Today on the podcast you can listen in on a brainstorming session between Jim and Tyson as they discuss what’s going on with their own practices right now.
5:10 qualified leads
10:25 do you want to dance
11:35 yes, no or maybe
14:26 marketing plan for satellite offices
15:23 Tyson’s new office
17:11 ad words
18:30 niche down (time well spent)
Jim’s Hack: Book – Why Startups Fail – Tom Eisenmann
Tyson’s Tip: Zoho CRM did a recent overhaul, if you’re looking for a CRM it may be something to check out.
Watch the interview here.
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Transcript: Marketing Ideas and Creative Energy w/ Jim and Tyson
Jim: Welcome back to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I’m Jim Hacking.
Tyson: And I’m Tyson Mutrux. What’s up, Jimmy?
Jim: Oh, Tyson. Well, I got in big trouble last night because I came home from Noor’s softball practice. I was Krabby Patty. I just was a big mean grizzly bear. I was not nice. I was crabby to everybody. My dinner wasn’t ready. You know, we take turns making dinner, but Amany stayed late at work, and I just came home, and I had been walking on the track in the heat for two hours, and I was ornery as hell.
Tyson: You know, I’m glad you gave some context because you might have gotten some hate mail for this.
Jim: Oh, yeah. You know, that sounds like caveman lawyer. I know. “I want my dinner ready when I get home.” No, no. It wasn’t like that. It was– Amany had said she was going to make dinner or have it ready and she didn’t. So, actually, now, I’m on duty for tonight so I will have dinner ready in a timely fashion.
Tyson: And if not, cavewoman Amany will come out.
I think we’ve all had those Krabby Patty moments, you know, it’s– most of us. And there’s some people– like Bernard Nomberg, I’m not sure if he’s ever been cranky before. But I know I have been. I’ve had those moments so [inaudible 00:01:25].
Jim: If we think about our Alabama lawyer friends, I don’t think Mo gets crabby. I don’t think Bernard get crabby. Now, Kira, that might be a different story.
Tyson: Yeah, I agree. I think Kira might get a little grumpy from time to time.
Jim: She’s so great.
Tyson: I agree. I agree.
So, I’m actually work from home this morning because Emma’s got gymnastics camp. And I was telling you it’s at a very, very inconvenient time. It starts at 9:30 so it’s like– just, to me, that’s like right in the heart of like getting stuff done time but that’s fine.
Jim: It’s like, dude, start it at 8:00 or start it at noon. I don’t care but don’t start it at 9:30.
Tyson: Yeah, I know. Like that’s what I’ve never understood like why does court start at 9:00 am? That is just an inconvenient time. I’m sure I’m probably in the minority in that, but I think 9:00 is just such an inconvenient time.
All right, so do you want to introduce our topics? We do have a topic. You have a fun one that we talked about 10 minutes ago so let people know.
Jim: Well, it’s so great because we actually sort of forgot that we are recording today because we don’t have a guest. And so, then, as we often do, we came up with one of our crackerjack topics. And I actually think there’s going to be a really good topic. And the reason I think it’s going to be a good topic is because I think a lot of our best content comes when we try to document what’s going on with our practices and tell the story of what’s going on versus where we sit down and say, “Let’s come up with the 10 marketing ideas” or, you know, when we sort of force it, I think, being natural and just sort of talking about where we’re at is good, so–
Tyson: Real quick with that, Jim. I think it’s important that people know like this is like we’re brainstorming here. So, this is not something where we have sat down for hours and written down, “This is what you should do.” We’re brainstorming on this so give us a little bit of slack whenever you’re listening to this. And you should, if you’re listening, like kind of brainstorm along with us, like what ideas would you have?
Jim: For sure. For sure, I’d love the feedback. And this is a lot about my practice and where we’re at right now.
So, we had our off site– our quarterly off‑site, last Wednesday. And one of the great things about that was that I have been relieved of responsibility for overseeing the DC cases. So, for long‑time listeners might know but some people might not know, we took over an immigration practice in DC last March. So, about– oh, geez, it seems a lot longer, about four months ago. And since that time, I agreed to come out of sort of my firm leadership role and actually take on cases. And so, I inherited about 180 cases in varying stages of readiness. And we’ve sort of whipped them into shape, gotten that list down to about 150.
And the time has now come. We’ve hired an attorney for Washington DC. And Amany is a much better supervisor than I am, so Amany’s going to take over supervisory roles. Laura Clark’s going to be the case manager. And then, Chris Nestor, who’s our new attorney, will be handling the day‑to‑day stuff.
So, the best part of that is that that then frees me up to look at our marketing which is sort of my main role in the firm other than the lawsuit. So, with marketing, we have a rock for the quarter to sort of develop a marketing plan. In fact, I can read you the rock because the rock is specific. And I think it’s good. And our rock is to develop a marketing plan, strategy, structure, and measures of success by September 30, 2021. So, that’s the plan.
And so, I did some data crunching this morning, and I thought I’d share it with our listeners. And then, you could chime in.
So, you know, everyone talks all the time, “I need more leads. I need more leads. I need more phone calls. I need more emails. I need more people to contact us.” And so, I took a look at our leads and we have been averaging 259 new leads per week. And that’s just anybody who contacts the firm. That could be, you know, not just vendors, not really vendors, but anybody who contacts the firm, Smith AI takes the call, and those are the overall leads. So, we quickly sort those out. And of those 259, only about a hundred of them are qualified.
So, for the last 13 weeks, we’ve averaged 99.82 qualified leads. And, note, this number has been trending downward. So, we were as high as 130 qualified leads and 129 in two different weeks in June. So, we are averaging 15.6 for signup. So, we’re averaging about 15 and a half, 16 cases, a week. So that means, for the last 13 weeks, we have signed up right around 15.67% of qualified leads. So that’s one number I wanted to throw out.
Then, the other one, if you compare the number of signups versus the total number of leads, which is everybody who contacts our firm, that’s just around 6%. So, if we could increase that percentage from 6% to 10%, we’d be signing up 25.97. Basically, 26 cases a week. So, obviously, that would be great.
And I’m taking notes as I go through these numbers. And I said that we need to obsess about these numbers. We need to watch for upward and downward trends. And we need to get all those numbers up.
Tyson: I like it. Okay, that’s good.
Jim: I’m interested to hear how that lands with you. I mean, 250 leads sounds so great but, really, it’s a lot of sifting and sorting and there’s a lot of junk in there. So, I think that most people would focus on, “Well, how do I get that number from 250 to 500?” And we should obsess on that number. That’s a good number to obsess on. But it’s sort of like, as you look at your funnel, there’s all these little hinges on the way down. And if you can keep the hinge open a little bit longer to let more people fall through, at each stage, you don’t really need 500 new leads, you know. You just need to– what are we missing out on? The people who actually contacted us because those are the ones who are the most likely to hire us in the first place.
Tyson: So, what was that–? You had that many leads and what was the span of time?
Jim: A week.
Tyson: Yes. I mean, that’s an insane amount like especially if I compare it to our numbers. Like, we were– I was like actually looking at our leads, over the last six months, and we’re not nearly as high as that. I mean, I think we were– in the last six months, we were right around 300 leads so that’s–
Jim: Well, the principles are all the same. So, 300 a month–
Tyson: Yeah, they are.
Jim: –259 a week.
So– I mean– but it’s–I mean, the biggest problem that we have. And that’s why we– I guess, I’m going to kind of backtrack a little bit, because I’m trying to digest your numbers, because that’s just an insane amount. Like we like re‑did our intake process because of just how time consuming it is. So, that’s why we implemented, initially, the micro intake. And then, after that, we went over to the Gary Falkowitz model based on the podcast that you and he did and it has actually really streamline things.
I mean, I would, if I were you, I’d be focusing a lot on getting your people off the damn phone because that number of leads would crush most firms. I mean, that’s just– you’re talking about the number of people that it would take to manage all of those leads is insane. And my guess is that you need more people because you’re losing out on some of those leads. You’d bump that number up if you had more people because you’re not able to give enough time and attention to all those leads. So, you’re at, what, 15% conversion? Is that right? Right around there?
Jim: If you– of qualified leads. So, we knocked down unqualified to qualified pretty quickly. That’s largely automated. A lot of that’s based on what questions were asked on the– you know, everybody goes into our database and everybody goes into our, you know, three times‑a‑week email campaign, so they get all of our email news. But we dropped that 250 to 900 pretty quickly based on things that they say or, you know, one of the first questions we ask, thanks to Gary is, “Are you looking to hire a lawyer?” If not, then they go off ramp into the free area of content and stuff. So, that drops.
Now, could we do a better job with those– you know, that drop from 250 to 99? I think we could. I think we could probably do some more. I think there’s some room to improve there.
Tyson: Well– I mean– and the 99 that you get, and then you get, what, 15 of those people, right? Right around 15 or 16 of those people. I guess, what’s the big objection for the– you know, 83 – 84 people that don’t sign up with you?
Jim: So, the 99 get split up among three people. Our leads team, right now, is at three people. It was at four, but we’ve had that drop from 300 to 250 anyway, so we’re hiring another leads person. But that number, of the 99, then the leads team job is to vet them and to see if they’re– there’s still some back and forth. You have to see if they’re really interested in hiring a lawyer and (2) in paying our fee. So, we’re letting them know our fees before they talk to the lawyer. So, the next drop, from 99, is down to about 45 or 50 which is our attorney‑qualified leads which means they’ve talked to an attorney and this is the kind of case that we would like. So, at that point, you know, we’re getting about 15 or 16 out of 40 or 50. So, that’s about 33%.
Tyson: So, you all are actively getting rid of these leads. It’s not like they’re not choosing you. You’re not choosing them, right?
Jim: Well– yeah, I guess it depends how you want to frame it but, basically, we’re saying, “Here’s what we do. Here’s what we’re good at. Here’s what we charge. Do you want to dance?”
Tyson: And then, you get it down to 50, right? So, of the 250, you’re down to 50 of the cases you actually want, right? The 99, you don’t necessarily want all those cases. You get it down to 50. You want those 50 cases. Now, you’re getting 15 out of 50 which is actually not a terrible conversion rate at all. That’s actually pretty good.
Jim: Especially when– you know, I always have my fallback with you. I always say, “Well, it’s easier for you because they just have to sign a piece of paper. For me, they have to give me money.”
Tyson: No, absolutely. I completely understand [inaudible 00:10:50].
Jim: But, at all those hinges, we could improve, right?
Tyson: Oh, no, absolutely. I wonder if– and I’ve always wondered this. And I understand what you and Gary talked about when it comes to those initial ones asking if they want a lawyer or if they’re ready to hire a lawyer and all that kind of stuff. I just wonder if you’re asking that way too early in the process? I just– and I don’t know. I’m just wondering. I don’t– I don’t, you know, [inaudible 00:11:12].
Jim: Well, I think it’s a little nuanced. And I always think back to my days when I signed up for Foster Web Marketing and the guy who was selling to me with a dramatic flair said something along the lines of, you know, “To build out your website, it’s $10,000.” And then, he paused. “Should we continue the conversation?” I was like, “Oh, yes, we should.”
So, you know– and it’s not just a yes or no. There’s a maybe aspect in there. So, if it’s maybe, they get to continue and they pick your own adventure.
Tyson: Okay. Well, that’s good because I kind of picture like– basically, asking for commitment, it’s pretty much what you’re doing–
Tyson: –at the very, very beginning. And some people are like, “I’m not ready yet.” You know what I mean?
Jim: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s fine. And you have to understand though that just like my old boss told me, when I left my firm, “There’s a lot of people with immigration problems but not all of them can pay for the services that you provide.” And so, you know, we’re definitely on the higher end of what people charge. So, I think that, for some people, it’s just not realistic. It’s just flat out not realistic for us to be able to help them.
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Tyson: All right. So, the 50 you have, the 35 that don’t hire you, like what’s usually the reason they don’t hire you?
Jim: A lot of the time it’s the money. A lot of times they say, “I want to think about it or I need to talk to my spouse.” A lot of times they want to do it themselves. We do get some tricksters who sort of work their way through the whole system, they get to talk to an attorney just to get– that’s really gotten to be very rare which, you know, every now and then, when I get one of those, I was like, “Holy cow! He did it. He made it through the gauntlet and he got to me or–” You know, I only notice it when they get to me. But, I guess, the last piece would be people who aren’t convinced that what we are offering is valuable as what we’re charging.
Tyson: Gotcha. Okay, so–
Jim: It’s all classic conversion stuff in reality.
Tyson: Yeah, yeah. I know, it sounds like it. So you need to find a way to demonstrate value to those people but maybe also kind of filter those people out earlier on.
So, this is interesting. So, we’ve gone through your numbers. Now, what do you want to do with– are you wanting to increase your conversion or what do you want? Like–?
Jim: Well, so– so, now–
Tyson: Do you want me to [inaudible 00:14:11] these numbers, I guess, is what I’m asking you?
Jim: Yeah. Now, my marching orders, from the leadership team, of which I am a member, is that we are supposed to come up with a marketing plan specifically for San Diego and Washington DC and to build it out in a way that we would if that were our only– like, if I only had an office in San Diego, I’d be doing a lot of things differently than I am right now. Or if I only had an office in DC, I’d be doing a lot of things that I’m not doing right now or that our marketing team’s not doing now.
And so, you know, obviously, big concern is to grow that top number, you know, from– get it back on track, up to 300, 350, 400, something like that. And then, also, you know, to fix all those hinges that we talked about. And then, you know, specifically, “What in San Diego should I do? What in DC should I do? What’s different about the communities there?” And, you know– I’ll pause there so you can comment. And then, I’ll tell you some of the things that I’m thinking.
Tyson: Well, I haven’t told you this yet, but this is topical for me because we are opening an office in a warm weather state. I’m not going to tell you which one yet but–
Jim: I could guess.
Tyson: You have a pretty good idea. I’m sure.
So, this is topical because it’s something that we’re thinking about too. Okay, how do this? And I think that the way we do this will be similar to the way you do it, but it’s going to be– in some aspects, it’s going to be completely different.
Because here’s what’s interesting, we’re not talking about a brand‑new practice for either of us. We’re talking about practices that are established practices that already do certain things with established client bases. So, you can kind of skip over. I mean, not completely, you’ve still got to focus on like your lists, right? You can skip over your list. You don’t have to worry about that, right? It’s there. You’re still going to use it but it’s not like you have to compile your list, right?
Jim: Well, interesting for me because we have been around for a while. And because of YouTube, and because of our national approach, we do have a fair number of people in San Diego and certainly on the East Coast up in Baltimore, and Virginia, and DC that we could at least start with them. I mean, I think just starting with them is a really big opportunity.
Tyson: No. I think that that’s a great point. I think it’s a great idea.
So– I mean, like– are there like some really basic things that I feel like are basic but they’re such– like, there’s such a driver for us? And like– and that’s just like starting with like just the digital marketing part of things. And, obviously, we would employ, you know, Blue Shark to do something like this for a part of it but– okay, start on the website. Start hitting those keywords when it comes to the city that you’re targeting, right? And so, building out all those pages for those cities, I think that that’s really, really important. And then, adding them to the website.
Jim: Yeah, that’s a given. That’s all done.
Tyson: Right [inaudible 00:16:47].
Jim: So, I [inaudible 00:16:47] but you’re right.
Tyson: Yeah, the Google My Business Page, maybe even having a separate Facebook page for it. Like, doing all that basic digital marketing, I think, is really, really important to get that.
And then, I think what I would probably do is I would probably inject some AdWords at the very, very beginning, you know, just to help jumpstart this thing. I probably wouldn’t continue through with that. But I would probably jump started with a little bit of AdWords. And I know that you don’t really use AdWords, but it might be necessary just to sort of get that clientele up and running. Like– and I know that that seems– it almost feels like it’s cheating but what do you think about that?
Jim: You know, Jay Ruane has graciously offered to do a presentation in The Guild for, you know, the updates and what we need to be thinking about in 2021, when it comes to Google AdWords, so I thought that I would time it exactly with that. I figured you were going to suggest AdWords and I have never done it, but I think that this is the perfect use for it, right? So, you know, there’s long tail search I can tag. There’s other things that we can do via Office that, I think, Google AdWords would be uniquely qualified for.
Tyson: Yeah. I really think you’d get some quality results. I think the key to it, and I learned this from Ryan McKeen, it’s just not be bland, you know, like just– like, make yours different. Make your ads different so they stand out. And make them about the client, the potential client, not about yourself. You know, people still do this in their Google ads, you know, “150 years of experience.” Like no one gives a shit about any of that, just stop all that.
Jim: Another thing that I’ve been thinking about is, you know, even within these different markets to still niche down and do marketing for, you know, Green Card cases in San Diego, marriage‑based Green Card cases in DC, citizenship cases in St. Louis, like drilling down that much, I think, is time well spent. I could spend the rest of my time on Earth working on marketing for this firm and I would never run out of things to do. I think it’s that big of a project.
Tyson: Yeah. Okay. And I’m glad you brought that up. So, the market that we’re targeting, and I’m going to be very vague here, they– when they do their fees, they do it, it varies– a lot of attorneys, they do this thing in a certain way that essentially raises their fee, so they can get more money out of the injury case. We’re considering – I’m using the word considering, coming in and saying, “We don’t do things that way. We’re not going to screw you over” kind of a thing. And [inaudible 00:19:04] it’s sort of a market disruption, but it’s going to piss off a lot of people. But we’re thinking about doing something like that. So, it’s different from what everybody else is doing.
Jim: That would be my first video. Here’s how all the lawyers in Springfield have been screwing the Simpsons of the world for the last 10 years. We’re going to do it a little bit differently. We’re not going to paint a big ass bus pink and drive around town trying to get you to call us. We’re just going to do things differently. And then, you know, anytime you’re going against the grain, it’s good because you’re different, and it’s noteworthy and, hopefully, you’ll start a fight or two.
Tyson: Well, that’s one of the things. We’re like, “Okay. Do we want to poke the bear?” And I think we probably do because I think it will get us some attention.
So, let me flip this to you. Like what is there in the markets that you’re looking at? Is there something that you can do like that, that you can disrupt things?
Jim: Well, the crazy thing is, and I was thinking about this today, especially with San Diego, is that, as an immigration law firm owner, you might be amazed how often I get contacted by the Spanish‑speaking newspapers and websites that say, “If you don’t advertise with us, you’ll never get a case.” And I sort of am of the mindset “that market is completely saturated and it’s completely where everybody is standing. Let’s go find those other immigrants. Let’s find the immigrants from Burma. Let’s find the immigrants from the UAE. Let’s find the immigrants from Botswana,” you know, and literally niching down. So, I’ve been tinkering with this idea of niching down by case type and niching down by ethnic group because every city has a Facebook group that goes something like this Egyptians in St. Louis, Algerians in San Diego, or Hmong in Minneapolis. You could totally just– just do that. Just do that and then find an entree into those groups and you’re good.
Tyson: So, what’s the big one in DC or San Diego? Like, what’s a big market?
Jim: I mean, for me, with Amany, the place to start and end is Arabs. You know, Egyptians, Iraqis, you know, anyone from the Middle East. With Amany having, you know, come as an immigrant from the Middle East, it’s just like such a natural and sensible play.
Tyson: So, what if you– could you hire– again, just so everybody knows, we’re sort of brainstorming here.
Tyson: Could you hire some actors to do ads in those languages?
Jim: Or, I could have Amany do it.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, like–
Tyson: Well, I was wondering. I didn’t know if Amany spoken other language. Okay.
Jim: Yeah, she speaks Arabic. Yeah, yeah. So– yeah, we could.
And, you know, I made a list the other day of all the people on our team. We have like 13 countries represented at our firm. If I spent all my time doing marketing, if I just did a Q&A with each of them and did a video a week, I mean, that’d be plenty, plenty.
Tyson: That’s great. Look at you, the United Nations, they work at Hacking Immigration Law [inaudible 00:21:44].
Tyson: Very cool.
Okay. So, let’s keep going here. This is good stuff.
So, potentially– okay. I’ve got a really dumb question that you might know the answer to. YouTube’s, YouTube’s, YouTube, right? But like– is there like– if you are– let’s say you’re Uzbek, right? Can you go– like, is there like a YouTube version for Uzbeks or like how does that work?
Jim: YouTube’s probably banned in Uzbekistan, but I’m sure that there’s content for people who either speak Russian or Uzbek. Yeah, I’m sure. I’m sure there’s– and there’s probably influencers on YouTube on there. Man, I could just– that’s a great idea. I could just try to find–
Tyson: [inaudible 00:22:19] influencers. You could get some influencers, man. That’d be great.
Tyson: Oh, I want some influencers. I want to that.
Oh, that’s– that’s a great– I like the idea of you getting some influencers because everyone in their home country is going to be– especially if you can get an influencer that has come to the States that is– let’s pick a country. I’ll let you pick a country.
Jim: Um, let’s pick Algeria.
Tyson: So, Algeria. So, I’m sure you can find some Algerian that’s come to the States, that’s an influencer. You hire that influencer. And they do a bunch of videos. And they– like– like, I don’t know how you do it but mention Hacking Immigration Law. I bet you could get a ton of business out of that.
Tyson: That’d be interesting. That’d be an interesting test, at least.
Jim: Yeah. Yep.
Tyson: I mean, I can’t imagine– it can’t– it would cost you too much. That’s interesting.
Jim: And depending on what– depending on what their schtick is, on YouTube, they might want to talk to an immigration lawyer for their audience.
Tyson: Absolutely. You could be the guy.
Tyson: Kind of like what you did with going to universities and stuff and going to mosques–
Tyson: –you can do the exact same thing except you’re just going on YouTube channels, or whatever social media It is.
Jim: Not that you should really works or anything but yeah.
Tyson: Yeah. No, not at all. It’s awful.
I feel like we are about a fourth of the way into this conversation.
Jim: Yep, there’s so much, man. It’s– for sure. It’s exciting. And that’s why I’m glad I’m sort of abdicating the day‑to‑day responsibility on cases, my case load’s going to go back down very, very small and I’m going to have time to work on this because there’s just so much creative energy that is there.
Tyson: All right. So, I may want to– I may want to convince you into doing it at another one of these episodes.
Jim: Yeah, sure.
Tyson: Let’s– I think we may want to to be continued on this one and begin to wrap things up. Man, I feel like we’ve got so much more to go on this.
But, before I do, want to remind everyone to go to the Facebook group. We can continue some of that conversation there. Or, we’ll probably continue it mostly in The Guild. So, join us in the guild, if you’re interested, maxlawguild.com.
This is a reminder. We’re running out of time here, maxlawcon.com. Get your tickets because it looks like we’re going to sell out, for sure. So, make sure you go to maxlawcon.com to get your tickets.
And, as you’re listening to the rest of this episode, to get our tip and hack of the week, make sure you please give us a five‑star review. It helps spread the love. We greatly appreciate it.
Jimmy, what’s your hack of the week?
Jim: Well, one of the things that we like to complain about and rail on, here on the Maximum Lawyer podcast, is academia and how they don’t really get students ready for the real world. But I have stumbled across a book from a professor at the Harvard Business School. It’s called Why Startups Fail. And it’s by a guy named Tom Eisenmann. I just started it and it’s really good. And the reason it’s really good is because it’s very practical. It’s not all this pie in the sky stuff.
Basically, this guy has been teaching at the Harvard Business School for, I think, 30 years. And he has a lot of recent students who have started startups and failed. And he decided, you know, we’re doing such a great job allegedly training these students but, you know, 70% or 80% of these businesses are failing. Let’s study what’s common about them and then teach it as a class to new entrepreneurs.
In fact, they bring in these founders to come in and talk about, you know, “Boy, I really wish I hadn’t taken that VC money so early on, or, oh, we expanded too fast, or we expanded too slow.” And so, a lot of great lessons and a lot of great nuggets in there for law firm owners. And it’s the most practical thing that I’ve read in a while on that topic.
Tyson: Interesting. Give me the name one more time.
Jim: Why Startups Fail.
Tyson: Why Startups Fail. Okay, cool. I’m going to check it out. Very cool.
My tip of the week is actually something that I’ve not used yet but I saw the launch this morning on Twitter. And Zoho CRM has done a massive overhaul on their CRM. And it looks quite amazing. So, I’m going to check that out just to take a look at it. I don’t think I’ll probably switch over to it. But for those of you looking for CRMs, I figured I’d mention it. It looks pretty awesome. I mean, they had a bit of pretty big rollout this morning. So, pretty cool. So, I’m going to check that out. So, Zoho CRM. Check it out.
All right. Jimmy, this has been fun. To be continued. We want to continue this next week. But good talking to you, buddy.
Jim: All right, bro. We’ll talk to you later.
Tyson: Okay, buddy.
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