Editor’s Note: As 2017 winds down, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite content over the years. This post, part III of a series, was written by education-based marketing expert Trey Ryder for the Winter 2014 edition of PILMMA’s Insiders’ Journal.
Superstar lawyers didn’t get that way by accident. Instead, they’ve made use of some important secrets of their profession to help them rise to the top. In this series, we’ll take a look at some of the best strategies for joining the ranks of the “superstar lawyers.”
SUPERSTAR SECRET #25
They stay away from dishonest, negative and lazy people. Superstar lawyers know negativism breeds negativism. They know that if they’re around negative attitudes long enough, those attitudes become the norm. Superstar lawyers resign clients who take advantage of them and clients who are lost causes. They decline to represent prospects when their intuition says “No way!” Not all people see the opportunities these lawyers see. Not all people share their goals. Superstar lawyers know that negative people drain their energy and spill doubt all over their custom-tailored suits.
SUPERSTAR SECRET #26
They never use closing techniques to pressure people into hiring their services. Superstar lawyers let their reputation stand on its own. They educate prospects about their background, qualifications and experience. They discuss their successes. They emphasize the importance of having a skilled lawyer represent them. And they express their desire to help. Superstar lawyers never pressure a prospect into making a decision. They leave total control in the prospect’s hands. This causes the prospect to further respect and trust the attorney, and increases the likelihood that the prospect will retain the lawyer.
SUPERSTAR SECRET #27
They create a network of like-minded entrepreneurs. Some people are cut out to be leaders, others to be followers. Superstar lawyers build a network of friends and colleagues who share their energy, drive and determination. Then they encourage and support each other’s efforts so they are not inhibited by people who don’t appreciate their desire for achievement.
SUPERSTAR SECRET #28
They hire a coach to help them achieve success. No matter how they define success, superstar lawyers have so many distractions that they can easily lose site of their goals. Coaches help them identify what they’re doing right – what they’re doing wrong – and help them steer their course so they reach their destination. Michael Jordan didn’t get where he is without a coach. Nor did Andre Agassi. Kobe Bryant. Alex Rodriguez. Arnold Palmer. Or Tiger Woods. Chances are you’d do better if you had a coach, too. (I have one.)
SUPERSTAR SECRET #29
They take time away from their business. No one can endure the intensity of a law practice without interruption. Superstar lawyers generously allot time for their families, their church or synagogue, their outside interests, their vacations – anything they enjoy doing. This time away from their office recharges their batteries, keeps them from growing stale, and makes them even more effective when they practice law.
SUPERSTAR SECRET #30
They form relationships that go beyond lawyer/client. Superstar lawyers know prospects and clients are people first. They also know many people don’t feel as though they have anyone they can talk to or confide in. If someone wants to share a success, they listen, then offer congratulations. If someone wants to discuss something other than a legal problem, they invite them to explain their situation. Superstar lawyers know these clients probably aren’t looking for a solution; instead, they just want someone who will listen. The most important thing they do for their clients on any given day may have nothing to do with practicing law.
SUPERSTAR SECRET #31
They form non-profit organizations to attract clients. Superstar lawyers gain positive publicity by starting a non-profit organization that attracts new prospects. Then they invite onto their advisory board non-competing professionals who are likely to send referrals. As the group’s founder, the lawyer is the gatekeeper. He invites speakers and advisory board members to address the group on relevant subjects. Then he features these speakers in news releases to the media. The more he focuses the spotlight on the speakers, the more clients they will likely refer. When the time comes to discuss legal issues, the lawyer is the speaker.
SUPERSTAR SECRET #32
They never stop educating their audience. Prospects, clients and referral sources want to believe that superstar lawyers have the knowledge, skill and experience to support their fee. Still, they know people may hesitate to hire their services – or make referrals – if they aren’t sure about the depth of the lawyer’s knowledge. Superstar lawyers take every opportunity to educate their target audience. This allows them to put their knowledge on display and increases their credibility, which attracts more new clients.
SUPERSTAR SECRET #33
They also educate their colleagues. Superstar lawyers aren’t afraid of teaching their secrets and methods to other lawyers. They offer continuing legal education programs. They conduct professional seminars and sponsor retreats. They write books and produce CDs and DVDs – whatever will be most useful to their colleagues. Superstar lawyers welcome the opportunity to become a lawyer’s lawyer.
SUPERSTAR SECRET #34
They just do it. Superstar lawyers don’t get bogged down in marketing plans and committee meetings. They identify the steps in their marketing process and go to work. Sure, they may make a few mistakes along the way. Who doesn’t? But the result of taking action now is far more profitable and rewarding than planning… and planning… and planning – but never getting to first base.
SUPERSTAR SECRET #35
They hire professional help and accept guidance. Most superstar lawyers are excellent marketers. Still, they know that the most successful marketing programs require more time and energy than they can commit. What’s more, they require careful planning, painstaking attention to detail and precise execution. After all, even the fastest race horse needs a jockey to motivate and guide it to the finish line, while able competitors close in from all sides. Superstar lawyers know that the secret to success is to retain the help of someone who understands their market. And while many superstar lawyers keep these relationships confidential, they hire help and accept guidance from uniquely qualified lawyer marketing specialists whose marketing philosophy is consistent with their own.
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