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Referral marketing succeeds with the right interview

August 15, 2018

Filed under: Marketing,Practice Growth,Referral Sources,Uncategorized — admin @ 5:24 pm

STRATEGIC INTERVIEWReferral marketing is the lifeblood of any successful practice, but it can be intimidating when you’re trying to cultivate referral sources. Maybe you’re not naturally outgoing, or maybe you are self-conscious when you ask someone to refer clients to your practice.

Even if you don’t have any jitters to overcome about asking for a referral, you can still benefit from employing The Strategic Interview™ approach developed by Atticus when you connect with your referral sources.

Why are referral marketing sources so important? Referred clients typically bring a higher value per case with less acquisition costs. There is less “sales” involved in hiring you because the prospect has basically been pre-sold on why they should be hiring you. Referrals also feel good – if you’re known to others as the best, that’s a great reputation that can give you confidence.

Having great referral sources is like having an endless annuity for your practice. It makes it difficult to unseat you as the dominate player in your market. And, you get three great rebuttable presumptions – because the client was referred to you they naturally assume you’re honest, you’re fair and you’re competent.

Succeeding with the Strategic Interview™ in your referral marketing process is a skill, not an innate talent, which means it can be learned.

To begin using this strategy, you’ll want to know who to talk to, what to say, and how to say it.

The “who” consists of the people who make up your top 20 referral sources. These are typically existing clients, the other professionals they use (i.e. accountants, insurance agents, other attorneys), any attorneys you refer work to, members of any boards you serve on, your family, and your friends.

The “what” is the respectful request you’re making for this person to refer you new clients. The request can be preceded by an effective and compelling story that helps you sell your services (i.e. how you helped another referral source, how you helped a client, how you resolved a specific issue).

The “how” is the delivery of the request and when you should make it. Will the request come over the phone, in person, at a networking event, or in a meeting at your office? When during the conversation is the best time for you to make the request for a referral? It really depends, and each situation is likely going to be different.

Employing this strategy requires some detailed thinking on your part about defining your best possible referral sources, the context and content of the conversation you want to have with them, and how to deliver your message in the most effective way so that you’re fully heard and understood.

Don’t just wing it.

Write two or three scripts and practice them in front of your spouse or someone at your firm. They’ll more easily see where you need to improve your message and delivery than you would by practicing in front of a mirror. After a while, as you become more comfortable talking about your practice and the kinds of clients you want to serve, you will be able to talk extemporaneously and go off the script when it feels right.

Before you phone a referral marketing source and say, “Please, refer work to me,” you need to be able explain why you’re requesting to meet.

You could simply say, “I’d like your opinion on …” and bring up an issue that may be affecting their clients that your practice specializes in resolving.

Or, you could say you enjoyed working with them on a previous client’s case and were wondering if they had a similar case the two of you could work together on again.

A slightly more daring approach is to admit you’re a little bored: “I like to keep busy. I’ve got some gaps in my calendar coming up and was wondering if you’ve come across any new cases or clients you’d like to refer out?”

When you meet with your referral source, ask questions about her business — and ask follow-up questions to show you’re engaged in the conversations. Be sincere. You’ll likely make a personal connection, you’ll learn a lot, and you’ll create more opportunities for yourself.

A good strategy, especially when dealing with non-lawyer referral sources is to ask what frustrations they’ve had when they’ve dealt with lawyers in the past. Write down what they say because those frustrations are marketing gold. The more you can understand their frustrations, the more likely you can design a solution for them.

After the meeting, enter detailed information about what was said and what each person committed to into your contact management software. Schedule a follow-up meeting, especially if there is a big potential for work from “A” level clients referred to you by this source.

If you can help your referral source by sending her a referral, introduction or connection, do it. For some it won’t matter, but for others it can make all the difference.

And always — always — find a unique and genuine way to acknowledge and thank your referral sources whenever you are handed a prospective client by them. If you’re stumped on how to be unique in expressing your gratitude, know that nothing is easier to do or more effective to communicate your appreciation than a handwritten thank you note.

What’s your law firm’s social media marketing strategy?

April 9, 2018

Filed under: Law Firm Technology,Marketing — admin @ 1:18 pm

What’s the intent behind your law firm’s posts on social media? Are you hoping to attract more clients or to position yourself as “the” expert in your marketplace?

Creating an effective social media marketing strategy can be daunting if you don’t know where to start. By filling out a Social Practice Scorecard™, you’ll see where you are strong and where you’re not in your efforts to share your firm’s presence with a wider audience. It will generate ideas and prompt you to take action.

When you’re posting social media updates, are you providing followers with something of value? Or are you just posting robotic “hire us” blurbs? The most engaging social media profiles I’ve seen law firms operate consistently share links to landing pages on their websites where visitors can access educational videos, articles, and ebooks.

I would encourage you to be consistent on all the social media channels you use. If you publish information on your website but something seems to contradict it on a Facebook post or a Twitter update, then you have a legitimacy problem.

Every social media channel offers you an opportunity to present your firm in its best light to your current and future clients. If you’re careless in what you post, you risk sending them running over to your competitor.

Once you implement a social media marketing strategy, you need to know how effective your efforts are. Measuring tools like Google Analytics are free. Site entry points in an analytics tool can reveal if your website’s visitors arrived via your social media posts or from other sources. The “bounce rate” will show you how many people viewed one page and then left. A high bounce rate can indicate poor search engine optimization or a lack of useful, interesting content.

It takes time but developing a winning social media marketing strategy for your law firm is critical in today’s competitive marketplace. If you’re not out front, you’re getting left behind.

Use the Social Practice Scorecard to see where you are today, and then use it again at this time next year to see how far you’ve come.

Kick Start Your Law Firm Marketing in 2018

December 11, 2017

Filed under: Marketing,Money,Practice Growth,Practice Management — Tags: , — admin @ 9:23 pm

Many attorneys struggle with dedicating enough time for law firm marketing. I recently posted about holiday marketing strategies.

Here are a few quick tips to help you position your practice for a great start in 2018.

I think of marketing in terms of strategy. If done properly, you won’t have to worry whether you’re doing enough of it and then play catch up when you think you have fallen behind somewhere around August.

Keep It Simplelaw firm marketing

Small, thoughtful moves made throughout the year can yield more than sporadic efforts without a marketing strategy. Make a plan, commit to it, but don’t overthink it.

Stay in Action

Consistency is key. Review your marketing strategy from 2017 and highlight what worked. It might be a good idea to double down on those things for the new year. It can be something as simple as writing articles on LinkedIn regularly, to setting referral goals for the month. Just be consistent.

Be Yourself

It is always best to be yourself in your marketing. If people feel like you’re being inauthentic they may not trust you to be transparent in your work. This would defeat the purpose of your practice. Your marketing efforts are an opportunity to establish trust. Stay true to yourself (your brand) across all your marketing efforts.

Be Selective

Every client isn’t a yes. And if you’re managing your business effectively, you can put yourself in a position to say no to clients who aren’t the right fit. This will save you time and money, allowing room for your practice to grow. Yes, sometimes less is more.

Get Guidance and Accountability

There are times when you simply can’t figure it out yourself. This happens to everyone.  The work of transforming your practice will come from the effort you put toward your action plan. If that’s something you struggle with, then I strongly encourage you to invest an hour of your time in a Practice Growth Diagnostic™. It is simply THE most effective way to determine where the holes are in your practice and what actions you can immediately take to improve your law firm’s profitability. Your ultimate success lies in your hands.

Here’s to a great 2018 and hoping it’s a transformation for you personally and professionally!

Yes, you CAN ask for referrals

October 13, 2017

Filed under: Marketing,Practice Growth,Referral Sources — admin @ 4:41 pm

If you own a law firm, you need to make asking for and receiving great referrals a daily practice.

I’ve often heard a deep sigh of discomfort from lawyers when the topic of asking for referrals comes up. But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t need to be uncomfortable.

If you are doing great work, of course, that will speak for itself. Many clients will be grateful and eagerly spread the word about their satisfaction with your firm. But what about the people who hired you, got what they needed, but fail to mention your firm to their friends and family when the need for a skilled attorney arises?

It’s a fantasy to think every client will remember to recommend you. So, it’s your job to remind them. This can be done in a manner that doesn’t feel like selling or desperation.

Asking for a referral is a stumbling block for many lawyers, but it’s not impossible to overcome. It’s as simple as changing your mindset. This is where your marketing strategy comes into play.

ReferralsBe strategic in asking for referrals

Pay attention to where your clients are coming from. One way to do that is to implement a “Thank You” program for referrals.

Engage with your referral network, meet with them, reach out to them on a regular basis. Whether that engagement comes via an email, a phone call, or meeting over coffee, touching base regularly with referral sources strengthens your bond and will reward your practice in ways that set you apart from the competition.

It’s less about being sales-y than about controlling the narrative of your interactions with clients. This is where many lawyers tell me that they hate marketing and throw up their hands. However, effortlessly asking for referrals and setting follow-up meetings are skills that can be practiced and perfected.

It boils down to this – if you are exactly where you want to be, then keep doing what you are doing. However, if growth is what you seek, you must step out of your comfort zone. Set yourself up for the win!

Don’t want growth? Keep thinking about it

August 15, 2017

Filed under: Marketing,Money,Practice Growth,Practice Management — admin @ 12:03 pm

I don’t procrastinate, ever. I just think about stuff for a very, very, VERY long time. I don’t actually act on anything.  I’ve found thinking about things to be very beneficial and recommend this strategy to small law firm owners and solo practitioners as a way of protecting their egos.

Let’s pretend I have a new marketing idea. All I am willing to do is think, “For this to be perfect outcome, what would have to happen?”

For the outcome to be ideal, which is what I want, the best thing to do is to think about it, strategize it, plan it and then think about it some more.  All the permutations and obstacles to my new idea fill my mind. And then, I spend time thinking about those.

Here are the key benefits of the “think about it” strategy:

  1. You can never be wrong. If you don’t take action, then you can always be right.
  2. You can keep your opinion, assumptions, and beliefs. Of course, action and actually testing an idea out is where the rubber meets the road – and that’s where all learning occurs – but by continuing to think about it, you could always just adjust your plan.
  3. I don’t have to learn anything (See No. 2). I mean, why bother? Learning requires risk and can be very frustrating. Acting is too ambitious.
  4. You don’t have to be accountable. This is a big one. If you keep thinking about it and don’t take any action, then no one can hammer you because you took action.
  5. You don’t risk energy or money. Sure, you waste some time thinking things over, but it’s totally worth it, right?

The truest thing I can say about the results of the “think about it” method is that nothing ever changes. Life stays the same. Your complaints of today will be your complaints of tomorrow. You know them well. They are like old friends. Your weight stays the same. Your fitness stays the same. And, so do your income and results.  There is no growth.

I think Abraham Maslow had it wrong. He said, “You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.”

I love it. Safety is where it is at, right?

If you don’t want to grow your practice, then use the “think about it” strategy to avoid any form of risk, loss of money, embarrassment, or failure.

And, go one step further: Take no action from this blog. Instead, think about growth for a long, long time. It is a lot safer.

[In case you read this post and you’re not sure if I’m being serious, just think about it.]

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