Reviews are essential to your law firm marketing success … but what about the bad review? First, just a quick refresher on why online reviews are so important to your law firm marketing.
Google loves Google reviews (reviews that are submitted directly on their platform)!
Google does not share their algorithms with us, but webmasters agree that lots of great Google reviews will boost your website’s performance on local search.
People trust reviews. They are more likely to click-through to your website and more likely to hire you if you have a lot of positive Google reviews.
For these reasons, we encourage every one of our law firm marketing clients to be very intentional about getting positive reviews on Google and other platforms, like Facebook and Yelp.
But what about the bad review?
How bad is it, really … and what should you do about it? First — breathe. EVERYONE gets a bad review sometime. The more successful you are, the more people you work with (or decide not to work with), the more likely someone out there is going to get their panties in a wad and rush over to Google to vent their frustration and dissatisfaction. It’s a new fact of our online lives. How bad is it, really? Well, I’m not going to lie. It can be bad. I’ve spoken to several business owners who have definitely lost business due to a single bad review … often an unfair one at that. What can you do about it? You can make it worse … you can make it better … you can learn from it … and you can be pro-active to protect yourself from it. But you cannot delete it. Once it’s out there, only the person who left the review can edit or delete it.
Make it worse. Ah, the knee-jerk reaction that gets you into a no-win, public argument online. The review is unfair or untrue and you — as a trained advocate — can PROVE it. Tread lightly here, my friend. It’s oh-so-easy to look like a jerk online and this is an argument you cannot win. PLUS — the more comments and replies and the longer this thread becomes, the more weight it gets from Google and the whole thing just blows up into a bigger mess than before. Please do not start an argument in the reviews section online. It just never turns out well.
Make it better. There are several ways you may be able to make it better. The first would be to call the person and see if there was just a misunderstanding that can be easily resolved … and if so, take action and then ask if they would please consider editing their review. This happened to me once when I left a terrible review for a company. The owner called me the next day and straightened everything out. I went back and revised my review based on his understanding, willingness to listen, and quick action. Anyone can make a mistake, and I was impressed that this company admitted it and made it right.
Learn from it. A bad review may open your eyes to a weakness in your firm — whether it’s a rude receptionist or a break-down in your processes. A bad review could be a gift, showing you something about your firm that you didn’t know before. Take the criticism, learn from it and do better next time. Respond to the review by thanking the reviewer for bringing this to your attention and state what actions you will take or have taken to correct the situation.
Protect yourself from it. The best protection against a bad review is lots of great ones! Pro-actively request positive reviews from your many happy clients. Most people understand that a single bad review, among many great ones is just something that happens. Over time, the bad review will get buried and, if you didn’t make it worse by getting into a huge blow-up, most people will never see it. And if they do, they will take it with a grain of salt.
There is one more thing you could do. You could consider threatening the bad reviewer with a lawsuit. Since you’re a lawyer, this may be a real option for you. If the reviewer is being vindictive, if their claims are untrue and malicious and you can show harm … then you might think about it.
We have been hurt by a few disgruntled clients who went into a private forum, where we have no access, and wrote bad things about us. A few of our clients who are members alerted us and shared screenshots. Some of what was written is patently false, and of course there is “the rest of the story,” that we had no opportunity to tell. Several of our clients hopped in and told their positive stories … but to this day, we still have the occasional person who backs out of doing business with us because of these two or three disgruntled clients. Very frustrating. But at the end of the day, I consider it a gift. If someone allows these few unhappy clients to sway their opinion — despite our 25 years of success in this market, our many positive reviews, AND the unsolicited testimonials of our clients who tried to set the record straight — then that person may be very difficult for us to work with. I choose to Ho’oponopono and move on.
One of the most frustrating aspects of estate planning marketing is the toll it often takes on the attorneys and their personal lives. It’s not just about serving clients … which, honestly is stressful enough. It’s about managing referral relationships, staying in touch and making each one feel valued and special … carving out time for lunch meetings …
Or … it’s driving all over your market area to deliver yet another seminar or workshop … in a local restaurant, nursing home, public library or rented conference room. And it’s not just all the driving … it’s the time away from home … and even away from the office. When things go well, there’s hardly any time to get the work done, unless you stay late or go into the office on the weekend. And then, of course there’s hardly any time left to actually lead your staff, build your team or implement great new ideas.
And when things aren’t going so well … it’s the white-knuckle, gut-wrenching feeling you get when you look at the firm’s bank balance and wonder how you’re going to meet payroll or pay the office rent.
Did you know it’s that way by design?
All those self-proclaimed gurus who told you that the way to market an estate planning or elder law practice is by building your referral network and/or hosting live workshops … they set you up for this.
Those out-dated estate planning marketing strategies are designed to keep you busy, fill up your time and create a glass ceiling on your income.
It does not have to be like this.
The key to scaling your practice and taking back your life is to LEVERAGE YOUR TIME.
Just say no to more working lunches.
Just say no to hustling around to even more live workshops.
Learn the simple strategies our clients use to get off the hamster wheel of seminar and referral marketing.
Book a free Discovery Call. In this FREE session, we will work with you to craft a step-by-step game plan to hit your income goals for this year, whether that’s $10,000/month or $200,000/month … AND for attracting the exact the clients you want … a game plan that won’t have you doubling-down on even more lunches or seminars!
And the truth is, relying on the kindness of strangers for referrals can be a fatal problem for your estate planning or elder law firm.
The first time you disappoint your referral source … miss a phone call … or the referral is a difficult client who can’t be pleased … or along comes another, hungrier attorney … your business can dry up and blow away overnight.
The whole process puts someone else in charge of how fast your firm can grow, the types of clients you can work with and even the fees you can charge.
It steals your freedom, your power and your control.
You didn’t go to law school to live like that.
And you don’t have to.
Imagine what your life would be like if you had a reliable, independent source of new clients who need your help, are ready to take action, and value a relationship with their personal attorney.
And even when you’re away from the office – overnight, on the weekends, or on vacation – new clients are completing your intake process online and scheduling appointments.
When you get back to the office, refreshed from a short break, your calendar is full … with people you enjoy meeting, who have problems you can solve and are willing to pay premium fees.
It’s not just a pipe dream.
That is the reality for clients I work with every day.
They still get referrals … great referrals from great professional and client relationships. But they’re not out there day after day begging for business. No one tells them who they can work with or what they can charge.
And they only buy lunch for people they like. Out of friendship rather than obligation.
I’m not saying that to impress you, I just want you to know that it works.
You can learn how now in my newest free training. I’ll show you the exact strategies our clients follow to take back control and grow their estate or elder law firms to seven figures … and more. After you watch the training, book a strategy call with us and see if it makes sense for us to help you, too.
Have you ever been told that if you want to earn six or seven figures from your law firm that you need to dive into your financials, run the critical metrics, tie those into your KPIs (key performance indicators) … and do that every week?
Let me save you some hard work and aggravation.
About five years ago, I committed to scaling up our business and I tried those exact strategies. I spent 16-hour days … 70-hour weeks … grueling months … poring over the financials: defining, tracking, and analyzing the firm’s critical metrics in relation to dozens of KPIs.
Because I lacked confidence in my own ability to grow the company, I listened to the self-proclaimed “experts.”
I believed it when they said that knowing and monitoring all these numbers would catapult my company to multiple seven figure revenue.
But what really happened?
Well, for starters … we didn’t grow.
I was exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed. I lost the joy I’d had in building the company and serving clients. I was disconnected from my team and our clients because I was so engrossed in the numbers.
I even started to hate going to work … my work, my company, the job I created out of love and passion had been reduced to spreadsheets filled with numbers that stubbornly refused to change.
And no matter how many numbers I tracked or how hard I looked at them … they just didn’t budge.
We were stuck.
I felt like I’d hit a glass ceiling and no matter how much time I spent in Spreadsheet Hell, we just couldn’t break through.
Then I asked myself ONE question – what would happen if I stopped torturing myself with all those numbers … and started doing what I do best instead?
I hired an accountant to track the essential financials and give me regular updates. (Oh happy day!)
Then, I got really clear on who I wanted us to be when we grew up – what we valued at our core, how we best served our clients, and my vision for our inspired future.
Instead of focusing on meeting expenses, I focused on meeting our profits.
It’s simple enough. You get what you focus on. When I focused on expenses, I was able to meet them. But that’s all.
I discovered that when you shift your focus to passion and profitability, your business will automatically show you the path to growth. You figure out what fuels your passion, make that profitable, and dump everything else. That’s law firm financials made easy.
And, within two years I blew through that glass ceiling and left it shattered on the ground! I released irksome clients and committed to ONLY work with clients who truly need, value and appreciate us.
And I rediscovered once-lost joy in my job … following my passion and working toward an inspired vision of the future.
If you want to grow your estate planning or elder law practice to be both more profitable and enjoyable and you want to do it without ever losing your joy, your purpose or your passion for clients, then here’s what I have for you.
Watch my newest training and schedule a strategy call with us. In the training you’ll learn the exact steps our clients take to achieve their financial goals and a law practice they love.
When you’re ready to transform your practice to achieve your own inspired vision, give us a call. We’ll help you get total clarity on where you are now, what success looks like for you, and the steps that will get you there fast, without spending another moment in Spreadsheet Hell.
Right now, there are thousands of estate planning and elder law attorneys trying to achieve a seven-figure law practice and a lifestyle that doesn’t leave them frustrated, stressed and burned out.
They’re taking financial advisors to lunch six times a week …
They’re running newspaper ads and mailing out invitations for their weekly workshops and seminars …
They’re even meticulously tracking every “touch” with their referral sources, living in spreadsheet hell trying to get new business by remembering birthdays, hobbies, and the names of every spouse and child for dozens of financial advisors, CPAs and insurance professionals.
And despite all of that, most of them aren’t even close to profitability … much less financial freedom and a lifestyle they love.
If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know that the strategies I mentioned above – pandering to referral sources and hosting seminars and workshops – are absolute garbage, in my opinion.
If you want to have a law firm you love, financial security and time to enjoy life, you’ll never get there in a million years if you do those things. Following those strategies is like your client who says they want a will to avoid probate … just like a will is your ticket to probate, referral and seminar marketing strategies are your tickets to stress, frustration and burnout.
But is that the REAL reason estate and elder lawyers are struggling?
The real reason is that most of them lack a reliable, independent source of qualified prospects.
When business slows down, they start calling on CPAs, financial planners and insurance salesmen.
When seminar attendance drops, they buy more newspaper ads, a bigger mailing list and mail more invitations.
And when revenue sinks, they panic.
…and when that happens … they drop their fees, take on clients who aren’t a good fit for them, and cut back on staff.
Let’s be honest – have you ever done this?
If you have, don’t sweat it. Nobody’s perfect.
But now that you know what happens when you don’t have a reliable, independent source of qualified prospects I believe you owe it to yourself to start growing one, and make that the #1 priority in your estate planning or elder law firm.
What if I told you there were a way you could grow your practice, your freedom and your financial security … without ever hosting another retail seminar or relying on the kindness of strangers to send you new business?
What if there were a way you could consistently attract the exact clients you most want to serve, charge premium fees and maintain total control over your finances, your time and your lifestyle?
Obviously, that’d be really different than what everyone else is doing, right?
Just by displaying a little self-reliance, you set yourself up for financial freedom and the time to enjoy it.
If you want to grow your estate planning practice to be both more profitable and enjoyable and you want to do it without ever compromising your professional freedom or personal life then here’s what I have for you.
Watch my newest training and schedule a strategy call with us. In the training you’ll learn the exact steps our clients take to achieve professional independence and financial security in a law firm they love. Then give us a call. We’ll work with you to get total clarity on where you are now, what success looks like for you, and the steps that will get you there fast, without ever buying lunch for anyone.
Disclaimer: Growing a small law firm to six or seven figures (or more) is not easy. The journey is both challenging and exhilarating. At every step you may be tempted to quit. Those who succeed are committed, coach-able and resourceful. If that’s you, let’s talk.