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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

MORE MONEY TALK: OH BOY!

Since it is the first of the year, it is still great fun to talk about money!  Last blog you got on it and created a plan to find out if you were meeting your monthly nut.  Today, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few hints or “sound bits” that you might do immediately and make more money.

  1.  RAISE YOUR FEES:  Even a small increase of fees will bring you substantially more revenue.  Its January and the perfect time to tell your clients that its time to raise fees. Or, don’t tell them until you start doing it and ask if they want to pay you a retainer now at the old fee scale.  Money will go into your trust account and be reimbursed if it isn’t used but it will be accessible immediately, saving your wait time.
  2. PAY YOURSELF FIRST:  This is one of the oldest but wisest tips for earning more.  When you get revenue put 10% of it in a  interest earning (LOL) bank account that is sacrosanct and don’t touch it.
  3. NEVER DO ANY WORK THAT YOU CAN HIRE OUT AT LESS THAN YOUR NORMAL HOURLY FEE AMOUNT.  This is one of the hardest but best advice I could give you.  First decide how much your hourly worth is.  Please say at least $200.  Then look around and see if you are doing anything that is not going to increase your revenue for less than that amount.  In other words, networking and marketing will produce your correct hourly rate so its worth $200 an hour to do it!  But doing your own accounts and taxes that can be done by an accountant at $40 an hour is not worth your time or effort!
  4. BUDGET,BUDGET,BUDGET.  Look over that P & L statement each month and see if you can find any places that you can reduce your expenses.
  5. HIRE A LEGAL COACH.  We can always save you money with careful planning and increasing your revenue!!!!!

STAY TUNED, I’M REALLY JAZZED ABOUT THIS TOPIC AND YOU WILL SEE FURTHER BLOGS.(orange is the new ………….)

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

GET A JOB AFTER LAW SCHOOL

I wrote this outline as a possible presentation at law schools.  It occurred to me that you might know some school or organization or even a student who could use this kind of information.

As part of my coaching practice, I have seen how different the legal job market is from even just  few years ago. So, we really have to approach it differently.

If this program or coaching using this type of information could help someone or an organization,  please suggest they read this blog.  Thank you.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO GET A JOB AFTER LAW SCHOOL
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 short program hopes to give the student at all stages in law school the insight into the present job market and to help 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 any more!)
• Selecting the form of practice (Associate, InHouse, Solo, Teaching, Public, etc.)
• 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
OR, OPENING THE SOLO PRACTICE
• The Fundamental requirements to open a solo practice.
• Resources
• How to get started
In order to cover all of the material adequately the program necessitates about 3 hours. This can be done by one or two speakers. Written materials and participatory exercises throughout the presentation make it relevant to the students and get them motivated to start thinking about this now. This will guarantee greater success in their future decisions.

By: Eleanor Southers
PROFESSIONAL LEGAL COACH AND ATTORNEY
1362 Pacific Ave. #216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831 466-9132
www.southerslaw.net
www.professionallegal coaching.com

CHANGING HORSES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREAM

What that means in legal terms is changing or adding a different area of the law to your practice.   Below is a reprint of an article I did in my former column as Philida, the Oracle  for BIG NEWS FOR SMALL FIRMS, State Bar Publication.  Good information here:

ORACLE OCTOBER, 2011

Dear Philida,

I opened my solo practice three years ago doing social security work which I had previously done as a law clerk. I would now like to expand my business in bankruptcy. Do you have any suggestions about how I can become competent in the field as I don’t have much time or money at this point.

Puzzled in  Long Beach

 

Dear Puzzled,

And probably perplexed. This is like starting a new practice and holds all the good, bad and ugly parts with the additional piece that you also have to keep your other practice going strong.

My suggestions are: First, find a mentor. Look for someone, maybe in your Bar Association, who has been doing bankruptcy for a long time and doesn’t feel that helping an attorney will be competition. Or someone a little out of your geographical area where you wouldn’t be competing. Find out what it takes to set up a practice.

Next, make a list of your major expenses. One would be buying new software (find out from your mentor which is the best). Another would be a budget for classes you need to take and groups that you need to join. Also you will need some funds for advertising and marketing. This would include expanding your web site. Be realistic. Decide where this money will come from. Do you need a small loan? With interest rates so low right now, it might be time to go to your local Credit Union. They frequently have small loans available without collateral for small businesses. You will have to give them a business plan but that would be good for you to do anyway.

Find out what pro bono services for bankruptcy there are in your community. These are usually legal aid or other types of low cost legal clinics. Volunteer so that you can learn the fundamentals of the business and work on real cases with supervision. Your mentor, especially if he/she is very busy, may let you come into the office and work on cases pro bono ( or at a minimum rate).

Last, find out who are the “ players” in bankruptcy in your community. Go to your local Court and meet some of the lawyers and judges that work there. Sit in on a couple of hearings.

Gear up to spend considerably more time and energy on your practice. You may be working evenings and weekends for awhile but it will all be worth it as you have already proven yourself to be a productive lawyer and good business person if you have had a solo practice for three years. It is now just a matter of building on the skills you already possess. Also, you have picked a good parallel area to open a practice because your social security clients (old and new) will be a great referral source. When you are ready, be sure to do a giant mailing with follow ups to all of them.

Puzzle Solved ( how bold I am!)

Philida

WHY YOU DON’T ASK FOR HELP

  • I don’t ask for help because I don’t need it.
  • I can figure it out by myself.
  • I have the internet and I can look up anything I need to know.
  • I don’t want my colleagues to know that I am weak and need help.
  • I can’t afford to spend any money on getting help.
  • No one can really help me.
  • How can I trust anyone but myself to care about my success?
  • I have to stand on my own two feet.
  • and on and on…..

   SO HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS PICTURE?    

Does it give you goose bumps?  Would it feel really good to have people just waiting to help you?

We know that much of the resistance to get help throughout life comes from the early training of either getting too little or too much help.

Nowadays there are books out about “Helicopter Parents” who get involved in every aspect of their kids’ growth.  They do their homework,they call or text the child constantly,  they write their cover letters for college applications, they yell at teachers and coaches for not doing enough for their child.  Obviously these kids are not going to ask for realistic, reliable help because they have been saddled with feelings they can’t do anything without Mom or Dad’s inclusion.  Or, they revolt and don’t want anyone to “interfere” in their life.

There are the reverse childhood experiences in which children receive no parental help and through neglect end up with no inner strength to succeed in lots of things.  They have had to muddle through without guidance and many times end up on the wrong paths.

How are these two experiences alike?  Both do not have any idea how to “help” other people in a healthy way.

Working backwards from this, could part of the answer be to learn how to help other people in a healthy and realistic way? This would be a huge step forward in learning how to overcome the resistance for help from all kinds of sources as we go through live.  Might this be the way to learn that people can trust you to be there for them when they need help?  To not be intrusive in their lives but to offer support, guidance and kindness when the need is obvious. More importantly, to learn how to not overdo help but have set boundaries so that the help offered is realistic and healthy.

Once you have experienced what it is to help a person in this way, confidence and knowledge that you can ask and receive help yourself will blossom.

I will be gone for the next several weeks, playing in Italy, so let me give you some homework to keep you busy.

  1. Take a look at the excuses for not getting help listed in the beginning of this blog and see if any apply to you.
  2. Write down any “help” that you have given to anyone except your children in the past 6 months.
  3. Identify at least one person who you have noticed lately that could use some help.
  4. Do one small kindness this week (could be holding the door open for someone, carrying a heavy package for someone or just giving a smile to a stranger)

I help attorneys day in and day out.  I see the resistance to help from all kinds of attorneys.  I believe that if there was  understanding of this phenomenon on an individual basis, life would be so much easier to all of us.