December 15, 2017 nº 1,932 - Vol. 14

"Cultivate moral #courage. Stand up for a principle instead of on the sidelines."

In today's Law Firm Marketing, how to become the leading attorney in your field: these four laws help you thwart competitors.

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  • Top News

Net neutrality rules weakened by US regulator

Restrictions on US broadband providers' ability to prioritize one service's data over another are to be reduced after a vote by a regulator. The Federal Communications Commission voted three to two to change the way "net neutrality" is governed. Internet service providers will now be allowed to speed up or slow down different companies' data, and charge consumers according to the services they access. But they must disclose such practices. Ahead of the vote, protesters rallied outside the FCC's building to oppose the change. Many argue the reversal of rules introduced under President Barack Obama will make the internet less open and accessible. The decision is already facing legal challenges, with New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, announcing he will lead a lawsuit challenging the FCC's decision. Schneiderman accused the watchdog of failing to investigate possible abuse of the public commenting process. He said as many as two million identities, some of dead New Yorkers, were used to post comments to the FCC website. (Click here)

  • Crumbs

1 - Walt Disney buys Murdoch's Fox for $52.4bn. (Click here)

2 - Brazil's Petrobras raises $1.5 billion with fuel distribution unit IPO. (Click here)

3 - Bank of England's to remove gendered language. (Click here)

4 - US Federal Reserve raises interest rates again. (Click here)

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  • MiMIC Journal

China's HNA keeps striking foreign deals as banks wince and investors flee

Executives at the deeply indebted conglomerate say it still enjoys support from lenders, even as bond prices fall and regulators raise questions.

China's central bank raises interest rates after Fed rise

China's central bank has followed the US Federal Reserve by raising interest rates, in a move that has surprised economists. The People's Bank of China lifted its 7-day and 28-day reverse repurchase agreements by 5 basis points. This essentially represents a modest rise to borrowing costs and is the first rate hike since March. Beijing is attempting to limit the flow of capital out of the country without harming economic growth.

  • Law Firm Marketing

How to become the leading attorney in your field: these four laws help you thwart competitors
By Trey Ryder

Who is the best personal injury attorney in your city?

The lawyer whose name came to mind is indeed fortunate because your perception of his leadership is worth its weight in gold.

But, truth be told, is that lawyer really the best, whatever "best" means? And what did he do that caused you to believe he is best?

In today's ultra-competitive environment, nearly everybody faces information overload. Still, if you want a successful practice, you must get your marketing message into your prospect's mind so he believes you are the person best suited to help him solve his problems or achieve his goals.

How consumers absorb information in our over-communicated marketplace has led to this set of marketing laws, first introduced in the 1980s by Ries and Trout in their marketing classic, Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind.

THE LAW OF PERCEPTION

Most lawyers assume they will win or lose the marketing war based on the quality of their services. And while this seems logical, if you act on this assumption, you will make a costly mistake.

Instead, lawyers should follow the Law of Perception, which says, "Marketing is not a battle of services, it is a battle of perceptions." How you create and mold your prospect's perceptions determines whether your marketing program succeeds or fails.

This concept is called "positioning." It means the place or position you occupy in your prospect's mind. The only way you can become the leader in your marketplace is to take the leadership position in your prospect's mind. If your prospect thinks you are a superb lawyer, or a terrible lawyer, you are, because your prospect's perception is his reality.

Going back to my earlier question, what did this personal injury lawyer do that caused you to conclude he is best?

Perhaps you read about one of his cases in the newspaper. Or you saw that he was presenting a seminar. Or a colleague told you about his brilliant legal skills. Or, more than likely, you have heard many things about him over the years, all of which help you reach the conclusion that he is the leader in his field.

In our fast-paced society, we form opinions about lawyers -- and all products and services -- based on snippets of information: A newspaper article. An award. A television interview. A colleague's comment.

You, too, can use this method to help shape your prospects' opinions of you As part of your overall marketing program, distribute factual information about yourself to the media at planned intervals. This helps change how prospects see you -- and how they act in response to those perceptions.

THE LAW OF LEADERSHIP

You've heard the adage, "If you invent a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door." Not today. In this age when consumers' minds are saturated with advertising, your better mousetrap could easily wind up being the best kept secret in town.

You succeed in today's competitive environment when you follow the Law of Leadership, which says, "It is better to be first than it is to be better."

This means you will find it much easier to get into your prospect's mind first than you will trying to persuade your prospect that you are better than the lawyer who did get there first.

Here's an example: Who was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean? Charles Lindbergh.

Who was second? Do you have any idea?

His name was Bert Hinkler. He flew faster and used less fuel than Lindbergh. Plus, he was a better pilot. Still, few people have heard of him. Lindbergh got into our minds by being first and there he remains. Hinkler's excellent flying skills were not enough for him to take the leadership position.

Most lawyers follow Bert Hinkler's example. They wait until a new market develops. Then they jump in and hope to become as successful as the attorney who was there first. But they almost never succeed.

If the first lawyer maintains an effective marketing program, he will remain first in that practice area. Plus, the first lawyer will usually hold on to that position even in the face of more qualified attorneys who provide better services -- all because he was first.

Let's look at case histories from corporate America.

(Note: My source for the following statistics is old so they are not current. Even so, they demonstrate how these companies -- and you -- can use these laws to your benefit.)

The leading brand of anything is almost always the first brand into the prospect's mind. We think of Hertz in rent-a-cars. IBM in computers. Coca-Cola in soft drinks.

Chrysler was the first company to introduce the minivan to American consumers. Today, Chrysler owns 46.8 percent of the minivan market. Ford comes in a distant second with 27.6 percent. In Canada, sales figures are even more compelling. In a five-month period beginning Oct. 1, 1995, Chrysler sold 26,501 minivans to second-place Ford's 9,691 -- nearly three to one!

Hewlett-Packard was first to introduce laser printers for computers. Today, HP owns 49.1 percent of the printer market -- five and one-half times the market share of second-place Apple, which has only 8.9 percent. Third, fourth and fifth place contenders have even less.

In 1984, I was hired by a Phoenix attorney who wanted to market living trusts to middle-income consumers.

As a result of our marketing efforts, this lawyer owned the Phoenix market for five years. He was featured in every major newspaper, many of them more than once. He was granted 12 one-hour interviews on the state's largest news-talk radio station. He was featured regularly in TV news interviews and magazine articles. He even had his own weekly radio talk show, which was co-sponsored by a local newspaper for seniors.

During that time, the number of prospects who requested his educational materials topped 10,000. He conducted hundreds of seminars and spoke to thousands of interested consumers. One seminar alone was attended by 233 prospective clients.

No question, other estate planning attorneys had more experience and qualifications than my client. But this lawyer was first in the minds of his audience and that's all that mattered.

If you don't know who is first in a category, you can make a good guess by substituting the word "leading." For example, someone asks you to name the first college founded in America. You don't know. So you substitute "leading" for "first." What's the name of the leading college in America?

Most people answer Harvard, which, in fact, was also the first college founded in the United States. The second college founded in America was The College of William and Mary, a name about as well known as Bert Hinkler.

Most law firms think the secret to becoming the market leader is to provide better legal services. Unfortunately, that's wrong. The way to take the leadership position is to get there first.

THE LAW OF THE CATEGORY

Who was the third person to fly solo across the Atlantic? If you didn't know who was second, you probably assume you've never heard of number three, but you have. It was Amelia Earhart.

But why would you remember the third person and not the second? You remember her not because she was third, but because she was the first woman to do so.

This proves if you were not the first person in your niche to get into your prospect's mind, you can still succeed by following the Law of the Category. It says, "If you can't be first in your existing category, create a new category in which you can be first."

Charles Schwab didn't open another full-service brokerage firm. He opened the first discount brokerage.

My estate planning lawyer wasn't another estate planner for affluent clients. He was the first to market to average consumers.

Many personal injury attorneys are now known by their categories. We see those who specialize in medical malpractice, motorcycle accidents and unsafe products, to name a few.

If you survived a plane crash, wouldn't you want to hire a lawyer who specializes in aircraft disasters? And which lawyer would you choose? Probably the name you know best -- the person who is first in the category -- the lawyer you believe to be the foremost authority in the field.

When you begin a new category, you promote the entire category because you have no competition. As other lawyers follow, they enter the category behind you. This means as long as you maintain a strong marketing program, the latecomers will find it nearly impossible to take the number one position from you.

Lawyers who cautiously wait until someone else enters the market make a costly mistake because they lose the opportunity to be first.

THE LAW OF THE MIND

If you can't be first in the marketplace, all is not lost. You take advantage of the Law of the Mind, which says, "It's better to be first in your prospect's mind than to be first in the marketplace."

IBM did not build the first mainframe computer. Remington Rand did and called it UNIVAC. But thanks to better marketing, IBM got into our minds first and has held that position ever since.

Raymond Burr starred in the television series Perry Mason. But he was not the first person to portray the famous attorney. Warren Williams, Ricardo Cortez and Donald Woods all played Perry Mason between 1934 and 1937. But it wasn't until Burr played Mason in 271 television episodes that he made a permanent imprint on our minds.

Burr also discovered something else: Once you gain the leadership position, it is very hard to shed. Regardless of his other television and movie roles, Burr could never free himself from the Perry Mason persona. So, beginning in 1985, he reprised his role and made 26 two-hour TV movies before he died in 1993.

CONSIDER YOUR OPPORTUNITIES

-- Can you claim the leadership position in your current practice area because you were there first?

-- Can you take the number one position away from a lawyer who has not used it to his advantage?

-- Can you create a new category in which you can be first?

These are all ways to seize the number one position in your prospect's mind Your marketing program should be designed to create and build positive perceptions -- and to minimize and reverse negative perceptions. If you pursue and achieve the leadership position in your field, you could profit from that top spot for decades.

Book Recommendation: These four laws -- and others -- are fully discussed in the must-read classic by Al Ries and Jack Trout called Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.

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© Trey Ryder
FREE LAWYER MARKETING ALERT: If you'd like to receive Trey Ryder's weekly Lawyer Marketing Alert, send an e-mail to Trey@TreyRyder.com. Write "Subscribe LMA" in the subject line and write your name and e-mail address in the body of the message.

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  • Brief News

Brexit: EU leaders set to move talks on to next stage

EU leaders are expected to formally agree to start the next phase of Brexit negotiations later. It means talks can move on to the long-term relationship between the UK and EU, days after Theresa May suffered her first defeat in the House of Commons. Mrs May was applauded by other leaders at dinner in Brussels on Thursday night after she made a speech about Brexit. The next round of talks on a transition deal for the end of Brexit are expected to begin as early as next week. The European Commission has said "sufficient progress" has been made on the first phase to move onto discussing the framework of a future relationship - including issues such as security and trade. A formal free trade agreement cannot be signed until after the UK has left the EU. (Click here)

Use of the death penalty in US near a 25-year low

Executions of death row inmates occurred in only eight states in 2017 as public support for capital punishment wanes, according to an annual report by the Death Penalty Information Center.

Uber under criminal investigation, Justice Dept. confirms in letter to Court

A document made public in court on Wednesday is a first acknowledgment by federal authorities of a criminal investigation into the ride-hailing company. (Click here)

Americans overwhelmingly support 'zero tolerance' on sexual harassment

Republicans, independents and Democrats alike agree that "a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment is essential to bringing about change in our society," according to a new NPR/Ipsos poll.

Australia sexual abuse 'a national tragedy'

A five-year inquiry into sexual abuse in Australia has released its final report, saying institutions had "seriously failed" to protect children. The royal commission, Australia's highest form of public inquiry, heard more than 8,000 testimonies from victims of abuse.
The accusations covered churches, schools and sports clubs over decades. Among more than 400 recommendations, the report calls on the Catholic Church to overhaul its celibacy rules. "Tens of thousands of children have been sexually abused in many Australian institutions. We will never know the true number," the report said.

Deporting EU rough sleepers from UK unlawful, High Court rules

A Home Office policy of removing EU citizens found sleeping rough on UK streets is unlawful and must stop, the High Court has ruled. A judge said the measure, introduced last year, was discriminatory and broke freedom of movement rules. Campaigners brought the case on behalf of three men facing removal. The government said it was disappointed by the ruling - which applies to people from the EU and European Economic Area - but would not be appealing.

Cannabis and vaping more popular than smoking among US teens

US teenagers are using marijuana and vaporizers more than they smoke cigarettes, a government study shows. Some 15% of high school students said they had used marijuana within the previous 30 days, found the report for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And 12.1% of students said they had used a vaping device. But only 5% had smoked cigarettes. This is much higher than I expected.

Peru's president under pressure to resign

Pablo Kuczynski has reportedly lost the support of key cabinet members over corruption allegations.

UN expert urges US accountability for torture

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer on Wednesday called on the US to end impunity for those officials who have committed acts of torture.

FCC creates emergency alerts for threats to law enforcement

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to establish an alert system that would warn the public if a police officer in their community is threatened, missing, seriously injured or killed in the line of duty. The so-called "Blue Alerts" are designed to protect the public from potential threats and help apprehend dangerous suspects. The notifications could go to your television or wireless devices, much like existing weather warnings or missing children alerts. The alerts will be managed by local and state law enforcement and will provide information to the recipients about steps they can take to protect themselves or help police locate any suspects.

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