Remember also what I said that you’re not going to convince them by means of logic. Most of these people do not consider themselves qualified to judge whether or not you are a terrific attorney. They do consider themselves qualified to decide who they like and trust and that’s what their there really to decide.
That being said, the worst thing I think that you can do is to put an ad in the paper hope people will show up at the seminar, then give the seminar and hope someone will call you.
You want more structure then that, you want more of a process then that, you want a sort set of railroad tracks that are always leading people, potential clients in the audience to the next step in a very natural way. Lets begin at the beginning; I mean a common question that I get is how do I promote these seminars successfully? How do I fill them up? And there’s a number of answers to that. You should use professional referral sources to send to their clients, you should use your own list of course of clients, past clients, potential clients, and subscribers to your newsletter or blog, and all of that.
But lets assume that you’ve done all that; and your looking for how do I draw in members of the public, people with whom I’ve had no contact and bring those people into the seminar. There are a number of methods, in our firm, we rely on direct mail, newspaper and radio and sometimes, really all the time, those methods, the mix of promotional methods that we’re going to use, are very dependant on the nature of the local market.
Just to give you one example, we have a client who is located in Salem IL which is a very small rural town and it has one newspaper and everybody reads that newspaper. The one newspaper is small enough so that a full-page ad costs $500. So for $500 I can put an ad in that newspaper and be pretty sure that everybody in town saw it or will see it and consider going to the seminar.
Now if your practice it located in Chicago IL instead of Salem IL that same $500 won’t even buy you one thirty second radio ad; it might buy you a classified ad about this big in the Chicago Tribune or the Chicago Sun times but that’s about all it will get you. So the marketing method that is appropriate for Salem IL is not appropriate for Chicago IL. Tip O’Neil famously said that all politics is local; well all marketing is local in that sense too.
In Los Angeles, where a lot of people are stuck in their cars all day on the freeway, radio is a terrific marketing method. In up state NY radio doesn’t seem to draw flies. So it really depends on where you are. A general rule of thumb would be that the bigger the market the more you want to rely on direct mail because that’s very cost efficient and you know exactly how much you spend per piece, and you can decide how many pieces to send out and who their going to go to and you can target them by income by age by geographic location and so on and that’s a very, very effective marketing method. It’s important whatever mix that you use that you track the results as you do seminars that you ask people when they show up how they heard about the seminar. And that information unfortunately is not going to be 100% accurate; we’ve had several situations where we advertised on radio, in the newspapers and by direct mail and when people showed up at the seminar and when we said how did you learn about the seminar, they said TV even though there had been no TV ad. So people don’t always quite recall how it got in their head but you want to do the best you can to track those results because lets say you do a mix of radio, newspaper and direct mail and you find the sixty percent of the attendee’s came because of direct mail and thirty percent came because of the newspaper ad and only ten percent came because of the radio ad. Then the next time do the seminar your going to take the radio budget probably and put it into more newspaper ad or more direct mail pieces because they’re more effective. However you do have to be careful about jumping to conclusion because occasionally what you’ll find out is to use that same example sixty percent of the people came from direct mail and thirty percent came from the newspaper and only ten percent came from the radio however if you look at the same data a month or so down the road you find out that everyone of the people that came from radio signed up and became a client and very few of the people that came from newspaper or direct mail did so.
So now you’ve got to revise your conclusion and say that while radio produces fewer leads in this case, it produces higher qualified leads ones that are more likely to become your client. So in order to understand your marketing program, in order to be able to revise it, in order to be able to do it better the next time you got to have that data, you’ve got to track it. So I urge you to do that.
Another thing that I would tell you is that there is a lot of marketing that takes place before the seminar if you do things correctly. My clients for example, every time somebody calls and registers for the seminar, and some people answers the phone in their office to take those calls, some use a service and I’ll discuss that in a minute, but every time somebody registers for the seminar I have my client the attorney write a personal handwritten note to that person saying how much they’re looking forward to meeting them Tuesday night at the seminar whatever. This is a personal touch that seminar attendee’s and would be client really appreciate. We’ve had a number of cases where people showed up at the seminar clutching that personal handwritten note saying nobody had ever done that for them before and were very anxious to meet the attorney who had been so thoughtful as to write such a note.
The other thing that I would tell you is that if you take the seminar reservation call in your office
You want to train the person or people who are taking those calls to understand that’s a marketing call it’s not just a clerical call. So a clerical way of taking the reservation would be; ‘Hello Mrs. Jones, oh your registering for the seminar very good, what night will you be coming? How many people will you bring? Ok, can we have your phone number to call you back? Thank You’ a marketing way of answering that phone is understanding is that this is your first bonding opportunity with this person.
So what I’d like to see is somebody with a very friendly voice, a smile in their voice saying ‘Oh Mrs. Jones, we’re delighted that your coming to the seminar, wait until you meet attorney Smith, you know he is just great, people love him, your going to have such a good time at this seminar, What night will you be coming? Do you need directions? Ok, well we’re really looking forward to seeing you and we’ll call you back to remind you the day before’ if this is done well, then Mrs. Jones, the prospective attendee for the seminar shows up at the seminar and says ‘ now where is that nice Alice that I’ve been talking too?’ all right? So there is a process that takes place whereby their already dealing with your office, they already like your office, they already like you because of the handwritten note, they’re already partially bonded with you.
Then you know, the night of the seminar, I think there is an important structure to that too and along with this video I am going to have posted here on SPU a like where you can click and watch one of my clients giving our seminars, one of our seminars, an estate planning seminar, and you can watch how she carries out, her name is Kimberly Lee, she is a terrific attorney, out in the Palm Desert area of California, and you’ll be able to see how she carries out this structure just perfectly, and you’ll be able to see why she is so successful.
One of the first things we discuss at the seminar is price. Now I know I have already posted some videos dealing with the question of price so you know my feelings on that, if you haven’t already seen it then you should go back and watch it again but here’s the theory, its more then a theory I think at this point and that is if somebody knows what you do as an attorney and they know what you charge, and they make an appointment and they come to your office, that ought to be a done deal to me that is something that you have to work hard to screw up and lose.
Because for most people price is the main objection, that’s the main obstacle that you have to get through. So you’ll notice in the video that’s going to be attached here in the link that price is perhaps the first thing that we deal with when we do seminars. And we have a certain way of doing it and that way is this, lets assume for a minute that I’m giving the seminar and I’m going to say ‘ladies and gentlemen, welcome to today’s seminar, I’m delighted to have you here tonight I’d like to hear some of the reasons why you came here tonight, what are some of the questions you are hoping to have answered.’ And then you wait for some folks to raise their hands and ask their question and if they don’t you go out into the audience and you pick somebody ‘you sir, tell me what question are you hoping to have answered?’ and that person asks you a question ‘my son works in the family business, my daughters are married don’t work, how do I make it come out even in my estate planning how do I make if come out even in my estate plan? How do I leave things to them equally?
That’s just a typical question; so you take two or three questions like that from the audience, write them down on your legal pad and you say ‘ ok that’s a great, that’s a great question, that’s a very interesting question’ and after you’ve taken two or three of those you say ‘ you know what, there’s one more question that’s on everybody’s mind and you folks are all to nice to ask it and that question is what does it cost? If you deliver that right, they’re going to laugh and they’re going to laugh because that is what’s on their mind. That’s what’s on everybody’s mind; fear of loss is a very big part of human psychology so you know that’s going to be on their minds.
So you say ‘well lets talk now first about what its going to cost to do these kind of legal services and that way you can spend the rest of this seminar concentrating on what it is we’re going to learn today what it is we’re going to talk about, and you won’t have to sit there with your arms crossed saying yeah, yeah, yeah Mark, sounds good but what does it cost? And again, if you deliver this right your going to get a chuckle from the audience because that is what’s on their mind and you don’t want that to be on their mind. So you say ‘well let’s talk about it right now; so here you can see I put up a slide, here is a range of costs of what this kind of service entails.’
And then you explain that in your own way, whatever it is, you know, if it is a range for example again in the example that I’m using in the estate planning services, most of my clients have a range of three or four different price levels, depending on how much assets people have or how many kids or grand kids people have, depending on whether or not they have somebody with special needs, and this kind of things but its pretty clear what the range is for these kinds of services. So whatever it is your kind of service even if it is an hourly rate you can at least put that up. I think you can accomplish a couple of things, one is you get credit I think in the mind of the audience right away for being up front about the price; being transparent about it. And you really are going to transform the quality of the client meeting that’s going to take place when they come into your office because in a typical client meeting, there is this arch of tension that builds as everybody waits for you to pull a rabbit out your hat and tell them what its going to cost. This way, they know going into that meeting what it’s going to cost, that’s already be discussed at the seminar. So you can focus that entire client meeting on what you can do for them. And I really find that it really transforms the nature for them. I also discussed in one of our previous videos the importance in my view of having a pricing sheet or chart and we posted an example for you to look at. I think that something that’s visually presented, something printed this way has a lot of advantages one of which is that people are much less inclined to try to negotiate priced that are sort of printed therefore official. So the first thing at the seminar to talk about is pricing, so get that out in front right away.
Sometimes there are ways in which you can present the price in a seminar that puts it in a certain context. For example, for my elder law attorneys they might post up that their fee for doing Medicaid planning and Medicaid applications is seventy five hundred dollars. I have them a lot of times put that in context by doing some research, finding out what the costs are in local nursing homes, and saying ok, the fees are seventy five hundred dollars that’s equivalent to six weeks in a local nursing home. That kind of frames it a certain way for the potential clients that they can understand that even though this seems like a hefty sum to them its nothing compared to what they’re going to have to pay a nursing home if they don’t do this kind of planning. So find a way to present the price but presents the price right away. And then at some point you can say now you know what it costs and now we can go on to learn what we’re here to learn today and to get to know each other and you proceed into the body of the seminar.
One of the things, techniques that we use throughout a seminar that I think is very important is what we call a confidential information sheet both sides here. It asks people sitting in the audience for basic information about themselves, their health, their kids, if those things are relevant to your area of law practice and it asks them to check certain boxes to indicate their areas of interest or need. Although this information is important, to me what is more important in the seminar that this is in a sense a prop. This is a way to make the seminar both physically and mentally interactive. So instead of somebody sitting there like this or zoning out and thinking about what is they’re going to get at the grocery store tomorrow their shopping list, instead of that, you’ve got somebody doing this, they’re involved in what it is that your saying, they’re responding, your going to use this throughout the presentation to say ok now if your interested in what I just said about irrevocable living trust I want you to check box number one here and you continue the process throughout the seminar.
Aside from keeping the seminar interactive, there is another advantage to this; people have a strong psychological commitment to anything they have written themselves. So a couple of examples, during the Korean conflict, during when the communist Chinese wanted to brainwash American prisoners, one of the methods that they would use is that they would get them up in the morning and write an essay on what was wrong with their country that kind of thing.
When people are going door-to-door selling vacuum cleaners or some kind of item where there’s a very high rate of buyers remorse, and cancelled contracts, one of the methods they use is to hand over a clipboard and have the prospect fill out the contract themselves. So its very hard for that person to say that they don’t want this vacuum cleaner when the person themselves wrote in and filled in the entire contract. So it is very hard for someone sitting in your audience to check a box and say that he is interested in irrevocable trusts and then say he is not interested in irrevocable trusts. So there is a small commitment process that takes place, it’s another step along that railroad track that I was talking about that takes place. So really there are a couple of reasons why this is an effective tool. Obviously you collect them at the end and as well and if you’ve done a good job here getting them to fill it out, you’ve got another person you can put in your database for a dripping program and we’ll talk about that in another lesson, but the process by which you send them newsletters, you send them information periodically, you keep them as friends and acquaintances of your firm. So I think this is an important tool. Then you get to the end of the presentation again as you will see in the attached video, now you need a way to transition to an appointment in your office. Again, I am going to pretend I’m the attorney, I am going to say to you ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we’re drawing to the end of today’s seminar, if we’ve done our job well, you’ve filled out your confidential information sheet, and you’ve checked some boxes here and folks you’ll notice there’s one more box for you to check and that’s to request an appointment. As a matter of fact, I’ve got a special surprise for you today and that is for those of you that are here today that sat through this presentation with me, we have a wonderful gift certificate here for one hundred and fifty dollars and it pays for the entire cost of an estate planning consultation with me. Now before you go running off here, I want to tell you that my assistant Amy is here in the back of the room with my appointment book; and for those of you that want to make appointment today, you go see her and she is going to give you your gift certificate.
There’s a couple of things I want you to remember about the gift certificate; number one, it’s made out to you personally. It’s not transferable to another person, you can’t give it to your daughter for her divorce, or your friend for his auto accident, it’s for an estate planning consultation between you and me because you were nice enough to come here today and listen to this.
The other thing I want you to notice is that it has an expiration date on it and that expiration date is three weeks from today. The reason for that is that next month I will be giving another set of these seminars, workshops, and all of my available appointments will fill up very quickly so if you’d like to take advantage of this go see Amy, make your appointment, make it for sometime in the next three weeks and she’ll give you your gift certificate and I’m really looking forward to meeting you, thank you very much.’
What you see here again is a process that takes place from the minute that the person receives the invitation or sees the ad in the newspaper, to the moment when they call and register for the seminar, from the moment they receive a thank you note, to the moment in the seminar when they fill out the confidential information sheet, to the end when they get their gift certificate and make their appointment.
So compared to how people usually do seminars, with no forethought, no real structure to the presentation, no system to garner appointments, you can imagine how different the results are by doing it this way, so if you want to do seminars, give some thought to it, do some research, I definitely urge you to click on the link that will be posted here so you can watch Kimberly Lee give the Smart Marketing seminar exactly how its supposed to be given; her topic is estate planning, but I don’t care if is immigration or bankruptcy or divorce or whatever it is, all of these principals remain the same. I can tell you that Kimberly in general, gets about a sixty five percent appointment rate. Sixty five percent of the people who sit in the audience make appointments to come and see her in her office and her close rate from that is very, very high; it must be in the ninetieth percentile there because as I said, they know what she does, they know what she charges and they made the effort and they came to her office.
So seminars are a wonderful, wonderful way to market your legal services; they’re educational, they’re dignified, they’re valuable to all parties concerned, and you should do them on a consistent basis and when you do them give them some thought, use the principals that I described here and I’m sure you’re going to have a lot of success.