First things first: it’s about time you got your annual plan together for next year. Then, Gyi and Conrad help you build your metrics dashboard into a pro-level thing of beauty. And, book review—what you need to add to your Business Bookshelf.
It’s that time of year again, time to grab your pumpkin spice lattes and start your firm’s marketing planning for the upcoming year. You do have a plan, don’t you? Well, it’s not too late to get started (but it’s getting there). Gyi and Conrad share their insights into setting business goals, tracking them, and nailing your execution.
Last episode, Gyi and Conrad warned you about the metrics to avoid. This time, the guys focus on what you NEED to pay attention to. They rank the five most important metrics you need on your marketing dashboard. Don’t waste your time with unnecessary noise. Learn how to track your business like a boss.
And, to wrap things up, as promised, Conrad shares his selection for this episode’s new segment, Business Bookshelf.
- BREAKING: Don’t touch your Google Business Profiles (GBP). Businesses are getting suspended for really weird, silly reasons.
- Marketing in an economic downturn: what to do and how to win.
- Google Search On: take-aways for law firms
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Conrad Saam: Hey Gyi, how would you like to build a six-figure practice working just two hours a day?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Can I do it in only two hours altogether?
Conrad Saam: You can do it in your pajamas working from 9 to 11 and just let it go and then, and then you’re done.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That sounds amazing, almost too good to be true.
Conrad Saam: Almost too good to be true. Now, I wanted to start this session off giving a shout-out to someone who is kind of working with lawyers to help them build their practices. And this was an ad that hit me, which means they’re advertising not all that Super Bowl targeted, but like, we’ll let that be what it is. And I started to think about this, this whole life balance marketing that we see frequently, right? So you don’t have to try hard, four hour work day. That this was a two-hour work day, the four-day work week. You know, like spend more time on the beach with your beautiful spouse, all that kind of stuff.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Sounds great.
Conrad Saam: It sounds amazing. Beautiful spouse not included in the two hours a day, but part of me feels like this is a bit of a bait and switch, because I think it’s really saying, it’s so easy to build your practice that most people read this as, oh well it’s only two hours a day, I’m still going to work my eight hours a day and I’m going to make a, a much bigger practice by doing that and I feel like these are a bit bait and switchy or do you feel like lawyers are really trying to improve their work-life balance?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, yeah, they would love to, right. I mean lawyers are busy, they don’t have time for anything. They barely have time to keep up serving clients, and so the allure of just work two hours a day and six figures and be on a beach all the time, it’s great. Now, I’ll say this. I do think you probably can do a lot of your work from a beach if you’ve got the right systems and tools in place.
Conrad Saam: Oh yes, maybe.
Gyi Tsakalakis: The two hours a day part or just two hours period, I don’t know, I mean hey, if you’ve found a way to do it, great, but I can tell you I’ve signed up for a lot of those things and you know what it is, you get some coaching, you get some downloads, you get a nice email, maybe you get a call from a coach or somebody, and that’s not just to be dismissive for some people. I think, there’s a lot of value in having a coach but you know, look, this is a bait and switch, I think is a nice way to put it, right.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. I mean, my blunt perspective is that the law firms that we see growing really well do not have. I can’t think of a single client that we have, where there is the lead of the law firm on the beach, six hours a day and they are just kind of checking in every two hours, and it’s just not —
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, and didn’t, wasn’t the example that you use that particular expert, they were running ads to a broken URL too, right.
Conrad Saam: Well that was that was equally problem. I was honestly trying to like spread some love here, be positive and like hey, we’re going to profile someone who’s thinking a bit out of the box and then I — she put up an ad and the URL was under construction. I’m like, well, that’s how you’re going to work two hours a day, you’re not going to get any fucking business.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I digress the internet, everybody’s an expert.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, all right.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, what else are we talking about besides broken URLs?
Conrad Saam: All right, coming back featured here, where we got the news coming back.
Gyi Tsakalakis: The news is back.
Conrad Saam: And as we are starting Q4, we’re going to be talking about annual plannings or the lack thereof for 2023. We are going to go and this we promised this last session and so we’re going to come through with their promises because we never lie. We are going to go through the Marketing Metrics Power Rankings, and finally, again, from last session, a promise that we will fulfill, we’re going do a book review, favorite marketing books.
Gyi Tsakalakis: New segment?
Conrad Saam: New segment, and if you hate that new segment, let us know otherwise we are going to keep it. We are going to keep reviewing books until you tell us we hate it.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Please review our Book Review segment on Apple podcasts, and with that money makes the world go round, money makes the world go round.
Male: 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.
Conrad Saam: Welcome to the Lunch Hour Legal Marketing podcast. We’ve got a great show for you today. But first, we’re going to talk about the news.
Conrad Saam: All right. Coming to you from Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, and I hope by the time you hear this, this problem is fixed, and I am very low in confidence that it will be.
Google Business Profile, this is all over our feeds right now. Gyi and I have talked about this a lot. There are just people up in arms about this. Google Business Profiles are getting suspended, left, right and center for the smallest of non-transgressions; like adding a UTM parameter, making a new post. That was one that I saw yesterday.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Which are those, but neither of those are transgressions by the way.
Conrad Saam: None of these are transgressions. Like these are, these are really, really basic things. And just to talk about this really quickly, this is your Google Business Profile, right. Used to be called, Google My Business, now called the Google Business Profile. If you abbreviate it GBP, Google will confuse that with the Great British Pound, which is kind of ironic, but their listings all over the place being suspended over and over and over again.
And a couple things about this. Number one, they are for non-transgressions, right, like adding UTM tracking parameters, adding a phone number, making a post, right. So these are not things that should be triggering any problems, but secondly, getting yourselves out of this suspension black box is an absolute long-term nightmare.
So my recommendation and Gyi and I talked about this, I don’t know if you’re still on this Camp of maybe, but I am basically telling people, “Don’t Touch This”. MC Hammer this like just leave it alone, because I don’t know how long this is going to go on, but you do not want to be a data point that says, we don’t exist anymore in Google Local. Gyi, thoughts?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, I mean it’s funny. I just got an email this morning about this. What should we do from another marketing agency, and I’m like, sorry, I don’t have any good news for you. It’s broken, it’s always broken, again and this is my Google rant, like the only thing that gets attention is the thing that drives 99% of the revenue which is ads. Although there are ads in this, I wonder if it’s affecting the ads, but and I probably right, that this is you can’t advertise and spend –
Conrad Saam: A 100% spend on the ads.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, right.
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So, I don’t know, so I — you know, Conrad said, I was maybe, because what do you — I mean obviously, well I don’t know if it’s obvious. I would be curious. Have you seen any suspensions from people leaving reviews? You know reviews, it’s a Holy Grail out there. You are going to tell people to stop going and leaving reviews.
The other one is hours of operation. You know, we’ve got holidays coming up here. We are telling people not to change their hours of operation. People are moving offices, you are supposed to just not move, change your address, your phone number, your change phone numbers. I hear you yeah. I don’t know, some of the new things are darned if you do darn. If you don’t, maybe give it a week. See what happens. It’s still early. We’ll keep you posted if we see stuff on the hashtag. But yeah, this is what happens.
Again, until somebody holds Google accountable for being the primary business look up directory for list small businesses in the United States. This is what we’re going to deal with folks. People are going to search on your name, not going to get any results, you know your website but no local results. So it stinks.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, I would before you make any changes to your Google Business Profile.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Call Conrad, everybody call Conrad. This is going to —
Conrad Saam: No, no, no.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Conrad, what’s yourself?
Conrad Saam: I would look up a very recent article about this. Find a very recent article before you touch any. If you’re moving offices, frankly, I would much rather you list the wrong location, than not exist.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Go to local search forum and follow what’s going on there, they’re staying on top of it.
Conrad Saam: It’s a mess. Okay, sorry this is supposed to be news, not a Google segment. Moving on, can you talk about Gyi, we’ve talked about this in the past, the stock market has just as of today shot down again. We are dropping below 30,000 for the Dow, we’re talking about global economic uncertainty supply chain are still an issue. There is a massive problem with natural gas in Europe. The foreign currencies are devaluing, which is good for those to be like to travel, but like, we’re looking at a high likelihood of economic downturn.
What was our recommendations when we talked about this in light of COVID, which was the same exact thing, kind of global economic downturn, what were the recommendations that we came out with at Lunch Hour Legal Marketing?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Hire more markers. Now just, you know, look, Conrad and I are bias. We sell marketing services, but, but, the flip side of that coin is we do see what happens when people shut off their ads, and when they shut off all their marketing activities. And guess what, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you stop marketing, don’t be surprised that you’re not going to grow, you are essentially guaranteeing that you’re not going to grow.
But seriously, couple things to point out, one Harvard Business Review has a great case study on this. There was an article or something. But the TLDR is, is that sure, this is a great opportunity actually for a lot of firms, you got to be smart about your marketing investments and bad marketing advertising is bad regardless of whether it’s good times or bad times. But the opportunity is that, maybe a lot of your competitors are pulling out and so maybe this is an opportunity for you to capture more share of voice, more market share.
I’ll tell you this, and again, lawyers help people during some of the most difficult times in their life. And guess what, economic downturn, for some legal services consumer segments, this is actually going to be a time that people are going to be seeking you out. So might be time for you to be rethinking and getting ready as we’ll talk about planning for 2023. Sadly, for a lot of folks that it’s — the downturn is bad, for a lot of lawyers this is an opportunity for them to attract more clients.
Conrad Saam: All right. Simple supply and demand, the more people pull out of market, the cheaper the market is, continue on.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, more people entering the market, right. I mean, you know, what economic downturns they cause strife in families, they cause financial issues, they cause all sorts of things that lawyers help people navigate.
Conrad Saam: Finally, talk to us about Google Search On which seems like people should know about this, but I don’t think many do.
Gyi Tsakalakis: What we felt compelled because we’re searched nerds, at least referenced and but, you know, and you can go to searchon.thinkwithgoogle.com, I believe or just search for Search On Google, they did a presentation but there’s a lot of stuff in there that probably you don’t connect the dots as a lawyer, they’re making some big investments in the maps and making it more, a more rich experience. I think some of that goes to some of the things we talked about with TikTok stealing search market share right, so people, they want to know what it’s actually like to go to the local business, they’re thinking really restaurants in here.
But one that jumped out at me, was the new search features around question and answer sites and forum sites. And so for a long time, you know, people will talk about it, well you can participate in forums and some of these forms and some of these forum sites rank, and I think Quora, Avvo, is one of those, Avvo answers. And Google is actually, I haven’t seen it in legal, they give an example, I think for like buying a family car, but they’re giving a call-out, it’s a, essentially a rich snippet for forum sites.
And so, if you’re — if you happen to be in an area where a core query that asks a question triggers one of these forums discussion, kind of results, should probably with adding or prioritizing, participating these forum sites to your marketing mix.
Conrad Saam: There, you have it. And now we’re going to take a break.
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Gyi Tsakalakis: And now for the Legal Trends Report Minute, brought to you by Clio.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So on the, we have a plug to Maximum Lawyer Group on Facebook. Someone was talking about for the first time in five years I’m raising my hourly rate next year. I don’t want to raise it on existing clients, although I’m thinking I should, how have you all handle the rate change within the firm? I’m interested to hear how you’ve all done it.
Well, and we’re recording this prior to Clio Con 2022, which I’ll be at. So if you’re there and listening to this hi. But the Legal Trends Report 2016, I believe this is the first time they did it. They talked about the Billable Hour Index. So if you’re thinking about rates, you’re thinking about inflation, go check this out.
But the Legal Trends Report for the first time, a data-driven estimate of the average hourly rate for small to mid-sized firms, a metric that they referred to as the Billable Hour Index. In 2015, the average hourly rate for law firms across the U.S. was $232.00 per hour. So there’s your benchmark nationally. The Billable Hour Index from 2010 to 2016 was a view of the billable hours across the country showing average hourly rates evolving over time for over that time period.
And then they actually contextualized it within the Consumer Price Index, which again, is particularly relevant in times of great inflation, which they, we hadn’t been experienced and they’ve actually published this. It would be really interesting to see. I don’t know if that’s going to be a data point included in this year’s Legal Trends Report, but really, really interesting to see how you benchmark against billable hours nationally.
And while the Billable Hour Index has trended upwards steadily since mid-2010. Again, this is back in 2016. It’s only a best kept pace with the overall rate of inflation, again 2016. So imagine what’s going on now.
Rate of inflation increased by 10.6% between 2010 and 2016, and billable rates fell behind. So short version and to our friend, from Maximum Lawyer in Facebook, you know, and Conrad, you and I’ve talked about this, we talked about this with George when he was on your pricing.
Conrad Saam: Yup.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Pricing your services, pricing expertise services in a time of great inflation, like it makes a big difference.
Conrad Saam: Well, I’ll give you another flavor on this. You’ve got clients for whom they’ve stuck with you for five years and you are worried about raising. These are clients who love you. Of course, you should raise your rates on clients who love you. These are clients who are much less price sensitive and I will give you a tip on how to do this, so it was done very well.
To me, like this is one of the vendors that we work with on occasion and Gyi I believe you, you know who I’m talking about. And she said to me, hey, we’re doing a price increase. I’ve got you grandfathered in for like the equivalent of five years ago, I’m going to move you up, but not to our new rate but we are just going to catch you up from like what it was two years ago instead of five years ago when you started.
So like she’s still giving me a deal. She still upping her rates, like absolutely continue to raise your rates on these clients, because if you don’t, you will not be able to afford to continue to deliver great service to your most loyal clients. And if they are that price-sensitive, they’re not great clients.
And finally, and watch, watch how carefully I’m going to hook this into our segment. We are talking about annual planning. Right now is the exact right time to be talking about raising your rates. Right now is, it’s just natural, right? I’m a service-based business. I sell my time. Inflation has been crazy, we are looking into 2023. Our new rates are X, right. This is the right time to do that.
Gyi Tsakalakis: To learn more about these opportunities and much more for free, download Clio’s Legal Trends Report at clio.com/trends, that’s Clio, spelled C-L-I-O, and make sure to check out the latest Legal Trends Report from Clio that should be released as you’re listening to this.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, and we’ll do a whole bunch of work on Legal Trends Report in the upcoming episodes. But, but read this, this is a must-read for everyone.
Hey Gyi, how many of your clients have an annual plan for 2023? How many of them are building that out?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I have to be honest, I don’t know that the direct answer to that, but I will tell you that that’s something that we preach internally to have that conversation with clients all the time. So important. How many of yours are?
Conrad Saam: All of them.
Gyi Tsakalakis: All of them? Good job.
Conrad Saam: So I mean, we actually run annuals and it’s not annual business planning, but it is annual marketing planning for our clients, and we have a series of workshops that we work through and then it’s really based around. And this is I think the most important thing.
We need to know where you want to go as a business, right. And there’s lots of different paths that you can take, but the answer we want to grow is not a good target for your annual plan. You need to know where you want to go. And that where do you want to go, could be something like we want to achieve X amount of revenue. We want to go from 200 intakes a month to 240 intakes a month. We want to open a new office. We want to hire three new lawyers, right. These are all kind of smart goals that talk about growth, and they’re all good. But what they give you because they are smart goals, is they give you a path to figure out, okay, what do we need to do to get there, right.
And my fear is a lot of law firms think about this, well, we’re going to grow next year. Well, how much? Bigger. How much bigger? Bigger than we are today. Where are we today? We are not really sure, right. And that’s, that’s not an annual plan.
So I do think you need to start with very, very specific business metrics in order to achieve that.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Agreed. We run traction. I encourage people to check out traction. It’s you know, I kind of think. So just a framework, set of tools, but it’s kind of like, use a sports ball analogy. It’s like a type of offense you can run, but we talk about ten year target, three year picture, one year plan.
So annual planning is a one-year plan, but as you go from 10 year target to one year plan, you’re going from like really big kind of fuzzy directionally your big vision to the more tactical. And again, if you think your practice is a business which by the way it is, unless you’re as a hobby or it’s purely pro bono or –
Conrad Saam: Stop it.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Then you need a plan. You need a plan and in fact, we even go shorter clip than that, because when it gets really tactical within the 90-day world, but when you’re planning, yeah, but Conrad mentioned, you should be evaluating, where you were this last year, whatever those metrics are going to be, you should have a scorecard, right.
We are going to talk metrics in a second and then, how are you going to improve, and it’s, that’s the thing to that. Sure, Conrad faces, because we talked about this all the time, but you can have a huge vision. You can be like I want to be the dominant personal injury firm in the State of Texas, but how are you going to get there. And are you going to support that with the time and money it’s going to take to actually make that growth, and is revenue even the right metric for you, right.
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s what planning does and then you get that plan in place and now you go execute, then you measure and then you do it again.
Conrad Saam: So as a bit of an aside, we would love to hear from you if you have implemented traction at your law firm. It’s built on the book ‘Traction’ by Gino Wickman, quite the rage in some within some law firms.
So we would love to hear from you if you use traction, that might be an interesting conversation for us to have.
The other part, I think that’s really important, Gyi mentioned having a three-year plan, which is helpful. If you just kind of do one-year plan to one-year plan to one-year plan, it’s a little bit undirected. And having those metrics and I think the key here, one of the things that traction preaches, we’ve — I’ve done this forever. I’ve done this since my days at Avvo frankly, Mark Britton used to do this. Every quarter we would do a full-on business review and I’ve extended that to the agency and we do that with our clients as well, but it is a review of those business metrics, those business goals that you have whether it’s revenue or lawyers or new offices. And where are you with regards to achieving those things and coming back and reviewing them.
If you don’t review those on a quarterly basis, it’s useless, because what’ll happen is, in November of next year you’re going to search for that file on your computer, right, like what was the annual plan, then you’re going to look up what you decided your goal was, which you’ve already forgotten about because you’re so busy doing, doing cases and hiring people, and running a business. And then you are like oh, we’re nowhere near where we wanted to be, because we haven’t looked at it.
And so that kind of goes back to the importance of the written plan and those regular quarterly check-ins. What else do you think about from an annual planning perspective, Gyi? Like, what are the key things that you want to know about a law firm when you’re handling their plan for next year?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, you know, I mean, we’re specifically talking about marketing.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, that’s fair.
Gyi Tsakalakis: The big ones that I look at are looking at their target market. So, they’re targeted ideal average client personas –
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Are those right? Is the positioning right. And really for me, a lot of it, like the planning looking forward is that’s the output. But the input really is looking back and saying, did we actually execute? Do we execute on all the things that we wanted to execute on?
Conrad Saam: Right.
Gyi Tsakalakis: How do those things perform? Because the year gives you a good amount of time to say, hey, look, we actually invested some time and money into this. Are we moving in the right direction based on whatever metric that we want to look at? And because you can’t re-evaluate your positioning and your budget week to week, month to month. It’s just not enough time. The other thing you have to factor in to all this, and I think we’re trying out this in the context of the downturn. But, year-over-year, the COVID year might look a lot different than on non-COVID year for certain practice areas. I mean, I remember talking to a lot of personal injury firms that primarily focused on motor vehicle accidents and like in the counties they were in, they went from 400 motor vehicle accidents in their county to 0 overnight. So, all that’s got to be taken into account. And then, the big one is that, okay, you want to grow your Revit. Let’s just say, we even get you to you want to grow your revenue by 30% this coming year. I guess, how are you going to support it?
Conrad Saam: Right.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You know, you’re going to try to do it completely organically. You’re going to do it for free. You can do it with just investment of your time. Is that realistic? How did that go last year? Those are the kind of types of things that we look at.
Conrad Saam: So, just to get slightly one flavor further deep on that, you need to understand that the more aggressively you want to grow, the more money you need to put into your growth, right? It’s so obvious, which is frankly taking money out of your profitability, right? You are reinvesting your profit into your growth or you could be maximizing your profit, which is totally cool, right? But those two things, there’s a long-term and short-term side to this at work against each other and you need to be okay and understand that there is a push and pull between that short-term profitability and that long-term growth.
Gyi Tsakalakis: All right, when we come back, we’re going to be talking about key metric, metrics that matter in line with these annual plannings. What are the marketing metrics power rankings that we think are most important?
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Gyi Tsakalakis: And we’re back —
Conrad Saam: We’re back.
Gyi Tsakalakis: — with the Marketing Metrics Power Rankings. So, we have these five metrics. Yes, we know there are a lot more marketing metrics. So, when you LHLM us with, oh, what about impressions and click-through rate, we know we can summarily dismiss you.
Conrad Saam: If you like to talk about impressions and click-through rate, come on to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing and Gyi will make fun of you.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yes. And so, two things, one was we’re putting this list together. It’s really important not to have too many metrics. You know, we talked about traction. I’m going to screw this up. So, traction disciples, you can correct me. But I think for scorecard metrics, they talked about three to seven. So, we’re going to do five —
Conrad Saam: And just tied in to Baker, Baker has his own metrics, right? And he is 8.
Gyi Tsakalakis: He’s 8, yeah.
Conrad Saam: For running a firm, it’s 8:00 and, actually, he’s a pilot and he uses the analogy as if you are a pilot and you have 100 dials to look at, you will crash, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right.
Conrad Saam: And so, he’s talking about the 8 and this metric is underneath all of these, of course, but —
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right.
Conrad Saam: If we had a finite number of don’t fly into the mountain metrics, these are the five that we would pick.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And the other thing too that’s important in whittling down the list is these are metrics that are related to business objectives. They’re not, you know, I made fun of impressions and click-through rate. Someone was talking about bounce rate again. Yet again, with the bounce rate, please stop. Let’s talk business objectives. You know, your law firm is not going to crash into the mountain because of your bounce rate, but it might crash into the mountain if you’re way off on one of these five metrics. Let’s dive in. You want to start with number one or number five.
Conrad Saam: Let’s make this like a countdown to the big reveal.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Got it.
Conrad Saam: Number five, most importantly —
Gyi Tsakalakis: I rank these by the way, so you might disagree.
Conrad Saam: No, no, we’re good. We’re good.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Okay.
Conrad Saam: I think actually the important key here is these five metrics are really, really important how we prioritize across them becomes interesting.
Gyi Tsakalakis: We find about it.
Conrad Saam: Number five is sales velocity, the initial responsiveness and the velocity through which people walk through the sales process. And the reason I campaign for the sales velocity is this is so easy to measure and fix. A lot of these other things that are harder to fix and access. We did a whole thing on sales velocity in the last episode that sales velocity is basically how responsive are you and how quickly are you at getting prospects through your sales funnel from reaching out to you into that client that assigned. And if you know what those numbers are, you can work to improve them and it’s really just a matter of improving your responsiveness across a whole variety of things. But that’s why it’s so important to me because the contrapositive to a fast sales funnel is a slow sales funnel and that overall reduces your overall conversion rate. You do a worse job. You’re delivering a worse service. You’re hard to get a hold of all of those things. And so, sales velocity is super, super important. Gyi?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Agree.
Conrad Saam: What’s number four?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Number four is the marketing pie graph. So, Conrad, I think you actually dubbed the marketing pie graph. So, why don’t you take us through what’s in your marketing pie, graph?
Conrad Saam: I’m going to stick with this funnel again, but you should know just very simply be able to build a pie graph of where your leads, consultations, ideally clients and ideally revenue, right? Those are four amazing pie graphs to know where your clients are coming from. Now, the nuance behind this. And we’ve talked about this before is the source attribution of where they’re actually coming from, right? And that is why it is very important to have in my opinion to source fields for each prospect. One is that Automagic, which is I track you from a Google ad click to hiring me and we know nothing else about you. And the other is what’s called self-reported attribution modeling which is, hey, we are often referred business where you referred by anyone and that will give them a free form answer to tell you that, oh, I actually saw you on the billboard —
— or whatever that might be, very important building out. And then from there, you have to distill which of those ones is actually the important one because that billboard call may actually have showed up in someone searching for your brand and clicking on a Google ad, for example, right? And so, you have to then build it. But across your funnel, leads, consultations, clients and revenue by your marketing channel to see how things are going, right? Really, really important.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Which will bring us to number 3, which I go back and forth because this one to me is like I think when we get to the two and one and I’ll talk myself out of it. But this one for me is like closing. It’s arguable top two maybe even one.
Conrad Saam: Okay.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Cost per acquisition. And whether that’s really cost per acquisition of a client because this is where you’re going to know how much money and time you can spend to get your next client. If you don’t know that, you’re going to overspend. You’re going to dip into profitability. You might get more clients. We see this all the time. It’s like, yeah. Guess what? Revenue went up. But guess what? So did the cost and in fact the cost went up faster than the revenue did. So, we’re actually losing money. Target cost per acquisition of a client, target cost per acquisition of a consultation, put that in your marketing pie graph two. But until you actually have with the marketing people would call a pro forma of your target cost per acquisition of a client or at least start cost per acquisition of a consultation, I know in the PI space, this is tough because you’ll say things like, oh well, you know, one client can be worth $10 million. Put some targets in there. Take some medians, look back at your historicals. Don’t build it on the outliers. Figure out what you’re willing to spend to get your next client.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, no one goes into the grocery store and buy stuff without knowing what the prices are, right? So, why are you buying clients without knowing what the price is, right? And without knowing what you’re willing to pay, right? That might actually be more important which is your target cost per acquisition. And if you’re willing to pay, I like to look at these as percentages especially in the PI world. If you’re willing to pay 20% of the value of your average car crash, right now you know what your cost per acquisition is. That means you work for Google on Monday if you’re running pay-per-click ads, but you work for yourself on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, right, which is great. You need to look at it in those terms. Otherwise, you will never, never figure out how to spend money wisely. And it gets nuance, right? Pay-per-click is linear, it’s immediate, it’s frequently a sales function as opposed to a marketing function. People decided to buy, they just need to buy it from you. And then, you have things like social media where it is a much longer-term, and we’re not necessarily dividing all of your social media spend by this one client because it was not linear like that. It was across all the clients in that social media space because it is around brand awareness, right? You need to know what these numbers look like.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Which takes us to power marketing metric number two, which is referred business. And this time, I would cost per acquisition. You should know how much money you’re spending on generating referrals, and how much time you’re investing in nurturing, referral relationships, and what the value of those referrals are for your firm and especially if you pay, if you’re in an area there you pay on referrals, that’s a very important metric from an acquisition standpoint because it’s what I hear all the time. Oh well, our business is just based on referrals. So, we don’t spend any money on marketing. Oh, really? You didn’t fly across the country to go speak at that Lawyers Summit? You didn’t spend money taking people out to dinner? You didn’t spend money and time doing all these things to nurture your relationships? And then, there’s another piece. So, I think that you wanted to speak to you about referral business because referrals also is a measure of your brand position, right?
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Do people know your name? Do they know your firm name?
Conrad Saam: Hundred percent, the other beautiful element of referral business if you know these ex-clients, right? And this is the best indicator that you’re doing a great job servicing your clients. If you’re getting like this is a no-brainer, but no one is looking at the number of referrals that they get from their past clients as an indicator of the quality of work that they do, right? Are you actually measuring that? And if that number is going up, you’re doing a great job at servicing your clients, right? Whether or not you’re doing a great job in the courtroom is a different conversation, but you’re doing a great job at servicing your clients from a — what I call the doctor’s bedside manner perspective. People really like working with you and, therefore, they’re going to send you more business. That is a great indicator for me. All right, Gyi, drumroll please.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Drumroll, this is big.
Conrad Saam: Drumroll.
Gyi Tsakalakis: This is it. I think people are going to be disappointed that this is the number one.
Oh, we have a gong.
Conrad Saam: Okay, what’s number one?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Client happiness, and one way to measure client happiness, you mentioned it before but another one in addition to referrals from former clients is reviews from clients. Now, I’m telling you, I know you’re already like I do a great job for clients, but my clients are people who have been arrested for DUI and they don’t want to go into Google and talk about how I got them acquitted for their DUI and that’s totally understandable. Fine. Maybe, it’s not reviews for you. Maybe, it’s client feedback surveys. Maybe, it is the second time referrals or maybe it’s second time business. Maybe, it’s hired you to do something else. But if you’re not talking to your clients about their happiness and managing to that, everything else isn’t going to matter. You know, we talk about this all the time. You can’t SEO your way out of a bad reputation. The practice of law is a reputation business, and happy clients are the currency of reputation businesses.
Conrad Saam: And if you are really amazing, you can get your review percentage. Clients reviews over a 100%, right, Gyi?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. You have one client, but you actually have 100 happy reviews on Google.
Conrad Saam: Don’t do that. Don’t do that. Oh, don’t review yourself either.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I know, right?
Conrad Saam: Hm-mmm…
Gyi Tsakalakis: Have you ever seen that happened? Does that happened, the lawyers review themselves on Google?
Conrad Saam: Wah-wah-wah. All right, no. We’re supposed to be leaving on a high note, client happiness. Do a great job. Net promoter score, go look it up, right? Find out how you’re doing. Most of you have a very, very limited insight into how happier clients are. I’ll be blunt. I have a limited view into how happy my clients are, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: And remember too, it’s not just about outcomes, you know. Lawyers think it’s about service. It’s about experience.
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: A lot of clients don’t know what a good outcome is. And so, asking them about things like how do you think about service. And guess what? All of these tied into each other because if you go back to metric number five in sales velocity and responsiveness, guess what? The more responsive you are with clients, the happier your clients are going to be.
Conrad Saam: Brought to you by Clio’s Legal Trends report. That’s going to come out. What are the most important things to you? And I guarantee you, responsiveness is going to be top three, if not, number one.
Gyi Tsakalakis: By the way, Lunch Hour Legal Marketing is now on TikTok. So, if you’re a Tiktoker, check out LHLM on TikTok. And also, you know, we’re always trying to improve. You know, we talked all the time about getting feedback from clients. Well, dear listener, you’re our client. So, please do fill out the Legal Talk Network Listener survey at legaltalketwork.com/survey which makes me think, Conrad, what’s your favorite podcast?
Conrad Saam: My favorite podcast — this is I’m going to lay — well, I will give you a specific episode to listen to. If you are a business owner — Chris Walker, you know I have a kind of business crush on Chris Walker. He runs a business called Refined Labs. He’s completely outside of legal marketing world, but he’s super, super smart. His new podcast, it came out. It is Episode 3 where he talks about the loneliness of being a business owner, and he talks about how sometimes, especially small businesses, over invest in technology. He talks about what you need to do in order to grow. But I really like Chris Walker’s podcast from Refined Labs, super, super fascinating and I love looking outside of the legal industry to get more intelligent about how to market the legal industry, and this is a great out-of-the-box experience. Chris Walker is just amazing. Check it out. How about yourself? What would you listen to?
Gyi Tsakalakis: 2Bobs, David C. Baker, Blair Enns.
Conrad Saam: Okay.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Enough said.
Conrad Saam: Enough said. So, those of you who are lawyers, don’t listen to 2Bobs because it’s immaterial to you. But it is —
Gyi Tsakalakis: False, false.
Conrad Saam: You’re saying false?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yes, there’s plenty of applicability.
Conrad Saam: All right.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s not directed towards lawyers, but it’s directed towards businesses that sell expertise being —
Conrad Saam: Okay.
Gyi Tsakalakis: — creative firms. And let me tell you, you’re going to do review of selling the invisible. That’s the stuff that these guys —
Conrad Saam: Okay.
Gyi Tsakalakis: — at least in some episodes. Some episodes, you’re right, some of those won’t apply. But a lot of it that what they talked about in terms of positioning and selling expertise, right in line with practicing law.
Conrad Saam: And, okay. So, I’ll jump on. I’ll start to agree with you. Blair Enns will talk ad nauseam about value pricing, right, which is not hourly pricing. So maybe, you brought me around.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So, fill out that listener survey legaltalknetwork.com/survey. Tell us what you think.
Conrad Saam: Gyi, it’s time for a bedtime story.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I love bedtime stories.
Conrad Saam: This is a new segment that we’re doing and if you hate it because you don’t have enough time to read, which is why it’s in a podcast, —
— let us know it, hashtag LHLM. But we’re going to start doing book reviews, right? I’m getting notes from Adam to show my book. This book — this is ‘Selling The Invisible’, which frankly looks like nothing because I’d had this so long that the book jacket is worn off. I have read ‘Selling The Invisible’ by Harry Beckwith, at least 10 times. This is my original copy and I write in my books. So, it’s completely torched. I have probably sent close to 100 copies of this to lawyers and friends who run a service business. And the reason I love selling invisible so much is it is marketing service business, right? The importance of how you market a service business being very different from how you market a Ford Bronco, for example, and it’s the intangibles. And so, Harry talks about positioning. He talks about the intangibles. One of the greatest anecdotes out of this is how supermarkets have done a study of which oranges are selected, right? If you put out two baskets of oranges, figuring out which ones are more likely to be selected. Gyi, do you know what the number one factor that determines which oranges are selected first?
Gyi Tsakalakis: The not moldy ones.
Conrad Saam: The not moldy. You’re onto something. It’s the color. The oranges to oranges get picked first and the color of orange has nothing to do with the flavor of the orange juice. In fact, it’s inversely related because the more orange it is, the less — the longer it’s been sitting there and the less fresh it is, right? And yet, no one knows that until everyone buys really, really orange, oranges. Beckwith talks about the importance of positioning and it’s a really great read for people thinking about positioning. I’m going to read you a little passage. He’s talking about a service business and positioning, and we talked about positioning a lot. Most of you are positioning yourselves as a lawyer which is not positioning, scales of justice, leather bound books, the columns, et cetera. This is from Beckwith. His positioning veered so far from the others that he made the others appear almost identical to one another, thus reducing the five-firm competition to two firms, Graves and the best of the other four. And it is very easy to do this in the legal market because most of you have, frankly, no unique positioning other than I graduated law school, right? And so, being able to stand out and being that firm that is different, positions everyone else as frankly the same. Do I like the unique version? And if I don’t like the unique version, I got to select among four or five and all the other firms in the market. And if I do like that unique positioning, there’s no way I would ever hire anyone else. So, this is an old business book, but it is a great one ‘Selling the Invisible’ by Harry Beckwith.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Five stars from Conrad.
Conrad Saam: Five stars. And with that dear listener, it brings us to yet another episode of Lunch Hour Legal Marketing conclusion. Please do press that subscribe button on your favorite podcasting subscription service.
Leave us your review and hashtag LHLM to let us know what you think or what you like to hear us talk about. Until next time, Conrad and Gyi at Lunch Hour Legal Marketing signing off.
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: Let’s talk more about annual plans, Gyi. How many of your clients and —
Gyi Tsakalakis: I have to read the Clio report.
Conrad Saam: Oh, you’ve got to read. The nice thing about Clio, see, he’s being a good host. Those of you who are not watching this episode and listening to it, I was getting the dirty look from Gyi like when is Conrad going to shut up.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, you’re getting the hook in the chat. You’re going to say I’ve been pulled off the stage. All right, here we go.
Conrad Saam: Ignore the chat. Yeah. Okay.
Gyi Tsakalakis: To learn more — oh, sorry again.