Rules can be vexing things for creative people. Take Pablo Picasso, who said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Last week, during our Fast Track Workshop for Essential Attorneys™, we explored the inner-artist dwelling within us all ... that Anarchist inside you held hostage by your Attorney-Self. You know the one ... we called him your Inner Mac. Our goal was to get your Outer PC (aka your Attorney Self) to talk to your Inner Mac (aka the Anarachist). We wanted to bring the two of you together to get the Elixir of Marketing that is just the right blend of strategy, analysis and unbridled creativity.
Now, Inner Mac can be really tough to find in a room full of estate attorneys! So we did some conjuring exercises, incantations if you will. Among them, the challenge of writing Ten Rules for Your Estate Planning Practice -- each beginning with the word Don't. That's right. Not the Top Ten Rules of what you SHOULD do as an estate planning attorney, but rather ten things you should NEVER do ...
Here is a compilation of our favorites, in no particular order:
- Don't give away too much time.
- Don't discount fees.
- Don't let clients leave without an engagement letter.
- Don't waste money on ineffective marketing.
- Don't over-complicate things.
- Don't make clients wait.
- Don't ignore clients.
- Don't try to impress your values onto your clients.
- Don't quote fees until you know what work needs to be done.
- Don't interrupt your clients while they are talking.
- Don't ignore the Silent Spouse.
- Don't over-promise.
- Don't rush the consultation.
- Don't be late.
- Don't take every client.
- Don't talk about yourself, unless it's truly relevant.
- Don't be arrogant.
- Don't gesture wildly with your hands and spill water all over the table.
- Don't express political views.
- Don't bore clients with too many details.
- Don't make fun of kids' names.
- Don't assume the client knows what they want for planning.
- Don't dwell on the oldest child's birth date, especially if it is before the wedding date!
- Don't look shocked at family revelations.
- Don't lose a client file.
- Don't forget your clients' names.
- Don't talk too much.
- Don't fight the silence.
- Don't forget to thank your clients ... and ask for referrals.
- Don't use "legalese."
- Don't be too serious.
- Don't ignore your clients' emotional experience.
- Don't assume your clients' estate planning priorities are the same as yours.
- Don't hire (the overly expensive, competitive marketing firm).
- Don't try to do your marketing by yourself.