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Welcome to the successful future of your law firm…
This resource is designed for people unfamiliar with The Art of Lawyer and Law Firm Confidential – and for those of you that have been here before and want a refresher course on the foundational principles of starting and building a successful law firm.
It’s also a road map of sorts.
You see, all law firm owners and attorneys themselves are at various levels of STUCK. There is simply so much to learn and so much to do to reach the levels of success that we are striving for.
From beginner to seasoned pro – we are all looking to get better at what we do – we are all looking for that edge, that one piece of information that will get us over the hump. It’s our defining characteristic.
This page is here to help you master running your law firm.
And by “running your law firm” I mean…
Starting and building successful a law firm is all about the system. It is the same system Starbucks and McDonald’s have used to corner the coffee and hamburger markets. It’s the same system Amazon uses to corner the ecommerce market. It’s how Apple, Beach Body (selling P90X systems), and Sports Illustrated have become household names.
This system works for small law firms. It works for medium and large law firms. It works for sole practitioners. It works whether you sell estate planning, criminal defense, or any other legal service.
This system works because it exploits each and every aspect of the irrefutable law of business growth put forth by legendary marketer Jay Abraham:
There are only three ways to grow a business:
I call it Client Value Optimization of CVO.
Read this page carefully. Read it multiple times and commit it to memory.
This is the stuff they don’t teach you in law school (or business school, or any other school for that matter).
Before we get going at all I want to point out something that is very important – there are two platforms for client value optimization.
Platform one is networking.
Platform two is everything else.
I consider networking to be different from everything else because what you are asking for and what you are doing is different from everything else.
Let’s talk about platform two – everything else – first.
When you are learning new tactics like Facebook Advertising, Google Analytics, SEO, direct mail, or Google Advertising, you’ll need to constantly remind yourself of the CVO process. Otherwise, you are wasting time and money.
This is a warning: stop wasting time trying to learn about each tactic one by one. Without a thorough understanding of the underlying strategy of the CVO process you’ll be throwing money down the drain.
Here are the steps:
Lean into this article and pay close attention – I’m about to reveal the exact process I (or members of Law Firm Confidential) used to sell services in multiple legal markets, including:
Let’s begin with…
Business is pretty simple, really.
We get paid to move people from a “Before” state to a desired “After” state.
In the “Before” state the client is discontent in some way. They might be in pain, bored, frightened, or unhappy for any number of reasons.
In the “After” state life is better. They are free of pain, content, or unafraid of what previously frightened them.
They buy outcomes. They buy access to the “After” state.
A great offer will genuinely move a customer to a desired “After” state…
…and great marketing simply articulates the move from the “Before” state to the desired “After” state.
Most law firms that fail, particularly at start-up, do so because either…
Needless to say, getting clear on the outcome your offer delivers is fundamental to the success of your law firm.
Here’s how to get that clarity…
Before you create or market another offer, go through this exercise.
Ask yourself these 8 questions:
Let’s use, as an example, a law firm offering estate planning services to families with children.
All a will is is a piece of paper that tells people how you want your stuff distributed if you die.
But it’s so much more than that.
As a father with children myself, I know that going through life without a will is a continuously nerve wracking experience.
Clients that create a simple will package are transformed…
Your average law firm owner only focuses on what their client will HAVE if they purchase their service. Great law firm owners speak to how a client will FEEL, how their AVERAGE DAY will change, and how their STATUS will increase.
With this simple 8 question “before/after” grid and a little bit of work, most law firm owners could create a compelling message that will have an impact with potential clients.
The marketing copy writes itself after you are clear on the “before” and “after”:
Do you see how this copy clearly articulates how my service will move the client from a “before” state of unrest and uneasiness to an “after” state of security and comfort?
This is very powerful stuff.
But that’s not all. Understanding how you will transform your potential client from a “before” state to an “after” state also impacts…
What is the distance between the “before” state and the “after” state?
That distance is called VALUE.
Want to charge more for your services?
The solution is simple. Just create a wider margin between your “before” state and your “after” state by either:
When rolling out a new practice area, starting a new law firm, or moving into a new market, start simple.
Get clear on your “before” and “after.”
If you are not able to clearly articulate how you can take your prospect from the “before” state to the “after” state, you may have an issue with service/market fit.
And there may be nothing more important than service/market fit, simply because every other part of the process is dependent upon having a group of willing and able buyers.
In the next step, I’ll dispel the myth behind traffic generation…
(By the way, I’m teaching a FREE 30 day crash course on starting and building a law firm in 30 days that goes into how to do this stuff step-by-step. If this interests you – join my course by clicking here.)
This might shock you but you DO NOT have a traffic problem.
You might have a business model problem, an offer problem, or a measurement problem.
But you DO NOT have a traffic problem.
What if I told you that every time you get a visitor to your website you make $10 in profit. Could you get traffic to that web page?
Of course you could! You could pay up to $10 per visitor to that web page and still break even. In fact, you’ll be able to pay more than $10 to get a visitor to that page when you truly understand the whole of Client Value Optimization.
Ryan Deiss once said:
“He who can spend the most money to acquire a customer wins.”
And Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, once said (in a tongue in cheek warning to his competitors):
“Your margin is my opportunity.”
The lesson I’ve learned is that once you understand CVO, you and your law firm become unstoppable.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Avvo, and LinkedIn are lining up to sell you targeted traffic. Your Search Engine Optimization agency wants to send you more traffic. Your Pay-Per-Click agency would love nothing more than to send you more clicks.
You simply need to understand:
Tactics are worthless if you don’t understand the underlying strategy.
This is why you are frustrated. You have no context. You have no system.
I can teach you to drive traffic through tactics like blogging, Facebook Ads, or Google Ads but first you need to understand the system.
The goal, no matter which traffic source you choose, is to drive potential clients into the CVO Funnel.
Become a master of a single, steady traffic source. Stay focused on that traffic source, and, once mastered, add a second and third traffic source.
These traffic sources include:
Your traffic strategy (if the goal is acquiring news leads and clients) begins and ends with driving visitors into the CVO funnel.
It begins with the Lead Magnet…
The next two sections (offer a lead magnet and offer a tripwire) show you how to grow your business through the use of Jay Abraham’s methods, increase the number of customers.
The Lead Magnet is an irresistible bribe that gives a specific chunk of value to a potential client in exchange for their contact information.
Make no mistake, although no money changes hands, this is a transaction. And, it is often the first transaction you will have with a potential client.
You will need to provide them tremendous value with the Lead Magnet.
The Lead Magnet is often offered on a web page called a squeeze page that is created specifically to convert cold traffic into leads.
The landing page doesn’t need to be fancy. Here’s a high performing Lead Magnet landing page from The Art of Lawyering:
The Lead Magnet exists to create leads. Because the Lead Magnet is the very top of the CVO funnel, increasing opt-ins here will pay dividends throughout the rest of the system.
But all lead magnets are not created equal. The best will convert north of 50% of visitors into leads and you’ll be relieved when I tell you the highest performing Lead Magnets have one thing in common:
What irresistible bribe could you offer in exchange for a potential client’s contact information?
The good news is that you DO NOT need to create something lengthy or complex. In fact, the more laser focused your lead magnet is, the better it will convert.
Remember, your potential clients don’t want to be taught something – they want to solve a problem. They want a specific outcome.
Let’s use criminal defense as an example.
This is a bad Lead Magnet:
Free Report: Five Signs Your Criminal Defense Attorney Sucks
Why is this bad? Your potential client doesn’t want more information, they want outcomes.
This is a good Lead Magnet:
How to reduce your DUI charge significantly (no matter what your breath test results say)
A Lead Magnet that solves a specific problem for a specific segment of the market will generate more leads…
… and more leads means more Tripwire sales.
If you understand and execute on this step you will be in front of ALL of your competitors.
Every. Single. One.
Remember, our first goal is to increase the number of customers. So far, we have only generated more leads through our Lead Magnet. We still haven’t generated new customers.
The Tripwire offer is made to those that have displayed interest through the Lead Magnet.
The Tripwire is an irresistible, super low-ticket offer (usually between $1 and $20 that exists for one reason and one reason only… to convert prospects into buyers. If you are in the market of selling high-ticket services ($60K for a divorce, for example) Tripwire offers as high as $500 can convert well.
The goal of the Tripwire is to fundamentally change the relationship from prospect to customer. The conversion of a prospect to a customer, even for $1, is magical.
The key is to make a Tripwire Offer that leads are unable to resist. It doesn’t even matter if you make money on it – that’s not the point.
That’s correct – you are not trying to get rich from selling Tripwire Offers. You are trying to acquire buyers because there is nothing more valuable than a list of buyers.
When you understand the rest of the Client Value Optimization process you will understand how the Tripwire offer is the single most powerful addition you can make to your law firm – even though you make no direct profit on it.
The classic Tripwire Offer is something you have probably heard of or read, or even actually participated in (I know I did). It comes from Columbia Records.
Columbia House took over the music market by making an absolutely irresistible offer (13 CDs for $1) because they understood that acquiring a list of buyers is the name of the game.
Physical books make amazing Tripwire offers (yes, stop giving the away and sell them for cheap!).
Paid webinars are excellent Tripwire offers.
And last, but not least (and probably most likely to work), an a la carte service works wonders at acquiring clients. Here are a couple of examples of a la carte services you could offer:
The key here is to think of something people are immediately interested in that you can give them for super cheap that will lead to the next purchase.
Take a minute to look around at all the Tripwires we run into every day.
It’s the ridiculous flat screen TV deal at Best Buy. It’s the rock bottom price of a Kindle Fire. It’s a free cell phone for signing up for service. It’s the $20 for $50 worth of mexican food Groupon offer.
The strategy behind the Tripwire is simple:
Convert the maximum number of Lead Magnet leads into paying customers, even at the expense of your profit margin, with the understanding that acquiring a paying customer will deliver profit through the next three steps:
Okay, not that you understand how to increase the number of clients, let’s talk about increasing the average transaction value per customer.
(NOTE: want to learn how to start a successful law firm in 30 Days? You can do so in this free 30 day course.)
You likely already have a Core Service. It’s your flagship service or services.
Most law firms get nowhere by making Core Offers to cold potential clients. You’ll see your Core Offer sales explode with the addition of the Lead Magnet and Tripwire Offer.
After all, you’ve already had two successful transactions with this buyer.
This is why it’s critical to over deliver with the Lead Magnet and Tripwire.
In some cases, sales from the Core Offer will make you profitable. But it doesn’t have to. If you follow through on the CVO process, you could take everything you make from the Core Offer and reinvest it to acquire more customers.
Again, this is how you become unstoppable. You build a system in which you can spend more to acquire a client than your competitors.
Your competitors are making a Core Offer and trying to make a living from it. You don’t need to make a dime from your Core Offer.
Remember, as Jeff Bezos says, your competitor’s margin is an opportunity. It is your opportunity to, for example, spend more on traffic acquisition, conversion rate optimization or increase the value of your offers.
It might stun you to find out that many of the successful businesses in the world make no profit until they reach the next two stages, Profit Maximizers and Return Path.
Here’s where things get very interesting…
The second of Jay Abraham’s business growth methods is to increase the average transaction value per customer. The Profit Maximizer does just that.
Most law firms don’t have Tripwire Offers and they don’t have Profit Maximizers. They live and die selling cold prospects on their Core Offer.
This is why they struggle and you won’t.
Would it shock you to fin out that McDonald’s makes almost no money on the hamburger? The hamburger is the Core Offer. They make their money off of the fries and coke – their Profit Maximizers.
This type of Profit Maximizer is called an “immediate upsell”…
Best Buy sells laptops and plasma TV’s (Core Offers) on wafer thin margins you can’t resist and makes it up on warranties, installation, and Geek Squad support (Profit Maximizers).
Premium Subscriptions (recurring billing) also make fantastic Profit Maximizer offers…
Any offer made after the initial sale is a Profit Maximizer. Because the single biggest expense most law firms will incur is the cost of acquiring the client (which is the job of the Tripwire Offer) everything else you do increases the the client’s immediate and lifetime value.
What could you be offering as an upsell or cross-sell? What could you bundle with your Core Offer? How can you incorporate a subscription into your business model?
Here’s just a taste of some of the stuff we do at my firm.
One of our Profit Maximizers is a subscription service to secure the client’s documents (plus some other add-ons you need to be a part of Law Firm Confidential to get your hands on).
Another is the option for us to fund the trusts of our clients.
You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to Profit Maximizers. So start brainstorming!
Find your Profit Maximizer and you begin to become unstoppable.
And, we’re not done yet. There is one more way to grow…
The last way to grow a business is to increase the number of transactions per customer.
Allow me to introduce you to the Return Path.
The goal of the Return Path is to have frequent, strategic communication with your clients and potential clients that cause them to buy again and again.
Because you have received their contact information through the Lead Magnet you have the ability to continue marketing to them.
You can offer new Lead Magnets, Tripwires, Core Offers and Profit Maximizers because you have permission to market to them or bring them back to the Tripwire, Core Offer or Profit Maximizer that they didn’t buy the first time around.
The Return Path is anything that brings the customer or prospect back more frequently, including:
… but none is more powerful than the automated email follow-up.
Unfortunately, automated email follow-up is far too involved to cover in this post (we are already at over 3,000 words!).
But, you can learn more about email follow-up and how to create a law firm that will for you instead of create a job for you, by checking out a free course I created to get you up to speed in 30 days…
…you can access the FREE 30 Day Law Firm Start-Up Course by clicking here.
This training is taught by me and contains step-by-step instructions to start, or turn around, your law firm…
Here are just a few of the topics covered in the course:
This course is ABSOLUTELY FREE and, if you’ve read this far, I know you will be absolutely stunned by the value you will receive from these lessons.
And you know what? I didn’t even get to the networking part of the system yet! Why don’t we make that another post, so you can focus on each one individually.