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Every now and then, we get an email like the following.
(Usually, from a freshly minted law school grad who hung his shingle just a few months ago — but already feels he has the whole “making-it-as-a-solo” thing all figured out, because his professor gave him an A for his branding assignment, and he just finished reading Seth Godin’s latest book.)
You shouldn’t be teaching attorneys to send direct mail.
Best case, it is considered unethical. Worst case, it can get them into trouble with their Bar Association.
What’s my take?
It reminds me of those old “kelpie” legends.
They originated in the Highlands of Scotland — though some old villages here in the States still tell a version of them to their young kids too.
You see, in the Highlands of Scotland, a lot of villages were built next to murky large lochs, or treacherous and jagged sea coves. Understandably, parents were worried about little Bruce or Morag playing by the water and drowning. So, they told them dreadful stories of the “kelpie”.
What is a kelpie?
It’s a mythical monster that lived in the water, waiting to eat any little girl or boy who got too close. (This is where the Loch Ness Monster came from.)
Kids were terrified of the kelpie. So they stayed away.
Of course, unbeknown to them, their fathers used to row out into the waters every day and pull up baskets full of crab and lobster. So, not only was the kelpie a myth, but the very thing that terrified them was the same thing that literally put food on their family’s table and kept their bellies full.
For most bar associations, horror stories about attorneys being sanctioned or disbarred are just another version of the same old kelpie story.
They’re designed to keep idealistic and impressionable junior attorneys away from direct mail, while the grownups who know better use it to rake in SOLID cases and keep their trial calendar stuffed full of lucrative work.
You see that message I shared with you above?
It was a response to an email like this one, which I sent out some time ago. Another, more experienced, attorney replied with his two cents as well:
Right on. I’ve been sending direct mail to targeted lead lists for more than 15 years now. Frankly, any attorney who complains they are not getting enough clients but isn’t sending direct mail is an idiot.
Now, I wouldn’t say you’re an “idiot” if you don’t send direct mail. 🙂
But you’re almost certainly leaving money on the table.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply send them a complimentary copy of your book, along with a short letter of introduction. Then call in a few days, or have your admin do it, and ask if they want to talk come into your office for a consultation or case review and talk about their specific situation.
Chances are, few other attorneys in your metro/practice area are sending their own direct mail pieces to the same leads. And, if they are, you can bet your bottom dollar that NONE of them sent a copy of their book.
You now stand out as the pre-eminent attorney.
Not bad for $2-3 of marketing investment, right?
Something to think about, if you’re thinking of authoring a book with us. Especially if you need more (or better) clients. And especially if you have no hang-ups about — gasp! — sending letters to folks who need your help.