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Attorneys Giving Thanks

Attorneys Giving Thanks to What Matters the Most

Thanksgiving is just a few short days away, and in our rush to sample all of the tasty treats that are prepared for the big day, we tend to gloss over the ‘thanks’ in Thanksgiving. As attorneys, we have a lot to be thankful for now, and all year long.  Sometimes, it can be easy to forget that after a long hard case that didn’t go the way that we wanted it to for our clients or when things in our personal life don’t work out how we want. For attorneys giving thanks, remember to try focusing on the positive things this holiday season, rather than the negatives.

You’re a Lawyer

Yes, you’re in one of the hardest professions that required you to work exceptionally hard from high school all the way into law school. Then of course, once enduring the hefty workload of law school, there was that dreaded bar exam you were required to pass. That is a rare accomplishment that you should certainly be thankful for in your life.  Not everyone can follow their dreams and make it in their chosen profession. Now, by achieving your dreams, you are able to pay it forward by helping others in finding justice.

Job Security

If you are part of a large firm, there is always the possibility of downsizing. However, that can be preventable by letting your work ethic speak for itself. As for attorneys that manage their own firms, job security is definitely more in their realm of control by how they attract and retain clients. No one can ever say their job is layoff-proof, but having the proper law-practicing credentials puts you in a decent position for long-term employment.

Your Staff

You should be thankful for the people that you surround yourself with professionally. These are the day-to-day individuals that help keep your firm afloat and allow you to focus more on your own workload. They are there for you day in and day out with whatever you need, so show them your appreciation and they’ll continue to produce for you.

Your Clients

Attorneys giving thanks to their clients is a MUST. Not only because they pay the bills, but because they give your life purpose. You fight for them every day with your actions and strive towards changing their life for the better. There are many people that are aimless in their actions, but not you. When you go that extra mile to provide a favorable verdict, your clients, in turn, will also express their appreciation by referring you to others.

The Era We Live In

As little as 25 years ago, the idea of connecting quickly with people from across the world without breaking the bank was unfathomable. Now, the digital age that we currently live in provides us with the ability to send messages or images to all corners of the globe instantly, as well as attend video conferences with clients or colleagues. Some may say that we’ve become spoiled by today’s ease of connectivity, but ultimately, being a part of this moment in time allows us to work more quickly, efficiently, and even stay in touch with all of the loved ones in our lives regardless of their location.

Your Health

You woke up this morning, and that should be on the top of your list of things to be grateful for in life. Every day is a blessing that we should acknowledge as being precious. Everyone has something that ails him or her in one way or another. Whether you take medication for high blood pressure or struggle with an old injury, you began your day with breath in your lungs and the instinctual will power to take on anything that the world throws at you.

Obviously, this is only a short list of the many things that warrant attorneys giving thanks. Each and every person lives their life differently and has their own experiences. What’s important is that we recognize those experiences and individuals that have significantly improved both our professional and personal lives. So as you endure your daily grind, be sure to set aside some time to thank everyone that has influenced you not only during the holidays but all year long!

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The Art of Persuasion

Being an effective attorney involves much more than a firm grasp on the law and how it applies to situations. It also involves a strong ability to present this knowledge and form a persuasive argument. This ability does not always come naturally. Some people are born with the gift of easily influencing others, but many of us have to work to develop the skill.

Persuading others towards accepting your argument or point of view is important for almost every aspect of effectively practicing law. From gaining clients to convincing jurors to closing deals, a persuasive attorney will often be a successful one.

The talent of persuasion is one thing; it involves a natural ability to influence others. However, we believe that the art of persuasion is something else and can be developed for those who are not gifted in this way. The skill of persuasion can be even more effective because it is a conscious act that has been perfected through knowledge and practice.

Even your first interaction with a client will be an important time to use this skill. Throughout your relationship with the client, you will continue to persuade them and eventually close the deal. Here are a few tips that will help any attorney be more persuasive and help close the deal.

Simple Language

Persuasion is not only about the message you mean to convey but about how you convey it. As an attorney, your job will often involve taking complex information and compacting into short, easily digestible bits. The more simplified the language, the more persuasive it will be.

Be a Chameleon

People like themselves. They like people who act like them. You can use this simple fact to your advantage. Use similar language, tone and vernacular as the client. Studies have shown that mimicry of body language also makes a person more likable and persuasive.

Be Decisive

It will be hard to persuade someone on your point of view if they do not believe you are knowledgeable and confident about it. Be certain and avoid hesitations like “umm” and “I mean.”

Learn from Others 

The next time you are in a sales environment take notice of what they do and how they try to persuade you to buy a product. Salesmen and marketing specialists have some of the most effective persuasion skills of anyone, and you can learn a lot from them.

Tell a Story

Language is nothing more than symbols that invoke mental images. Keep this in mind when speaking and use words that will cause your client to draw the image you want in his or her mind.

Don’t Let Them Know

Nobody likes to think they are being persuaded. It is an uncomfortable position that naturally causes defensive reactions. Although persuasion may be obvious in some instances, try to make it seem as though you are having a natural, friendly conversation.

Persuasion is an invaluable skill in many occupations such as retail associate or car salesman but is particularly crucial for attorneys. You must convey a level trust in order to sell someone on your services, expertise, and ultimately your personability. The next time you call in a potential client, try these simple methods to get them on board with your firm.

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Snapchat

New social media apps crop up all the time, but few ever become popular enough to stick around for a significant period of time. Snapchat is one such app. Created in 2011 by three students at Stanford University, it has since risen in popularity to become one of the most widely-used social media apps, especially among the millennial audience.

The app works by sending images and videos between users that are meant to last only a few seconds, thus creating a “snapshot” of what is going on at any given time. Furthermore, users can upload a snap to their “snap story,” where any of their friends can view it for 24 hours. Cool features such as filters and geotags add to the fun of Snapchat, but it also has business applications as an important marketing tool that can be used to grow your audience and expand your brand as an attorney.

1. Take Your Followers “Behind the Scenes”:

One of the great uses of Snapchat is that it is less formal than other social media apps like Facebook or Instagram. As a result, you can show more of the informal, personable side of your firm rather than the professional side that you portray in just about every other aspect of your digital marketing. Use Snapchat to show your employees having fun together on a lunch break, or create a snap when someone interesting comes into the office. Have fun with it, and show your followers that your firm is made of real people!

2. Create a Geofilter:

Geofilters are filters that can be applied to any image or video taken in a geographic area when the person is in that area. These provide a unique way to show where you are at any given time. Consider making a geo filter for your area so that when clients visit, they can include your firm’s filter on their snaps. You can do the same with the snaps that you post on your story.

3. Take Advantage of Your Story:

Since images and videos on your story last 24 hours, it’s a great opportunity to do a “day in the life” and give followers an inside look into what operations at your firm are like. You can follow around one of your employees for the day, or have different people use your account to show how they contribute to your practice.

4. Appeal to Millenials:

Legal advice is almost inevitable for the majority of our population at one point or another; this includes the millennial generation which consists of 19 to 35-year-olds. This is the age group that has grown up in tandem with the current digital era and is usually the most savvy when it comes to updated technology and applications. This is reason enough to throw your hat into the ring of Snapchat and gain exposure to a younger generation that may not otherwise know about your firm or its services without reading the newspaper or other non-digital means of advertising.

Simply put, individuals inquiring about legal assistance want more than just a suit and tie to guide them through what could potentially be a strenuous courtroom proceeding. They want to know the personalities behind the firm and see firsthand that they are REAL people who are friendly and trustworthy to handle their legal affairs. Snapchat is the unique way to reach this goal and show the world the compassionate and light-hearted side of your law firm.

If you’ve already implemented Snapchat into your digital marketing strategy, kudos! We would love to hear your experiences of it thus far, so be sure to leave your comments in the box below. And for those attorneys ready to dip their toe into the Snapchat water for the first time, remember to keep it fun and enchanting!

You can find additional articles that can help improve multiple areas of your social media marketing by clicking here!

Customer Service

Customer service extends far beyond the realm of retail and technical support. As an attorney, it is especially important to provide upstanding service to all clients in order to build strong, long-lasting relationships. Your clients are relying on you for legal expertise, but the relationships you build with them through great customer service is what’s going to keep them using your legal skills, and maybe even recommending you through word-of-mouth to grow your clientele. By abiding by a few simple practices, you can increase your credibility as a compassionate attorney that makes the priorities of his/her clients of the utmost importance.

Be Attentive:

We all want the best possible service when conducting any sort of business with an associate or entrepreneur, but when it comes to legal matters, it is especially important to listen to the needs of your client. Take the time to fully understand each and every client’s particular situation. This helps two-fold, as it emits trustability in your expertise and also allows you to provide the best quality legal services by knowing your client’s matters more intimately.

Be Tenacious:

Showing your clients that you’re tenacious with a high work ethic lets them know that they entrusted their legal case with the right attorney. Those who may be vulnerable during a lengthy legal process will want to know their lawyer will do what is required for their case with enthusiasm.

Ability to Deliver Bad News:

No one wants to receive bad news, but if you have to give your client bad news regarding their case, find a way to deliver it in a more positive and personal manner. Positive language can go a long way towards framing a negative into something that might not be positive, but is a little more palatable. Delivering bad news in a negative manner will almost always solidify that a client will not inquire about your services in the future.

‘Yes’ is Powerful:

Being able to say yes to your client after having to say no is a powerful thing. This can be especially helpful when you’ve had to deliver bad news.  Look for other ways that you can help the client to let them know that you weren’t able to provide an ideal outcome, but will do whatever you can to ease the blow of the situation.

Great Treatment:

If you have staff, such as a receptionist or legal assistant, you’ll want to also offer fair treatment to your staff.  The service they offer also reflects upon you, so keep your staff happy!

Long-term Commitment:

When approaching a client, it’s important to remember that the case they are presenting you with may be just a small portion of your day and may be resolved relatively quickly, but offering attentive service is working to create a lifelong relationship. Treat every single client as if their interaction with you is your highest priority for the day.

Know Your Clients:

Every individual and every case is different, so personalize your service to adapt to everyone’s specific needs.  Sending out holiday or birthday cards is also a great way to make clients remember the services you provided and help keep you fresh in their mind for future legal consideration.

Get Feedback:

As an attorney, you’re not too important for feedback.  Learn what your clients appreciate most about your legal approaches and what they disliked when it comes to things that you can improve upon.

A satisfied client is likely to tell about three other people about how wonderful your legal service was to them, but an unsatisfied client is likely to shout from the rooftops about how bad their interaction was with you. In the legal world, it’s impossible to keep everyone happy all of the time, but going the extra mile when plausible can improve your odds for client satisfaction and retention. When in doubt, STAY ENCHANTING!

Have a comment or question regarding this article or any other aspect of marketing your law firm? Please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Communication

Many firms find themselves able to locate and contact clients successfully, and it is easily the first step for any firm looking to raise its stock and prestige. Where many firms fail, however, is in client retention, and they lose many of these clients through poor maintenance of relationships and lackluster communication and customer service. Lawyers and legal aides are trained to provide expert legal services, but many have not been trained in or lack certain communication and customer service skills. Former Harvard Business School professor David Maister has suggested that a lawyer’s personality and training are impediments in and of themselves to better service… but the natural tendencies can be overcome.

Provide/Seek Training:

Whether you start here, or with what you know, provide customer service training to all of your employees at the firm. You can’t expect results without putting in the work.

Present and Plan Projects Early:

Upon the receiving of a quote request or a brief, quickly and clearly outline the project. This will help both parties establish expectations early, and allow for the establishment of a timeline that will set you up for regular communication.

Listen to your Client:

In legal services, you generally find yourself in a dominant position and often anticipate responses while communicating with a client. One-sided communication is an easy mistake to make, but if you listen to your client, they are more likely to trust that you know them and understand their issue. Clients who are familiar with their legal counsel and trust them are more likely to open up and seek services.

Promptly Respond:

Even if you don’t have the answer yet, assure clients that you’ve received their email, voicemail or other communication and will respond with an answer as soon as you have one. This can help build a client’s confidence in their legal counsel.

Be a Human Too:

In the event that you have to deliver any sort of bad news to a client, turn off your legal persona and give the client time to react and reflect. They are likely going to be unable to process the complexities of the legal system until they’ve regained composure, and your compassion and patience can facilitate better decisions and relations.

Log out of your Email:

Many of those in legal services communicate primarily through email and the occasional phone call, but providing a more personal service and communication to a client, especially with good news, can go a long way in building long-term client relations. Try using Skype for video calls or schedule more in-person meetings.

Be Persuasive:

Whether through your speech in person, your email responses, or your online presence and website, your clients are always judging and evaluating their confidence in you. Creative use of web design and professional looking digital communications can impress clients and help build your network through maintaining current clients while attracting new ones.

In a nutshell, no client wants to feel neglected, misunderstood or of lesser importance; especially during what could end up being a potentially lengthy and emotionally exhausting legal process. Consistent communication from start to finish is essential for retaining a loyal clientele, all while allowing the ‘buzz’ get out that your office is the compassionate and dedicated firm that perspective clients are looking for. For a more in-depth look into the many facets of networking that you should be implementing for your law firm, click here!