September 1, 2017 nº 1,901 - Vol. 14

"The heart of a fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of a wise man is in his heart."

 Benjamin Franklin

In today's Law Firm Marketing, how to turn 8 negative perceptions into positives.

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  • Top News

UN rights chief: Trump attacking freedom of press

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said Wednesday that US President Donald Trump's constant criticism of journalists constitutes an attack on the freedom of the press. "It's really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only sort of a cornerstone of the US Constitution but very much something that the United States defended over the years is now itself under attack from the President." Specifically referring to Trump's "fake news" criticism, Zeid claimed that such criticism does damage not only to the news organizations as a whole but also to the individual journalists. The High Commissioner was also concerned that the rampant criticism of journalists could ultimately incite violence against the journalists in the US. The White House did not respond to Zeid's comments about Trump's alleged attack on the freedom of the press.

Right to privacy

In this exclusive article, Ericson M. Scorsim,lawyer at Meister Scorsim Advocacia, talks about the US Supreme Court's discussion of the right to privacy in the digital era. (Click here)

  • Crumbs

1 - Court blocks Texas law punishing 'sanctuary cities'. (Click here)

2 - Amazon hit with lawsuit over eclipse glasses. (Click here)

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  • MiMIC Journal

China has set Oct. 18 for its Communist Party Congress

There's little suspense about one outcome of the congress: President Xi Jinping is all but assured of another five-year term. He's maintained a grip on power to a degree not seen in China for decades.

  • Law Firm Marketing

How to turn 8 negative perceptions into positives
By Trey Ryder

Has this ever happened to you?

You and your prospect meet in your office. Everything goes well. Your prospect says he plans to move forward, but needs a little time. He leaves without hiring you -- and you never hear from him again.

What happened? You answered all his questions and everything seemed fine. Yet something your prospect saw -- heard -- or felt caused him not to proceed. What could have made such a negative impression?

Often, your prospect's perceptions dictate his actions. Fortunately, you have the opportunity to rebut negative beliefs by providing facts to the contrary. But many lawyers don't because they fail to realize how prospects perceive them.

Here are eight negative perceptions and steps you can take to rebut them:

NEGATIVE PERCEPTION #1: You're too young.

If you're fortunate enough to look young -- or actually be young -- make sure you overcome any negative conclusions about your age, such as a lack of knowledge or experience. Provide your prospect with a detailed biography, case histories about clients you've helped, as well as testimonials and letters of recommendation from former clients and professional colleagues (Not all bar associations allow lawyers to use testimonials, so make sure you check your rules of professional conduct.)

In addition, turn your youth into a competitive advantage. Point out that if your client has problems in the future, you will likely still be practicing law, where older attorneys may have retired. This means your client can return to you, rather than looking for a new attorney who knows nothing about him or his circumstances.

Further, explain that while you stay busy, you are more accessible than lawyers who have practiced 30 years and carry a huge client load. Emphasize that you continue to build your practice and that doing an excellent job for every client is important to establishing a good reputation.

NEGATIVE PERCEPTION #2: You're too old.

Overcome any negative perceptions about your age by reinforcing the value and depth of your experience. Discuss the many clients you have helped in situations similar to your prospect's. Identify strategies you have learned that allow you to achieve the best possible result, tactics a younger lawyer might not know. Emphasize the seriousness of the issue and how important it is for the prospect to hire a highly skilled, qualified attorney. Highlight the risks of hiring a lawyer who has too little experience.

Reinforce your competence, integrity and experience by providing your prospect with a detailed biography, summary of case histories, testimonials and letters of recommendation.

NEGATIVE PERCEPTION #3: You're too cheap.

Explain how you're able to charge less than other lawyers. Explain factors that directly affect your fees, such as how efficiently you work on your client's behalf, your low overhead, the small number of employees in your office, and so forth. Reinforce that the services you provide are sufficient to protect your client's rights, but that they do not include the bells and whistles provided by attorneys who charge higher fees. Also, show testimonials from clients and letters of recommendation from colleagues to emphasize that they are pleased with your services.

NEGATIVE PERCEPTION #4: You're too expensive.

If your fees are higher than those of other lawyers, start by emphasizing your value. Explain the depth of your knowledge, background and qualifications, highlighting how you're different from other lawyers. Discuss case histories about clients you have helped who are similar to your current prospect. Be careful about emphasizing items that increase your overhead, such as your large support staff or handsome offices. While some clients appreciate those things, others may see them as unnecessary costs. At every opportunity, provide facts that help prospects conclude that your fees are based primarily on the depth of your knowledge, skill, and experience -- and your ability to get good results for your clients.

Further, to help put your fees in perspective, use the contrast principle, which says: You can change how a person perceives your fee by changing the information that comes before it.

Instead of saying, "I can prepare your estate plan for $15,000," which your prospect might perceive as high, say: "I can prepare an estate plan that will save your family $300,000 in federal estate taxes -- for just $15,000." By inserting the large savings earlier in the sentence, your prospect sees your fee as small by comparison.

In addition, provide testimonials and letters of recommendation to support the value of your services.

NEGATIVE PERCEPTION #5: You're too busy.

Some prospects think you're so busy that you will never have time to handle their case. As part of your marketing message, describe how you calendar work and set deadlines. Reassure your prospect that you will meet his deadline, just as you do for other clients. Then keep your client informed as you work on his matter so he knows you haven't forgotten him Also, show testimonials and letters of recommendation that reassure your prospect about the good service you provide.

NEGATIVE PERCEPTION #6: You're too available.

Make sure prospects and clients perceive that you're always busy. This doesn't mean you must be busy with client matters. You could be busy working on your marketing, office procedures, civic or charitable projects -- whatever. When a prospect wants to speak or meet with you, mention how busy you are then suggest two different times for your appointment. When prospects understand that you don't have many time slots available, they see your services as even more valuable. This is called the scarcity principle and it says: Prospects put a higher value on resources they perceive as scarce.

If your prospect can't see you at a time you suggest, then ask your prospect to name a convenient time. Then offer to shift appointments to accommodate your prospect.

NEGATIVE PERCEPTION #7: You're too specialized.

If a client or prospect wants legal services beyond the usual scope of your practice, offer to provide the service if it's in an area you feel competent. Or, offer to delegate the work to another lawyer in your firm -- or bring in a lawyer who can handle the project under your supervision. This way your client doesn't feel that you abandoned him. Instead, your client appreciates that you're staying involved, even if only in a supervisory role.

NEGATIVE PERCEPTION #8: You're too generalized.

If a prospect thinks you don't have enough specific knowledge to handle his claim, then you need to increase your credibility in that field. You do this by educating your prospect about his problem and the solutions you can provide. The more you explain, the more your prospect realizes you know. The more case histories you describe, the more your prospect values your experience. In addition, show your prospect testimonials from clients you have represented in this area of law. Also, show letters of recommendation from professionals who refer clients needing these services.

Summary: You may never know why a prospect decided not to hire you. Still, you should look for holes in your marketing argument that could result in negative perceptions. Then do your best to compile facts and testimonials that rebut those conclusions. And, whenever possible, turn a perceived negative into a positive and explain how it works in your client's favor.

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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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  • Historias Verdaderas

PDVSA en la mira

La Fiscalía de Venezuela investiga el sobreprecio en una decena de contratos en el área donde se encuentran las mayores reservas de crudo del país. Están incluidas 10 empresas a las que PDVSA adjudicó licitaciones en una de la principal reserva de petróleo en la región de Orinoco. (Presione aquí)

Negocios bancarios

La matriz de BBVA en España informó al Mercado de Valores de ese país que el banco canadiense Scotiabank está interesado en comprar hasta el 100% del banco en Chile. La filial del banco español, entidad en la que BBVA posee el 68,19% del capital, dispone de una capitalización de unos 1.184 mlls. de euros.

  • Brief News

US to block potential Russian move into American energy

The Trump administration is worried that Russia state-owned oil giant Rosneft could gain control of critical US energy assets owned by Venezuela's Citgo.

Trump administration settles case tied to first travel ban

The Trump administration has agreed to settle an early case stemming from the now-defunct travel restrictions the president imposed in January against people from seven Muslim-majority countries. Foreigners who were barred from entering the US will get government help reapplying for visas under a lawsuit settlement reached Thursday.

Wyoming can't sue VW over Diesel emissions, judge says

Wyoming can't sue Volkswagen for environmental damage over its diesel vehicles, a federal judge ruled, finding penalties from actions brought by consumers and federal authorities are enough. The decision eases the risk to the auto maker from state claims.

Brexit: UK 'must not allow itself to be blackmailed'

The UK must not allow itself to be "blackmailed" by the EU over its Brexit settlement bill in order to start trade talks, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said. He said a bad Brexit deal would damage both British and European companies. Businesses have become impatient with the slow progress of the Brexit negotiations, he added. The latest Brexit talks have stalled over the failure to reach agreement on the UK's so-called divorce bill. Both the UK and EU have expressed frustration at the pace of the talks. The UK wants to begin trade talks as soon as possible, but Brussels insists that discussions about the future relationship can begin only once "sufficient progress" has been made on the arrangements for withdrawal - including the "divorce fee".

Prototypes of Trump's wall to be built

Four companies have been chosen to build prototypes for Donald Trump's planned border wall, US Customs and Border Protection said. The four concrete prototypes will be 30ft (9m) long and up to 30ft tall, and will be built in the coming months. Officials will then spend up to two months testing the walls for tampering and penetration resistance using small hand tools, CBP said. The four contracts are worth up to $500,000 each.

Macron bid to make France credible again hinges on labor law

Macron's government has begun its drive to overhaul France's rigid labor laws, vowing to "free up the energy of the workforce". The reforms aim to make it easier for bosses to hire and fire. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said they were ambitious, balanced and fair but it was natural that not everyone would support the changes. Protests against the plan are expected next month, but two of the biggest unions say they will not take part. Among the biggest reforms, individual firms are to be offered more flexibility in negotiating wages and conditions.

Colombia's former rebels get rebrand

The former FARC armed rebel group announces its new name and logo as it becomes a party.

US orders Russia to close consulate and two annexes

Russia has been ordered to close its San Francisco consulate and two trade missions in response to "unwarranted" Russian action. The consulate, and annexes in New York and Washington, must close by Saturday. The US state department's move follows Moscow's reduction of US diplomatic staff in Russia last month. That in turn followed new US sanctions on Russia over Crimea and alleged election interference, which led to the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats. Obama had ordered those expulsions, along with the closure of two compounds, last December.

Wells Fargo reveals more fake accounts

US bank Wells Fargo says as many as 3.5 million accounts may have been created for customers without permission over about eight years, even more than previously acknowledged. The 1.4 million additional accounts were identified as part of a review the bank commissioned after the scandal came to light. The analysis also uncovered problems with the firm's online payment system. The bank has already agreed to pay more than $150m to customers. Much of that will go to settling a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of the bank's customers since 2002. Wells Fargo chief executive Tim Sloan apologized to customers and called the sales practices "unacceptable".

Kyrgyzstan Supreme Court rejects petition to put imprisoned opposition leader on ballot

Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the rejection of a petition to put opposition leader Omurbek Tekebaev on the ballot for the October presidential election. Tekebaev was convicted earlier this month for accepting bribes, which his party believes is a false conviction by the ruling party. He is currently serving eight years in prison. Although the petition collected about 39,000 signatures (9,000 more than required), the Central Election Commission said the signatures were invalid because the petition was not financed by Tekebaev's election fund.

Brazil judge blocks order allowing mining in Amazon

A judge in Brazil issued a ruling Wednesday that temporarily blocks an executive order from President Michel Temer that would have opened large sections of the Amazon forest for mining. Temer's order would have allowed mining of gold, copper, iron and other minerals and metals in the Renca area of the Amazon, which covers more than 17,000 square miles and has been protected by an Act of Congress since 1984. The order was met with widespread criticism from conservationists and celebrities, including supermodel Gisele Bündchen, who has been an outspoken critic of Amazon deforestation. Attorney General Grace Mendonça has appealed the ruling.

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