Vikram Rajan is a co-founder of PhoneBlogger.net, along with Mark Bullock. Vik started Practice Marketing Advisors and its blog...
Christopher T. Anderson has authored numerous articles and speaks on a wide range of topics, including law firm management,...
In order to run a law firm successfully, you need clients and one of the most effective ways to get clients is through referrals, but what’s the best way to get referrals? In this episode of The Un-Billable Hour, host Christopher Anderson and guest Vikram Rajan, co-founder of PhoneBlogger.net, lay out the four Cs of referability, which are:
They also discuss testimonials, how to get them, and their key benefits in legal marketing.
Vikram Rajan is a co-founder of PhoneBlogger.net. He started Practice Marketing Advisors and its blog because he realized attorneys, CPAs, and related professionals required specialized marketing help.
The Un-Billable Hour
How Lawyers Get Referrals: The Four Cs
Intro: Managing your law practice can be challenging. Marketing, time management, attracting clients, and all the things besides the cases that you need to do that aren’t billable. Welcome to this edition of ‘The Un-Billable Hour’, the law practice advisory podcast. This is where you will get the information you need from expert guests and host Christopher Anderson here on Legal Talk Network.
Christopher Anderson: Welcome to ‘The Un-Billable Hour’, the law practice advisory podcast helping attorneys achieve more success. We’re glad you can listen today on the Legal Talk Network.
I am your host, Christopher Anderson and I am an attorney with a singular passion for helping other lawyers be more successful with their law firm businesses. My team at How to MANAGE a Small Law Firm and I work directly with lawyers across the country to help them achieve success as they define it.
In ‘The Un-Billable Hour’ each month we explore an area important to growing revenues, giving you back more of your time and/or improving your professional satisfaction in one of the key areas of your business.
I start with the fundamental premise that a law firm business exists primarily to provide for the financial, personal and professional needs of you, its owner.
In this program, I have a chance to speak to you, as I do in presentations across the country about what it takes to build and operate your law firm like the business that it is. I have a chance to introduce you to a new guest each month to talk about how to make that business work for you instead of the other way around.
Before we get started, I do want to say a thank you to our sponsors Answer1 and Solo Practice University.
Answer1 is a leading virtual receptionist and answering services provider for lawyers. You can find out more by giving them a call at 800-answer1, or online at HYPERLINK “http://www.answer1.com/”www.answer1.com.
Solo Practice University is a great resource for solos no matter how long you’ve been practicing. Make sure you check out HYPERLINK “http://www.solopracticeuniversity.com/”solopracticeuniversity.com and learn how to run your practice better.
Today’s episode of ‘The Un-Billable Hour’ is “Transference of Trust”. One of the topics I cover in ‘The Un-Billable Hour’ is Marketing, and marketing is of course the lifeblood of any business and particularly of law firms, yet lawyers have many misconceptions about marketing what it is, and what it is not, and often don’t give it the attention that it needs.
One of the axioms of business in fact is that all else being equal. People will choose to do business with someone or some business, but that some business is usually represented by someone that they know, like and trust over someone that is missing those characteristics.
My guest today is Vikram Rajan. Vik is a Founder of PhoneBlogger.net, and a partner at Practice Marketing, Inc. In a very real sense what Vikram does is help businesses, especially law firms figure out how to get the prospective clients to know, like and trust them.
So let’s get started with the Transference of Trust.
Vikram, first of all, welcome to ‘The Un-Billable Hour’. I made a really, really brief introduction of you. You run a business called PhoneBlogger.net, let me just ask you to expand a little bit on my introduction. What is it you do? What is PhoneBlogger.net do for its customers?
Vikram Rajan: The PhoneBlogger is a marketing service for law firms predominantly. We call it Internet Word-of-Mouth Marketing. As you know most lawyers need to stay top of mind with their referral relationships, be it clients, other lawyers, their networking colleagues, and if they are out of sight they are out of mind, they are out of those referrals.
And so we solve that challenge of keeping top of mind. One of the simplest ways is to send out an email newsletter but who’s going to sit down and think of article ideas and then write them and edit them and optimize them for search and social media and finally get it onto the website or a blog and make sure it’s optimized again on the website itself and then promote it through social media and then get it finally into that email newsletter, well that’s what PhoneBlogger does.
We interview our clients through our partners over the phone, brainstorm article ideas with them, and then turn what they say into finished optimized articles using their words. So it’s their personality, their expertise, their approval and stays within attorney advertising rules as best and they don’t have to do any of that grunt work of a technology aspect of getting it onto the site and social and search and they could just sit back and get the introductions and referrals and speak invitations that PhoneBlogger.net arranges and it gets for them.
Christopher Anderson: It’s funny that now that you say that. I think I’m going to have a C to add to your four Cs, because one of the things that you just talked about, and of course, our listeners are like four Cs, what are they talking about? We’re going to be talking about in just a second. But one of the things about like you just mentioned that seems to be really important, and I just had a really long conversation with a member client of ours today is consistency.
And that is that when you do something whether it be a blog or a social media posting or a podcast or whatever that doing it, week in, week out, month in, month out on a consistent and regular basis is a real important factor in developing that audience and developing that trust. So I think that’s an important point to make that sort of jumped out from what you just said.
Vikram Rajan: Absolutely. Consistency is the pulse literally of marketing and consistency is a part of brands. What we repeat is essentially what our brand is, what we repeat of what we say because of slogans or emo, how we dress consistently becomes a personal brand and consistency is the bane of existence for a lot of us who are busy or who have maybe short attention spans or extremely busy with client service, and it’s hard to be consistent with the marketing but inconsistent marketing leads to inconsistent results.
And it’s tough to make the time to do things over-and-over again, and again phoneBlogger.net helps with that because we can take the onus on us to make sure it’s done properly and correctly and make sure that it takes minutes of our attorney client time and so they can get back to doing what they love and what they need to do with client service or even family time.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, so in one of my previous shows that I imagine you’ve obviously listened to lots of times, we talked about — we were talking — it was a different show that where we talked about marketing, we talked about the fact that marketing is about giving to the marketplace so that you can get from the marketplace.
And what we’re talking about today or at least what I would like to talk about with you today, it comes from some things that I’ve seen that you’ve written is about what marketing — so like what we talked about in that show was that the marketing’s main job is to bring qualified prospects to the door of the law firm in the right quantity with the right expectations, in the right frame of mind, basically ready to buy so that the sales department of the business or of the law firm can then convert them into clients.
What we didn’t talk about and what I want to talk about with you is that right frame of mind. We didn’t go in depth and for me, from reading what you wrote and from learning from some other places, one of the right frames of mind that is so important is that the marketing that’s done develops a mindset in the prospects that they know, like and trust the law firm or business that they’re looking at doing business with.
And of course, if you don’t know them delivering that feeling of knowing, liking and trusting them can be challenging. So I wanted to talk to you today a little bit about how business owners can build that trust in the marketplace. In other words, how do you begin the process with prospects who may not know you to get them to know you a little, like you a little more and trust you?
And to that end, you’ve written about the four Cs of referability. I’d like you to talk about that but before we do that like what do you mean by referability and how can they begin that process?
Vikram Rajan: Referability simply is are you able to be referred in basic sense of it, meaning, are you qualified to be referred. Do you earn those referrals where people feel strongly about referring you and being a raving fan of yours? And sometimes we fall short of delighting a client or we fall short in the integrity of expectations and that may not be even legal service, it’s everything around that, it’s returning phone calls and things of that nature that some lawyers fall short on.
And even if you do good work, it’s — I don’t know if I really trust in actually referring that person even if they do great work, and that’s the referability aspect.
Christopher Anderson: Okay, so someone could — so what you’re saying I think is like someone is going to have a reputation for getting great work done but if they’re missing these attributes of referability then I might be as, let’s say, if I had had an experience with them, I might be reluctant to refer them because they’re lacking one of these, and at the end of the day — and this is really important I think is that when I refer — if I make a referral, if I refer someone to you, I’m putting my reputation on the line as well.
And if I refer you a jerk, then I’m going to — even if they do really great work, it’s still going to hurt me, I’m not going to look good for making that referral, and so I guess what you’re saying is that they won’t have referability, I won’t refer them because I’m worried about them being a jerk and reflecting badly on me.
Vikram Rajan: Absolutely. It’s that reflection of reputation. When we refer someone — it’s exactly what you said, when we work for someone, we’re putting out our neck on the line which is very often while we find ourselves referring let’s say a short list, three lawyers, and let’s say, here, you pick but which one you like and it’s kind of trying to take the onus on us so that if something goes wrong, goes badly, we aren’t in some way blamed and maybe they’re not going to literally directly blame us because we have no actual skin in the game necessarily.
But it still looks bad on us and we still feel bad and apologetic and then we have to kind of pick a bone with that attorney and say what happened, and what gets, and while we don’t want to go into anything private and confidential, we still want to make sure that everyone is happy and fulfilled in that business relationship, so that becomes important as well.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah and particularly in the law when the truth of the matter is that the vast, the overwhelmingly vast majority of consumers with legal services actually have very poor capability to choose a good lawyer. They just don’t have the criteria or the ability to develop the criteria to pick a good lawyer. So the referability and references become outlandishly and hugely important in this business as compared to some others.
Vikram Rajan: Oh absolutely. Maybe we’ll get on to the aspect of review sites and testimonies a little later in the conversation but that’s what makes these things so subjective and unfortunately incorrect because any one of us may have experienced with maybe one or two lawyers exclusively. Especially from a consumer standpoint they may have experience with a real estate lawyer buying their home or what have you, or maybe with a subcontractor, transactional attorney with some type of business matter or an 11:31 lawyer in a workplace.
But that’s about it, and unfortunately for the public very often is — I know a lawyer and here is the lawyer I know but they don’t realize that lawyers have specific practice areas that they focus in on and so I often use an analogy of how doctors are focused in different medical areas, very often lawyers are the same way. And so, we have to essentially educate people in terms of what makes you referable in a specific matter.
Christopher Anderson: All right. So let’s go there, and for the lawyers who listen to this podcast I think this is going to be really key to understand these four Cs of referability that you’ve broken down so they can understand what they are.
The first one that you list when you’ve written about this is Credibility. So as far as referability is concerned what do you mean by Credibility and why is it important?
Vikram Rajan: This is kind of the simplest and obvious one, the diplomas and other certificates that are in the back of you in your office, so credibility becomes very easy when it comes to education and experience. And those are kind of the simplest ways to recommend someone if they’re a Harvard Law School trained attorney it’s kind of neat bane, nothing more or another kind of very prestigious institution is very simple to refer on credibility; years of experience is credibility.
Other third party endorsements become aspect of credibility which is why we want to know who you’ve worked with other companies, other individuals and the more we know who they are and they know you a friend of a friend is a friend and that’s kind of brings us closer on that know, like and trust and if, well, he likes you, well, then I must trust you as well.
So credibility becomes kind of a basic aspect. Unfortunately most attorneys do come off extremely credible, just kind of by definition they are an attorney, they pass the bar, they got letters after their name. We assume they are credible, and unfortunately that very often is not enough, because everyone is kind of on that same playing field being credible.
Now I think the challenge is if you lack the credibility for some reason because your personal brand isn’t matching of the credibility aspect, because you dress a certain way, speak a certain way, and that can be difficult; however, maybe you’re doing it purposely. After all if you fit in all the time by definition you’re not standing out, you’re hard to be outstanding in that pun. So from that aspect maybe you’re choosing a different type of personal brand, but that takes a lot of crafting and a personality, and if you want to be the funny lawyer, if you want to be the casual lawyer, you want to be the lawyer in Bahama shorts, that’s take a little bit more of a personality. It’s a little bit more challenging from a branding perspective, and a credibility perspective, because do we really trust you if you don’t look the part of an attorney or speak the part of an attorney.
But nonetheless you can do things to niche yourself and to be novel or be necessary in a specific situation and in that sense you’re not only credible, you are incredible.
Christopher Anderson: And so, it’s a credibility like it sounds like you’ve broken it down into two aspects; one being like your background, your training, you went to a good law school. You have a legal degree and you have this kind of training.
And then the other one is more situational that you fit in with your prospective client base and also perhaps I don’t think you specifically mentioned it but probably prior results for people like me like you might — like a lawyer might be more credible to me as a prospect if he has helped people like me and can show me the results he has gotten for people like me.
Vikram Rajan: Now yes, disclaimer is that prior results should not imply ever.
Christopher Anderson: Correct.
Vikram Rajan: And we should definitely have those disclaimers on our website, brochures, other places at the Bar Association’s mandate USO, however people do assume that it is true. People are assuming that there are positive results you had or given or produced for others, is predictable of what my outcome will be.
So from that aspect if we assume and see you acting like an expert, acting like a specialist while you’re not going to call yourself an expert or a specialist, because of the Bar Association disclaimers and prohibitions, nonetheless people perceive you as such, and from a marketing standpoint alone obviously that’s great from a credibility standpoint. Absolutely the more people know us and like us, the more people will know us and trust us.
Christopher Anderson: And of course, then there is the ultimate credibility which is becoming a guest on ‘The Un-Billable Hour’.
So the next C that you talk about is Customer Service. So we’ve talked about credibility about — some extrinsic reliability factors that make prospects, think of you as a good lawyer and then obviously then make the person referring you willing to do that. Customer service is something quite different. What do you mean by Customer Service as the second C?
Vikram Rajan: Sort of a misnomer, because customer service is very often — it’s service even before they become a customer or a client.
Christopher Anderson: Sure, yeah.
Vikram Rajan: So it’s all this kind of the fuzzy stuff, the soft stuff, which makes you human and humane as an attorney. Legal service may be excellent again, but one thing that I hear often and over-and-over again and a battle that a lot of people have to fight is responsiveness.
So it’s how responsive you are by phone, by email, by any other communication even nowadays by social media, and how quick that response is and how thorough that response is, becomes important.
Now attorneys may not want to write a very detailed email back to a client because they don’t want to be misconstrued or taken out of context. Ironically some attorneys nowadays prefer to write a detailed email because they don’t want to be misconstrued or taken out of context, it is done only by voice or in person.
Christopher Anderson: Sure.
Vikram Rajan: So the email question can cut both ways. There are issues in terms of secure email and making sure that if it’s in the cloud is it especially secure email may not be seen as the most secure communication between attorney and client. That’s a question mark right now, but from a customer service standpoint it’s how responsive you can be.
There’s a pun that I use often that not only are you being responsive in person by phone, but your website also have to be responsive. In fact, that mobile responsiveness is actually lot of play on words, very important from a search engine standpoint as well as usability standpoint. Nowadays you get referred to someone and one of the first things they are going to do is to Google you or to check you out on a search engine or maybe even social media and if you come — if you don’t come up at all or come up very lackluster or the copyright on your website is from three years ago, all those things speak to poor customer service. We don’t even know if you’re still around, if you’re taking on new clients.
So the customer service aspect is very, very similar to credibility and that standpoint hurts your reputation and hurts thus your referability.
Christopher Anderson: Right, yeah, because again that bad customer service either before or after the sale makes me the refer look bad, which is exactly the opposite of what I want that will reduce your referability.
All right, Vik, what we’re going to do is we’re going to go ahead to break. When we come back from the break we’re going to talk about the other two Cs, to give everybody a hint, it’s Content and Connections. And then I would like to take you up and talk a little bit about testimonials as part of the referral process, but first, we will go ahead to this break and we’ll be back in just a second.
Advertiser: Is your firm experiencing missed calls, empty voicemail boxes and potential clients you will never hear from again, enter Answer1, Virtual Receptionists. They are more than just an answering service. Answer1 is available 24×7. They can even schedule appointments, respond to e-mails, integrate with Clio, and much more. Answer1 helps make sure your clients have the experience they deserve. Give them a call at 1-800-answer1 or visit them at answer1.com/podcast for a special offer.
Ready to create and build your own solo or small firm practice, need a nuts-and-bolts education on the 360-degree experience of starting a business? There is only one online destination dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. Solo Practice University, the only online educational and professional networking community dedicated to lawyers and law students who want to go into practice for themselves; more than 1,000 classes, 58 faculty and mentors. What are you waiting for? Check out HYPERLINK “http://www.solopracticeuniversity.com” solopracticeuniversity.com today.
Christopher Anderson: And we’re back with ‘The Un–Billable Hour’ and I’m talking to Vikram Rajan about the Transference of Trust, and before we left, we were talking about the four Cs of referability, the ability to be referable by your referral sources. And we talked about credibility, and we talked about customer service. And now we’re going to go to the third C now and talk about Content.
So in these four Cs that make you a referable attorney, make your business referable by others, what is content, why does that help?
Vikram Rajan: Hey Christopher, you referred to a previous podcast where the more you give, the more you get, and in content it basically fits right in. Content marketing is a buzz phrase now, we tend to hear a lot about it in the world of Internet marketing. ‘Content is King’ is another phrase that a lot of marketing professionals use especially when it comes to websites.
They tend to refer more to blogs, and as we know the ‘ABA Journal’; American Bar Association Journal, has been running the blog 100 for about 10 years at this point, reading the top 100 lawyer blogs. So they obviously see a great advantage for lawyers as well as for our consumers of legal services around content and content marketing.
So that’s essentially what content boils down to, it’s easier to refer you when you put out pieces of content, when you have nuggets of knowledge on your website and anywhere else. If you’re providing a CLE, another type of presentation for the public, other types of content on your website via video, podcast for instance, blogs of course, even slides, PowerPoint presentations.
Christopher Anderson: Sure.
Vikram Rajan: All of those are essentially content that other people – those are content that other people are able to refer to and that’s what I recommend you and refer you.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, so it’s easier to say, hey, let me — I think you might want to really meet my friend Vikram who can help you with this and if you want to know a little bit more about what he does, you can check out his website or you can check out this blog post of his or you can check out this really fantastic podcast on ‘The Un-Billable Hour’ and that then puts me in a position of knowing someone who’s produced this good stuff, which makes me look good, and it makes the prospective client now accept the referral more ably, basically you’re building up that trust, right?
Vikram Rajan: Building up that trust enables that potential client to check you out more easily. Essentially it is an infomercial so they can really read or consume that content anonymously, so to speak. So they don’t feel any type of pressure of engaging you as a client — engaging you as an attorney and that sales process is easier especially for people who aren’t used to engaging attorneys.
There are plenty of business professionals, longtime business professionals who are uneasy about working with lawyers. How much is it going to cost, what the process is going to be like, there’s so many of those uncertainties and if they’re able to get to know you and get to know your process through your content it makes it easier for them to engage you and of course, it makes it easier for someone else to refer you. So those are opportunities to essentially create an informative business card, again that infomercial.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, yeah that makes a whole lot of sense. All right, so we’ll jump to the fourth C. We’ve talked about the first three again where Credibility, the external markers of knowing what the heck you’re doing basically; Customer Service that you will treat this referral well, both before and after the sale; Content, the ability for the referral, the possible referral to check you out before getting on a sales call with you which is really key. It also helps to make the referrer look good.
And then the fourth one is Connections. You’ve listed Connections, what is that and how does that make someone more referable?
Vikram Rajan: We touch upon a little bit, the more connected you are, the more you’re introducing connections to each other, the more credible you are, the more you’re able to provide better service and resources to your clients. And perhaps even content can be full of links and resources. So connections fall into all three of those as well as your connections to the market to potential consumers of your legal services can be extremely powerful.
Your connections are extremely vital. Think of if every one of your clients can bring you one more client, the sustainable exponential process. Now, maybe the math doesn’t literally work out where everyone leads to one more. Maybe you don’t want everyone of your clients recommending you more like them but maybe it’s a Pareto principle that 80/20 rule where 20% of your clients are the right type of clients are really bringing you 80% of those referrals. 20% of the attorneys that you know are bringing you other client matters.
And from that after connections become extremely important, it’s hard to break into a specific sector type of business, type of family if you’re not connected into them, and conversely, when you are connected with the right influencers, centers of influence, leaders in those markets, demographics, obviously it’s a lot more easy to break in, and when they vouch for you again credibility is assumed. The nerve-wrecking trust factor is easier again because a friend of a friend is a friend. So connections become vital in terms of that endorsement factor in that referability.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, and the one thing that I would add to that, I mean, I think that’s exactly right and then when you put all these together, I think as someone who gets the referral they should always be very attentive to the very important goal of making the referring person; the person who’s made the referral look good. And yeah, by improving the connection back to them by doing something special for the client, and this I think again touches all of it, it touches customer service, it touches your credibility, it touches even content by making sure that you give back something that makes — that enhances the credibility and the respect back to the referring source. So those are the four Cs of referability that help you to become a more referable provider of any business, but specifically in this context, legal services.
What I wanted to do with the few minutes that we have left is to now talk about how testimonials fit into all this. Now a testimonial of course is a statement whether it’s a video statement or a typed statement by a client or former client or someone else who knows you that says something good about you. And from reading some of the stuff you’ve written and of course other sources like testimonials not only are important but seem to be gaining an importance these days. What do you see as the importance of testimonials and some of the key benefits that lawyers should expect from them and then I’d like you to kind of address how they should be collecting them and using them.
Vikram Rajan: Yeah, testimonies are extremely important. We do a mess if we didn’t remind listeners that different Bar Associations have prohibitions or restrictions on the use of testimonials by lawyers when it comes to attorney advertising. So we definitely want to attend to that and make sure that we’re using testimonials appropriately and of course with permission with our clients and other colleagues but matter of fact there’s always an ability and value of testimonials in some regard and it can be extremely powerful.
Video testimonials are becoming popular. Written testimonials are kind of been around for years even voice testimonials by phone even it can be extremely effective, shows passion and authenticity and testimonial marketing has tremendous benefits. And we all know that in terms of — from that third-party endorsement aspect of making sure that people find as credible, helping people realize our value to others, it’s hard to brag about ourselves and just stay credible and humble at the same time, but when other people rave about us obviously, we can enjoy those benefits, we can enjoy the process when other people brag about us and we could point to them as resources.
So from that aspect there are plenty of, kind of the basic things that we know testimonials work on websites, brochures, et cetera, but even the process of asking someone for testimonial can be extremely powerful and sometimes awkward.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, I remember reading about that, I just felt like this really struck me because I hadn’t ever thought about testimonials as themselves. The mere asking of them and taking them even before you use them as being powerful. So yeah please, please talk more about that, that’s really powerful.
Vikram Rajan: Yeah, I mean so sometimes people, attorneys especially find it awkward sometimes to ask for testimonials. Now, the simplest time to ask for a testimonial is when someone is thanking you for something. They’re thanking you for doing great service. They are thanking — even you for a referral or thanking you for an invitation to something. When they are thanking you that’s a great opportunity to say, oh, can I feature those kind words on my website? A nice little line, “Can I feature your kind words on my website?” And it becomes a simple way of asking for a testimonial.
And even the process of asking for a testimonial, I guess, if you think about it this way. If you’ve ever been in a position where someone asks you for a testimonial and then gone ahead and used what you put together on their website and their brochure we all feel appreciated and honored that they would even ask us and now they are using our words to substantiate and validate what they are doing. We already know they are great and now they want us to be part of that process. We have the pleasure of doing so.
So from that aspect when you ask a raving fan, one of your clients, one of your colleagues for a testimonial, they are more than not happy to do so. Now you have to make it easy for them to do it. I don’t let them writing a testimonial and getting them to sign off, that’s inauthentic and ethics issues even in there, but if they could pick up the phone and rave about you or and use it that way, that’s really phenomenal.
So that client loyalty perspective is tremendous because you’re appreciating them. And now they have an opportunity of cross-promoting themselves, if it’s a process that they are comfortable sharing who they are and what they do and what they gain we have to do so again with attorney advertising ethics in mind and they themselves may not want to talk a lot about the process.
If you’re a family law attorney or bankruptcy attorney there may be awkwardness there, but if they are trusted states attorney they may be happy to talk about it, commercial transactional attorneys, clients can be happy to talk about kind of the process. They may not want to talk about the results in particular.
Christopher Anderson: Sure.
Vikram Rajan: So that client loyalty is tremendous, and once you have a loyal client the referrals come from that.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. So actually just asking and taking it and particularly then when you in fact feature it that can — that can be a huge boost to the relationship that you have with the client. They will keep them as a more loyal client like basically created an ambassador out of the client for you out there in the world. How do — let’s look at this from the prospects’ perspective. How are testimonials powerful from the receiving end? Like why do people see them differently?
Vikram Rajan: Yeah. So, it’s validation. If I’m reading a testimonial I want to be validated that I’m making the right choice. Now if I know who it is making the testimonial that’s even more credible, it’s even more powerful, which is why I find — when people are willing to share their name, share their geography it’s even more powerful than an anonymous one.
Christopher Anderson: Sure.
Vikram Rajan: Who knows how credible that is? So from a receiver’s standpoint it’s a credibility, it’s validator, it’s an affirming aspect that they made the right decision or they are about to make the right decision to engage you as an attorney. So that itself is powerful.
And from a referral’s standpoint it’s sometimes difficult to refer you because we don’t know the right words to say. We don’t know exactly how to explain your value. So sometimes people say, oh just say, write something so I can refer you. But really to ask them and put some onus on them to say, hey, how would you talk about me? And again, if you’re asking this for a feedback or a testimonial, it’s like a referral dress rehearsal.
Now the next time they have an opportunity of recommending you they kind of know the words already because they have said it to you —
Christopher Anderson: That’s really cool.
Vikram Rajan: — because it’s actually repeated to others.
Christopher Anderson: That’s really cool. So, yeah, basically you’re helping them – so you’re helping them figure out how to refer you later on down the road by practicing with you and giving you a great testimonial in the meantime. That’s awesome, and it makes them feel good, I mean, how can you beat that with a stick? That is a really great process and I think it’s a — yeah it can create really powerful marketing materials for you.
Christopher Anderson: I think we have time for like one more benefit, what’s one more benefit that we can get out of testimonials?
Vikram Rajan: I would say — I will kind of summarize too. It’s a great opportunity to kind of steal their words. So sometimes you should always give — you should always get permission when you’re about to use someone’s testimonials, obviously when you are crediting their name to it, but what if you use a testimonial, their words but you don’t give them credit. Suppose you just use it as marketing copy, the text on your website, the headlines, the slogans, things that you would use to market yourself.
Well, if they could come from how your clients and colleagues explain your value, well, that’s tremendous. That’s even better because sometimes we spend so much time and money kind of doing market research or testing and figuring out the most clever corporate way of saying what we want to say, those slogans sometimes — they are canned or they are corny or they the too crafted and it kind of lose the essence.
So you end up sounding like everyone else, when quite frankly you could use normal everyday language. The best way of that research is to ask for that feedback, ask for those testimonials, and even if you don’t use it as a testimonial you’re able to thus use it in your marketing copy as we call your marketing text, or if you’re hearing the same feedback maybe the criticisms over-and-over again. Maybe it’s an opportunity for you to improve and/or focus how you’re providing your legal services. Maybe there is a change that you can make and now you’re really standing out, and again enhancing the referability.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, and so basically yeah — what you’re saying is that like here they are telling you — the clients are telling you this is what is important to me, and if you can then adopt that and adopt that into your marketing message if it’s important to a couple of your clients — good chance is important to a lot of the prospects we are looking for a lawyer.
So you’re basically — it’s the most powerful market research you can have and you’re basically using their words to help you attract more people that you can help. I think that’s really, really powerful. Thanks for that.
So, that wraps up this edition of ‘The Un-Billable Hour’, the law business success podcast. Our guest today has been Vikram Rajan. Vik, thanks so much, you have been great.
Vik can be found and you could learn about him and if — you want to learn about more of these topics you can reach him HYPERLINK “http://www.phoneblogger.net” www.phoneblogger.net or on his Twitter handle, you don’t mind if I give out your Twitter handle, do you?
Vikram Rajan: No problem.
Christopher Anderson: Okay, @vikramrajan, and also available on LinkedIn with the same handle.
Christopher Anderson: This is Christopher Anderson and I look forward to seeing you next month with another great guest, as we learn more about topics that help us build the law firm business that works for you.
Remember, you can subscribe to all the editions of this podcast at HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com or on iTunes. Thanks for joining us and we will see you again soon.
Outro: The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
Thanks for listening to ‘The Un-Billable Hour’, the law practice advisory podcast. Join us again for the next edition, right here with Legal Talk Network.
Best practices regarding your marketing, time management, and all the things outside of your client responsibilities.
Liz Goddard, co-owner of Cc: My Admin, discusses how virtual assistants help lawyers increase efficiency and grow profits.
Jacob Slowik offers insights for lawyers on how niche specialization can lead to career successes.
Helen Bukulmez explains how investing in the interests of your team creates a culture of unity in your firm.
Ron Saharyan explains how putting profit first can help lawyers be more focused on their clients’ needs.
Deborah Farone discusses how smaller law firms and legal process outsourcing providers are well positioned to eat the lunch of larger, less nimble firms....
Liz Wendling discusses the many ways attorneys are sabotaging their own efforts to convert prospects into clients.