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!
The first quarter of this year is over … is your estate planning practice on-track to meet your revenue and profit goals?
It’s not too late … but it is time to stop procrastinating and get down to the serious work of marketing your estate planning or elder law practice now.
If you’re not yet meeting your revenue goals, and you’ve been trying to get there for a while, then take a hard look at what you’ve been doing, and the way you’ve been thinking about your law firm.
Have you gotten where you want to go?
Have you achieved the things you wanted to achieve?
Are you hitting your goals consistently, month in and month out?
If so, that’s great!
But if not, rather than beating yourself up, let’s take a deeper look at what needs to change in your business, so you can generate consistent revenue every month for the rest of the year …
and know that your marketing is dialed-in to scale your practice to whatever revenue goals you set next year … and the years after.
The question to be asking yourself now is:
“What can I do TODAY to put myself on the trajectory to meet my revenue goals this year?”
I want to share with you exactly what we have our clients do to grow revenue while working with their ideal clients at profitable fees.
#1 – Believe It’s Possible
While this may seem a bit obvious, I definitely feel it’s worth mentioning and here’s why…
Legal marketing … and especially law firm business coaching … is littered with misinformation.
It amazes me that, in this day and age, there are law firm business coaches out there who would tell their clients that, in order to grow their business, they need to hitch their wagon to a financial advisor and beg for referrals … or buy half-page ads in the local newspapers and promote their seminars and workshops.
Who honestly wants to give up control over their law firm to someone pitching mutual funds? Or believes they can single-handedly save the newspaper industry by throwing thousands of dollars into paper-and-ink advertising?
Two sure signs that you’re following a poor business model and the wrong strategy are:
Your financial livelihood depends on the kindness of strangers; or
You’re investing marketing dollars in dying industries.
But it frustrates me that the naysayers are so rampant and so quick to give you out-dated advice that burns up your budget and lets others pick and choose your clients for you.
You ABSOLUTELY CAN grow your law firm without giving up control or sacrificing your personal life to the tyranny of referral and seminar marketing.
I’m not saying that to blow smoke, I’m saying that because we’ve done it … and we help our clients do it every day.
You don’t need to cold-call financial advisors or investment firms and beg to take someone to lunch … five or six times a week.
You don’t need to buy big ads in the local newspaper and serve punch and cookies to half-full rooms of people who just want to learn … what you know.
You don’t have to give up your evenings and weekends to host seminars.
And you don’t have to let someone else choose your clients for you.
But it comes down to this…
If you don’t even believe that digital marketing will send you better clients, at lower costs, with more consistency to scale your law firm … then you’re never going to give it an honest and fair shot.
#2 – The Right Strategy
The bottom line is this: you need the right digital strategy to reach your ideal clients online.
Growing your estate planning or elder law practice can feel a bit like running through a minefield at times, with certain obstacles you have to work through, right?
That’s just part of being a business owner…
On the other side of that minefield is the law firm that you want…
The freedom you want…
The lifestyle you want…
The impact you want for your clients…
It’s all there. The challenge is that you need to step strategically through this minefield.
If you take a wrong step, you could land on a mine and blow up everything.
This is why it’s so important to have the right strategy.
There are law firm coaches out there (well-known ones) who are teaching out-dated strategies…
They are teaching strategies that lack integrity, and don’t have your results as their #1 priority.
They are teaching hat-in-your-hand strategies that will ultimately end up making you work WAY harder and make it so that you can’t possibly serve your clients at a premium level.
So why does legal marketing feel like such a minefield?
Because, most of the time, you don’t know these strategies are BAD until you go out there and waste a ton of time and thousands of dollars trying to implement them.
If you have a bad strategy, putting more time, or more money, or more energy into it isn’t going to give you the law firm of your dreams.
Giving away control, putting your financial future into someone else’s hands, is never going to get you a profitable, enjoyable and satisfying law practice. No one else out there has your dream at the center of their efforts.
It’s YOUR dream. And it’s up to YOU to fight for it!
So, how do you tell the difference between a GOOD strategy and a bad one?
The answer lies in finding a great coach who has been there, done that, and can help lead you through the minefield.
When looking for a trustworthy coach, here’s some things to keep in mind:
1- Is this person already getting the outcome you want?
2- Are their clients succeeding as well? (This shows they are able to repeat the result).
3- Are they teaching a step-by-step strategy to get you to the outcome you want? (or is it 90% fluff?)
4 – Are they actively USING their own process? Is what they are teaching the exact same system they use for themselves?
5 – Is their business expanding?
6 – Does your gut tell you this is the simplest strategy?
If not, they have no business being your coach.
Our strategy at Integrity Marketing is simple –
We teach lawyers how to take compelling messages online to find and attract their ideal clients and get them into your office.
This is the strategy we use in our own business. It’s the strategy that our president, Kyle Krull, uses in his estate planning practice … and, it’s the strategy our clients use to build and grow their firms as well.
If you want to reach your revenue and profitability goals this year and you want to follow a proven strategy that works, then reach out and talk to us.
We’ll talk about your beliefs – (Do you really believe you can do this and that it’s possible for you?)
We’ll talk about the strategies you should be following.
And, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process our clients use to grow their firms with reliable, affordable digital marketing.
If you’re serious about growing your law firm this year, then we’re ready to help you with that…
I had coffee this morning with an estate attorney whose practice is stuck because of the fall-out of referral-based marketing.
Brilliant lawyer, excellent business man …
But the conventional wisdom about how to grow an estate planning law firm has failed him.
You know the drill. All the “experts” say you grow an estate planning law firm by building referral relationships with financial advisors.
Well, this attorney has done a GREAT job of that and now he has a GREAT BIG problem to solve.
Maybe you do, too?
Here is what he told me is wrong with his practice:
• The firm has too many “eggs” in one “basket,” with the majority of referrals coming from one source and less than half from all other sources combined.
• The financial advisors have too much control over the client relationships.
• Clients are confused about the relationships, even calling their financial advisor when they want changes to their legal documents
• The firm is missing out on at least half of their target demographic who are now self-advised and don’t work with financial advisors.
• They are not getting any business from online marketing because they just don’t know how.
I have good news for him!
** First, it’s not his fault. He followed the advice that nearly every so-called marketing expert in this industry doles out. And got the EXACT SAME results that every estate planning attorney gets when they rely on referral-marketing.
** Second, this is our specialty! It’s what we love to do and what we do every day. Other agencies just build websites. We build law firms. The right way. We help estate planning lawyers build a solid pipeline of new clients without relying on financial advisors or hosting seminars.
In fact, you can learn our exact step-by-step strategy in my newest training. When you’re ready, book a call to see if we can help you, too.
Here is an actual email from a law firm. But read the whole article before hitching up your judgey-pants. Could this happen to you?
(Names removed for obvious reasons)
A prospective client went on our website and completed a”Personal Information Form” (which is a 4 page form people usually print out, complete by hand, and bring with them to their first meeting with the attorney.). This person said she filled one out online on the website, and sent it back to us. Is there a way to somehow retrieve a completed form if it was sent back to us on the website? Neither the attorney or myself received this in our emails. The person who sent this to us is very upset that we did not receive the completed form and is worried that personal information is floating somewhere on the internet.
How did this happen? Could it happen to you?
Very possibly if you don’t get your online act together!
Is Your Website Secure?
Visiting the lawyer’s website the first red flag is that their site is not secure … When you go to your website, is the address http://www.mylawfirm.com or is it https://www.mylawfirm.com?
If your site address does not have the https, then Google will give visitors a warning that the site is Not Secure.
Every new website we build has a security certificate that gives visitors assurance your website is secure. But if your website is more than a year old, you may have to upgrade to get a security certificate installed and your website reconfigured.
Teaching Point: if your website is not secure, get your act together and contact your webmaster NOW. While security certificates may be very cheap or even free, installing and re-configuring your website may cost you some money. This is a small price to pay for your own peace of mind and that of prospective clients who visit your website.
Do You Have PDF Forms on Your Website?
Do you have a Personal Information Form (PIF) or a Confidential Client Questionnaire on your website as a downloadable PDF?
IF SO, THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.
A downloadable PDF is not a secure method of collecting client information. I have seen attorneys insist on loading these forms onto their website as a matter of convenience — THEIR convenience — so they don’t have to email, fax or mail the form.
Here’s a clue. NONE of those methods are secure. ALL of them are out-dated. And even if you only have them on your website as a “matter of convenience,” you run the risk that an unwitting prospect will fill one out and try to email it to you. And they may type the email address incorrectly or make some other mistake that sends their confidential information into cyber-space … or literally God-knows-where. Perhaps they only type the first two letters of your email address and their browser “auto-fills” the rest of it with the email of an ex-mother-in-law … who now has all of their personal information, including the value of their estate and a list of assets!
We offer all of our clients a secure website and secure, encrypted data collection as part of an automated, online client intake process so you never have to worry about this happening to you.
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.
Have you been told that to market your estate planning law firm, you should take someone to lunch five days a week and twice on Tuesdays?
I can save you some aggravation, restore your dignity and help you avoid a fried chicken heart attack.
About 15 years ago, we tried that exact same strategy in Kyle’s law firm. We hustled financial planners, investment advisers, insurance professionals and accountants for new business. We took candy to their offices during the holidays and we interrupted our work days taking them to lunches, breakfasts and coffees.
See, we believed the guys who told us that estate planning marketing was all about meeting with financial advisors, CPAs and insurance professionals. That if we could just find synergy at these meetings, they would become our revenue Holy Grail … sending us an ever-growing stream of pre-qualified and pre-sold referrals. We would never have to worry about marketing again.
I mean, that is what they tell you, right?
But what really happened?
We spent a lot of time and money on those lunches. And we both gained about 20 lbs. We also got a lot of financial professionals calling Kyle for free advice, asking him to pick up half (or more) of the bill for their seminar marketing, and demanding a tit-for-tat referral reciprocity that Kyle simply could not give them.
We even got some business out of it. But it did not last because those referral sources were always looking for a better deal. Some of them wanted to control the relationship, dictate the legal strategy, or low-ball the fees. And at the end of day, they could always find a younger, less experienced, hungrier lawyer to take care of their clients for less.
It was a never-ending struggle to find and cultivate new referral relationships.
It was expensive. And it ate up all of our time. And made us feel terrible.
Kyle did not go to law school to live like that; to let someone else control his career, his clients, and even his financial security.
Then we asked ourselves one question: What would happen if Kyle stopped pandering to financial advisors and used digital marketing to reach new clients directly, clients who wanted to work with him and who value a personal attorney relationship?
First, we changed our mindset and committed to take extreme ownership for our own success. Then, we learned everything we could about attracting clients online so we could focus on what actually works without wasting time and money. Finally, we re-designed the entire client experience — retooling client intake and adopting a sales process that feels better and more authentic for Kyle, and meets the needs and expectations of his new clients.
And, he stopped hustling for new referral relationships. Kyle was able to keep his best referral relationships and give them — and their clients — even better service. New clients who find him on the internet are motivated and ready to take action. They love working with Kyle (click here to see his nearly 300 five-star reviews on Avvo) and his premium fees are now in line with the premium service and client experience he delivers.
If you want to learn more about how to REALLY change your outcome in 2019, join me for a 45-minute webinar where I reveal the exact five-step strategy that we use with clients to finally break free from the tyranny of referral and seminar marketing.
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.