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Lawyers and New Year Resolutions

January 9, 2015

Filed under: Enjoying Life,Lawyer Coaching,Stress Management,Uncategorized — admin @ 2:02 pm

I recently read an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal about the best way to make your New Year’s resolutions stick. It got me to thinking about why so many lawyers struggle with their goals and what keeps them from making progress.

The article quoted an expert in cognitive behavior therapy who explained the benefits of a buddy system and why vague goals fail.

I believe lawyers must have an accountability system for implementing resolutions and goals. It is absolutely crucial to achieving them. If you don’t have someone or something holding you accountable to taking steps to achieve the goals you set forth, you are almost certain to fail. This includes goals for your practice and personal life.

The first accountability system every lawyer should start with is a time and focus management system. I won’t waste time with making recommendations on which one to use. There are several great software and cloud-based options for attorneys that are easily found with a simple search engine query. However, you will want something that allows you to block out a weekly or monthly template for times you should work on production, marketing, client appointments and projects. Don’t let your schedule or your focus be at the mercy of someone calling the office with “a quick question.”

The second accountability system you need is flesh and bone. If you don’t have a one-on-one coach or practice advisor working with you on attaining your goals, then consider joining a group coaching workshop. If neither of those things are possible for you because of constraints on time or money, then I encourage you to find a peer you would feel comfortable asking to talk with you on a weekly or monthly basis.

Ask this friend or colleague if he or she would be willing to hold you accountable to the things you’ve said you’re going to do. If you’re like most lawyers I’ve met, you’ll need this person to follow up with you on how you’re doing with your plan, so give him or her 100 percent permission to call you out on your excuses. Because you’ll make excuses. You know you will. They’ll be pretty lame ones, too.

“Oh gosh. Things are so busy right now. I haven’t had any time to do anything with this plan.”

“My staff has (insert scapegoat excuse) and that has really taken up my time.”

“One of my clients has (insert excuse), and I haven’t been able to focus on anything else.”

“Between everything going on at the office and what’s been happening at home, I couldn’t work on this.”

Another reason people fail to keep annual resolutions is because they’re making commitments to do something really big that they’ve been putting off. But the problem, according to the article, is that these “big” things are really hard to accomplish – “otherwise we would have done them already.”

Big goals sound impressive, but they’re often too much for us to take regular action on without a compelling reason – like say impending death. Nothing will make a person stick to a healthy diet or keep exercising like suffering a recent health scare. Resolutions without a “sticky” factor also are doomed.

There’s also the “no choice” category of resolutions, the article said. There are some new habits we employ without any struggle because we don’t give ourselves a choice. For some of us, these can be things like paying your bills as soon as they arrive in the mail or always wearing a bike helmet when you go riding. If you never give yourself the option to waver from this kind of habit, you don’t struggle to keep it.

For attorneys, I recommend a good place to start with a “no choice” resolution is only answering emails and returning phone calls at a specific hour during the workday – not as they come in, in between meetings, and definitely not on the weekends.

In closing: Have an accountability system. Tackle attainable goals. Give yourself no choice but to follow through with good habits.

I hope this has helped you. I’d love to hear what you’re using that has helped you make good on your New Year’s resolutions – or even your quarterly or annual goals.

Lawyers: What do you offer so pricing isn’t an issue

December 12, 2014

Filed under: Client Issues,Money,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — admin @ 1:32 am

In any industry, regardless of what services or products you sell, pricing (or value) is always an issue. It can be a significant buying barrier when an uneducated customer attempts to make a value conscious decision when hiring for a professional service. By default, they shop by price.

Lawyers see this consistently when dealing with unsophisticated prospects. If a prospect is unsure what he’s looking for and can’t assess an attorney’s expertise and experience, he does what all consumers do: goes right to the bottom line and asks the price or your hourly rate.

The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to be outraged. In my experience, when most lawyers that are asked how their hourly rates in comparison to a competitor’s hourly rates, they are surprised or shocked. My advice is to be ready for this question. How can you help educate the prospect to understand the differences in what your practice offers over the competitor?

I saw a wonderful article in The Wall Street Journal: “Small Toy Shops Play Up the Perks.” It’s really interesting to me because it points out that over the past ten years about 40 to 50 percent of the nation’s small independent retail toy stores closed. When four major competitors control 75 percent of all toy sales, independent store owners have to think differently if they want to stay in business. They will never beat the four major players on price. Never, ever. It’s not going to happen.

So how can lawyers win in a game that’s often driven by pricing?

The article shares multiple strategies. In particular, the writer did a great job showing how personal customer service matters. It sounds like way too simple of a strategy, but some customers really are more inclined to pay a premium for better customer service.

Of course, most lawyers I’ve met would say they already offer extraordinary customer service. Their staff always answers the phone – it never goes to voice mail. The lawyer returns calls and emails promptly. And their clients are treated with the utmost respect.

Those efforts are not extraordinary, folks. They should be the bare minimum. What are you doing beyond that?

Read the article and then try to come up with just one way to improve your customer service so that pricing would not be an obstacle for prospective clients. What could that be?

Let me know what you come up with.

Lawyers: Don’t miss this workshop!

October 9, 2014

Filed under: Enjoying Life,Innovation,Money,Practice Growth,Stress Management — admin @ 4:40 pm

We’re five weeks away from the return of the Double Your Revenue™ workshop. Registration has opened and the seats are filling. As a subscriber to my newsletter and blog, I would hate for you to miss out on getting into this exclusive workshop to a stranger I’ve never met – or worse, to one of your regional competitors.

As I mentioned in August, my partners and Atticus and I are hosting two separate one-day classes for this workshop in Dallas, Texas. We’re capping enrollment at 15 attorneys per class. The first session is set for Thursday Nov. 13. The second is set for Friday Nov. 14.

I’ll be teaching the program alongside Atticus co-founder Mark Powers. If you consider having both of us as instructors better than just one of us, then you should know that these two dates will be the only Double Your Revenue™ workshops that we will teach together, side-by-side. At the end of your session, you will have a written, step-by-step plan to implement the best and most effective ideas that you generated at the program.

Don’t just take my words for it. Read these testimonials from past graduates:

I attended the spring 2006 Double Your Revenue workshop, and started working smarter. My practice in 2006 grew 60%, both billings and revenues, and without any net increase in staff. Of course some expenses increased, but I was able to pay the largest staff Christmas bonuses ever. We started having fun again. You guys ROCK!

Carl Dore’ Jr.
Dore & Associates, Attorneys, P.C.
Houston, TX

When I first entered the room at the Double Your Revenue workshop … I was concerned about how this process would work. How was the coach, Steve, going to get us all on the same “plane,” take us on the same journey and land us each on an airport where we could disembark with an action plan to begin the process of doubling the revenue of our respective law firms? I didn’t believe it was possible. Steve exhibited a masterful way of encouraging us, guiding us and inspiring us. When we returned to our office, we did get the results of doubling our revenue over the next two years. I am enthusiastic about recommending Steve’s coaching services.

Rick L. Law
Law ElderLaw, LLP
Aurora, IL

The DYR program gave us a new perspective on our practice. It also gave us the opportunity to think through where we were, where we wanted to go and, most importantly, how we were going to get there. DYR was time well spent.

Jay C. Kaufman
Kaufman Law Group, LLC

I decided to work with Atticus in the Double Your Revenue workshop. We implemented better systems and began thinking in innovative ways, including Atticus concepts like exclusivity, client selection and the dash board. It is exciting to look at marketing in a new way. For me, it is not about making more money as much as it is providing better service and enjoying my life’s work. Atticus is worth every penny!

Lonny Balbi
Balbi & Co.

My practice was controlling me vs. me controlling the practice.  Because of Atticus, I can see my goals. Atticus gives you the tools. It is delightful to have my life again, while making more money without additional time.

Nancy Harris
Harris & Hunt, P.A.

Since starting the Double Your Revenue program, my net income has increased dramatically, and I see more growth potential ahead. I have gained control over my practice, and I have seen the benefits of applying DYR principles at home. It’s been a life changing experience.

Karen Brady, Attorney
Arvada, CO

I started the Double Your Revenue program, like most other participants, with the run-of-the-mill goals of more money, less time, more satisfaction. I reached these goals and many, many more. The unique paradigms and practice tools we learn in each session have given me such focus and clarity about what I want to achieve and how to achieve it that I can easily assess where to apply my time and money. The confidence this clarity produces is incredible; the support and inspiration the group gives one another is priceless, and it continues to help me grow and enrich my life.

Candace M. Pollock
Hahn & Pollock, LLC
Cleveland, OH

I have had vision and drive since I started by practice. What the Double Your Revenue program has given me is the tools to turn my vision and drive into effective, as opposed to erratic, action. Tools to communicate with my team, to focus my energy, to pull me out of a slump! Interestingly, as a by-product, my vision is sharper than ever. Now my energy about my business and my future is more focused and excited than before.

Kevin D. Quinn
Easthampton, MA

Steve Riley’s program has accelerated my practice and improved the quality of my life. The program provides specific and measurable tools to assist in thinking strategically. The group format also acts as an indispensable catalyst and motivating force to help implement the strategies that will work best for a particular practice. The Double Your Revenue program is not about “tips and techniques” (although you will get some good ones), it is really a system for analyzing your current reality and helping you create the one you really want.

Bill Deitch
Law Office of William A. Deitch, P.C.
Wheaton, IL

What I wanted out of Double Your Revenue was the confidence to fully transition to estate planning. What I got out of the program was a devoted, visionary practice partner; a committed, energetic team; a multi-state estate planning practice; and a career that is fun, satisfying, and making a real difference in people’s lives.

Teresa Byrd Morgan
Bennett & Morgan, LLP
Lake City, FL

The Double Your Revenue program has been the key to the tremendous growth in my business and increased effectiveness in my life. I have tripled my revenue in the 3-1/2 years since joining Steve’s program while increasing my free time exponentially. A program I enrolled in to grow my business has transformed my life, my future, and my relationship with my family and business team members.

Vincent E. Bonazzoli, P.C.
Lynnfield, MA

What I wanted out of the workshop were tools to rebuild a law practice by design; what I got were tools to rebuild, transform, and live my life by design.

D. Bowen Loeffler
Loeffler & Wargo
Port Clinton, OH

Your investment: $995 for yourself; $795 for each additional attorney or staff member from your firm.

If you want to Double Your Revenue™ and gain a competitive advantage in your market, act NOW and register. If you are unhappy with the program, after attending the session and implementing our strategies, we offer a complete money back guarantee.

Lawyers: Get Ready for the End of Year Sprint

September 10, 2014

Filed under: Lawyer Coaching,Money,Practice Growth — admin @ 5:22 pm

How are you approaching the end of the year? Yes, we haven’t even reached Halloween, but it’s not too early to decide how you will maximize your time and efforts during the last few months of 2014.

If you’ve been following me for very long, you’ve likely heard me talk about a strategy I call the End of the Year Sprint™. I addressed it last year in my blog, and I’m revisiting the topic because it’s a yearly habit you should be doing to grow your practice. You’ll have to forgive me if some of this advice seems like a rehash; frankly, it is. But I believe this is an important annual process lawyers should complete, and so I am hoping you’ll forgive the repetition.

There is an actual worksheet I’ve created using that title, but this exercise— once you understand it — can actually be done quite easily on a large sheet of blank paper that you’ve divided into four quadrants.

Before I explain the exercise, let’s dig a little deeper into how lawyers typically approach the end of the year. In my experience, there are the two ways they handle it:

The Worst Way

  • The end of year sneaks up on you like a mugger and clobbers you.
  • You are and your team are distracted by the holidays.
  • Cash flow is inconsistent.
  • Suddenly January is here, and you are surprised to see it.

The Best Way

  • You see the end of the year like a finish line and sprint to it with intensity.
  • You sprint with focus and clarity to drive great results.
  • You create a contest or game with your team.
  • You maximize your cash flow.
  • You start setting up 2015 to be the best year ever.

If the “best” way makes sense to you, then here is how I suggest you approach the sprint:

Budget one full hour on this week’s calendar for you to do this exercise. At that time, take out a large sheet of blank paper. (An 11×17 sheet works best, but you can improvise by taping together two standard letter-sized sheets.) Position it horizontally and draw a large cross dividing the sheet into four quadrants.

Label your four quadrants with these headings and follow the instructions:

  1. Cash Flow – To maximize your cash flow, list your best financial opportunities for the rest of the year and put together a quick written plan on how to get them accomplished. Rank your highest dollar cases first.
  2. Marketing – Identify your top five marketing opportunities that will happen before the end of the year and draft a plan on how to get the most out of your marketing efforts.
  3. Projects – Identify your three most important projects you want to complete before year end. If possible, assign a project manager to help you complete them by year end.
  4. Next Year – Answer these questions to set up strategic planning for 2015.
    1. What would it take for 2015 to be the best year ever?
    2. What would you have to do now to start the ground work for 2015?
    3. What support would you need for 2015 to be the best ever? (Do you need to plan a firm retreat? Hire a coach? Join a quarterly group program?)

Filling out these four steps, while not replacing the power of a live workshop, can at least give you the sense of how to set up and do an End of Year Sprint in your own practice.

Doubling Your Revenue is a Competitive Advantage

August 13, 2014

Filed under: Innovation,Lawyer Coaching,Money,Practice Growth,Uncategorized — admin @ 11:57 pm

What would it mean to the growth of your practice if you innovated your way into doubling your revenue? Significantly more revenue would certainly give your law firm a competitive advantage over the other players in your market.

For more than 15 years, I’ve coached attorneys one-on-one and in group workshops. One of the most powerful programs I have developed in that time has been the Double Your Revenue™ workshop. In the past, I led this program about twice a year to groups of 10-30 attorneys, each seeking to create a plan to dramatically grow their practices (and profits) without doubling their workloads.

Several other projects have prevented me from teaching this workshop for a couple years, and I’ve really missed doing it. Traditionally, the workshop took two days to complete and attendance cost nearly $1,500 per attorney. That proved an obstacle for some attorneys who wanted to attend but couldn’t take two or more days away from the office.

The big news: Together with my partners at Atticus, we are “un-retiring” the Double Your Revenue™ workshop! The new version will now last just one day. And, the price will be even more affordable – likely less than $1,000 per attorney. The exact tuition fee hasn’t been set because we are still making final negotiations on a hotel contract.

Atticus is looking to host two separate classes for this workshop in Dallas, Texas. We’re capping enrollment at 15 attorneys per session. The first workshop is set for Thursday Nov. 13. When the first session’s enrollment fills, we’ll open up registration for the second session – set for Friday Nov. 14.

Atticus hasn’t yet opened up enrollment for these two dates to the public, but that will happen soon.

In this message, I’m providing coaching clients, former workshop attendees and followers of my blog and newsletter the very first information about how to enroll in this workshop at a reduced cost. When enrollment opens to the public, it will be offered at a higher retail price than the level I’m talking to you about now. And so, I am asking you to clear these dates on your calendar and let me know if I can expect to see you.

I’ll be teaching these sessions with Atticus co-founder Mark Powers. If you consider having both of us as instructors better than just one of us, then you should understand that this will be the only Double Your Revenue™ workshop that we will teach together, side-by-side.

I know this workshop has changed lives. One attorney saw such good results that he enrolled two more times, returning every few years after continuing to double his revenue.

The Double Your Revenue Workshop™ addresses every phase of the professional’s practice, utilizing a variety of unique strategies, including:

  • The Practice Comfort Trap™ – This concept allows you to distinguish what invisible barriers freeze practices in place and identify the blind spots that prevent growth.
  • The Brainstorming Sprints – This breakthrough process helps you create 60 to 80 ideas you can use toward doubling your revenue.
  • The Virtual Board™ – This practical exercise allows participants to test their plan by sharing it with a virtual Board of Directors of other participants.
  • The 90-Day Growth Accelerator™ – This strategy empowers you and your support team to stay focused on immediate growth for the critical first 90 days after the workshop.

At the end of the session, participants will have a written, step-by-step plan that will allow them to implement the best and most effective ideas they generated at the program.

If you want to Double Your Revenue™ and have a competitive advantage, act NOW and follow up with me. If you are unhappy with the program, after attending the session and implementing our strategies, we offer a complete money back guarantee.

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