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October 19, 2010

Communicating Value and Price

I've been a big fan of Merlin Mann for several years now.  As I was checking out his website yesterday, I found his pricing page cheekily titled: Do You Charge Money to Do Things?  Here's how Merlin describes his pricing scheme:

For most all of my speaking, consulting, and advisory work, yes: I do charge a fee, plus expenses. And, candidly, I charge kind of a lot....  I learned a long time ago to only work for or with people with whom you have mutual admiration and respect—and who already think you’re valuable and great at what you do. In my experience, the folks who expect you to make a case for your own value make for terrible clients. They may be good negotiators and nice people, but working for them is a gut-wrenching travesty. And I don’t do travesties.

With all that said, I do a fair amount of (private, unpublicized, non-ribbon-based) work with non-profits and other deserving groups. And, no, I normally do not charge for this work. So, If you’re working for a good cause or represent an organization that’s trying to do something you know I care a lot about, please ask me. No promises, but I’ll do what I can with what I have.

So, yep. “Expensive” or “Free.” It’s a fee schedule that works.

I think it would work well on a firm website, and provides an important reminder every lawyer should have on their desk: "The folks who expect you to make a case for your own value make for terrible clients."

October 17, 2010

Use the Right Words in Your Marketing

Found this great tip on Connection Cafe about how to use Google's Keyword Tool to understand what people are looking for:

Explore opportunities for new offers or ones adjacent to what you currently offer.  Go to the Google Keyword Tool.  Enter a single term associated with your organization’s services, products, or offers.  You could also provide a URL to one of the pages that describe what you’re doing today and Google will use that to help with the research. 

The tool will return a long list of similar terms that people are searching for.  It will also tell you roughly how many people are searching for those terms and how competitive the market for placing advertisements on those pages will be.  Sort by search volume or competition.  What do these results tell you people are searching for versus what they’re finding?

 

September 23, 2010

Are Your Conference Calls Like This?

Funny, but true:

 

August 31, 2010

Introducing COCAbiz

A funny thing happened last month as I was meeting with the new executive director of COCA -- St. Louis' premier community arts center.  It was a "get to know you" meeting, but as she and I were discussing all the workshops, seminars and training. for businesses that COCA was developing, she asked me if I had any interest at all in becoming the first Director of this new initiative, now named COCAbiz.

My first (and second) response was, "No."  While I was happy to help get COCAbiz off the ground, I loved what I did, and had no desire to do something else.  Only after I lost a few nights of sleep mulling over the venture's potential, did I finally come around. 

Those of you who know me can appreciate how taken I was by the idea of building creative and innovative events, seminars, classes and training for businesses and organizations --  while utilizing the resources, facilities and (most importantly) some of the 200+ talented artists, actors, dancers, and teachers who call COCA home. 

That was five weeks ago.



Today, I'm incredibly honored and humbled to announce that I am the new Director of COCAbiz.  COCAbiz will combine business-focused, arts-based instruction and theory with creative facilitation to help businesses, organizations and those who work for them to think better together as they solve their toughest challenges.

But what about my "day job" as a speaker, writer and facilitator?  I'll continue to speak about innovation, creativity, alternative billing and client service to lawyers and firms.  I'll keep blogging, and I'll also keep doing firm retreats and conferences, but will have the additional resources of COCAbiz behind me.  I'll also get a few more nights each month at home with my daughter, which she and I will both cherish.

In short, it is the best of all worlds for me.  The challenge of building an amazing business inside one of the nation's most-loved arts and education institutions was too great to pass up.  I'm excited beyond measure, and can't wait to share more of what we'll be doing at COCAbiz here and elsewhere.

Thanks for your support, and as always, let me know how I can help you.

August 25, 2010

Your Clients Don't Care Where You Went to Law School

After my Law Firm Website Venn Diagram got such great feedback, I thought I'd do another highlighting one of my big pet peeves: lawyer bios.  Here you go:

  Lawyer Bio Venn Diagram
 

August 24, 2010

Use Words that Suck Less

Unsuckit
As someone who splits my professional time working with both lawyers and with corporate America, I hear just as much business jargon as I do legalese. 

Though I've not found a "de-legalese-r" site on the web, I have found Unsuck-it, a website that takes business-speak and makes it, well, less sucky.

Some examples: 

Incentivize: In order to meet our phase 1 deliverable, we must incentivize the workforce with monetary rewards.

  Unsucked: Encourage or persuade.

Low-Hanging Fruit: Our budget’s tight on this one, so we need to go for the low-hanging fruit first.

  Unsucked: Easy goal.

Synergy: We are actualizing synergy amongst team members directly related to the project.

  Unsucked: Working together.

You can search for terms, and even generate an email to the offender who used the word.  Now, we just need the legal version!

August 23, 2010

Great Estate Planning Quote

Found this quote from professional organizer Sue DeRoos that would be a tremendous quote for a firm trying to market to estate planning clients:
Everyone gets organized at some point, they just might not be around for it.
Via Unclutterer.


Is your website for your clients or for your peers?

Inspired by this venn diagram found on Business Pundit,  I thought I'd do one for Law Firm Websites:

What are your Relationship Rituals?

Keith Ferrazzi shares a few simple "Relationship Rituals" that should be on every professional's weekly checklist:

1.    First thing every day after you turn on your computer, ping one friend and one acquaintance.

2.    Every weekend, invite someone else into an activity that you normally do alone (walks, gym sessions, gardening, shopping trips).

3.    Pick a day for a weekly check-in with a colleague/associate/friend, during which you share a success, a challenge, and make a commitment for the upcoming week.

4.    Every Friday, send a broadcast – status update, blog post, Tweet, etc.

5.    Host a monthly dinner or happy hour.

What are the things you do every week to maintain your client relationships?

August 19, 2010

Do your customers trust your apology?

In this NYT article, author Daniel Pink challenges businesses to speak like real people.  The whole article is worth your time, but what grabbed me was this simple quote from the head of the t-shirt site Threadless:

The best way to figure out if you're running a good company is to figure out if your customers trust your apology.

I think this is right on, and a great measure for every business.  Do your customers trust you when you apologize to them for making a mistake?  You do apologize, don't you?