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What Lawyers Can Learn from Late-Night Infomercials

Lawyers are a cerebral bunch. We’ve been taught to write and research in a way that allows us to present logical arguments based on fact and precedent.

When we’re in litigation or preparing a contract, we use this approach to maximize certainty and minimize doubt.

While this works in the legal world, it’s not how most people communicate and make decisions in the real world.

Most of what people do in everyday life is driven by emotion, not logic or fact.

Unfortunately, most lawyers also take the cerebral approach to marketing instead of making an emotional appeal.

It's the familiar route. It’s the safe route, at least in the eyes of the lawyer, because it involves a left-brained, logical argument about why someone should retain them. It's also what they see the other left-brained, marketing-impaired lawyers out there are doing.

But the people who are actually reading your marketing materials aren’t sitting there with a checklist of pros and cons. They’re looking for the emotional payoff that comes with making the right decision, and experiencing the desired result.

People make decisions with their hearts. They rely on gut feelings. Only afterwards do they use their brains to justify their emotional decisions. And yes, that's true even if you're sending marketing materials to other lawyers.

You've got your left-brained hat on when you're doing your legal work, but that's not how you make every decision. I'd like to think I make my decisions based on cold, hard logic. But I don't. Nobody does.

The bottom line, when you're marketing you need to turn off the lawyer brain and turn on your marketing brain. As I often tell people, if there's a case citation in your marketing, you lose. You've just bored them. Nobody wants to get marketing materials that feel like homework.

Advertising genius David Ogilvy said it best. "You can't bore people into buying."

It's why the salesmen on late-night infomercials are so successful. They pitch a lot of junk you don’t need, but somehow several hundred thousand people have a combo treadmill/smoothie maker/nose hair trimmer in their garage, after forking over three easy payments of $299.

Why? Because the infomercials show people how certain products can make their lives easier or better. They make an emotional connection. Why wouldn't I want to make my post workout smoothie while working out, and make sure I've gotten rid of unsightly hair? That would rock! I'd save so much time! Where's my Visa card?

Prime Example: The Average Attorney’s “About” Page

Most lawyers use this page to list their credentials – where they went to school, professional associations, industry awards, etc.

Left brained. Making a logical case about why someone should hire you - but doing nothing to appeal to the reader’s emotions. Two lines down, and they've fallen asleep. Or clicked off to Facebook to look at funny cat videos.

Potential clients only care about their outcome, not your background.

They want to know what you’ve accomplished for other people so they can experience the same emotional payoff. They want to know why working with you will make them feel cared for. Have you talked about the experience they'll have with you? The fact that you have a specific process for serving clients? Without generic, always-ignored "we treat every client..." language?

You don't have to be a late-night pitchman in your marketing. But you do have to stop trying to convince clients with logic, and start compelling them with desire. To see you as different.

Left brain marketing doesn't do that - there's no desire, and you look the same as every other stuffy lawyer. Trying to bore them into buying.

Do you want to be a Lexus or a Toyota?

At their core, Lexus and Toyota are essentially the same car. Both reliable, sharing the same chassis, you can take them to the same dealer to be repaired. But many people are willing to pay a lot more for a Lexus.

If everyone used their left brain to buy cars, they'd choose the Toyota every time. But they don’t.

Lexus is associated with luxury. People like the status. They feel special when they’re behind the wheel of a Lexus. And they’re willing to suspend logic so they can experience that feeling and status.

They didn't look at the spec sheets side by side and do a cold, hard analysis. They wanted the Lexus.

That’s why most of your marketing effectiveness, and price elasticity, comes from the emotional part of the equation, not the logical side.

It has nothing to do with a laundry list of qualifications. It has everything to do with compelling people by showing you can provide an experience as you solve their problems.

If you want to be a luxury provider, be able to raise rates, have your marketing have real impact, stop trying to be the logical choice and start making an emotional connection.

Yes, you might not like the idea. You've been steeped in boring, ineffective lawyer marketing for a long, long, time. It's what everyone else is doing. But you've got a choice to make. Do you want to spend your time, money, and effort on marketing that's safe but less effective? Or are you in it for the results?

Do you want to be the Toyota? Or the Lexus?


Raj Jha

Finding Ideal Clients

Raj Jha

Investing In Your Practice

Raj Jha

Fear of Marketing

Raj Jha

Repeatable Referral Model

Raj Jha

Finding Ideal Clients

Raj Jha

Good Marketing, Crap Clients

Raj Jha

Finding Ideal Clients

Raj Jha

Investing In Your Practice

Raj Jha

Repeatable Referral Model

Raj Jha

Good Marketing, Crap Clients

Raj Jha

Finding Ideal Clients

Raj Jha

Investing In Your Practice

Raj Jha

Fear of Marketing

Raj Jha

Repeatable Referral Model

Raj Jha

Fear of Marketing

Raj Jha

Repeatable Referral Model

Raj Jha

Fear of Marketing

Raj Jha

Finding Ideal Clients

Raj Jha

Investing In Your Practice

Raj Jha

Fear of Marketing

Raj Jha

Repeatable Referral Model

Raj Jha