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167 posts categorized "Resolutions/Goals"

December 30, 2006

Resolutions III: December 30

Resolve to be your clients’ creative guru. 

You don’t just want to be your clients’ problem solver (though that is better than ‘problem resolver’), you want to be the person they go to when they need to think about ways to grow their business, tackle new challenges, make more money, and be happier. 

Here is an amazing list of almost 200 different creativity techniques that you can use with your clients to help them be more creative.  Who knows, you may just learn to be more creative yourself.

December 29, 2006

Resolutions III: December 29

Resolve to understand what you sell.  This is pretty straightforward.  Ask your clients what they are buying from you.  If they answer “time,” then by all means continue to sell it.  If they answer something else (and it will be something else), learn to sell that instead.

Just to get you started, here’s one of my favorite posts of 2006:

Having a difficult time “selling” your value as an advisor instead of a tecnician?  Here’s an easy-to-understand way to communicate the differences between Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom, from the Across the Sound podcast (via Howard Kaplan):

Data is "the sun rises at 5:12 AM"

Information is "the sun rises from the East, at 5:12 AM"

Knowledge is "If you're lost in the woods without a compass, follow the direction of the sun to find your direction"

Finally, wisdom is "Don't get lost in the woods"

December 28, 2006

Resolutions III: December 28

Resolve to rethink your business cards.  In August of 2005, I wrote about my new index card-sized business cards.  Here are the cards I’m using now for realBIGthinking:

Picture of RBT Card

I rarely get a negative comment when I hand the card to someone, and the cards almost always begin an interesting conversation.  And isn’t that what a business card is supposed to do?

December 27, 2006

Lawyers Appreciate ...

Last week Gerry Riskin asked me to write a post that  begins with the words “Lawyers Appreciate”  (the idea was originally conceived here).  Here’s mine:

Lawyers Appreciate Gifts.  Here are three things I’d like to (belatedly) give all my lawyer friends for the holidays:

1.  A family who loves them.

2.  A community who respects them.

3.  Great clients who pay them. 

And if I didn’t spend all my budget on those three things, I’d add four more:

4.  One hour each day to dream about how they’d make their business better.

5.  The courage to try the things they’ve thought up. 

6.  The wisdom to ignore those who say those things can’t be done.

7.  Friends like Gerry to cheer them on.

Resolutions III: December 27

Another favorite tip:  When your clients come to see you, resolve to help them see you.

Ever have clients come by your office who need to read documents?  Get a load of this tip (for waiters and waitresses) from Tricks of the Trade:

Keep a pair of reading glasses at hand. At least once every few days you'll get a customer who forgot their glasses and are unable to read the menu. Produce your spare pair and a good tip is secure.

Reading glasses are cheap at Wal-Mart, Target, etc.  Grab a few pairs and your clients will “see” what a great lawyer you are. 

December 26, 2006

Resolutions III: December 26

Here is a really simple one.  If you want to get more done (and you don’t dictate everything), resolve to type better.  In fact, I’d be hard pressed to think of a cheaper and better way to improve office-wide productivity, than to get everyone typing faster. 

Of course, if partners responding to their e-mails could get the response off in a “.10” instead of a “.20” clients would benefit as well.

December 25, 2006

Resolutions III: December 25

Resolve to tell your family and friends how much you love them.

December 24, 2006

Resolutions III: December 24

Resolve to become aware of news affecting your cients before they do.*

1.  Using Google Blog Search or Google Alerts set up several searches for each of your clients.  Use their names, industry, competitors’ names, products, etc.

2.  Subscribe to the RSS feed for each search.

3.  Notify your clients whenever you see something relevant to them or their industry.

Extra Credit:

4.  If you use Google Reader as your RSS Aggregator, create a “tag” for each of your clients.

5.  For each tag, Google Reader allows you to create a unique URL for that tag that you can share with your clients.

6.  Give each of your clients their tag’s unique URL and everytime they open it in their browser, they’ll see everything you’ve “marked” for them to read.

*  This post will be expanded into a longer how-to in January.

December 22, 2006

Resolutions III: December 22

Resolve to get less business. 

Step One:  Go through your client list and place a check next to every client who:

  • you hate
  • treats your staff poorly
  • never pays on time
  • always complains about everything – including your service
  • is never happy with anything
  • etc.

Step Two:  Figure out how much of your income comes from these clients.  Fire them.  If too much income comes from clients you hate serving, find a different practice area or a different job.

Step Three:  While you are at it, look at your calendar for the last year.  How many things (like family outings, vacations, and your children’s activities) didn’t you get to do because you had to work?  Add up the amount of money you made by missing these events.

Step Four:  Add the amounts from Steps Two and Three.  Increase your hourly rate (unless you already use value pricing) to make up for the business you are letting go.

Step Five:  Explain your rate increase to clients by telling them you decided to work for fewer clients to deliver the remaining ones better service (and to remain sane). 

Step Six:  Deliver that better service to your remaining clients.  Spend more time with your family.  Be happier. 

December 21, 2006

Resolutions III: December 21

Resolve to help your clients help each other.

Step One:  In addition to your normal engagement agreement, develop a “Client Promotion Agreement” that your clients sign that permits you to discuss with others what they do (in a most generic sense) and allows you to introduce them to others who can help them/buy from them/sell to them/etc.*

Step Two:  When asking them to sign the Client Promotion Agreement, explain to them that you take their privacy very seriously, but also believe in helping them and their business in any way that you can, and that you have many clients whom they might benefit from being introduced to.

Step Three:  Get to know as much as you can about your clients’ non-legal needs.  Try not to charge for these conversations (and do it at their place of business, if you can).  Ask them questions like these:

 What are the most common problems your customers have that you aren’t able to help them with?

What one thing could you do this year with someone’s help that would have the greatest impact on your business?

Step Four:  Introduce them to others who can help them.

 

* Though you may not ethically need this agreement (or you could cover it in your engagement agreement) it is a good way to reinforce how much you care about them and a nice way to begin the rest of the conversation about how to help them.