First, you must realize that you own and run a business and you are in it among other things to make a profit, to earn a living. And so, like ANY business owner, you must think and behave like an entrepreneur and not just a lawyer. Remember, the only person who is responsible for your ultimate success (or lack thereof) is you. Your mind needs to open up to new possibilities; what is, that ethically successful lawyers leading balanced lives, and doing great jobs for their clients are doing?
We will be focusing today on how successful entrepreneurs think and behave. You must learn to ignore the voices of the critics who say “well, who gave you the ‘right’ to do this?” They aren’t paying your bills for you! A proper mindset is a key to any kind of sustained success in life.
In order to be the very best you can for your clients, your family and yourself, you have to be making a profit with your law practice. The lawyer who is running a business, that includes a marketing machine that drives potential clients to him, in order that he can ‘select’ and represent only those clients who best fit his skill set, attitude and interests is a better lawyer for those clients.
Don’t worry if you can’t save everyone. You were not put on this earth nor are you expected to save everyone. That’s impossible. It leads to mediocrity and burnout. Your role is to maximize your unique gifts and talents for the people you can help.
Great entrepreneurs believe that the world is big and that the opportunities are endless. When you truly believe this, your entire thinking about the ideas that you see changes. Some lawyers live their lives looking over their shoulders because they believe there is not enough of everything to go around. Thus, they not only refuse to share what it is they know, but they refuse to open their minds to the possibilities. This can destroy your practice. Harsh? It’s the truth!
If you are into an occupation or a profession and you had no mentor and you didn’t know what to do to be successful, the best thing you can do is look around, see what everybody else is doing and just do the opposite. Model what truly successful people are doing.
However, if you don’t know who the successful people are, or can’t find any, simply look around at what the rest are doing and do something different. Doing what everyone else is doing is the sure path to “average.” By definition, what the masses are doing is merely average. That should not be good enough for you.
Some of the “industry norms” in the legal profession are:
1. The best way to get your name out there and get cases, is to join a whole bunch of committees so that you can get referred cases.
2. In a litigant’s practice you have to not only risk all of your time but also totally fund all of the cases yourself.
3. In order to satisfy and keep clients, you have to make yourself available 24/7 and give them your cell phone number.
4. My type of clients won’t respond to “this type” of marketing.
5. If I don’t sign up the client today they will go to the next client on the
There is a perfect client profile for your practice and skill set and you should be marketing only to that person. Who do you enjoy representing? What type of client brings you not only the money that you deserve but also the enormously good feeling of helping someone solve their legal problem?
Which type of client do you hate? Remember this…
Successful entrepreneurs give themselves permission to recognize that “there is a perfect client for them”; to design that prototype in their minds and commit it to paper; and then to design marketing and build a practice that is specifically for that type of “A client.” It is okay to treat the potential client you want differently than the clients you don’t want. In fact, your ‘marketing’ should repel those whom you do not enjoy representing. Go ahead. Discriminate.
It is common to believe that there is no way you can differentiate yourself from the competition. After all, you all do the same things. It’s absolutely not true!
If you believe that, all you are doing is producing the same thing that every other lawyer in your niche is producing, then you have given yourself a no better than the average career.
Here are some ways you can differentiate yourself:
1. Develop a unique selling proposition. “Why should a client choose you to do business with, above all other choices, including the choice to do nothing?”
2. Niche your business. Don’t try to be all things to all people.
3. Create and sell an experience. Ultimately, your ideal clients are attracted to how good and secure your services will make them feel.
4. Create, sell, and deliver by a system. Think “McDonalds.”
5. Create an interesting and educational system to ‘market’ your practice that is so deep and comprehensive that people come to know you by your type
I know this is a LOT of information for one post, but it’s necessary. We will delve deeper and break them down as we go along. Feel free to shoot us comments or questions.
To your Success!
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