Learning From The Apprentice

I am still fuming after watching The Apprentice last week. If you have managed to miss the format, each week budding entrepreneurs are put into one of two teams and given a task to perform, usually selling something to retailers or the public. This week one of the candidates Melissa was constantly explaining how she was the best pitcher of products and that no one else should be allowed to pitch. She pitched twice, and each time showed she was completely and utterly useless at pitching because she lacked the most important sales skill known to man; ‘listening’. She would pitch her product to a major retailer and when they raised any issue with the product or her pitch she would disagree with them in a confrontational way and lose any chance of remedying the situation.

It came to the part where Lord Alan Sugar has to decide which of three people short-listed for the chop from the losing team should be ‘fired’ (or not hired technically but that is another point) and she continued to say how fantastic she was at pitching. I was worried at this point that she would probably get away with it and be kept on the show; because it is a TV Show often ‘annoying or poor performers’ remain in contention because they wind up the viewers and create more press columns. However, despite her belief that she was the best sales person in the world she was duly fired. Then she continued to annoy me even more. When getting up to leave the boardroom after she was fired, rather than accepting defeat graciously she snarled “Thanks for getting me fired” to the two other candidates who were potentially up for the chop. Then when they left she refused to shake their hands and snarled again at them to get out of her sight. Finally, her parting shot in the London Taxi as she left the show was to say clearly their had been a ‘vendetta’ against her.

What riles me so much about this is that we could all see she was useless at pitching. All of the judges told her, all of her competitors told her, yet she believed they were all out to get her. She sums up my Golden Rule Of Marketing4Solicitors number 3 – “It’s All Your Fault”. As a solicitor, businessman or woman, if you cannot get past this point and like Melissa you blame everything that goes wrong in your life or your business on everyone else except the only person who can change anything, i.e. YOU, you will never achieve the success you might enjoy if you embrace this rule. It was clearly Melissa’s fault that she was fired, yet she persisted to blame everyone around her. Until she learns this Golden Rule, I think she will struggle not only in business but in life. Don’t be like Melissa, embrace this rule now and you give yourself the power to change everything you do not like about your legal practice right now!

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Case Study

Beating the big boys whilst spending a fraction of their budget

We focus on accident claims, and it’s vital for us to have a strong web presence, which we didn’t have before Nick got involved.

As a result we had to buy in leads from other sources, reducing our profit margins and making us reliant on other companies to generate revenue.

We did have a company working on our Adwords and website, but the truth of the matter is that they weren’t getting the results we needed them to get – we only had a handful of clients coming in from those efforts, making us highly reliant on buying in the leads from elsewhere.

And then I came across one of Nick’s books, was impressed by what I read and got in touch with him.

The rest – as they say – is history.

We started working together with a clear brief: Nick’s job was to help us bring in more self-generated work, so we could stop relying on buying leads.

He started by working on our website, making it more accessible and easier to navigate.

Next he overhauled our Google Adwords, which the previous company had been running fairly unsuccessfully.

Adwords is hugely challenging in our sector, with some very big players bidding on some of the most common keywords, making it very difficult for any smaller firms to get a look in, and I’ve got to be honest and say that I didn’t know how Nick was going to make it work.

But he did, by analysing very closely what people were looking for and tailoring our Adwords efforts towards them.

It worked! We were competing with the big boys whilst spending a fraction of their budget, and the amount of work we got in was tremendous – we jumped from just a handful of leads and clients a month to 500 leads and 150 clients, every single month, all from our online efforts.

Nick didn’t just work on the lead generation side of things either – he helped us with the client conversion process too, training our team, making our sales calls better and improving our onboarding process to avoid drop-offs due to ‘cooling off’.

Now we don’t buy in any work at all, our pay-per-click efforts do a sterling job, and the large client database that Nick has helped us build has allowed us to increase the amount of work we do by a factor of ten, in just three years.

I’m one extremely satisfied client, and despite the dramatic differences Nick has been able to make in the time we’ve been working together, things are still improving thanks to his guidance and support.

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