Liz Wendling is the author of “The Rainmaking Mindset” and “Consultations that Convert” with nearly three decades of experience...
Christopher T. Anderson has authored numerous articles and speaks on a wide range of topics, including law firm management,...
Are you wasting marketing dollars by not converting prospects into clients? Following up on last month’s discussion about marketing, The Un-Billable Hour host Christopher Anderson tackles the equally important subject of sales with the help of Liz Wendling. Together they discuss the many ways attorneys are sabotaging their own efforts to convert prospects into clients, explain how to rethink your approach to closing a sale, and provide invaluable practical tips on how to improve your consultation style. Liz also shares stories and lessons from her role as a law firm secret shopper.
Liz Wendling is a sales guru and author of the The Rainmaking Mindset and Consultations That Convert.
The Un-Billable Hour
Rainmaking Rethinking Your Sales Pitch
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 T. Anderson: Welcome to The Un-Billable Hour, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast helping attorneys achieve more success. We are glad you can listen today on the Legal Talk Network.
And today’s episode is about sales and we haven’t talked about sales for a while, we have talked about marketing and we talked to you; in fact, the last month, we talked about marketing, about marketing being the gasoline for the business about providing the prospects and leads for the business. I mean how essentially without marketing, none of that happens, you don’t have leads and therefore, you don’t have anybody to work for.
Sales is the kind of right twin brother or twin sister of marketing, it sits right next to it and this is where a lot of lawyers and a lot of law firm businesses struggle and that’s why, I’m so excited. Our talk to our guest today is about converting those prospects into actual customers by working with them to help them understand why they should do business with your business.
So our title today is Rainmaking, it’s all about conversion and my guest today is Liz Wendling. She is the author of ‘The Rainmaking Mindset’ and another book called ‘Consultations That Convert’. And she is just generally guru of sales process that in words from her own website that I stole is about authenticity and honesty, a straightforward no B.S. approach which works.
And we are talking about how law firm owners with Liz today about how law firm owners who think plenty about marketing which is okay I’m generating prospects and leads, still either fear the sales process or don’t really know the keys to conversion or worst of all, have learned some trick or gimmicks that aren’t at all what good conversations are about.
I am of course your host Christopher Anderson, I am an attorney with a singular passion for helping other lawyers achieve success with their law firm businesses. In the Un-Billable Hour each month, we explore an area important to help you be a more profitable lawyer through growing your revenues, getting back more of your time and/or getting more professional satisfaction from your business.
The Un-Billable Hour is dedicated to bringing you guest each month to help you learn more about how to make your law firm 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, Solo Practice University, Scorpion and LAWCLERK.
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 www.answer1.com.
Solo Practice University is a great resource for solos, no matter how long you have been practicing. Make sure you check out solopracticeuniversity.com and learn how to run your practice better.
Scorpion crushes the standard for law firm online marketing with proven campaign strategies to get attorneys better cases from the Internet. Partner with Scorpion to get an award-winning website and ROI positive marketing programs today. Visit scorpionlegal.com/podcast.
And LAWCLERK, where attorneys hire freelance lawyers. There are no sign up or monthly fees. Only pay the flat fee price you set. Increase your profits, not your overhead. Learn more at www.lawclerk.legal.
And again today’s episode of the Un-Billable Hour is rainmaking, it’s all about conversion and my guest today, I am so excited to have is Liz Wendling. She is the author of ‘The Rainmaking Mindset’ and another book ‘Consultations That Convert’. And Liz, welcome to the Un-Billable Hour.
Liz Wendling: Thank you for having me. I am excited about our conversation.
Christopher T. Anderson: As am I. And as usual, I am completely inadequate in my introduction, so would you mind just telling the listeners a little bit more about you. I told them that you wrote two books but how did you come to do that, and why is this topic that matters to you?
Liz Wendling: Well, I have always been in sales or business development for going on three decades now. But about 6 years ago, I was speaking at a conference, talking about sales and conversions and there happened to be an attorney in the audience and she practically tackled me in the back of the room and said oh my gosh, we were just talking about this vary topic at our law firm, our attorneys suck at closing. And that was her exact word.
And she invited me and she talked to the managing partner and a great conversation was had by he and I and we agreed that it was time to get his attorneys some self training because they had no shortage of leads, they had people coming and doing free consultations or some paid consultations but they all left things let me think about it, your fees are a little high or I will get back to you.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right.
Liz Wendling: And he just didn’t understand what they were doing in the consultation, and the consultation is the make or break of every single whether it’s, I don’t care if you are a regular professional selling yourself or an attorney that consultation makes or breaks everything. If you don’t do the best job that you can in that meeting, when you are meeting someone for the first time, chances are they are going to go to the next attorney or the next professional and the business is going to go somewhere else.
So I wrote two books because I realized it was – I was passionate about helping attorneys close more business because they never taught how to sell.
Christopher T. Anderson: No, no indeed, not. I mean just like at least, last time I checked it, I have never had anybody contradict me on this statement that there was no sales courses taught in any law school that I am aware of. And so all my listeners, if you find – if you know the law school that does teach this, please let me know because I don’t want to keep saying if it’s not true but as far as I know right now, it’s true.
Liz Wendling: Same here.
Christopher T. Anderson: But so Liz, you are working outside the legal industry, you do this talk and as a lawyer in the audience and based on them tackling you, you have dedicated enough time to write two books and now help lawyers convert clients better.
Liz Wendling: Yes, so I called I have two lanes in my business. I do work with attorneys and then the other side of my businesses is regular professionals as well who sell services, financial planners, plastic surgeons.
Christopher T. Anderson: Sure.
Liz Wendling: So I just really took a liking to work with attorneys and —
Christopher T. Anderson: You mean there is similarities between selling legal services and other services.
Liz Wendling: I know everyone wants to think there is and they want me to say that there is but there isn’t, selling legal services is exactly the same as any other professional service. People are coming to a professional to sit in their office, and understand the process and they want to talk to someone who knows how to move someone who is interested all the way to invested.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah.
Liz Wendling: They want to be able to talk to someone who has value, able to build value, not just sit there and talk about the legal services, they want to see that you have people skills as well.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, yeah so listen, I mean one of the big perceptions out there and why I think there was actually a time when conversion was easier, it just was and but the perception and some of the reality but very much the perception out there, is that it has gotten harder from beneath people are — the law firms and lawyers now have to compete with people who have heard about being able to get a will done for 75 bucks on LegalZoom or from above where larger law firms are starting to nibble down into commodity services.
So there is a sense that is getting more competitive and that being able to speak intelligently about why so much to do business with your firm has become a skill that is probably needed, so what would you say are the critical skills that attorneys really do need today to help them stand out and differentiate themselves amongst all this competition.
Liz Wendling: I lumped into people skills, communication skills, and sales skills. It’s those three because those three together are what people are buying. Yes, they know you are smart, you are an attorney, you went to law school but if you don’t have people skills and I’ve got to work with you for a year going through my divorce to get my estate plan done, I want to know that you are just like me, you are a human being.
I want to know that you can communicate with me but I also want to know that you know your business, you know that you can move me from interested in what you do to invested and what you do and make you be the person who rises to the top and the person that I wanted to do business with.
So all three of those matter; it’s not just sales closing skills, it’s about how do you move me to start trusting you and seeing that you are credible and me leaning into you versus wanting to go — continue to attorney shop, which many people are doing these days.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. Yeah indeed and I mean but honestly and I have always said this, is that when someone is “shopping” that means they haven’t found what they are looking for yet.
Liz Wendling: That’s right.
Christopher T. Anderson: And that means that whoever they shopped, missed that opportunity and now, they might be come back to you if everybody else sucked equally or worse, but you missed an opportunity to standout and stop the shopping, right.
Liz Wendling: That’s exactly, because I always say you can blow someone’s hair back, knock their shocks off by how you engage, connect, communicate, and build values through that consultation and all of a sudden, everyone’s else falls away because you are not treating them like every other attorney does. And the consultation approach that most attorneys use these days is the same one that they used in the 80s and they just keep dragging it into the future. And they don’t realize that the consumer is different and they need to be different on top of it.
Christopher T. Anderson: Absolutely and what’s interesting to me and I like you to address this is you go to the Legal Talk Network team was just at – and I was just at ABA TECHSHOW at the end of February and that’s something I have gone to well, longer than I can remember, a couple of decades I have been at ABA TECHSHOW and other trade shows for the legal industry, and there is marketing vendor after marketing, after marketing vendor. And they are great people and I do business with a lot of these folks, and some of them sponsor of this show.
But what’s shocking to me is like there is nobody there, like it’s like about generating leads, generating leads, generating prospects, and then nobody talk it about what do you with them once you get them. And the answer to every pain seems to be more leads and that’s not it. So let me just ask you why do you think so many attorneys both A, struggle with but then B, resist talk it about sales and lead conversion as a key component of this client acquisition process.
Liz Wendling: Well, I completely agree with you. Every conference I go to, it’s the same things; marketing, marketing, marketing, you need to market your business and they are shoving marketing down attorneys’ throats, which yes, it’s important. But if you are attracting leads and you have no idea what to do to them when they get to your office, then I always say stop marketing, don’t even buy or investing in marketing or dial down your marketing until you get the conversion skills that actually wow people these days.
So, I know attorneys resist the sales piece because for years, they first of all, didn’t think they had to sell, they say I didn’t go to law school to become a sales person or no one ever told me that I would have to sell my services and do my services. And they think that their work should speak for themselves.
And I say yeah if it was still in 1985 that would be true but it’s not. There’s too much competition now, and people are shopping they are savvy or they are smarter, the consumer is coming to the consultation table so much more educated in what they are looking for. They’ve done their research, they’ve bellied up to the all you can read information buffet, called the Internet, and they are gathering so much information and if attorney meets them with an approach that’s outdated, right away, they cause a disconnect for the client.
And typically they’ll shake their head, they will nod and say, thank you for your time but then they will not buy from that attorney because the approach isn’t in sink or in line with the way people make buying decisions these days.
Christopher T. Anderson: Exactly. And to the point that you’ve made earlier, I mean we were kind of joking about it but this is the same kind of metamorphosis has happened, the same sort of change in the way that services or consumers that’s happened to doctors, physicians, surgeons, financial planners, accountants, tax people, contractors, interior designers, all sorts of different service industries. Lawyers come and lay to this understanding or is it all happening the same time to everybody?
Liz Wendling: They are very behind the eight ball and they were extremely laid to the party, they really are. I have many financial planning clients, doctors, plastic surgeons, tax accountants, they are saying wow, I know that I am missing something but I don’t know what it is, can you help me.
And attorneys are saying well you know, we are going to work with the leads that we have or we are working with a marketing company and doing some search engine optimization. So we think that’s going to be fix their problems. They are just digging their heels in instead of leaning into this and exploring that there’s another path to profits and that is just being good in that people conversation and your consultations.
They are resisting it because it’s another skill they have to learn and here’s the big thing that I am noticing is that they have got to get out of their logical mind and actually get into their emotional body, and actually have like a heart-to-heart conversation with someone, not a head-to-head conversation. And they are really good at those logical, legal conversations but that’s not what the new consumer wants. They want someone to engage with them in such a way that everyone else falls away, that’s what they’re afraid of.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah indeed. So we’re taking with Liz Wendling about converting and we have been talking a little bit about how it’s changed and there’s been a sea changed since the 80s, about what lawyers really need to do in order to convert the leads that they have got and that it’s not all that more leads, more leads, more leads but it is about conversion.
When we come back Liz, I am going to ask you a little bit more to follow-up on this conversation around you, moving out of the logical mind and into the emotional mind and about resistance, after we here word from our sponsors.
Advertiser: Feel like your marketing efforts aren’t getting you the high value cases your firm deserves? For over 15 years Scorpion has helped thousands of law firms, just like yours, attract new cases and grow their practices. As a Google Premier Partner and winner of Google’s Platform Innovator Award, Scorpion has the right resources and technology to aggressively market your law firm and generate better cases from the Internet. For more information, visit scorpionlegal.com/podcast today.
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 solopracticeuniversity.com today.
Christopher T. Anderson: And welcome back to the Un-Billable Hour. We were taking with Liz Wendling about the importance of conversions as part of the client acquisition process. And right before we went to break, we were talking about how attorneys are resisting or have been resisting that they are late to the party. And it triggered me to thinking about a couple of things Liz and I wanted you to sort of follow-up on.
And the first thing that jumped out at me was when people are talking about the logical and they are not connecting with the emotional, this resistance sounds a little bit like fear. What can you tell me about like is there a core fear about the sales process about this client interaction that you have noticed or can help people with?
Liz Wendling: Yeah, fear is definitely a part of the feel that’s running this process, and because they haven’t been taught how to sell, they are thinking that selling is like it was 30-40 years ago, where they had to manipulate and convince people to do a business with them and put them in a headlock and make them say yes, before they leave.
And now, it is nothing like that. Selling today is about that genuine human authentic interaction and guiding people to make good decisions in their best interest. There’s no arm twisting, there’s nothing about that, it’s both client centered and human centered, and selling legal services is really about solving a problem that a potential client has.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah.
Liz Wendling: And it’s really about getting the attorney to be the facilitator by being the leader of that conversation and moving people to take action and take action with them, not the competition.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right and one of things like what you were talking about when you said moving out of the logical like I am always imagining, and I have just watched and heard a lot lawyers do this, and I am going to ask you a little while about your secret shopping because I know you do that and I am sure you have heard like the worst.
But the people and they will be talking and you will go like, here’s what we are going to do. So if you hire me, I am going to right away file a motion and then we are going to write a lot of interrogatories and then we are going to serve those and then we are going to wait – then we are going to like – and like is that people want to hear about?
Liz Wendling: No, no they do want to hear about part of the process but what they are looking more is that connection and conversation that makes — if I was the potential client that gets me to relax, that gets me to start saying, I like this person, I like the way he or she is communicating with me. Wow, he or she is so different than the last two people I sat down with. That’s what they want and I did enough focus groups and research into writing my book to know that this is what they told me they want.
Yes, they understand the legal process because remember, they are educated, they sat and research this before they sat with you. So you don’t want to over educating the consumer who’s already educated and that’s what pisses them off basically, that’s their words. Don’t over educate me, I get it, I know what the process is but they want you to ask them questions around have you done any research, how much do you know about this part of the legal process, have you hired an attorney before.
Potential clients want to know that you are meeting them where they are, not where they used to be. You are meeting them as the educated consumer that they are and when you do that, boy, you start tipping the scales in your favor.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, so the attorneys that obviously you have heard what the consumer wants and yet, there is the — the attorneys are out there who are walking about thinking, I have got a 10%, 15%, 20% closing rate and I have got a closing problem. What do you tell them?
Liz Wendling: Well they always come to me and say, could you teach my people to be better closers, could you teach us to —
Christopher T. Anderson: Right.
Liz Wendling: Yeah that’s always what they ask and I have to break the bad news to them and tell them that your attorneys can’t do an average run of the mill consultation and think that a new closing technique is going to make somebody leap over the desk and open up their check book. I tell them that the best most important way to close more business is to recognize that closing starts the minute you meet someone, the minute you open your mouth that’s when it starts to close, well that’s where closing starts.
And fixing closing problems is completely unproductive and it actually is way too costly, because what winds up happening is what’s left untouched and what’s overlooked, are the dynamics of what’s perpetuating the closing problem.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, yeah.
Liz Wendling: So all the hard work of attracting a prospect in an expensive lead, when it doesn’t result in a close sale, they think I must be a crappy closer, and I always say no one says to you, Alice you were really my first choice. I really wanted to hire you but you’re a crappy closer.
I think I’m going to go to the person down the street. No, you were terrible at the whole consultation, it’s — the close is the culmination of a beautiful well-executed consultation that makes someone feel heard, listen to, and valued.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s beautifully said. So and I think I alluded to this a minute ago, but this is a great segue into just talking about. You have some unique insider information. You’ve listened to these initial consultations that attorneys are having today. Can you talk about the process by which you kind of learning what these lawyers are actually doing and how to fix it?
Liz Wendling: Oh I got the biggest smile on my face right now. It’s one of my favorite parts of my practice is I am a law firm secret shopper.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. Tell, first of all, tell people what that is?
Liz Wendling: Okay, so a law firm secret shopper is someone who goes undercover and is hired to give the law firm in real-time, the good, the bad, and the ugly of what’s happening inside their law firm. From the moment the phone rings to that an intake conversation, all the way to what happens when the consultation door closes with the attorney.
And they hired me to find out why their dollars spent in marketing, social media, business development is not translating into increased revenue and more clients or new business. So they’re looking for the evidence of exactly what’s broken and what’s really happening inside the consultation room, not just saying listening to the attorneys who say oh they couldn’t afford me or oh they didn’t have the money.
That’s never the case. It’s usually something else or many a series of things that’s happening in the consultation. So they hired me to go in there and then once I tell them what’s wrong and where some of the gaps are, then they hire me to fix it, and not just put a patch on it, it’s fixing it at the deepest level, fixing it at the place where the consumer is really looking.
And some of the things are small but have a gigantic impact and then other things are gaping holes in their process that they forget that is important. For example, one thing and I call it my Home Depot question, because almost every attorney asked me this question. So what can I help you with today? That’s how they start their — they start their consultations like I just walked into Home Depot or Lowe’s and there’s no, no connection, no warm-up, it’s just asking what are you doing here today and I always say well you — didn’t you look at my intake forms or didn’t you look at my paperwork, don’t you know why I am here today.
And I don’t intentionally try to throw anybody off, but I want them to see where they’re missing the boat in the communication piece.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, yeah.
Liz Wendling: So it’s one of my favorite things to do, because I can — I don’t know, I must have been an actress in the past life because I can go in posing as an ideal client and I can take on the persona, the mindset and the emotions of someone ready to retain whether it’s a DUI, a bankruptcy, a divorce, custody, and all of my secret shopping in my hundreds that I’ve done, I’ve never been caught once, no one ever said there’s something different with that woman.
I don’t know, every one of them says, holy crap, you’re good.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, and meanwhile what you’re doing, yeah, you’re highlighting like what I have sometimes sees the sales prevention department, right. You said you’re going in with the persona of someone who is a client prospect who would retain.
Liz Wendling: Exactly. Your ideal client and I have all different personas and a bunch of different emails and names that I use and usually I have, I need somebody on the inside to be the person who helps coordinate all this stuff. But I do them either over the phone, a Skype, Zoom call or face-to-face, depending on where they are in the country.
Christopher T. Anderson: Gosh, I could do a whole radio series about that. It’s been just like disguising the names and stuff and just like I think it would be just entertaining to listen to some of these. Do you work costumes?
Liz Wendling: I don’t, that I don’t. I do have when I go to a personal injury office, I do walk in with a little bit of a limp, that’s the only thing that I change. Oh, and I do have a fake beautiful two carat diamond ring that I wear when I go into my law firm for family law.
Christopher T. Anderson: Awesome.
Liz Wendling: Yeah. So it’s a ton of fun, and for me, it keeps solidifying that this is the space where attorneys need the most help and I’m the right person to help them, and it just feels so good that I’m the person that they can plug into to help those attorneys, not have potential clients walk out, saying thank you anyway, but I will get back to you.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, which is just all those marketing dollars just flushed down the toilet.
Liz Wendling: Yeah, right out the window, yup.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. So we’re talking with Liz Wendling. We’ve been talking about conversions and we just kind of finished talking about the secret shopping and how that’s really highlighting. What’s going on in the intake, in the sales process or the conversion process where good qualified leads are just being flushed down the toilet and law firms are thinking they’ve got a closing problem, but what they really have is an entire process problem that Liz can — that Liz helps them with.
We’re going to listen to our sponsors here for a moment, they’ve got some words for us and when we come back I want to go deeper Liz, and we’re going to talk about the — first of all, I just want to highlight specifically, some methods that are currently being used that are just outdated and then of course, let’s not just keep bashing people for what they are doing wrong and talk a little bit more specifically about what they could be doing right and we’ll do that right after this message.
Advertiser: LAWCLERK is where attorneys go to hire freelance lawyers. Whether you need a first year to perform legal research or a seasoned attorney to assist with a complicated appellate brief, LAWCLERK has hundreds of freelance lawyers with every level of experience and expertise. There are no sign up or monthly fees, only pay the flat fee price you set. Increase your profits, not your overhead. Learn more at www.lawclerk.legal.
Is your firm experiencing missed calls, empty voicemail boxes and potential clients you will never hear from again, enter Answer 1, Virtual Receptionists. They are more than just an answering service. Answer 1 is available 24×7. They can even schedule appointments, respond to emails, integrate with Clio, and much more. Answer 1 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. That’s answer1.com/podcast.
Christopher T. Anderson: And welcome back to the Un-Billable Hour. We’re talking with Liz Wendling, the Author of ‘The Rainmaking Mindset’ and the author also of ‘Consultations That Convert’. And we’ve been talking about her secret shopping and about why lawyers think they have a closing problem what they really have is a process problem and a conversation problem.
And so what I wanted to do now that we are back is ask you Liz, to go a little bit deeper and let’s start first with what’s wrong and then with what’s right. So what’s wrong? What methods have you been hearing during these secret shopping calls and consultations? What methods have you been hearing that are just way outdated and are really messing up the process?
Liz Wendling: Well are you ready?
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah we are ready.
Liz Wendling: Okay, here we go. This is the one that usually shocks a lot of people and I always say that many attorneys are shocked when they hear these because they say oh my God, I say that all the time are oh, I use that line all the time.
So just take a breath and if you’re using it there’s a way around it, I just want people to be aware that these are some stumbling blocks and the very first one is usually — usually happens within the first 60 seconds of meeting someone. Attorneys are taught to build rapport or make a connection and when you first meet someone, you start with some icebreakers or some superficial chitchat and attorneys are taught to talk about the weather, the traffic, maybe parking, sports, they say things like do you have any trouble finding the building or how about that weather last night or is it still cold outside, hot enough for you.
And they use the very basic and boring and bland opening lines, which just — I just tell the truth, leave them out. First of all, we now have. Now, it depends on your industry, we have access to more information about people than ever before. Now, I’m not saying you stalk someone and say hey it was on your Facebook page, I’m just saying if it’s a business situation, you could look at someone’s LinkedIn profile.
If it’s a DUI or a bankruptcy or going through family law, you have an intake form, you have something on that form that could allow you to go right into that. So skip the superficial small talk.
And what people are looking for is be wowed right out of the gate. No one is consciously saying I sure hope this attorney wows me in the first 60 seconds. They do want to be taken aback, it’s like oh that was nice. Oh I like this person already. That’s what they’re doing in the first few moments, do I like you, do I not. Are you resonating with me or are you not.
Their brain is doing that, they are hard-wired to do that. So why talk about superficial stuff and that chitchat that everyone else is and then you put yourself in the attorney box.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right.
Liz Wendling: They put you right in the box where they think you belong, oh, this just sounds like every other attorney I’m going to meet.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yes.
Liz Wendling: And then we talked earlier about the Home Depot question; so, what brings you in today? Avoid that all together, and many times attorneys don’t do a good job at setting the energy, the tone, the intent, and the expectation of what’s going to happen over the course of the next 30, 40, 50-minute consultation that I have.
Christopher T. Anderson: Hmm, yeah.
Liz Wendling: And they are not telling the client, it may be the first time that I’m sitting down talking to a bankruptcy attorney or my first DUI or something. I want to know, I want you to put me at ease in the first few moments to know that I’m in good hands and when you miss all that you miss the richness of what happened when you can put someone at ease in the first 60 to 90 seconds.
And then all the way to how does someone convey value, how was this attorney conveying their value, explaining their services, how they can actually help me, how they handle objection, how they talk about money, sometimes money, oh things get dismantled and wobbly when the money conversation comes up.
Christopher T. Anderson: Well, let’s talk about that in a second because one of the things I wanted to come to here is like one of the things that, yeah, some people have heard about uses is describing and discussing the unique value proposition and like how are attorneys misusing that and what’s the right way to talk about the value and the money?
Liz Wendling: Okay, so talking about the value and the money, the money piece has to be what I call a strong money conversation, you’ve got to get your client’s attention that we are now shifting gears and now let’s talk about how our firm works or how our retainers work, and you get the attention of someone that now we are taking about something that’s important.
This piece you want to make sure you have their ears and when you are describing this is how the operator, here is how our firm handles this and you go into that with strength and confidence, it has to be practiced and I always have attorneys kind of script out their money conversation, not word for word, but the first few times they do it, it has to be written out so that they can see that there’s some structure to it, and there has to be some built-in value to that.
So you just don’t say if someone — let’s say someone says to you, well, what are your fees? Most attorneys say, well, my fee is $350 an hour and my paralegal fee is this, now all of a sudden when you talk money you’ve just taken them from an emotional place, you’ve just got them in that emotional place about helping fix their situation, and then you pull them right back up to logical when you say 350 and here’s what happens. They start thinking, holy crap, we are going to get $350 an hour, wow, I make 12 bucks an hour. So you are actually doing it backwards, so I teach attorneys to put that at the end build some value first and say to someone here’s how we are going to handle your situation.
The very first thing that we are going to do or one of the ways that we are going to help with your DUI salary is we are going to do this and we are going to file this and we are going to take care of this. And all of that whole process, soup to nuts, whatever however you want to describe it is $3,800. Give the number at the end so people could feel what goes into the retainer fee, and I said this is really more of like a two-hour conversation when I talk to people because it’s so important to understand we’ve got it completely come about it in the opposite direction.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, but that makes a lot of sense so.
Liz Wendling: Or as they say we can keep people emotional because that’s where people buy, people buy emotionally not logically. So if you say to someone it’s $350 they say, ooh, wow, I can’t afford that and then you’ve lost the client right there, they don’t even know how to figure out how to get that money, they are too busy trying to figure out where they can come up with it versus, wow, I know this is going to cost me money but this person is right for me; big difference.
Christopher T. Anderson: He has got me, right, yeah.
Liz Wendling: Yup, big difference.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah — so yeah, I totally gather this is a much longer conversation and at the end of the show I will ask, there’s going to be some listeners who want to know more and I will ask you to give them ways they can get in touch with you a little more. But so within the confines of the show itself, since this is a long conversation, let’s see if we can end our discussion today with just like a couple of things that can be acted on right-away.
So let me start with, is there one thing that an attorney can do in the beginning of the consultation that we will make them stand out, like what’s the one thing they should take-away from our conversation today that they could do tomorrow or even this afternoon to make their consultation go better?
Liz Wendling: Awesome question, and I write a lot about this in my book and I have lots of examples, is to create your own you unique opening statement. Something that sets the energy, the tone, the credibility in those first few moments because that is what is going to relax someone. When somebody is coming to a consultation, they are not usually happy, excited, elated, they are usually worried, stressed, concerned, confused, and you going into that and setting the tone for them helps to relax that part of their brain, that’s a very first thing that they can do.
Another one that I see all too often is use my name I can’t tell you how many consultations I sat through. In one hour the only time someone used my name was in the lobby or when they came in the consultation room to shake my hand, never once did they ask about my kids’ names, my husband’s name or any other person that I talk about. And that is key, that’s key to connecting and bonding and creating a relationship and starting the potential client to start thinking, wow, this person is human, this person cares, huge distinction, and it’s one that is so easy to fix, and I am not talking about an obscene use of someone’s word, a nice natural way to use someone’s name.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, and that immediately I think signifies I am hearing you, I am hearing you, I am hearing the next prospect that walked through the door, I am hearing customer number 579, I am hearing you.
Liz Wendling: Yes, and then finally I would say, when I am walking out the door when you are shaking my hand, yes, use my name but also make me feel like I am a potential client, make me feel like you want my business, tell me how I stay in touch with you, tell me what your firm is going to do to me when I walk out, are you going to send me an email in two days or somebody from the firm going to call me, tell me so I know what the next step is. I want to know am I supposed to call you, do you call me, it’s like too willy-nilly at the end and it’s not tight and firm and closed at the end.
Christopher T. Anderson: Which gives you an opportunity also to make that promise and then keep that promise, to show that your firm that does what you say.
Liz Wendling: Yes, and I always say that I tell my clients, tell the person that our firm doesn’t like to drop the ball on people who invest time in our firm, so here’s what we are going to do or here’s how we like to stay in touch with people, and then you are actually collaborating through that because someone might say, oh, I don’t want you calling me because my husband doesn’t know I am here or no, please don’t leave a voicemail like that’s really taking in the individual situation not just saying, okay, well, we will give you call, no, make it individual to me.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense and we are out of time, but so we will wrap this up with something definite as well. This wraps up this edition of The Un-Billable Hour, the Law Business Advisory Podcast.
My guest today has been Liz Wendling, the author of ‘The Rainmaking Mindset’ and “Consultations That Convert’. So Liz, as we let our listeners walk out the door and let’s leave them with something concrete, if they want to learn more about what we have been talking about where can they go to learn more and get in touch with you?
Liz Wendling: They can go right to my website, which is the therainmakingcoach.com and they can even start by just downloading a free resource that I have, it goes into a little more depth that will be talked about today and my books around there and my phone number is right there, if everybody wants to pick up the phone and call me or send me an email to continue the conversation everything starts with a great conversation and I am always open to a good one.
Christopher T. Anderson: Fantastic and that legal also be in our show notes, you can check them out there.
Alright, this is Christopher Anderson and I look forward to seeing all of 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 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.
Clio’s Jack Newton discusses his new book and the lessons he’s learned over the last ten years studying successful law firms.
Moshe Rosenblum-Amsel shares strategies for optimizing your firm’s finances.
Greg Garman offers guidance for the future of small firm business models.
Greg Garman shares insights on legal business models and current supply and demand trends in the profession.
Karin Conroy offers guidance for connecting with the right clients for your law firm.
Liz Goddard, co-owner of Cc: My Admin, discusses how virtual assistants help lawyers increase efficiency and grow profits.