In my coaching (and in my practice), we are driven by the bottom line results – whatever the goal may be – whether it is achieving balance between work and play, increasing revenue, becoming an equity partner, etc. When it comes to bringing in new work, the results are easy to measure. Either you got a piece of new work or you didn’t.
Good Lawyer Marketing Requires You To Set A Clear, Tangible Goal.
With all of my clients, we set many different goals in several different areas. But the goals are never ambiguous, never easy to run away from. There is always accountability. As you know, without it, we keep with our big picture goals of “building my book,” “increasing revenue,” “achieving balance,” without any real or permanent progress. That is because – just like our New Year’s resolutions (mine anyway), we have bitten off more than we can chew – without little steps, and without a little help.
To avoid this common problem, I often like to set the goal of getting a new piece of work in a week’s time. (Of course, the bigger accomplishment from a bottom line view is the goal of getting a new client every 4 to 6 weeks, which I work with many of my clients on during the coaching process, as it is obviously more involved.) This short term goal is helpful because it takes you actively through the marketing process in a shortened time frame, is pretty exhilarating when you achieve it (and you will), and it increases your revenue.
In my experience, though it sounds difficult, this is not as difficult to accomplish as one might think. In fact, most lawyers (at all kinds of different levels) can succeed at it. Then, why you ask, don’t people do it, and keep doing it? I think it boils down to two reasons – first, as lawyers, we are overwhelmed with our day-to-day work and know that we have to “increase our book” but we have to do that “next week” or “next month.” It seems daunting, overwhelming, and easy to put off. Of course, as a coach, we make this a machine that is built in to your practice – requiring very little effort on your part – yes, effort, but not nearly as much as you are imagining right now.
Second, and pretty puzzling, we as lawyers are generally pretty nervous at failing, and don’t want to do one simple thing – just ask for the work. Now, it is not a direct ask – generally – and requires timing and tact (okay so we all know someone that won’t be able to pull it off), but it is pretty simple when you change your mind set a bit.
During our assessment and your coaching, we would determine what the best approach for you would be. But for a vast majority of lawyers, I would ask you to think of a current client that is a mess (not personally – just in a business sense), and preferably one that you have recently achieved a good result for. You may be handling a piece of litigation for them or a trademark, etc. – and you know they have a ton of other problems unrelated to what you’re doing. Now, instead of that client’s litigator or IP lawyer, think of yourself as their business partner. Your goal is to look out for their business, make it as profitable as possible, and avoid future exposure and expense. So, of course, you are going to let the client know about what you have discovered, the negative impact that could have on their business (money – bottom line is what they care about), how the issue needs to be taken care of, and how you would suggest doing it. Now, you might suggest that you can do it or a partner of yours – but you should always suggest an alternative method too (whether it be that you could find another lawyer for them or them handling it internally). This impresses upon the client how you are looking out for them – not you. And, they rarely, rarely take the alternative. You will generally get the work.
There are a dozen other get work in one week methods that I employ, and I’m sure a few will fit for you – but the bottom line is you just have to do it – and you will succeed when you put your mind to it. Then, we can tackle the bigger goals!
Use An Experienced Lawyer Marketing Coach That Has Been Successful in Practice.
As you know, we advocate marketing coaches as a way to achieve this accountability, help you see the forest and the trees, and help you put steps in place to accomplish your goals. When I built my business, my biggest successes were either while I was directly using a coach or while using steps that my coaches taught me. But to truly understand what you need to do, and how you need to do it, you want someone that has the training and experience to get you there. Not someone that teaches well, but can’t do (because not sure it that really exists). In any event, when interviewing a coach, make sure you are hiring someone that knows the lingo and the challenges – someone who has encountered it and succeeded.