Month: November 2020

EP 81 – Frank Ramos – How To Take Your LinkedIn Conversations Offline

Frank Ramos is the Managing Partner at Clarke Silverglate in Miami, Florida. There are about ten attorneys at the firm who do a mix of litigation, commercial products, and employment. Feel free to connect with Frank on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/frankramosylt. If you scroll down to the bottom of his profile and find publications, he has several free books mostly geared towards lawyers regarding leadership, marketing, and other topics as well. 

If you have not been on LinkedIn, get on LinkedIn. Once you are on, try it for a month. Give it a shot, it’s not for everybody, but you may find that you enjoy it and that it creates another avenue to market your company and creates another revenue stream by gaining referral sources. However, if you are going to be on a platform, you need to use it properly. Each platform has its own way of working and its own expectations of what appropriate content is. 

Reaching Out to Connections You Want to Create a Relationship With

Frank sees people that are interested in his posts – they are liking his posts, sharing them, or commenting on them – and he will generally send them a message thanking them for their interest and ask them if they want to meet for coffee. Before COVID, Frank would meet with LinkedIn connections about twice a week, but has since not been able to have as many coffee meet-ups. Most people online, if you are engaging with them and providing content to them, are happy to meet with you. 

A long time ago, Frank decided to start posting on LinkedIn daily. In 2016, he committed to posting every day, including weekends and holidays. What he posts about generally is advice and practice tips for younger lawyers, but a lot of experienced lawyers also enjoy his content. He is not specific to a certain practice area, he is posting generally about soft skills. If he is traveling, he will make it a point to reach out to the people in those cities in which he is traveling to grab coffee or meet up with them. 

Producing Content on LinkedIn and Engaging in Others’ Content

Frank had first started posting to promote a free book called The Associates Handbook for the Defense Research Institute. The first few weeks he posted a few excerpts from the book, a few sentences here and there. You are limited to 1,300 characters in a post on LinkedIn, which is not very much. If you can come up with a general topic or idea, something that emphasizes your brand, you would be surprised how much that you could write on that topic. You need to make posting a habit and it takes about a month to get used to it. If you can commit to doing it for one month, at the end of the month it will become second nature and you will not have to purposefully set aside time. It doesn’t take long once you get used to posting to post 1,300 characters or less and less is more. Try to see life through the lens of having something to say. 

A good thing to do before you jump in is to write an article on a topic you want to talk about – top 10, top 15, life advice, 20 things every lawyer should know or every client should know, etc. It is just coming up with a broad strategy. You can see lawyers writing about non-lawyer things and non-lawyers writing about lawyer things, so you just need to keep it professional. Find something that you feel comfortable with or that you may have some expertise in or that you are willing to develop some expertise in and be willing to share it. People are not always going to like what you have to say, and you might not get a lot of likes, shares, or reviews, but it takes time. You do it consistently, and people will come. 

Frank will try to comment or send messages to individuals whose content strikes a particular chord with him. The first thing you have to do before jumping in is decide what you are going to post about – “Is this topic broad enough to continue posting on it for that period of time?” Just because you are saying something and doing it daily does not mean necessarily that it is good content. Pick your main practice area that you are working on and post about that. People will come to see you as an expert in that area. If there is someone specific that you want to reach out to, make it a point to read their feed and what they are posting. If they post articles, or something they have shared, if they have been featured somewhere, make it a little bit more personal and mention those things.

The End-Goal with Networking

As you build out your network, things start happening for you. It takes time, but eventually it pays off and you start getting calls for referrals and you start getting asked to speak or to volunteer or write, and it grows your footprint online. The more you do, the more you reach out and the more that you pay forward on platforms like LinkedIn, eventually it is going to come around and benefit you. 

When it comes to your personal cases, try not to share or over-share facts about your cases. When Frank speaks about matters, he speaks about them generically and does not reference specific cases or clients. When he is trying to reach out to people who may be a potential referral source, he does not pester or annoy them. Each state has their own rules regarding professional conduct. The best thing to do is try to find other lawyers and other professionals that may become future referral sources. LinkedIn also allows you to create groups so another option is to create a group of like-minded lawyers and professionals or you can take it offline and create a monthly networking group. There are a lot of different ways of using LinkedIn as a platform and jumping off of the platform to do other things as well. 

EP 80 – Katherine Taylor – Finding a Niche in Creating a Referral System

Katherine Taylor is the Owner and Founder of Taylor Legal – they focus on representing small business owners. When she first began her law practice, she started at a large law firm in Baltimore, Maryland and was there for just over 7 years. When she left the law firm, she was in local government, essentially in-house counsel for a local government for about 10 years. Katherine then decided to start her own practice, primarily because she wanted something challenging. 

If you are interested in reaching out to Katherine or learning more, visit her website at https://www.taylorlegal.com

Authenticity in Growing Your Law Firm

Katherine decided when re-focusing her firm to hire a growth coach, or a business coach, and ultimately went with one that doesn’t only represent lawyers. It was a pretty expensive program with 4-5 workshops throughout the year. She would go to the workshops and walk out feeling like a major failure. After that, she began looking around online and found a program called ‘Referrals Without Asking’ and signed up for it. It was a process to show other people who you are, authentically, and why you appreciate the person as a client, a referral source, etc. It was natural for her to be herself and tell others who she was, what she does, how much she appreciates them and in being authentic in how she went about getting business, that was comfortable for her and has been successful going forward. 

One thing that she did learn from the workshops was the idea of different organizations called different things – the center of influence, referral sources, etc. and how you need to foster those relationships. That portion of the workshops probably resonated the most. She learned more than anything she has done that she needed to treat her practice as a business. Lawyers, in general, have a very hard time with that. Now, even if you are an associate or even a partner in a larger firm, you have to run your own business. You have to treat yourself as a profit center. You have to consistently be marketing. When she says marketing, she is referring to the whole umbrella of things that come under that. You cannot just do a little bit and then expect it to work. You have to continuously do it and pay a lot of attention to what you are doing – figure out what works and what doesn’t. There is no quick fix or cheap and easy ways, it is a process that you need to stick with and nourish as you go forward. 

Staying On Top of Marketing and Relying on Others When Needed

Katherine and her team stay active on their firm’s social media accounts, posting to social media outlets that are common to lawyers. They are in the process of updating their website to make their content more identifiable as well as sending out email communications. Katherine has recently started doing short videos that they send out via email or post on social media because a lot of people respond to video. It is just a matter of keeping up with all of those things and it is hard. Knowing all of the little steps that she has in play, and all of the tentacles that she has going out and making sure that they are all kept up with. And it can be exhausting. 

One thing that any lawyer has to do that is running their own firm is ask themselves why they are running their own firm. If it is because you want to be a lawyer and only practice law and do the legal kind of work, you are probably better off not being a solo practitioner or even a small firm partner because running a law business requires so much more than just practicing law. Katherine spends only about 15% of her time actually doing legal work. A lot of the other stuff is marketing related activities to bring business in, make sure you can do the work, make sure you can get paid for the work, and make sure that bills are paid and that the business is running. Any lawyer who is running a small firm or business needs to figure out what they want to do. When you are running a business, you have to rely on people who are experts at doing the things that your business needs to do and not try to do everything yourself. 

Understanding Referrals Without Asking

Basically what it is is making sure that you are very number one on the client side – you understand what your client experience is and you follow through and you nourish those client relationships. On the referral source side, you need to determine who they are and reach out to them in a non-salesy kind of way and keep up with those relationships, whether it’s calling them, sending them a gift, etc. Katherine grew up in North Carolina, so she is a ‘southerner’ inherently. Just being considerate to people, being nice, letting them know you appreciate them when you get a referral. It is kind of just manners. If you get a referral, let the person know that you appreciate it and how much it means to you and amazingly, that will come back to you. You will stay top of mind in their brain and they know you will appreciate that they thought about you. Anybody can be considerate. It is all about being appreciative and establishing a connection with people. People like to know that when they do something nice for somebody that it is appreciated and it comes back to them.

EP 79 – Emily Baker – Building the Business You Want Around the Life You Want

Emily Baker, also known as The Badass Lawyer, is the Host of Get Legit Law and Sh!t Podcast and helps online businesses with all of their legal aspects. She made the jump to starting her own business in 2017 after 10 years working as a District Attorney in Long Beach, California. She loved the work as a DA, but sometimes the job was a little bit tough, especially health-wise. 

If you are looking to get more involved with Emily, you can reach out to her through Direct Message on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/theemilydbaker/ or find her at https://emilydbaker.com 

Focusing to Avoid Burnout

Emily now finds a lot more freedom of choice. Her clients tend to appreciate that she is blunt and that she values her time as well as theirs. She encourages people to come to her to plan and to set a foundation, not to handle their emergencies. She now sets very clear boundaries for herself with her clients and if they do not respect those boundaries, they are no longer clients. Helping entrepreneurs step away from the stress of everything – your job is never done in entrepreneurship, there is always going to be something new, but it is likely not life and death. Bringing in that perspective, along with her previous experiences, for her and her clients to set those boundaries has been the greatest thing for her. Attorneys that are in supportive work environments who have choice and control are not the ones that are burnt out, and it is the same with entrepreneurs. When you feel like you have choice and control over what you are doing and you are not trying to get to the next thing – when you are focused, you are not burnt out and stressed out. 

Setting Boundaries and Enforcing Them

Starting to evaluate boundaries, and law pushes us to have no boundaries, but starting to enforce your own boundaries is going to save you the headache and it is something that you are going to have to do if you are choosing to leave a job, if you are going to start your own thing. To do that successfully without burning yourself out again, you have to set and enforce your boundaries. 

When Emily started her business, she has been online the entire time that she has been providing consulting and legal services. The more than she was in online circles, the more people worked all over the place and just wanted to ask questions, so getting on a Zoom call was just as easy. She did not want to pay for an office space or take on a lot of overhead. Emily wanted the freedom to be able to work from her computer between the times that her children were at school. Why pay the rents for an office space when you can get a pretty fast internet connection, Zoom and some headphones, and make it work. That kind of choice gives you an opportunity to fill back in your life a little bit so that you get to do more than just work. It is really a valuable pursuit. 

Contributing to Spaces in a Positive Way

Emily started her podcast for entrepreneurs and then found very quickly that her audience was much more general than that. A lot of what she talks about is news specific because she has found that we are missing and what people do not understand are the laws that are impacting the decisions. People see the news story, but there is no explanation of what the rules are. Her goal is to help give people the information that they need to make informed decisions whether that is in their business or in their life. Emily enjoys continuing to learn and grow and look at new laws and evaluate stories the way that she wants to evaluate them. It has really pushed her business forward, but it has also allowed the conversation to continue in a positive way in online spaces which is something she found to be lacking a little bit. She just tries to contribute to that space in a positive way. She really loves technology and finding a way to bring technology into her online business. 

EP 78 – Chris Walker – Navigating the Negative Reviews Your Law Firm May Receive

Chris Walker is the Senior Agency Account Executive at GatherUp. He has been working in digital marketing for the past 17 years in several different capacities. Before Chris joined GatherUp, he managed a sales team and an account management team at a local firm in Toronto. One thing that they did for their clients was review generation and that is how he was introduced to the GatherUp tool. He began working with GatherUp 3 years ago helping businesses get reviews. 

If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to Ryan – ryan@marketmymarekt.com with any questions that you may have and he will be happy to assist you. 

Gathering, Managing, and Marketing Reviews

The reason that Chris started working with agencies was because of his background with agencies being that he had previously worked in them and he understood the day-to-day that a marketing agency goes through. Part of the reason that they started selling reviews as a service to their clients. It was less about making money for the agency, but more interested in enhancing the work that they were already doing for clients. The one thing that they always consistently found was anytime that they were directing new traffic to the customers, the ones that had the most amount of reviews always tended to convert better. They are big on tracking conversions – they wanted to know how many calls you got, how many lead forms they got, and which keywords were bringing in those calls and those leads. When they started realizing the correlation between the best converting client and reviews, that’s when they started looking at how they could get reviews for their clients. It was less about the revenue and more so about enhancing the actual marketing that they were doing.

It can be broken into 3 separate categories here – they help businesses gather more reviews from their customers through text, email, lead capture forms, and inbound texting method called textback. They give those gathering capabilities as well as the capabilities to manage those reviews,  learn from them, read them, respond to them. The third piece is that they help market those reviews in a variety of different ways such as widgets on the website, social share features, as well as being able to display keyword-rich reviews that mention certain products or certain services that the business offers which directly affects their SEO. It breaks into the gather, manage, and market philosophy.

What Should You Do When You Receive a Negative Review?

As much as he would like to say that all review sites are created equal, the fact is that they are not. The majority of the time that someone is going to search for your business online, they are going to search for it on Google and they are going to find your Google listing. Although every review site needs to be paid attention to, Google far outweighs the others. The biggest mistake that Chris sees is a panic and wanting to defend themselves online, so it is very important when those negative reviews come in that you do not freak out. Separate yourself as much as you can and that can be difficult for people who put blood, sweat, and tears into their business and expect their customers to appreciate that. 

Visit the GatherUp Blog here – https://gatherup.com/review-reply-templates/ to review templates for a breakdown on how to respond and the methodology behind it. It does not matter whether that person’s claim is so off-base, the fact is that it is there. We are more responding to the future people that are going to read that review. 86% of consumers read online reviews, but what is also very shocking is that of the people who read online reviews, 91% of those people read the businesses responses. You are not always responding to the person that left the review, you are responding to the countless number of other people who go read those negative reviews to see how the business responds. 

Experiencing Bad Reviews from Fake Accounts and How to Handle It

Generally, the first step in responding is to start by introducing yourself to let them know who you are at the business and then thank them for their feedback (even if you really aren’t thankful) and prove to them that you read it. Take ownership and let them know that you apologize with them, but make sure that you are not being defensive. Finally, offer them a solution as an invitation for them to contact you. Chris refers to this as ‘taking the fight offline’. If you want to fight with them, it is not to happen in the reviews. Every single review on Google can always be edited, so that they can go back and update the experience and that speaks wonders to people who are reading that. More so, you are letting other people know that you do not make everyone happy, but when you don’t, you are showing how you handle it as a business. One of the biggest misconceptions out there right now is that a 5-star rated business is the best business on Google Not true. The peak performance and the peak rating is between 4.2 and 4.5. You must be above 4, if you are not above 4 then you have some other problems. Although we never want to end up with a bad review, it can happen and it does happen, and it can actually help your business if you learn from that as well. Responding to positive reviews should be done as well because it is just as important. For that one, you are showing your sincere appreciation for that person’s business. 

Chris has experienced this quite a bit in his past as well as at GatherUp. He equates to getting a bad review removed to beating your head against a brick wall. You can try as hard as you can but you are not going to get through that wall. Sometimes it is difficult, but that’s not to say that it is impossible. It is a good indicator of fake reviews, especially if they have left a lot of 1-star reviews for a lot of different businesses in a lot of different states and / or countries. The other reasons that you will typically find are extortion, to get media attention, ex-employees, etc. What you want to do when trying to get this review removed is to first document everything – take multiple screenshots, then report it to Google. You start out by flagging that review which will open a support ticket. If they don’t remove it, then just make sure that your response is good, non-defensive, apologetic, and offers a solution and asks them to contact the business.