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  Don’t worry about excluding anyone at this point.(for example- “People who don’t have a will or have an outdated one” TO “Parents  who don’t have a will or have an outdated one” TO ” Parents  who own their home and don’t have a will or have an outdated one.)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……

WHY ATTORNEYS DON’T ASK FOR HELP: Or ask for the wrong help

One of the hardest things attorneys find to do is ask for the right help.

Why is that:

  • Many attorneys have big egos and don’t want to admit they need help. They are afraid they will look weak and not competent.
  • Many attorneys don’t want to admit that they actually had lots of help just graduating from Law School, passing the Bar and finding work.  They actually feel they did it all on their own when in fact, family, teachers and others provided much needed help along the way.
  • They don’t believe there is good, effective help available to them.
  • They don’t know where to look or find the appropriate help.
  • Many would rather self medicate than admit they need help.  Oh, boy does this cause more problems!
  • Many attorneys can’t identify what kind of help they need.  Or exactly what the problems may be.
  • Some attorneys will ask another attorney/friend for help but get the wrong advice and give up.
  • Attorneys are skeptics.  They have been taught to doubt the validity of many things, including help.
  • Some attorneys are in deep denial and don’t admit they need help
  • And most important, many attorneys don’t want to go through the changes they need to resolve their problems. They would rather stay in denial.

DO YOU KNOW A COLLEAGUE WHO NEEDS HELP BUT WON’T REACH OUT?  OR ARE YOU THAT PERSON?

The starting place is to admit it. Then take some ACTION STEPS to first:

  • Grind the problem down to its elements. Is it money? Is it time? Is it burnout? etc.
  • Once you have flushed out the elements, develop a plan to attack the gap between the problem you see it  today and the vision of what it will look like when it is solved.
  • Get some professional help such as a coach to help identify the gap, help you with the steps and hold you to the commitment to overcome the problem.

 NOW IS THE TIME TO HAVE THE CAREER THAT YOU WANT!

FOUR STEPS TO TAKE WHEN PEOPLE ARE ANGRY AT YOU

You might consider a few therapy sessions if these simple suggestions don’t work for you.  Because, let’s face it….you can’t be a successful, happy attorney unless you can handle a lot of negativity.  Solos have it even worse because they frequently don’t have anyone to “vent” or discuss the turmoil in their practices.

Anyway, let me give you a couple of ideas that might help or at least “band-aid” your angst.

  •             First, remember that none of this is PERSONAL. It is not about YOU. Most of the people who give you a hard time are doing it for reasons that have nothing to do with reality.  It is about how they are choosing to handle the situation.
  •             Second, after assessing the situation to see if there are things you can learn from it, see if there is any action you can take.  Action means that you are tackling the problem, not letting it rest.

Now many times, action is not appropriate.  In these cases, such as when a judge tells you that your argument  is stupid, first assess the comment to see if he/she is at least partially right. After that write down what you learned and what you can do to rectify your error.  Then tear up the paper and flush it down the toilet. Then  read a really trashy book, go to a George Clooney/Brad Pitt movie or watch a comic TV show.

  •             Third, and probably the most difficult situation to handle is when you feel you failed a client.  The case is not going well for whatever reasons and you are in the dumps. Again, if you can do something about it, do it!  If not, then work on other cases that are more fulfilling because it is better to be a work- alcoholic for a short time, than to obsess on feeling bad about something you have little or no control over.  This is also a good time to have a volunteer opportunity open to you.  Those people appreciate you and want you to feel good and doing something for others can turn around your feelings quickly.
  •             Fourth, you need to prepare to have negative experiences on a regular basis.  It may help to take a class in handling angry clients or in honing your mediation skills.  Mediation is a time when you learn to handle hostility in a neutral fashion.  Again, you will learn that it is not about You, so you can remove your feelings from the tumult.

With hopes that this will help.  I’d love to hear how you handle anger directed towards you in the work place.   

GOOGLE SELF HELP VS COACHING

EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT YOU CAN GET ALL THE INFORMATION YOU WANT ON GOOGLE   true or false?

You can look up ways to market your business, you can look up ways to be happier and you can look up information about just any problem you are having. But what is the “clincher”?  You are getting an opinion designed for everyone, not just you!

I give a lot of value by publishing a book about being a better lawyer.  It is extremely helpful and is really a self help book for lawyers.  But, believe me, it’s nothing like working with me in a one on one coaching arrangement.  This is also true of the talks that I give.  You get value but then you may not be able to actually use it.

The underlying trick is to identify the proper problem. Often times it is hidden or the lawyer is so deep in denial that it takes time and energy to uncover it. It is a personal problem, unique only to you.

Asking your friends or even your mentor is not always helpful and can be hurtful.  Your family, friends and teachers all have their own “agendas”.  They are worried about their careers and lives first and that frequently colors any advice you get from them. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have your best interest at heart. It just means they are human.

A coach, on the other hand, has no other agenda than to help you.  IT IS A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE TO HAVE A PERSON SO INVOLVED IN DOING GOOD FOR JUST YOU, THAT IT IS A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE.

Take a look at this example:

An attorney would like to find more clients and make more money.  So he/she first turns to google and puts in the QUESTION.  Ok, so right here starts the problem. What exactly is the QUESTION.  Most business people, especially those starting out, what more clients and more income. So the attorney spends hours getting all the free information from google. Some “experts” say he/she should do more networking. Others taking a larger view just want him/her to have a marketing plan. Maybe one even hints that a look at his/her “inner child” might help.

What to do with all this sometime conflicting information?  My advice is nothing.  Don’t even start looking at freebies until you have defined exactly what your ultimate goal is and why you are not there yet.  My cynical view is that this is best done with someone who is totally invested in your success. 

AND GUESS WHAT?    THAT A LEGAL COACH!

WHY SOLOS DON’T MARKET EFFECTIVELY

THEY ARE SCARED AT SOME LEVEL

I know you don’t want to hear this, but there are many attorneys who don’t really want to market themselves or their firm out of pure fear.  Unfortunately, solo attorneys don’t have a choice and have to market their services or be working at a severe disadvantage.

Introverts especially don’t like to feel that they are “imposing” on others.  So let’s look at some of the reasons that solos may be afraid to even do a marketing plan for their firm.

  • they feel their services are not worthy
  • they think that they might offend someone by asking for business
  • they think that they are entitled to business without having to extend themselves
  • they are afraid of the time it takes to market correctly
  • they don’t like to plan because then they have to try to meet goals
  • they don’t buy the notion that every solo has to be a marketing guru
  • they think that they don’t know how or have the skills to market

This last one leads to real trouble because frequently solos will spend big dollars to hire someone to market for them.  Unfortunately, this only really works when the attorney knows how to market and exactly what he wants the outcome of the relationship with the “marketer” to be.

In other words, it is the preplanning of an entire marketing campaign that coordinates the various outlets (Linkedin, Avvo, website, blog, networking) with a  targeting of your specific market that reduces the mistakes and overspending.  Read my previous three blogs to get even more information.

If you are unsure how to market or your marketing is not working, it’s time to review what you are doing and to revise your marketing plan (or get one LOL). In this economic climate, the best way to do this is to not only take into consideration how you want to market, but what this diverse culture needs.  Marketing to millennials is different from the people in Generation X, let alone Y.

GOT YOUR ATTENTION?  HOW ABOUT IMMEDIATELY REVIEWING OR CREATING A SOLID MARKETING PLAN FOR YOUR FIRM. CALL ME IF YOU NEED HELP WITH THIS.  I HAVE SUCCESSFULLY HELPED AT LEAST 100 LAWYERS WITH THIS!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO HAVE A CAREER AFTER LAW SCHOOL

Sorry, I couldn’t get to my blog last week.  Next week I’m going to be on vacation but THIS WEEK I want to share something I think is exciting.  I have developed a new coaching program for people in law school and recent graduates.  Here it is:

Since the downturn in the economy in 2008, Law School Students are finding it harder to get legal jobs right after law school.  A much more aggressive and pre planned approach is necessary these days to insure success.

Additionally, the larger debt owed by students has created even more stress in obtaining work as soon as possible.  Consequently new tactics in job preparation as well as job searches and decisions needs to be made by Law Students starting in their first year of law school.

This coaching format will give students at all stages in law school or recent graduates, the insight into the present job market and help them make decisions how to best get rewarding employment.

Some of the topics which will be covered are:

PREPARATION

  • What are the present statistics for the legal market place in the student’s community?
  • What is the present general economic condition of the community?
  • Where does there appear to be potential growth in the legal community?
  • Where is there potential decline in the legal community?
  • Tools and hints about how to keep abreast of changes in the legal community.
  • The importance of timing in preparing for the job search

PRE PLANNING

  • Pinpointing the career path.
  • Selecting the area of practice (can’t do this too early anymore!)
  • Selecting the form of practice (Associate, InHouse, Solo, Teaching, Public, )
  • Identifying the necessary steps to take while still in law school to maximize getting the desired job after graduation.
  • Establishing a detailed plan that will support the steps outlined above.
  • Pinpointing resources which can assist in the planning.

THE  JOB SEARCH

  • Resume/ the good, the bad and the ugly.
  • Contacts/ how to organize and use them.
  • Unusual resources
  • Keeping positive
  • Acing the interview

OPENING THE SOLO PRACTICE

  • The Fundamental requirements to open a solo practice.
  • Resources
  • How to get started

It is estimated that if the student needs/wants to examine all these areas the coaching will take approximately 6 to 7, one hour sessions and span 2 to 3 months.  Specific goals will be set and there will be “homework” to facilitate positive forward growth towards a plan which will produce significant career success.

The student may then want to update the plan at various times throughout their law school and first job exploration.

The cost of the initial program package is $900.00 for 7 hours of coaching and follow up email with “homework, etc”.  Payment schedule may be arranged. All coaching is confidential.

If the student wants to return for subsequent coaching or wants to do the program outside the package described above, the fee is $150.00 an hour.

By:    Eleanor Southers

PROFESSIONAL LEGAL COACH AND ATTORNEY

1362 Pacific Ave. #216

Santa Cruz, CA 95060

831 466-9132

www.southerslaw.net

www.professionallegalcoaching.com

  LET YOUR FRIENDS KNOW THIS IS NOW AVAILABLE.  THOSE IN LAW SCHOOL ARE DESPERATELY IN NEED OF WELL THOUGHT OUT HELP TO BE SUCCESSFUL…..THANKS.

LET’S GO SOLO

ARE YOU READY TO TAKE A CHANCE?   DO YOU WANT TO BETTER CONTROL YOUR TIME?  DO YOU WANT TO PRACTICE LAW THE WAY YOU WANT TO?  

THEN YOUR BEST ANSWER IS TO “GO SOLO”

I went Solo starting on April 15, 1987 because I thought that if the Federal Government could get rich on that day, so could I.  I spent about 20 years proving that I could make a very nice living having a very large solo practice and I didn’t have to threaten anyone with garnishment or jail to do it!

Give this some thought. A lot of lawyers are facing unhappy years ahead because the job market is still doing flip flops.  The lucrative areas of law for BIG LAW are just not that appealing to many lawyers.  Also the BIG LAW culture doesn’t fit with many attorneys values and need to live a more balanced life.

I have been told that the lawyer who wants to Go Solo needs to be an entrepreneur.  In coaching attorneys for the past 8 years I have found that this is not totally true. It is true, however, that the Solo practice has to be run as a business.  Much of this can be learned by simply following good business and marketing practices.

Where it becomes tricky for a solo is to find the sweet spot between practicing the type of law selected and listening to the market. This becomes paramount to being successful.

The other traits vital to an attorney entering solo practice are:

  • Patience, Patience, Patience
  • Energy to work very hard in the beginning.
  • Ability to use good time management.
  • Ability to prioritize
  • Be open to doing tasks, like selling themselves, which may not be within their innate  temperament ie., they hate it.
  • Gather a good support system around them.
  • Ask for help. This may be solo but its not successful until there are mentors and coaches who can short circuit the time element and cut out errors in judgement.
  • To be focused on developing the business slowly. Starting out small while learning the skills needed and learning how to expand appropriately.  Resisting all kinds of expense and time wasting that goes on when the attorney is confused.
  • Have a solid business plan.
  • Have a solid continually changing market plan
  • Have solid goals to work towards at all stages as the firm develops.

ARE YOU INTRIGUED?  IF YOU SAID “YES, I CAN DO ALL OF THAT”, AND ARE DECIDING ABOUT GOING SOLO, GIVE ME A RING.  I will let you in on all the mistakes I made and help you avoid the mind fields as you grow your business.

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!

3 KEYS TO OVERCOMING ANY CHALLENGE IN YOUR LEGAL CAREER

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know how to meet any challenge you might have in your career? Will keep tuned and in to two or three more blogs, I’m going to give you a system to approach how you deal with obstacles which come up in your work.  So print out this blog or save it and refer back to it when you are feeling stuck.

First, You will need to identify the KIND of challenge you are facing. Some of the more obvious ones are:

  • Financial/ not enough income
  • Enjoyment
  • Not enough personal time
  • Not happy with area of law practing
  • Don’t know how to market
  • Feeling lonely
  • Anxiety/stress
  • Depression
  • Too much work or too little work
  • Time Management

These are only a few challenges but this is where you start. The better you can define the actual challenge , the more success you will have overcoming it.

Asking yourself: Why is it a challenge for me is the next step to answer. The more information that you can find out about the fears or blocks that you are experiencing around the challenge will help you to really get down to the  nut of the challenge.  Doing this step may even show up as that your challenge is something else.  Say for instance, you are having trouble with your assistant.  He/She is showing up late to work, spends time on personal errands and generally doesn’t support your work.  On the other hand, he/she is very intelligent, a distant relative and his/her salary demand is very low.  So at this point you see the challenge as being stuck trying to make a decision about what to do next.

But what if the real challenge is that you are unwilling to be a real business person and look at your bottom line? The fear of having to face the fact that this person is not supporting your business and that it would take a tremendous amount of mentoring, teaching and supervision to change this is the real problem.

You can see how getting to the correct, specific challenge you are facing is the FIRST STEP.

We’ll get to what to do with this information with next week’s blog…..SO STAY TUNED! 

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?_____________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________