I’VE BEEN THINKING OF YOU and wondering how you are doing in light of this whole Covid-19 pandemic situation and the resulting economic crisis.
So many of you have reached out to me because you are fearful—not only of the health implications but of the possible impact of this looming recession on your business.
Many of you have told me, for the first time EVER in the life of your business, your phones have stopped ringing entirely. And you’re scared they won’t ever start ringing again, at least not like before.
Some are even slashing their fees in hopes that this will motivate prospective clients who’ve been on the fence about hiring an attorney to call now. Rationally, of course, this makes no sense because the reasons people are not calling attorneys right now are because they are preoccupied with more immediate concerns, such as their health and the health of loved ones, the loss of a job, or loss of investments and fear of the future.
THE STORIES WE TELL OURSELVES ARE KEEPING US STUCK
I’ve heard it from criminal attorneys: “No one is getting arrested!”
From estate planning attorneys: “Everyone is going to LegalZoom.”
From family law attorneys: “The courts are closed so no one wants to start their case.”
From real estate attorneys: “No one is buying!”
From business attorneys: “No one is doing business.”
From personal injury attorneys: “No one is working so I can’t get anything done.”
I’m sure you can fill in your own fear-based statement as well. And I get it. I get that you may be panicked that we will never recover from this an no one will ever hire you again, and you’ll never be able to feed your family or keep a roof over their heads. It’s normal to feel strong emotions during such a time.
However, to the statements above, I say poppycock! And here’s why:
CHANGING THE NARRATIVE
1. These fear-based statements you are repeating over and over to yourself are simply not true. You know how I know? Because when we use words like “everyone,” “never” and “no one,” we are dealing in absolutes. We’ve thrown our hands up in exasperation, given up and resigned ourselves to victimhood. We are looking at what life is doing to us instead of what life is doing for us. Instead of seeking opportunities in this turn of events, or asking “what is the Universe trying to show me right now that I need to work on?,” we just give up and blame it on circumstances beyond our control. We forget we have options and the right to choose what we want for ourselves, our businesses and our lives.
- This pain is temporary. Eventually, the stay-home orders will be lifted and everyone will be flooding out into the sunlight, reopening their businesses, rehiring their employees, eating out at restaurants, getting their hair cut and their nails done, and trying as fast as possible to return to business as usual. Even now, there are still people working, conducting business, and taking this opportunity to work on matters they previously felt “too busy” to deal with (just look at Home Depot which is slammed because everyone is suddenly doing yard beautification projects). Most importantly, there are still people with money who did not lose their jobs and can still afford to pay you. In America, there are wealthy people, poor people, and people in between. This is the case regardless of the state of the economy. And people prioritize and find money for what they need and want the most, including the need to keep themselves out of jail, out of litigation, or out of bankruptcy court.
- People need lawyers in good times and bad—but mostly in bad. Lawyers are in the business of bringing resolution to chaos. We are in the business of solving problems others cannot solve. We are in the business of helping people when no one else can. If there are times lawyers are needed most, it is during economic crises. One only need look at the recession of 2008 to see that, or after 9/11, or when the dot.com bubble burst. During these times, homes and commercial properties foreclose, people file bankruptcy, they commit crimes like embezzlement or theft or DUIs, they get divorced, they become distracted and negligent and hurt other people, they try to get out of contracts or prevent others from violating contracts. I could go on, but, hopefully, you get my point. Many people (including myself and my former law firm partner) reaped rewards from our work during an economic recession.
What is different about this time, however, is that law firm owners, like so many other businesses, have been pressed to question HOW they provide services and to come up with new solutions–fast. Many without virtual business models have had to adapt to this new world by embracing technology and virtual services. And, we’ve had to train our clients accordingly. Those with virtual services who’ve always differentiated themselves that way, now are one in a sea of thousands of law firms offering virtual services so we’ll need to begin looking at our brand message more closely and, perhaps, tweaking it going forward.
What will the world look like when this is all over? I don’t know. No one does. But one thing we know for sure is that if we want to keep our businesses not only operating but thriving, then now is not the time for fear-based, panicked, knee-jerk reactions.
Now is the time to shift our mindset and begin thinking like all the famous entrepreneurs before us who built their fortunes in unfortunate circumstances. Now is the time to look for opportunities. Maybe we’ll never be Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Edison or Ford. Maybe we’ll never be Jobs, or Gates or Zuckerberg. Maybe we don’t want to be.
We can, however, be innovators, entrepreneurs and successful business owners who provide for our families, our employees and their families, and our communities. We can choose to lead them all, and our clients and prospective clients, through this difficult period by digging in; rethinking our models, our brands and our services; rebuilding our systems (and maybe even our teams if need be); and seeking innovative solutions.
GETTING YOUR PHONE RINGING AGAIN
If you want to get your phone ringing again, then step back from your own desperate feelings and step into how you can truly help your clients and prospective clients. Get clear on the value your firm provides. Get inside your prospective clients’ heads to find out what drives them to hire you. And for goodness sake, stop giving “discounts” before people even ask for them. Projecting your one money stories onto others serves no one, at least not well.
If you’d like to book a call with me to discuss how I may be able to help you get your firm back on firmer ground, here’s the link: http://bit.ly/callwithdavina