“One good case will pay for it all!”

The #1 Most Misleading Message That Legal Marketing Salespeople Use On Attorneys

If you are an attorney you have probably heard some salesperson or marketing consultant say, “one good case will pay for the whole thing!” This is the favorite phrase of people who sell:

  • Sponsored listings on directory websites;
  • Pay-Per-Click / Google AdWords Services;
  • Potential Client Leads;
  • Attorney Television Advertising Packages;
  • ….and a whole host of other lawyer marketing products and services.

It may be true that IF you were to get that “one good case” it could possibly cover the cost of the program, product or service.  But that is a BIG IF.  Is that a good enough reason to do it on blind hope?

I believe that anytime you hear a salesperson say, “one good case will pay for the whole thing” you should automatically be suspicious!  However this catchphrase is the hook that frequently reals in the attorney but, more often than not, fails to deliver “the big one”.

Gambling On Marketing

Consider this…

Is the fact that it only takes one winning lottery ticket to bring you millions of dollars a good enough reason to quit your job and spend the rest of your life buying lottery tickets every day?

You could spend your time combing beaches. You might find gold coins that have been washed ashore from a sunken Spanish galleon. Is that a good enough reason to quite your job and buy a metal detector?

Would you cash in your retirement account and put all the money in the stock of some company that you have never heard of without reviewing its financial history or reading the annual reports?

The answer to all of these questions is a resounding, NO!!

So why would you recklessly gamble thousands of dollars on some marketing program or advertising service just because “one good case will pay for the whole thing”?

In my mind, that’s not how you run a successful law practice.

Attorneys are supposed to be good at deposing witnesses; cross-examining the defendant; and getting to the truth. So why are they so horrible at dealing with lawyer adverting and attorney marketing sales people?  Why do they fail to do their due diligence?  Why?!

It’s simply crazy.

Deposing The Salesperson: Marketing Due Diligence

When a sales person or consultant says “one good case will pay for the whole thing” that is my cue to ask more probing questions and make sure I get facts and data to support the answers.

I don’t want to invest in a marketing program that might yield results…maybe…when the moon is full. I want to invest in programs that are repeatedly successful and that have a clearly measurable ROI. I want the predictability of a reliable pipeline of new business.

So I ask a lot of hard questions.

Is A Featured Listing In An Attorney Directory Really Worth It?

For example, here are some of the kinds of questions that I would ask someone who is selling premium featured/sponsored listing on an attorney directory website:

  • How many visits does that page get per month?
  • How did you arrive at that number?
  • Is that an average over the last 12 months; last 3 months; or of the best months from last year?
  • Do the numbers you just gave me factor out ‘bad impressions’ from robots?
  • Is there 3rd party verification of your traffic numbers?
  • Are you willing to give me a Google Analytics report confirming that number?
  • What percentage of the time will my listing be on top?
  • How many other attorney listings are in the rotation?

Then I’d do the math and ask…

  • So if the page has X number of visits, and my listing appears Y% of the time then you are saying that it will receive Z number of impressions per month, correct?
  • What percentage of the time do visitors click one of those top listings?
  • So then my listing could reasonably expect to get clicked on X times per month, correct?
  • What happens when it is clicked? Does the visitor get taken to my profile page; my website; or some other page?
  • My profile page? Okay, then on average what percentage of the time do visitors to profile pages go on to click the link to the attorney’s website? Or what percentage of the time do they fill out the contact form? Or what percentage of the time do they call the number that appears on the listing? Is that phone number trackable?

Then I’d make some more calculations ad ask…

  • So, if the numbers that you just gave me are correct, I can expect X click-throughs to my website, Y contact forms, and Z phone calls per month? Is that correct?
  • Is your company willing to put performance minimums in your contract that guarantee that I will receive that level of performance if I make a marketing investment with you?

If you throw in terms like possible and probable then you’ll really melt the sales guy’s brain!

Then a deafening silence falls over the conference room. Off in the distance somewhere there is the sound of crickets chirping. Then the sales guy says…

“Yea, but one good case will pay for the whole thing.”

Then I wouldn’t let him say another word until I ask…

  • So why is this premium sponsored listing available? If it is so great then why isn’t they guy who had it before still doing it?

The sales guy will likely reply with one or all of the following:

  • He’s winding down his law practice.
  • He is dealing with an illness in the family and is taking some time off.
  • He couldn’t handle the number of new cases he was getting.
  • He and his partners are splitting up. He’ll do it when he gets his new firm off the ground.
  • This is new. We just started offering this.

If “this is new” is one of the excuses then we have to go back to square one. I have to ask, “so if this is new then where did you get all those statistics that you gave me a few minutes ago?”

Silence will probably fall over the conference room again.

Attorney Know Thy Self

Do you know your own data—your key performance indicators? Do you know…

  • How many visitors your firm’s website gets every month?
  • Do you know where those visitors are coming from?
  • Do you know how many visitors submit a case inquiry via your website?
  • How many pick up the phone and call you?
  • How many website visitors start an online chat?
  • Do you know what percentage of those potential client contacts have claims that meet your case criteria?
  • How many new clients does your firm sign every month?
  • What is the average attorney fee?

If you can’t answer most of those questions then you can’t evaluate a marketing opportunity. Without understanding your own data you can’t really determine if the earlier example of a premium sponsored listing on an attorney directory website would be a good investment for your firm.

If that sales guy were to answer all of those questions and you knew exactly how many ‘leads’ you were going to get every month (assuming the data was accurate) from this ‘great opportunity’ AND you know what percentage of your potential client contacts actually turn into cases THEN you could do the simple math to determine what your POTENTIAL ROI would be from this program.

That’s how smart marketers make decisions.

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