now is as follows:
• Meet twice a month on Mondays beginning Monday, March 7, 2016.
• Meetings will be 90 minutes long and will be in person or if occasionally unable to attend, then by phone or skype.
Will be limited to attorneys who want to increase their revenue through new marketing skills and more effective networking.
• Will be limited to attorneys ready to take a chance to improve their lives with the help of a trained and experienced facilitator and support of like-minded attorneys.
• All participants will sign a confidential agreement so that there can be a free discussion of needs.
• Group is limited to a maximum of 6 attorneys.
• Group will meet at my office: 1362 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, Ca 95060.
• Time will be early morning or late afternoon and will be decided after group is formed and what is most convenient for the participants.
• Participants are asked to make a 3 month commitment and the cost is $450.00(payments possible). Participants will also receive a copy of my book, BE A BETTER LAWYER: A short guide to a long career.
• Participants will commit to formulating and working on personal goals consistently for three months.
• I promise that in three months participants will be equipped to earn more dollars and have some fun along the way while using new skills/tools.
Enrollment takes place during February, 2016. In order for this kind of group to work, we need to put together attorneys who are focused and want to make a difference in their careers. Also ones who are tired of working on their own and want the comradery of a group that wants to talk about their business. Therefore, only serious applicants should apply. Please fill out the brief application below and email it to me ASAP. Applications close Feb 29, 2016 so we have time to begin on Monday, March 7, 2016 and we will only be taking 6 attorneys. Email: esouthers@aol.com or call 831 466-9132 .
Name:___________________________email_____________________
Area of practice:______________________
Years in practice:_________
What results would you like to get from this
Mastermind Group?_________________________________

Have you ever been in a Mastermind Group previously?_______________
If yes, when and what were the results?______________________________________________
Which time, Morning or late afternoons, would be best for you?______________________
Anything else you would like to add?_____________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

BE HONEST: DID YOU MAKE ENOUGH MONEY IN 2015?

LET’S BE HONEST.  NO ONE IS LOOKING.

Review your income and expenses in 2015 NOW.  Yes, I know you don’t have to do taxes for a few more months but this is really important.  Also label expenses or categorize them so you can see where your money went.  Be brutal and don’t let anything get by.  Can you tell how much you spent on designer coffee?  How much for gym or classes? What was your overhead total? How much was spent on marketing?

Now go through and mark each expense as N. Necessary or NN. Not Necessary. Look at the N’s and see if all or part of that expense was not really necessary and mark it.  N is things like rent, reasonable food, gas, phone, gas, car expense, etc.

Look at the bottom line.  Did you make enough money to cover your expenses this year?  Did you incur any debt? If so how much?

WHAT IF YOU COME UP SEEING THAT YOU DID NOT MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO COVER YOUR EXPENSES????????

First, take another look at the NN expenses.  How many can you cut out altogether or decrease?  How many of the N expenses might be reduced, if even slightly?

When you have done this as Step 1, you will be able to see if you can set your 2016 goals to recover at least as much income as your 2015 revenue.  If not, then onto Step 2.

This is about finding out how much more income you need to make in 2016.  Look at your overall short fall for 2015.  How much was that?  Do you want to add any expenses to 2016?  At this point, you need to figure out a good estimate as to what  income you need to generate in 2016.

Some insightful authors have determined that to be at our happiest as attorneys we need to make $70,000 a year.  Does this seem reasonable to you?  This figure is, of course, balanced with having less income but more happiness and work/life balance.  If you are willing to take this information at face value, it may be a place to start your next year’s budget.  It means you won’t have so many goodies but more time to enjoy the ones you already have.

So, all of this is your decision.  UGH

I have found that this is a really simple way to look at your financial situation.  We’re not talking about saving for retirement or anything else at this point. Just how did you do money-wise last year.  Debt reduction and proper savings come later.  This exercise should be done at least once a year.  Now is a great time.

WHAT RESULTS DO YOU WANT?

If you can decide this upfront, you can get whatever you want or need.  It’s as simple as that. 

The catch is that you have to come up with a wished for result that is reasonable and available.  I can’t ask that the result I want is to become a star ballerina within a year’s time (or a life time) because that is not reasonable nor achievable for me.  I could ask, however, that I become a good salsa dancer in a year’s time and that is achievable if I am willing to plan carefully and be committed to my goal.

You ask, how is this different from setting a goal?  Good question. Answer is that you have an “end” to work back from and are clear about what you want.  This makes goal setting much easier and more rewarding because you know exactly what you want the goal to materialize into.

Try this out with your New Years Resolutions.  Exercise is usually one of the biggies in this area.  End result might be that you want to be able to enter a half marathon in a year.  That result will then put you on a goal track to achieve the endurance to do it.  Can you see why you might get a bigger commitment to exercise if you see yourself running a marathon at the end rather than just forcing yourself to go to the gym?

THINK BIG.  I am finding more and more in my coaching practice that clients aren’t thinking on a big enough scale. It’s just as easy to plan for a 50% increase in revenue as it is to set up goals for a 10% increase.  It might be less scary to go for a lower figure but you are more likely to succeed by shooting higher. There is still success in reaching a 30% goal and adding a 20% goal the next time.

RIGHT NOW take pen and paper or iPad and decide one result you want in the next three months.  Write that result down and look at it at least once a day.  Tell it to one person.  Send it to me. I’d like to see it.  I guarantee that just doing this step will excite a few of those pesky neurons to act.

HAVE A HAPPY AND HEALTHY HOLIDAY AND I WILL BE BACK BLOGGING ABOUT JANUARY 10TH. 

***One of your New Years Resolution is to set up a 15 minute conversation to see if we might be a good fit to collaborate on your future as a better lawyer.

See my website for directions on how to do this. My Website