Do You Use These Excuses to Not have a Complex Marketing System?
(1) If I don’t contact the client right away they will go to another lawyer, your system is too slow.
(2) My clients don’t want to read all that stuff.
(3) I need to do the little cases for the chance to get the big case later on.
(4) The little cases don’t take up that much time and they pay the rent.
(5) You do all that for each client? That must be expensive.
Here are my responses:
The I Must Deliver an Immediate Response Syndrome.
Do you really want to be viewed in your community as a commodity? Are you really so plain and fungible that if they don’t get you as their lawyer the next lawyer will do just as well? People who are just looking for coffee pull into whichever gas station or fast food restaurant appears next on the road. People looking for an experience plan their route to Starbucks. Which do you think is the better buyer? Which is the better customer?
If the fear is that I may miss the big case if I don’t make myself available 24-7 then I’ve got news for you. You are missing cases already. You don’t get all of the cases in your town right now, do you? Finally, consider this: if you needed non-emergent heart surgery would you rather go to the doctor who can’t see you for six weeks or the one who says, come on in, I’m not busy, lets do the operation today? Which do you perceive to be a better doctor.
But, Ben, They Won’t Read All That Stuff
Those that won’t are the same ones who won’t take your settlement advice later. The truth is that they may not want to read all that stuff but since no other lawyer is sending them a big package the very fact that you are doing so makes you unique. This lawyer must know what he’s doing, look at all the good quality educational stuff he is sending.
Of course, the reason we include the DVD and the audio CD is precisely because some people will learn by listening, others by watching. The DVD is shot like a TV interview and it even includes commercials (for your law firm, of course.) The commercials reinforce the message that the smartest thing they could ever do is to ask a lawyer for his big package of information before talking to the adjuster or hiring the lawyer.
Preparing all of this educational material gives you a reason to keep sending the potential client information. We drip our mailings out over 14 days, reinforcing our message. The potential client may be talking to other lawyers but every few days they are getting another package or email from us.
Finally, sending multiple packages of information gives you a reason to call the up, in a helpful way to ask whether they have received your information, read it or watched it on their TV and do they have any questions? Low key. Non-pushy. Your materials sell you without you having to sell you.
If I Don’t Do the Little Case for Them Then They Won’t Call Me for the Larger Case Later
This objection relies upon a false premise. The premise is that if you do a good job for them in the little case they will remember you later. Try this test. Start asking your clients who have had other cases who represented them in the past. They won’t be able to remember. Merely doing a good job does not make you memorable enough to get a future referral.
The key to rejecting small value cases or cases with dubious liability is to do so in a way that both sets you up as the big case lawyer and offers a good reason as to why you can’t accept every case. One reason for not accepting every small case is that you have many big cases to work on. Those cases take time. Another reason is to talk about how your spend your non work hours. That’s right! Tell them (if its true) that you don’t work nights and weekends because you are with your family, on ball fields or at dance recitals. This will make you memorable.
The key is that no matter whether you accept or reject a case, you stay in front of that prospect forever with an interesting monthly newsletter.
If you carefully explain why you don’t take small cases and stay in front of the prospect monthly then they will remember you when they or someone in their circle of influence needs a big case lawyer the next time.
The Little Cases Aren’t That Much of a Hassle and Besides, They Pay the Rent
Have you ever actually tracked the time you and your staff spend on the little cases? Let me ask you this: if you have an hour to spend don’t you think its better spent increasing the value of a $100,000 case by 10% than it is to increase the value of a$10,000 by 10%. You don’t have unlimited time, do you?
Though I don’t have statistics to prove it, my experience is that the clients with smaller cases also tend to be the same ones who don’t listen, don’t take advice and use an inordinate amount of your office’s time. Far better to develop a referral or of-counsel relationship with a younger, less-experienced lawyer whom you can mentor as they work on the smaller cases.
A Complex Marketing System Must Be Expensive
It could be. But I often hear that objection from lawyers who are spending money year after year in the Yellow Pages, running ads that sit right next to their competitors and say the same thing as their competitors.
Its very hard to market without spending any money, so the issue becomes how will I spend my next marketing dollar? It’s a resource allocation issue.
If you are not completely satisfied with the way your practice works for you then you should be spending the time, up-front, to develop good, consumer friendly educational materials that establish you as the expert and market to your perfect client. Writing books and reports does take time, but it’s time spent once. Your complex marketing system does not need to start with 14 steps in 14 days since you are “competing” with lawyers who are doing the traditional two-step here I am come on in for a free consultation system. You can start with many few steps and expand as the quality and transaction value of your cases gets better. What’s great about a complex marketing system is that each time you add a step, you move one step farther away from your competition. No, you won’t get all of the cases and you aren’t getting them now. You don’t want all of the cases because you want to have a life and be a hero to your family. A well-executed, complex marketing system will increase your income on fewer cases.
Benjamin Glass is a practicing personal injury and medical malpractice attorney in Fairfax, Virginia (BenGlassLaw.com). He is the founder of Great Legal Marketing, LLC, (GreatLegalMarketing.com) and the creator of the Ultimate Personal Injury Marketing and Practice Building Toolkit. He runs mastermind and coaching groups for lawyers across the United States and in Canada. You can follow his blog at SoloandSmallFirmMarketing.com.