This week we’re sharing an incredible speaking engagement from Billie Tarascio at MaxLawCon.
Billie Tarascio is the owner of modern law, one of the fastest growing family law firms for the last 4 consecutive years, and a founding member of modern law practice. She is a two time author and law form consultant on issues related to intake, consultations, law firm finance, governance and leadership. Contact her on Twitter at @mymodernlaw.
Billie is also a skilled practitioner, national speaker, law firm business consultant and a Martindale-Hubbel honored attorney. She was granted the prestigious “Client Distinction” award based on her Communications Ability, Responsiveness, Quality of Service, and Value for Money. Fewer than 4% of attorneys nationwide have been accorded this honor of distinction.
In today’s episode Billie teaches us about biological hacks in sales, creating a sense of urgency and mistakes attorney’s make in consultations.
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Transcripts: “You’re In Sales” with Billie Tarascio
Run your law firm the right way. This is the maximum lawyer podcast, podcast, your hosts, Jim hacking and Tyson metrics. Let’s partner up and maximize your firm.
Welcome to the show. Welcome back to the maximum on your podcast. I’m Jim hacking.
And I’m facing Music. What’s Up, Jimmy? Well, this is exciting. We have an extra special gift for our listeners,
I think people are really going to be excited about what we have in store for them on Thursdays. Yeah, so we’re shifting our schedule around a little bit, we’re gonna start releasing our regular episodes on a Tuesday. So it’s the day earlier that we’re going to add a second episode a week. And it’s going to be on Thursdays. And it’s kind of cool what we’re going to be doing, and we’re not going to be doing but at least the next year, a regular episode, we want to talk about what we’re going to be doing. Yeah, so we realized a little bit late like we sometimes do that we have all this great content and great information for our listeners stored in the vault from prior Max law conference. And so what we’ve decided to do is to release the audio of those presentations here on the show. Yeah, so we’ve got Max con 2018, content, 2019 content, a lot of great presentations. Now I will say, the 2018 content, it’s all fantastic. The audio is not as great as 2019. So bear with us a little bit with him when it comes to the the audio quality. But Pavel, our new production expert will start it he’ll do what he can with the data we have. But if there’s a lot of great information that we’re going to release over the next year, then after 2020, we’ll be able to release that content as well. There’s a lot of great information I just wish we would have released a little bit earlier. Yeah, I know we’re gonna get a lot out of it. I think people are gonna be excited about it. I wonder. I remember last year with Mitch his presentation, we had those technical difficulties, we might have to edit that one up a little bit. But I think overall, people are really gonna get a lot out of it. Yeah, so hopefully everybody enjoy. And we’ll see you later. Yep. Here’s the first one favor, buddy.
So today, we’re gonna talk about consultation strategies, sales strategies. And we’ve heard a lot about intake. But this is where things kind of get divided because I am a family law attorney. And I work mostly with family law firms when I’m working with law firms. And there’s a difference between signing somebody on the phone who just got in an accident or maybe got arrested, and somebody who’s going through a divorce. And so our numbers look a little bit different from your numbers. We don’t have claimants, we have potential clients. We have to we have a different set of challenges. But I still think that the a lot of the nuggets that we’re going to talk about with regards to sales strategy does apply. Most lawyers, family attorneys, especially but probably most lawyers are pretty bad at consultations. They don’t even know how bad they are, because most people don’t track data. But we do we track data within my law firm and then within the other law firms that we’re working with. And so we know just how bad attorneys are. And I was trying to get out of doing consultations myself and teach my lawyers that were taught me how to do consultations. And I was looking around for material and training. And I couldn’t find any. So I decided I had to do it internally. And after the training, the conversion rates of my attorneys went from, you know, like 30% to 76%. And because we track future revenue, and we could apply, okay, I know my average client spends, I’m going to apply it to the number of clients who are hiring me, I saw what that meant for our bottom line and our predicted revenue over the next year. And then I got into training attorneys how to do consultations. And so that’s what we’re going to talk about today. And there’s three major mistakes that attorneys make, when they’re in consultations. They are applying their attorney skills to their consultations. And that is not what you’re there to do. You are not there to analyze their legal problem. But most of the time, we are trying to issue spot, we are trying to gather all of the information, we need to predict the outcome of the case, to think about how we’re going to present our argument to a judge. And that is not what we’re there to do. Or we are preoccupied we are we just finished a really bad conversation with opposing counsel. And we’re thinking to ourselves, you know, like what we should have said, or we were drafting a brief and we were in the middle of analysis, and now we have to switch gears and go do something a completely different skill sets. And that’s hard. So we’re preoccupied or we’ve got a computer in front of us and we’re taking notes, but the person in front of us is really boring. So we’re also seeing pings, Slack messages, emails coming in. And that’s a problem. We’re interrupting clients, we’re redirecting them, we’re redirecting the potential clients to what we want them to talk about, that’s a problem. Or we’re arrogant, you’re never gonna get what you’re looking for. I’ve heard this so many times, no, that’s not gonna happen. That’s not what you’re there to do. So with that in mind, understand, that’s a fail. I know Joey said, There’s no such thing as failure, I think that’s a fail. But this is also a learning opportunity. Because even though you’ve probably made this mistake, or attorneys in your firm have probably made these mistakes, switching these things immediately will make an immediate result tomorrow. And you don’t have to hire a new intake team. And you don’t have to train other staff, you just have to apply some skills differently and think about what you’re doing differently. So what is your job in a consultation? Number one, decide if you want the case, this has a much less to do with the legal issues presented to you, and much more to do with the person sitting across from you. The personalities involved, the relationship that the parties have with one another, the opposing counsel, these are people problems, there is no legal issue, we can’t figure out there’s no issue we can’t research, there’s no issue that’s so complicated that we can’t hire another attorney to help us with. So stop asking about the law and start understanding who’s sitting across from you. Number two, begin creating promoters in family law firms and probably other types of firms. Our ideal conversion rate, the conversion rate, I like to see is between 50 and 60%. Not everyone’s ready to buy, divorce is a long term thing that you’re considering. It’s not something that everybody drops on day one. And so ideally, I’m looking at 50 to 60% of people who sit down and pay to talk to me to hire me or my firm or somebody else’s firm. And that means 40 to 50 people, percent of people that I meet with are not hiring me. And that’s okay. And I expect that. But I can begin creating promoters, I can ask these people for reviews, I can leave them with such an amazing experience with me that they will come back and hire me later, they will tell their friends, they people who are getting divorced are hanging out with other people who are getting divorced. So begin creating promoters and use this opportunity and have a system that will allow you to begin creating collecting reviews. And finally, and this is the most important thing, your job in a consultation is to develop such a bond with the person that you’re sitting across with that you are gaining a trusting and compliant client, someone who believes in you and knows that you get them and that you’ve got their back. And what does this do this sets you up so that you will not have an accounts receivable problem. People have no problem paying you if they believe that you get them and you’re delivering on what they want. But first, they must know that you understand what they want. So you’re in sales. And everybody thinks sales is dirty and used cars, people are dirty. But we’re not just in sales. We’re not in transactional sales. transactional sales is by the vacuum cleaner by the knives by the car. You never have to see this person again, transaction done. So many of the techniques that I learned when I started, okay, how do I study sales to teach it to other people, many of them apply to transactional sales. And that won’t work for us. Because we want clients who adore us. And you don’t adore somebody who shoves down to expensive vacuum cleaners or cars or knives. Consumers hate sales. They hate to feel sold, but we love to buy, we love to buy, think about the last time you went and bought something you really wanted. How did you feel afterwards? There’s a reason it’s called retail therapy. We don’t have a problem parting with our money. That’s not the issue. We don’t have we have a problem partying for our money for something we didn’t want or didn’t need, or we didn’t feel like we needed. So so much of this is about a feeling. Customers don’t want to be sold. They want to be educated, they want to be informed. They want to be guided and they want to choose. So ideally at the end of our consultation, if we’ve done our job correctly, people cannot wait to hire us. There’s no buyer’s remorse. There’s oh my gosh, I found my savior. Yes, yes, I want to hire you. Yes, you get me. So that’s what we’re going for. This is different from transactional sales. So how can you teach that you can? You can you can teach this. And I have come up with a three components to what I believe is the perfect consultation. The first component is using biological hacks to help people make decisions We as humans have to make 1000s of decisions every single day. And we as humans don’t have the capacity in our brains to do that consciously. So we as humans have evolved to develop these biological habits that goes on within each and every one of us that we’re not aware of, that we use to make decisions. Right? You guys have heard this, right? The second piece is high stakes, psychology techniques, how do I build an intimate relationship as quickly as possible, because that’s what this is, the relationship that we have with our clients is a very intimate one where they’re their biggest life’s problems have been handed over to us. And this relationship works best when it is a very intimate one. When we know them, we understand them, we like them. And they love us. And number three, moving stuck people to action. So um, in divorce, people who are divorced are stuck. They’re stuck in bad marriages. They’re stuck in bad relationships. This is usually been going on for many, many years. This is not a problem, like you got in a car accident, like I was fine one day. And now I have a problem. No, this is not a problem. Like I got arrested. I was free one day, and now I might be going to jail. No, this is stuck people. So this is where this is where old school or more traditional sales techniques are important, both for our intake team that’s answering the phone that’s talking to people who are stuck who are considering coming into our office. And then the people who are sitting across our desk when they come in for consultations, who were saying yeah, we can help you but they have to make a decision to go from a position they’ve been in for years and years that they don’t like into another position and that’s where these other overcoming objections and sales techniques come in.
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So what are biological hacks biological hacks are things like, when you hold a hot cup of coffee or someone holds a hot cup of coffee and they’re sitting across from you, they feel warmer towards you. They feel you have a warmer personality towards them. This isn’t conscious, but it’s simply the way it is. And so when you’re asking for a raise, if you have a warm drink in your hand, and your boss has a warm drink in their hand, you’re going to get a bigger raise. Now if you’re the boss, make sure that they have ice water. And if you’re the associate, make sure you bring them coffee before you ask for a raise. That’s just one of the many biological hacks that exist that we should be aware of and implementing into our systems. These are opportunities. I jumped ahead. But there’s the pretty coffee influence and Cal Dini has already been talked about in this conference. And that’s because it’s damn good. Read the book, read the book. And there are six principles here reciprocity, liking authority, social proof, scarcity, and commitment. These are not optional biological hacks. I think I have time to go through them. So reciprocity is when somebody shows up at your house with some cookies, and how do you feel? Happy? Good? Does anybody feel like uh, when am I gonna have time to make cookies? My cookies are never gonna look this good. What am I going to have to bring them? Does anybody feel that way? Even if you don’t know it, even if you’re happy for the cookies, there was a Rule of Reciprocity that exists. That’s biological that’s ingrained. When someone does something for you, you owe them. And we do not like the feeling as humans, whether you’re conscious of this or not, you do not like the feeling of owing somebody something. So how can you give your clients things? We’ve heard about this. We’ve heard about this yesterday, and today with courses, how do we give away such valuable information that people are invested in us that investment is real. So that’s the way that we can incorporate reciprocity into what we’re doing? Oh, liking. We heard this yesterday to give your people a compliment. When you like your clients and they feel you like them, they will like you more, and they will be more likely to listen to you. So this is easy, figure out a way to like your clients. The other way this came up is I’ll skip this all right authority. Most people screw this up. We are attorneys we are we already have authority, we have authority by the very fact that we have a JD behind our name. And we have the ability to practice law and other people can’t do it. So the way that you that I think that you should be exhibiting your authority is more through body language, the space you’re in the website that you have the materials that you send them between the time that they’ve contacted your office, and the time that they come into your office, and less less about. I’ve done this for 10 years, there’s not a case I haven’t seen about blah, blah, blah, just don’t even say I answer questions they ask you only if they say how many years you’ve been practicing, say the answer and then shut up. If they want to know more, they’ll ask talk less about you. But exhibit authority exhibited authority, through confidence and through reassurance and through being invested in them. Social proof. Couple of ways you can use this, obviously online reviews are key, but also your receptionist should be talking you up. Your intake team should be talking up the individual attorneys that that you’re meeting with, oh my gosh, you’re meeting with Darren, I read the notes in your case, he is going to help you so much. This should come from your receptionist. This is an easy biological hack that will simply make the people that are going to go meet with the attorney feel more reassured. Scarcity. I think scarcity slash urgency is one of our challenges. I don’t really have an actual scarcity problem. I’ve got six attorneys, we can pretty much always take more cases, it’s very rare that we’re full. But there is a need for us to create a sense of urgency for people who really may not understand the consequences of inaction. And that’s where I think that this comes in. And then there’s commitment. Okay, so every culture across all time, has marriage ceremonies take place in public. This is the thing. The reason this is a thing is because when you make a commitment, you are more likely to follow through with things. How does this apply to you? Don’t let somebody leave your office after a consultation without making some sort of commitment? If they haven’t signed right there, then maybe you’re scheduling a follow up appointment? Or maybe you are you’re setting a date, where you’re going to call them or they’re telling you here’s what I’m doing next, get some sort of commitment. These are the biological hacks to second component to a perfect consultation. So these, the biological hacks are kind of unspoken, I think they’re How can you set up your office space to work in these biological hacks? How can you make sure somebody has a cup of coffee? Or something warm in their hand? How can you make sure you’ve given someone something or more than one thing when they’ve come in? This? Part two, is far more action oriented than the biological hacks. Here is where you become Dumbledore, you become the supporting character in their movie? And how do you become the supporting character? How do you become the Savior to your clients? I recommend you read Chris Voss, I think he’s amazing. He is former United States, FBI hostage negotiator. And he had to build intimate relationships very quickly with people who were going to blow out hostages brains. And he had to convince them that he would, that he understood them enough. And he had to understand them enough to figure out how to save people’s lives. So I think if he can do that, then we can use that to develop a quick bond with our potential clients. And the way that we can do that is to create a space of real safety and real conversation. And this is why it’s so important that we turn off the notifications that we stopped thinking about the opposing counsel we just talked to, we stopped thinking about the brief we were writing that we’re truly present, because we have essentially 45 minutes or so to create an intimate real bond and understand this person. And that will allow us to do the things that we need to do in our consultation to determine if we want the client create promoters and then gain a trusting, compliant client mirror their language, their word choice and their body language. Now somebody asked me, What do I do if they’re sitting across the table from me and they’re like this? Or they’re, like, super amped up, like you don’t want to be super amped up well, you have to meet people wherever they’re at, and then bring down to the place where you can talk to them. So if somebody is disgusted, right, and they’re displaying disgust with their body language,
then understand that that’s what they’re trying to communicate to you. And only once you recognize what they’re trying to communicate to you, can you bring them back to the place where you can have that intimate real conversation. But the most important thing you can do is use their language stop using legalese. We teach our intake teams this to don’t say to somebody on the phone, oh, so it sounds like you need a modification. Instead, say what they’re saying. So this, the situation that you have right now isn’t working for you and you need to change, there’s no reason that we have to use legal language, we just have to train ourselves to recognize their problems in real problem language in English and not in terms of of our language. But that’s a massive opportunity and a massive way to differentiate yourself, between your competition, ask hard questions, there’s often times when people aren’t telling you things, and you know it and and normally, it would be impolite to be like to dig, but it’s not. Now it’s not, it’s an opportunity. So when someone pauses, and you know, there’s more, you just ask the question, but you don’t do it in a pushy way. You do it in a seriously concerned way. This is a safe relationship. That’s what you’re telling them. When you make people reveal intimate things that are a little bit embarrassing. You’re going to create intimacy real quick, because who do you tell that stuff to? Nobody, right? Sometimes you have even told your spouse, Jim had talked to his counselor about his debt issue before he had talked to his spouse. And I bet you feel very warmly towards your counselor, right? You trust this person, you’re happy to pay this person. So ask the questions, be comfortable with being uncomfortable. And then name, the emotions, the fears and the motivations of your client. This is the tremendous opportunity you have. So you’ve brought them in, you’ve made them comfortable, your spaces, awesome. You’ve invested in them, you’ve asked them all questions, you’ve made sure you understand them, and you’re using the language that they’re using. And then you sum it up, okay. So it sounds to me like what you’re saying is, you don’t really want a divorce, you’re really hoping you can avoid this. And if you do have to get a divorce, you want to protect your kids, you want to protect your assets, and you want to spend as little money as possible and have as little conflict as possible. Is that right? Whatever they’ve told you sum it up, probably better than they’ve ever summed it up. And then you get this. Yes, exactly. And when you get this, that’s when you move to close. Only when you get here. After you’ve done this other work. Is it time to say you’ve confirmed you understand? Yes, I understand. And yes, we can help. And here’s what we’re going to do. And then you move to closing the deal. Here’s a close, first get a prop. A prop is a handout, we’ve got it in a folder, you put the prop the handout, this is a written document on the table. Because here’s what this does, everybody leans in to see the document. Because normally when people talk about price, and I know this, because when we were training lawyers, we’re recording it, and then watching it back, whenever anybody talks about price, people do this, whoo. I don’t want to give you 5000, I don’t want to ask for 5000. Well, by using a prop everybody has to lean in. So you use the prop you lean in. And you say here’s what we’re going to do. First, we’ve got a consultation and a strategy session. And that’s what we’re doing now. And we are what we’re doing here is we’re learning about your problems, the players and defining your objectives. And the most important thing that we can do here is define your objectives. The next thing we’re going to do is assign the right legal team for you. The reason I say this is because I don’t take a lot of cases. And we don’t always keep people within the same case. And one of the hardest things that lawyers tell me is to hand people off, right? Because you come to the firm, to hire the lawyer. So you make this part of the spill. So we’re going to understand the players, the objectives, we’re going to assign the right legal team, because we’ve got three teams here and we need to get you in the best team. Next, we’re going to work together to define a plan A and plan B, plan A is going to be how do we go around the legal system, because that’s going to cost you less money, it’s going to be easier on you, it’s going to be a better outcome. And Plan B is what do we do if that can’t happen? Next, we’re going to work together, we’re going to patiently execute the strategy. I cannot tell you how much this is going to cost or how long it’s going to take. But I can tell you that all of these decisions will be yours. And you will always know what’s happening in your case. How does that sound? And how does it sound? Right? Who does it? Who doesn’t want to do that? Right? Okay, so that works every time guess what I’ve done? I’ve not guaranteed anything ever. But I’ve told them I’m bringing you into this process. We know what our what we’re doing. The whole process revolves around you. Here we go. Okay, that is the anatomy of what I think is a perfect consultation. I have an entire handout that I’m that you guys can email me into this and I will give it to you on overcoming objections because there aren’t we do have stuck people, we do have people who are stuck, who we need to move forward. But this is a massive opportunity. Because when somebody tells you, that’s a lot of money, your opportunity here is to ask the tough question and to become their counselor and their helper. This is where people get conflict. This is where attorneys will say things like, what you spend $400 a month on your truck, and you’re not going to pay for a lawyer to help your kid wrong. Don’t do that. Okay, I know a guy who does this, and he might have a pretty good close rate, but how are you going to get trusting compliant intimate relationships if that’s what you’re doing? So instead, you can say things like, it is a lot of money? How much were you planning to spend, and you can start becoming a problem solver with them. Here’s how some people solve this problem. Some people put it on credit cards, a lot of people have family to help. What what are you working with? How can we work this out? Dive into the money conversation, or the I need to talk to my ex? I agree that’s a great idea. Let’s talk to them. How can we get them on the phone, like dive into the uncomfortable do not allow there to be a conflict between you and your client, you’re on the same page, you want what they want. So become the problem solver. That’s that’s willing to go the extra mile to help them come over whatever problem they’ve got whatever objection they give you at this close is a problem they need your help solving. And the more problems that they have that you can solve, the more they’re going to trust you. Finally, look at data. Data matters a lot. So track it. And I’ll wrap it up, email me and I will send you a handout on overcoming objections and on 15 rules for consultations. I also have them on a YouTube channel and I’m happy to share them that way. Thank you.