Conrad and Gyi tackle an (ahem) unusual marketing move by an attorney using TikTok video streaming. Plus, five big referral tips.
Wouldn’t it be great if your clients left you a good review online? Why wait? Why not just videotape them as you’re coming out of the courtroom? It’s “Marketing vs the Client’s Best Interest” in the bizarre case of a lawyer using the video streaming platform TikTok. The attorney in question is getting lots of views and attention, but is he using his client? The guys vigorously debate whether these short videos might cross an ethical line. But, even if kind of skeezy, maybe it’s generating a referral network of sorts, so…worth it?
Plus, five big tips on building business through referrals. Still waiting for new clients to be breaking down your door? Sometimes you need to give to get, so start putting yourself out there and reap the rewards of good business karma.
- MyCase buys Docketwise.
- Google Analytics 4 is coming soon—update your analytics now!
- How’s that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial going?
Mentioned in this Episode:
Lunch Hour Legal Marketing now on YouTube
TikTok lawyer celebrates victory
More TikTok lawyer
The TikTok lawyer law firm
FOP Carolyn Elefant on lawyers using video testimonials
Conrad Saam and Jeana Goosman at ABA Techshow 2022, Legal Talk Network
MyCase buys Docketwise
Special thanks to our
sponsors , , , and .
Conrad Saam: Before we get started today, we want to thank our sponsors. Clio, Alert Communications, LawYaw and Posh Virtual Receptionist.
Hey, Gyi! Can you imagine that we talk about legal marketing and technology, etc. What is the number one thing that gets people to watch a YouTube video about legal marketing?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Puppies. Proven, it’s true. It’s puppies. You can take all the gables and American flags up you websites and put puppies up.
Conrad Saam: I mean, this is a little test for us but we used flagrantly my puppy and a picture of the puppy on the YouTube video as that can start screen to see what was going to happen and yes, more of you have watched that video than any other.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Everybody already knows this though.
Conrad Saam: I know but it’s so proven. I know and we have mathematically proved scientifically. Because science, puppies work. Even when you’re talking about mundane issues of legal marketing. Don’t forget, we’re on YouTube. So if you want to get more of Gyi and Conrad, and Gyi’s beautiful face, learn more about legal marketing, maybe his puppies, watch some videos. Feel free to like, share and comment. If you have any burning legal marketing questions, ask them in the comments. We’ll answer. So it is our button on YouTube. It always makes the LHLM community better and the content that we get, the questions that we get coming from you always makes these segments better so we really appreciate it. So find us on YouTube and ask some questions.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Conrad, what are we talking about today?
Conrad Saam: So, my friend, as always, we’re going to do a quick hit on the news although there’s a lot of stuff going on in the news. So that segment keeps getting longer and I think it’s going to continue. And I am really looking forward to this. We have been talking about TikTok and I don’t think that TikTok is the be-all and end-all of legal marketing but we’re going over a what is proved to be a very controversial lawyer using TikTok. Criminal defense TikTok lawyer, stay tuned because this is going to be interesting. We actually invited him to join us and did not get a response. And finally, we’re going to end with and stay tuned for this because this is very important. Five tips to increase your referrals.
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: Welcome, welcome, welcome. Three welcomes to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. Glad that you’re able to join us today. Let’s hit that news segment.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Our friends at MyCase in the news this week. MyCase buys Docketwise, I believe.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. Docketwise.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Not Docket Alarm, Docketwise, which is an immigration practitioner software. More consolidation, the story of the day. As we typically say, you can rest assure that now Docketwise is supported by Capital because MyCase is supported by Capital.
I actually recently published from MyCase. We should throw some links on there to those articles.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. Did Nikki ask you?
Gyi Tsakalakis: She did. Thanks, Nikki.
Conrad Saam: I did an article for Nikki as well.
Gyi Tsakalakis: No, we can talk about it.
Conrad Saam: If you want to hear more of Gyi and Conrad, go check out MyCase’s blog because there is great content from both of us.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s more of a read Gyi and Conrad but unless you did video, I don’t know.
Conrad Saam: I didn’t.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Anyway, Google Analytics 4 is a reminder and you can hashtag LHLM on this one. Should we do a GA4 segment? Do you want to hear more about GA4, the issues? I said no, Conrad said Yes. But this is your regular reminder. GA4 is coming. If you don’t update it, your analytics data is going away and you’re going to be in the dark.
Conrad Saam: I just got off the phone with my friends at HubSpot talking about this and I will tell you that I think there are going to be some alternatives to Google Analytics for your analytics. Should you choose to do that?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Let’s get your friends from HubSpot on the show.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. We can talk about them.
Gyi Tsakalakis: There we go. All right, Johnny Depp made for TV, are you a Team Johny or Team Amber?
Conrad Saam: So I am team neither because I’m a pop culture — I mean, I’ve seen one of Johny Depp’s movies, I think. I just don’t follow that stuff.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Lunch Hour Legal Marketing is your pop culture.
Conrad Saam: It is. This is as pop culture as I get. But the interesting thing that came out of this, there is an auto complete for Amber Heard who is — it says, if you do an auto complete for Amber Heard lawyer, I think it auto completes to bad lawyer. Amber Heard, one of the —
Gyi Tsakalakis: No.
Conrad Saam: Get me straight here.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s if you type in the lawyer’s name, it auto completes to bad lawyer.
Conrad Saam: Oh.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah.
Conrad Saam: That’s bad.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Ands Conrad, maybe we should do a segment on that in the future but not today.
Conrad Saam: Not today. Yeah, but think about the associations that happens with that like what a nightmare, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s not an ideal situation. Well, before we dive back in, let’s thank our sponsors.
Female: As a lawyer ever wish you could be in two places at once? You could take a call when you’re in court, capture a lead during a meeting. That’s where Posh comes in. We’re live virtual receptionists who answer and transfer your calls so you never miss an opportunity and the Posh app lets you control when your receptionist steps in. So if you can’t answer, Posh can, and if you’ve got it, Posh is just a tap away. With posh, you can save as much as 40% off your current service providers rates. Start your free trial today at posh.com.
Male: As the largest legal only call center in the U.S., Alert Communications helps law firms and legal marketing agencies with new client intake. Alert captures and responds to all leads 24/7 365 as an extension of your firm in both English and Spanish. Alert uses proven intake methods customizing responses as needed which earns the trust of clients and improves client retention. To find out how Alert can help your law office, call (866) 827-5568 or visit alertcommunications.com/ltn.
Conrad Saam: And we’re back. So this has been floating around the internet as well. There is a lawyer in California who is on TikTok and he is filming his clients right out of court “Hey, we just got you off your third DUI, are you grateful for my services?” In fact, let’s play a little clip so you can get a flavor of what’s going on here because his is something.
Male: All right, we just got out of court in beautiful New Port Beach, we’re here on a second time DUI. My great client here was pulled over. He had doubled the legal limit. He has actually had 0.18 blood alcohol content. He had 13 ng of cocaine in his blood, they found an empty vial of that also. He was looking at 150 days of county jail out here and we just crushed it. He’s going to do how much jail?
Male: Zero jail.
Conrad Saam: Zero Jail. Everybody is proud, super happy.
Male: And after a year, he’s going to be all done with this case and he can move on with his life.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And any future employer who would like to hire this gentleman now can take this all in consideration. Let’s go. So Conrad, here we are TikTok. And really, we’re going to talk about in the lens of TikTok, it’s on TikTok and we should say in the wonderful world of the internet and human nature, his videos are exploding. He’s getting tens of thousands of likes and comments and tons of pub. We’ve seen some other podcast and video content covering the topic. I in fact–
Conrad Saam: He’s getting a ton of coverage.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. He’s even getting a couple of links so for the SCO people out there, his SCO team is super proud. So what do you think Conrad, is this a good way to market your practice on TikTok?
Conrad Saam: I’m going to take the counterpoint here because the back and forth is important and I want to give the counterpoint. This reminds me very much of our good friend, The Texas Law Hawk which makes almost every lawyer who I showed that to all of his staff want to kind of retch. And I’ll tell you a couple of things. One, Texas Law Hawk, the branding on that, his ability to actually build a brand whether or not there is any affinity, you feel any affinity to that brand is immaterial in my mind because there are people for whom do feel a strong affinity to that. And he is doing that. He is doing that very well. He is leveraging — we talked about dark social the other day. He is leveraging other people to share his brand and who he is. And most importantly for me, pure smarmy scummy marketing perspective.
I remember when we were building — early on my career on legal, 2006, maybe 2007. We did a lot of research around what do people want to know about their lawyer when they are choosing to hire a lawyer. Do you know what the number thing was? It wasn’t responsiveness. That’s what they look for in a lawyer. The number one thing people want to know about a lawyer is their win rate, right? And here is this guy using his own client and I will use the phrase “using his own clients” because he is absolutely using his own clients.
We can get into that. But he is using his own clients to talk about what everyone wants to know from a criminal defense attorney which is what is your win rate. It’s effective.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, sort of. He’s sort of talking about win rate. I’m sure he’s not doing TikTok for the times he screws up.
Conrad Saam: I mean, yes.
Gyi Tsakalakis: But to your point, he’s definitely publicizing results with his client there who is nodding along as he outs their criminal charges. So here, good points, and all publicity is good publicity. Here, we are talking about him.
Conrad Saam: No such thing as bad PR for link building, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well.
Conrad Saam: Let’s go!
Gyi Tsakalakis: Let’s go, crushing it. We’ll get into the taste factor. But here’s my big difference though between your example with Texas Law Hawk. Texas Law Hawk doesn’t have his clients up there. Texas Law Hawk is just Texas Law Hawk. Texas Law Hawk can do whatever he wants as Texas Law Hawk. He can go on with his crazy American flags and his wings and his screech. That’s him, that’s how he wants to portray himself and brand himself. That’s his choice.
Lawyers versus old fashioned theory that lawyers should be doing what’s in the best interest of their clients. Now, in California, and I’m not a legal ethics expert on California, legal ethics, but my quick read of California’s rules of professional conduct say, one, there’s an issue of some of the stuff he’s talking about couldn’t be protected as a confidence. Maybe not the charges, basically getting into some details of his cases but I don’t know might follow that. But my hunch is he’s getting their consent. Is it informed consent? Is he like “Hey, we’re going to step out of the courtroom, are you okay if I pull out my phone and record you on TikTok taking consideration that a lot of people are going to see this, potentially your family, potentially your friends, potentially your employer, potentially future employers, are you cool with that?”
Conrad Saam: I spent a lot of time looking at David Pourshalimi, right? He does not do that. You’re setting me up for a strawman answer to your question. He does not do that. And in fact, there is an interview of David where I think the interviewer says “So you ambush them when you walk outside the court?” and he’s like “Yup! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!” And there’s all this stuff following that goes on.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So if he’s not getting their consent, well he’s asking.
Conrad Saam: Just wait for the state bar to come around. Let me split this into two things for you Gyi. You clearly have an ethics concern which I think is a fair concern to have. Do you have a taste concern? Like is this just too far beyond the pale for a lawyer to do.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, I am big on the you have as a lawyer, you have the right to position yourself however you want. You can be Law Hawk. You can be Hammer. You can be whatever you want. You can even be “Let’s go crush it!” But you do to me, maybe it’s old fashioned, you have an obligation to act in the best interest of your client. Now, and we’ll throw this in there. We’ve talked about Maximum Lawyer Facebook community. I posted it in there. I’m not going to — it’s a private community, so if you want to see what’s the conversation is there, I encourage you to join. In fact, Conrad and I are on Max Law podcast so check that out. A little plug for them.
Conrad Saam: Oh yeah, well done. But that’s not a live yet but we will try and find that back to the show note.
Gyi Tsakalakis: But friend of the pod, Carolyn Elefant shared — and this is on her blog at MyShingle. So we’ll make sure that’s in the show notes too. She has published on this a long time ago because — nothing to do with TikTok because the thing was 2012 maybe. About lawyers using video testimonials of clients in general. There’s some good points in there. I’m not 100% in alignment like don’t use video testimonials of clients period but if you’re doing to you got to be doing in a way that isn’t going to undermine the best interest of clients. So what does that mean, right? Because it’s grayer.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. I mean, should you not review your lawyer on Google then? Like this is a spectrum.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. I think that’s the question at hand and I think — obviously, I can’t speak for everybody. You can hashtag LHLM on this one and you can join the Facebook groups or on YouTube you can leave some comments because I would love to hear from you lawyers and everyone. Let’s just go through a couple of these examples. Example number one, you got acquitted for your third DUI, the client says anything I can do for you. “Well, you know, a lot of our business comes from the internet and we have a google business profile, if you would be willing to leave a review there, I’d really appreciate it. By the way, you don’t have to say anything about the representation.”
Now, the counterpoint is that just by leaving the review you’re saying something about the representation, right? Issue of course is that in the competitive landscape, direct to consumer lawyers, if your business is on the internet, people expect to see reviews there. And this goes back to some of the stuff that you talked about at Avvo where it’s like there’s a serious dilemma between what’s in the best interest of the client and the lawyer’s marketing. And so review online, client does takes on their volition and decides to leave a review. The client made that decision, okay, fine.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. But 19 times out of 20, they’re being asked, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. The question is that the ask is the issue. And by the way, in some States, as I read the rule, I think in South Carolina, if you claim your Google Business profile, even if you don’t ask if someone leaves a review there, you’re responsible for the content on the Google Business profile.
Conrad Saam: Well, that was one of the bars — many of the bars had that problem with Avvo. You claim your profile, you’re responsible for the reviews? What? Welcome to the internet, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, welcome to bar regulation as well.
Conrad Saam: Right.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Thank you state bar. Do your state bar regulator.
Conrad Saam: Oh, we got to get back to that. Yeah. Dear state bar regulator, please don’t watch David Pourshalimi’s videos and use that to guide your decision-making factors, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah.
Conrad Saam: Well, so the taste thing, look, it doesn’t really matter what I think about the taste thing. The best interest of the client, I think that’s really at the issue. Now, the other — from marketing standpoint, here’s some other things that I don’t know if this gentleman has considered. How may friend — we’re going to talk about referrals coming up here. How many other lawyer friends for that referral is this person making, right? Because, TikTok, the TikTok crowd loves this guy. You think that all the other California lawyers that might be willing to refer him business or other people in professional context, now you might say that’s not who he is marketing to. Who cares? He doesn’t care about referrals.
Gyi Tsakalakis: No. So we’re going to talk later about — ironically, we’re putting these back to back. We’re going to talk about referrals later. I’m going to guess that Pourshalimi’s referral from the legal industry is close to zero, If not negative, right? Like “Don’t work with David Pourshalimi. He’s going to put you on video.” Right? That’s probably happening. Having said that, you guys want to find a way around the pay-per click games, right? Those huge expenditures, you’re running criminal defense. I think he’s in Los Angeles, I think. Yeah, okay, let’s have people on TikTok do your marketing for you, right?
Conrad Saam: I’d be curious to see if one of his clients say “Hey, you know what? This is false live publicity.” I don’t know well all the rules on that are because I don’t practice law in 400 years but “Hey, you kind of ambushed me on this and it’s all over the web. The New York Times is doing a story about it and here I am with my vial of cocaine and I can’t get a job now. Thanks lawyer.”
Gyi Tsakalakis: So here’s the thing — I mean, people are doing this is a podcast, you have to recognize. I’m going to describe this or you if you haven’t seen it. The clients aren’t named and the mask — I don’t know that this would happen in a non-covid world. They’re all masked. And so you can make the argument there is more anonymity for a masked nameless person on video than there is if I leave a Google review that says Conrad Saam, right?
Conrad Saam: I’m going to throw one more angle on this one before we go to our next segment. I wonder how this is impacting him in court. The judges are going to find out about this guy and judge is supposed to be impartial. It doesn’t matter if you’re the Law Hawk or you’re the TikTok person. But I’m going to tell you my hunch is that he walks in and some of these judges, they’re as hard as they’re trying to be impartial. They’re like “this is the guy.”
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, maybe it’s not even the judge either. It’s just the prosecutor start getting tired being made to look like morons, right? Like “we are no longer taking anything for Pourshalimi’s clients” right? And again, best interest of the client now.
Conrad Saam: Totally valid. So my first thoughts were that when I saw this and the second was are these really his clients, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: That would actually be the best if they’re all actors and it was just like “oh, yeah, I didn’t disclose that they’re actors.
Conrad Saam: No. Someone plays that to him. Listen, there’s no way — and you’ll see in a lot of the comments, I said there’s no way, this is sarcasm, it’s satire. These are actors, these are his friends. He says no.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. Well, the problem anyway, if he’s doing that, it would still be misleading, I think under California’s rule.
Conrad Saam: Well, yeah. So you’re going to the ethics. Like the actor thing would be super bad.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, follow the ethics.
Conrad Saam: But what he says and I think this is important. And again, I’m trying to present the counterpoint here and he does a very — he’s very articulate when he talks about you’re dealing with people who are very scared and because you have gotten them through this very awful situation they are amazingly grateful and they are very happy to recommend me.
And frankly, that is a really important perspective that I think we often miss. Again, I find this utterly tasteless.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, all the more reason that they probably can’t give proper informed consent though. I’m in an emotional state, and you ambush me here. How can I give you consent to do this properly?
Conrad Saam: Okay. So you’re making the consent argument that even though he is asking them that because they’re literally walking out —
Gyi Tsakalakis: I’m not making any arguments. I’m asking whether or not this is in the best interest of the client because that’s what the lawyer is supposed to be talking about.
Conrad Saam: Are you being Socratic and going law school with me. I think you are saying this is not to the best interest of the clients.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I’m going Greek.
Conrad Saam: All right. So with that, we look at legal philosopher Gyi Tsakalakis coming back to you later. We would love to have David on this show, by the way. I did reach out to his office. This, David, I suspect is going to filter back to you. If you would like to have a follow-up conversation, we would love to have you on the show. So find us. Actually, you already have my number because I left it for you. By the way, your receptionist does not answer the phone quickly enough but that’s a different conversation. Ouch. We’ll be back after the break to talk about five tips for referral marketing that don’t involve exposing your clients.
Male: Let’s go.
Gyi Tsakalakis: No one cites routine drafting as the reason they chose to become a lawyer, but that’s where a lot of time goes for solo practitioners and small firms. LawYaw can help you transform your existing Word documents into reusable templates with no coding required. Save time and avoid errors with intuitive features like conditional logic. Use a tool that empowers your experience and expertise. Learn more at lawyaw.com. That’s L-A-W-Y-A-W.com.
Adriana Linares: Are you looking for a podcast that was created for new solos? Then join me, Adriana Linares each month on the New Solo podcast. We talk to lawyers who have built their own successful practices and share their insights to help you grow yours. You can find New Solo on the Legal Talk Network or anywhere you get your podcasts.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And now for the legal trends report minute brought to you by Clio.
Conrad Saam: Tick Tock.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Ever wonder how other law firms spend their money? According to 67% of lawyers, legal practice management software is a key investment. If you rely on pen and paper or server-based systems to manage your practice, you may be missing out on billables. Instead of printing and mailing your bills, the right legal software let’s you create, edit, and approve bills in minutes, plus, you can send them electronically and collect payment on the same day, imagine that. This is just one of the ways in which legal practice management software can simplify your day to day. That’s a very compelling feature. This billing and payment stuff and I know a lot of practice management tools including Clio are focused on this. Make it easy to get paid.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. This is marketing 101.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Better experience for clients. Basics. Pen and paper. I remember too, the other one and they threw in the server-based systems. There’s a lot of firms. This is classic. I remember Jack Newton at tech show many years ago when he was first fighting the fight on cloud which he has clearly won. Now, his lawyers, “oh no. We got our own server.” But then, the IT on the server, they’re like “the server in the office is way more secured than the cloud.” And it’s like “are you serious?” That one I always — well, being nostalgic for that one because I was like I have seen those servers, they’re haven’t been touched in years and could hack right into them.
Conrad Saam: Well, you unplugged them accidentally.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. Sure. To learn more about what technologies other law firms are investing in, download Clio’s Legal Trends Report for free at clio.com/trends. That’s Clio spelled C-L-I-O.com/trends.
Conrad Saam: Now, Gyi, you only talked a lot about referrals and the importance of referrals and referral marketing and we haven’t yet done a segment on what are the things we can do to improve our referrals, right? So where would you start with on “Okay, what do we need to do in order to drive more of this–”
And I’m going to set you up for your answer here. This free marketing channel.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Now, I was going to get in the constructive tips. But now that you’ve said it’s free — I don’t know. There’s nothing free.
Conrad Saam: There’s nothing free?
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s going to take your time or it’s going to take your money.
Conrad Saam: Okay.
Gyi Tsakalakis: There’s always a cost. But constructively, we always talk about put yourself in the referrer’s position. Number one, who are the referrers, right? Former clients. Do you keep in touch with former clients? No, I don’t. Other lawyers. Are you making friends with lawyers in your community? By publishing your client’s results on TikTok. Other professionals, right? Because think about it. Most people that don’t know a lawyer that might be seeking a referral or don’t know a lawyer for this particular issue they’re facing, they’re going to go to somebody that they trust. Might be an accountant, might be another professional service person.
So start thinking about who these folks are. But then once you got to, “Okay, now I know who the referral sources are.” How are you nurturing the relationship with the referral source? How do you say thanks, right?
Conrad Saam: So I got a card the other day in the mail. Hand-written thank you note. And it was because of you, Gyi.
I got a card from Gina Guzman who I did a talk with at ABA TECHSHOW. I had not met her until ABA TECHSHOW. We did a great talk together. Well, I think it was a great talk. She probably wishes I hadn’t spoken so much but I got a — this wasn’t even a referral. She sent me a hand-written thank you note about how great it was to present with me. When was the last time you’ve sent a hand-written thank you note, people? That is very different.
The other thing that Gina did, the hand-written thank you note, and you know this about me, Gyi, I love Dunkin’ Donuts and I can tell you where the Dunkin’ Donuts is in almost at least 10 different east coast airports because I’m in Seattle and we’ve got Starbucks and it’s overpriced and awful. Anyway, Gina put in a gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts which is now sitting in my wallet and the next time I fly into the east coast, I’m going to buy a Bavarian cream and a jelly donut and a medium coffee with cream and sugar and it will be delicious and I’ll think of Gina. Hand-written thank you notes.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I love the beyond — I love the hand-written thank you note. But do you know what I really love? I love the thoughtful gift that’s like contextually relic. Do you know what it shows? It shows you care about the person like “Oh, I’m thinking about you and what’s you’re all about, where you are in the world, what’s important to you.” I love that one.
Conrad Saam: And it’s not that hard. It’s really not that hard. Gina and I were clearly talking about my love of Dunkin Donuts and she put it in the back of her mind and did a great job. I’ll give you another tip when we’re talking about thank you. I think you need to send a thank you regardless of how bad the referral was. I think a lot of times — by the way, 99% of you aren’t doings this well. 99% of you aren’t sending the thank you or the gift or whatever it might be, right? But there’s also this perspective that “oh, if this turns into a client, I’ll send them a thank you.”
That’s terrible. What a selfish perspective that you have. I think you should take every single opportunity regardless of how shitty that referral, that individual referral is, to show off your largesse by sending that thank you for every single referral, right? And it’s not about whether or not that person was injured enough to be worthy of working with you that deserves a thank you. It’s the fact that someone, doesn’t matter who it was, thought of you when they knew someone in need.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, that’s a thing that a lot of lawyers think too. Like “Oh, I’m the person they’re gong to refer to.” And I know positioning-wise and marketing niche-wise like lawyers want to do that. I think — and it’s a good positioning to be that person but the truth is especially in major metros, these lawyers, they know 50 of you. And so it’s not about “what is it going to be?” And a lot of end sadly and lawyers aren’t going to like this and you can hashtag LHLM this one too. But what are they thinking about? They’re like “I want to make sure that the person I’m referring to this lawyer is going to be in good hands. Okay. So that narrows my list down to 20. Next, I want to make sure–” especially in the context where there is a — some lawyers hate this but it depends on the context, personal injury, there’s probably gong to be a referral fee so they’re thinking about maximizing the fee so that narrows it down 10. Then finally it’s going to be like “Well, are you top of mind and are you grateful?” those are the things that — I’m telling you, that’s what people think about because so many times I’ve seen it.
I’ve been in the room where it happens and the referral would be like “Oh yeah, I–” he wasn’t thinking of you or “Oh, hey! I got your email and by the way, I meant to refer this case to you.” It’s literally even with deep relationships, these referrals, they’re happening because of top-of-mind awareness, gratitude and of course the trust and competency of the lawyer but guess what, there’s a lot of lawyers doing that.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. I mean, you talk about top-of-mind awareness and gratitude. This is why I think you send that thank you regardless of how bad the referral is.
Gyi Tsakalakis: The sad part is to your point, that’s a way to stand out. Saying thanks because no one else is doing it.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. Cross that very-very small threshold. The other thing that you said was gratitude. One of the things I would really encourage you to do and to think about is can you send — so we talk about the thank you note. Can you send a really great gift? The thank you gift. And I’m going to use two different examples. There is a woman, I believe she’s in Manhattan. She has down syndrome and she wanted to become a baker and she couldn’t get a job at a bakery and she is had now started a thing called Collette’s Cookies. And every time you send something from Collette’s Cookies, (a) the cookies are amazing and (b) you are supporting someone in their entrepreneurial adventure who has down syndrome. You are a good person, right? So you want to be memorable and show some sense of gratitude, go pay that for with a Collette’s Cookies and there’s plenty of things. You can do a local side to this. There’s a lot of things that you can do that make you stand out beyond the fruit basket, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. The other one I was going to — you’ve mentioned there in your — at least in the show notes is the tracking and rewarding. If you refer a client — or get a client. I’m sorry. If you get a client referred to you, go back and let the referral source know what happened. Now, the lawyers are going to think, “well, you can blow confidence.” Well, of course you can’t. But you can say, “Hey, thanks for the referral.” And then “Hey, we’ve taken on–” Again, it’s different context in how you say it and how you deliver it. I think there are some ethics things you want to think about but saying thanks and then checking in with the referral source on it. I know in the plaintiff world that’s a very strong part of the referral equation is to keep the referral source updated about some high-level things that are going on with the representation.
Conrad Saam: And then when you do that, what happens? You say top of mind. You say top of mind. And they feel confident that they’re in good hands and that the client is being treated properly and that the case is being followed up on like that stuff matters to folks.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So I’m going to go back to our good friend David and we talked about dark social the other day. But to me, we’ll put the dark social episode back in the show notes. What David is doing and I’m going — it’s David Pourshalimi is doing with TikTok. Whether or not, regardless — so I’m going beyond the ethics side of things and going beyond the tasteless side of things, he is generating a huge referral network of people who believe that he can get people off for some really-really crazy crimes and he is leveraging the network effect and frankly the gag effect of the content that he is — it’s tasteless and tasteless is selling, right? It’s getting shared. And he is generating a really-really wide referral network, right? And yes, they’re not going to be lawyers. I can’t imagine a single lawyer would ever be like “Yes, let’s promote this.” But it’s going to be a lot of people who may find themselves in need of David’s services.
So I really look at we’re kind of enumerating these here but one of the top things that you can do is use dark social to drive referrals within your town. I talk about using social media to turn your town or your city into your referral network. It’s a huge opportunity.
Conrad Saam: Very powerful. The other one that comes up a lot and I — actually some people disagree with this one on LinkedIn with me but becoming a referrer.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Why does people disagree with that?
Conrad Saam: it’s not even worth getting into but a lot of people say — the fact that I’m saying “Look, if you refer cases out, you’re more likely to get cases back.” They would say something like “Well, you shouldn’t be making the referral for that reason or something.” But my point is this. Strategically, the missed opportunity is this. Someone calls you. You’re a criminal defense lawyer. “Hey, my friend was in a car accident, can you help me out?” “No, we don’t do that. Have a nice day.” What? You don’t know another lawyer that you trust who would do a good job that you’re going to refer the case to?
In fact, I saw people — when lawyers, when people call up and they’re like they got the wrong number, they think they’d call somebody else, try to help them out. I mean, I’ll tell you, I’ve seen reviews online where it’s like “Hey, this lawyer wasn’t the right lawyer for me but he spent the time to listen to my issue and then made a referral to someone who could help me out knowing that he was never going to benefit from this financially.” Like that was an actual review on Google. And so what you are doing there is you’re actually creating two referral sources. You’re carrying a referral source for the lawyer and you’re creating a referral source for that person that you’ve helped without getting anything out of it. The business karma concept of this is so obvious and I think your ability to — this sounds super corny. If you try and give without even trying to get, you will win this game.
Gary Vaynerchuk basically titled one of his best books on social media marketing ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook’ which was you never make the ask early on, right? Build the trust with the jabs over and over and over and over where you’re not asking for anything you’re giving. And then if you do have to make that ask, when you want to make that ask, that’s your right hook. I even take it further. Just give it. Play the business karma game. It works. It comes back to you. The lawyers that I know and admire, it’s such about giving back and helping other people and then it comes back because you become known as a person who cares about other people. What better position can you have as a law firm that that?
Gyi Tsakalakis: And one more final thing on this, I have to say it. Referrals aren’t free. We hear this all the time like “I used to do hard work and you get referrals.” Yup, you probably do a little bit but whether your sending cookies or hopping on a plane to nurture relationship or many other things that take your time; writing a hand-written thank you note. They’re not free and you need to think about them in the context of your budget. And people don’t like to hear this. We had the conversation. We talk about cost per acquisition all the time. What’s the cost for acquisition from my Google ad? What’s my cost per acquisition from Organic? What’s the cost per acquisition from all these different channels? Referrals, you got to think about your cost per acquisition in the referral standpoint and even — I know what you’re about to say. Something I’ll let you say your point.
But my thing about it, the ancillary benefit on top of holding those dollars and time accountable is that you tend to do it more because you’re managing it, right? You’re tracking it and you’re managing those budgets and those investments and it makes you more disciplined in how you handle your referrals.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. I mean, the discipline thing, you all know you should do this. And 9/10 of you 19/20 of you 99/100 of you lack the discipline to do this systematically. My counterpoint on the referrals aren’t free is “Yeah, but they’re really-really cheap compared to pay-per-click.”
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s what I thought you were going to say, right?
Conrad Saam: Yeah. I mean, just think about this. My referral gift of choice is a bottle of scotch and I’ve backed away from that because I’ve sent bottles of scotch to (a) people who are recovering and (b) people who are Mormon. So those have been my two paws with my bottle of scotch gift. But even if I go bananas and by the way I said “Aha! We can use this.” I sent to one of my people. “Hey, please send Gyi a really high-end bottle of scotch as a thank you for referral recently.” This was last week, right? And I know you haven’t gotten the scotch yet but I know Gyi likes Scotch and so that’s safe. Even if I —
Gyi Tsakalakis: I thought there are way in to find out who is going to become a client.
Conrad Saam: Right. So I had this argument with my sales guy. He was like “we’re going to wait. If we’re going to send them a nice bottle of scotch, we got to see whether or not blah-blah-blah turns into a client.” I was like “The hell, we do.” Like that is such a bad message to your friends. So coming back to my point, even if I go bananas on a really-really high-end bottle of scotch, compared to my cost per click for like law firm marketing agency and then it go to my site and there’s this massive funnel that they may or may not fall through each step, a bottle of scotch, a super high-end bottle of scotch is a pittance compared to what you’re thinking about from a cost per acquisition.
Gyi Tsakalakis: A hundred percent.
Conrad Saam: Oh, by the way, bottle of scotch, you can get those engraved. Than you from Mockingbird, right? It’s awesome.
Gyi Tsakalakis: There we go.
Conrad Saam: And then they can’t pre-gift those and they have to sit on a shelf for a while and remind them where that bottle of scotch came from. There is my last referral tip.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. We’ll put some more resources for how to improve referrals. Lawmatics has a great Ebook and actually did a webinar with Matt on this topic so we’ll put make sure that’s on the show notes.
Conrad Saam: Let’s get Collette’s Cookies in the show notes.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah.
Conrad Saam: And the ReserveBar, that’s where you can get scotch engraved. There’s lot of great things that you can do. But think local. Find something local that you can support.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, unfortunately, the saddest part of our time.
The end of our episode. Thank you so much for listening. We hope you found something of value. Please do remember to review particularly Apple podcast and check out YouTube. Let us know what you think of us on video if our makeup looks good, we need to clean up my book shelf. I appreciate your time and until next time. Gyi and Conrad out from Lunch Hour Legal Marketing.
Outro: Thank you for listening to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. If you’d like more information about what you heard today, please visit legaltalknetwork.com. Subscribe via Apple podcasts and RSS. Follow Legal Talk Network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Conrad Saam: See, who’s Tom Brady? He’s Michigan so I know. I’m kidding.