This week on the podcast Jim and Tyson ask, in a world of abundant choice, why should someone pick your firm?
Watch the interview here.
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This is The Maximum Lawyer Podcast.
Your hosts, Jim Hacking and Tyson Mutrux.
Let’s partner up and maximize your firm.
Welcome to the show.
Jim: Welcome back to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I’m Jim Hacking.
Tyson: And I’m Tyson Mutrux. What’s up, Jimmy?
Jim: Good morning, Tyson. I’m getting ready to go out of town tomorrow, just going to take a week off in San Diego with Amany and the kids. And so, I’m just excited to be here with you. I’m going to clean my office a little bit. Get everything ready. And then, I am completely unplugging for every day of the trip except for one Wednesday. I’m going to work in the San Diego office just for that one day, that way, keeping my work and vacation separate.
Tyson: And you and I are going to record a podcast together on that day, too. I know you want to record this. So, the people that are not in the Guild, we’re actually live in the Guild today and this is our morning meeting show. I know Jimmy wants to turn this into a podcast episode. But there’s a couple of things I want– I’m going to throw off your play a little bit because there’s some things I want to throw out there like we normally do.
Man, I got a crazy day today. It’s like birthday parties, and karate, and soapbox derby. It’s just like a bunch of stuff. So, it’s a fun little day. And then, Jackson and I are going to do a little father-son day tomorrow which is going to be fun.
Jim: Oh, what are you going to do?
Tyson: I think we’re going to go go-karting and do a few other– you know, I’m going to feed him some junk food. You know, that fun stuff.
Jim: That’ll be fun.
So, it was funny. The other day, we were in the pool, and he’s like, “Daddy, can we do a father-son day?” “Absolutely, we can. That sounds awesome.” So, I haven’t decided what we’re going to do completely but.
So, you said you had a topic. I’m curious what it is.
Jim: You ready?
Tyson: I don’t know. I don’t know with you, sometime. You’re not angry which is good. I’m ready, though.
Jim: My topic is in a world of abundant choice, why should somebody pick your firm? That is my question for today.
Here’s where I’m coming from. So, you know I’m older than you. And I’m old. And I turned 50 last year. And I’m old enough to remember when there were three television channels – three, and you had to get off your butt and go turn the channel. And you could either watch ABC, CBS, or NBC. And, of course, we had these shows from back in the day like Cheers and M*A*S*H, that have– 60 Minutes, that have these, you know, awesome ratings that no one will ever achieve again because there are now a thousand channels, right?
And so, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. You know, I really like to watch my kids and sort of see how they consume content and what they like to do. So, you know, when I was growing up, what I would do at night is I would either listen on the radio or watch on television the Cardinal game, if it was on.
You know, now, every single Cardinal game is on. And I came home and my son who used to watch baseball every single night, he was playing on his PlayStation and he was playing– what’s it called? It’s like–
Jim: No. It’s 2K. It’s basketball. And he was playing basketball. But he wasn’t even playing NBA basketball. He was playing a basketball game where you can create your own players. And you play five-on-five basketball with your friends. And you’re a different person. So, he had actually made a seven-foot tall, 300-pound, and he named it after an NFL lineman that he loves. And he was playing his friends in basketball. So, it’s not even using the NBA players, it’s using that. And so, you know, that that’s sort of one thing.
And then, you know, there’s this gas station across the street from my office. I’ve been in this office for five years. I’ve never been in that gas station, not once, not to make a phone call, not to air my tires, not to get gas. And there’s a QT up the street, right? And I go out of my way to go to the QT–
Tyson: Well, by the way, QT’s are amazing.
Tyson: I’ve got a theory as to why you don’t go to the gas station across from your work. It’s a really quick theory. I think you’re in such a rush to get to the office, you don’t want to stop, and you’re so in such a rush to leave the office – not necessarily rush, but you’re like you’ve got like a goal in mind, right? Your goal is to leave. So, you’re leaving and you don’t want to stop at a gas station right after you left. And then, the same thing, you don’t want to stop at the gas station right before to your destination. That’s my theory.
Tyson: No? Not buying it?
I mean, it’s a little crappy, rundown gas station. The kind that existed back in the ‘70s when I was a kid. They haven’t done no updating, no modernization. But you’d think that like I’d be running out of gas sometime or I’d have to have to air my tires. You’d think that, over the last six years, since we’ve been here, that I’d be over there at least once or twice. Never even thought about it. And I sit there and I watch ‘em and it’s a very, very slow, slow place. You go to Quick Trip, it’s like a little factory.
And so, the question–
Tyson: Real quick. I want to juxtapose the Quick Trip really quick to like my parents’ gas station. So, my parents have the gas station, but it’s a garage attached to a gas station and it’s 100% full service. They differentiated themselves by– and like they’ve got a snack section that’s the size of like, basically, that entire cashier section at QT that’s like gigantic. Like, it’s tiny, but they have people that stop all the time because they’ve got– there’s full service. They wash people’s windshields. They fill up their tires. They add fluids. All that kind of stuff. You’ve got to find a way to differentiate yourself.
Jim: I’m glad you added that nuance to this because that bastard across the street hasn’t done either. He hasn’t made himself like QT. And he hasn’t made it like your mom and dad’s, right? I mean, maybe he thinks he has. But, I mean, he’s three buildings down from one of the busiest corners in St. Louis County – Manchester and Lindbergh Boulevard. I mean, you can’t get much better than that. And they’ve literally done nothing to that place since I’ve moved in. And there’s nothing that makes it stand out.
So, do you want to be the law firm that’s like the gas station across the street from me, or do you want to be like your dad’s and mom’s place, or like QT? You’ve got to make a decision. And you’ve got to say, “When there’s all this choice out there– and there’s only more choice coming. There’s only more choice coming. There’s new lawyers coming. There’s people that are coming into the system that get technology better than you. They get marketing better than you. So, what are you doing to make yourself different, and noteworthy, and selectable?
Tyson: You know, I was talking to Matt last night. We had a lead that was a pretty good case last night. It was like eight o’clock. And we were talking about how– like, what differentiates us, actually. And we actually have a really happy blend between technology and that personal touch because too much of one is probably a bad thing. You can’t completely automate everything and you can’t make everything just hands on.
So, it was kind of funny because we were actually having this conversation a little bit last night and I had no idea what your topic was today. We were kind of talking about that. Because we really do– I mean, you know this about me. We’ve leveraged technology for years now. But we’ve had to back that off to make sure that we add that personal touch as well.
But like what do you think it is about your firm that differentiates you?
Jim: Well, certainly, one is the YouTube. You know, I spend so much time educating clients. You know, we’ve made this bridge of the DC clients that we inherited and the clients that we have at Hacking Law.
And I think that the paralegals in Washington, D.C. have been complaining about a real level of abuse that they get from some of these clients from DC. And I think it’s because the lawyer was looking for clients, you know, in a lower economic class that sort of view the lawyer as part of the problem, not as part of the solution. And I think that, when you deal with clients who are educated, and who understand the process, and who know how hard it is in how you’re trying to help them. I think that’s what helps us stand out is that we get a client base that appreciates what we do. And that’s because we educate them. We spend so much time teaching them about the process and how it all works, both in my marketing and then once they become a client, that it really sets us up for less conflict and more connectedness with our clients.
Tyson: So, I’ve got a comment and a question. It’s interesting. Most of our clients are in a higher socioeconomic class for a variety of reasons, if you were to rank them and everything. It is interesting about what you said because we have clients that are making less money, right, or no money, it causes a lot of problems for us. It’s not because they don’t make a lot of money. It’s what’s kind of it just because that strain on them from a car crash is so much greater than someone that is, let’s say, wealthy – really, really wealthy, because they can absorb that impact. And so, if they’re in a lower socioeconomic class, it is a total drain on us.
And we don’t intentionally target these people. I think, generally, people that access us are people through the internet. That means they have access to computers and cell phones and all that kind of stuff. So, I think, it’s an automatic weeding out filter for us. But it’s interesting how there is a total drain on the firm whenever we have some of those clients that are in a little bit of lower socioeconomic class. That’s my comment.
The question is– and this is one of my topics I wanted to ask you about, that’s why I’m going to kind of derail this conversation a little bit.
Jim: That’s fine. I’m ready to go. That’s fine. We can move on. [inaudible 00:09:22]
Tyson: I want to stay on this. I want to stay on this, but I want to just quick side route. What do you do with your older videos? Do you keep those up?
Because it’s funny, what we’ve been doing is we’ve got a TV in our office. And, when people come in, it’s got our YouTube channel. So, it’s playing my videos. And sometimes, I see these videos pop up of me, from 10 years ago and I kind of like “uh”, kind of cringe. You know, it’s like, “uh, man.” Like, it’s funny. I could see like whenever I was carrying a little bit too much weight, you know. I can see whenever I was running. Like, it’s interesting. You can like look at yourself over the last 10 years and see like, “Oh, that looked good there. Not so much there. I should have used that background there.” So, my thought is leave ‘em up. But I’m just curious if you’ve done any research on that.
Jim: Oh. Well– No. I leave ‘em all up. I mean, we get views and comments from videos from five or six years ago. The only ones I’ve taken down are the ones about deportation because we’re not doing deportation anymore.
I mean, I think it’s sort of funny to see how different I look in my videos. I mean, some of them, I looked like a little kid. And they’re cringe worthy. You know. Like, we have those ones where my head is sort of cut off at the bottom. And we have the ones where I’m talking real slow and quietly. And then, we have ones where I’m just sort of– you know, how I get all crazy, so. Yeah, we leave ‘em all up there.
And as far as showing them off in the office, I don’t know if we’re ever going to have clients again in the office. So, right before the pandemic, I had outfitted our waiting room with a really nice television and signed up for Hulu and everything so that we could have the news on and everything. I mean, I guess, we’ll have clients back in the office, but I’m not in any rush for that.
Tyson: No. Me neither.
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Tyson: All right. So, let’s get this thing back on track. I’m going to do your typical reset. I won’t do as good of a job as you do, Jim, because you do a great job of reset.
Today, we’re talking about how you differentiate your firm to make sure you stand out. And what was the exact question you said at the very beginning?
Jim: In a world of abundant choice, what in the world is going to make a potential client choose your firm over all other options?
I think people need to be obsessed about that question – obsessed about it, especially if they’re in something hyper competitive like nursing home litigation, or car accidents. I mean, you’ve got to figure out a way. I mean, that should be at the top of your mind. Like, I would print it out and put it by my mirror in the bathroom. You’ve got to be thinking about that all day, every day.
Tyson: So, I’m not going to reveal what this is yet because I don’t want other firms to beat us to the punch on this. There’s the big, scary firm coming into town. That’s, you know, Morgan & Morgan. For about a month or so, we’ve been planning a marketing campaign around that to differentiate ourselves, because they’ve come into town. Like, they’re kind of throwing their weight around. “We’re bigger. We’re badder.” I mean, their commercials are saying, you know, “We’re the biggest so we’re the best” kind of a thing.
And then, you’ve got Brown & Crouppen which is like they are the [inaudible 00:13:12]–
Tyson: Yeah, they’re the local, right? So, they’re saying, you know, “We’re the biggest. We’re the baddest.” These people from out of town. It’s really interesting.
And I’ve said, from the beginning, the moment I said Morgan & Morgan’s coming to town is, Brown & Crouppen’s going to fight a big part of our battle. I mean, that’s great. I’ve always been a fan of Brown & Crouppen. They don’t practice the same type of law that we do. Or, they do, but not the same way. But I like that they fight off these firms that come into town. They’ve run them out of town before which is fine. It’s great. I mean–
Jim: Remember their pink buses?
Tyson: Yeah. And, you know, that firm is still around, but they’ve pulled a lot of their money out, right? Morgan & Morgan’s got a way more money than that pink bus firm. I know the name but I’m not going to say it because I think they’re a joke. But Morgan & Morgan, they’re not a joke. They try cases. They’re a legit firm. But, luckily, Brown & Crouppen’s going to do some fighting. But we’ve still got to–
We’re going to have to differentiate ourselves. They’re going to put their straw to the milkshake. And they’re going to start sucking on it really hard to try to pull all those cases out. So, we’ve got to differentiate ourselves.
So, I’ve got a plan. I’m just not going to mention what it is yet because I think it’s clever.
Jim: So, when I was in college, I was in the world’s lamest fraternity. We were like scared of girls. We sat around, and drank, and talked to each other. And we would have these parties and like, you know, like six girls would show up.
So, anyway, we were just sort of farting around, not really paying attention. And then, what happened was Pi Kappa Alpha, the national fraternity, came in and they said, “We’re going to start a new chapter here.” And they went to all the non-Greek leaders on campus and said, “We’re going to make you guys the super fraternity.” Well, man, when that happened, that’s when we finally kicked it into gear. We totally swung into action. We had our biggest pledge classes for like two years straight. And we totally grew the fraternity by about 300%.
So, I would love it. I mean, if I were you, you can have a lot of fun with mocking Morgan & Morgan. Like I would have a whole campaign ready. And I would make it a regular topic to talk about. You know, “They don’t care about you. They just want the money. They’re going to sell you out quick.” I would think it’s a great foil. And, you know, to me, the best marketing is marketing that markets against something else as opposed to, you know, for something else.
Tyson: Yeah. We also have to be careful because of ethics rules and everything. And I really don’t want to tease too much because I want to–
Jim: That’s fine.
Tyson: It’s a fun little thing but it’s definitely going to make it clear how we differentiate ourselves.
The other thing is, I’ll be honest with you, I respect that firm. So, I’m not going to attack them. But I’m going to differentiate ourselves and show, and highlight our strong points as opposed to showing their weak points.
And I also don’t want to take away from our boogeyman. Our boogeyman is the insurance company. It’s not Morgan & Morgan. Morgan & Morgan does a lot for the legal community, so I’m not going to really try to kick them. I also don’t want to hit a bee’s nest and have a bunch of swarm of bees around me either. I don’t want to create that either. I’ve found a way to differentiate ourselves. It’s just a matter of implementing that plan. So–
Jim: Well, you can have two boogeyman. It’s okay to have two. You can have the insurance company. And you can do that one on the down low or, you know, like in the internal marketing that you do like emailing your list and stuff like that, stuff that’s not necessarily public. It could go public. And, of course, I don’t know if kicking the hornet’s nest in that situation wouldn’t be bad. I mean, if you get a pissing match with Morgan & Morgan that might not be the worst thing in the world.
Tyson: Yeah. That’s very, very true. That’s actually not a terrible point.
So, going forward, you have– let’s turn this back around on you for a second.
Jim: All right.
Tyson: You have gone into Washington, D.C. You have gone into your dream home, San Diego. DC is a different situation, so you don’t necessarily have to differentiate yourself off the bat.
Jim: Not yet.
Tyson: How are you going to different– I’m going to start kicking in the shins on this. How are you going to differentiate yourself in San Diego so you can start generating more clients in San Diego? Because if I’m someone that’s– honestly, I don’t even know how this works. I guess, if I’m living in San Diego and I want to bring over someone from another country, why would I hire Jim Hacking, who’s in St. Louis, Missouri, as opposed to Mark Carlin who is in California?
Jim: My answer to that question is– one is that our target audience is sort of upper middle class and middle-class Muslims. So, that’s a niche, within a niche, within San Diego. So, we’re going to be reaching out to the mosques. And I have a plan and it sort of tracks the way that we got started in the first place is by doing my lawsuits. And we’re going to help a lot of people, at a very low cost to them, to try to get their naturalization or their other cases moving. And, by doing that, we’re going to build our list, and we’re going to stand out, and we’re going to be able to make connections in a town that we don’t really know anybody. That’s one.
And then, the other is, you know, we always focus on our international students. Now, you can kick me in the shins all you want about San Diego but, as a firm, we made a decision, when the Washington D.C. opportunity came up, to put San Diego on the backburner. And San Diego shall remain on the backburner until the end of 2021, so.
Tyson: Here’s where I’m kicking you in the shins.
Tyson: You want to live in San Diego, right?
Tyson: Your long-term goal is San Diego. I don’t like putting things on the backburner. That’s why I’m– it’s fine. Hey, listen, it’s just, you see, we have nice little gentle reminder, every so often, [inaudible 00:18:39]–
Jim: That’s all good.
Tyson: –that we don’t forget about it.
I’ve got a friend. He wants to be a professional wrestler. He is a big dude. He has actually gone to wrestling school. And whenever COVID started, obviously, you don’t want to be around other people like hugging on each other and–
Jim: Being in a lock.
Tyson: Exactly. But he has not yet gone back. And he’s gotten the vaccine. Everyone there’s gotten the vaccine. I’ve been giving him a lot of hell about it.
He’s got a job where he’s making money and he’s comfortable. And I told him. I was like, “Hey, man. Like, this is your true dream. You need to focus on it and you need to get back on track.” So, I’m going to do the same thing with you. And–
Jim: That’s fair. I love it. Thank you for doing that. But I’m going to be the John Morgan. That’s what I’m going to be. I’m going to be Morgan & Morgan of the immigration world. That’s it, baby.
Tyson: I like it. Very cool.
Jim: What did you want to talk about? You said you had some things you wanted to talk about.
Tyson: Well, I, sneakily, snuck both of them in. So, I covered them. So, I’m good to go. I got ‘em both. And it was good. Like, I was able to fit them in during our chat about making sure we differentiate ourselves.
I will say this. Let’s say you’re just starting out, right? You’re not going to be, you know, poking the bear like Morgan & Morgan. Maybe you are, I guess. But what would you say? What’s the process you think you should go through to really set yourself apart? Because it’s not an easy exercise. This is something that can take some time. What’s the exercise you’d go through, if you’re a new lawyer, to differentiate yourself?
Jim: Well, I think, number one, you have to survey the market. And you have to see what are other people saying. And I would imagine that, if you look around, most people are saying the same stupid shit. And they’re all saying, “I’m the best, or I work the hardest, or I love my clients the most.” So, number one, you have to say to yourself, ”I don’t want to be like everybody else,” and to do sort of the opposite. That’s, one. So, you really have to understand that.
Number two. I am convinced that you have to have a niche within your niche. You can’t just rely on “This is me. This is what I’m going to do.”
And then, the third thing is that you have to find that starving crowd. You never want to be trying to create a market that doesn’t exist. You know, we’ve called it the Anthony problem. I saw it in a quote from breakthrough advertising the other day is that, you know, you want that starving crowd. You want people who need what you want. And then, you have to go find them.
So, when you say, “I’m going to put my flag in the in the ground” and say, “This is what I’m doing.” You better make damn sure that people care that that’s what you want to do.
Tyson: I think that’s great advice.
Sorry. Saturday morning noises. You know, like people are mowing the lawn outside to get the– you know, kids are waking–
Jim: Just like the old days.
Tyson: That’s exactly right.
We are going to wrap things up. Before I do, I want to remind everyone that if you want to go to the conference, you might want to get your tickets pretty darn soon because we’re getting close to selling out – maxlawcon.com. That’s maxlawcon.com.
Join us in St. Charles, Missouri which is very, very close to St. Louis, Missouri. You’re just going the opposite way of the city. So, join us there. It’s going to be a lot of fun. It‘s going to be at a casino which is going to be fantastic. A lot of people having fun there.
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Jimmy, what’s your hack of the week?
Jim: I wanted to give a shoutout to a couple of people who have bought tickets to the conference. Raphael Lozaro bought a ticket the other day. Who else? John Strohmeyer. We’ve got people signing up every day. And I just wanted to give a shoutout – Daniel Wyer, Chris Wragge Debbie. It’s fun seeing these notifications.
You know, we used to message each other every time we got a ding for somebody signing up. We probably should do that again. That was always fun when we did that.
But, it’s fun seeing people register 24 hour– you know, we had a registration at like 3:00 in the morning the other day and I’m like, “Well, that’s funny,” because you never know what it is that makes people raise their hand and say that they’re interested. So, I’m just excited. And like you said, I think this will probably sell out.
For my tip of the week. So, you know one of my favorite marketing guys, of course, is Dean Jackson. And James Schramko is another one of ‘em. And I was listening to James talk to Bond Halbert. Bond Halbert is the son of Gary Halbert, who’s one of the most famous copywriters of all time.
And Bond Halbert has a book out. It’s a few years old and it has a very strange title. It’s called The Halbert Copywriting Method Part III. And, as far as I know, there’s not a part one or a part two. So, he wrote part three first. And I have it right here. I just got a copy for myself and a copy for Mackenzie. You can get it on Amazon. I think it’s like 15 bucks.
And this is all about editing your copy. And there aren’t a lot of books about editing your copy. So, if you’re doing emails to your list, if you’re spending the time to actually write them, this handbook is really helpful in making your content digestible by your readers. And so, I think that there are a lot of great practical tips like shortening your paragraphs, having punchy sentences, you know, sort of switching up your word count.
One of the things that he says is that you should always take out the word “that,” if you can. So, there’s just great practical stuff. I really enjoy it. And it’s a good little book.
Tyson: I love it.
So, my book is– you thought it was an old book. It is a new book. Well, it’s an updated book, okay?
Jim: It’s still an old book. You can say it’s a new book all you want. It’s an old book with an update.
Tyson: It’s expanded. It’s an expanded version and with a new principle that is added to it. It is, in my opinion, the greatest marketing book of all time, Influence by Robert Cialdini. And it’s expanded. And it’s interesting. And he reads it, so listen to it. He reads it himself. And he revisits some of the old things, but he adds to it.
If you’ve not read Influence, okay, you need to stop what you’re doing. Go back. Get Influence and really read that book or listen to the book, whatever’s easier for you, because it is really the bedrock of what everyone else does when it comes to marketing. It’s based on the book Influence.
And that is not an overstatement. That is absolutely true. It’s all based upon the principles that he has identified, okay. So, go back and listen to or read that book, Influence. And it’s The expanded version. It’s amazing. So, definitely, check that out.
Jimmy. It’s been fun, buddy.
Jim: Cool, man. Have a great weekend.
Tyson: You, too. Have fun in San Diego.
Jim: All right. Later.
Tyson: See you, guys.
Thanks for listening to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast.
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