In Part I of this two-part series, I discussed why it is so difficult for lawyers to resist the siren chant of coaching and marketing programs that promise but often fail to deliver. Here in Part II, I have listed a long list of factors that lawyers should use to help them choose a program to separate the wheat from the chaff and find out whether or not some of the highly regarded programs are right for you.
What does the program cost and can you afford it?
Most people would never dream of buying a house in a neighborhood where the cheapest house is more than $ 150,000 outside of its price range. However, many lawyers are often prompted to spend much more than they can afford, or to feel good about spending on programs because they are convinced by salespeople that spending shows "commitment" to success or serve as motivation for hard work.
If you spend more than you can afford, you will probably feel so stressed that you won't be able to focus on doing what you need to do. Or you guess or beat up what you've paid for, which results in the loss of confidence you need to succeed.
Conclusion: Only spend what you can comfortably afford to lose.
Will the program include you?
The question of flexibility is related to the cost issue. Does the program offer refunds in particular? Don't assume that you can get out of a non-refundable program just because you decide it doesn't work. Note that some programs offer money-back guarantees or pro rata refunds, while others don't. Consider whether the program has enough value to justify that it is locked and may not be able to try another program if you haven't found the right solution.
Does the company's USP (Unique Selling Proposition) meet your requirements?
Every marketing or coaching program has features that make it unique. Some are characterized by thinking, others by sales, others by technology or the creation of systems or the innovation of a practice. Some programs focus on helping former lawyers from large law firms drop out and set up a law firm, others on managing a volume practice or multiple lawyers. Some programs include some of these features, but it is extremely rare for them to be found in one place.
Although many marketers would disagree, I think the area of activity is also relevant. A lawyer or program with experience in supporting lawyers who serve consumers may not have much advice for a lawyer targeting corporate clients, and vice versa.
If you want to invest a significant amount of money in a marketing or coaching program, you want to make sure that it fits your needs. This means a careful examination with specific questions to the program or the coach, such as:
- What experience have you had in working with lawyers in my area of activity?
- Can you give me specific examples of how your program has helped lawyers (increase sales, gain trust, or lead employees)?
- Can you tell me what types of lawyers have failed with your program and why?
- Can you tell me what percentage of your program contains (lawyers just getting started? Lawyers with color? Older lawyers with limited technical experience. Etc.)
- Will I be personally coached / advised by XXX?
- Will I work with lawyers or non-lawyers as part of the program? And if I work with a non-lawyer, are they familiar with law-specific technologies and legal ethical obligations?
A program is not objectively flawed because there is no module for technology or there are no trainers who are experienced in helping immigration lawyers who could be your area of practice. However, if these functions are important to you, the program may not be suitable for you.
Does the style of the company match your own?
You will most likely succeed if your values and inclinations match – or at least don't conflict with the program you choose. To find out, examine the approach a program or coach takes to marketing its own services, as chances are they will advise you to do business.
Here's an example – the practice of charging premium fees. If a coaching company calculates bonus rates, the program will likely advise you to do the same in your company. Some lawyers enjoy being top prices in the market, while others prefer to turn out to be an affordable option. Neither approach is wrong – it's just a matter of preference. However, if you fall into the affordable camp, tips on increasing your rates by 30% to make more money may not be considered and you may oppose implementation.
The same principles apply to "hard selling". A company that sells its programs hard will likely convince you to follow the same approach in your practice. Some lawyers feel very comfortable with hard sales. After all, potential customers are all adults. The service that the lawyer sells is generally important and necessary. In most cases, customers need a boost to move forward, and those who don't want to buy can always say no and go away. On the other hand, some lawyers believe that because they come to lawyers under stress, many clients are uniquely vulnerable to hard sales. For this reason, lawyers should give them breathing room. Any position on hard sell tactics is valid and for what it's worth, I waffle between the two. My point is that a program that uses them with you or teaches them as part of its program will not work for you if you scrub on hard sales tactics because you don't feel comfortable implementing this approach. On the other hand, a program that focuses on building long-term relationships and taking a more passive approach to doing business may not deliver the results you want, and you may also be dissatisfied.
Does the company have a share in your success?
One thing that annoys me about some coaching programs is that supposed experts refuse to take responsibility for the success or failure of the participants. It is clear to me that trainers are reluctant to offer guarantees because they cannot control whether the participants do the work. But if the participants don't do the work, isn't it partly the coach's fault that he didn't hold them accountable? If a program doesn't fit, isn't it the owner's fault that he doesn't effectively check the participants? Strive for programs where the coach and owner are as responsible as they expect you to be.
If you exercise care, are you diligently diligent?
Many lawyers often ask colleagues about recommendations for coaching or marketing programs, but don't ask the questions suggested above to find out if the program may match. Remember that even if colleagues rave about a coach or program, it may not be right for you. So research the reasons why it worked.
As for online reviews, I can only say that the buyer is careful. The sphere of coaching and online influence is rich in behaviors that I believe border on fraud. You will see that a trainer in another location gives a testimony with the implicit understanding, but does not overtly agree that the favor will be returned. Others who recommend a program may receive partner fees or discounts that they do not disclose. And testimonials are often collected directly after a live event by participants when they still feel high and have had no chance to implement what they have learned.
Finally, the most unfortunate thing is that complaints about programs are often kept under wraps. Many cost-intensive programs contain non-degradation clauses that deter critical reviews. And most lawyers blame themselves and feel ashamed when a program doesn't work. They therefore loathe to openly share their opinions.
Is the composition of the company different or what does it teach and support?
After the recent events, all lawyers must take into account the diversity of a trainer, consultant and his team, as well as the variety of consultants and authors that the program teaches and supports. Why is that important? According to an ABA report from 2019, 85 percent of lawyers are white and 64 percent of lawyers are male. Until these numbers are balanced, we all need to make sure that the votes of women and color attorneys are not lost – and we do. We need to make sure they have access to inclusive coaching and marketing programs to build successful, sustainable legal practices, that they can take to the top of the profession. How can you tell if a program is going the way? Is the management of the program different? Does the program work with different professionals or does it interview them in podcasts or does it show them on their blog?
Does a program fall into the TAO category?
Since choosing the right program can be so daunting, I always advise lawyers to budget several hundred or even several thousand dollars (depending on what you can afford to lose) for an annual TAO – try it all out, so you can try something new low risk.
The conclusion and my guarantee
I am always amazed that the same lawyers who try to choose a computer system for their office or choose a car for weeks spend the same or more money on a coaching or marketing program with little research. Don't get me wrong – I'm not knocking on coaches, masterminds, and similar program categories, some of which have helped some lawyers achieve incredible success. However, these programs are not without risk – and unless you choose a program that suits you, you may be locked up for a year or more and cannot afford a better option. Or you can beat yourself up because you made a bad decision and become so shy that you will never try and get stuck again if there is a service that can help you grow.
I hope this post can help avoid this result. But I will also give you this guarantee:
If you go through all of the steps I have listed for choosing a coach or marketing program and it still doesn't work, you know that you have made the best decision about the information available at that time and are not beating yourself up and ashamed Not. Instead, share your experiences with others so they can make a more informed decision and move on. You have my permission to free yourself!