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/

NUMB

 I’M NUMB. HOW ABOUT YOU?

Sorry, I couldn’t even POST last week.  My nature is not be depressed or numb but that is what I still am.

I am in fear for our country, for our children and grandchildren and for ourselves.  I know I will find a way to fight aggressively against the prejudice and craziness but it will take some time.

If I can find a way to join those who are willing to advocate strongly against any abridgment of our civil and moral rights, I will.  I will keep you posted so you can join the struggle.

 STAY TUNED…….

DO YOU LIKE VAMPIRES?

LAST NIGHT I WATCHED “SECRETS OF THE DEAD” ON PBS AND THE SHOW WAS ABOUT VAMPIRES. I learned how their existence got started and how it remains today. I felt virtuous for watching such foolishness  because it was on Public TV.

How many people will dress as Vampires tonight? How many children will want to be the “walking dead” while accepting real live candy?  What is the fascination with dead people who have come back to life?

The PBS show seemed to explain part of this by the fact that ancient people couldn’t explain why they had disease and barren crops much of the time.  It was easier to blame dead people who came back to haunt the living with catastrophic events.  Their solution was to dig up the buried person and cut out their heart and burn it in the village cross roads.  This supposedly took care of any further disasters from that Vampire. There were plenty more out there in the grave yards though!

The more modern Vampire, of course, was first made famous by Mary Shelley and other writers. Readers were quick to enjoy the threat of being scared by the monsters imagined to be rising up from the dead. Vampires had big front teeth to pierce the throat and suck blood from the living at night.  Then, they would go to their coffin and sleep during the day.  Then they didn’t need to have their hearts toasted, but just be stopped by a stake through their heart.

Today, this gives way to finding Vampires in all kind of normal circumstances.  Since Dracula was noted to be quite a gentleman and downright sexy when he was behaving himself, that image grew into young ladies swooning over them. Vampire stories are quite popular with teenagers.  Parents don’t seem to be discouraging this fascination on any great level.

So, I guess we have to just learn to live with the fascination of Vampires and even believe a little in their existence within our world. We can even dress up like Dracula and feel good about scaring people.  I guess we are also comforted by knowing that germs cause disease, not Vampires.

BUT I GUESS WE STILL NEED THEM AROUND……..BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEEM TO BE GOING AWAY! 

ARE YOU KIDDING? WORK FOR FREE?

 I came across an interesting topic about the question of “Should I do stuff as a lawyer for free?”.  This is a little beyond  basic pro bono work which is almost a requirement for most attorneys.  This explores more the areas of doing volunteer work as well as free seminars, etc.

Let’s step back from this seemingly innocuous question and ask ourselves what is the motive behind doing  free work?  Is it to obtain more clients?  Is it to make ourselves feel better? Is it because of guilt? Are we looking to impress someone?  Or do we just  want to do something with our friends that isn’t straight legal work?

The reasons behind what we do each day is very important and will guide us into success or failure.  If we coldheartedly go out to try and persuade colleagues and clients that we are doing works because we are true caring individuals, this doesn’t work.  Somewhere along the line, if not done for the right reasons,  the truth will emerge, especially when the going gets tough.

Then, what should our attitude be?

  • First of all, a bit of soul searching needs to take place.  It is true that volunteering in organizations can produce clients and contacts as a by- product, but that must never be the main objective. It is also true that volunteering can relieve some of the day to day stress of being an attorney. This could be our main objective.  Now the question arises, what is the difference? The volunteer organization is getting the same commitment and outcome so why should it matter?
  • The answer is how you feel.  If you don’t get any new clients or leads, you will be disappointed and discouraged. If you get new clients and leads, you may feel guilt if that was the only reason you were doing good works and feel disappointed and discouraged.  There is a greater chance that you will come out feeling badly if you are doing this for monetary reasons as your main objective.  If, on the other hand, you have chosen the volunteer group on the basis that it will produce the most joy in your life, then more than likely good feelings will flow from your efforts, whether or not clients are forthcoming.

Now let’s talk about giving seminars or Blogging or tweeting.  In these types of setting, we need to give value.  The emphasis is not what we are getting but what we are giving. True, again we may be able to increase business this way, but just putting out self- serving tweets won’t do it.  Focus on the audience, not what you have been told you should be saying.  What do they want to hear?  What could make their life easier or give them some new important information.  This is the reason that Personal Injury attorneys need to be blogging about the safest cars and the rules concerning infant seats, not how many cases they have won.  Probate attorneys need to look to informing the public about scams perpetrated on the elderly, not on their low rates for wills.  IT attorneys about how to keep our computers out of the hand of hackers, not about the latest very expensive gadget.  And on and on….

There is also the problem of expectations.  If you go into an activity with the belief that you will get  tangible rewards from doing good work, better take time to re evaluate the situation.  The best way to approach free work is to have a very low expectation of what will be the personal result.  The most effective way to think about this is that you are very likely to get good feelings as a by-product, not a direct known result.

And remember, it is called Free Work.  It is WORK and you are not getting paid for it.  Payment may not be in money but many times, we expect that we will gain respect or camaraderie from it.  That may or may happen.  One thing you can be sure about however, is that you will gain SELF RESPECT if you come with a truly open giving heart.

How about the attorney who is on an extremely limited budget? Is it realistic to expect pro bono work as well as volunteering?  This is a large question and there has been rumors that some Bars are going to require Pro Bono work be reported.  If this comes about all the problems associated with requiring that we work for no monetary or career gains will fail. Bad attitudes will disrupt any kind of good intentions.  Let’s keep it so that when we feel able to give that we can do it with generosity and gratefulness  for our choice.

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.  

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.