Do You Know Where Your Best Clients Come From?

Do you know where your best clients are coming from? Do you keep track, or are you just relying on your memory? Do you know how many of your inquiries or initial consultations became paying clients last year? If you’re like many of the solo and small firm lawyers I talk to, your answer to these questions is probably no.

Watch the video, or read below on to find out more.

I was talking to a client last week about his marketing. We were trying to build a profile of his best clients and referral sources. But when I asked him was who his best referral sources were and how are his best clients coming to him, he didn’t know. He had a couple of ideas, but no hard data to check them against.

If you don’t keep track of how clients are coming to you, how do you know what’s working? How do you know whether your marketing and business development resources are being expended the right way? How do you know whether you need to change something in your marketing to attract more clients who are the right fit for your practice or to change your intake and initial consultation process to get more of those potential clients to become actual clients?

The answer is that you probably don’t.

This is some of the most important data you have in your practice, so if you haven’t been keeping track up until now, it’s time to start. It doesn’t have to be complicated – it could be as simple as setting up an Excel spreadsheet.

You’ll want to track:

  • The name of the potential client;
  • The date of each contact with the client;
  • The method of each contact (phone, email, etc.);
  • How the client came to you (be specific – if a client saw a presentation or seminar you gave, which one was it? If they found you on the internet, did they find your website, your blog, or through an attorney directory? Who referred them to you? Did they click through a link from your email newsletter?)
  • If the client comes for an initial consultation, note the date of the consultation.
  • If the potential client becomes a client, keep track of the date that they did so, the fee they’re being charged, and the specific problem they needed you to address.

Review this information regularly to determine which referral sources are most effective and to help you follow up with potential clients. The spreadsheet can help you focus on your best referral sources, improve your referrals from other sources, and keep in touch with potential clients that haven’t yet become paying clients. It can also help you understand your sales cycle better so that you can plan better and improve cash flow.

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Quick and Easy Content: FAQs

Are you struggling to find topic ideas for your firm’s website, blog, newsletter, social media accounts, or presentations? Today’s tip is an easy way to develop topics for all of these and more.

One of the easiest ways to develop topic ideas for all of your law firm’s content needs is by using FAQs, or frequently asked questions.

  • What are the questions almost every client asks (or doesn’t ask, but wants the answers to)?
  • What topics do you need to cover with all new clients when they come to your office?
  • What questions do you staff receive on a daily basis from clients or potential clients?
  • Questions can be substantive (“How much money will I get for my case?” “What is an irrevocable trust?”) or procedural (“How should I prepare for my deposition?” “What do I need to bring to my closing?”)

Creating content around frequently asked questions saves time for both your potential clients and your firm. They help build trust in your law firm. FAQs can also help set expectations for potential clients about what to expect when working with your firm.

FAQs can help keep web visitors on your site longer, especially if you link to longer resources on your site from within the FAQs. For example, you might create an FAQ page on your website that answers questions in a concise manner and then link to a more complete page or blog post that addresses the same topic.

Since FAQs are just that – frequently asked – they are great for SEO because they mirror exactly the kinds of questions your potential clients may be typing into a search engine. Not only that, but if your FAQs are presented in a question-and-answer format, they can improve your results in voice search as well.

Frequently asked questions present an almost unlimited opportunity to develop content for your law firm. Every time a client or colleague asks a question, it is a potential FAQ topic, because if one client has the question, it is highly likely that others do as well.

Please leave me a comment and tell me what questions you have about marketing and running your practice – maybe I’ll address them in a future post/video!

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Using Color to Manage Your Outlook Calendar and Email

Are you a visual person? If so, today’s productivity tip is for you!

Color coding important appointments and email messages in Outlook to help you manage your calendar and that mountain of email messages we all receive every day. Watch the video, or scroll down to read more.

I don’t know about you, but when I look at my calendar or my email inbox, it can be a little overwhelming. It can be easy to miss important messages when you’re scrolling through your inbox. And looking at a sea of appointments in Outlook can be daunting. Using color makes that easier for me.

One way to use color is to create categories in Outlook. This is the way I color-code items on my calendar so that I can see at a glance what I have coming up that day, that week, or that month. For example, I color code all of my client appointments as green, marketing activities as purple, personal items like doctor’s appointments or family events are pink, administrative activities for my business as blue, speaking engagements as yellow, and so on. I can look at my calendar for the week and see right away how many client appointments I have coming up or whether I’ve set aside any time for marketing.

You can use categories for email messages as well, but I find that the category tags aren’t as obvious when I’m scrolling through my inbox. Instead, I use conditional formatting for email messages to assign a different color to messages I want to stand out or ensure that they get my attention.

If you want some tips on using color in Outlook, download my Using Color in Outlook PDF below. Or contact me to see how I can help you to use Outlook more effectively.

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Getting through the Day – Time Management Skills for Lawyers

silver egg timerJuggling a multitude of daily responsibilities can be difficult for lawyers at any stage of their careers, whether young lawyers who are new to the practice or seasoned veterans with many years of practice under their belt. This webinar will cover some of the most common (and most difficult) time management issues lawyers face, including information overload, an overflowing email inbox, constant interruptions, a packed calendar, and more. Our presenters will give you strategies, tips, and tricks to help you focus, prioritize and plan your day so you can concentrate more on serving your clients.

Presenters:

James P. Joseph, Esq., Matrimonial and family lawyer; Managing Partner, Joseph Law Group

Allison C. Shields, Johs Esq., Law practice management consultant; President of Legal Ease Consulting, Inc.

Registration on the New York State Bar Association website.

Conquer Your To-Do List With The Power of Three

Do you have a to-do list that never ends because every time you cross one thing off of it, you add three more? If this sounds like you, watch this video below to find out how to use one of my favorite strategies, the Power of Three, to end your to-do list tyranny.

Like this video? Leave a comment, share with your network, or check out my other videos.

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Overwhelmed? Try This Calendar Hack

If you feel overwhelmed from the moment you arrive at work until the moment you leave, perhaps you’re not using one of the best – and easiest to use – tools effectively. And that tool is your calendar.

In this video, I talk about how you can use your calendar not just to record when work is due, but also to find the time to do the work.

Want more productivity tips? Check these out:

How NOT to Use Email

Email is a fantastic tool – but it isn’t the right tool for every job. Email is especially poor for scheduling meetings, particularly meetings for more than two people. Use a dedicated scheduling tool instead. Learn more in the video below.

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Use QuickParts to Streamline Your Workload

My latest video talks about how you can use Quick Parts in Word or Outlook to help streamline your workload. Instead of reinventing the wheel all of the time, create a Quick Part for frequently asked questions, email responses, or other repetitive copy.

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Automate Your Email Inbox

Why waste time sorting through your email inbox to find the most relevant messages when you can set up your email program to do it for you?

This is the latest in our series of tips about handling your email more effectively. In the previous two videos, we talked about eliminating email as a source of distraction throughout your day and using the triage method to handle email when you do look at your inbox.

In this next installment in the series, I discuss ways you can set up your inbox to automate the process of sorting your email so you can concentrate on the emails that are the most important to your practice.

Triage Your Email Inbox

Email is a HUGE time-waster, as we can see from this short video on how to prevent email from becoming a distraction.

But when you do choose to look at your email inbox, what’s the best approach? The video below outlines the triage approach.

What happens when it is time for you to check your email? How do you manage your email inbox efficiently and effectively?

First, try to touch every email only once. That may not be possible with everything, but for the majority of your email, you should be able to go through only one time touching it.

Many of us default to use in our email inbox as our to-do list or as a reminder of something that needs to be done or an appointment that we have. Here are a few strategies to keep you from doing that.

Delete liberally. I love my delete button on my computer. I delete anything that’s junk right away to clear out so that I can really focus on the email communications that are important to me and to my clients.

Next, look at your email and see if there’s anything that you can delegate. Is there something that you’re assistant can handle, or that you need an answer from somebody else, either in your office or outside of your office that you can delegate that email to or that response to and get it out of your inbox?

Can you handle an email in under two minutes? I recommend that if it’s an under two-minute activity that you respond or handle that email right away during the period of time that you’ve scheduled to through your email.

What happens if an email represents something that will take you longer to do – longer than two minutes? In that case, either create an “Action” folder and move that email to the Action folder to handle when you have time to handle it, or – even better – move it to your calendar or designate a time and block it out to handle that email response or take the action that you need to take.

Your email inbox likely includes things that are not communications or tasks but something else, for example, an email about a meeting or an appointment. Get that email out of your email inbox and move it where it belongs on your calendar. If you use Outlook, I recommend you use the drag and drop method to drag and drop that email right into that slot on your calendar, and you’ll retain all of the information in the appointment.

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Email Tips: Don’t Let Email Be A Distraction!

Email can be a great productivity tool or it can be a huge distraction that puts others’ priorities ahead of your own and prevents you from getting important work done. This short video includes a few quick tips for keeping email from being a distraction.

Email can be a real productivity tool or a productivity killer. So, let’s talk about four ways that  you can combat email as a productivity killer.

The first way is by turning off all of your email notifications. That includes the little pop-up on your desktop or laptop, as well as the alert sound that you get from your email, and also turning off those notifications on your smartphone, especially during the work day.

Second, I recommend for most people that you don’t check your email first thing in the morning. What that does, again, is put others’ priorities ahead of your own. So what I recommend you do instead is work on the item or task that you have identified to be your highest priority for the day and do that first, before checking your email. That might mean that you work on it only for an hour, and at least make some progress, and then take a break and check your email. But at least you’ll feel at the end of the day that you’ve accomplished something on your own priority list before putting those priorities of others ahead of your own.

And then schedule some time throughout the day to check your email again periodically instead of constantly checking it,  maybe check it at 10 a.m. after you’ve worked for an hour, and then before lunch, maybe at 3 in the afternoon, and again before you leave for the day. This makes sure that you’re checking your email and responding to things appropriately, but also not getting distracted throughout your day.

And then finally, you want to set expectations with those who you communicate regularly, and clients. So, for example, when you first meet with a client, you might tell them that you communicate by email with clients, but you’ll get back to them within the day or within a few hours – whatever works for you – so that they know in advance that you’re not going to be always available and that they can’t expect as soon as they send you an email that you’re going to send them a response.

To recap:

  • Turn off those email notifications
  • Don’t check email first thing in the morning
  • Make sure you’re scheduling time throughout the day to check your email
  • Set expectations with clients and others

More productivity videos and articles: