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Lawyers: Try Sincere and Unique Holiday Marketing

August 12, 2015

Filed under: Client Issues,Enjoying Life,Marketing,Referral Sources — admin @ 5:47 pm

Summer is coming to a close, and it’s time to begin planning your law firm’s holiday marketing strategy. I’m not talking about advertising. I’m talking about connecting with the very people who put coins in your coffers: referral sources and existing clients.

What you spend is up to you. It’s the sincerity behind a thoughtful gesture that makes an impact. Your choice of gift can reveal that you really thought about a person’s interests, hobbies or needs. Your consideration will be noted and likely rewarded in the form of more great referrals and return business.

I have three quick suggestions:

  • Identify and acknowledge your practice’s top twenty referral sources. What would be a unique gift for each person? This is where you might spend most of your holiday budget since you are thanking the people providing your best new clients.
  • From within that group, identify your “next level referral sources.” These top three or five people provided your firm its highest revenue-generating clients this year. Along with a unique gift, include a high quality thank you card containing a note personally inscribed by you.
  • For your key clients, what could you do for them so they know how important they are to your firm? The gesture or gift depends on your practice area, and whether you receive recurring business from these clients. And again, including a handwritten message makes a much better and more lasting impression than a card signed by your staff (or a stamped signature).

Here’s a bonus suggestion:

  • If at all possible, have a staff member lead this project. If no one has time, then hire a temporary marketing assistant. You’ll still be filling out thank-you cards and choosing the gifts, but the actual number-crunching, store shopping, and package wrapping needs to be managed by someone else.

I hope this has helped you and your firm. If you have any questions or ideas you’d like to share, please contact me.

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: 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.

Why Lawyers Should Hire a Domestic Assistant

August 29, 2013

Filed under: Enjoying Life,Innovation,Money,Stress Management,Uncategorized — admin @ 4:46 pm

Why are you paying someone $300 an hour to clean your house?

It’s insane, I know. But most of you are doing exactly that. You’re paying someone about $300 per hour to sweep your floors, clean your bathroom and pick up groceries.

The really insane part? You had no idea. That’s because this well-paid housekeeper, prep cook and all-around personal minion to whom you’ve been paying thousands of dollars to every month is none other than you.

Except you’re not really collecting another check by keeping these chores to yourself, right? You’ve actually been stealing from your ability to earn more revenue, to spend more time with your family or take part in the hobbies you enjoy.

You’ve been losing money faster than you can fold that pile of laundry mocking you at the foot of your bed.

What’s your hourly rate for serving your law firm clients? Many attorneys charge anywhere from $150 to $600 per hour, depending on level of expertise and years of experience. For argument’s sake, let’s assume an average of $300 per hour for most of you reading this.

For years, my wife and I worked full-time jobs. She managed my law firm office. I did the less-inspiring legal work. We’d put in eight to twelve hours a day – working as hard as we all do to keep clients and employees happy. After commuting home, often done separately due to one picking up the kids from daycare while the other went grocery shopping or bought takeout for dinner, we’d start our second full-time jobs.

Housework.

By the time we fed our two children, cleaned the kitchen, and figured out if we had any clean clothes for tomorrow, we’d have little to absolutely no quality time for each other or to enjoy anything remotely resembling a hobby. Weekends were often just as hectic with oil changes, yet another trip to the store for a forgotten staple, DIY fix-it projects around the house and yard, and the ever-accumulating laundry. Fitting in exercise? Yeah, right.

Sound familiar?

Think about all the time and money you’re going to continue to burn if you don’t make a change. If you want more time with your spouse and children, actual free time for your favorite hobbies or activities, and  more money in your bank account, then consider my following suggestion.

THE STRATEGY

Hire help.

I’m not talking about a cleaning person who comes in for a few hours a week or a personal shopper or a food delivery service.

Answer this question: Can I hire someone for less than $300 an hour to do these household errands and chores?

The answer is obviously yes. You can hire a ton of people that will do all the things that you don’t have time to do, won’t do, or the things you think your spouse should do (you know those things you’re chronically annoyed about because he/she isn’t doing them either).

Hire someone for 25 to 35 hours per week to help run the house.

YOU COULD DOUBLE YOUR INCOME

Two of my female attorney coaching clients doubled their incomes when they hired someone to take over their “second job.”

You will make money or – at worst –  you will save money.

You will have to work through some emotional stumbling blocks:

“I’d feel weird having a housekeeper. Having one is so old-fashioned, isn’t it?”

“I’d be embarrassed for my parents to think I hired a maid when I’m perfectly capable of doing the ironing myself.”

But my thought on this is that you’re hiring someone to help you live a less stressful life. Yes, at first it will feel goofy. But you will love it.

HOW TO PAY FOR THIS PERSON?

If you can bill at least one hour a week more than you currently do, you will pay for a week of this person’s time. For example, if you paid the domestic assistant about $12 per hour for 25 hours, that’s $300 per week.

Instead of rushing out of the office early to get to the grocery store, the dry cleaners, or a drive-thru to pick up dinner for your family, you can delegate all these errands and bill one more hour.

Bingo. The cost of your new favorite employee has just been covered for the week.

A FAST TRACK STRATEGY

Now that you have been introduced to the idea, you could just take it and run with it. Or you can find out more about my strategies for finding the right domestic assistant and keeping your family happy.

I’m hosting a two-part webinar called  The Domestic Assistant Advantage™ . The first session is 90 minutes. The second session is 30 minutes. I’m offering this course for less than any amount that you’ve NOT  been paying yourself for scrubbing your own bathtub.

Find out how hiring a domestic assistant can help you succeed in your law firm and improve your life outside the office.

  • Why would you hire one?

  • How can it save or make you money?

  • The $300 test

  • Coping with guilt

  • Job descriptions to recruit one

  • How to manage one – you can do this in less than an hour a week

  • Forms: weekly checklist, monthly checklist, task lists, and agendas

  • Hear from my family’s domestic assistant about how this job works from her perspective

  • And so much more!

When: Sept. 26 @ 4pm EDT (90 min) and Oct. 17 @ 4pm EDT (30 min)

Price: $250 (early bird discount of $55 off the enrollment fee if you register by Sept. 14)

Register:  workshops@greatlawpractices.com

FINAL THOUGHT

Focus on your strengths. Ask yourself: Is cleaning my house my greatest strength? Or is it helping my clients at my best hourly (or better yet, fixed price) rates?

Charitable Work Requires Time, Commitment

May 2, 2013

Filed under: Enjoying Life,Lawyer Coaching,Practice Growth — Tags: , , — admin @ 1:22 pm

Integrating a charitable marketing project is a fantastic opportunity for you to grow your practice and make a difference for charity all at the same time.

But, before you go charging off to impact the charity and tackle the project, you should strongly consider the most important step, making room for the charitable project in your already overwhelmed and busy life.

To make a great impact on any charitable project you have to have control over your time. The number one frustration we hear from our lawyer clients is that they are time starved. Their work life balance is shot.  They work, work some more, and have no life.  Thus, I would strongly recommend that the first thing you do before taking on a charitable project (or any volunteer commitment) is to have your time management and focus under control.

Let’s assume that you have taken my advice, or at least acknowledged it, and you are ready to start your project. The second step is to get you to think about your project before you commit to it. With that said, here are some key criteria that I recommend before you take on a charitable project.

  1. Clarity About the Charity. Do not take on a charitable project for just marketing purposes.  If you do, two terrible things will happen. First, you will run out of gas. Meaning that when it gets hard this project will drop and you will use it as ammo about why you are a bad person (you may not, but I promise I would). Second, people can sense a faker a mile away.  It is almost as if they can smell it. If they think you are there just to generate leads for new clients it will blow up on you and you will never get clients. Pick a cause you personally care about it and you believe in it.
  2. Only One Charity and One project. A powerful charitable project can make a huge difference and be a time sucking vortex that wrecks you practice. My rule is focus only on one charity and one project at a time. Do not volunteer to be on the fund raising committee at one charity, the golf tournament on another, and on a board of another. Unless you are independently wealthy and do not need to practice, you need balance your family, your health and your practice. Do one charitable project at a time and do a phenomenal job on that one. If you are active in your community you will have more opportunities to be volunteer (or be volunteered) than you can imagine. You will want to say yes, but you need to appreciate that there will be no limit to opportunities to serve.  In the end, you will be crushed by all the commitments. My strong rule is one charity and one commitment at time.
  3. Create a Time Budget. What I mean by that is determine the amount of time you are going to give this project. For example, is this going to take on average one hour per week? If so, budget it. Put it on your calendar like a client appointment. Be realistic. Most lawyers are so overwhelmed that they say yes without having a clear plan on how to execute on the work they agreed to behind the yes. Sit down and plan out the project.
  4. Manage It Like a Project.
    1. Why are you doing it and what is your commitment level (1 low to 10 high)?
    2. What results are you hoping to produce?
    3. What will it look like when you are finished?
    4. What resources will you need?
    5. Who do you know that can help you get the project done?
    6. What is your time budget?
    7. What is your financial budget?
    8. What are your actions steps? Write them out just like you would a simple business plan. In my experience, one to two pages, no more than 10 action steps.

Bottom line, you have to have your personal time managed so you can commit to taking on a charitable project. My rule is no more than one project for one charity at a time. Do an extraordinary job at that one project. Good luck with your project, and I hope it makes a difference for your charity.

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