legalpodcast

EP 61 – Michelle King – How to Pitch Yourself to the Media to Effectively Position Your Law Firm

Michelle King is the President and Founder of Reputation Ink. Reputation Ink is a public relations and content marketing firm working mostly with law firms. The primary service they provide is getting attorneys and law firms in the media – getting them positioned as thought leaders/experts in whatever niche they’re in – securing the media coverage, but also securing the firm as a whole covering their case wins and matters they are involved with. On the content side, they work with firms to figure out what kind of content they should be publishing, how to do that effectively, as well as how to utilize a lot of that content for public relations purposes. If you are interested in contacting Michelle, please reach out by visiting their website at www.rep-ink.com or you can email Michelle directly at michelle@rep-ink.com.

Determining Your Subject Matter Sweet Spot

What do you want to be known for? First, you have to figure out what your subject matter sweet spot is. You can determine this by figuring out the intersection of your expertise, your clients’ interests and needs, and your unique values and expertise. You really need to figure out what the subjects are that you want to be known as an expert on, but also ask the ‘so what’ questions such as, do your clients care about that or does the media care about that? You  also need to understand the media. This goes into knowing what your clients are paying attention to. A PR person is a matchmaker between the client and the media and they are figuring out what the media needs and how their client can fit into that. Michelle coaches attorneys to figure out what is newsworthy and how to intersect themselves into newsworthy topics, which a lot of that for lawyers is providing analysis on specific topics. Lawyers who can do media relations correctly can really shine by using their legal knowledge, providing context and analysis, what happens next, and what clients need to know. Two of the main things that they are often doing are pitching an attorney to write an article or pitching an attorney to be a source in a news story.

How to Present Yourself in a Different Way to the Media

If the media has someone who responds to phone calls quickly, shows up on time, speaks well in front of the camera, and provides insightful analysis, they will go back to them every time. You have to begin by proving yourself on a smaller scale, so do some public speaking, be a guest on podcasts, write articles, etc. You will then have these resources to show others that you are a good media source, but a majority of it is just getting back to them quickly and having something to say,  not regurgitating the news, but giving an insightful analysis of what is happening. The best way is to start writing for publications to give you the sense of how the media works. Editors on a day-to-day basis have to create content for an audience that drives advertising dollars, so they are experts at figuring out and knowing what content works and what kind of information their audiences are looking for. This will also depend on where your client base is and what your clients are looking at. If you want to become a national media commentator, you have to start playing the media game – contributing, putting out media pitches, writing articles, and pitching yourselves to podcasters to serve as a guest. When you do start pitching national shows, you will have a little bit of a resume to show. In doing this, there is time involved, but it is a great way to get into the game.

The media continues to evolve and change. Podcasts are a perfect example of this. Clients often rely on podcasts and can listen to them on the go and they are a really niche media as well. There is such an overload of information out there that people want information tailored to their specific needs. Some outlets have shifted to a pay-to-play model and your best bet is to try to insert yourself into the news. Do you have an interesting take or insight on something that the news  may be covering already or an idea for an article that is really unique and valuable? Most publications have not transitioned to pay-to-play, so there are several sources that are still taking contributions from outside sources. Good PR is proactive, so you want to work with a PR person who is proactively monitoring the news, understands your goals for getting into the news, and is regularly meeting with you to find out what they could pitch but is also monitoring editorial calendars and publications and getting google alerts for topics you want to be positioned as it is an on-going type of activity.

Goals for Law Firms When Engaging with PR Firms

Some firms have a really clear idea of wanting to be in the Wall Street Journal. Some of their other clients know they have seen some lawyers in certain publications and they know they can do a better job of that. But most often, their biggest goal is looking for greater visibility. When a client starts working with Michelle’s firm and starts to get that visibility, it is fun to see the impact that it has. They will start hearing from clients, their web traffic will significantly increase, and it gives them a credibility boost which is valuable in all other efforts of their business development. PR is probably the most difficult to trace back to revenue, but once they start getting more coverage, they definitely see the value. What they are finding is that the media is slammed right now with all of the news of coronavirus and they are having to turn so much content around. If the PR firm secures an interview for the client, they will first talk to the reporter and see what kind of story they are wanting to write and what kind of information they want to get so that the client can be prepared before the call and show up with the right information. The PR firm’s  job is to understand the background behind the interview, what they are hoping to get out of it, and then a little prep around what the media outlet is like, what the reporter has written on, etc. Work is often hard to go viral and if your whole goal is to go viral, that is going to be difficult. Michelle encourages her clients to think about their own clients and narrow it down to think about just one person. Always have one person in mind and try to be as clear and understandable as possible. Most clients stick to the  tried and true of providing value and insights.

EP 60 – Alycia Sutor – Selling as an Act of Service to Become Authentic in Your Business Development

Alycia Sutor is the Managing Director at GrowthPlay and leads the Professional Services Team. She has more than 20 years of experience helping lawyers and executives accelerate their sales performance and revenue growth. Alycia began in this industry when she discovered the opportunity to help lawyers rethink how they bring themselves into being so that the world can rethink the value that lawyers bring to the world. Please reach out to Alycia at www.growthplay.com

Understanding Sales as a Service and the Meaning Behind It

One thing that Alycia became enamored by very early on was the idea of what would happen if the idea or notion of selling was turned on its head and instead was thought about as an act of service, especially for people who don’t choose to go into sales as their primary career or profession. Lawyers are doer sellers which means that they do the work and then someday figure out that to continue elevating their career they need to eventually sell that work as well. Very few lawyers are inclined to think about selling as something that feels comfortable to them. So, what would it look like to create a disciplined approach to selling as an act of service? Extending the timeframe of how and who the services are being provided for. It tends to feel much more authentic and helpful.

It begins by helping people to embrace the mindset because if you are going to sell or develop a business as an act of service, there are two fundamental skills. One is how we build authentic relationships with someone and that happens long before someone identifies as a potential prospect. How do you create a relationship that feels genuine to the other person based not on what is authentic or natural for you, but also what makes sense for the person that you are trying to connect with? It is a frame of mind of how you think about how you are bringing yourself into being with other people from the beginning, but also fundamental about how you are able and willing to solve problems that other people find value in being solved. The other person has to define what the most important problems or highest issues are that someone can help them with at the moment. All of these things start way before someone picks up the phone and it impacts every interaction that you have with people – whether it be a phone call, waiting in line with somebody, showing up at a networking event, how you answer an email, how you write the proposal, etc. These things ultimately leave a mark that starts to create the kind of context and evidence that you are somebody who others want to work with, not because they have to but because they want to.

How to Keep Your Relationships with Clients and Prospects Open

One thing Alycia is constantly advocating for lawyers to improve upon is their ability to prepare for important conversations, not just the technical ones or the ones that happen in the context of client meetings, but to prepare for important relationship-building conversations. She uses the Core Four as preparation as a framework to help people get into the right mindset. One –Always understand what your objective is. What is it that you are trying to do or accomplish in the course of the conversation that will make the other person leave thinking that was a good use of their time? Have a clear sense of what is going to be useful as an outcome to the person you are meeting with. Two –  If you are prepared, you can identify the kinds of questions that you might need to ask somebody else to figure out what they need the most. So, how are you going to learn more about their business, their issues, their problems, their challenges, the kinds of things they are most interested in? Your job is to be helpful in any matter, shape, or form. Three –  Something critical to be helping lawyers be more thoughtful is for them to think about what kind of key messages or impressions they are trying to leave behind. What do you want people to walk away saying or believing about you? Four – What are the definitive next steps or outcomes of a conversation that will continue to propel further relationship building or interactions? You might have an introduction to extend that gives you a reason to follow up or you might have an offer to share some insight, an article, a checklist, a template, some presentation materials. When you leave a conversation with this exit, it helps you identify what the next step is and what that other person feels is also useful or valuable. Your job is in part to stay connected and stay in the relationship in a way that is useful or valuable to the other person. If you give up too early, you are often cutting yourselves from opportunities.

If you have done your homework upfront by asking the great questions about what outcome your client or your prospect is seeking to get and how will they measure or know that has value, that begins to put your client in the headspace of what is going to be most important, but it also gives you information about what drives value for the client. Think about the 3 “A’s” to overcome an objection and the “A’s” mean that you would want to acknowledge the fact that you just heard your client or prospect indicate something important to them, ask further questions to help you understand what seems to be out of alignment for them, and advance particular possible alternative solutions.

The Levels of Working with Professionals to Develop Business Plans

There are three levels or ways in which Alycia and her team work with clients to develop business plans. One is working with individual lawyers to help them build business development skills or muscle and this is often done in coaching programs. In the coaching programs, they help lawyers build a business development roadmap for the next 6 to 12 months depending on how far ahead it may be. There is also a transition process in that coaching experience where they equip lawyers with tools, templates, and a plan and then help them transition support over to internal team members than can help keep that lawyer supported moving forward. The second level works with teams of lawyers helping them to get aligned and collaborate in a way that helps create experiences where people want to work with them. There is a clear documentation process and they use what is called a “playbook” which helps people on the team be clear on who is doing what and how each person plays specific roles and has contributions. They use this as an aligning tool to help team members understand what needs to happen and keep the momentum moving forward. The third and final level is at the leadership level which helps leaders of firms create growth maps that are living, breathing documents that allow leaders to figure out where they see the best growth opportunities and then how to align the people, process, and system to support the opportunity to create more opportunities.

The idea of selling or selling themselves feels inauthentic to lawyers, so how do you out-behave the competition by adhering to the Platinum Rule (do unto others as they want to be done unto)? It is not about what people think about you when they are with you, it is about how you make them feel about themselves when you are with them. If we can be thoughtful, other-centered, and generous people and do that with some discipline and intentionality, then business development has a way of being very authentic and that is how it becomes an act of service.

EP 59 – Bryan Sklover – Enhancing Digital Communication to Get Your Point Across in the Most Effective Way

Bryan Sklover is an On-Air Personality and has worked in the broadcasting industry for the past 18 years. He has been with iHeartRadio on 101.1 WJRR, a PA Announcer for the Orlando Solar Bears Hockey Team, producing the Mike Harvey Show, as well as being involved with other sports teams including Orlando Magic and Tampa Bay Lightning. He has worked overall in communication as he taught at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Bryan likes to encourage people to use the skills they may or may not even realize that they have to get their point across the right way. You can connect with Bryan on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/bryan-sklover-304a7183/.

How to Sound More Effective Over the Phone

One of the first things that Bryan learned in radio is when you are communicating with people, while you are sitting in a room by yourself, you need to put yourself in a situation when you are talking to one person while you are talking to everybody. The first thing that you need to determine is who it is you are trying to talk to and this is something that could be different from episode to episode or group to group depending on what it is that you are trying to get across. Once you have an ideal image of who the person that you are speaking to is, then it is just a matter of pretending they are sitting right next to you and communicating to them most effectively. When you have the microphone in front of you and you know that you are talking to a lot of people, you know you want to connect with them individually. While everybody is listening together, they are listening alone together, so they want to feel like they are connected to you whatever it is you are trying to say. So if you can take your message and make it as comfortable as you can for them to listen to, they’re going to receive it well. 

The most important thing from the start is making sure that you know what you want to get across, the point you want to get across and who you are trying to reach, and adapting to that situation. If you are speaking from emotion, emotion will dictate your message and you will end up getting it the way that you truly want it. As long as you are comfortable with that message before you start saying it and you let the emotion deliver the message, it will come across a lot more effectively for you and be received with the efficiency that you wanted it to. Something that we are learning this year is that we have a lot of tiers in generations and people who speak differently and use different terms, have different feelings levels, etc. It all comes back to knowing who it is you are talking to and knowing what it is you want to get across to them. There is not necessarily one single voice, it does depend on who you are talking to. 

Methods for Becoming a Confident Speaker

The first thing that you need to do is be comfortable with your voice. You have to be comfortable with the sounds that you make and the tone in your voice and all of the different ranges that you have in your voice. If you are not used to it or comfortable with it, that can throw you off track as well because you are listening while you are speaking, and hearing the things you are saying is you are saying them. As far as content goes, Bryan talks to himself a lot. Speaking to yourself and making sure that the message you want to get across is there because it programs your mind to be prepared to speak on things that maybe you would not have been prepared for in the conversation. Make sure that the meat and the bones of what you are trying to say are well thought out and figured out the best way that you want to say. Know exactly what you are going to say and how you are going to say it without planning the course of the conversation because conversations in their best ways are unpredictable and they can go in any direction that you want them to. Even if you don’t have control of the conversation, you do have control of the things that you want to get across so be ready to say them when the time is right. Once you get over the sound of your own voice, once you get over talking to yourself, then you are set to communicate with people effectively and get the point across that you want to get across.

Bryan’s Suggested Tools for Best Quality of Production

Anything that you are investing in the quality of your product will always be beneficial, but you also have to remember that other people are consuming it. If you have higher quality on the phone, it may sound good, but odds are you are talking to somebody that is also listening on the phone, and maybe that quality is not going to be as apparent in that format or situation. The super high quality is not as easily consumable by people to make it that much of an emphasis. However, if you are doing a video call then you should make sure that you have a good webcam. Whether it is the video or whether it is the audio, you want to make sure the quality is on par and the best thing about this time right now is that there are tools available, both free and paid, that can help get you to the point of good quality. If you are going to put that effort in, you might as well make it sound as good as you can. 

If you have Photoshop or Adobe Suite, Adobe Audition allows you to run audio through processing, make it sound like it is ready for broadcast radio, you can put reverb on it, and have a different sound to establish the room that you are in. Adobe Premiere Rush has a lot of the same functions as Adobe Premiere, but you can do all of it on your phone and it gives you some template-based options where you can add a layer of production to your element and make it look like it was major-market produced. If you have the $50 subscription to Adobe every month, you get all of the programs that they own and they have a suite of programs just for the phone alone. Bryan suggests getting all of the Adobe programs that you can because the interface is incredibly user-friendly even if you do not have many skills in that area. 

There are other programs as well, like Audacity and Headliner. Audacity is a free program so you won’t get all of the bells and whistles, but you will still be able to edit some layers of processing. Another program called Headliner is IP based and allows you to upload segments of audio to help you build a video around by using images, subtitles, and captions. 

There are so many tools out there that you can use to build your brand. You might as well treat your brand the best that you can and put some effort behind it to make it look like it is put together and utilize what you have. Find ways to use the content that you already have completed and repurpose it for social media. Once you lay some content down, anything you can do above what you have already done is just a bonus. Anything that you can communicate with people is a benefit to them and it is a benefit to you. In this day-in-age of media, you don’t have to pay for your own time, which is all the more reason to keep creating content and developing your brand and letting people know who you are, what you care about, and communicating to them on their level. 

EP 58 – Mary Balistreri – How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results

Mary Balistreri is the Business Development and Leadership Coach at Quarles and Brady. She coaches attorneys both in groups and individually to develop action plans and strategies to in turn develop business. Mary focuses on discovering tactics to help individuals grow to their full potential. She is also certified in Conversational Intelligence. If you are interested in getting in contact with Mary, you can reach out via LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/marybalistreri/

The Importance of Trust in Conversations and Relationships

Trust does not just happen automatically. Not only is it important to check in with the mindset of the person you may be meeting with, but it is also important to check your own mindset before entering into that conversation. If you receive bad news before walking into a meeting with someone else, it may cause you to be closed off or resistant because your mind is thinking about something else. That will read to the person that you are talking to and could ultimately have a huge impact on what they hear from you. Trust cannot be rushed as you come into a situation. Find ways to empty your mind of all the things going on in there before you get into a difficult conversation or have to lead your team. We do not take time for ourselves to do this because we are often running from one thing to the next. Stop yourself to fix your mindset to be open when you go into each meeting. This is very important to business development just as it is important to leadership and really in any situation interacting with somebody.

The majority of things are all about trust. It is also easy to lose trust, especially in a working environment. Not everybody is going to be trustworthy. Trust is built based on actions so saying what you are going to do and then doing what you said that you were going to do are very important. Trust is also a basis for so many relationships. In the legal world, you want to be the trusted advisor for your clients and be the person that cares about them and gives them the insights that they need, but you also have to be transparent and notify them if things are not going well.

Understanding Communication Styles and the 80-20 Rule

There is a communications style test, similar to Meyers-Briggs but it does not have as many things going into a specific personality trait, instead, it is a communication style and uses the ISFT. There are 4 communication styles – Intuiter which is someone who is all about ideas; Sensor describes someone who is all about results and is very fast-moving and likes to communicate in bullet points; Feelers are those who are all about relationships, and; Thinker is someone who is all about the process. What do you need to do to have a conversation with someone that might not be in the same category as you might be? It is still a responsibility of leaders to have high-level conversations with their team to make their team want to produce. Spend some time asking questions and gain an understanding of who you are talking with when you are having the conversation so that you can adjust your style to that person as well. This is a soft skill that attorneys need to learn because they need to work with clients and develop those relationships with their clients.

People want to be listened to. This goes back to the principle of the 80-20 rule which is in a conversation, you should only be speaking 20% of the time and letting the other person (client, prospect, or whomever) speak the other 80%. The way that you do this is by asking questions and then listening for their answers. You may ask an open-ended question and get an answer from the client that sounds like a need – ask an additional question for clarity and that breath of what you discover is so much broader and larger and can lead to a stronger relationship with the client. At the end of the day, that is what drives business, but it is also what drives us in our lives to develop relationships with people.

Assumptions and Judgement vs Discovering Intent

When your mind is in that state when you are not trusting, everything that the other person says will be heard with that filter applied to it. Use language that is less accusatory and more open. Open up the other person by allowing them to talk about what the reality was for them. So often, we make judgments in our minds about what the reality is, and when we ask someone and wait for them to talk about it, we find out that wasn’t it at all. We put things onto ourselves and give things more meaning than they may have.

People cannot read intent, so there could be all kinds of different intent on the side of the person who’s trust was lost. If you assume intent, that is where the mistake might be. Sit down and ask the person what was going on and hear from their plan and allow them to offset what the intent was. Go in first without any assumptions or putting people in different categories. Have a conversation rather than giving a questionnaire. Ask a couple of questions to each individual to get a sense of their engagement and commitment, their likes and dislikes, and what their motivation is. Everybody has the capability to improve themselves.

EP 57 – Harlan Schillinger – The Most Common Gap Law Firms Need to Address to Increase Their Bottom Line Quickly

Harlan Schillinger is widely recognized as the “Grandfather of Legal Advertising”. He invented television advertising in the legal community when no one else was doing it. He began his career in television work in 1975 and began creating a series of television commercials for the legal category in 1977. If you are interested in speaking with Harlan or learning more about him, please visit his website and reach out at harlanschillinger.com

Determining What Others Are Not Doing and Doing That

When you are advertising, you are filling a gap and you get what you ask for in that. Once you figure out what other people are not doing, you need to do that. Harlan learned early on that it is always more important to listen to others than to talk when you are in a conversation. His wife tells him every day to be interested, not interesting. You could be the sheep in advertising and follow what everybody else is doing, but that does not set you apart from anyone else. One of the biggest holes in a law firm’s bucket is intake and conversion. It is filling in on what other people are not doing. If others are not following up on leads, or not tracking leads, or not tracking their business’ metrics, the solution is to do that and you will see the outcome when you do things like that. What You Don’t Know, You Don’t Know. 

The single issue that lawyers point out is that they count what they have, not what they do not have. Smart operators recognize that it is a business – it has to be run like a business and you have to implement very strong business tactics such as accountability and metrics. Do not look to another lawyer to copy, but instead look at what a successful business is doing. Lawyers often see what is in front of them, but they do not see what they do not see. Take a look at the calls you are getting and not the case you are writing. You can measure the cases, but if you do not have any initial calls, what are you measuring? To increase business, you have to figure out what you are not doing and that takes a lot of humbleness. Step back and look at what you do not see, that is where you will make the gains.

Strategizing Your Marketing and Understanding the Business

Talk to the public the same way that you would talk to a jury. You cannot fool a jury – you have to be real and you have to be credible. You talk to the public like you are talking to a jury because you are telling a story. You always have to be who you are and that is the backbone of Harlan’s strategy as well as the strategy that he employs on the people that he works with. It’s what makes sense. If you look at television commercials that are out there and all of the advertising, they all say “we will do this for you” or “we will get you that”. The lawyers that he works with separate themselves.

The biggest thing that lawyers are not doing in understanding and running their businesses are not looking at the metrics. The metrics do not lie. You have to follow the metrics and put those steps in place. You cannot run your practice on your gut, and you cannot run it with just folders and sticky notes. It is all about communication and building relationships. You need to be tech-oriented and you need to have the tools to be able to implement all of those things. Most law firms do not make it easy for people to do business with them. A simple question that you could ask during intake is, “What is the best way for me to communicate with you?” Could you imagine how much smoother things would go in the future if you discussed forms of communication and what works best for others?

It all comes down to what your hunger is and what you drive behind everything is. The culture in your firm and marketing is what will separate you. People are going to come to you not because they think they got a good settlement, but because of how you made them feel. Make your clients feel like a million dollars – that is how you build a business. Just because you are making a lot of money does not mean that you are doing all of it right. You fill a void and that is how you gain and provide business. Surround yourself with smart people and get your business metrics in place.

Operating Your Business Like a Sports Franchise

Begin operating your business like you would a sports franchise. Everybody on that team has a job. You draft players to either throw or catch the ball. If you do not have a team set up with everybody in place and the best players on the team, then you have a real challenge of winning a championship. Drafting the right players, having everyone know what their job is, and having a process in place is what is going to win a super bowl or any kind of championship or winning the business of your dreams. If you want the best practice or the best team, you better surround yourself with the best players.

Managing all of this is very difficult and understanding it is difficult. Surround yourself with people who are much better and much smarter than you are. The entrepreneurs of the world are ideas people, but they had to have other people to help them implement those ideas. Watching Michael Jordan in The Last Dance, they never won a championship until they changed their philosophy. They began to draft players that could work well with Michael. Michael orchestrated the team and everybody’s level for the team. They took the ball out of Michael’s hands and put motivation in his hands and he motivated everyone to step up and that is how they won 4 championships in a row. You cannot have just one person, it has to be a team effort.

EP 56 – Tim Corcoran – Learning to Adapt and Thrive as a Law Firm in the Ever-Changing Market

Tim Corcoran is a Legal Management Consultant with offices in New York, Charlottesville, and Sydney as a global client base. He is a keynote speaker, author, as well as a legal commentator and has been in the industry for the past 2 decades as a corporate executive. The things that he talks about and where he guides his clients is just practical advice – what he learned in how to run a business and what they may not have been trained to do when in law school. It is really about helping legal leaders use their intellect and their lawyer abilities to be more effective leaders and managers of their business, which is essentially what his consulting practice is based on. Please reach out to Tim by visiting his website at bringintim.com or by following him on Twitter @tcorcoran

Prioritizing Your Next Steps in Navigating the Pandemic and Beyond

Now is a perfect opportunity for law firms, and all businesses, to be taking a look at their operations and determine which of their programs, investments, capital expenditures, tools and technologies, and suppliers may need to be dialed back as well as looking to see what resources and maybe even people may not be as mission-critical in the short-term. Many businesses are being faced with several tough decisions to make right now and they are all happening at once. Tim has helped clients come up with a decision framework to do this triage. He looks at the term triage as how medical professionals do an assignment of urgency when they have someone that is present with symptoms and they cannot treat everyone and do everything all at once, so really they are trying to prioritize what is most important first. A short-term challenge facing many law firm leaders is that there is not a lot of planning done in advance for how to deal with this. Most businesses did not even have a plan that would accommodate the scale of this disruption.

Law firm leaders need to triage and prioritize what their next step is going to be. It is a 3-stage process that several law firms are currently facing. There was a Canadian minister that described their government here as dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic as a plane struggling in an intense storm. The first stage is landing the plane on the ground safely to ensure that everyone is safe and alive. The second stage is securing the plane on the ground and making sure that it will be safe to ride out the storm there. The third and final stage is preparing to take-off again as the climate allows for proceeding. The first thing that law firms need to look at doing is securing their law firms to ensure that they will be in business come the following day. Their first steps in doing so are to make sure that you have enough cash on hadn’t to make payroll, think about if you have enough laptops and desktops available to disperse to people so that they can work from home, if not, then you need to make adjustments to secure device policies, zoom policies, and conference call capabilities so that employees can use firm services to login and access the critical materials that they need.

Embracing Opportunities and Collaborating and Communicating More Effectively

We as a society, but especially as law firms, have been ignoring opportunities to embrace a flexible workforce. There are ignored opportunities when a valuable employee moves across the country for many different reasons and most employers just say goodbye. Why is that the case though if they can work remotely and be just as effective? Now is a great opportunity to say that we do not need a model where everyone is in a shiny building downtown, but rather to embrace a model where you can be everywhere. This gives a greater competitive advantage and a lower cost space which will in turn improve profitability. Take this time to put things into perspective. It is not about adapt or die, although some will not adapt and some will die, it is really about adapting and thriving. The market has changed, and is always changing, so how do you as a law firm or a leader in the legal community take advantage of what the market is telling you very loudly and very clearly?

Law firms structurally are not built very well for collaboration, even when everyone works in the same office or the same set of offices. This market change may provide a recognition to use the tools and processes that allow you to collaborate even when you cannot be right across the desk from one another. The missing link is if people are being effective in using these tools. With time, we can realize that there is a way to collaborate with others when you are not in the same room and if we take that lesson back, we may reform the law firm footprint so that now we may collaborate and communicate far more effectively.

Utilizing Technologies as a Way to Deliver New Solutions

The market has been fairly loud in asking lawyers and law firms to adapt to a changing world- whether a consumer or large corporate clients. The market has also said that there is a learning curve and that legal professionals should be more efficient at delivering service at a higher quality and lower cost than they were 5 years ago. While billable hours still exist, the market is saying that they no longer need lawyers’ permission to access legal services from alternate sources. Big law firms are now realizing that some of their work is being seeded to smaller law firms and all law firms are now seeing some of their work being brought in-house or to alternate suppliers where it is a lower cost of delivery. Some companies are delivering services to organizations that have legal needs and they are delivering them more effectively, at a higher quality and lower price, and with higher throughput. Law firms are now realizing that all of these things they said they cannot change and changing, and they don’t have a voice in it. Courts are accepting e-signatures, people are providing services electronically, taking appearances by video, and they are starting to see the same sort of thing in transactions. The things that used to have to be on paper are now submitted electronically.

Much of the market has mischaracterized the benefits of the use of technology to legal services. Buyers are more ahead of the game than the sellers. We need to first look at technology not as the solution, but as a way to deliver that solution more effectively and efficiently. Lawyers need better processes. It is not uncommon to look at a law firm and see how different lawyers have fundamentally different approaches to handling the same task, whether that be a legal task or an administrative task. The better course of action is to recognize that you have inefficient processes and that inefficiency sends a message to your clients and the clients are saying that the law firm’s inefficiency costs them more money. It is time to engage in process improvement and no one way has to win, there may need to be some variations. Process mapping, process improvement, and project management are not about commoditizing the law, they are about saying how to unlock the smarts that lawyers have if they have done these things before thousands of times. That approach will pave the way for technology we think will be necessary and helpful to deliver that. Technology comes after the business mapping and then the technology is one of the ways to deliver those services. So, how do we benefit from using technology? The price point can come down, but the profit can go up and both the client and the law firm are happier.

EP 55 – Keith Newstrom – The Ins and Outs of Increasing Your Leads and Number of Signed Cases

Keith Newstrom has over a decade of experience in the legal marketing industry and is currently the Business Development Manager at Intake Conversion Experts (ICE). ICE has assisted over 200 Law firms, retained over 40,000 cases, and an average conversion rate of ~75%. Keith previously worked for FindLaw and Thomson Reuters for just over 7 years selling directory listings and leads.

If you are interested in getting in contact with Keith, please email him at newstromk@gmail.com or knewstrom@intakeconversion.com. You can also find more information by visiting his website at http://www.keithnewstrom.com/

Buying Leads and Why Directories Are Still Relevant

Purchasing leads is different for every person and every law firm. Some people prefer to buy as many leads as possible at the lowest prices available while others prefer to buy fewer and ones of very high quality. It is all up to the individual and dependent on what their specific situation may be.

One nice thing about directories is that there is tracking to be able to say there were 100 calls and then determine what happened with each of those. It is crucial to be following up with clients to see how many calls that they had and how long each of those calls were. 95% of the time, clients did not know where the calls were coming from because they were not able to track their marketing. Directories really can apply to all law firms and they do it for everything. Most directories now have some sort of B2B directory as well and they will try to sell you every which way that they can.

Recommendations from Keith on Best Tools for Finding the Best Cases

For starters, Keith recommends doing the whole package. And by the whole package that is getting some leads from PPC, getting other leads from organic, and then there are also the leads that people do not even know they have found your company, and other times where individuals may buy one and share with 5 people and hope that they can retain them before everyone else.

One of the biggest things that Keith has factored into his list of recommendations is the importance of making sure clients are happy and that their clients are happy as well. You want to ensure that they are getting a good return on investment. Some of his favorite tools for this include Shield Legal, Digital Prospects, OpenJar, CASE Legal Media, and Admediary. One of the most interesting things that Keith has also observed is that some of these companies are doing a lot of the marketing that you could be doing on your own but they could be doing it better or on a much larger scale.

Importance of Intake Process in Converting Leads

Buying leads is great, but the intake process is also so important. If you are looking to increase your leads as well as the amount of cases that you are signing to your firm then you need to make sure that you have the entire follow up process. It is crucial to know where your leads are coming from so that you can double down on what is working for your firm and cut out the stuff that is not working. You may be trying to fill a large bucket with many holes and then if you add a great intake team to that, they help to plug a lot of those holes and fill up the bucket much faster which allows you to be making a more substantial amount of money. Intake is one of, if not, the most important part of a business. Make sure that your intake team is empathetic and also very reassuring to your potential clients that they are making the right choice in choosing your law firm.

EP 54 – Chase Williams & Ryan Klein – Staying Ahead of the Curve and Implementing the Best SEO Tactics

The Importance of Tracking and Transparency in Reporting

Today, there are over hundreds of marketing channels while a few years ago there were maybe only 6 or 7. So, how do you know which leads are coming from which channels or sources? The fact that you can track everything at this point is such a game-changer, especially when it comes to ROI and those marketing dollars. To make that ask and spend more money on advertising though, you need to know where your leads are coming from. Some tools that we use for tracking and have found helpful are HubSpot, CallRail, and Google Analytics. This allows us to know how to quantify the amount of money that we are spending to bring in new business. It is also a good indicator of knowing when it may be time to cut back or double down in certain areas. You can do tracking through every step of the cycle and that is so important in making some of these decisions.

After tracking, you move on to reporting and the transparency of the reporting. When reporting, people typically look for more sophisticated tools and they want to see more transparency in the results of the campaigns that they are doing. Many lawyers are accustomed to reports being auto-generated, but it is also important to be able to analyze those reports and have experts scan the data manually to have findings and more opportunities based on what they found in the report. In addition to this, it is not necessarily only important to illuminate the positives, but you also need to be able to explain what is going on with the negatives as well and then determine an action plan to improve.

Thinking Outside the Box When It Comes to Content Plans

The average lawyer is writing their content based on regurgitation on the latest news and that is not necessarily the best approach in many situations. A non-generic content plan is coming up with a game plan to cover every possible way that someone would search for your services within your geography. But, how do people search? Most commonly, people search using a keyword or practice area along with a geographic modification or a long-tailed question. A good resource tool for searching for new topics to produce content is AnswerThePublic. It is also wise to be researching how people are conducting their searches and how the search trends may be changing throughout the year and even more year after year. Analyzing the content that your competition has is also a good idea to see if they are writing about good topics, but doing a poor job executing – see if you can do it better! It truly is endless the number of possibilities that are out there for content, but there is also a fine balance between an interesting and unique topic and a topic that generates volume. These are great things to keep in mind when you are working on your content strategy.

The Latest SEO Trends

One of the latest trends that we have seen recently is the use of emojis and how they are drawing user’s attention to meta descriptions or FAQ schemas. This is a way to stand out from everyone else. Structured data is at an all-time high as far as how much real estate it is taking up in results. People are sing FAQ below their search result and answering questions that is FAQ structure data and it has been incredibly successful for click-throughs. Another new thing we have noticed happening is that a lot of schemas have gone pretty far down the Google results page instead of only appearing in the first few rankings – this has been a modification that we have recently seen over the past few weeks. Google has been going into over-drive over the past six months with a lot of new things amongst everything that is going on. Within the past week, checkmarks now appear within the maps for online appointments that are available. You always have to be on these platforms and reading the documentation that is put out by Google. It does not just stop at structure data, optimization for voice search is a thing that people have been preparing for. Google looks up structure data and how you word things on your website, how you present information in a way that people can ask questions, and ultimately what is your website set up for.

We have also recently seen a dramatic change in the site speed test. Google has a page speed test that allows you to type in your URL and essentially see on a scale of 1 to 100 (100 being the best) how your website ranks in Google’s eyes. This number is calculated by load speed, certain scrips that are fired off your website, and there are always new things they are adding to the list as well. The implications here are higher than they have ever been because there is so much more impact. At the end of the day, Google is all about user experience and whether or not you are following the guidelines that have been set out. There is a whole new set of guidelines for how to rank your website for user experience and website speed. Change is coming slowly, but quickly at the same time.

EP 53 – Bruce Segall – Taking Advantage of LinkedIn’s Features to Boost Your Profile to Its Full Potential

Bruce Segall is the President of Marketing Sense for Business. He works with both law firms and small to mid-size business firms to help professionals stand out in the crowded business world. He has worked in the marketing industry throughout his entire career – He began with MasterCard and Citibank working in their marketing departments and then became the Director of Marketing for a small professional services firm. Bruce brings up a diverse mix because he understands the discipline that comes from working at big companies as well as the needs and the need for flexibility at a small firm or for solo practitioners. He has focused on being an outsource marketing director for smaller companies and firms by doing branding, communications, and messaging.

4 Most Important Things to Check on Your LinkedIn Profile Page

Professional Headline – The Professional Headline can be found right beside or directly below the profile picture on the LinkedIn profile page. If you are electing to only use your title in the headline space, it is a missed opportunity as you could use an elevator speech in 120 characters or less and really talk about what differentiates your brand. You will stand out from competitors because of the customized message that is there. The Professional Headline is something that can be presented in short phrases or as a straight-forward, clever phrase depending on what you may be comfortable with.

About Section – The About Section of your profile is LinkedIn’s version of a biography. Although this is LinkedIn’s version of a bio, it is not intended for you to copy and paste the bio that can be found on your website. This is an opportunity to craft something professional, but that is also specific to your profile page. LinkedIn only previews about 2 or 3 lines from the about section and the rest is hidden, it is really in your best interest to have something provoking in this section so that readers will click the ‘more’ button and read your entire profile. Bruce would recommend about 1500 characters or about 2 to 3 paragraphs. 60% of the views on LinkedIn are from a mobile phone. People are just skimming around through profiles – they may be reading certain sections and skipping over others. Using short paragraphs, capital letters, a bulleted list, or a checklist are all techniques that can be used to your advantage throughout this section.

Visuals – People are often on their phones and distracted, so it is really important that your profile has a very compelling visual look to it. Your background picture is the image above your profile picture and you have the opportunity to customize it. You could use an image from your website or it could even be a logo image; you want to use something that will get you a lot more attention when someone clicks on your profile page. There is also a new “Featured” Section just below the About Section that allows the opportunity to add a link from your website (LinkedIn will process an image to display), put up a video or a photograph, add a recent LinkedIn post, or photos of yourself presenting at recent presentations. This becomes a gallery and showcase on yourself, but it is all in visual terms.

Please note that profile photos are also a critical area that should be reviewed on your LinkedIn profile page, but many users already have that checked off by using a professional photo from their website or another source.

Current Experience – Some people make the mistake of copying their About Section and repeating that in their Current Experience. Use the Current Experience Section to talk about representative matters, to share some of your clients (if you can), and to showcase specific practices and the services that you can provide. It is important to think through what you want in each of these sections and how it then balances with the other sections displayed on your profile page. LinkedIn and your personal profile is really an extension of your personal brand so you want it to be something that you are comfortable with. Your Current Experience Section is an opportunity to be more personal and to tell a story while including elements that you may not necessarily use in a firm profile.

Using LinkedIn’s Features – Free vs. Premium

To empower other people is not to think about yourself, but to give. William feels that giving is way better than receiving and especially so during this time where there is so much crisis and negativity – you just have to keep gIn general, most users on LinkedIn are not even leveraging some of the free features that the networking site provides, so it is not necessary that everyone jump immediately into a premium program. People first need to become more disciplined in terms of utilizing LinkedIn and then in using those premium features. As a free member on LinkedIn, you can see the last 3 people that viewed your profile, so if you are a free user, you need to be in the discipline of checking your profile views every couple of days. Whether you are a free user or a paid user, you should be in the discipline of not only checking your profile views but also checking the profiles of connections before you meet them. There is a feature on Linkedin that allows you to download an individual’s profile to a PDF document that you can read and refer to at a later time. For attorneys that may be interested in using the recommendation feature on LinkedIn, they need to be cautious around soliciting for them as well as receiving them. You can refer to the Bar Association guidelines as well as your state-issued guidelines around attorney advertising.

On-Going Aspects of LinkedIn Features

While improving your profile page is typically a one-time process and we recommend that you update your profile at least once a year, there are also other activities on LinkedIn that need to occur on a more regular basis such as once a week, once a month, once a quarter, etc. Many of the on-going aspects that need updating on your LinkedIn profile are in relation to posting. There are several options for posting that you can choose from – you can post a picture, a video, a link to a website, or do a plain-text post. All of these things, especially if they have a personal element where your connections can see a picture of you or of your new office space will have a tremendous amount of impact. There is also an opportunity to do longer articles for anywhere from 500 to 2,000 words and these can become a permanent aspect of your profile. You can utilize LinkedIn instead of having a blog and they provide a permanent URL that does not require a LinkedIn account o access. This is a great way to demonstrate leadership in more detail while still remaining visible in shorter posts. Also using LinkedIn messaging as a way to stay in touch with all of your contacts. If you spend just 1 hour a day finding different connections and reconnecting with them, it could have an effect on your page.

EP 52 – William Umansky – Growing Your Practice Through Being a Leader in Your Community

William Umansky is the Managing Partner of Umansky Law Firm. William became a lawyer over 28 years ago and started as a prosecutor – he then did some defense work at a personal injury firm and has since started his own firm. He handles personal injury cases including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall and premise liability cases, negligent security and sex abuse. William is also an author to the Amazon Best-Selling book “Power Principles of Success”.

Finding Your Driver for Success

William used to be very intent on not giving anything back. He was always thinking about getting the next case and driving to build his business, in which he did become successful very quickly. However, at the end of the day, he still felt empty inside and wondered what he was doing all of this work for. William did not understand his ‘why’ until he realized that everything he was doing was not only to support his family but also to help his clients empower themselves. When he figured this out, it became more clear what the purpose behind his practice was.

It is a privilege to practice law and you have to earn that privilege, but it is also a privilege to make money by helping others. William realized that there was so much more that he could do for other people when he joined some local committees. The Orange County Bar Association was where he helped other lawyers build their businesses, helped them get education for their practices, and helped them to understand that there is a community of lawyers that can help each other. The Rotary Club is another organization that William became heavily involved with which is where they believe in service over self.

Giving Back to Your Community

To empower other people is not to think about yourself, but to give. William feels that giving is way better than receiving and especially so during this time where there is so much crisis and negativity – you just have to keep giving. He found that it is a lot more fun to give – whether that be by doing charity work, building others up rather than tearing them down, and he even found that it is more fun when dealing with your competitors to simply not hate them. There are three important factors or areas in which you can give – time, money, and leadership.

One of the things that William realized after being on the board of several associations was that a lot goes into running a board and a lot of time goes into doing the activities that are required to serve your members. He found that giving money was not as fulfilling for him, but it is still very important. You can find ways to give money in your community like giving money towards scholarships, raising money for other people, or giving money to charitable causes. Leadership is an area that not many people associate when they think of giving. Leadership can be given in inspiring others to do good work, spreading messages of value, and inspiring people that may be more equipped than you to give to others.

Prioritizing Your Passions … Including Your Business

One of the most important lessons that William learned growing up that he still carries with him to this day is to follow your passion and then the money will follow. If you follow your passion, everything else kind of works itself out around that. The things that you find yourself to be passionate about, you will make time for. People will see that you are passionate about what you are doing and they will see that you love what you do and you are authentic. Others will see that what you are doing is out of love and not any other reason. Eventually, those people will cling to you and join you and they will want to give you business and help you.

It is hard to balance everything and that is why it is so important to be passionate about what you do decide to join and be a part of and then get rid of all of the things that you are not passionate about. It is so easy for us to say yes to a lot of things and then our balance gets thrown off. Priority depends upon passion, so prioritize your passions. Find the things that you like to do and then find a way to involve yourself in activities that connect you with those things and with yourself. There is never an excuse to get into one thing that doesn’t have a connection to something else – there are always things that tie to each other that you can find. No one person can do it all on their own either, you do need a team. Leveraging everything is to find people that love what they are doing and they will shine because of their motivation.