Comfortable Lies about Time & Marketing

Comfortable Lies about Marketing

Does this sound familiar?  You have marketing tasks on your to-do list. You just can’t seem to get to them.

Something else comes up every day, and you keep moving the marketing things to the next day, and the next week, or the next month. Even as the tasks slide down the list you feel the urgency increasing because you know if you don’t do it, you’re going to get into a cash crisis. Still, the task slides and the pressure builds and the frustration grows.

What is getting in the way? It might not be the crush of other peoples’ demands, priorities, and distractions. It just might be you – and the stories you tell yourself that justify why it’s ok to push marketing down the list.

Stories like:

  • You haven’t had to do this before. Things just have a way of working out.
  • You don’t have two minutes to rub together to do the marketing.
  • You wouldn’t have time to take on new matters anyway.
  • You don’t like doing the marketing – it doesn’t feel right.
  • You don’t know what to do, so you need to learn more first.
  • You are not very good at it anyway – so why waste your time.
  • You are a professional, and professionals shouldn’t have to market.
  • You can just outsource it to other people – and let them do it.
  • You can wait until things ‘get better’ or ‘calm down’.

Do any of these comfortable lies sound familiar to you? They do to me. I’ve told them to myself more than once over the years.

Believing these stories will keep you stuck and eventually cause you to fly your practice right off a cliff. And that’s bad.

The very first step to breaking the grip of these comfortable lies is to change your thinking – your beliefs. Because you will rise (or fall) to what you believe you can achieve. Here’s how:

1. Flip the Comfortable Stories. Write the opposite in your handy notebook in your own words. For example: “I have to do this now. Things will not work out unless I act”. There is extraordinary power in putting your thoughts on paper.

2. Create space in your schedule for Marketing. Your marketing and client acquisition activities need at least as much priority as your current client work and your court appearances. That means you need to put them on your calendar to hold the space to do the work. These blocks of time need to be first into the proverbial box, not last. Look at your calendar for the next week. Create 3 blocks of 45 minutes at a time when you are at your best – probably not 2 pm. Use that time to tackle any of the comfortable stories, and smash it on the rocks.

3. Make a Stop Doing List. You will probably find it hard to do step 2 unless you stop doing things that have been taking up your time. Making a “stop doing list” is one of the most important things you can do to identify and move away from activities that no longer serve you.

Have a great rest of the week,


P.S… Saying “no” is hard. If you’d like tips on how to do that check out my guide: How to Say No Without Being Negative CLICK HERE to get your copy.

Doug BrownComfortable Lies about Time & Marketing
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Getting more great clients requires more

To get more great clients you need to understand what they are thinking. The more you know about these ‘client’s journeys’ the better your chances of being there when they decide their problem is big enough and scary enough to require a lawyer. It also gives you the intel you need to focus your outreach efforts on the people who will see those people before they see you.

Virtually every journey to needing a lawyer has these waypoints. 

A triggering event.  They become aware of a significant legal problem (or opportunity) that is complicated and is beyond their ability to solve. Most will seek ways to solve the problem without hiring a lawyer.  (Yes, let’s face it, most clients would prefer not to hire us if there is any other option). Once they decide they need a lawyer they have to be able to find you.

A search for a qualified lawyer.
A client with the problem that you solve starts looking for you. 

  • Referrals are the go-to route for almost 6 in 10 people according to a 2019 Clio report.  They ask friends and family (32%), another lawyer (16%), or other non-legal professionals like an accountant, real estate agent, financial advisor, or other related professional.
  • Almost half (57%) won’t ask for a referral. They will do their own research online via a lawyer’s website, search engine, reviews, or other sources.  This is especially true for younger clients. Fun fact: The oldest millennials turn 39 in 2021.

An investigation into your qualifications.
Your clients need facts to decide if you are qualified and a fit for them. They want to know about:

  • Your experience handling their kind of problem, for people like them.
  • How other clients have experienced you (reviews and testimonials)
  • What it will be like to work with you.

Sometimes your referral source has warmed them up and they will simply call or email you directly. That’s the best case.  In most cases, they will also look up your website and probably your LinkedIn profile before they call.  If you are not serving up what they think they want – using messages (language and images) that connect to them then they will move on.

Take my recent experience looking for a closing lawyer in a new state. I asked around for referrals finally going to my real estate broker and new banker. I asked the broker for some names and didn’t hear back in a couple of days, after asking twice. So I moved on. I asked the banker and got a list of three names, without any contact information. So I went to Google to learn something about each one, and to get an email address.  (Pro Tip … if someone is going to be a really good referral source for you they will pass on your contact information, not just your name).

So I went to Google. I found the first person on the list, clicked on her website, and got an error message. The next 3 search results went to the main lawyer ranking sites – and none of the profiles had been claimed. Finding no information I concluded that new clients were not that important to her and I moved on to the next name.

The next attorney’s website worked. It highlighted three practice areas, the first one being real estate. I was interested and clicked around to learn more. The graphics were nice and I got a positive feeling about it, but it didn’t have everything I wanted (e.g., to know about the individual lawyers, and how to contact them). I checked out the next name on the list, which wasn’t a name, it was a firm name.

This firm highlighted 5 practice areas, starting with criminal, personal injury, and two others before real estate at the end.  I didn’t get the sense that their focus was what I needed. I also didn’t want to be the last on the menu of cases they handle. Can you see how less is more here?

I went on to call firm #2 to get more facts to help me on the next step in my journey:

The decision on whether they want to work with you.
Qualifications are not enough to get a client to hire you. They have to decide they want to work with you, as opposed to others who solve the same problem and are equally qualified (in the client’s eyes).  It is your job to stand out above others.  You want to complete the “know you”, “like you”, and “trust you” equation.  

At this point, I was looking to learn about the process, timing, and price.  Remember, this was for a simple residential real estate closing so it was pretty straightforward for me. I was evaluating both the data and a few other key factors – that all clients want:

  • A timely response (same day).  
  • Information that is easy to understand and digest – especially about the process.   Most clients are trying to get comfortable with the unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory.  Falling back on the typical “it depends” answer doesn’t satisfy this need.
  • To have a human connection. They have to know you, like you and trust you as a person.

Marketing without knowing your clients’ journey is like swinging at a pitch with your eyes closed. You might connect, but more often than not, you’ll be wasting a lot of energy for not a lot of return.

What are the steps in your clients’ journey?

Where are they doing their research, and what are they finding?

How do you know?


If you’d like to know about my three favorite marketing strategies, you can check out this free replay of our training on How to Grow your Income Using 3 Simple Marketing Strategies that Cost you Nothing to Implement.

If you’d like help with your marketing strategies, or your customer journey send me a message ( or click here for a strategy call

Doug BrownGetting more great clients requires more
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What if “more clients” isn’t what you need most?

What if finding “more What if “more clients” isn’t your golden ticket?

Many lawyers tell themselves “If I only had more clients my life would be better. I’d be making more money. And when I make more money, I’ll have the time I need, and I can have a better life”. 

If your focus is just “more clients” then the answer is maybe, maybe not.

If you want to grow and make a profit, you need more of the right clients. Growing a profitable business requires the right clients – not just any clients.

And that’s where many lawyers fail.

You see, “doing marketing” to get new clients and generate revenue is simply a means to an end. And that end should be making a profit – not just accumulating clients. Yes, you need top-line revenue. And you have to pay attention to expenses as well. If you’re losing money on your clients then more clients aren’t the answer.

I still remember where I was when one of our new sales reps was trying to convince the VP of my division to agree to pricing for a customer. The VP, Harry, asked him this question:   “Wait a minute. Do you mean you want us to lose money on each transaction, and make it up in volume?”  The salesperson was silent for a moment. Knowing something was wrong. And then he got it.

Business is about profit. The law business is the same way. More clients, without more profit, is not the answer.  It was that way when I started working with a new attorney-client, Peter.

Peter believed that if he got more clients he’d have more money to take home at the end of the year. He focused tons of time and resources to get more clients. And he was successful – to a point. Sadly, he didn’t have more money to take home at the end of the year. He wondered, “What went wrong”

It’s a pretty common mistake. He took all kinds of different clients – really whoever had a legal problem who could pay. He spent a lot of money to get those clients. And even more money to pay the expenses to do the work because he was always shifting gears – he never had enough of one kind of work to allow him to get efficient.  Sure, he had a very diverse general practice. He loved the variety that came with it. But he wasn’t making enough money.

To make matters worse, because he wasn’t selective about his clients, he had significant collection problems. The clients didn’t pay what they agreed to pay when they agreed to pay it. He had to write off fees or chase clients for payment – which cost more money.

Once the problem was clear, he did the work necessary to fix the problem and bring his practice around.

Don’t fall into the trap that Peter did – assuming that more clients would translate into more money and more profits. There is much more to running a profitable business. And that’s what the law is these days – a business. And that’s ok.  

Once you know the rules of the game – and how to run the plays – you can play to win. Having the right team around you, and a coach to guide you makes the process so much easier.

If you’re ready to play to win – and you’d like to know exactly what that looks like for your practice then we should talk. Click here to find out what you can do to get started


Doug BrownWhat if “more clients” isn’t what you need most?
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The SMART Way to Grow Your Practice

How many clients will you add to your practice in the next quarter?

How much revenue and profit will that generate for your firm?

If you’re like most attorneys (or most business professionals for that matter) you will probably say “as many as possible” and “as much as possible”. And that’s a problem – because it is impossible to achieve “as many/much as possible”.

The most successful professionals and business owners have very specific targets for their sales and business development activities. These targets allow them to reverse engineer their activities with the specific intent of hitting their targets. When they hit them there is a reward – financially and otherwise.

This discipline – setting very specific targets for sales, profit, and many other business metrics – will work in your law practice. Even if you don’t hit your targets – you will be a better, faster, stronger, and more profitable firm. Here’s how to get started.


In business, we talk about setting SMART objectives and goals. SMART stands for:

  1. Specific – you know exactly where you are going and why.
  2. Measurable – you know how to measure your progress, and when you get there
  3. Actionable/Achievable – you can take concrete action to actually achieve it.
  4. Relevant – it makes sense for your broader business
  5. Time-Based – you have a deadline, and defined checkpoints.

Getting Started on Sales Goals

The sales discipline of businesses applies to your law practice. Follow these steps to get started.

1) Xray Past Sales. Those are the clients and the matters you’ve handled in the last 24 months. You’ll use that as your baseline so your targets are not simply a wish or a shot in the dark. How did they come to you? What was their journey to get to your door? Who was their guide? How many came, in what frequency?

2) Identify Patterns. What patterns or trends do you see in the data? Who are your top referral sources? What matter(s) are driving clients to you? Why? You’ll use these patterns to create a forecast for the coming two quarters.  I know that COVID is going to impact the data since March – so you’ll have to adjust. Don’t make the mistake that you can’t create a forecast just because it’s complicated.

3) Make a SMART Sales Plan to take advantage of the patterns and trends with specific sales targets for the next couple of quarters, and the specific steps you need to take to cause that to happen.  SMART is easier to understand than it is to implement. Even when you think a goal is SMART you can probably make it much SMARTer and more powerful.

Like most business principles, this is not a one-and-done. It is a process and a cycle that takes time to master. But you can’t master it unless you start.

The value in doing this work is both the plan you’ll need and what you learn about your practice along the way.

Don’t leave your future to luck or circumstance. Get SMART.

And if you’d like help with this or to learn more, just message me, like or share.

Doug BrownThe SMART Way to Grow Your Practice
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4 Rules for Building Relationships and Referrals

Referrals are one of the most critical elements to building your law practice.

Now that we have a firm grasp of the obvious let’s talk about the more important ideas.  Just how do you actually make referrals happen?   Why does it come so easily to some and not at all to others?   And why don’t they teach this in law school?

Doug Brown4 Rules for Building Relationships and Referrals
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