Master Your Sales and Marketing
with Eugene Shatsman
Today Draye talks to Eugene Shatsman. Eugene runs a company called National Strategic and he is one of the most dynamic marketing experts in the field of business marketing strategy. Eugene is going to walk you through how you can generate more testimonials inside of your firm, explore the key differences between strategic and tactical thinking, find out exactly how important relationships are for the continued growth of your law firm and he’s going to talk about an awesome method that can help you turn your existing prospects into paying customers or clients.
What you will learn:
Things that might work really well in retail into a service-based business.
Instead of focusing on tactics, study people and specifically study how people make decisions.
When people are overwhelmed with choice, they rely back on the idea of relationships.
Learn to look at the science behind relationships.
There’s five stages to how people build relationships with one another.
The success tracking component.
“I got to do a little bit of everything. I got to try a little bit of everything.”
“No matter what I do, nothing seems to bring the leads in the door efficiently.”
“Can you get the person to write the check on the first appointment? Make that a game.”
Read the Transcript:
Click the PLUS Sign (+) to the Right to Expand the Full Transcript
Draye: Hi everyone, my name is Draye Redfern and welcome to the first episode in the Ultimate Attorney Podcast. This podcast is brought to you by UltimateAttorney.com, one of the nation’s leading resources to help attorneys expand and thrive inside of their law practices. I wanted to start this podcast off on the right foot and in this initial episode I have a real treat. His name is Eugene Shatsman. He runs a company called National Strategic and Eugene is one of the most dynamic marketing experts that I have ever come across in the field of business marketing strategy. In this lesson Eugene is going to walk you through how you can generate more testimonials inside of your firm, explore the key differences between strategic and tactical thinking, find out exactly how important relationships are for the continued growth of your law firm and he’s going to uncover an awesome method that can help you turn your existing prospects into paying customers or clients. You are going to love it and it is a great way to start this podcast off on the right foot. So, without further ado please welcome Eugene Shatsman.
Alright, everybody, Draye Redfern here and welcome back to another episode of The Ultimate Attorney. I am really excited today to have one of my friends Eugene Shatsman on the podcast with us. Eugene has an awesome history with an awesome background and I’m not going to do it justice. And so, while we’re diving in today, I really want to have Eugene spend a couple minutes, maybe 5 to 10 ten minutes, Eugene, on how you can really extrapolate your history and your experience for the audience and really kind of the value that you bring to the table for various businesses including a law firm.
So, Eugene, take it away, my friend.
Eugene: Yeah. Thanks, Draye, for the introduction. Happy to be here and happy to be a part of the program. So, just a little bit of background, I’ll try to keep it short, about me and just to give everybody a little bit of context. So, I’m a managing partner at a marketing firm called National Strategic. We have 15 people who work out of the office here in Cleveland and our clients are kind of all over the US. We have a couple international clients but our clients are all over the US.
The interesting thing about what we do and one of the things that I love about what we do is that we serve a lot of different industries. So, we have a lot of practice-based businesses that we serve, medical practices, we do have a couple law firms, we have several businesses in high end kind of services, we have practices but we also have businesses that we serve that are in like high fast paced transaction, retail for example, or service-based businesses, high end transactions and low-end transaction. So, one of the cool things about what we do is we get to kind of see the gamut of all different kind of businesses, business practices and the one thing that we constantly study is consumer behavior. So, we get to see how it is that people, how business owners, whoever the decision maker actually is, how those decision makers are making decisions in the marketplace whether to choose Company A or to choose Company B.
So, one of the cool things about what we do is we constantly not only are we creating marketing strategies and trying to figure out what the next edgy thing is that we could kind of try to implement with the bleeding edge technology or some new thing but one of the cool things that we try to do is we try to extrapolate strategies from one industry and try to translate them over to some of the other industries where they’ve never been tried before. So, instead of doing what everybody else is doing in that same industry, we try to incorporate some things that might work really well in retail into a service-based business and say “Oh, well, you know, this activity might actually be really great.”
Does that makes sense?
Draye: Absolutely. So, give me and I guess the audience an understanding of how you got into because this is pretty high level thinking and there’s not a lot of business and these service providers out there that think that way in terms of professional service corporations and things like this. So, how did that path for you end up to where you are now?
Eugene: Yeah. So, great question. I’ve been doing this for a little bit more than a decade and interestingly enough I opened my own business, it was a small real estate business in college, I kind of got lucky and was able to open a business when I was 18 years old that helped save me a bunch of the money that I had saved for school and it also created an opportunity for me to really you know do my first real marketing stint. I had a couple little businesses. I was always sort of thinking business minded. So, I had a couple little businesses. I had a small kind of entertainment company where we did like Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, DJ’ed and stuff like that. So, I had some minor experience with in-person sales but when I opened my real estate business, one of the things that I learned very quickly because it was high stakes game, the mortgage payment was due and to an 18-year-old the mortgage payment was a lot of money, a lot of money, Draye, so one of the things I learned very quickly was that I had to measure everything and I couldn’t fail.
So, I literally came up with every possible marketing strategy I possibly could to try to maximize the value of the real estate and basically I had a house and I was trying to rent out rooms in the house to students and I don’t want to glorify the business for what it wasn’t. I got lucky, I got a house and instead of living in the dorms with all the other 18-year-old kids, I was able to somehow get financing for property and then during the day I kind of worked to make the property look nicer and went to school and then at night showing this property and property management type of stuff to try to fill the property and also get the most dollar out of every single square footage of the property. So, in my world that meant try every little marketing thing they you possibly could and at that point online was just starting to happen.
So, I really tried to dominate every possible tactic online. I tried to dominate in-person marketing. I had flyers and billboards, not billboards but university free billboard things. Anyway, so I went through this whole thing but what I had to learn very quickly was I needed to measure because my resources were very limited. I was one guy, I was going to school full time, I also had a job where I was making like 12 bucks an hour doing stuff in order to pay for my education and to pay for food and stuff. So, I had to learn very quickly how to leverage my own resources and the way I did that was by measuring every little thing that I did. So, I needed to know where my leads came from. I need to know how quality the close rate was. I needed to measure my entire conversations. In fact every time I did a showing, Draye, I recorded the conversation, I would listen back to it and I would say “Okay, the next time I do this, I’m going to tweak this and I’m going to see if that gives me a better result or a worse result.” And I got so good at property management that I ultimately was able to close people without even showing them the property 35% of the time and there’s a lot of science that went behind exactly what I did and I won’t bore you with that but that was sort of my first stint at marketing.
And then the cool part was that a lot of my tenants from my real estate ventures, I started helping other people manage their properties. So, I got kind of access to a large pool of high quality tenants because I got to pick the best tenants, the best customers since technically pretty limited supply. And then those people had started graduating and they started asking for my help with “Well, you’re young, you seem to know what you’re doing. Can you help me start a business because I’m not finding the job that I want?” and that’s kind of how the consulting thing was born and that’s when I started learning very quickly that if you apply a scientific approach to marketing, no matter what the business does, you can really take any business to the right direction and that’s when I kind of became a very passionate student of marketing and now a speaker and a teacher and also I practice with my own clients.
Draye: Nice. I love the story and I wanted to be sure we brought it back into the podcast because the first time I heard it, I loved the entrepreneurship in it, I loved just the hustle and it’s a story in that sense you don’t hear very often.
Eugene: Thanks, Draye.
Draye: Yeah, absolutely. So, where you are now and the experience you’ve had over the last decade doing these things, consulting, helping professional service corporations, what is the one thing that sticks out in your mind that you typically recommend for a doctor’s office, a law firm to help immediately increasing revenues starting today?
Eugene: If you don’t mind, I’m going to kind of take a high level answer to that before I dig into some of the tactics.
Eugene: And my thought is this. Again, over the years, when I first started in marketing, I was a tactician and I swear to you I tried every little thing and I kind of oscillated and I’ve heard business owners say this to me too but I’ve kind of oscillated in the whole thing of like “I got to do a little bit of everything. I got to try a little bit of everything” or like “Man, you know, marketing just doesn’t work. You just got to go out there and hard sell people because marketing doesn’t work because no matter what I do, nothing seems to bring the leads in the door efficiently” and I’ve heard both ends of that and I guess my resolution to that over the years and I am very fortunate to have assembled a very intelligent team of individuals around me and we’re constantly learning, constantly improving but our methodology actually is focused around this whole concept of human relationships and I’ll tell you why dream, Draye. In today’s environment people are just completely overwhelmed, completely overwhelmed by stimuli. I read a study that said that the average person is bombarded with over 13,000 marketing messages per day. That may or may not be true but even if it’s close to that, that means that we really ignore a very, very, very large part of that as part of our regular daily practice.
So, what that means is that we have to pick and choose exactly what we pay attention to and that’s both on a conscious and a subconscious level. We as humans have to make decisions about which businesses we’re going to interact with. We as humans have to make decisions about where we’re going to go eat, who’s phone call we’re going to pick up, whose text we’re going to return, which post we’re going to pay attention to on Facebook and that’s just in our daily lives and all of your decision makers whether they’re a business or a business owner or a consumer, all of those interactions really come down to the people behind those interactions. So, one of the things, one of the core choices I would recommend to everyone to make is instead of studying tactics for marketing, instead of just studying “Okay, hey, what’s the greatest and latest thing I can do on Facebook or Snapchat or Twitter” or “This local platform is rolling out,” some really great marketing tactic or “This radio station is coming to me and selling me this new advertising platform,” instead of focusing in on the tactics, study people and specifically when you study people, study how people make decisions.
I’ll give you a little shortcut. When we’ve studied how people make decisions, what we’ve really narrowed it down to is we realized that people truly transact best with businesses who they have a meaningful relationship with. They have to be able to believe in today’s environment where they’re bombarded with thousands and thousands of marketing messages on a daily basis and they’re bombarded with thousands and thousands and thousands of opportunities to transact. I think people honestly believe in infinite choice. Even if there isn’t infinite choice, they believe in infinite choice. Now, if you’re talking about an attorney and you’re talking about, I don’t know, an excellent attorney who deals in a particular regulatory matter if you’re a business owner or if you think about an attorney who might be a transactional attorney or, I don’t know, family law let’s say, someone who is doing family law, well, I believe – and I live in Cleveland – but I believe if I’m a typical consumer that there’s pretty much an infinite number of attorneys who can help me. So, if the first guy doesn’t capture my interest, I’m sure there’s a second guy and I’m sure there’s a third guy and I’m sure there’s a 10th guy and 15th guy and the reality is that the supply is know at some point limited but for the most part, the consumer, the person making the decision doesn’t think it is because they can find a huge variety of choices on the internet.
Does that make sense?
Eugene: So, we all believe we have these infinite choices and the truth is when we studied human behavior, Draye, what we found was that when people are overwhelmed with choice, especially when they have to make important decisions, when people are overwhelmed with choice, they leverage back or they kind of rely back on the whole idea of relationships. And I’ll put it this way. Let’s say you’re in a room, let’s say you’re in a room with people you’ve never met before and let’s say it’s a large room, there’s one hundred people in that room and you’ve never met a single soul in that room. You have to quickly decide whether you’re going to be kind of the really awkward guy standing in the corner while everybody else is kind of walking around mingling or who you’re actually going to go talk to. And in that particular situation if you’re trying to decide “Which person am I going to talk to?”, you have to make those decisions quickly and there’s actually a scientific process that’s been developed throughout the study of human psychology, the scientific process of how people form relationships with strangers.
And of course if I give you a totally different scenario where you were in a room and there was a hundred strangers and like three or four people that you in fact knew, three or four people who you’ve already met within the past, obviously, and I think we all know this, you’d kind of gravitate towards those people first and if they’re not too busy or if they’re not too networky or if they’re not whatever, you would kind of approach them and you’d strike up a conversation and see if they can kind of mold you into the conversations they’re already having. Obviously, if we’re overwhelmed with information, we gravitate towards relationships but if we don’t have a relationship already, there’s a scientific process we follow as humans on a regular basis to build those relationships.
Draye: Absolutely. It’s incredibly insightful and I think a different kind of approach that many people don’t necessarily have these days. Everyone’s done the networking groups or the BNI groups or the individual things but for the most part I’ve always found that those groups, especially BNI groups is you just show up and then as you talk about, it’s all me, me,, me and you wait for your turn in the group to actually talk about me and it’s not a real actual relationship. So, I’d like to talk, I guess, a little bit further about how should an attorney or what’s the best way that an attorney can go make deeper professional relationships inside of their business or with coworkers or colleagues that can really drive your point home. So, how can they best do that?
Eugene: Sure. So, in order to really kind of bring that down from a 30,000-foot view to more like a 15,000-foot view, you have to look at the science behind relationships, right? When humans build relationships – I’ll take you on a quick detour and then I’ll come back to your question – when humans build relationships, there’s really like one major model that psychology really follows and respects and this gentleman, his name is Marc Knapp and what Marc Knapp said is that “There’s five stages to how people build relationships with one another” and I’ll go through those five stages in a second but the point I’ll make is that all of those five stages can be actually traced back and can be converted to business goals, to specific things you should do in your business that ultimately allow you to build really strong and meaningful relationships with your audience, with your marketplace, with your prospects and with your clients.
So, those five stages, Draye, the first one is initiating. Initiating a relationship is actually like a quick 2-second stage, 2 to 3-second stage and it happens literally with a snap of a finger and again go back to my example of the crowded room, it’s your kind of looking around the room, you’re going like this and you’re saying “Okay, who am I going to talk to? Who is the person that I’m going to go approach?” and you make snap decisions about people as you’re looking around. You’re looking around and you’re like “Ah, that person” and you made a snap decision based off of two things – appearance and conduct. Those are two things that you actually just quickly evaluate about a person and say “Yup. Okay, this is a person I would want to initiate a relationship with.” It’s totally superficial, mostly done on a subconscious level but if you think about how people translate it to marketing, that’s our opportunity from a business standpoint. The business goal that goes with the initiating phase of human relationship building is generate interest. That’s your opportunity to write the more creative ad, to have the more attractive headline, to catch someone’s eye to say “Okay, here’s a list of 25 attorneys. Why am I going to pick this guy who’s no. 11 on the list and not the guy in front of him or the guy behind him” and the idea is that that’s your opportunity to generate interest, that’s your opportunity make a 2-second impression on something, right? They’re super superficial and there’s a lot of clever marketing tactics that go into that but then you get into the idea of experimenting.
That’s the next phase of Mark Knapp’s relationship building model and experimenting is actually just another level of superficial conversation. It’s just you’ve approached the person, you’re like “Hey, I’m Eugene. What’s your name?”, you have the quick conversation. Okay. So, let’s say we’re at conference together, Draye. Well, you maybe try to find some common ground and you’d say “Hey, you How well do you know the speaker? How have you been to other conferences like this before?”, you might talk about the weather outside but nothing really of value and of meaning and that’s your opportunity to just establish yourself. If you translate it to the business goal, that second phase of experimenting, it’s just a little back and forth where there’s a set number of rules for those interactions, set number of rules for what those expectations are going to go like and that’s your opportunity from a business standpoint if you translate it to the business goal. That’s your opportunity to build credibility. So, you as a business owner need to seem credible and I’ll also say this that oftentimes that part of the relationship today, that experimenting part of the relationship today, that happens online without the business owner ever even knowing anything about it, meaning somebody might be doing some research about you and they’re trying to figure out “Okay, is this a guy I want to have a relationship with?” and your job through some of your web properties or through some of the things that you’ve put out there on the internet, your job is to build that relationship without ever seeing that other person.
Does that makes sense?
Eugene: So, building credibility ties very closely to that experimenting phase of relationship. So, again, remember the first phase was initiating snap 2 seconds, then experimenting. Experimenting goes on for as long as it needs to until both parties get bored and 80% of relationships end there. That’s a true statistic. 80% of relationships, we shake hands and “Well, it was really nice talking to you,” handshake, turn around, walk away and probably never talk to that person again unless you run into them again. So, what are those people called? Acquaintances, right?
Eugene: Okay. So, then we move down into the next few phases of Mark Knapp’s model – Intensifying. Intensifying is really when you starting engaging at a deeper level, you start having a more personal conversation. So, we’ve gone from “What’s the weather like outside” to “Oh, you have some kids” or “Tell me more about your specific needs in your business’ or if you’re talking about a romantic relationship, you might start talking about family or your relationships prior, stuff you wouldn’t necessarily want to be made public, right? So, now we’ve gone into kind of the private realm of the conversation and this might also be when your prospect picks up the phone and calls. In our business we teach people when you get to the intensifying side of the relationship, that’s where you have to be able to present in the medium that the prospect actually wants to talk to you.
So, some people might want to opt in for something on your website, might want to get some sort of information, additional information from you and they might not want to talk to you but some people might want to pick up the phone and this is where it gets really interesting because the conversation they have, oftentimes the people who pick up the phone don’t realize the value that they have to the business because that is the first voice they’re going to hear and that’s the first opportunity you have to engage. So, having those people so well trained to start to be true relationship builders and to be true individuals who can foster the value and the leverage that’s already been invested in that relationship, right? You think this person’s already gone through two phases of relationship – they picked you, you caught their interest, they’ve looked at you and decided that you were credible enough and now they pick up the phone. And if that person who picks up the phone, oftentimes it’s the lowest paid person in the firm, oftentimes it’s the lowest paid person in the company but that person who picks up the phone might be one of your most valuable assets from a relationship building standpoint to outside prospects.
Does that make sense?
Draye: Absolutely. So, while we’re still on the topic of that, it’s actually individuals that I talk to that offers the most value inside an organization. I agree 100% with you. And one of the things that I’ve taught several attorneys how to do is recording those calls when those calls initially come in with the receptionist and then having them read off of the script, the script that follows a certain procedural step and then going back over those recorded calls and actually seeing how those scripts vary as far as just how they engage with the customer. And that also helps in setting a process inside of the firm. Is that something that you guys have done on the frontlines like that? Walk me through kind of your methodology there.
Eugene: Yeah. It’s interesting because usually people tell us “Hey, I want some marketing.” So, we come in and sometimes we will say “Okay, well, we offer this very broad range of services but, okay, we’ll start with some marketing.” So, then we get their phone to ring and we feel like we’re really not serving the client well. So, typically one of the conditions of working with us is that you allow us to track the amount of leads that we’re bringing to you because that holds us accountable and that holds the company accountable as well because “Hey, the marketing isn’t working.” – “Well, no, it is. You got 48 phone calls in the past week but what did you do with those phone calls?” And sometimes it’s really just a push of a button on our end from tracking those leads to recording those calls and that’s really when we start hearing some of that really huge amount of missed opportunity that most organizations have and you’re absolutely right, Draye.
What typically happens is the person picks up the phone and I’ve literally heard this conversation, I heard this conversation at a cosmetic dentist’s office and the conversation was something like this. “So and so dentist’s office. How can I help you?” And the prospect’s like “Oh, well, was kind of looking around. I’m looking to have this and that done. Can you tell me a little bit about your office?” And this is exactly what the girl said, Draye. She goes “Well, we’ve been at this location for four and a half years. We moved four and a half years ago and, you know, the doctor’s really nice. What else you want to know?”
Draye: I’m cringing in my skin just hearing that.
Eugene: Right? And you know what happens? When we do this exercise, when we record the calls that are coming into a typical business, we then play it back for ourselves and we have sales trainers in the office, we can fix all this stuff, so we’re pretty immune to the pain that you feel when you’re literally listening to opportunity get like squashed or someone setting 100-dollar bills on fire like that, that’s kind of how I picture it every single time I get a call like that. It’s like literally someone taking a stack of money, whatever that customer is worth to you, and just like setting up right on fire like that but the interesting thing is whenever we play those calls back for business owners and say “Look, this is the sales training that we think you need because and we think that your frontline people need,” typically it’s a tiny investment relative to the amount of money they are already losing but they listen to those calls and they’re like “Oh my God, I had no idea. I had no idea my people were talking like that.” And it’s not that those people are ill natured. It’s just that they’ve very rarely been properly trained.
Draye: I agree 100% and, like what I said, if a call comes in, I’ve always recommended scripts. It’s a methodology, it’s a formula that someone can follow. From your side and your experiences, do scripts work better from the experiences that you had or off the cuff? What do you feel works better from your experiences?
Eugene: Yeah. Typically there’s three tools that work really well. The first is, like you said, it’s a script and it’s a script that the person practices and you got to get that script and it’s not just “Hey, this is a script and this is what the person reads” because if the person sounds like they’re reading, that relationship is not genuine, right? So, what they have to do with the script, they can’t actually read it. We give them a script. If this is a script, they have to go study it, they got to go study it, they got to go read it 200 times if that’s what it takes depending on their intelligence level, some people only 20 times but no fewer than 20 to 30, they got to read that script, they got to look in the mirror as they’re reading that script, they got to make sure that they’re smiling, they’re happy, whatever, they memorize the script in its entirety. Then we take the script, put it away and it’s gone. They’re never allowed to see the script again. What you get instead now is bullet points, conversation flow bullet points that say “Remember, got to make sure you get the prospect’s name in the beginning.”
So, typically that tool is a document that they fill out throughout the conversation. So, it’s like “What’s the person’s name and why are they calling?’ and “In case we get disconnected, what’s your call back number?” And as the person is talking, they kind of jot it down. You can do it digitally. You can do it however you want but it makes it easy for the person to kind of follow along with the bullet points. So, that’s the second piece. There’s the script that they studied, they memorized but if they sound like they’re reading the script, the relationship is dead, the relationship is dead in the water and oftentimes the other problem is if they sound like they’re reading the script but the prospect’s like “No, no, I don’t need to hear all that. Can you just tell me how much this costs?? And typically those people get thrown for a loop very quickly. So, they study the script, they study the objections, they study everything they possibly can in relationship to that conversation flow, then they get bullet points and then the third piece that they get is regular training.
So, what has to happen is we call it call review and it’s really, really simple. You just pull that person and I usually do this with a group of three people or in our office typically we take three frontline people in any business and we sit them in a room if there are three, if there’s two, there’s two, if there’s one, there’s one, whatever, we sit them I’m in a room, it’s a 15 to 30-minute meeting every week and all you got to do is just get those people in a room and you got to play back the calls and the person who took the call, let’s say it was Susie’s call and it’s Susie, the person who took the call, you play the call back for her and the other two people are there listening and you turn to the other two people and you say “What do you think Susie did really well in that call?” And then they obviously compliment their colleague because nobody likes giving negative feedback to their colleagues. And then you turn to Susie and say “Well, great, Susie. So, those things were good. What do you think you could have done better?” and walk through it. And that conversation, that constant coaching, that constant training, that constant perception that someone is listening to my calls, if that person is having a bad day, it doesn’t matter anymore because sometimes your business lives and dies by the fact that Susie showed up to work and her dog is sick and her car broke down and whatever and then she lets everybody know that when she picks up the phone and that’s really unfortunate for a lot of businesses.
Draye: Absolutely. The human element is the hardest part of managing any business but it’s also the most rewarding part, it’s the most beneficial and I agree 100%. I love that idea of really not only recording the calls. Talk about making the call your own. You mentioned memorizing it, putting your own spin on it, use your own verbiage but basically get that same exact message across. I love that. Then following up with those meetings where you can really get not just that frontline person but other frontline people involved to drive that point home. I love the idea of the constant coaching. That’s really awesome.
Eugene: Without that it really doesn’t work because what happens is you teach someone some new skills. It’s just like people go to seminars all the time. So, they’ll go to a seminar and they go “Yeah, I’m all jazzed up. I know what to do. I’m going to go learn this. I’m going to go do all these things.” And then a year later you follow up and you’re like “Yeah, that was a really good seminar but I got really busy and I had a lot of calls coming in and I didn’t get any of that done.” So, that constant coaching forces the discipline. And it’s not all that time consuming to do. You just have to have the discipline and you have to have the credibility when you’re completing those coaching calls.
Draye: I love that. A lot of what you’ve talked about so far is like extremely tactical and most attorneys absolutely love that. Attorneys are Point A to Point B thinkers and very linear thinkers and very tactical thinkers but can you kind of explain your, I guess, maybe definition of the difference between tactical thinking and strategic thinking and maybe kind of what you see kind of how that plays out?
Eugene: Yeah. No, that’s a great question. I see people make this mistake all the time when they talk about marketing, right? When we compete against other marketing firms, we end up actually not even competing because once our prospects, once our clients understand what the differences between strategy and marketing, strategic marketing, I guess, and tactical marketing, it literally just opens their eyes immensely. So, I’ll try to give you a quick short answer to this but the reality is that tactics tend to work in the minute but they get stale very quickly. So, you think about anything at all that you do in your business that’s designed for business growth, especially if you’re not the business growth expert, let’s say you’re the best damn family lawyer in your town or you’re the best real estate regulations lawyer in your city and that’s what you know, that’s what you study, that’s what you do. You might not be the guy who studies business growth on a constant basis.
So, the interesting part about what people try to do for marketing, it’s the old Yellow Pages model, old Yellow Pages market. It was like the Yellow Pages guy would show up once a year and he would say “Okay, Draye, your choices are this type of ad, this type of ad, this type of ad, this type of ad or this type of ad. How big is your ad? Do you want color? Let me go design it for you. You approve it. Done. Have a nice day.” That’s a tactic, right? And actually quite honestly for a while that tactic worked for a long time for a lot of people because there weren’t a lot of other great sources of information before the Internet sort of started flooding everybody with tons and tons of information.
So, unfortunately what happened when the Internet started flooding people with information, that tactical approach very quickly turned into something where you know people tried to replicate it like “Well, the Yellow Pages are no longer working. So, I’ll try the next tactic.” And the next tactic might be a website. “Okay. So, I’m going to put up a website and I’m going to wait for the phone to ring. That’s great. “And then when that may not work well, I’m going to put up a social media profile and wait for the phone to ring.” That two-step marketing approach where I pay for marketing, wait for the phone to ring, is no longer an approach that really works and there’s a lot of tacticians out there that say “I have the latest and greatest tactic. I can get you listed on all these local search engines and da, da, da, da, da and you just pay me X number of dollars per month and it will be great.” Okay, well, that’s a good tactic and it might even be the best tactic for this minute but what’s going to happen is our marketing world is moving at such a fast pace that if nobody is there constantly tweaking, constantly evaluating, constantly figuring out what role that particular tactic is supposed to play in your business and how that tactic actually fits with everything else that you do and when I talk about relationship building, there’s five phases, right? Well, each one of those phases is a strategy, right?
So, each one of those phases has maybe 2, 3, 5, 7, tactics underneath of it and all of them have to meld together like a perfectly well-oiled machine. So, the reality is that tactics don’t even measure up to what real marketing should be and if you’re doing a couple of tactics and you’re kind of successful with those tactics, that’s awesome but imagine how much more powerful those tactics could actually be if they’re part of a large strategy that’s truly designed to build a really good long-lasting relationships with clients and also designed to optimize all the other tactics that are available to you.
Draye: Absolutely. And while we’re on kind of that general strategic idea and that general, I guess, strategic concept, one of the things that you and I have talked about in the past and I love this idea and concept is your success tracking principles and I think that’s extremely strategic, it has tactical elements I suppose but it’s extremely strategic as far as 30,000-foot approach, what you can do to engage with customers, build those relationships, that entire kind of process. If you would, take a couple of minutes and expand upon that for me.
Eugene: Yeah. No, that’s a great question and it’s one of my favorites. One of our most popular offerings right now because it just so happens that there’s not a lot of other firms that have really thought this through or are doing it to the same extent but it’s really interesting in the sense that it allows you to leverage the concept of social proof, it allows you the attorney to leverage the concept of social proof and social proof is a major driving force right now. How many people buy anything off of Amazon without looking at the reviews, right? And that’s just small little stuff. I literally just had this conversation with my wife where my wife bought a bunch of coffee for our K-Cup maker in our bedroom. She bought a bunch of coffee on Amazon and I said “Hey, why didn’t you pick that one, not the one that we usually get?” and she’s like “Well, I looked at the reviews on the one that we usually get and that was really more of like a three and a half star a four-star thing but this one that I found is like five star. So, I really want you to try it because I know you like your coffee in the morning. I really want you to try this box” and I said “Okay, cool.” And that was a really great logical explanation but here’s the interesting thing, Draye. It’s a box of K-Cups. It may have cost me 30 bucks and it’s a 30-dollar transaction and my wife is doing the research to see what other people are thinking about this. Think of the amount of impact that an attorney’s work has on their clients’ lives, on their client’s business, on their client’s welfare and wellbeing. So, that 30-dollar box of K-Cups, we’re looking at the reviews and trying to figure out whether that’s the right thing to do.
Think of the exponential value of social proof in the world of “Oh my God, you’re going to change my life. You’re going to help my life. You’re going to solve my problems. You’re going to give me peace of mind,” whatever the particular attorney does, whatever their specialty is. The reality is that same level of social proof has so much more exponential value. So, actually traditionally it’s been very hard to elicit social proof especially in the legal field but if I may elaborate on this idea of success tracking because I think it will be really helpful to the audience, what you essentially do – and this is kind of how it works – is you lay out maybe 10, 15, 25, whatever clients that you’ve been able to help in the past, right? And by the way, as you have successful clients, as you have successes with clients, you just add them to the list and then you get a third-party interviewer to call those people and you say “Look, it’s a confidential conversation. However, we’re following up on your recent work with Attorney John Smith and we just wanted to get your feedback on what that experience was like.” And that interviewer’s got to be pretty good at eliciting some really good sound bites out of that individual.
So, what usually happens – we’re not going to talk about client’s case, we don’t really care about they were being sued for this or this was the problem that they were facing, we don’t really care about that. In fact we’re going to try to steer that conversation away from that – what we’re going to want to talk about is “Attorney John Smith is just such a caring guy. Every time I called him, he picked up the phone. One time he called me after hours because he knew how important this was to me. He got the work done fast. He told me it was going to take two weeks but he actually turned the first set of documents around in a week. It was a pleasure walking into his office, you know. I felt like I was at home. The people were really nice. He gave me success. He gave me peace of mind. I was able to complete a transaction at a level that I didn’t even think was possible. He gave me some great ideas. His experience was very useful. His experience was something that guided my decision making and I didn’t even know I needed.” You get to hear these people kind of say this stuff in a recorded conversation, right? And then you do a couple of things at the end of that conversation. You got to be pretty careful but at the same time usually if it’s a positive and powerful conversation, well, you get almost no resistance 98% of the time.
And what you do at the end of that conversation is you say “You know, Draye, this has been a wonderful conversation. I’m really happy to hear that Attorney John Smith helped you out so much. I told you at the beginning of the call that the entirety of the conversation, obviously the details of your case are completely confidential but is it okay if we use a couple of the sound bites of the things that you said in a recorded manner throughout some of our marketing? It doesn’t have to even have your name applied to it at all. If you want us to, we can apply your name. If you don’t want us to, we don’t have to have your name as part of this conversation.” And 98% of the time people are like “Oh, yeah, absolutely, anything to help John. If it helps John, I’d be happy to happy to do it.” And then of course you take that and you leverage it even further and you say “Well, you know, if you’re happy to help John, if there is one thing I can ask you to do to help John in addition to that,” because people love to be consistent, so they’ve already agreed to do something nice, so you kind of leverage that even further and say “You know, it’d be really nice if I could send you a quick email, it would take about thirty seconds but if I could send you a quick email and you could just leave John Smith a positive review on Google or Yelp” or whatever is relevant for their particular field. I know there are some legal rating systems as well for certain types of attorneys. So, you get the benefit of that as well because most people will say “Oh yeah, sure, 30 seconds.”
So, then you send them an email you can even have an open invitation to send them a follow up email if they don’t leave a review. So, you’ll get more reviews and reviews are sort of our objective rating system now but then you’ve got all these great sound bites. So, what you do with those sound bites, Draye, is really even more important. First of all, you take the whole conversation and you transcribe it. When you transcribe the conversation, you can take groups of those conversations and you can run them through keyword analysis tools so that you know the linguistic patterns that your clients use to describe your offerings, to describe what’s better about you than other attorneys and to describe the experience that they’ve had with you. Those linguistic patterns also give you insight into what’s important to those particular clients and what kinds of clients you serve well. So, then you take that data, you take those language patterns, you take that data and you use it everywhere in your marketing. That’s the text for your website. That’s the text for your Facebook. That’s the text for your next blog post. That’s the language that you use when you follow through.
And I hear so many people say “Oh, I have no idea what to write about.” Well, you know what, during this interview you ask the client “Hey, what were some of your top questions that you had before you hired Attorney John Smith? What were some of your top concerns?” And they’ll tell you. They’ll tell you everything during these interviews. So, this is incredibly powerful information and that’s just one element of it, right? So, this is just one element. So, now you know what to write on your website, now you know how to use your Facebook, now you know what your blog and your content strategy looks like and you’ve got a great foundation for that. The next thing you do is you take those same sound bites, you take all of those same sound bites and you turn all of that stuff into a short – you might take 3, 4, 5, 10 interviews together or maybe you just take two interviews together and you turn them into short little videos that add a lot of credibility about that particular legal practice and you make them into little YouTube videos. So, it might say “This is the fifth time” – I can hear this video in my head – “This is the fifth time that I’ve used Attorney John Smith and every single time I keep coming back because the guy is so good. He’s got such great attention to detail.” Another person says “You know, I’ve used John Smith my whole life, my dad used John Smith before me and he’s just the best real estate attorney we’ve ever had. He just handles things so quickly. He is so familiar with the courts, da, da, da, da, da.”
And I can hear this video in my head and it’s multiple people talking about how great you are, how great your practice is and then what you do with that video is threefold. First of all, you use that video in strategic ways on your website, on your social media to build credibility during someone’s decision making process to get them to pick up the phone and call you like we talked about earlier. It’s the thing that moves them along the path. The second thing you do is you use that video as part of your search engine optimization strategy. Attorneys are kind of limited in the types of marketing they’re allowed to do but certainly you can use that video and think of the typical search results you get in Google. It’s text, text, text, text, text, text, text. Well, there’s not enough video on certain topics. So, Google loves to rank video, in today’s environment. This might be different two years from now but in today’s environment Google loves to rank video. So, what you’ll do is you’ll submit that video and you properly optimize and properly power it, you might be on the first page for specific topics within a week and that video basically serves as a billboard. Think about how much money you spend on a billboard. Well, that video serves as a billboard for that search results page because it’s the one thing that truly stands out, right? Everything else is text. This video, even if it’s fourth position, sixth position, doesn’t matter. It stands out, it’s different and it gets clicks and when people do click on it, they hear how awesome you are. And the third thing you do with that video is you constantly add to your library of positive interactions about your business and that does wonders for helping convert prospects. So, if somebody is having a conversation with you and they say “Well, you know, I’m going to think about it” – “No problem. I think you should think about it. I think you should make the right decision. I really do believe I’m the best attorney. I’m going to send you six or seven videos of other people talking about our office so that you know what kind of experience people have when they become a client here.” That’s one thing. The other thing you could possibly do is it motivates staff. You’ve got you know a legal secretary or you’ve got someone who doesn’t do a lot of client facing work and those individuals, you send them those videos, they get excited about working for you. They’re like “Holy crap! John Smith is great. I love working for him because all of my hard work, people are happy with the work that we do here.” It adds value, it adds meaning to some the staff’s lives for folks in larger law firms.
Does that make sense?
Draye: Absolutely. I love it and that’s both strategic and tactical and on a simple playing field without getting too in depth, an attorney can do that and you can have a staff call some of these people and have them record the calls, have them do a lot of this stuff and it’s not something that’s completely overwhelming like trying to understand search engine marketing and trying to do all of these things but you can tackle a lot of these tactical things with a broader strategic approach and I think that broader strategic approach ties in really nicely with your whole idea of relationships. You may not ever know someone but the fact that they leave a positive testimony and a positive review could completely convince someone to become a purchaser or become a customer.
Draye: We’ve got probably 5 to 10 minutes left and I want to, I guess, ask you if there’s a law practice, an individual sole attorney, what do you think in your mind if they maybe just an attorney and maybe a receptionist and one other person, what are the three things that really stand out in your mind that they could do starting today to really improve their practice whether it’s sales training, whether it’s marketing, anything that could really help do to increase revenue for them?
Eugene: Yeah. One of the reasons why I think we both kind of recognize it was important to spend some time on this idea of success tracking is that that’s probably one of the most powerful marketing tools you have right now is that your existing client base, even if they’re no longer doing business with you, they transacted, they’re happy, you delivered for them what you said you were going to deliver, leverage that client base. Whether you do it yourself, whether you hire someone to do it but not leveraging that really valuable asset of your existing clients of people who are extremely happy with the work that you’ve done, not leveraging that base of people, it’s almost under serving your practice, right?
So, take that first, build up your reputation which will immediately help your marketing. And then once you’ve done some of the things that I’ve talked about in the success tracking component, then you start looking at all of the other things in your business because you’ll get more phone calls, I promise, you’ll get more phone calls but then how those phone calls are handled, that’s when you’ve got to get a little bit more intelligent about creating a process. It’s not just “Hey, whoever’s around answers the phone.” No, it’s whoever’s around answers the phone and they do the same thing every single time and you record those calls and if for some reason those calls aren’t turning into appointments on a calendar, well, then we’ve got to change what these people are doing the same way every single time and it becomes a valuable … Everything your business does is also about marketing.
So, then you keep going and you say “Well, this person set an appointment. What is that appointment goal like?” It goes back to kind of my roots that I talked about where you measure every single step of the way. Well, you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to make sure that you have a certain amount of scientific data about all of the stuff that you’re doing and it’s easy to write some things off and say “Well, that guy will be back. He’ll come back. He’ll buy from me. He’ll kill shop the town and he’ll come back.” Well, how often does that happen? Will he really be back? What’s the sales cycle? And then how you shorten the sales cycle, for example. Again, it all depends – I know there’s a lot of attorneys listening, so there’s a lot of different specialties – but depending on what you see, can you get the person to write the check on the first appointment? Make that a game. Figure out how to do it if that truly serves your client. If it doesn’t serve your client, well, then at what point is it most optimal for them to engage you and it’s your job to optimize your process internally and to truly measure everything you have in order to get that best level of engagement at the best time for the client. It serves your client, it serves your firm and it’s going to massively improve sales and productivity.
Draye: I love it. And, Eugene, we’ve touched on so many high level things, 30,000-foot things, 15,000-foot things, ground level ideas and concepts. I think it’s been absolutely great. Have we missed anything, particularly something that I have been asked that you think would be really beneficial for the audience to really dive into?
Eugene: Draye, I’ll tell you this. I love the concept of the show. I think that Ultimately Attorney, it’s a brilliant concept. I think that there’s probably topics that you and I could talk about for hours and hours and hours and hours. So, I think if we have missed things, then we will cover them on future shows because I think this is a great medium to get people information they really need to grow their business.
Draye: Wonderful. Thank you. I appreciate that. There’s a void that was had out there because there’s other legal podcasts but not who are really specifically trying to grow law firms.
Eugene, how can people get a hold of you, interact with you if they want to learn more and know more about you? What’s the best ways?
Eugene: You know what, the best and easiest way is just go check out NationalStrategic.com, NationalStrategic.com, just like it sounds and check out the resources that we have there. We have new content that we’re posting on a regular basis. Feel free to ask questions as you go visit that site. And if you want to pick up the phone and call, you can probably talk to us someone here. Hopefully they’re well trained.
Draye: Wonderful. Well, Eugene, appreciate the time. Glad to have you on. And, yeah, thanks so much for being a guest in the Ultimate Attorney.
Eugene: Great. Thanks for the invitation, Draye.
Draye: No problem. Thanks, Eugene.
Well, what do you think? Eugene is a brilliant guy with a lot of wisdom to share and if you feel like you got a lot of value out of this episode, please subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher or you can visit UltimateAttorney.com/Podcast. And don’t forget to share with other attorneys who you may feel may potentially benefit from this lesson. And if you would like to access more resources visit UltimateAttorney.com and don’t forget to connect with me and the rest of the Ultimate Attorney community on social media.
I look forward to seeing you next week in the next episode of the Ultimate Attorney Podcast. See you next week.