Networking That Doesn’t Suck: Four Steps to More Profitable Networking

Lots of lawyers think that networking is a waste of time. And it IS a waste of time for many of them. But not because networking isn’t a great way to develop business. (It is.)

Networking doesn’t work for lots of lawyers because they don’t know what they’re doing.

They haven’t thought about it strategically, they don’t have a plan, and they certainly don’t have systems in place to get the most out of the time they spend. So they don’t get results.

When it’s done right, networking is a great way for a small law firm to generate business. (Check out our video on the subject.) It’s especially valuable for a firm in the early stages – where the lawyer typically has more time than money available.

So how can you make networking WORK for your firm? Here are four tips:

  • Select the right target audience. Who should you be building relationships with? The answer: people who are in position to give you business, either directly or through referrals. It’s baffling how many lawyers spend their time networking with other lawyers in the same practice area… of course those lawyers aren’t going to send you business! So start by identifying individuals and groups of people that are in position to give you business.
  • Look to give before you get. Once you’ve figured out who you should be networking with, the next step is to start developing relationships. And you do that by GIVING before you GET. How can you provide value to the people you’re meeting? Maybe by connecting them with others in your network… maybe by providing them with some friendly advice or feedback… maybe by sending them a memorable gift. This approach won’t generally create instant results, but it does lay the groundwork for a highly profitable long-term relationship.
  • Listen more than you talk. Most people would rather talk than listen. To actually create relationships, you need to do the opposite. People like to be listened to. When you listen, and when you ask intelligent questions to show that you’re listening, your conversation partner walks away feeling good about what just happened. And, listening gives you the opportunity to glean valuable information that you can use later to strengthen the relationship… hobbies, professional dreams, challenges, and so on.
  • Follow up… follow up… follow up! If you walk away from a networking event thinking that you’ve just had some great conversations and those people are going to remember you forever and send business your way every opportunity that they get… you’re crazy. It doesn’t matter how impressive you are. We’re all busy, we’re all distracted, we all have thousands of thoughts racing around our minds every day. So it’s your job to make sure these strategic connections you’ve just created don’t forget about you. Send them a note. Give them a call. Send them a gift on their birthday. Forward them an article or a blog entry that may be helpful to them. Stay on their radar screen.

Networking CAN be a waste of time… but it doesn’t have to be. Keep these four tips in mind and your networking will be more effective than ever.

Don’t Set Yourself Up to Fail: Five Signs That Your Factory Can’t Keep Up With Your Marketing and Sales

Many of you know that there are seven “Main Parts” of your law business. Building a seven-figure business requires that you have all seven of these Main Parts working together in synergy. When everything is working together properly, it’s a beautiful thing. But when one part of your business falls out of alignment with the other… watch out, because bad things are going to happen.

One common example is when your Factory can’t keep up with the business that is being generated by your Marketing and Sales. This usually occurs when you and your team are doing a GREAT job reaching your target audience and converting them into clients… but your associates and your support staff aren’t able to handle all of the new work.

Is your Factory being overwhelmed? Here are five signs that this may be the case:

  1. Clients are complaining about delays. Is it taking too long for you to deliver the promised work? Do you find that you can’t produce the work as quickly as your marketing & sales say that you can?
  2. Clients are upset because the work is sub-par. Are you and your team increasingly prone to making mistakes? Does your work lack the quality that previous clients have come to expect, or that your marketing & sales promise? This is a major problem and can lead to bar grievances or worse.
  3. Your people are overworked. Are your associates and your support staff increasingly stressed out and unhappy? Are they putting in longer hours than they should be? Are they grumbling and talking about leaving the firm?  
  4. You’re stressed and can’t stop thinking about work even when you’re at home. If you can’t relax and stop thinking about the work while you’re at home… if you’re distant and not fully present… consider whether the root of your anxiety is fear that your Factory can’t meet its obligations.
  5. You are terrified to take a vacation. If the idea of taking a vacation is out of the question for you… most likely your Factory is not keeping up with workflow. If you feel that your business can’t keep producing without your physical presence, something is wrong with your Factory.

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? You’re not alone! Many lawyers become “victims of their own success” in this way. It’s GREAT that your marketing and sales efforts are working. But make sure you give your Factory the resources and attention it demands so that your marketing success doesn’t ultimately sink your business.

Three Reasons Most Solo Lawyers Never Create a Plan for their Small Law Firm (And Why This is a Recipe for Disaster)

Running a law firm – or any business – without a business plan is setting yourself up for disaster. Sure, you might have “always done it that way.” And you might be making money, even without a plan. But operating your law firm without a strategic plan is likely to lead to any or all of these problems… and plenty more that we don’t have time to list in this blog entry:

You’re broke – you are consistently NOT making enough money, so you’re making lifestyle sacrifices.

You’re stuck in a boom or bust cycle. Some months are great, some are terrible. And you don’t feel like you have any control in the matter.

You’re miserable. You’re making money, but only because you are doing work that you hate, or for clients that you hate.

Any of these sound familiar? The good news is that creating a plan for your law firm can change all that. We’ve personally seen hundreds of lawyers create consistently profitable law businesses which allow them to spend their time doing work that they LOVE… or even better, spending their time golfing, traveling, or having fun with their family.

So why doesn’t EVERY owner of a solo or small law firm have a written plan?

Here are three common reasons we’ve encountered. What’s holding you back?

1) Ignorance. No one ever taught us anything about the business of how to manage a small law firm, back in law school.

The people who decide which CLE programs to offer are usually coming from the same school of thought as those who decided to send you out into the world without teaching you about how the heck a law firm actually operates.

“Just be a great lawyer and the magic law firm management elves will absolve you of your responsibilities as a business owner.” This is HORRIBLE business advice and a losing strategy.

2) Embarrassment. Probably 99% of the lawyers you will ever meet at a bar function have no written plan for how their firm is supposed to work.

Do this test and prove it to yourself: Ask the next 100 lawyers you meet, if they can explain to you in plain English how their law firm works. Then decide if that’s a business you’d feel comfortable with one of  your own clients investing in.

If you do this test with 10,000 lawyers, as we have, you will prove to yourself that 99% of the small law firms in this Country (and it’s the same in other Countries too) are drifting aimlessly with no strategic direction. But rather than face reality, most lawyers concoct stories about how the business of a law firm is somehow exempt from reality.

As if marketing, sales, staffing, financial controls, budgeting, and cash flow projections apply to every single OTHER kind of business on the Planet…but not law firms!

“We can evade reality but we cannot avoid the consequences of evading reality.” ~ Ayn Rand

Embrace reality… even if that means admitting that you don’t know everything about everything yet!

3) Compromise. At some point, many lawyers just give up. Maybe they didn’t go to law school with the intention of making a million dollars a year. But few people go to law school with the intention of working long hours, missing out on important family activities, doing the work of their own receptionist or secretary and having to scrape by, struggle or compromise on important “stuff” in their life.

Life isn’t all about driving a nice car, living in a beautiful home, taking luxurious vacations, eating at great restaurants, and being able to give your family the finer things in life.

But what if, by taking the time to create a strategic plan for your law firm, you could actually help more clients AND enjoy more material comforts too?

Your law firm needs a business plan. How long will ignorance, embarrassment, or compromise hold you back? Please contact us today to learn more!

RJon’s Formula For Calculating Precisely How Much More Money You Could Be Making From Your Small Law Firm

How To Calculate Precisely How Much More Money You Could Be Earning From Your Solo or Small Law Firm

I’m always amused by the skepticism of some lawyers when I tell them about a program I have called “How To Double The Revenues Of Your Small Law Firm In 12 Months Or Less”.  But you really can.

And it’s not even that hard to do.  I’ve even devised a simple mathematical formula you can use to calculate how much more money YOU could be generating with your small law firm.

But instead of plugging their numbers in some lawyers prefer to make excuses.  In fact, here’s how it usually plays out…

I will invite a lawyer to listen to a free teleseminar.  I’ll promise that in about 75 minutes I’ll give them an overview of some of the steps you can take to easily and pretty reliably double your revenues in just 12 months.  I tell them ahead-of-time that, obviously, in just 75 minutes I cannot possibly tell you EVERYTHING.  But I promise I’ll share enough to prove it to you That It Really Is Possible if you follow a system I’ve created and that I back up with a 100% money-back guarantee.

“Impossible” they say!

“But what if it really was possible?”  I say “Would you give it a try knowing that I back it all up with a 100% money-back guarantee?”  “Just think of what it would do for your life if you could earn more money without even working any harder or longer.  In fact this system will even enable you to work less and have more fun and you’ll still earn more money at the practice of law”. I usually add helpfully, because I really do want as many lawyers as possible to discover how much fun and how profitable it should be to be a lawyer!

Of course, some lawyers have been so abused and so damaged and so scarred that they find it impossible to take this chance on themselves.  Even though they don’t have to risk any money.  And the potential for personal, professional and of course financial benefit are obviously great.

Sadly, I cannot help those who are unable or unwilling to help themselves.  But if you’ll have an open mind and confidence in YOURSELF I can PROVE it to you in several different ways. 

But first here’s the formula I was talking about above

a.) Take your current 5 year average gross revenues and multiply that number by negative 1 to arrive at your “Baseline Potential”  (For example if your average is $250,000 x -1 =  Baseline Potential of -$250,000.)

b.) Multiply your Baseline Potential by the average of the grades you earned in all of the law practice management and law firm marketing courses you completed in law school.  So for example if you took a single 15 hour course on law practice management and earned yourself a “B”, and you earned an “A” in your law firm marketing course, the average of those grades is a “B+” or 3.5  to arrive at you “Adjusted Baseline Potential” (-250,000 x 3.5 = -$875,000)

c.)  Calculate the difference between your Adjusted Baseline Potential and 0 to arrive at you “Raw Potential For Growth Through Learning Everything They Didn’t Teach You In Law School About The Business Of Managing & Marketing A Law Practice” or “Raw Potential” for short.   ( -$875,000 + $125,000 = 0)

d.) Divide your Raw Potential For Growth by your Baseline Potential to arrive finally at your Percentage Potential For Growth.  ($125,000 / $250,000 = 50%)  That’s about the percentage of the potential additional income you could be generating from your small law firm. 

Not quite “doubling” is it?  But what if you never took even a single course in law school (or since) on how to manage or how to market a small law firm?  You took thousands of hours to learn how to practice law didn’t you?  But none, zero, zippo, zilch on how to manage & market the business of a law firm?  But you still doubt your own potential for growth & improvement?

“Of course not RJon!  Now that  you put it like that I’m really excited about my own potential.  How do I learn more about this free telseminar you were talking about!?!?”

Well, I’m glad you asked because HERE is  where you go to sign-up!

RJON

p.s. I am the sole person responsible for creation of the formula above.  Do not make important decisions based soley on that formula without consulting with me first because its results must be interpreted in connection with another formula for calculating how much more FUN you could be having as the owner of your small law firm.