Month: September 2020

EP 72 – Tangi Carter – How to Attract the Ideal Client and How to Weed Out the Bad Clients

Tangi Carter is the Owner of Tangi Carter Law Firm and Business Mentor and Coach at The Peaceful Lawyer. Tangi began practicing in Florida right out of law school and she started out as a Public Defender at the age of 25. She started learning how to network, who the judges were and what their quirks were, so by the time that she opened her own practice, she felt as though she had a very good background to be able to do that. The best thing that she has learned throughout the years is to treat your current clients very well – take care of the people that have already paid for your services – the best clients are referrals from other clients. Tangi also coaches female lawyers. 

If you want to reach out to Tangi, you can email her at tangi@thepeacefullawyer.com or find her on social media – Instagram (@the_peaceful_lawyer), Facebook, and LinkedIn. For a copy of the ‘7 Steps to Attracting the Ideal Client’ Guide, visit https://thepeacefullawyer.lpages.co/7-steps-to-attracting-your-ideal-client/

Tips from 7 Steps to Attracting the Ideal Client Guide

A lot of the questions that they have asked are on that initial phone call when the client calls into the office. Tangi and her firm do charge a consultation fee, where many other lawyers do not. When someone comes in and pays for the consultation fee, you know that they are serious. If that client chooses to hire her, she will then put that consultation fee towards whatever the retainer may be. If they can answer those questions from the phone call favorably, then they will come in and meet with Tangi herself. Within the last 5 years, because of doing this streamlined system, they have been able to double their prices on everything and they are still getting it. You can do it if you are worth it – you have to do something for the client – answer their phone calls, etc. At Tangi’s office, they have a policy to call their clients back within 24 hours. 

Correlation in Quality of Clients and Raised Prices

There is no doubt a correlation between the quality of clients and the raised prices. Tangi takes a very wide range of cases and it helps, as long as the client is okay with it, if they can stay up to date on the online portal and stay informed. A lot of people do not devote any of their time during the week to their business. Most attorneys seem to be more reactive and they are not taking the time to talk about growing the business with their staff. Utilizing the consultation fee is one of the best ways to determine those people who are just shopping for free legal advice. You can facilitate and help those to get a public defender appointed on their case. In the criminal defense area, you are not just telling someone to get out of your office, you are trying to help them.

Asking the Right Questions to Weed Out the Bad Clients

Tangi sees it all the time where people will come in and attorneys do not take any information from that person and then they have no recollection of who they were. She will tell people that come into her office for a consultation to go talk to other attorneys to find out who they are comfortable with and to see who they mesh well with. They need to make sure that that person primarily focuses on the area that they are seeking help in and that they know the judges as well. If you ask the right questions, you can weed out the bad clients. Tangi asks questions such as if the client is currently represented by anyone, do they have any pending lawsuits, have they ever been represented by an attorney – who was it, and what was that experience like with that person, etc. You want to do your homework because one person can take up the majority of your time. When you begin using the intake sheet, you need to keep that person’s name to be able to search for potential conflicts. Come up with a way to do a conflict check so that something does not come up and surprise you.

EP 71 – Brett Trembly – Utilizing Virtual Staffing Within Your Law Firm

Brett Trembly is the Founder of Get Staffed Up as well as Founder at Trembly Law Firm. Brett started his law firm in 2011 in Miami, Florida. In 2018, Brett and his partner started Get Staffed Up as ‘the ultimate side hustle’. Their strategy was to get a few clients and then build out their system and nail it down. They spent the first 6 months of 2018 developing their pipeline, relationships, countries that they wanted to be in, and all of the back-end stuff and then began trying to make sales in July of 2018.

If you are interested in learning more, visit getstaffedup.com and fill out the contact page or you can email them directly at freedom@getstaffedup.com

What Work Can You Hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) To Do?

Brett has learned to get rid of the things that he is either not good at or that he does not want to do. It is easier read than done – not said than done. It is a hard thing for people when they know that they need to hire someone, but it is so daunting and expensive. He wanted to help lawyers and entrepreneurs really learn how to delegate their way to freedom. It turned from saying that there are cheaper options and better talent, energy, and attitude to just talking to people about hiring better and smarter. Outsourcing the hiring and having someone given to you that is really good and friendly, that you are involved in the interview process with, that is now a part of your team is what has been so cool about this. 

At Get Staffed Up, there are three categories for the virtual assistants – the marketing virtual assistant, administrative virtual assistant, and lastly, the clerical virtual assistant. If you are the lead singer of a band and hiring a guitarist, you do not bring them in and read their resume, you hand them a guitar and make them play. It is the same thing when you are hiring someone for any business – you give them the task that you want them to do and you test them and that’s how you find good people. You can hire for attitude and train for skill. You can call it outsourcing, but you are paying Get Staffed Up and it is a full-time employee for you, so it is more like insourcing.

Benefits of Having Full-Time VA’s

Sometimes it takes convincing for companies to hire full time because they will say that they are only looking for part-time. When you put it like this, “Do you really not think enough of your own business and enough of yourself as a business person …”, it makes that decision a bit easier. When you don’t have an assistant to delegate to, things just begin to pile up on the shelf. Sometimes what is really valuable is having an employee with a little bit of excess capacity that you can say “That is who I need to jump on that project”. To Brett’s team, the part-time to full-time is a no-brainer, but the price point allows them to hammer that home. They find someone, they go through the process, they match them with a client, and then they have a client happiness liaison. 99 times out of 100, the client says that the person is phenomenal and they love them. 

The other thing that hiring full-time allows the team to do is focus on growing the business and adding more value because they would spend so much time trying to play those Tetris hours if clients were just hiring part-time. They have put so much thought into everything that they have done and it comes back to, “How do we build the company that we want, not the company that other people think that we should have?”

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them 

It takes 7 or 8 tries before you get someone that you like and that works with you the way that you want them to. A lot of people that do it themselves, if they ever figure out how to, will try it once and it will not work and then they will basically write it off. There is a huge mindset component behind that, but quitting is the number one thing. One of the other mistakes that people make is not having a plan for what you are going to delegate and how you are going to check in on the process. You have to have a very thought-out plan for how you are going to give your employees feedback. One of the things that Brett and his team have learned is to have a very strategic meeting rhythm. You want to have check-in points throughout the week, but one meeting per week – block out 90 minutes per week to work with your virtual assistant. 

For expectations in project turn-around-time, It depends on the position that the VA is in. There are daily tasks, but when Brett is talking about a weekly check-in, he is referencing the bigger type project that takes a while. It is also very crucial to focus on the relationship that you are creating with all of your employees, even virtual. Bonuses are fine and good and they are going to make people happy, but make your virtual team members a part of your team. When you make people feel a part of something bigger and a part of the team and appreciated and you give feedback and praise their work when it is appropriate, that is how you build loyalty and you build great teams. Brett encourages his clients to treat them as they are a part of the team like they would any other team member. You don’t have to over-do it – these are all things that we used to have to go more in-depth about, but people just get it more now.

EP 70 – Nat Slavin – How to Gather Feedback and Create Loyalty Within Your Clients for a Better Experience

Nat Slavin is the Partner and Co-Founder of Wicker Park Group. He has been talking to lawyers for over 25 years about how to bring a clear voice to their clients. Nat and his partner started Wicker Park Group in 2007 and for the last 13 years, they have been primarily doing direct client feedback. They have developed training programs and other workshops for lawyers to help them act on the information they receive. The single most important thing in client feedback is if you are going to take the time to ask someone what they want and value, you have to be prepared to act on that.

Reach out to Nat by visiting his website at www.wickerparkgroup.com and if you are interested in learning more, email him at nat@wickerparkgroup.com

Connecting with Your Clients In Order to Receive Feedback

For law firms that are trying to make the best possible business decisions, if you don’t know what your customer is going to be doing next, what is top of mind, and what their internal pressures are, then how can you actually deliver service? Law firms still struggle to figure out the right way to do this.

There are many different approaches to connect with your clients to get feedback. One of the biggest challenges if you asked leaders in firms is that there is a difference between asking the client how they are doing on a matter and truly getting into the relationship at multiple levels and understanding what those clients’ needs are. Some people play very important roles in the firm-client relationship, so getting down to that next level is a hard and important piece of feedback. One of the stumbling blocks that firms face is anxiety. Partners that have successful relationships don’t want to hear anything that they are not doing as well as they could be, and while feedback is not about criticism, 95% of the feedback that they usually get is positive. Law firms connect with their clients and do relationship visits, leadership visits, but those are very surface.

Adding Value to Your Client Relationships and What Questions to Ask

There is a great book, called The Ultimate Question, that was written by Fred Reichheld which focuses on the Net Promoter Score. In every interview that Nat and his team have done since 2007, they have asked the question, “How likely are you to recommend your lawyer to a colleague or peer?” Only 9’s and 10’s are promoters; 7’s and 8’s are neutral; 1-6 are detractors. They have a database of thousands of NPS scores and also some measurement scores around themes that they think drive client loyalty – responsiveness, communication, value for the fees, etc. The vast majority of the interviews are around the subjective drivers of the relationship. There are only a few things that matter in most client relationships which is if you understand their problem, if you understand their business and if you will make their life easier along the way. That is what every client truly wants. The more pleasant the relationship and the ability to make their life easier are drivers of the relationships. 

It is such a transactional business that every hour spent yields an hour of revenue and the clients are very conscious of that and they want efficiency. Adding value around very specific training, not just legal training but business training, and making it accessible is important. In every communication to your client, address the issue, the communication, and the next step. One of the greatest criticisms that they ever hear of lawyers is not wanting a ‘two-handed lawyer’. That does not help the client to decide how to move forward. Understanding the business, the workshops, and the training score very high on the unprompted asks when they ask the clients what they value. Socialization is what scores low every time. 

How to Immediately Increase Client Loyalty

Don’t make assumptions on what your clients need without asking them and confirming and knowing that every individual at the organization is going to have a different set of needs. If you uncover or learn in a conversation with your client their priorities and you have other lawyers working on their matters, make sure that is communicated to the team. Do the small things that drive loyalty. Being honest about the firm’s capabilities and your practice’s capabilities is a hard conversation to have with the client. What drives loyalty is saying “we could do this and figure this out, we’re not the best firm, but there’s a competitor at a different firm that I know can give you that answer and I want to introduce you” even though, theoretically, you are jeopardizing that relationship. Ultimately, those lawyers that are extremely candid are showing tremendous loyalty. 

Bad news never gets better with time. Never surprise your client and never anticipate or expect that they understand something until they have told you that they understand it. Make sure that you understand that the relationship is centered around a lot of vulnerability for the client. They have a problem, they have been hurt or harmed, and they need somebody to help them. The absence of information – clear, direct, and succinct information – makes a huge difference. A lot of times, the person generating the business is not the person doing the work, so the sooner that you can define the roles of your team and who to go to, the better. Create points of contact and let your clients know who your number 2 is and give them the information needed to reach that person. You can lower anxiety by over-communicating and setting and managing the expectations and it can be really powerful. The most important thing about getting the strong client feedback process started is sharing the outcomes in the organization. Lawyers want to see something that has worked in the past and then they will buy onto it.