Practicing Law can feel like you are Nemo-
“Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming….”
It’s so easy for Marketers to tell you what you “should” do to grow your law firm. They don’t practice law. They aren’t in the trenches. They aren’t drafting complaints- motions- dealing with mountains of the other side’s BS discovery- They aren’t having to put life on hold while dealing with an intense trial- or strategizing to negotiate a settlement-
But here’s the deal; I’ve been right where you are. When I started my law firms- and built them from the ground up, I had to juggle the same stuff you do. I feel your pain. I burned the midnight oil regularly. 12 – 18 hour days were normal.
Typically I’d be in the office by 7:30- hit it hard all day- have lunch brought in so I could stay on task- and then come home at 6 to see my kids, eat dinner, and then leave again around 9 pm and stay at the office till midnight.
I was driven- maybe innately, but also by the necessity of providing for a growing family, too.
It is so easy for folks who haven’t been in your shoes to tell you what you should or shouldn’t be doing.
But here’s the thing- I’ve been there- right in your shoes. And I’d like to share a secret I learned along the way: You think you don’t have time to market your law practice because you have too many “real” responsibilities in your law firm.
But honestly, you won’t truly grow your firm and change the rat-race trajectory you are on unless or until you carve out a few hours each week to work “on” your business rather than “in” it.
And I did just use the word “business.” At the end of the day- the truth is that your law practice is a noble endeavor- a professional and worthy pursuit- but it is also a business. Plain and simple.
Unless and until you are able to shift your mindset, you will be caught in a proverbial hamster wheel.
Now I’m not trying to overly simplify the process because some long days and late nights are inevitable when you are building a law firm. BUT not every day should be. Not every day has to be.
We all make time for what is important.
When there’s a fire, we stop whatever we are working on, and we put it out. We just do. That’s how life works.
You can and should make time for some strategic thinking and planning if you want to grow your law firm and not have the intense workday be your permanent work model. It doesn’t take hours and hours of effort. It doesn’t take tons of money either.
What it takes is at least 2 hours each week devoted to working “on” your law practice rather than “in” it.
There are so many simple tactics you can start implementing right now to build a referral network that brings you steady new cases every month.
The Basics- Building a Referral System-
- Are you sending out birthday and greeting cards to every current and past client? One of my Mastermind members took my advice and started sending out cards to clients and hand-written “thank-you” notes whenever they referred a new case to her. Today she boasts 200 new cases each month from REFERRALS alone.
- Are you sending out a paper and/or digital monthly newsletter to your current and past clients?
Top of mind awareness is critical. You might think your clients will remember the great verdict or settlement you got them, but they won’t. They get busy. Life gets in the way. And they stop thinking about you. Simple touches like a monthly newsletter keeps your firm on their mind and dramatically increases the chances that they will tell their friends and family about your firm and drop your name when one of them needs a lawyer. Thinking you don’t have time to create a newsletter? No problem- there are vendors out there who will create them for you (and PILMMA members get downloadable templates as part of their membership benefits.)
- Are you networking with other lawyers who don’t do what you do? If you are a personal injury lawyer, then you need referral relationships with a domestic and criminal lawyer, a bankruptcy lawyer, and a business lawyer.
When people call your office looking for a lawyer, you need to be able to say: “I don’t handle these cases, but I know a great lawyer who does- and here’s their number. “That way, you are doing two things:
1) becoming the Go-to Lawyer for your clients and
2) Getting Referral/passive income from other lawyers. Win-Win.
To get the ball rolling, commit to taking one such lawyer to lunch each week. Just call them up and say that you’d like to take them to lunch. Then mark your calendar and DO IT.
Over lunch, let them know what you do and- more importantly- let them know you are happy to refer cases to them. Make it more about them than you. It may sound hokey- but just do it. Trust me when I tell you: This grassroots marketing works.
- Write or License a Ready-Made Book that Answers the Top 10 Questions Clients Ask in your given practice area. While I wrote about a dozen of these kinds of short, easily digestible books, you don’t have to write them yourself. There are services out there like the Paperback Expert that will make the process short and painless. (or you can join PILMMA- and get Ready-Made and quickly personalized books from me, assuming your market is available.)
Why a book? It’s simple. Books set you apart from your competition and set you up as an automatic “expert” in your field without you ever saying that you are an “expert.” People hire the lawyer they trust, and books make you a trusted expert.
Once you have your book, make it available as a lead magnet/free download on your website and on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. That way, you share great relevant content with your community and capture their emails for future automated email drip campaigns. Give hard copies of the book to every new client when they sign up and ask that they share the books with their friends and family.
When I was practicing law, I developed 32 simple marketing tactics, including those identified above, to help me get more cases.
And these strategies worked. At least half of my new cases came from these simple grassroots marketing tactics that cost very little but produced tremendous ROI.
How to Grow Your Law Firm
If you want to grow your law firm, and begin to have a better quality of life at the same time, then you must commit to working smarter and not harder. You must “make” time to work strategically on growing your practice. It won’t just grow itself. Not really.
Start with just 2 hours per week.
Pull up your calendar and mark out 2 hours for law firm planning. Put yourself on D&D for just 2 hours per week, and get started creating the law firm that works for you instead of you working for it.
**If you want to learn more Great Law Firm Marketing & Management Strategies, join PILMMA: https://learn.pilmma.org/join-pilmma