Over the years I have written about change hundreds of times—in this and other blogs, articles, speeches and not to mention 1000’s of hours I talk with my clients about change. As humans, we seem to be programmed to resist change, even when we want to change. Here is a great TEDTalk by Talia Sharot, a behavioral neuroscientist that helps us understand why we resist and what will help us embrace the change we are looking to make. Enjoy!
Think about how consultations usually go at your firm. What talking points do you and your team bring into those meetings? If your answer is “who we are, what we do, and the cost of our services,” there is a fundamental flaw in your consultation model keeping you from converting clients: You’re selling yourself instead of selling solutions.
Every client is different, so you can’t sell to all of them the same way (by selling yourself). Instead, you and your team need to tailor your sales pitch to the client, selling the answers to their needs and desires. Are they scared? Sell them reassurance. Are they in a hurry? Sell them speed. To go back to Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand, this simple mindset switch centers the client as the hero and makes you the guide.
It might sound complicated to craft a different sales pitch for every client, but you can use the exact same tactic each time to put yourself on the path toward nurturing a happy client. Instead of going into the room with answers, go in with 5–10 questions like these:
- What do you hope your life will be like when this case is over?
- How would you like to feel in six months?
- What are you afraid of?
- How would you describe your ideal lawyer?
- How long are you prepared to wait for your case to be resolved?
Questions like these will help you unearth what is important to your potential clients, sell your services to them more effectively, and prevent basic sales mistakes. Without it, you’re taking shots in the dark.
Say, for example, that you’re a divorce attorney and you’re proud of your firm’s efficiency, so in consultation, you emphasize speed, speed, speed. But the client in front of you doesn’t care about speed — they’re willing to wait as long as it takes if they get the house and their boat in the end. If you don’t unearth that motivation, you will continue selling to them the wrong way — and probably lose them as a lead.
Don’t underestimate the impact of the client’s needs, wants, and desires. Instead, make them the center of your story and train your team accordingly. Your consultation rate will soar.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.
Most people, in my experience, don’t take the time to think about what fuels them, what guides them and what they were put on this planet to achieve. Life has a way of keeping us distracted and focused only on the moment. Day after day and week after week, many people go to work without much thought of anything else.
But I think we are built to do so much more than simply survive; we are built to thrive and build a life that we love, not just make a living. One of the true joys in my work is helping clients find their “North Star” — their true calling in life.
Finding your North Star helps you live with purpose, and it gives you a reference point to keep you moving in the right direction. It doesn’t mean that life isn’t still challenging. Of course, we all have our ups and downs. But when you’re living with purpose, it’s much easier to stay on track and weather the storms that come I want you to know the joy of discovering your North Star, your unique calling. Here are four important questions to help you do that:
1. What are the gifts that make you unique?
These might be skills that you don’t use very often in your daily life or even skills that nobody knows about besides you.
Are you a gifted listener or a skilled problem-solver who is able to put together any puzzle? Are you fluent in multiple languages? Are you uniquely gifted at connecting with people in conversation? Are you an entertaining and confident public speaker? Connecting with your unique giftings will offer an important clue into your true calling in life.
2. What are the dreams that speak to your soul?
What gets you motivated and inspired? What are the causes and beliefs that will get you out of bed in the morning, rain or shine, fired-up and ready to go?
I’ve worked with many gifted professionals who are most passionate about causes and beliefs that don’t directly tie into their daily work. And what I’ve helped them do, rather than ignore their dreams, is to find a way to tie their work into the causes that inspire them. Sometimes that means volunteering their time. Other times it means serving on the board of an organization or finding a way to shift their focus and attract paying clients in the area that they’re most passionate about.
As an example, I included a story in my recent book about a lawyer who has always been passionate about the arts. For years she volunteered her time pro bono in support of the art community. Then, lo and behold, a prestigious art museum had an opening for in-house counsel. This attorney was the obvious choice due to her years of investment in that community, and she got the job. She’s working full-time for a cause that she truly believes in.
So how about you? What causes and dreams are you most passionate about?
3. What type of work gets you the most excited?
Now think about the day-to-day work you do to earn a living. Even if you don’t love your job, there was probably something that attracted you to that field to begin with. What was it?
Is there a specific type of client you like to serve or a specific type of project you enjoy taking on? Identifying the work that fuels you will lead you toward your North Star.
4. How has your past uniquely shaped you for the future?
Finally, how has your past prepared you to make an impact in the future? Are there unique challenges that you faced as a child? Are you perhaps passionate about giving back to kids who face those same challenges today? Or, perhaps you grew up in a different part of the country (or even the world) and you’re passionate about helping the people in your former home to improve their lives.
I have clients who have overcome physical and emotional challenges in their lives, and they now find deep meaning in helping others overcome those same challenges.
Although it’s not always the case, I’ve seen that sometimes the journey that life has taken you on can set the stage for your next act. How have you been shaped by your past?
Remember: The only opinion that matters is yours.
Sometimes, as you begin to dream big dreams, you’ll face resistance. People might tell you, “That’s not how it’s done,” “You could never do that,” or “You have to choose between making a living and chasing your dreams.”
But let me tell you: they’re wrong. I believe you can have it all. You can build a meaningful life and still meet your financial goals. It’s your life, not theirs. Don’t live your life based on the expectations of others. As novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, “The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”
So, go find your North Star.
A few months ago, a Spotlight Branding client told us a story that is every lawyer’s worst nightmare. It all started when our client (we’ll call him Justin) got a phone call.
“Hello!” said the person on the other end of the line. “I’m looking for a lawyer who can help me with a family law issue.”
“Oh, I’m sorry!” Justin told the caller. “Family law isn’t my specialty. But I know another lawyer who is excellent at it. Let me give you her name.”
When Justin passed on the name of the other attorney, his caller gasped.
“Oh my gosh, I actually worked with her three months ago,” they said. “I was very happy with her work and wanted to get in touch with her again, but I couldn’t remember her name or figure out how to find her. So, I went online and found you instead!”
Justin’s heart sank. He was thrilled that the caller had found him online and was inspired by the content we’d helped him create, but he also felt awful for his friend. This client, with their thousands of dollars of repeat business and potential referrals, had almost gotten away.
It’s chilling to think you could be that family law attorney, losing clients without even knowing it, despite being excellent at your job. Maybe you are that lawyer, and you just don’t realize it! How would you know?
Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening to your firm. To ensure you aren’t forgettable, you need to do what the family law attorney didn’t do: Bring every new client and contact into your firm’s Content Loop™.
The Content Loop™ is Spotlight Branding’s tried-and-true method of keeping your firm top of mind. (Find out more about it at SpotlightBranding.com/NL.) To leverage its power, invite your new contacts to join your mailing list or social media pages, then put out consistent content like a monthly newsletter, social media post, blogs, and videos. This will keep your name fresh in your network’s heads and ensure you capture their repeat business and referrals.
With the Content Loop™ in your back pocket, you’ll never find yourself forgotten like that family law attorney. Your name will always be in your client’s inbox or newsfeed, just a click away.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.
Management expert Ken Blanchard is credited with saying, “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”
So, I ask you: When you set goals for your career and your life, are you truly committed to reaching those goals? Are you committed to building a business that works in harmony with the rest of your life? Have you made the commitment to thrive — to build a life that you love, not just earn a living?
If you’re having trouble committing, keep reading, because today I’m going to share three steps that will help you finally make the commitment.
1. Find your passion.
It’s hard to commit to anything if you’re not passionate about it. Passion gets you out of bed in the morning, ready to take on the world. Without passion, it can feel more like just going through the motions.
So I ask you: What are you passionate about? What gets you excited? Is it traveling the world? Time with your kids or grandkids? Are you a history buff?
I’m passionate about travel, cooking, and amateur photography. So, I’ve structured my business and my life in such a way that I can enjoy each of these passions and more. For example, I use the photos I take on my travels as the foundation of my Instagram strategy. And when I give speeches and go to conferences, I make sure to set aside time in my itinerary to explore and take photos. I often make time for a cooking class, as well! This allows me to blend my work with my passions. You can, too.
What are you passionate about and how can you build your career and your life around those passions? Now that is worth committing to.
2. Take the first step.
Most people get stuck because taking the first step is scary. Whether it’s leaving your job to start your own business, changing careers, moving to a new city, or whatever the case may be — change is always scary.
It’s OK if you’re not 100% sure that it’s going to work. Really, when are we 100% sure of anything?
Do your homework. Do your research. Listen to your gut. Talk to a mentor. But then, once you’ve done the work, don’t let fear hold you back. Take the first step!
3. Don’t let doubt creep in.
Doubt will keep you from making progress. It’s OK that you don’t know exactly how the future is going to unfold. Again, do we ever really know what the future holds?
What I can tell you, from decades of experience owning my own business as well as coaching other business owners, is that if you find your passion and you’re committed to taking action, you will find a way to make it work. Your path may look different than you thought it would, but you will get there. Don’t let fear and doubt tell you otherwise.
Make the commitment!
I have helped clients create a business and lifestyle they never thought possible, so I know you can do it. Find your passion. Do your homework and then take the first step. Don’t let fear and doubt hold you back. Make the commitment and I believe you will achieve the results you’re looking for.
Think about the last time you went online to order takeout food. How was the experience? Did you put your order in without a hitch, or were you frustrated by the restaurant’s outdated website, malfunctioning plugins, and counterintuitive ordering process? Maybe you even wondered whether they were open at all when a COVID-19 popup from March 2020 appeared.
Restaurants are notorious for their terrible websites. Once or twice we’ve come across an ordering platform that was such a mess we felt like throwing our laptop out the window. When that happens we say, “Screw it!” and order DoorDash instead. The restaurant’s old, crusty website officially lost them a customer.
If you haven’t updated your firm’s website in a few years, YOU could be the one making people want to toss their computers across the room.
Unfortunately, this problem isn’t exclusive to restaurants. If you haven’t updated your firm’s website in a few years, YOU could be the one making people want to toss their computers across the room. To win over clients and keep up your firm’s image and reputation, you need to refresh your website regularly. Here are three big reasons to stay on top of those updates:
1. DIGITAL TRENDS CHANGE — AND YOU DON’T WANT A WEBSITE THAT’S “SO 2015.”
The looks considered eye-catching, popular, and modern online change just as often as what’s “in” on the runway. What impressed visitors years ago might look awful today and vice versa. Right now, asymmetrical website layouts are in — who the heck would have predicted that in 2016? Updating your website regularly shows that you’re keeping up with the times, and that’s a reflection of your firm’s credibility and attention to detail. Don’t get sloppy.
2. EVERY DAY YOUR WEBSITE AGES, ITS FUNCTIONALITY DEGRADES.
Think of your website like a car. As soon as you drive a new vehicle off the lot, its value goes down, and it keeps degrading over time. After 10 years, your turn signals are sticky, your glove compartment won’t close, and you have stubborn stains on your leather seats. The same thing will happen with your website but much faster. A decade in car time is like two years online.
Websites have dozens of moving pieces and parts, and many of those plugins and integrations aren’t native to the website itself. They get separate updates, and over time, they become incompatible or stop working entirely. Without regular full-site refreshes, entire sections of your website can become defunct. But when you update your website regularly, you can fix those issues and add cutting-edge features.
3. IF YOUR WEBSITE IS OUT OF DATE, IT MIGHT BE MISREPRESENTING YOUR BRAND.
Think about what your firm looked like at the time your website was created. How many people were on your team? What were your practice areas? What did your branding and logo look like? Odds are if your website is more than two years old, some or all of those things have changed. 2020 forced thousands of law firms to pivot their practice areas and update their messaging. If you haven’t made those changes on your website, you’re misrepresenting your brand and missing out on clients who could be ideal fits for you. Your website needs to reflect the current you, not the old you. A refresh can make that happen and bring in an influx of consultations.
We know these are tough pills to swallow. Maybe you LOVE your old website, or you designed it yourself and sending it to the digital scrap heap hurts. We get it. Sometimes we have to replace websites for clients that we designed just a few years ago, and they can be hard to let go. BUT, doing so is necessary for the greater good of your firm — and we can help. Together, we can create a website that looks stylish, functions smoothly, and is the perfect fit for who you are now. It won’t be long before it pays for itself. When you’re ready to upgrade and start bringing in more clients, contact us today.
If you’ve done more than five minutes of research on marketing, you’ve probably heard that to succeed, you need to “build a funnel.” Marketing funnels are all the rage right now. The idea is that you use your content, digital advertising, points of contact, and other marketing efforts to suck leads into the broad end of the metaphorical funnel and guide them to the bottom where they become consultations or clients. But this method has one huge problem — and my team has solved it.
The issue is that marketing funnels end. When you use the funnel method, your goal is to gather leads and turn them into consultations. But once they’ve booked with you … then what? The funnel method says, “You’re on your own, sucker!” It’s up to you to figure out how to close, nurture, retain, and upsell those clients going forward. The funnel is no longer useful.
In our view, this traditional method is incomplete. Most marketing companies don’t see this — or if they do, they just don’t care. That’s because they’re focused on the top of the funnel. These big companies are just interested in helping you generate leads and turning them into clients. Once they’ve hit that metric, they’re out! This might sound nice (they’re doing their job, right?), but what it means is that the long-term success of your business doesn’t matter to them.
But it matters to us. We care how many clients the firms we work with bring in, AND we care how many they keep. Looking at the marketing funnel, we knew there must be a better, more holistic marketing solution. So, we sat down and came up with a revolutionary strategy that helps law firms not only win clients but also retain them, nurture them, and keep them engaged.
We call it The Content Loop™. For our clients, we build loops, not funnels.
So, what is The Content Loop™? The idea behind our proven process is pretty simple: The loop closes the end of the funnel so clients no longer “fall out” after you schedule them for the first time. Basically, we took the end of the funnel and stretched it around to connect with the top. We create a loop for you by putting out content consistently, including blogs, videos, social media posts, e-newsletters, and website updates.
This flow of content creates ongoing touchpoints with your network — the leads, referrals, referral sources, clients, colleagues, strategic relationships, family, and friends moving inside the loop. When you keep up the flow, it keeps your brand top of mind and builds up your reputation over time so no lead, referral, or opportunity is missed. We diversify this content and blast it out on all of the common channels so your marketing efforts reach everyone in your network: avid readers, video junkies, and social media surfers. Over time, you’ll inevitably become a familiar, trusted brand.
When you build loops instead of funnels (or let us build them for you), it’s impossible for your network to forget who you are and what you do. This method is proven to lower churn and strengthen relationships. We’ve tailored it specifically for law firms and perfected it over time. At this point, I’m confident it’s the best system on the market for lawyers.
Helping our clients retain THEIR clients is integral to what we do. Your success is our success. This is so vital to Spotlight Branding’s ethos that we created a proprietary process to make it happen and gave it a pun-tastic name. (The Content Loop™ keeps your clients “in the loop” — get it?) If you’re still building funnels or if you haven’t let us leverage your loop’s full potential, you’re stuck in the past. It’s time to call us up and ask, “Hey — how about you build me a loop?”
Would you make an emotional love confession to your toothbrush? Would you tell your favorite joke to a glass of water? If you answered “no” twice, take a minute to think about why those answers were so easy, and yet you don’t bat an eye about marketing to robots.
When we say robots, we’re referring to search engine algorithms — the invisible hand controlling everyone’s Google searches. Every year, more lawyers create content focused on catching that technology’s attention. But in the long run, this isn’t a smart way to market. That’s why the second law of content marketing is…
focus on people, not search engines.”
Last month, we shared the first law of content marketing with you (“content is king”) and explained that people are consuming more and more content each year. The first law shows why creating content consistently is so important. The second law reveals that how you create content matters just as much. There are two reasons you should tailor your content to people, not robots.
1. Staying in touch is guaranteed — winning the SEO game isn’t.
The SEO landscape is so competitive that you can gamble away thousands of dollars and hours without any return. But when you focus on people and share your content with them on social media or through email, you’re guaranteed to accomplish your goal of staying in touch and keeping your firm top of mind.
2. Content is what makes your firm relatable.
Using content, you can put yourself in your clients’ shoes, answer their questions, and tell them what they want to hear. You can make your firm relatable and build your credibility. This is what makes content such a valuable marketing tool. But when you shift your focus away from creating helpful, meaningful posts in favor of stuffing them with keywords, you lose that advantage.
Ultimately, your toothbrush, a glass of water, and search engines have a key thing in common: None of them is your target audience. They aren’t the ones who will ultimately decide to accept your love, laugh at your joke, or do business with your firm. So, instead of wasting your money and time targeting robots, speak to the people you really care about: your clients, leads, and referral partners.
Change is uncomfortable, and most often, it will happen with or without your participation. Will you embrace it, or will you resist it? Could it be an opportunity for growth? Consider for a moment—What if it is an opportunity for growth and you pass on it? Seth Godin has an interesting perspective…
“The windmills aren’t the problem, it’s the tilting.
In Cervantes’ day, ’tilting’ was a word for jousting. You tilted your lance at an enemy and attacked.
Don Quijote was noted for believing that the windmills in the distance were giants, and he spent his days on attack.
Change can look like a windmill.
When we say, ‘the transition to a new place is making me uncomfortable,’ we’ve expressed something truthful. But when we attack a windmill, we’ve wasted our time and missed an opportunity to focus on what matters instead.
When my dad taught at the University of Buffalo, the heart of his MBA classes was teaching about the ‘change agent.’ This is the external force that puts change into motion. The change agent, once identified, gives us an understanding of our options and the need to respond, not to react.
Every normal is a new normal, until it is replaced by another one. —Seth Godin
Find the courage to view change as an opportunity. Sometimes we spend much too much time resisting change instead of taking action! This week I ask you to stop the resistance. You will never have complete assurance something will work. Make a commitment and get to work!
Open a new tab right now and open up your firm’s social media accounts. Don’t just pull up one — open everything you have, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Now, look at your most recent post. How old is it? Let us guess: It’s older than you’d like to admit.
Hundreds of law firms neglect their social media accounts, and every single one of them is stabbing their own company in the back. You might not feel the wound yet, but trust us, it’s there. Your firm is bleeding potential clients.
The first thing people wonder when they pull up a neglected social media account is, “Is this place even open?” In a worst-case scenario, they do a bit of scrolling, decide you’ve probably closed your doors, and move on. In a best-case scenario, they figure out you’re open but still don’t call because the neglect makes your firm appear disorganized and inattentive.
So, how can you bring your social media accounts back to life and turn this weakness into an asset? Creating a schedule and posting consistently is the easiest way! We suggest that our clients post every single day. (If that seems overwhelming, you can contact our team for help!).
- This does mean that sometimes your posts will get repetitive, but repetition isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s an asset! Posting about the same blog five days in a row (in different ways, of course) or sharing the same podcast each week guarantees three things:
- More people will see your posts. Social media is controlled by algorithms, so your followers won’t see everything you put out. It may take three posts to reach everyone.
- Your firm will look open again. Posting every day makes you appear engaged and relevant, which is exactly what potential clients want.
Your message will build over time. The more consistent and repetitive your posts are, the more effectively you can drill your specializations into your followers’ heads. This will reinforce your position as an expert in your field.
Ultimately, consistency guarantees that your followers will remember you and know what to remember you FOR. It’s the best way to stop the bleeding and get your marketing back on track.