You may recall the story of my client who doubled her net income this year, while carving out time in her busy practice to pursue intellectual challenges? (Read more here)
To refresh your memory, here are some excerpts from that post:
We discussed several aspects of this plan, including protecting her revenue stream and profitability while pursuing new interests. One thing we talked about a lot was making a plan to free up time in her schedule to pursue the appellate work. She was already working too many hours, it was clear she could not add something to her schedule without first clearing some empty space…
She is pleased to see her firm is now tasting from the whole estate law pie -- contested litigation, estate administration, probate, appellate work, as well as estate planning. She has a new associate and a legal assistant to handle most of the drafting -- which she then reviews ... Precisely as she had wanted…
"Now I mostly just meet with clients," she said. "I have handed off most of the drafting."
So what happened to her revenue and profitability now that she has all this new staff and is spending so much of her time doing challenging work she truly enjoys?
She met with her CPA last week and, to her chagrin, they will owe a substantial tax bill this year. She whined to her CPA, who responded -- "What are you complaining about? You more than doubled your net income this year!"
Yes, that was NET. She was able to pursue her dreams, serve her clients, and still TAKE HOME TWICE AS MUCH MONEY. Her CPA congratulated her, "You have really gotten your expenses under control!"
”So,” she asked, "how do we avoid paying these taxes?"
Her CPA replied, "Don't make so much money!"
I promised to share with you some of the strategies we employed to help achieve these results. Some of the strategies were “pure” marketing. Others were cost-saving or time-saving strategies. Working those strategies together in a comprehensive, well-executed marketing plan was powerful indeed!
One strategy, however, was a mix of all three – part marketing, part cost-savings, and part time-savings tool.
THE STUDY GROUP
Once a month my client hosts a study group of professionals who responded to the invitation to get together and learn more about estate planning. It’s a standing appointment today – and an agenda is published each month before the meeting. The agenda consists of the current discussion topic as well as questions submitted by the participants for discussion. Though it started out with a formal course outline, the program has evolved. It is less formal now, and relationships are deeper – just the type of atmosphere that nurtures mutually beneficial, long-term relationships … and referrals.
WHY IT WORKED
First – the study group is a wonderful marketing strategy. It is a terrific tool to help you take casual contacts, offer something of value, and build those contacts into strong relationships. The structured format gives you a springboard from which to develop lasting referral relationships. It was important that the initial invitation include a structured course outline, showing prospective group members that the EDUCATIONAL VALUE of the group would be worth the investment of their time … and that the group was not just an attorney’s ploy to drum up referrals.
Second – it was a great cost-saving strategy. The monthly meetings cost almost nothing to promote and host. Email announcements are sent in advance, participants meet in the firm’s conference room. My client provides soft drinks and water, and everyone brings a sack lunch. My client is enjoying a renewed referral stream from these deepening relationships – all at a cost that is virtually negligible! In fact, it is the informality of the format that really lends itself to candid conversation and stronger bonds.
Finally – it was a great time-saving strategy. Implementing a prepared program is a monumental time-saver. Most marketing ideas of this type never get off the ground because the attorney simply never has time to develop the content, let along write the promotional materials or create tracking and reporting systems to gauge progress. Moreover, the study group format allows you to meet with several advisers at one time. With traditional “networking,” you would have to spend at least one to two days each week taking someone to lunch – including extending the invitation, coordinating schedules, and traveling to the appointed restaurant (not to mention the expense of picking up the tab!). The study group meeting, on the other hand, is a standing appointment. An email announcement is sent, and a staff person at the firm arranges for refreshments and keeps the conference room reserved.
YOU can implement this same winning strategy by ordering our FIVE DAYS TO PROFITABLE REFERRALS program now – and SAVE $100 OFF THE PRICE by ordering before December 31st.
I strongly encourage you to purchase the program now. Get it shipped to your office, copy the files, read through the materials. Print your implementation guide, gather your support team, and HIT THE GROUND RUNNING IN 2006!