Friday, September 04, 2009

10 Things Lawyers Can Do to Turn Off Potential Clients

  1. Appear Passive: Clients want a Champion, not a wimp! The positive stereotype of a lawyer is, "smart, sharp, strategically aggressive, intuitive, reassuring, and confident." Be anything less and you offer nothing for a potential client to believe in.
  2. Be Boring: Most of any client relationship is their ability to connect to YOU. Being insufferable and long-winded is a recipe for a short term relationship. By the way, how many insufferable bores do you keep close to you?
  3. Look Scruffy: One of the reasons law firm office decor should appear to be the habitat of success is that people want to retain successful lawyers. If you do not dress as a success yourself you are definitely sending a bad message about your ability to represent. Get it? If you look good you must be good. If you look bad you must suck!
  4. Be Too Committed: Professional distance is a good thing. Appearing objective with reason is what clients want. If you make every matter a cause and personal mission your objectivity and attractiveness decline significantly.
  5. Have Dodgy Peers: Your friends and valued peers are a good indicator of who you are. If you insist on hanging out with objectionable people (to your target clients) then get used to having objectionable clients.
  6. Be Too Boastful: Say just enough and you are golden, say too much and you are a self-indulging bore. The best way to manage talking about yourself is to shut up and wait to be asked.
  7. Talk Only About Yourself: In no setting ever is it appropriate for you to monopolize a conversation by talking about you. As matter of fact if you contribute more than 30% of the words spoken you are on the losing side.
  8. Be a Zealot About Your Beliefs: A business setting is not a place for a recruiting new zealots to your beliefs. Ever! Leave your flags and causes at the door.
  9. Use Corny Tag Lines and Platitudes: "I am the number one person in my field", and "I can take care of you like you've never been taken care of before." is stuff any idiot can recite. If you use any tag line it means you are trying too hard! Instead, just relax and have a normal conversation. What you hope to communicate will come out naturally in its own good time.
  10. Say Him/Her is Wrong: Just because he/she has made poor choices is no reason to destroy your chances at putting things right. Do not offer to fix their mistakes -- offer to present new opportunities.