A mistake hosts Gyi Tsakalakis and Conrad Saam see far too many lawyers make is sending prospective clients cold, form-like rejection letters when declining representation. Clients seeking counsel are already likely in a bad place emotionally. Throw an emotionless rejection letter at them and they may leave the interaction disgruntled enough to fire off a bad online review.
Rejections aren’t a time for automated efficiency, Tsakalakis suggests. Instead, he advises lawyers or support staff to have a conversation first before sending a letter that documents the lawyer’s decision to decline representation.
Tsakalakis and Saam continued their rebranding lessons using the Lunch Hour Legal Marketing podcast as an example. This episode discusses whether to have guests, whether it’s worth disrupting the brand’s consistency by changing the name, and what jingle represents the show best.
Listeners are encouraged to share and tweet feedback and suggestions to #LHLMBrand.
And Saam and Tsakalakis are offering up to 50 tickets for #LHLM listeners to attend Carolyn Elfant’s “Lawyer + Mom + Owner Virtual Summit.” Use the code “lunchhourlegalmarketing” at checkout when registering at https://lawyermomownersummit.com/ to take advantage of the offer.
Special thanks to our sponsor Alert Communications and LexisNexis® InterAction®.
Lunch Hour Legal Marketing – Oh Dear Terrible Rejection Letters and the Bad Ratings that Follow
Gyi Tsakalakis: Conrad.
Conrad Saam: Hey Gyi.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I got some news for you today.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, tell me.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I moved.
Conrad Saam: You moved to Birmingham, Michigan, didn’t you?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Oh, you already knew. How did you guess?
Conrad Saam: You told me. You want to know what’s funny? Right before this, I had an amazing call with an amazing lawyer from Birmingham, Michigan and because I looked up where you had moved, I was able to tell him exactly where it was and we developed a relationship over that really quickly.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Nice.
Conrad Saam: Even though he had a Michigan state shirt on during our call.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Huh.
Conrad Saam: Mm.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, we can forgive Michigan state.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, we can, for now.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So it’s been interesting feeling very grateful that I was able to make this move. Some challenging times but one of the things that I think maybe some listeners might be interested in because I know lawyers are often dealing with the same issues of whether it be remote in the office, where to be working. We talk about the business stuff all the time but for me, we were very fortunate that we had switched to remote full-time years ago. And so, from a business standpoint, it really hasn’t been much of a switch except that I work next to my toddlers from time to time.
Conrad Saam: Which can be challenging. I’m working next to a 10-year-old attending his python class right now and so, I’m hoping that he’s really quiet.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s awesome.
Conrad Saam: Well, we’ll see right. I mean that’s one of the things with this whole virtual learning virtual. There’s a lot of stuff that we can do that we haven’t had access to before including my kids taking classes that they really wouldn’t have had a chance to before so it’s fascinating. But it’s hard, man. We’ve got one of — I feel like some employees and some people work really well at home and some people just go crazy. I’ve got — one of my employees; he just needs to get out. He needs to go out and go camping and get dirty and just be away from an apartment for a while.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Which is tough right now to go camping where you are right. I mean, the whole west coast is in flames.
Conrad Saam: It is really hard so I — this is true story. Right before we started our recording, I had to go out and I’m misting the chicken coop because which is where Zippy, the famous chicken lives, but we’re misting the chicken coop to try and keep the smoke levels down. It is a really bad thing and I have right now a family from outside of Portland are driving up to move into the room above our garage right now because 10% of the people in Oregon have evacuated so it is a —
Gyi Tsakalakis: How are the cows doing out there?
Conrad Saam: Well, you know this story. So, two days ago, I spent about four or five hours working to organize a professional quality drone to go and help a rancher search for his cows across 33,000 acres, 240 head of cattle that they can’t find because of the flames. It is crazy.
Gyi Tsakalakis: How are your drone piloting skills?
Conrad Saam: My drone piloting skills, I mean this is where technology is. I’ve got a 14-year-old who’s a great drone pilot.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Nice.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. The one time I flew his drone, I crashed it into the house so I don’t do that anymore.
Gyi Tsakalakis: There you go.
Conrad Saam: Exactly.
Gyi Tsakalakis: All right. What are we talking about today? Hit us with the rundown.
Conrad Saam: So, we’re going to cover the news as usual and we have a special treat that’s coming up for listeners. It’s brand new for each of these segments. We’re going to go over some news. We’re going to do a by the numbers section. We’re going to continue our conversation on rebranding that podcast. And then, my favorite segment that we have dumb shit lawyers do.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Roll that theme music.
Intro: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing teaching you how to promote market and make fat stacks for your legal practice here on Legal Talk Network.
Gyi Tsakalakis: We would like to welcome our new sponsor, Lexus Nexus Interaction, the leading client relationship management solution purpose built for the way law firms engage with their clients. Learn more at interaction.com.
Conrad Saam: Before we get started, we would like to thank Alert Communications for sponsoring this episode. If any law firm is looking for call, intake or retainer services available 24/7, 365, just call (866) 827-5568.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Now let’s jump into today’s news.
Conrad Saam: Now, that was the surprise that we’ve been looking forward to sharing. We now have some music and I think it’s important like the music makes this fun and it also really is going to help listeners get used to the cadence that we’re going through in each of these different segments so I’m really excited about this.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So newsy.
Conrad Saam: It’s so newsy. I mean, I’m sitting in front of a microphone. We’ve got the headphones on. I feel like we’re breaking a breaking news.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Do you have a blazer on?
Conrad Saam: I do not have a blazer. I don’t do blazers.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Do you have a turtleneck?
Conrad Saam: I used to do mock turtlenecks back when I was in high school.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Do you have an outside of the box t-shirt on?
Conrad Saam: So in my typical, I try and not be like my clients. I’m wearing a hoodie, the whole hoodie thing with Wizock. It’s now just screams tech nerd and I think I’ve kind of moved right into that. But the news aside from our wardrobe selections Gyi, my case picked up by private equity firm, right? This came out I think I want to say 48 hours ago. So, there’s a lot of private equity interest in the legal sector and during this kind of super crazy economic times, it’s fascinating to me to see I would say the level of interest in private equity in the legal sector is exploded, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: It really has and I think that’s one thing that we’ll continue to talk about but from the solo, small and medium-sized law firm standpoint like what is all of this money coming in mean, what does the consolidation mean? On the one hand, I think we’re going to see a lot more support from a technology perspective but some of this might turn into some either competitive advantage or competitive disadvantage depending on your adoption level or where you sit but something to talk about.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. I mean the thing that fascinates me as I think about running the agency, we’re going to start seeing talent outside of kind of the tech nerd legal marketing people coming into this space.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Real tech.
Conrad Saam: It starts with the private equity right but there are a lot of the larger consultancies looking at this business. There’s so much money in here and my bias I think you share this is that it’s been so poorly managed for so long that these firms can come in make a big difference.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I think that’s about right.
Conrad Saam: Let’s talk about Utah and Arizona and let’s absolutely infuriate our audience by talking about non-lawyer ownership.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, and I think this has been on the horizon and the guild of lawyers has been trying to fight this. I remember being at a conference only just a few years ago and just remembering some genuine frustration but also some lack of really understanding that we’re here to serve the clients’ standpoint. And so, wherever you fall on this, it’s coming. It’s here at least in these two states. I think we’re going to see that trend continue and I think you need to be mindful about how you can distinguish your practice from some of these non-lawyer ownerships. But I think the other thing too is I think lawyers tend to be a little bit overly paranoid about this. There’s only so much some of these platforms are going to be able to provide and hopefully, it opens up the ability to provide legal services for the segment of the market.lawyers aren’t really trying to serve anyway. And as we’ve seen with LegalZoom, sometimes it creates an entire new opportunity for practice areas.
Conrad Saam: Well and I mean the LegalZoom thing is interesting. I saw an ad just yesterday. I can’t remember who it was from but it’s basically like, fight back against LegalZoom stealing your customers. And the promise for me of technology and this this was a promise that was — I remember this was my first interview with Mark Britton about what technology meant for the legal industry so this goes back to 2006. And he talked about back then, so by way of background, Britton founded Avvo CEO there forever no longer. That’s a different piece of news we could talk about but he talked to me about the promise of technology bringing the legal system and lawyers closer to more people and I do philosophically very high level hope that that promise continues to move forward and it is, right? We’ve seen that over time.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And now I believe Mark serves as an advisor to Clio so maybe we’ll see Clio lawyers coming out down the pipe.
Conrad Saam: Well, it is really fascinating. So Mark is serving as an advisor to Clio. He’s also very tied into private equity. I mean, we haven’t had — we should talk about guests. We’re not going to have Mark on as a guest. Maybe. We would have to host this at something like fancy ski area and he would join us but we have not had a guest. We’ve had lots of requests about guests and I want to talk about why we don’t want to have guests or why we haven’t had guests so far, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: We can do that.
Conrad Saam: For me, when I listen to the typical podcast kind of thing, it turns into a pitch for the guest and we promised you guys that we would try and bring actionable, useful, tactical stuff and so, we’re probably not going to bring an opportunity to just pitch a thing and so, that’s really why we’ve kind of avoided the guests so far.
But mine’s open, we’ll see what happens going down the road. And to be completely non-self-serving, I want to pitch an idea that at least half of you can’t go to, okay? So those of you who know Carolyn Elefant, I’ve known her for a very, very long time. She’s running Lawyer Mom Owner Summit and that is at amazinglylawyermomownersummit.com. Neither Gyi or I will be speaking at this so this is entirely intrinsically valuable to you. And she’s inspiring. She’s inspiring. I listened to her talk about the summit and then I immediately went and grabbed my 13-year-old daughter and had her listen to Carolyn talk about what it’s like to be a woman business owner because this is — I mean Gyi, we are the stereotypical two middle-aged white dudes talking about technology and the law and so, sometimes these different perspectives get missed. And so, this is a great summit that I would recommend you guys check out if you are a lawyer owner mom.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And in fact.
Conrad Saam: In fact, if you go to Lawyer Owner Mom Summit, let’s talk about what we can do for these people.
Gyi Tsakalakis: What are you going to do?
Conrad Saam: So, use the code, Lunch Hour Legal Marketing when you check out on Eventbrite and Gyi and I are contributing 50 tickets to the Lawyer Mom Owner Virtual Summit. So we’re happy to support this. Again, we get nothing out of this other than it will be an inspirational thing. It is on September 30th and October 1st so it’s coming up. If you use Lunch Hour Legal Marketing as your code on checkout, Gyi and I are contributing 50 tickets to this so go get it. It’ll be a great conference. All right, we’re going to move into by the numbers. I like our calculator theme.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Love it.
Conrad Saam: So one of the things, and this was Gyi’s idea, what do we want to talk about with by the numbers? Why are we doing this as a regular segment?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. I think because it’s natural for us to share our experiences and our expertise and just some of our insights but I really want to pull us back to numbers for lack of a better word being data driven and really thinking about what some of these numbers mean. We preach that to our clients. We talk about that. We try to hold others accountable for delivering odd numbers and so I think in that spirit, we’re going to carve out an entire segment to talk real hard numbers.
Conrad Saam: And we can also talk about numbers that are used to hide things.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And soft numbers too, squishiness.
Conrad Saam: But like fake numbers, numbers that you really shouldn’t believe. It’s like fake news.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Fake. Well, I’ll leave the fake news to you, how to lie with statistics.
Conrad Saam: That is a book you guys should get. So everyone who’s serious about online marketing should go out and buy the book ‘How To Lie With Statistics’ and then read that and then go talk to your agency and see if you feel nauseous because you should most f the time.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Do we have a sound effect for that?
Conrad Saam: The nauseous sound effect? The barf, yeah. No, we don’t have a nauseous sound effect. But the by the numbers — so this first installment of by the numbers. We’re going to talk about Google screened really quickly. Actually, we’re not going to go to the background Google screened because by this time, if you’ve heard our podcast before, you should know about it. If you don’t know about it, it is a new ad unit on a pay per lead model.
Pay per lead is very different from pay per click but it essentially says we are going to charge our clients from Google x amount in order to get that lead. Now, most pay per lead models in the legal industry I don’t really like because that lead is distributed to four, five, six, seven, eight different attorneys and it’s really whoever gets to that lead first does well. And it’s kind of gross because you end up with a prospective client getting five super aggressive phone calls within six minutes.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Was there a number in here?
Conrad Saam: There is a number in here. It’s 75. Sorry, do we need to get right to the point?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Hence, by the numbers.
Conrad Saam: Are you making me stick to the point here.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I would never dream of trying to get you to stick to the point.
Conrad Saam: The number is 75.
Gyi Tsakalakis: 75. 75 what?
Conrad Saam: So 75 is the pay per lead number currently modeled by Google for a personal injury lead through Google screened.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That seems lower than usual.
Conrad Saam: That sounds like a good deal Gyi, doesn’t it?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Could be. So how good are the leads?
Conrad Saam: Well that’s a very good question, so how good are the leads. But having like — I don’t know if you can share your numbers but I’m certainly happy to share roughly for us and PI generating inbound inquiries at a cost of $75, that would be fantastic right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: In Google right and I think that’s the important thing here is that it’s not exactly apples to apples but let’s just say it’s apples to apples Google Ads. 75 a lead in PI versus Google Ad would be really good in any kind of competitive market.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. So for me, I don’t know if you can share here but our cost per lead, we call it cost per lead through pay per click, is typically in the $180 to $300 level depending on what you’re kind of looking at. I don’t know if you have the same numbers but it’s probably —
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. It’s kind of all over the map because it depends on how aggressive you’re spending and how niche you want to go but I was going to throw out 300 as a decent target but again, my big thing with pay per leads, I guess you would mention is it’s another step closer to return on ad spend but it still only matters in the context of actually return on ad spend right? So you spend x, you got to get x plus y back or else you should be thinking about different advertising.
Conrad Saam: So, the interesting thing as we’ve rolled some of these Google screens out, I now actually have data. So Google is modeling this at 75 pay per lead when they’re trying to help you determine what your budget should be, self-servingly help you determine what your budget should be. The actual numbers we’re seeing in specific to PI is about double that. So their model is already 50% lower than what the actual numbers should really look like.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It is today.
Conrad Saam: It is today so what’s going to happen here is as Google gets smarter and smarter about what people are willing to pay for, this pay per lead concept is going to be very, very fluid and it’s going to change over time.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, it’s still auction based, isn’t it?
Conrad Saam: Its still very auction based, okay?
Gyi Tsakalakis: So the price will go up?
Conrad Saam: Well the price will go up if it should go up in terms of what people are willing to pay.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well sometimes it’ll go up even if it shouldn’t go up because lawyers will just set like a “oh I’ll set it a thousand-dollar cost per lead threshold” and then, three months in, they will be like “this program doesn’t work.”
Conrad Saam: Right. So stay tuned. We’ll keep you guys up to speed on how the numbers with Google screen evolve.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Cool. Let’s jump into rebrand that podcast.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So as usual, we solicited some listener feedback which we will do again at the end of this episode. If you’re listening, we’d love to hear feedback. And we got some great feedback that we thought was very relevant to our rebrand that podcast segment. It comes from our friend Mr. Michael Romano and he posted on Facebook barf emoji as requested because we did request barf emojis. Another great podcast, three thoughts, keep the podcast branded as lunch hour thing. The last thing we need as attorneys’ parents is another podcast to have to fit into our busy schedules and listening to this while literally eating lunch breakfast, eating is a neat little hook. Awesome feedback. Two, ditch the make money rap jingle. I get that it’s hip but one of the things that differentiates you and Conrad from other marketers is that you have integrity and don’t push the get rich quick scheme that other marketers do. So how about a nice piano jazz intro like they use on NPR’s marketplace.
Conrad Saam: We just did jazz.
Gyi Tsakalakis: We just did the jazz.
Conrad Saam: And by the way, we didn’t do that on purpose but I like where Romano is going with this.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well our sound engineer may have done that on purpose because he’s super clever. And three, I would enjoy hearing you guys have a guest each week which we did talk about a little bit. It could be an attorney who had recent marketing win, a productivity guru or coding nerd and under the hood stuff or a mother who figured out how or where to buy Chromebooks. Keep it coming guys, I enjoy it. Thank you so much for the feedback. I dig this feedback a lot. We’re in the segment rebrand that podcast so let’s focus on one, the lunch hour thing.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. So I will tell you one of the keys with brand and I have my own personal recent experience with this is the consistency and it’s not that you’re starting all over again but it gets confusing when you mess with brand. And so, I don’t love the hamburger icon but like keeping this brand there’s so much value and consistency. And by the way, you lawyers have trouble with this because you break up and make up and make partnerships and unbreak and break partnerships up and you’re always changing your name all the time. That’s problematic right? So that’s a brief aside on the lawyer positioning but there is a huge value and consistency in brand, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: And I think from listening to the audience aspect of this, I think Romano is not alone, right? Especially right now, time is limited, folks are scrambling to work, take care of kids, all the other things that this crazy life demands of us. And so for me, I think that that theme resonates and I think that both us, we’re both parents and we love lunch. I don’t know. Have you eaten lunch? I haven’t eaten lunch. But I get that, I hear that and I know that that is a persistent attribute of our target audience, and so I really do appreciate that feedback, and I find it very compelling.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, I do too. Let’s talk about the music.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Music.
Conrad Saam: So we haven’t talked about this, but we can talk about it now. We haven’t talked about this privately. I’ve never loved the money jingle, right? And it’s never really hit me the right way. But Romano, this is one of the beautiful things about getting feedback from other people. He actually verbalized why I don’t like it. And it really goes to the positioning that I think both you and I have, right? And we can go make fun of some other people in a second. But you have integrity and don’t push the get-rich-quick scheme that other marketers do. That’s why you don’t — like he’s just explaining to me why I intrinsically never really dug the music on that.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s funny too, because again, part of the segment is to be able to help lawyers understand some of the things they should be thinking about as they’re working on their own brands or doing a rebrand or positioning. And in this context, I’m just going to tell you what I was thinking, which is, it didn’t strike me like that at all which is why it’s so important to get actual, whether it’s clients or listeners or users or whatever it is, external feedback. Because for me, I remember when we were first having the conversation. I personally like the jingle from a stylistic standpoint. But the idea was that, instead of getting into more of like the marketing gobbledygook, like let’s face it. Law firms are businesses, we’re here to make money and that was really the thrust of why we went in that direction. But it’s such great feedback to get that because I wouldn’t even thought that maybe there could be the positioning on the integrity thing and the get-rich-quick thing, which I hear. Actually, I’m reflecting on it.
But again, the grander point here is that, it’s so important to get that feedback so that you don’t just — you’re not applying your own cognitive biases, and building websites that you like, and building marketing, and positioning, and logos and stuff that you like. Get out there and listen to what your clients, and potential clients, and friends, and family members, and colleagues and referral sources what they think about it.
Conrad Saam: So I mean, this is a really good point here. It matters less what you personally like than what resonates, but there’s got to be a correlation between who you are and that positioning. I think that’s really, really key. This Romano’s comment about, we don’t preach the get-rich-quick thing, right? I’ve recently been nauseated by some of the crap advertising that I’m seeing from internet marketing people focusing lawyers.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Especially on Facebook.
Conrad Saam: Especially on Facebook. You know what I’m talking about.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Oh, cringeworthy. But you know, sadly for them, it definitely generates money for us.
Conrad Saam: This is the formula, it’s very easy. Here’s the formula. Here’s my proven system to triple your revenue in 12 months and here are all the lawyers who are listening to that, okay? And you can see variants of that theme, ad nauseum on Facebook advertising, okay? No, Gyi, is it easy to triple the revenue of a law firm in 12 months?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Not for me.
Conrad Saam: Okay. Two, is there a proven system to make this happen?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Define proven, right? Like, has it happened? I’m sure it’s happened.
Conrad Saam: Sure.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Is it happening 99 out of 100 times?
Conrad Saam: Yeah, I don’t think so. So by the way, this stuff is really hard. So I listen, I see that stuff on the web all the time, like just bombarded by that stuff. And the other part of the equation to that is in our jingle, where it says make stacks of mad fat cash. And I’m like, “Whoa. That’s like the same thing.”
Gyi Tsakalakis: Triple your revenue.
Conrad Saam: Triple your revenue. It’s the same thing.
Gyi Tsakalakis: In fairness, it’s just the theme song, not actually a segment.
Conrad Saam: Should we add a segment, triple your revenue in our proven system.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I have just the guest for us.
Conrad Saam: I do. Do you want to —
Gyi Tsakalakis: No, don’t name the guest.
Conrad Saam: No, I’m not going to name those recommended guests, but I mean it would be funny to invite them on. I did get an email telling me to piss off. I could invite them on this show. We probably shouldn’t do that.
Gyi Tsakalakis: We’ll add the new crank anchors segment where we call them and they can be — surprise, you’re a guest. Tell us about your system.
Conrad Saam: Hi, this is Zippy Dish Chicken Law Firm, I would like to triple my revenue.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Zippy French, was that an attempt at a French zippy?
Conrad Saam: No, it’s not French. It was my — this is what happens when you let your kids name things.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Because something happened. Okay.
Conrad Saam: They become — yeah, anyway.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It wasn’t Australian.
Conrad Saam: It was definitely not Australian. It was I think a 12-year-old kid naming convention.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Got you. All right. Well, listeners, please do keep that feedback coming, especially with respect to our rebranding journey. Remember, if you want to give that feedback on the socials that have the hashtags, #lhlmbrand, #lhlm. We are listening and following along, and so please do let us know if you want to share branding questions, branding tips, branding experiences, favorite lawyer brands. Hit us up, we’re talking brand.
Conrad Saam: We want to know about it.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Now, let’s take a quick break.
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Gyi Tsakalakis: And we’re back from the break and cue the dumb shit lawyers do sound effect. Just kidding, we don’t have a sound effect for that one yet, Conrad, tell us what lawyers are doing.
Conrad Saam: I mean, the danger with a dumb shit lawyers do sound effect is, it feels like we’ve given control to my eight-year-old of the audio track, which is not a good.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I’m going to tell you, I have received feedback that some of our listeners have not liked the concept of dumb shit lawyers do. It’s like insulting the audience. So maybe that could be part of our branding exercise. So tell us if you don’t like the dumb shit lawyers do segment, LHLM brand, but turn it over to Conrad.
Conrad Saam: Because I’m so used to insulting our audience and this is my forte. Is that what you’re suggesting?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, because you’re so good at it.
Conrad Saam: So I do remember, so at the risk of having unnecessarily long segue, I do remember writing a post when I was at Avvo about like the worst legal marketing and I did that for like three or four years running. And then I got lit up one year about like, “Hey, why are you just making fun of lawyers?”
But some of you guys do some really dumb shit, and I’m going to give you an example of one that I think a lot of you are doing unintentionally. And this is the rejection letter, Gyi.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I remember this.
Conrad Saam: So the rejection letter and all of you should be sending this out. And by the way, if you’re doing a great job with marketing, you’re sending more of these out because you can be more picky and choosy about the clients with whom you work or the type of work that you do. So you do need to have this rejection.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, not to mention that you should be letting people know that you’re not representing them because there are legal ethics issues there. But putting that aside for a second, I think there’s a point you’re making too is, this is about — this is service and experience here, this is an opportunity.
Conrad Saam: It’s an opportunity to either put your foot in it or be amazing, right? And so, the goal of this rejection letter and I want to I want to bring yourselves back to seventh grade dating. Your goal of the rejection letter is to break up as gently as possible so you don’t end up getting flamed on Google reviews, and that happens a lot. You must have had this conversation with the attorneys. Most of my negative reviews are from people who never hired us.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s our only negative review.
Conrad Saam: Is that attorney thinks? Only negative review?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, we had two. We had someone that complained that they thought we were spamming; this is years ago from our guide downloads. But recently, yeah, we had someone that felt they had a bad experience on the phone, wasn’t a client. Was just asking us about our services and we concluded that we weren’t a great fit for each other, and this person was not happy. And you can go search attorney sync and see the review. It’s all over the web.
Conrad Saam: All over the web. So I’m going to read parts. I got an email the other day from a client who said, “Conrad, can you please rewrite our rejection letter because we’re getting these negative reviews from it?” Fine. So he sent it to me and my first thought was like, “Let’s not frame this as a rejection letter, right? Let’s frame this as, I’m sorry we can’t work with you letter.” And so I’m just going to read really small clips of this. Regrettably, our firm is not in the position to represent you in your matter at this time. We strongly recommend that you consult another attorney immediately should you wish further advice or to pursue any potential claim that you may have. There are various statutes of limitations. If you wish to have an attorney represent you and you do not have another attorney in mind, we suggest that you contact your local bar association, blah blah blah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Sounds very lawyerly.
Conrad Saam: This reads to me as a non-lawyer, Gyi, as a legal disclaimer.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s I think that’s what their intention was.
Conrad Saam: And that is probably important. Do you want to talk about why that’s important? We don’t need to talk about why that’s important, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: No, they get it.
Conrad Saam: The problem is, when you have just walked in on your spouse with the pool boy or when your kid has been in an accident, the carefully worded and non-caring rejection letter pisses you off. We do have sound effects. I love this. That came in perfectly. So, don’t do that, right? And so a couple things here. One, this needs to come across as personal and as I care, right? And two, and this is probably going to make me unfriends with every single state bar association, but they’re not probably the best way for someone to be referred to a lawyer, because you’re starting from scratch all over again. Three, when you’re not sending that person to someone specific, you’re not building any goodwill, right? And so one of the greatest thing to do is like, hey. Yeah, I’m an up-and-coming attorney who’s hungry and this looks like a matter that might work for you. You can build up a whole bunch of goodwill.
One of the things and I did a quick Facebook live conversation on this. One of the things that came up, Gyi was, what do you do with the crazy client who no one wants, how do you let that person down carefully?
Gyi Tsakalakis: How do you do it, Conrad?
Conrad Saam: You know how I do it. I’d send them —
Gyi Tsakalakis: Don’t do what Conrad does.
Conrad Saam: No, you should. Send them to someone you don’t like.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I think another thing for me just to add a little bit here. We talk about productivity and streamlining and automating. This is not the place for efficiency, productivity and automation. And so, my point is, the first initial turn down, the breakup doesn’t happen via email or via letter.
Conrad Saam: That’s a great point.
Gyi Tsakalakis: If you want to have one of these as like an insurance policy after you’ve had some conversations, you’ve had a phone conversation and you’ve walked them through, you’ve shown the empathy, you’ve explained it’s not really not in either of your best interest to work with each other. Then maybe this is a good documented policy. But I’ve seen this, where especially if you’re a volume-based practice, you’re like, “I don’t have time. I’m getting hundreds of inquiries regularly. I can’t administer that.” And so again, I’m just — I’m sympathetic to that issue, I’m just saying that an automated, you check a box and a turn down letter is fired off, this boilerplate like this. That’s probably not the best way to do. So what could you do? Honestly, even just having like somebody else at the firm, maybe a support staff, maybe it’s even like — this is somewhere in between, but at least a video, recording of you talking about some of the reasons why you turn down cases. But something that’s more thoughtful than just a, “Your case is going to be time barred here and I’m clearly trying to just like disclaim my own liability here. Go talk to the state bar. Have a nice day.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. If you’re a PI lawyer, one of the things that I like doing and people get really annoyed with the PI lawyers who don’t take their matter, is to blame the system. Blame someone else. blame the system, blame something that like, “Hey, this is the way personal injury works and I wish it was different. I think everyone deserves the justice that they deserve.” That was a terrible use of language, so rewrite that one.
Gyi Tsakalakis: If you want to really — I’m just getting really creative now.
Conrad Saam: I know where you’re going with this.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, I think it’s creative. I’m really shooting from the hip here. I’m very big on the concept of civil Gideon. And so I would be like, for every time you turn down a case, we donate 10 bucks to some kind of civil justice or civil Gideon or some kind of access to justice program. and it just speaks to that kind of thing, where it’s like, “You know, look –” no, I think to turn down — the client who got turned down is not going to care maybe, but it goes to that same kind of theme of like, this is a problem of the system and because of this, this is something that we’ve decided to do as a firm to increase access. I don’t know.
Conrad Saam: I love that idea. That’s not where I thought you’re going. It’s super creative and it positions that firm as being really caring about this issue, that like we can’t take your case and that stinks, and this is our contribution to try to make — as a whole, that that’s less of a problem.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Where do you think I was going?
Conrad Saam: I thought you were going to write your senator. I’m serious.
Gyi Tsakalakis: No, I’m trying to do something pretty constructive.
Conrad Saam: Oh, do you want to get into politics?
Gyi Tsakalakis: No, not yet.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, okay. So that for me is just break up really carefully. And Gyi is right, break up personally, have the guts to make that phone call, right? I mean, I’m sure kids in seventh grade are breaking up by email at this point in time, but have the guts to deliver that message. And maybe having down sourcing that to someone in your firm who’s going to make that call instead of you may be the right thing to do. But the phone call is a great way to do this.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. Then look, we can’t give you answers. That’s going to work for every firm, in every context, in every situation. We wish we could. So you got to find out what works for you. But I think that the theme here is more empathy, more understanding, maybe not the analogy Conrad used. But people are dealing with difficult things when they come to talk to a lawyer and it’s very frustrating to have a hard time finding a lawyer that’s willing to help you, and you got to put yourself in their shoes. And not just churn them out, right? Not just process.
Another thing too that makes me think about, this is not exactly the same thing but I just want to say a quick word on it. If you’re finding that you’re getting a lot of inquiries that aren’t people you can help because it’s like the wrong practice area or they don’t know what you do, that’s like time to reflect on your marketing, your positioning and where you’re spending ad dollars.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. I mean, we get these conversations every now and then like, “I keep getting calls for X, Y or Z.” And you’re like, “Well, here’s X, Y and Z all over your website.” had this literally yesterday. This guy was complaining to me about all the med mal cases that he’s getting. He doesn’t want a med mal anymore, hates med mal, blah blah bah. I’m like, 40% of your site is about medical malpractice, let’s work on that. the other thing along these lines, this is really hard especially in the PI world to deal with. Google does a terrible job of distinguishing between quality cases and low-quality cases. Because the person who’s just broken their back and the person who’s just nicked their finger uses the same search query to look for you. And so one of the things — I don’t know if you — I’m sure you have this conversation with specifically PI people is, the only way to find the really great cases with SEO and PPC is to search through all the bad ones, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. I mean, there’s some — that is exactly I think the — that’s for sure some of the guidance I think, if you wanted to get really tactical. And this goes into the balance of like, if you want to be the dominant PI firm, capturing the most market share in your market, you’re going to run into this a lot. Because your ads need to be up and they need to be up for the high-volume terms. If you’re not, if you want to be a little more strategic, the thing that we talk about a lot is, focus on the lowest common denominator, which in PI at least tends to be the injury, right? So we know that certain cases have different values based on the nature of the injuries. That’s one thing you can focus on.
There’s obviously another outside of PI, there are other things you can do like demographic targeting, there’s location targeting. But the point is, is that, yes, to a certain extent you’re going to get a mixed bag and so you got to think about things like your blended targeted cost per acquisition for a client, knowing that out of 100 inquiries, you’re going to get a certain amount of those are going to be right in your — meet your marketing targets.
Conrad Saam: All right. With that, we’re going to call this a wrap. And next time you come in, you can expect to have the segments, you can expect to have our awesome sound effects, which I am super digging. I think that’s going to make things a lot better.
And we’re going to continue to talk about rebranding the podcast. You may even hear new theme music. We’ll see based on Romano’s comments. Gyi and I are going to — I’m not sure we’re going to go to smooth jazz.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I love smooth jazz.
Conrad Saam: It’s good for sleeping.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Some Kenny G.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, we’re not putting Kenny G on here, no. There will be no soprano saxophones on this podcast.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, thank you again listeners for tuning in. Please do submit questions. topic, ideas, feedback and do subscribe if you just stumbled across this on your favorite podcast casting apparatus. Whether it be Google Play, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher. There’s a lot of these podcast things. Thank you again. And if you liked what you heard, please don’t forget to leave us a review on particularly the Apple Podcast because that’s what we stare at all afternoon. Thank you so much. Talk to you next time.
Outro: Thank you for listening to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. If you’d like more
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