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Good Marketing, Crap Clients

Good marketing isn’t just about acquiring leads. Good marketing is also about laying the foundation for the relationship that you’re going to have with your client. If you just define “good” marketing as getting a lot of prospects, you’re seriously missing the boat.

How you market – specifically what you let your prospects believe about you, drastically affects how they’ll interact with you once they retain you. Whether they’re demanding and overbearing and complain about invoices, or whether they treat you as the respected expert that you are, and pay premium rates.

The Crappy Leads

Crappy leads can come from anywhere, but disproportionately from pay-per-lead services and their ilk (like LegalMatch). In short, paying a third party to send you, and a bunch of other lawyers, a lead.

Lawyers get hooked on these services like a junkie on crack … they think they’ll immediately generate a bunch of leads and grow their practice quickly. Or dig themselves out of a hole.

But just stop for a moment and think about that client you’re paying to get, that is if someone else doesn’t snag them first with a lowball offer. What was the prospect’s experience before they came to you?

Basically, the prospect raised the “I need a lawyer” flag on the anonymous Internet, and (at best) was taken to a site that looks like a lawyer directory. Then, after filling out some forms like they’re in line at the DMV, lawyers they’ve never heard of and don’t have any particular reason to trust start sending them messages.

From the very first contact with such a client, you’re viewed as a commodity. With suspicion. If they don’t like you, who cares? They’ll just move on to the next lawyer.

Instead of having someone seeking you out, you’re the one vying for their attention. This immediately puts you in a subservient position. The client is the belle of the ball, not you.

So given the choice, why would you ever want to market yourself in an environment where you’re competing for the client, instead of clients competing for you? Isn’t that totally backwards?

The Valuable Leads

Think about some of the best clients you’ve gotten. Chances are, they were by referral.

Referred clients are far less price sensitive, easier to deal with, and pay on time. Why? Well, think about the path they took to get to you.

From their perspective, you didn’t come out of the ether from an Internet search, you came from someone they know, like and trust. You come vouched for.

In effect, you come with “borrowed trust” from the person who referred them.

When they hire you, instead of second guessing whether they chose the right stranger from the web, they know that you’ve done a good job for their friend, so they have faith in you.

So they listen to you.

So they pay their bills.

So they pay bigger bills.

So they, themselves, refer more.

Psychologically, a client who comes through a referral already believes you have a solution to their problem. That makes you the belle of the ball. You can command much higher rates and set the rules of engagement.

The amazing power of this combination – easy to engage clients, the real ability to increase fees, the speed at which you can grow your practice, is why at Practice Alchemy we equip our members with a complete referral system before they do any other marketing. It’s simply that powerful.

Setting Up Your Lead Sources

Clients can come to you from any number of different sources, from pay-per-lead, to search, to Pay Per Click, to direct mail, to referrals.

The key is to understand how your marketing impacts the psychology of the person before they contact you. This has a dramatic impact on how you interact with that client – and the ultimate value of that client.

Ask yourself: will a particular lead source send you ideal clients? If so, how will the journey of a potential client impact the relationship once they become your client?

Too many attorneys just lump all of their clients into one big bucket. They have a general idea of what clients are coming from where, but they don’t dig deep enough.

So, how do you think about doing this?

Each lead source needs to be evaluated independently: how profitable each client from that source is, and how easy these clients are to manage. This deeper layer of analysis is critical to understanding where you should double down with your marketing resources. Otherwise, you’re just flying blind.

One of our members, using a lead analysis tool we gave him, found that he was spending time and money on the least valuable lead sources … and barely any on the most. One insight, one simple, small switch of where he concentrates, and boom – a different practice tomorrow.

Now it's your turn.

When you go to three or four networking events per month and shake a bunch of hands, what do you end up with? One client? How about bailing on it and using that time to nurture referral relationships that can provide you with 10 clients? Or should you spend your time running PPC campaigns?

Fact is, I can’t tell you. You need to do the analysis, because your book of business isn’t my book of business.

Is it a pain in the ass? Yes, maybe. But so is making a fraction of the income you could.

Your call.

Practice Alchemy Members: The analysis tool to shortcut this process can be found in the Member Training Portal. Ask the Concierge team if you need help.

Raj Jha