In this episode, Pete Vargas explains how lawyers can use speaking engagements to generate new clients and referrals. Plus, Pete outlines a three-part presentation outline (heart, head, and hands) designed to get the audience to take action.
Pete Vargas has been educating speakers for over a decade, helping speakers, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and small business owners land speaking engagements and leverage the stage to grow their businesses.
Mentioned in This Episode
Special offer from Westlaw: a free webinar on cybersecurity for small law firms. If you can attend on Wednesday, November 8th, at 12pm Central, email [email protected] to register.
Intro Speaker: Welcome to the Lawyerist podcast with Sam Glover and Aaron Street. Each week, Lawyerist brings you advice and interviews to help you build a more successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. And now, here are Sam and Aaron.
Sam Glover: Hi, I’m Sam Glover.
Aaron Street: And I’m Aaron Street. And this is episode 142 of the Lawyerist podcast, part of the legal talk network. Today, we’re talking with Pete Vargas about how lawyers can get better speaking opportunities and get more from them.
Sam Glover: Today’s podcast is sponsored by Clio Legal Practice Management Software. Cleo makes running your law firm easier, try it for free today at Clio.com.
Aaron Street: Today’s podcast is also sponsored by Ruby Receptionists and it’s smart, charming receptionists who are perfect for small firms. Visit Callruby.com/Lawyerist and get a risk free trial with Ruby. So, Sam, I’m really excited for your conversation with Pete about speaking opportunities and how lawyers can do a better job of integrating public speaking as part of kind of their reputation building and marketing activities. Especially in a context where almost all lawyers think that almost all public speaking is teaching CLE to other lawyers and I think there’s just so much more opportunity out there to rethink how speaking to audiences of people can be a persuasive activity.
Sam Glover: I had to sort of explain what CLE is to Pete and he was incredulous that that’s where lawyers focus their time.
Aaron Street: Yeah. As I think we’ll all hear in the interview, I think you will realize that the idea that CLE speaking is the way lawyers do public speaking is a little ludicrous. But, I wanted to step back before kind of jumping into the public speaking to talk about how I know Pete and the importance of tribes.
Sam Glover: And Ricky and Doug [Brackman 00: 01: 54] and a few of our recent guests, actually.
Aaron Street: Yeah, so for this past year, I’ve been participating in a group called mastermind talks, which is a global network of entrepreneurs and startup executives founded by Jason [Gaynard 00: 02: 09]. He has a great podcast called Community Made, where you can hear a little bit more about the group he’s built. It’s a small group of about 150, 200 people from around the world working together to help support each other in a variety of kind of mostly online startup businesses. So, some of our recent previous guests, Doug Brackman and Ricky Hansen, who Sam mentioned, are people I met as Mastermind Talks last May and Pete is someone I sat next to at our third night dinner there. And I got to know Pete and he’s a great guy.
And what’s interesting here is we’ve done a really good job, I think, of talking about how our podcast is part of us building the Lawyerist tribe. But, I like to wear a few different tribe hats. One is our Lawyerist tribe, one is as an entrepreneur in the tech space, it’s really important for me to also have my tribe of people who work on those similar projects and have those same struggles. And so, I thought it’d be interesting to chat for a minute about the importance of finding your group of like minded people who can support you in exploring the future of whatever your business is.
Sam Glover: Yeah, as we’ve been building TBD Law, that’s one of our ideas. Although, I hate the term like minded. I prefer similarly different minded, is what we came up with to convey that idea. I mean, I know what people mean by it and I agree, it’s finding people who get your same picture of the world, is really valuable and liberating and finding people who support you or who are at least willing to hold you accountable for your goals and things like that is really important. And TBD Law was our first step towards that, but we want to make that sort of an experience, open it up the broader community of small firm lawyers. And so, starting today, you can go to Lawyerist.com/insider to find out what’s next for us.
We’re going to be launching insider over the next few weeks and if you leave your email address there, we will let you know as soon as it’s available to you. So, go to Lawyerist.com/insider to find out when you can become one. And we look forward to having all the small firm lawyers who are currently subscribed to our email address, or who read Lawyerist, or who listen to the podcast, as part of that little bit more formal community than we have now. So, please go sign up and we look forward to having you on board.
Aaron Street: Yeah, I mean, we’ve spent much of the last couple of years, especially since we launched this show, trying to figure out who our people are in the legal industry and the legal industry is notorious for being slower and more traditional and more conservative and less tech savvy than the rest of the universe. And so, finding the people who break all off those molds and are looking for the future and are being creative and client centric in figuring out what the future of practice looks like has been our mission for the last few years. And we think it’s gonna be a lot more fun to do that work with more than you, and so rather than limiting our community or our tribe to just a couple hundred people who have been to TBD, we wanna make sure that you all have the opportunity to find that tribe, to work on this project together.
Sam Glover: Cool, so go to Lawyerist.com/insider and let us know that you wanna hear more and with that, here’s a quick conversation with one of our sponsors and then, my interview with Pete.
Brian Knudsen: Hi, my name is Brian Knudsen, and I am a vice president at Thomson-Reuters and I work with small law firms, making sure that we are delivering the proper information and software resources for them to be successful.
David Curle: And this is David Curle, I’m director of market intelligence for the Thomson-Reuters legal business.
Sam Glover: And David, you and I only ever see each other at conferences, even though we are currently 20 minutes away from each other in our own offices, which I think is highly amusing.
David Curle: Exactly, I have no idea what your office looks like.
Sam Glover: So, guys, your business at Thomson, in large part, revolves around serving the needs of small firms. So, Brian, when you think about security of small firms and client data, what are the key things that you think those firms ‘ought to be thinking about?
Brian Knudsen: Well, I think it goes without saying that security is paramount and perhaps, more so than ever. You just have to pick up the newspaper each day and see some other type of security issue. And small and medium sized businesses are really top targets for cyber criminals and talking with industry experts as well as our customers themselves, this is something they continue to struggle with, how to defend and how to react to it. And I think the cloud is an area that can help address those security issues and protect against some common threats. Particularly ransomware attacks, where firms can actually have their data locked up by certain attacks and cloud providers can provide an antivirus defense and redundancy there to defend against that activity.
Sam Glover: Yeah, it basically takes the burden off of the small firms to provide those services. David, I’m curious, I just mentioned that you and I see each other at conferences exclusively and you go to more than I do. And so, I’m curious, what’s the buzz in the audience or in the vendor spaces about what is coming up around data security and how small firms are addressing it?
David Curle: I think, clearly you see that more and more small firms are comfortable moving to the cloud. More and more, if you think about outside of the legal context, all kinds of businesses, all kinds of industries of all sizes are comfortable with the cloud now, more so in the years past. It’s almost kind of a given. I think the discussion is maybe moving a little bit from just the peer security issues and thinking of cloud as a place to store data to, maybe the other advantages of the cloud, such as, you can build a secure client portal. So, you can secure not just the fixed data, but some of the communications between a practitioner and their clients. You think of a case, again, in the news where Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law, his attorney gave out some secure information from an imposter who came in from email.
It’s not just about the day to day data, but also about the communications with clients that need to be secure.
Sam Glover: Yeah, it’s interesting, email is inherently insecure in some ways, even though it’s becoming more secure. But, anybody can find your email address, email you, and weird stuff like that can happen that isn’t the kind of security hacker threat that people are always thinking about. So, good point and secure portals are a great way around that. Brian, when you think about obstacles, I mean, are we done with this conversation about, should people switch to the cloud? Or are there obstacles remaining and what do you see about that?
Brian Knudsen: Yeah, what we hear from our customers is why someone has not moved to the cloud yet are some of the things you may expect. Which is a perceived cost factor, why they’re not switching. It’s always easy to stay with your status quo. I think we hear that, whether it’s switching to a new technology or changing a business practice, the momentum of status quo is hard to overcome. And then, lastly, particularly around cloud or other technology purchases, taking the time to learn and educate themselves about what is the best solution? And I think that’s why as we look at cloud providers, we really recommend that you ask potential cloud providers some common questions about certifications that they have, the level of redundancy they have in their data centers, and how often their data is backed up.
And we really look to a couple certification factors that we think is indicative of a good, stable cloud provider. One, which is ISO 27000 one, and the second one is SOC2 type two certifications. Now, I’m not a technologist, but I would certainly look to those certifications as very important in a cloud provider. One, which our own firm central product actually has … Is certified under.
Sam Glover: And David, I know the perceived cost is something that is just not … It’s backwards, right? The cloud is often cheaper and the other cost, the cost of switching, the fact that it’s easier, those are things that cloud providers can alleviate, can’t they?
David Curle: Yeah, for sure. There’s … The nice thing about the cloud is that it sort of levels the playing field. A very small firm can have some of the same resources that a large firm, maybe that runs installed software can have. And it’s not just the cost of the subscription, it’s kind of the total cost of ownership you have to think about when looking at a cloud solution and they often come out as very economical.
Sam Glover: And convenient, right?
David Curle: Yeah, exactly. You don’t have to have the servers laying around, you don’t have to hire a guy to come in and fix them all the time. Most of the nuts and bolts of it are offsite, so it really makes things easier to work with.
Brian Knudsen: And I think we just hear that over and over from our customers, that they rarely regret they moved to the cloud ’cause they never moved. Essentially, it’s that overhead and that management burden and they shifted that to somewhere else.
Sam Glover: David, are there any other things that firms should be considering around moving to the cloud or when or after they move to the cloud?
David Curle: Well, I can think of two things that are worth thinking about. One is that I think more and more lawyers, as we’ve said here, are comfortable with the cloud. More and more clients may be getting smarter about this stuff, or because they’re reading the newspapers, they’re starting to ask questions about your security. So, I think one thing is, it’s important to be able to answer the questions about security that Brian alluded to. What are the certifications? What are the backup procedures? To make clients comfortable with where their data is if they have questions.
Sam Glover: So, you’re up on my soap box here with me, that lawyers should be talking about security more with clients?
David Curle: Yeah, it’s …
Sam Glover: Awesome.
David Curle: … Almost a competitive advantage to be able to answer those questions.
Sam Glover: Yeah. Anything else Brian?
Brian Knudsen: Aside from all the security aspects of the cloud, I think one of the biggest benefits of cloud access is just the weather events that have been in the news recently. So, we’ve seen law firms in Houston, Louisiana, Florida, and Puerto Rico all be significantly impacted by hurricanes. And it’s so important for firms to have a disaster recovery plan in place to do that, which covers both their people, their facilities, and their data. And I think, first and foremost, people have to understand if my area’s impacted, what am I gonna do to make sure my employees are safe? ‘Cause they’re really the straw that stirs the drink so to speak. And secondly, how is my infrastructure going to survive? Both my facility itself, as well as my technology infrastructure.
And if you’re having servers in a spot that is vulnerable, that puts the entire firm operation in a vulnerable position. Cloud solves that, you get anytime, anywhere access, you get a lot of redundancy in your data, so in the event that you are evacuated or your facility’s impacted by a weather event, you can continue to operate your practice seamlessly for your clients.
Sam Glover: Cool. Thanks David and Brian and thanks to Thomson for sponsoring today’s podcast. As part of that, Thomson is making one of it’s more popular cyber security papers available to listeners. It’s a cloud security checklist with five things law firms need from a cloud services provider. They’re also going to be doing a cyber security webinar in a couple of weeks. You can visit the show notes for this episode at Lawyerist.com/podcast to find the white paper and sign up for the webinar. And you’ll be able to do that by the time you’re hearing this episode.
Pete Vargas: Hey, yeah, my name is Pete Vargas and I am the founder of Advance Your Reach and we’ve been helping entrepreneurs and organizations really get their message out on stages for the last 14 years. Been responsible for over 25,000 stages across the world and we really believe that stages are one of the most powerful ways to grow your business. And so, yeah, that’s the name of our company and our organization and a little bit about kind of what we do.
Sam Glover: When you say spreading the word, getting the word out through stages, you mean public speaking?
Pete Vargas: Yeah, yeah, that’s great. Yeah, so public speaking or speaking on stages. We believe that when you speak and you provide great value and content, that it’s one of the greatest ways for people to wanna go deeper with you in your services. And so, we don’t want people to be quote, unquote public speakers like road warriors, we want them to really use speaking to build the business, to really allow them to build their business.
Sam Glover: Can you frame that for me more? What’s the overall objective? When we think about what we’re trying to do with speaking, how should we be thinking about that, big picture wise?
Pete Vargas: Yeah, big picture wise, I believe that there are … There’s millions of stages just in the US alone that are taking place all year long. And it’s millions and millions of stages. And the people sitting in those audiences are all different types of niches and all different types of industries. And so, as we are sharing kind of as you and I talk, there’s huge events out there just around how to create incredible IP, or how to create incredible content. And so, people are going to learn how to create content. Well, in this case, if a lawyer were there and were able to provide great value around how to protect your content or how to protect your IP, as they sat up on stage and delivered a powerful 60 minute talk, or 40 minute talk, or 20 minute talk, the beautiful thing is they’re sitting in front of an audience who would come because all of that audience wants to have their IP protected.
And what they would be able to see is, if they do a great job on stage, they would see 50, 50, 70, 80 percent of that crowd opt in to get some free give away from stage. And that just begins the process to, now a bunch of new clients that could become retainer clients around your specialty, which might be IP. And so, we believe that when you’re on a stage, that stage, the value of that stage should be really great and exponential because of you providing content. And so, that’s kinda the framework. It doesn’t matter if you’re out there, we’ve served in all different industries, but that’s the framework of really leveraging the stage by providing amazing value and when you provide amazing value, people just so happen to wanna go deeper with you with your products and services.
Sam Glover: So, when you stages, I think like colored lights, big LED screens, Ted talks polish. Is that what you mean or should I also be looking for small stages in my town?
Pete Vargas: Oh yeah, so there’s 23,000 national associations across America. And those national associations, just like there’s the national association … What’s some of the big lawyer associations out there?
Sam Glover: Oh, I mean, there’s the ABA, there are some trade shows, there’s national trial lawyers, and things like that, too.
Pete Vargas: So, you’re really familiar, out of those 23,000, there’s probably a few dozen that are lawyer, attorney specific. Well, under a lot of associations, they have state associations and those state associations meet one to two times a year with their big meeting. The nationals meet one to two times a year with their big conferences. And so, yes, those conferences, what you’re talking about that national level, yeah, big lights, big cameras, big action, and not all of them, but a lot of them. But then, when you drill down to the local level, you’ll begin to start seeing a lot of local associations just in the local market. And so, where there are 23 national associations, 23,000 national associations, there’s over 100,000 state associations and there are millions of local associations in any niche and industry that you can imagine.
And so, the best picture that I can paint is one of our clients served in the educational market. They were trying to make a big difference in the educational market. And so, we said if we could hone in on one association, we would be able to do that. So, they focused on the association with school district superintendents. And so, the national association of superintendents is called AAFA. That’s one of the 23,000 national associations that I referenced. Well, everybody thinks big stages like you thought there. Well, when you hone in on the state level, there’s 50 state chapters within AAFA, which is really, really cool. And those are, too, bigger conferences, bigger conventions. And they have one to two conferences a year.
But, here’s where the power gets really big, is that at the local level, there are 13,000 school districts in America. And those school districts meet kind of on the monthly basis with their building principals. And those are the decision makers who make all the decisions for bringing back programs, or products, or services into their schools. And so, everybody thinks national or state and they don’t think about the local. Well, the local is where there is a huge amount of opportunity and I’m just using one association as an example. And so, that’s the association world and that’s a big world. That’s the big, big world. But, you also have the public seminar world as well, which also is really big as well. Which it has to do with people hosting their own events and not based on a membership.
Sam Glover: Am I right to think that it’s more about being … Having a targeted audience than a huge audience?
Pete Vargas: Yes. For some people … For most people, it is. I believe your one major association or one niche or industry away from really having all of the quote, unquote leads that could potentially do business with you and invest in your retainers, your services, whatever it is that you provide. Yeah, it’s definitely really figuring out where the people who need the … Like, the people who buy your products and services, where do they sit? Where are they at? What are they attending? And forget what they’re attending, who are they? And if it’s CEO’s or if it’s even plumbers or if it’s … Whatever it is. All of them meet …
Sam Glover: Figure out where they gather. Yeah.
Pete Vargas: Yeah. You figure out where they gather and you go be a content provider to them. You’re not a lawyer to them, you’re a content provider to them. And yes, that’s exactly what takes place and that’s what we’ve seen on a really big scale. We’ve been responsible for helping a lot of people grow their messages over these last 14 years, 15 years.
Sam Glover: You dropped a phrase that I’m not sure lots of lawyers are familiar with, but I think is really key, is when you get up on stage, you need to get people to opt in to something, right?
Pete Vargas: Yeah.
Sam Glover: I think many people get up, they deliver a speech, they give a presentation, and then they go back to their office and hope the phone rings. And sometimes, it will, for sure. But, I think what you’re suggesting by mentioning opt ins is that you’re missing an opportunity if you don’t ask the audience to do something while you’re there. So, maybe you could explain what opt ins are and how they should play in to speaking engagements.
Pete Vargas: Yeah, so an opt in is, for example, I just gave you an IP illustration. Well, that was actually a lawyer that did that. And he went to a huge conference, a really nationally recognized conference and spoke on how to protect your IP.
Sam Glover: Not to lawyers, right? To an audience of other people?
Pete Vargas: No. The consumers that would hire him. And the people who would hire him, they’re not thinking they’re gonna hire him when he talks, but because he gave great content, and then in the middle of his content, as he was sharing some of the keys to protecting your IP, he gave away a free gift that reinforced what he just taught. And as he gave away that free gift for what he reinforced that he just taught, it turned into a significant amount of people trading their names, and numbers, and emails in return for that free gift.
Sam Glover: And what was it?
Pete Vargas: It had something to do with just a checklist of the things to really protect yourself. I don’t remember the exact thing because I wasn’t in there for the whole presentation, but it has to do with something around protecting yourself and a checklist of things that you can do to protect your IP. It had something to do in that range and as they gave him their information, he now can follow up with them. And just for the record, I was in there for a good portion of the deal. He followed up with me and I actually hired him. So, that’s why I know that this works and that’s the biggest thing that I could express to your audience. I hired him. I’m a consumer. This was not a lawyer to lawyer or professional development type of conference, this was lawyer to consumer.
The consumer who actually invests in your products and services, they’re sitting out there in the market, they gather monthly or annually at events, millions of events. And if you can become a great content provider and give away something that is of value to them while you’re providing that content, you then can capture their names and you can have your teams begin to follow up with them and watch what begins to happen. So, we engaged with him on a 30 day contract and now, right now, we’re talking about a month in, month out retainer contract and I didn’t even think about that before we talked ahead of time. I didn’t realize that how powerful he was with his value, I was one of many, many, many customers that he landed out of that key event.
Sam Glover: So, I assume the idea from the opt in is you try to give something that’s gonna benefit the people there and be an attractive thing that they’re gonna want. You’re gonna provide them something that’s independently valuable, but it also allows you to collect their email address, so that you can follow up with them, or maybe their phone number even, so you can follow up with them and try to move them through your own conversion funnel to along the path from somebody you just met, who maybe got some value from a presentation to a client.
Pete Vargas: Yeah, that’s exactly right. I mean, it’s got to save them time or save them money and they gotta see that pain point. So, if it’s like, “Man, I don’t wanna go figure out the checklist of how to make sure my IP’s protected,” and they’re giving that away, that’s saving me time. Or, it’s something that you might be selling on a website or something that you already sell that would save them money. So, let’s … We have a guy in the financial space that he does a cash recovery call. And instead of calling it a consulting call or a strategy call because everybody knows that sounds like just another word for sales call, he calls it a cash recovery call. And in the cash recovery call, there’s a big, bold promise that we’re gonna be able to find some money and to help save you some money in different areas of your life.
And yeah, so that, to people is very appealing to say, “Oh, I wanna sign up for a cash recovery call.” So, yes, it’s giving away that’s gonna save them time, save them money, or help them. That’s what they’re really concerned about and it’s gotta feed into what you’re teaching. So, when you do that, they’ll give you their name, they’ll give you their email, they’ll give you their phone number. Heck, we even ask a lot of times for their addresses. So, yes, that’s what it is. Yeah, that’s exactly right.
Sam Glover: Very cool. So, we’ve gotta take a quick break to hear from our sponsors and when we come back, I wanna talk more about how to give an effective presentation, which was a loaded thing that you dropped earlier that I think is worth talking about more. And then, I wanna talk about how to actually pursue speaking opportunities that go beyond the typical things that people might look for. So, we’ll be back in a few minutes.
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Okay, we’re back and Pete, you mentioned giving an effective great presentation, which is not a simple thing. So, I’m wondering if you can condense that into something that we could talk about in a few minutes, for what are the two, or five, or seven main things that people need to do or do better in order to really be effective on a stage as opposed to making the audience think about where to go for lunch.
Pete Vargas: What I would tell you is, and I think most, because of how driven lawyers are definitely by data and case studies and analytics, I think what I’m about to talk about might be somewhat like, “I don’t know about that, Pete.” I wanna let you know, it doesn’t matter, the lawyer I just told you about or the clients that we’ve worked with. There is a key component that might make you feel a little bit uncomfortable, but I’m telling you if you do it, you will see drastic connection with you and it’s really leading with the heart and it’s really getting to the heart of the matter first. We have a proprietary process that we believe is the critical way to outline a signature talk and it’s all about the heart. And it’s all about human connection and really connecting with the person’s heart right off the bat.
And if you can do that within the first ten to twenty percent of your time to talk and somehow, really tie in the why behind what you do and it helps them understand you know what it’s like to walk in their shoes. That’s the biggest thing they wanna know. This person up there knows what it’s like to walk in my shoes and they understand the pain and the problems I’m facing in my life. If you can do that in the first ten to twenty percent of your talk, watch out. Because now, they’re minds are gonna be open to listen to everything that you teach them. And so, that’s the first piece that I’d really encourage them to really think about is how can you relate to them in a way that helps them understand you know what it’s like.
So, for example, with IP, I know what it’s like to have your IP ripped off. I had this person who had their IP ripped off, or I had this person who had something taken from them, and here’s what we did to make sure that it never happened again. And now, all of a sudden, the person in the audience really realizes and I’m not drawing that story out, I would draw it out a little bit more than that. But now, they understand you know what it’s like to walk in their shoes, you know what they feel, and now, when you go to teaching, they’re all ears. And so, that’s the first piece. The second piece is the head. You wanna teach them a proprietary process or you wanna teach them a process that’s gonna get them results. So, here’s the five things that you have to do to protect your IP.
Well, it just so happens that your services do those five things, but if they walk away from that presentation and they’re one of the rare few … There’s a small percentage that takes action on talks because they just get overwhelmed or they don’t go do the action. But, if they’re a percentage that takes you up on what you teach and go do it, see results, awesome. And if they don’t, their other option is to go deeper with you and work with you, which is the beauty of this. And so, you wanna teach for about 60 to 70 percent of the time that you have and you wanna speak to their minds. And here’s what I want you to know. Every teaching point that you give, we love to give three to five critical steps, and those three to five critical steps should connect back to what you do as a lawyer. And we love to drive every critical step home with either quotes, a case study, a story, data, and speak to both the left brain and the right brain.
So, the quotes and the stories of maybe a client, would speak to the right brain. But, the data, and the case studies, and the analytics, would speak to the left brain. So, don’t worry, as you’re driving home your critical steps, drive home with what I call reinforcing evidence. Which I know that they’ll probably love that. But, some of the reinforcing evidence should be right brain and some of it should be left brain. It’s a high percentage of people that are right brain. And so, make sure you put, for those 20 percent of people, make sure you interact with some data, some analytics, and even a case study ’cause even in case studies, they’re not completely factual, but they feel more factual to people. And so, that’s the middle part of the presentation. Then, as you transition out, there’s the hand.
so, we went with the head, to the heart, to the hands. The hands is the call to action. The hands is making sure that you get their contact information. There’s two pieces to the hands. And I wanna say this, there’s one, trying to get them a quick win. So, if there’s a little piece of insight that you can give to them to give them a quick win, that when they leave there, it will take them 20 or 30 minutes to get this done, and when they get this done, it’s a major win for them. Give them a quick win while you’re teaching in your presentation. So, try to get them a quick win. But, the second piece of the hands … So, that’s them getting a quick win.
Sam Glover: Like, do this right now and it will make your life better or your problem better?
Pete Vargas: Yes. Yes. And so, now, that’s the hands that benefit them. The hands that benefit … That’s their hands going out, literally doing something, and making their life better. And now, the hands that we’re asking them to do to make our life better is to give us their information and by giving away a free gift. And that is beautiful, too. So, that third piece is really the hands and those are the couple of things that we do in the hands. And then, the fourth piece is the actual bringing it all back with the heart. Drive home and reinforce with some closing heart piece that reinforces everything that you need to do. Now I know if you’re speaking to your colleagues at another growth event, or what’s the proper word for that?
Sam Glover: CLE, continuing legal education.
Pete Vargas: So, I realize when you’re speaking at a CLE event that maybe that’s not the exact approach, but if you’re speaking to consumers who would buy your products and services, I’d really encourage that. And I wanna tell you what, I would encourage you to maybe lead a little bit with the heart on the front end at a CLE event and watch what begins to happen. You might not be able to do 10 to 20 percent. But, maybe five to six, maybe even eight percent of the time. People used to tell me, “Don’t do that with lawyers. Don’t do that with CEO’s. Don’t do executives.” And I wanna tell you some of those stages were the highest value stages that we were ever on with our clients because of the fact that they were the ones that really structured that opening piece unlike anybody else doing it. And what do I mean by value of stage? You should be able to connect all of those leads you generate and see the amount of business that that generates for you in the next six to 12 months. That’s what I mean by value of stage.
Sam Glover: And well, I don’t know if you hang out with many lawyers, but what do lawyers do? They get together and tell war stories. So, that’s a way of showing that you understand and I think you’re right, when you talk about connecting the heart, that’s what it is. And you still wanna leave with a connection to those lawyers because that’s your referral sources potentially. And if you can figure out a way to speak to them and solve their pain point by taking legal issues that they can’t handle or something, it feels like you can still fit this into an audience of peers as opposed to an audience of potential clients.
Pete Vargas: Oh, absolutely. I think there’s even … I mean, even in those CLE events, Sam, there’s great opportunity there that they might be leaving on the table right now, too. I really think there is. And I think that if you can begin to incorporate a little bit more story into [inaudible 00: 34: 30] in the back end of your talk. And I’m not telling you to go all in like our methodology says, but go in just a little bit. I think you’re gonna begin to see a higher conversion of them giving you referrals and all that. I don’t wanna pretend like I understand the CLE completely, but I do know in every industry, there’s what they call PDU or some type of professional development and that’s what’s happening there, and I think they’ll begin to see some exciting things happen if they’re able to do that.
Sam Glover: Yeah, teaching somebody your practice area doesn’t have to be just dry and boring and all information. You can make it more interesting and really, you’re always talking about solving a problem, so totally. Hey, you talked a lot about speaking and the substance, what’s your position on slides?
Pete Vargas: I love slides if they’re driving home a point, but not text heavy slides. People try to use text heavy slides …
Sam Glover: I was gonna follow with bullet points or no bullet points, so.
Pete Vargas: Yeah, I would take text and I would have that text create an infographic or a framework or a Venn diagram or a pyramid or a lateral, going from left to right, arrow to arrow. Watch happens if you’ll take the bullet points and the text and create some type of imagery out of it and name that imagery or name that infographic. I use slides and a lot of people in the market, there’s lots of folks in the market that say, “Don’t use slides.” I use slides, but they’re not text heavy and they’re visually compelling and they paint a picture. And I, more than anybody else at live events, you will see people’s phones come out five times during my presentation. And they’re not gonna do that with a bunch of bulleted point, text heavy things.
Sam Glover: To take a picture of your slides?
Pete Vargas: Yeah, to take a picture of my slides because they’re just blown away by the imagery or the graphic or the Venn diagram that I’ve created. And so, that’s what I would encourage people to do.
Sam Glover: A lot of times, when I’m presenting, I get asked for my slides ’cause they wanna distribute my slides as materials as a companion to my presentation. And what I usually say is … And what I usually think is, “If you can do that with your slides, then you’ve done your slideshow wrong. There’s way too much information in your slides.”
Pete Vargas: Yes.
Sam Glover: So, I usually say, “My slides really aren’t useful for that.” And I think maybe, I don’t know, I’m curious on your take. My feeling is, if they are useful as handouts, then your slides are probably done wrong.
Pete Vargas: Yeah. No, I mean, I agree with you. I completely agree with you. And handouts are good. We have 15 to 20 core slides that we use when we speak, that’s what we have. And so, I really wanna encourage people to, if you’re going to use the slides, use them to reinforce and drive home the points. If you want all this fill in the blank or bullet pointed stuff, then yeah, handouts are a really good option for that. But, your slides should drive home everything that you’re talking about.
Sam Glover: Very cool. How do people go about figuring out where to speak? I mean, we touched on this really briefly up front. But, we talked about go where your clients gather, but is there a strategy to figuring that out?
Pete Vargas: Oh yeah, I mean, it’s pretty easy. Who are the people that invest in your, I mean, specifically, people wanna say in general, but who are the people that invest in you on a retainer basis? Who are your top ten biggest clients. Go write down your clients, and then put specifically the industries they’re in. What industries are they in or who are they? That’s how you start and then, once you’ve got that, you then begin to go research where they’re at and then, once you have that, you better make sure that you have a value proposition. You’re not going in there as Sam and Pete Law Practice. You’re going in there as how to protect your IP. You’re going in there as a value provider, not a law practice. That’s what’s different. It’s cool if you go do that peer to peer. But, you have to become a value, like a provider.
So, if you give me an example, give me an example of a lawyer that comes to mind that, who would their specific clientele be in a specific industry?
Sam Glover: I mean, let me give you a couple examples and you can pick and choose one.
Pete Vargas: Okay, yeah.
Sam Glover: Let’s go with a divorce lawyer, an auto accident lawyer, and maybe a trademark lawyer. And the trademark lawyer’s probably the easiest one ’cause an auto accident lawyer or a personal injury lawyer or a family lawyer who does divorces, in some ways, their clientele is potentially everyone.
Pete Vargas: It is potentially everyone, yeah, definitely. Definitely. So, I’m gonna … And then, if they’re … I just came across somebody, is there people big in the oil and gas? Is there folks like that?
Sam Glover: Oh, sure.
Pete Vargas: There’s people who are around real estate. So, I mean, I think a divorce and an auto lawyer, or auto accident lawyer, divorce lawyer, you’re right. There are a lot of people. But, someone like a trademark, you’re gonna go anywhere where there’s content, or anybody that has some type of unique something that they’re trying to trademark. Those are huge, those are big crowds, they’re entrepreneurial places, they’re stuff like that. I’m gonna use one … Let’s use the trademark. Actually, I’m gonna use oil and gas. I’m actually online right now, so oil and gas associations. And I think about the US Oil and Gas Association and you go to USOGA.org and then, under there, you’re gonna find the Colorado, the Texas, and then under … Let’s just pretend under Texas, you’re gonna find a bunch of chapters within that. These are people who are in the gas industry. They’re the consumer. They’re the person that’s gonna hire you.
And so, they get together on … Sometimes, on a monthly basis, a quarterly basis, or an annually basis. I don’t wanna pretend like I know what a lawyer would do for them, but they do something to keep them safe and keep them protected. So, you’d basically go find their events, about us, I’m gonna go here and I’m gonna go see whenever they have an event coming up. And you’re basically gonna go create content around the problem that you solve for them. And you’re gonna create a talk that allows … That’s so appealing where they would have you come in and share it with their membership base. And when you share it with their membership base, it should connect in a way to say, “Wow, what that guy or gal just talked about, I need them to hire them [crosstalk 00: 41: 06].”
Sam Glover: It sounds like you’re suggesting that, I mean, people should go and look it out and then, kinda pitch them on a presentation you wanna give. Not just, “Hey, I’d like to come talk to your group. Here’s the value I wanna provide to your members.”
Pete Vargas: Yeah, so like right here, I’m at the Colorado Association of Gas and Oil Association and right here on the main page, if anybody wants to go look at this later, you can go to Www.COGA.org. I’m doing this real time right now. But, they have a thing right now that says, “Request a speaker. Thank you for interest in hosting a COG speech.” So, they have their annual meeting and luncheon and there’s a call for proposals right now online. And so, their annual meeting and luncheon says that they have an event coming up and this event will be held on Thursday, November ninth, 2017 at the Marriott Center. It’s 850 dollars per table and so, they have this. This have an October networking thing. They have an annual Mardi Gras. They have all of these events in COGA that if they felt like you had a topic that was relevant for their association, they would bring you in.
And what I’m saying is if you’re great … So, yes, you are pitching them on the fact that your topic could really help serve their membership base. And when you go in there and you do a great job and provide value, you’re not a vendor. You’re a value provider. You go provide value and you give away something for free, you should see 50, 60, 70, 80 percent of those people opt in to your free gift. And from there, you have some of the warmest contacts and warmest leads that you possibly can have because they’ve experienced your work in person. The same thing the guy in California did, I did with him, is I experienced his work and then, I went on to hire him. I’ve never … Well, actually, that’s not true. I have rarely ever hired a lawyer. The only lawyer that I’ve ever hired in my life had to do with my will and my trust and all of that stuff, all of that planning. But, I’ve never hired one for my business.
So, that’s what I want them to see, Sam, is the fact that I’ve never hired a lawyer for my business, ever. But, I was at an event, I saw his topic, I was compelled by his topic, and I said, “I’m gonna sit in his talk for a little bit, but I’m gonna take him offline one on one.” As I sat with him one on one, the conversation was easy because of the credibility that he had as a content provider right there. That’s the opportunity that the lawyers have here.
Sam Glover: Yeah. And you’ve touched on one of my sort of soap boxes, which is many lawyers approach marketing from the perspective of they’re trying to win the client at the point which the client is searching for a lawyer, but you’ve just illustrated beautifully the point that lots of times, clients aren’t searching for lawyer, even when they need one. They don’t even know they’re ready to hire one yet ’cause it hasn’t come into their head. You hired a lawyer when you weren’t really looking for one. And I think that is a great illustration of my point, which is get out in front of people before they’re actually shopping for a lawyer.
Pete Vargas: Yeah, you can be the one that helps them recognize the problem that they have. That’s what he … I would have never known I had a problem had he not provided value. And by the way, he didn’t just provide value, he did provide the problem. He provided the problem because he wanted me to understand what the problem was, and then shown the solution and how I can solve it. Well, guess what? I don’t wanna solve it. I didn’t wanna go through rocket … Some tool out there like a … I know there’s a bunch of tools out there that allow you to create your own legal documents and I know there’s lots of them. I didn’t wanna do it. I wanted an expert. I’m a business owner. Time is of essence to me. And the people that hire you, the listeners, time is of essence to them. They just don’t recognize a lot of times that they have the problem and that day, I saw the problem. I saw the solution and I hired him.
Sam Glover: So, Pete, if people are listening and they’re interested and their heads are spinning a little bit about changing the way they give presentations, finding new places to present, all that kinda stuff. I assume you can help with that. How can people get in touch with you to find out more?
Pete Vargas: There’s two things that I think will serve them. Number one, understanding the types of stages that they can be on that would be great marketing stages because there’s, I don’t want this to sound overwhelming, but there’s 70 different types of stages that they can be on. And many of those in their local market, many of those online, I mean, there’s online and offline stages and so, we have a resource that helps walk through every one of the stages that they can be on. So, they can do an inventory to say, “I wanna try one of these or two of these and see how well it works for my business.” So, that’s the first tool, is that we have a whole breakdown of all of those stages that in a matter of 15, 20 minutes, they can make a decision on which stages could make the most sense. And then, that’s irrelevant if we don’t provide some training on how to win the stages.
And so, I think the second big piece that we can provide is we have a thing called the Unstoppable Stage Campaign, and it’s a systematic step by step approach to winning stages. And so, once they determine the stage that they wanna be on, this training would then come alongside and support them and give them kind of a step by step on how them or their team could really begin to win those stages. So, I think those two resources would help and our team has that, we’ll get that up and ready for your community here, Sam.
Sam Glover: Great. We’ll throw that link in our show notes, too. Thanks for all your insights today, Pete, and thanks for being with us on the podcast today.
Pete Vargas: Yeah, man, I appreciate it so much.
Aaron Street: Make sure to catch next week’s episode of the Lawyerist podcast by subscribing to the show in your favorite podcast app. And please leave a rating to help other people find our show. You can find the notes for today’s episode on Lawyerist.com/podcast.
Sam Glover: The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Clock Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.