Where is your law firm headed in the next year? We know you want to improve your business, and here’s how! Later, a good plan relies on good data. Gyi and Conrad discuss the most important KPIs for your firm.
You want growth for your law firm, so what’s your plan? Gyi and Conrad have had too many lawyers tell them, “I don’t know… you tell me!” So, that’s what we’re doing today. The guys break down the key elements of a top-notch annual plan that can be tailored to your particular business objectives.
Then, it’s question time! How does ChatGPT/AI affect marketing and SEO? Can you still stand out amongst the crowd? Gyi and Conrad discuss. Don’t forget to send in your questions and get a b-e-a-utiful Lunch Hour trucker hat.
And, last but not least, we’re bringing it back to your annual plan, dear lawyers. The guys each share their top 3 KPIs for measuring where you want to go with your law firm.
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Conrad Saam: Before we get started we’d like to give a huge thank you to our sponsors, Lawmatics and CallRail.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Happy Halloween Conrad. Are you a shark?
Conrad Saam: I am a shark. I am not a blue shark. But yes, I’m a shark. This is my kid’s Halloween costume when he was I think two or three. It fit his whole body and now it just fits my head, which makes my wife very sad. You look adorable in pink with a cute little nose there Gyi, what you got on?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I am Cheer Bear. My daughter’s costume because I wasn’t really in the Halloween spirit this year. I had this Gladiator mask, but we thought this would be more appropriate for the show. So thank you Alex for Cheer Bear. Conrad, what else are we talking about besides our Halloween costumes?
Conrad Saam: Besides our Halloween costume, as usual, we are going over the news and then we’re going to go deep on annual planning both the things that you should bring when you’re thinking about annual planning as well as metrics that you should consider. We also gave away another hat and are answering another user question.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Mr. Lockwood, hit the 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.
Conrad Saam: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. We are back every other Wednesday to help you grow your firm and stay on top of the latest in the industry. Speaking of staying on top of things, let’s hit the news.
All right, our good friends at CallRail have an integration with MyCase, which is awesome because MyCase has been a bit of a walled garden. It does not surprise me that one of the first integrations that they did was with our good dynamic call tracking friends over at CallRail.
In other news, Google’s LSAs, we are seeing them, they used to be frequently showing up as a trio. They’re now showing up as a duo. So the number of LSA showing up have dropped from three to two by and large.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Because Google makes more money off of clicks than they do off of leads.
Conrad Saam: There you go. Interesting. Cynical Point No. 1 brought to you by AttorneySync. Gyi, what else has been ruined by SEOs on the Internet.
Gyi Tsakalakis: The entire Internet has been ruined by SEOs according to a recent Verge article. I encourage you to check it out. I think it gives you a good lay of the land and some of the forces at play. TLDR Spam still works until it doesn’t and if you don’t like your Google results, you can just beat up the SEOs.
Conrad Saam: Beat up the SEOs. I love that it is all your fault Gyi. We would also like to congratulate a bunch of people who we are fairly good friends with, who have just put out tiger tactics, going from zero to law firm CEO. These are 13 professionals who have really gone from being a lawyer to running a law firm, friends of ours, Ryan McCain, Billie Tarascio, Bill Umansky at least Bowie, Jennifer Gore, a bunch of people who we are great friends with and their tiger tactics is doing really, really well. I’d recommend checking out an Amazon. We will make sure there’s a link in the show notes.
All right, and finally we haven’t talked enough about AI yet, but we will now. Pras of the Fugees retrial and it was because his previous attorney David Kenner was ineffective because he relied on AI programming to write a damaging closing argument. So I highlight this to build on the Clio Legal Trends report that came out and we covered last time but if you remember from our last episode, one of the things we called out was 50% of people do not feel comfortable with their lawyers using AI. And this is why stuff like this.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And so once again another warning not to let AI do your opening and closing arguments without some expert Lawyerly review.
Conrad Saam: Right so there’s place for AI in your law firm and there’s plenty of ways to make it go bad. When we come back, we are going to take a very high-minded perspective and go over the anatomy of an annual plan.
Gyi Tsakalakis: If you’re like a lot of lawyers that we talk to, you’re trying to grow your firm but you’re having trouble doing more in a day than just managing your systems.
Conrad Saam: So what you really need is a simple system that can easily identify where your profitable leads are coming from, analyze practice performance and easily sync up matters.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Now I’ve got to admit, I’m both an investor and advisor to Lawmatics and the reason is I’m super excited what Matt’s building over there.
Conrad Saam: So you don’t have to change your entire system, Lawmatics easily integrates with MyCase, Clio, Smokeball, Rocket Matter and lots of others.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So take a test drive today with Lawmatics to make client intake easier, lawmatics.com.
And we’re back. And this segment in part was inspired, now Conrad and I talk about this kind of stuff all the time. But recently I had a conversation with my business partner, Jeff Berman, and it went a little bit something like this. You know, we get all these lawyers Jeff talks to the lawyer. He’s the first person usually to conduct our exploratory calls and I said, you know, are we asking these prospective clients what success looks like for them? Where do they want to go over the next 12 months? And he said, out of 100 lawyers I talked to most of them say I don’t know where to go. So Conrad and I are here, we’re going to tell you the answer to that question and what you should be looking at in answering the where we going question.
Conrad Saam: We’ve covered this in the past. You’ll remember we talked about the percentage of your revenue that should be spent on marketing right and budgeting. This question comes up, comes up all the time on social media what percentage of my revenue should I spend on marketing and the answer is usually given us a number. The answer really is it depends on what you are trying to do, right, how far are you trying to go? What is your objective? Are you trying to maximize your profitability then the answer is very, very different then if you’re trying to take over Downtown, Chicago, right.
And so you need to start with those business objectives. And I don’t know how many of you guys are actually going through this annual planning process where you’re getting some stakeholders together, people who can actually move the needle and thinking through where do we want to go in 2024. And if you don’t do that, talking to me or Gyi and asking what we should do from a marketing perspective, it’s very much cart before the horse. Gyi, what are some of the things that you think a firm should bring to the table or questions to address when they are doing an annual plan?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. So we’re big on EOS. We talked about EOS before. We run it at our own company. We encourage law firms, the book is Traction. Give a shout-out to the Lawyerist Small Firm Roadmap. This is a similar thing, but it’s basically part of the process is this annual planning and so for me, the big three things that we want to start setting out is what is our target revenue and profit and what are the measurables that we’re going to use and we are going to go deeper on the measurables for the coming year. Not enough firms when they’re having marketing conversations, not even marketing, I call it growth conversations are like, let’s put a revenue or a fee target on the board. And so to me, that’s one thing that I would start with.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, and I mean revenue is clearly the obvious and easy one to look through and yet most of you aren’t bothering to do that. Everything backed into revenue. I do think the one issue with PI firms is in many cases that revenue and the activity to generate that revenue, they are kind of far off. And so you’re probably looking 12-18 months out. So you can come up with different metrics around that. But Gyi you said and I think this was very, very, it was subtle but it is very important. You said growth instead of marketing. Why did you make that distinction?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I think people have to myopic of view of marketing. I think that once we like put our marketing hat on it’s just so narrow and so many things impact growth and growth, that’s why the industry is moving to this idea of like chief revenue officers is for growth hacking over marketing. Marketing is just getting this, there’s a connotation about it that just it’s not inclusive enough and so especially law practices, there so much overlap between client experience and reviews and testimonials and opportunities to stay in touch with former clients and other referral sources and like I think when we say marketing, I think people mostly think of like ads or billboards or something.
Conrad Saam: I feel like they stop when we talk about marketing. They stop at the lead, right and I feel like a lot of firms and this is — this may come across as defensive as from an agency guy but a lot of firms are like, oh if I just had more leads with everything else we’ve got worked out and the problem with our growth is the leads. And Gyi, I mean you and I both know that that is not always the case. In fact, that is rarely the case.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, absolutely. And again, I think and I don’t want to steal your thunder as you’re going to talk about it but like, if you’re doing an annual planning session and like one of your big initiatives is to grow into a new location or grow into a new service offering like that’s not just a marketing thing that needs to be part of that planning process, right.
Conrad Saam: Absolutely. I think bringing things to the annual plan, one of those things to bring is do we have any big expansion plans? Are we trying to move into like this is the time to hash out whether or not you’re going to move into the Poughkeepsie or not, right, and then put some metrics around what that would look like. Or, are we going to expand or narrow our practice area focus.
This happens more frequently than you would think. We’ve got some clients who, you know, exogenous variables have made personal injury in Florida a little less attractive, and so they’re moving entirely into different markets. This is a great time to revisit that and sit back and think so you’re not reactive. We’re looking a year ahead, maybe three years ahead, and recognizing that there are things that we want to change. And so a new market, either geographically or a new market from a practice or a narrowing of either the annual planning session is a great time to actually have that conversation.
The other thing I would want to bring, and you and I talk a lot about not being so myopically focused on tactically what the competition is doing, but I do think this is a good time to sit back and list out your competitors. And it might not just be law firms, it might be the do it yourselfers. So think out of the box. This is a lot of kind of high-level contemplation. But what is going on in the competitive set? What is going on, like, even tactically, how does your local falcon scan look today compared to how it did at the beginning of last year when you were doing this and ideally, you’ve got those saved. But understanding who’s coming for you, who’s not. And where there are opportunities or where there are threats.
We talked about SWOT strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Those threats are frequently the competition.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, absolutely. We’re big on SWOT analysis, part of the annual, and if you go search for EOS annual planning agenda, you can pull this stuff, the templates for this stuff, at least the stuff that, some of the stuff I pulled. So SWOT analysis on there. The other thing, and you mentioned this too, and I should qualify when I was talking about revenue. Revenue, profit and the measurables, you should be looking at reviewing those on a ten-year basis. Like, what does your goal look like ten years from now? They call it ten-year target, three-year picture, one-year plan.
But the point is that I think everybody is so short-term focus. I need leads today. I need my phone to ring today. You’re not thinking big enough. You’re not thinking long term enough. It makes you less likely to make longer term investments in your business because you’re so focused on those short-term, those 90-day windows. I think the annual planning process is a good time to sit back and reflect on where are we really trying to go over the next 3, 10 years.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, absolutely. The other thing I like to do with an annual planning session is to talk about the things you’re doing. Tactically, what we are not doing? What marketing channels are we not engage in. this is the time to talk about is radio right for us or what is happening in radio. You know, we’ve decided long ago that pay-per-click doesn’t work for us, now’s the time to maybe reconsider that or maybe that’s the time to say, “Hey, you know what, we spent a whole bunch of money on pay-per-click and that was our most expensive marketing channel and we don’t need to grow that fast next year. So maybe we should cut pay-per-click, right?” It’s a good time.
But think about the things that you’re not doing. Right now is the time to think about what are we not going to do. Maybe SEO hasn’t been in the mix. Maybe your newsletter hasn’t been in the mix and email newsletter, right? This is the time to bring all these things up and validate whether or not you think that’s something that we should do. Put some targets around getting those things off the ground and then coming back to that and seeing whether or not it was actually effective. So think out of the box from the things not just that you’re doing but really what you’re not doing.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, I agree. You alluded to this and talking about in the context of like target market, another big thing from the EOS annual planning to look at every year is what they call your three uniques, which are essentially unique selling propositions or like why would someone hire you, right and this is a constant refinement. But again, so many of our conversations with lawyers go like this. I’m a personal injury lawyer in New York. Well, that’s not positioning. There’s nothing unique about that and so annual planning like come, ready to poke holes in those things that you think are your positioning statements, your unique selling propositions, try some new stuff and really put those to the test and you should be. Again, this is an annual process, right? So you should be — if your bookmarking this or you’re taking the template down, this isn’t just like do it this year and then you’re done. This is something you should be doing at least once a year. To me, that’s still is one of the big blind spots for so many firms is that they’re not thinking about how to position themselves against their competitors like those three things together have to be — have something that helps you stand out or else you’re making it a lot harder for yourself.
Conrad Saam: So my big takeaway here, Gyi, and you started off and we’ve had the same conversation with firms as well is most of you — let me rephrase that, let me not besmirch the entire audience. Many of you don’t have a clear understanding of where you want to go in 2024 and it’s certainly not quantifiable.
And we’re going to get into the quantifiable metrics on the other side of the ad, but spend the time November, December, lots of work kind of slows down. This is a great time. Spend the time. Stop what you’re doing right now, put it on the calendar, get the people who are going to be able to make decisions and have the ability in the firm to have an impact on where you want to go and have that conversation, right? When we do it at a client, on site with a client, it’s a day-long session, right? This is not like a lunch meeting. So if that’s not on your calendar or if it hasn’t been on your calendar, I plead with you to make that happen. When we come back, we’re going to go into three metrics from Gyi, three metrics from Conrad around what you think a key number should be when you are considering 2024. So if you happen to run into Gyi and myself, the Lunch Hour Legal Marketing Merch has finally become reality and we are giving away an amazing trucker hat to those of you who asked a question. We gave away I think 25 or so at Cleo. So we’ve got a lot of good questions. If you want a hat, send us a question and we will send you a Lunch Hour Legal Marketing Hat if both Gyi and I like your question. Aha, there you go. So Mr. Lockwood, what is the question Gyi and I are going to answer right now?
Alex Rodriguez: So my name is Alex Rodriguez. I am the founder of Industrial Business Lawyers and my main marketing question is, I see a lot of hype now with like ChatGPT and how that is affecting marketing, but I still haven’t figured out how it is that ChatGPT and the large language models affect on SEO. So, if I’m like starting to compete with like other companies and they have access to same tools, how can I have a leg up?
Conrad Saam: How do you have a leg up when ChatGPT can create content? Gyi, what’s your answer to this?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, there’s a lot of different ways to answer this. The first one is search engines and people are less and less able to tell the difference just straight up frankly. I mean we talked about this before you can go search for ChatGPT for legal marketing. But to me again, it’s all a red herring like it doesn’t matter whether ChatGPT wrote it or a person wrote it. Are you writing something — from an SEO perspective, it’s all about capturing demand? So are you satisfying the searchers’ intent or is your ChatGPT post satisfying the searchers’ intent? If it is, it’s more and more likely going to show up in search engine results and everything that I would say to is that remember, you know we think about SEO, to me SEO isn’t just about appearing for relevant queries. It’s motivating a user to click through like what they’re reading and then contact or higher or buy depending on what the site is and if your content is just designed to rank, you are going to get halfway there. It’s not going to make you any money. What do you think Conrad?
Conrad Saam: See, I know that Gyi listens to Chris Walker because he said captured demand, the very Chris Walker comment. For those of you who want to explain your mind on marketing, check out Chris Walker Revenue Vitals podcast. It’s amazing. My take on this answer is what AI-generated content has done is it’s basically leveled the playing field for content. It used to be that a very, very large site had an advantage because it just had the page count and it could get the long tail queries and all that stuff. No longer competitive advantage. You asked how to get a leg up? Well, the reality is for the little guy it’s leveled the playing field and this is a macro concept. So you now no longer are at a disadvantage because you don’t have the page count. There are other elements of SEO’s tool that need to be done well but it is no longer had the ability to churn out article after article after article after article, which it takes a ton of time.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You know, here’s another thing to think about.
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So, you know, we talked about this Verge article at the top of the new section of this episode. ChatGPT can’t write that article. So you want to stand out, go see what the Verge journalist is doing, right? It’s original research. It’s original interviews. Maybe you have original data that’s available to you that ChatGPT doesn’t have but that’s the way to set yourself apart. I mean that writer, there’s no way ChatGPT could write that article. And so, you know, is that right? That journalist has nothing to worry about because they’re actually doing the legwork. They’re going out and interviewing people in the industry. That’s the way to stay relevant as a writer for ChatGPT. But again, it’s not a binary thing in my opinion, like, if that writer use ChatGPT to help come up with the interview, “Hey, ChatGPT, what questions would you ask SEOs and blah, blah, blah about how SEOs have ruined the internet.” That can be a good use of the tool. But I don’t know, as we were talking about it like that article does such a good job of showing the example of where ChatGPT is now.
Again, could generative AI eventually with the right prompts and the right inputs they get there, maybe, but this is the whole point though is that you know people they hear about this technology and they’re like, “Oh, this is awesome. I never have to write again. I can have all my pages created by generative AI and you’re not going to get the same quality of thing if you do that.” Just like you’re not going to get the same quality of thing if you hire, you know, your second grader to go write your blog posts, right? I mean, that’s a human but it’s not a human who’s an expert who can speak expertly about their expert subject matter, so anyone.
Conrad Saam: All right, if you want a hat send us a question, review us on Apple. Give us a rating on Spotify. We’d love to hear from you. Oh sorry, that wasn’t a review (00:20:40) get a hat. Let me be really clear to all those ethical people out there who I just blew their mind. Please review us on Apple. Please review us wherever you may get your podcast.
Gyi Tsakalakis: We won’t get you a hat.
Conrad Saam: (00:20:52) different news. You will not get a hat, but if you do send us a good question, you’ll get a hat. How’s that?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Maybe if you leave a question in the review, we will give you a hat. No, you can’t —
Conrad Saam: Leave it to five-star question in the review. Five-star review and the question. Yeah. No, all right. Most of you are in the midst of planning for 2024, but if you want to grow your law firm, you first need to know where you want to go. In terms of measuring where you want to go Gyi and this like the big, big number. You are going to share three each our favorite numbers for measuring where you want to go. Gyi, take it away. What is, maybe not your number one, but one of your top three.
Gyi Tsakalakis: This is my number one. Because at the end of the day everything else has to be accountable to this. I’m going to say fees, and again, we could get in people who are going to say, “Well, what about profit?” And profit is a thing but there’s some nuance in why profit, depending on where you are, might not be your thing. Growth and top-line fees. I think that if you’re not interested in growing your top-line fees, remembering we’re talking about growth and so you’re talking about total number of new clients at x value per client, but it’s fees to me and then people will say, “Well, okay, that’s great. We want fees to go up.” Well how much? And ideally, you’re doing that based on historical data. So ideally, you would say in the context of marketing expenditures we’ve made in the past, this is what our historical fee growth has been over certain periods of time. Maybe you go back three years, you know. If you have a benchmark, a data benchmark, that’s where I would start but if you don’t, if you’re like, “I’ve never tracked anything” like “I have no idea. I have to go call my accountant and figure out how much money I made”, take last year’s fees and raise it by a percentage, you know.
You want to try to go for the swing for the fences, up to you, but this is just another way to think about it. But if you want to force my hand on a number, I would be thinking like 30% growth. 30% growth of top-line fees year over a year I think is a starting point and you can get all upset about me and say it’s not ambitious enough or its way to crazy ambitious, but I’m trying to give you a number so I’ll start with that. Conrad, what’s yours?
Conrad Saam: Well, I like that you mentioned profit in their kind of in threw it away a little bit, but we’re assuming that the people listen to Lunch Hour Legal marketing are interested in marketing and therefore growth so we’re making that assumption. But there is something to be said for that firm that’s like, “You know what? I’m super happy where we are. I have no desire to be more than the four of us and we’re doing a great job” and then in which case like growing profit is actually very, very relevant. And in those cases, you actually need to be thinking about what are the things I can do to either generate more valuable fees with the time that I have or cut the costs that I don’t need, right? Cut the expensive acquisitions. And so, I do think profit comes into there. I had revenue down as my number one as well but I do think it is worth a nod to those of you who are not really focused on revenue and we’ve talked about this in the past. Tomorrow’s revenue is built on today’s marketing profit, right, which is drawn out of your profit. So these two things, there is the harder you pull on one, the worst the other one does and that is okay. It is something to recognize but you may just be happy where you are in which case, really talking about improving your profit for the same amount of time, you work, that’s amazing as well. So I wouldn’t necessarily just discount that.
My next one and this is obviously very, very closely tied to revenue is more account on the number of new clients or matters that you’re generating and ideally, having that broken out month to month and that when you go from revenue, and it depends heavily on the type of law that you practice, that may be a better metric, right, for what you’re actually being able to generate and actually change. So the obvious example is personal injury, but if you want to grow into a practice area, for example, or if you want to, you know, build out a new attorney who’s coming to the firm, looking at the number of new clients and new matters that you can actually generate, that’s a really great number to then quickly go back up the funnel to understand what you need to be doing from a marketing perspective in order to assign those clients, right? And this is closely tied to revenue but it is a slightly different way of looking at it and I think that is really, really important. What about you?
Gyi Tsakalakis: We’d lined up on two. I have the same one. I articulate like this number of new clients and the cost of client acquisition.
Conrad Saam: Oh.
Gyi Tsakalakis: — in aggregate and by channel, so —
Conrad Saam: I love that.
Gyi Tsakalakis: — maybe trying to throw too many in there but you already made all the good points about the number of new clients. I mean again, if you’re opening matters, you’re getting retainer signed. Presumably, you’ve already done some filtering for the value of that client. So you might directionally a sense of how much that client’s worth but as Conrad’s point, you might not realize that revenue in the year and so tracking open, you know, new client files, but also the cost of acquiring those new client files and Conrad mentioned Walker. We’ve talked a lot about qualitative attribution. That’s why I think you got to be thinking about both the aggregate number but also breaking down the channel numbers so where you do have the more direct response, search, click, call. You’re actually saying, “Hey look”, and this is to me this is where you really start to dive into the profit thing because if it’s costing you more money to get these clients over a long enough time period, then it might be time to say, “Hey look, maybe these marketing resources should be deployed in different way.” You’re also going to see that there’s huge fluctuation, not just fluctuations, there’s huge differences, variance in the cost for acquisition for things like referrals than there might be for Google ads or for other even branding activities. And so this to me, you know, again, fees has got to be up there but this is really where the heavy lifting goes, new clients and the cost to acquire those new clients.
Conrad Saam: So you just gave our listeners a really good point and a great budgeting tool for direct response and by direct– I’m just going to start it this this down, but by direct response, we mean you’re not specifically looking for Smith & Jones Law Firm, you are looking for someone who does personal injury lawyer, whatever it might be, you do that query. You don’t have a predetermined answer of who you’re looking for and you’re proactively looking to make that higher. That is direct response and there channels that are really, really good at that and they’re super directional and they’re super linear in that if you know last year, it cost you $1,200 to acquire the client through pay-per-click and you want to grow your firm by Gyi’s 30%, that needs to be incrementally made up. Your minimum budget because it’s usually going to be most expensive line item in your expensive marketing channel, take your pay-per-click, just do the simple math, right? We want to grow by 30%, that’s going to look like X. We can acquire clients at a cost of Y, divide, and now you start to get an understanding of how many clients you can generate from that marketing channel and what it will cost you to make that happen.
Now, the key here is — the nuance that this assumes that there’s enough search impression share. You’re not already all over the pay-per-click game. Additionally, the more clients you require, the more it’s going to cost per client to acquire these clients. But it’s a really good starting point to understand what my budget might need to be in order to grow to, you know, by 30% or whatever that might look like.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah.
Conrad Saam: I love that. The flip side of that is many marketing channels work together, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right.
Conrad Saam: And if it’s not direct response, if its brand work, if it’s your billboards, et cetera, it’s much more difficult to do that, right? It is much more difficult to do that. It is a much fuzzier picture, but at the very least, if you just take all the stuff you’re doing and if I buy all the stuff that you get, you have a rough understanding of what it might take to get where you want to go. All right, Gyi, what’s your number three?
Gyi Tsakalakis: My number three is — now we’re starting to get. After those two, you’re getting the leading indicators and so I’m number of consultation appointments and I would still be thinking about this in terms of by channel and I would also segment brand versus non brand but the qualified consultation number, that’s your best leading indicator. You know, to think you’ve mentioned the PI stuff in terms of like long-term matriculation of actual fees, this is another way to get a prediction of where you’re headed because this is pipeline value, right? It’s how many consultations you’ve got and how much you’re spending to get these consultations and again, everything we said about new clients and cost per acquisition also true for consultations, understanding the cost per consultation based on channel, non-brand, brand, referral all that kind of stuff.
Conrad Saam: Love it.
Gyi Tsakalakis: What’s your three?
Conrad Saam: I have it slightly different. My number three, and this does not apply to most of our listeners, but I think it’s a really good number for the few that it does. If you are a law firm in puberty, your goal should be dropping your caseload.
What do I mean by a law firm in puberty? You specifically, you run the law firm, if you can answer yes to any of these questions, “Why am I working weekends so much? I wish I had time to do something other than cases,” or if you’re really big conundrum is, “Who can I hire next,” and the answer to that question is, “I’m trying to hire a jack-of-all-trades to handle a bunch of stuff for me,”. Your question, your real question is, “How dramatically can you reduce your caseload?” and you need to reduce your caseload by hiring attorneys or bringing on more paralegals to free up your time to go from that lawyer to the lawyer playing the CEO role.
And so, we run a couple of masterminds. I talk to lawyers all the time. I have four or five of you who I’m specifically thinking about right now who are wrestling with this problem, but you are in law firm puberty, and the key for your success, the key for your growth, not just the marketing growth but the key for your growth is getting yourself out of the day-to-day. Ken Hardison of PILMMA talks about moving from working in your business to working on your business, and the metric to evaluate that is how much have you been able to drop your caseload.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I think it’s a great point, and the other thing that when you bring this one up, and I think this kind of rounds out a bigger piece of this conversation because really, it makes me think about — I think about my conversation with Jeff. If you don’t talk to your marketing people about this stuff, you’re going to have misalignment between your marketing, your growth, your budgets, and where you’re going to be, and here’s the example. If you’re on the phone with Conrad and you’re affirming puberty and you’re like Conrad, “I want to grow,” and Conrad’s like, “Great. Here’s your media plan. Here’s how much money you’re going to spend. Here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s your forecast,” and all this stuff and you never tell Conrad that you’ve got this, “I’m working weekends. I don’t have any bandwidth, but I can try to hire people,” guess what’s going to start happening? You’re going to start missing calls. You’re not going to follow up with prospects. And so, that’s really the impetus for all of this, is whether you’re doing the marketing yourself, whether you’re hiring someone, you have a director at your firm, or you’re using a fractional marketing person, or you’re working with an agency, you’ve got to talk about all these different elements to your planning because they are all interconnected. And so, anyway, it’s — I love that you put that on the board because it is so important.
And again, we talk to lawyers, and we’ll start going down that path and they’ll say, “I don’t understand why this is relevant to marketing.” And it’s like, “It is, because that’s going to be your growth obstacle.” Your growth obstacle is going to be — you don’t have anybody to work any of these cases. You don’t have any more time.
Conrad Saam: Right. Right. Right, yeah, I mean that is strangely — and I’m sure you have clients like this too, Gyi. We have a number of clients whose primary constraint is their internal capacity, right? And that is their biggest problem, and I have no desire to get into the hiring game but boy, oh boy, it’s a great problem to have too, right? So, you can be more picky and more choosy of who you take and you can be more profitable in more things you like or work with clients that you want. Like, that’s all great but like really it constrains our growth, so that can be your biggest constraint. It’s also like one of the hardest decisions to make, bringing on people into — it’s not like you’re turning up pay-per-click or turning it down. You’re talking about people’s lives, and so it’s really important. Okay, what I want to do next, Gyi, we talked about the things that you could look at, lightning round what are the things that we should ignore?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, cue that lightning round music. So, one of my favorite things to ignore is followers.
Conrad Saam: What, why? Don’t they turn into clients, Gyi? The more people I love who love me, that get turned to followers, aren’t they clients?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, the last time I checked, your landlord for your office leaves will not take follower counts in lieu of rent. Loosely could argue that maybe it’s a signal of like your brand awareness but most of it is noise, not signal.
Conrad Saam: All right. Speaking of noise and not signal, I would say ignore what your agency tells you about how good your agency is. Most of them are full of crap and their reports are designed not to be a blueprint for tomorrow but to be a glowing reflection of what happened yesterday. So, I would be very suspicious of your agency, especially if you don’t have access to the data that they are allegedly drawing from.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, you just stole all the rest of these from my list because I had traffic, rankings, raw calls, and pixels conversions, which are all great, meaningless agency metrics.
Conrad Saam: When you say raw calls, let’s dig deeper onto that. Why is raw on your list here? And let’s talk about how agencies are dirty and underhanded by reporting on raw calls.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Because they’re reporting calls from the court, from the clerks, from opposing counsel, from existing clients, from your spouse contacting the firm, to a bunch of like auto robo dialers who are calling your tracking numbers.
They’re reporting on all that stuff that is not meaningful at all. It’s the same thing as reporting raw clicks, raw session data from Google analytics. It’s totally meaningless on filter.
Conrad Saam: So, I hate to leave this with what sounds like a paid endorsement by our friends at CallRail, but this is exactly why you should have access to your CallRail data and you should be able to configure it so your CallRail only reports on first-time callers.
All right, Gyi. It has come to the end. I enjoyed you in a Care Bear hat, you know, pink and yellow looks surprisingly good on you. We have a buy this weekend, thank goodness, but next week Michigan game is where and will we be able to be proud of our boys in Maize & Blue.
Gyi Tsakalakis: We don’t have time to cover this topic.
Conrad Saam: I ambushed Gyi there. I ambushed Gyi.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Because we are wrapping up and I am so grateful to all of you for dropping by. Those of you subscribed, tell your friends, get the word out Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, get a hat, record a question, leave a review. Thanks so much. Until next time, this is Conrad and Gyi, signing off.
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Gyi Tsakalakis: I think we’re already back because there’s no another ad. No more ads?
Conrad Saam: We’re back. There is no ad. I did not read the show notes well.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Good to be back.