Fundamentals of Closing the Deal: Sales Strategies That Help Solidify Relationships and Retain More Clients
Today, we’re going to be talking with Matt Rosen who is one of our provider attorneys out of northern New Jersey. He’s been practicing for about four years. He’s still relatively new in the practice of law.
He started a partnership with a good friend of his two years ago and he has the sales gene. We talk about that on the episode, but his father was a corporate salesman, started working the streets of New York City selling Green Peace when he was a kid. And along the way has learned a great deal about sales, the fundamentals that make it work, and how to close the deal. And in legal services, in a legal space, no one wants to refer to themselves as sales people, but ultimately lawyers sell their services. That’s what they’re doing here, and so how you communicate with your clients, develop rapport, instill confidence, work around the financial barriers, and ultimately convince clients that you’re the right attorney and good fit for them is how you build your practice one client at a time.
And so, we really hit on some of the underpinnings that make a sales call, that initial consultation work, and some of the things that he’s learned along the way that really made a difference in his ability to convert leads into paying clients. He converts about 40 percent of his leads into paying clients consistently, and shares how he does it. So let’s get right into it, this interview with Matt Rosen, one of our provider attorneys in northern New Jersey.
Dave Aarons: Hi Matt. Welcome to the show.
Matt Rosen: Hi, thank you.
Dave Aarons: I’m really glad we’re getting a chance to connect today and to dive into the evolution of this relationship. I know you guys are pretty fresh relatively speaking, in the practice of law. And this has certainly helped with launching these things to a certain degree. The lead generation certainly helped with launching your practice to a certain degree, so I really appreciate you jumping on to share how it’s impacted things, the ways in which you work with clients, and whatever other ideas we like to bring to the table. So, thanks again for taking the time.
Matt Rosen: Off course.
Dave Aarons: So, a good place to start, Matt maybe you could just give a little bit of background on how you got your start in the practice of law, how long you’ve had your practice going, maybe talk a little bit about your partner, and also the focus area of your practice and the region you serve.
Matt Rosen: Sure. My name’s Matt Rosen. I’m from northern New Jersey, been out of law school for four years. My law partner’s also been out of law school for four years. We have a two-man law partnership that advertises as a general practice, although I do probably 80 percent family law and my law partner does about 80 percent civil litigation. We make up the difference and do various other miscellaneous stuff. We’ve been out in our own practice now for a little less than two years. We both went to Rutgers School of Law Newark. I was in the Peace Corp before going to law school. People say why did you go to law school? And I was living on a mountain top in Peru and I wanted to come home and not be unemployed and aimless, so I ended up applying to law school. I’d already taken the LSAT in college, came right home from the Peace Corp, and went straight to law school.
As far as with Unbundled, we’ve been accepting and taking leads now for seven months with Unbundled and we’ve been having pretty good success with it. So, it’s allowed us to very quickly in our practice, you know we’ve been less than two years like I said, to establish a family law practice that because of the nature of family law cases there’s usually a retainer and it’s an hourly agreement, it’s steady work and dependable work. It frees up the practice to send my partner out into civil litigation and take contingency cases. So, it definitely helps us to round out a general practice here in northern New Jersey. I don’t know if I answered your question, but I guess that’s my two-minute elevator speech.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, that gives a little bit of context on how you guys got your start and the structure of things. You know, what interests me or at least is something I love to dive into a bit about, is not why you guys started in the practice of law, but what drew you to working with the Peace Corp and hanging out in South America? For anyone that’s heard the interview where Sue interviewed me, I mean as a company culture we have a distributed team and most of the guys that work with us, including my partner, we all work from various different places in the country and off in other countries as well as we run the company. And so, I’ve been all throughout South America and Peru. So, what was it that drew you to the Peace Corp and what were you doing for them?
Matt Rosen: Well the Peace Corp’s a very special program. I looked at it as a way to serve my country and I have a reformed Jewish background that preaches a concept called Tikkun Olam, which means to repair the world. And I wanted to do a service project after college that was confident that the two years I spent ultimately wouldn’t set me back too far. Wanted to learn Spanish, wanted to travel the world, and also wanted to serve my country. So, I knew I wasn’t going to do the Marines, so I ended up in the Peace Corp. Very proud that I did it, but I was also very proud and happy to come home.
It was a long time away from my family and Costco’s, and electricity, and running water, and clean water you can drink are all wonderful things as well. It made me appreciate all that we have here stateside so much more. Glad I did it but also glad it’s behind me. I think it’s very useful for the practice of law, in that I had to learn to be comfortable in foreign type environment. And I had to learn to be self-sufficient, and have my wits about me and learn another language. And it was a good character building experience. It allows me to bond with potential Hispanic clients, not that I would ever say that’s why I did it.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, man. It reminds me of every time I come back from South America or Indonesia, or various different countries that don’t have the modern niceties, or at least to the degree that we have in the U.S. And it’s always just shocking how clean the streets are, and how nice the cars that we drive and the SUVs and so forth, and the running water. And it helps you appreciate, like you said, things that otherwise go unnoticed.
Matt Rosen: Absolutely. I think everybody should have to a service project. It was a great experience and I’m glad I did it, but like I said, I’m too old for it now. I’m 30, turning 31 and even that would be too old to go live where I lived because I did live in quite a rural and different … because where they send the Peace Corp volunteers is not nice Peru. It’s where they need a Peace Corp volunteer where they can help the most.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, it can be pretty raw, that’s for sure, some of the places we’ve been as well. Okay so, you’ve got the practice off the ground. It’s been a couple years, you know certainly its been fueled by some leads in the last seven, or eight months or so, however long we’ve been working together. A lot of attorneys may have had a very traditional approach to running their firm. You know, a big upfront retainer, billing by the hour, and you train at a very traditional way of working with folks in that manner. And usually when they start working with these leads and working with us, they tend to adapt obviously in responding to clients much quicker, and also the types of options they may be offering, typically a more affordable approach for folks to be able to move forward and retain them. So, that’s where I thought would be a good place to start is how you’ve adapted your practice.
Matt Rosen: Graham Scott, who was the employee of Unbundled who initially contacted us. We had initial hesitation. Do we want to pay per lead? How are we going to handle the leads when they come in? And Graham was great about giving us a script to go off of, but ultimately having a robotic script will only get you so far. You still have to think on your feet. You still have to actually connect and talk with the leads as they come in.
In terms of what has changed from those initial first couple of calls isn’t necessarily what was said, it’s the confidence in saying it. And also to some extent, now I have a real set process for when a lead comes in. So, a lead will come in, I will either be sitting at my desk and available, or I won’t be. Unfortunately, you can’t turn the lead off in the middle of the night, so sometimes they come in in the middle of the night and there’s really nothing I can do until I wake up and see that lead. But for the leads that come in during the day, I immediately call the number, if they don’t pick up, I will immediately call them again, if they don’t pick up again, I will text message, I will email. And what has changed since the initial process is that I have all of these emails as emails and text messages and even the voicemails that I leave are kind of standardized at this point. You know, so I know exactly what’s going to happen at this point as opposed to just calling and hoping I get somebody and then saying, “Hi, I saw your request for legal services. My name’s Matt”, and running with it, as opposed to that, now I have a much more polished set of documents that go out in the event I don’t reach that person with the initial call.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, and this is what I think lead generation, in general, lends itself well to building systems like this because the process is very … not repetitive, but very consistent. The leads come in, it’s always delivered with the same delivery method, and the response is going to be relatively generic because everyone’s dealing with a very specific … relatively it’s family law, within a specific realm of a type of case they’re working on, and so, some of these things can start to become standardized and optimized. Right?
Matt Rosen: Absolutely.
Dave Aarons: If you do something enough times, you can start to really refine a strategy for optimizing and maximizing a specific model.
Matt Rosen: As far as pushing the unbundled services, I do try to my best ability to figure out in that initial call, is legal services something this potential client is looking to spend money on? And you have to figure that out very quickly, and that’s one of the hardest parts. They’re contacting you, they’re putting their information in because they need legal services, but are they willing to pay for it? That’s the question and you can explain to somebody, “I can do this unbundled legal services. If I’m going get a martial settlement agreement to you, it’s going to be $700 to $1,500 dollars.” And if they balk or they don’t have a car to get to you, there are some signs that I’ve learned how to not waste my time as well. I’ve gotten better at screening who is serious about … you know, they’re calling me because yesterday they got served with a divorce and they were just looking for a lawyer in earnest on the internet; versus somebody who’s called 15 lawyers already and just looking for as much free help as they can get. It’s out there here at least in north Jersey, not to disparage our potential clients, but this is a business.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, absolutely and so maybe we can unpack that a bit Matt, as far as the process or some of the questions you might ask, or some of the tell tale signs on whether you have someone … you know, in sales I guess we call it a qualified prospect instead of a suspect, where you can start to identify whether this is a someone that you’re going to spend some time with. You’re going to direct them accordingly, give some sound advice, and then probably get off the phone because they’re not quite in a position to afford even maybe an unbundled service, or a smaller low initial retainer, payment plan and so forth. Or is this someone that is seriously looking at retaining someone to assist them with their case and has at least some degree of resources to do so? So, are there some questions that you might ask, or how do you determine that?
Matt Rosen: The first gateway to figuring that question out is figuring out what type of case is it to begin with, I find that the matrimonial cases tend to have more money than the cases where we’re dealing just with child support and the parties were never married. Some of it is geographical. What county is this case coming from? Some of it comes in questions such as, is there any history of domestic violence that I need to know about? If they started listing well, he just got of out of jail; maybe he doesn’t have money for legal services.
Some of it is just asking them. You know, “We’ve been on the phone for five minutes now. Can I ask you how much have you set away for potential legal services to deal with this very important issue that you have in your life?” Some of it is how persuasive … can you get a sense from it how important this is to them? If you say something like, “We can fight over child support, but parenting time is priceless. So, how much money have you set away to try and get more parenting time?” I can’t tell you, but there are a couple times in life where I would want an attorney, and certainly fighting over parenting time with my child would be one of them.” And if they’re nodding their head yes when you say that type of thing, that can be a sign that there’s some money there and they’re looking for full representation as opposed to unbundled services.
Sometimes clients will tell you point blank. They’ll say, “I’m calling you because I’m looking for somebody who can do a cheap divorce.” And then they want to know what that process is, and why anyone would ever pay more than the unbundled services is completely beyond them. So, they’re calling you with this preconceived notion that a lawyer really just wants to rob them and doesn’t want to help them at all. Then you have to break down that barrier and say, “Actually ” … especially with the matrimonial and cheap divorce clients, you say; “You can have a cheap divorce, but it’s going to be up to you and another party, and we have to negotiate what’s called at least in New Jersey, a matrimonial settlement agreement for the judge to sign off on that. If we can do that, then yes, let’s do a cheap divorce. I’m all for that. If not, here’s a couple different ways this could balloon out of control”.
It’s not a perfect system in terms of check, check, check, check, check, okay now I know that this person has money and therefore, I’m going to put the screws to them. It’s a very delicate conversation that you need to treat the client with respect, and if you do that and you bond with them, and you show them different prices are because of different services, not because they’re arbitrary numbers I’m picking out of a hat. Even if they are arbitrary numbers I’m picking out of a hat, you need to explain why one thing would cost more than another. And if you can do that, and if you can earn their trust by being a genuine person who comes off as somebody that’s going to care about their legal issue, often times you can get somebody who might not even think they have the money to pay you to help them with their family law issues. Because these things are priceless to these clients, especially the custody, especially parenting time. That stuff people will really spend money to fight over if they see a path to winning.
And often times our job is to tell them, I know you want sole custody of your child, but the father or the mother has a constitutional right and you’re probably not going to get that. And sometimes you have to talk clients out of spending a little money, even if they want to pay you and you know you’re not going to help. It’s the ethical thing to take a quick look at their case and tell them, “I would take this. If you want to pay me to do this, it’s worth a shot, but your likelihood of winning might not justify the cost”. So, it really is about as quickly as possible, building that relationship with a client where they don’t just want to take advantage of you for free information. They know that you can be helpful to them, and therefore, they want to hire you because they want that help.
It’s not a perfect system, but it does get better over time in terms of your feel for it or the salesman’s feel for it. I have found that I’m getting better. I am wasting less time on the initial intakes than I used to be. Although, some clients you can spend a lot of time on them, and you’ll still lose them. And some clients you’ll think that they have no money and then, you’ll go to have the conversation, and they’ll say, “Look, okay. I like you, you’re hired”. So, it’s the dealings of emotions and relationships and it’s up to you the attorney to put it in their head, how you can help them and create that value proposition in their head where they want to sign up for you. It’s definitely not an exact science; I guess is what I’m saying.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, and it sounds like over time you develop a capacity to better develop a rapport with each client and do it also efficiently. I think once you’ve identified some basic things about whether the person is working and is at least in a position to do something and is serious about moving forward with their case, then you can invest a little bit more time. But the earlier you can establish that maybe you’re not going to be able to help the person, be it for financial, or legal matters, the sooner you can establish that, the better. But certainly once you’ve established that hey this seems like someone that I may be able to help and has the resources to at least do something to get them in that direction, then you can start to take a little bit more time to develop that rapport and develop that confidence in your ability to serve them.
Matt Rosen: In the beginning when you first start with Unbundled, there’s this pressure. At least there was from my end because we had a new practice going on, and we were throwing spaghetti at the wall with advertising dollars and there’s this pressure for each lead to … I know exactly what each lead costs, so I want to get that much back from each lead. And I do think that over time the pressure did come off a little bit because I saw that the leads averaged out. And it took a little bit of pressure off each individual lead, and if you’re not trying to … I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to say there. But I think in the beginning I was putting a little too much pressure on each individual lead, as opposed to big picture how am I approaching every lead, and not losing my mind over one lost one or whatever.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, there’s I really do get where you’re coming from on that, because people can kind of get a sense for whether you are there to … I don’t want to say convince them, but basically persuade them to move forward with your services or if you’re on the phone, and you’re relaxed, you’re there just to serve them. And figure out is this a good fit? Can you fit this in your budget? Do we seem like a good fit to work together? Okay, let’s move forward. There’s almost a different energy and I really get the sense that at the beginning, because maybe funds were tight and you needed to see an ROI to make that work, it’s really difficult when you’re in a tighter position financially personally. Or maybe you just have a limited amount of spend you can put in to get something started that it can be really difficult to, or a challenge to kind of let that go as best as you can, and to just be on the phone. That’s easier said than done.
Matt Rosen: It’s easier said than done, certainly. So, my father’s a corporate salesman, and sales is really an art. And now that we have Amazon.com and Unbundledattorney.com, people expect to go online and just pick their attorney and click buy, and then have an attorney, but that’s not really how the legal profession works. It’s all based on relationships and now, even if you sell that client, it’s not a guarantee that they stay with you unless you actually convince them that you’re on their team and you’re fighting for them. And that starts from the first conversation, and to some extent starts with how quickly you get on that first conversation. If you put off that first call, not only will the lead likely die, but you’re also telling the client that their matter wasn’t that important to you. So, you got to get on the leads quickly or they go away.
Dave Aarons: And then, what I’m also getting a sense of is that once you are able to have some confidence in knowing that the numbers is a law of averages that’s at play here. The leads are priced accordingly because we know roughly what the conversion rate is and it all pencils out in the end that you could to a certain degree relax.
Matt Rosen: Absolutely.
Dave Aarons: And just know that hey, this is a numbers game. I don’t have to push. I don’t have to press, I don’t have to persuade too hard because you’re going to get enough clients that want to pull the trigger and want to hire you. And they have real legal situations, and they’re working, and they may need a little bit more flexibility when it comes to what they can pay upfront and so forth. These issues are real, the people are real, the money’s there, and so you can almost let go of that need.
Matt Rosen: It’s streaky. So, if we break them up into batches of 10, we might get one batch where we hit seven leads and we pull them in for some service. And then, a week later I’ll be talking to my partner/ I’ll say, “You know, it seems like I haven’t hit a lead in 10 leads”. So there are definitely times where we’re down on it, and there are definitely times where we’re thrilled with it. And part of our job as self-employed attorneys is to trust in that law of averages that you were talking about. And we have to believe in ourselves as well that if we’re on a cold streak, maybe it’s not just us. But we have found that it’s streaky and we’ve also found that the law of averages holds true.
So, we have stuck with it and we’re pretty happy we have generally. Because like you said, they are real cases that come in and to some extent, at least with divorce and child custody and child support, these issues sell themselves. These people know they need an attorney and know that it’s not a luxury. Sometimes we get cases where people have already started their cases and realized that they need an attorney midway through because they’re getting by another well-represented side. It’s not that people aren’t looking for legal services. They are looking for legal services. They’re looking to not pay a lot for it, and then it’s up to us to sell them on here’s why it costs so much. Or here’s what you need and here’s what it will take, and this is what it costs. I feel like sometimes I’m rambling a little bit, so I apologize to the listeners, but it’s not rocket science.
These people need legal help. Often times they know it in their core that they need legal help, and if you can clearly communicate to them that you can do it for them at a fair price and you’ll stick with them, and be by their side, and fight for them, and this is what you went to school for, and you love this type of work; they’re going to hire you. It’s a question of conveying that as quickly and effectively as possible. I have found that getting them on the phone is great but if I can get them in front of me in the office that’s better.
Often times something’s a rush so people are calling you and they’ve got a week left to get in an answer, and it’s like “Are you going to hire me or not?” So, every single case is different, which is why the screening process must be so hard on your end. It’s wild world of family law out there and it’s not rocket science. They just need a little reassurance these clients that they can do it for the unbundled and they need more hand holding for the full- blown legal services.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, I’d like to unpack the options a bit here in just a second, but there’s something that’s been kind of sticking with me from earlier on when we were chatting is when you first get started there’s this need to enroll these clients and get the lead cost back. And you’re trying to figure out how to get the client to make a decision to retain you, versus once you’ve got a number of cases under your belt and you know the number are there, you’re going to have a lot of confidence. There’s a tactile difference in the way you relate to each call. What’s interesting to me and I want to see if we can isolate on this call Matt, is what is that difference?
Like for example, I don’t know if this is weird, but if you were to have a conversation with Matt from when you first started and fast forward seven months. You know the numbers are there and so forth, what advice would you give to either yourself or another lawyer that’s just getting started as far as how the relating to the clients where you’re sitting now and the space you embody when you make those calls today as opposed to when you were first getting started and relating in more of that kind of convincing tone or convincing approach? Can we quantify that to a certain degree on how it feels?
Matt Rosen: So even though I clerked in family court coming out of school, there’s a lot of stuff that I had never done in my practice. And quickly, the Unbundled leads allowed me to see a lot of different kinds of motions, and a lot of different kinds of paper work that I had not been exposed to quickly. So I will say that Unbundled helped me get my actual competency up pretty quickly because I was seeing more cases than I would have seen. Not just on other traffic, other advertising income revenue stream is what I mean by that. So, I started getting into family court more and definitely built a competency just off of more experience that Unbundled allowed me to get. And I don’t think that any amount of talking to past Matt from the future Matt would have been able to assist in that as quickly. So, some of it absolutely is just actually competence from actually going and handling different kinds of matters that I hadn’t seen before because I am such a new attorney.
Another thing is the business picked up because we’re this two-man law partnership, and the matrimonial and family work that we get through Unbundled or through other sources is a steady type of work that we can depend on. Usually, we take a retainer and work off of. That dependable revenue stream has freed up the practice in other areas to go and do more civil litigation, do more criminal defense. So, by having this kind of family law work, in particular, that is steady work, it’s freed up the practice in other areas. That has also taken the pressure off. We started our law firm less than two years ago and you can talk to anyone who has started a law firm in less than two years, they will tell you they are very stressed out. And part of me becoming less stressed out through Unbundled just has to do with me becoming more confident as an attorney out in the world at all. Because now I have four years experience as opposed to two, which is as you know, a big difference. It’s a 200 percent difference.
Certainly, time has been a factor in my confidence. I’ve always had the sales gene, to begin with. Like I said, my father,’s a salesman. I’ve had many sales jobs in the past and I think it really just have to do with becoming comfortable with the material and becoming comfortable with the sorts of clients that make up Bergen and Essex County and Morris County, New Jersey which are my counties, and becoming more comfortable in my own skin as a lawyer. And I do think that Unbundled has helped greatly with that because I do talk to … I’m probably getting seven or eight leads a week and that’s one more intake every week, and every day really. And every day I’m getting a little better at it. It is just practice. You’re going to get better at anything you do once a day.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, in a way the lead generation almost compresses time, because you’re talking to some many folks and seeing so many different kinds of cases so quickly. You know, especially for someone that’s newer to the practice of law, your experience points are going to be going up pretty quick when you’re able just to see so much volume of different types of folks and different types of matters.
Matt Rosen: I don’t work in an office. I mean, I work in a beautiful office. I rent space from an insurance defense firm, but I don’t work with other family lawyers and this allows me … I’m still young enough that older established attorneys don’t look at me as too threatening. So, if I see something that’s interesting and I can call up a mentor from either law school or from the Temple Brotherhood, or just somewhere else; it gives me more to talk about. It makes me more interesting and that all snowballs. If you have what’s to talk about with other attorneys and engaging other attorneys, you expand your network and grow your business. It’s almost a field of a dream situation. If you’re going to start your own law practice, you have to have a lot of resiliency. You have to have a lot of inner confidence that it’s all going to work out for you and you have to go out and execute. And I’m lucky, I’m blessed to have my law partner in this with me. If I was doing this alone, I think it would be an even scarier prospect to take leads per dollar, as opposed to splitting that cost with a law partner and letting the chips fall where they may.
I could go on for two years on starting a law practice itself. I know we want to keep this to the leads, but really my only message is it’s one part of our practice; the leads are real, they’re definitely real. They’re real people just calling us up and if we sell them or we don’t sell them, that’s on us to some extent. And you have to take that mentality and bring your A game to each one of these initial calls. And if you do that, we’ve found that we can get 30 to 35 percent of our leads converted to something and probably 20 percent of the leads are signing up for full representation. If we get one of those, it’s more than breaking even and it’s been a real asset to our young firm, which is why I’m making time to do this interview and helping you guys out here I think. We are very appreciative and glad that this relationship has came to our attention.
Dave Aarons: Yeah. Well, we’re really happy with the work you’re doing for the folks we’re sending you in the northern New Jersey area. And so, it’s worked out really well for clients, for us, and for you as well. I also appreciate you taking the time to extract and try to narrow down what it is that you’re doing that’s working so well and what you’ve learned in the process. One of the things that came up a little earlier, you mentioned that sales gene and I think you’re right in that at some degree people have a gift with words. People have an ability to communicate and they like … I don’t know if they like people, but they kind of get along. They have a charisma, and they have an ability to communicate. They are wordsmiths and I would say that I’m very much a sanguine type of personality. I like to communicate with people. I like words, I use a lot of words and love to get on the phone, but other people are a little bit more analytical.
So, I think to a certain degree we’re born with a certain amount of sales capacity, and then everything beyond that, whether you’re low in it or high in it can be certainly cultivated and learned.
And so, what I’d like to try to … maybe we can bring some attention to or throw out some ideas, I kind of got the sense from some of the books you were talking about listening to when we were first jumping online, that personal development has been a cornerstone or at least an influence on you as far as developing your sales, lawyering, and all these other abilities as well. Where you’re listening to books on tape and so forth and cultivating a day-to-day improvement in your skills and ability to communicate and relate to folks.
For someone that may be either doesn’t’ have that sales gene or does and wants to improve that, is there anything that you found whether it be books, training, or just ideas or strategies that you found that have been really influential? I mean, maybe you can talk about some of the things that you learned from your father or some of the books that you read. Whatever it may be that comes up for you that’s really helped to cultivate and to continue to improve upon that sales capacity.
Matt Rosen: Sure. So in the summer of 2007, I had the hardest job in the entire job, which was I was a canvasser for the non-profit Green Peace on the streets of New York. And my job was to stop New Yorkers and get them to give me my credit card information for the non-product of ensuring in those people’s mind that someone would be lobbying for the environment in Congress. So, if you could imagine how difficult it is to sell an idea, this was one of the hardest jobs. I mean, it’s a labor of love. People burn out of that job after the second day, because they’re told my New Yorkers to go paddle up the river and they take it the wrong way. So, some amount of it certainly is getting over your fear of rejection. I don’t think that’s anything new to anyone who’s even looked at any basic sales book.
You got to get over the idea that no is the end of the story. If somebody tells you no, you got to figure out why they told you no, and then either convince them you understand their concerns but, or is it a legit no and then move on. You have to get over no whenever you’re selling anything. If people don’t want to buy something from you, it’s not personal and they might not be able to. They might never buy something for you, or they might buy something from you in the future. Several times have come up already where leads that I thought were dead have said to me, “We had such a nice conversation. I wasn’t ready to do it, but now I’m ready.” And I’ve turned clients that were no’s into yeses just by waiting.
In terms of what’s the golden rule for sales, it’s certainly the getting over no. I think that’s number one, and then the number two would be respecting the client on the other side. You got to give them enough rope to make a decision and respect them so they stay in the conversation with you. I truly believe that if somebody’s calling me for legal advice, they’re already sold on needing an attorney, and they’re just looking for the right one. So, at least in this industry, it’s about making your potential client comfortable with you. It’s not necessarily … I’m not selling Apple products and somebody else is selling Windows products. To some extent, the product of negotiating a marital settlement agreement will be very similar no matter the attorneys that do the work and it really just comes down to a matter of liking your attorney.
So you have to have the confidence that you can help the clients and be willing to advocate for that ability and do so without hesitation. Other things that help in sales are really simple stuff that not everybody takes to heart. You got to comb your hair every day. You got to keep your shoes polished. You got to look presentable, especially if you’re a young attorney like me; you want to look like this isn’t your absolute first case even if it is. So, appearances definitely count. You got to create one seamless package. So, your Internet presence needs to match up with your actual appearance needs to match up with your demeanor on the phone. And you need to brand yourself as a professional attorney. That takes some amount of knowledge too because they don’t necessarily teach you how to buy a suit that fits you in law school and it’s an important part of the equation.
And then the other thing is, you need to be able to … there’s some amount of clients that want you to speak to the issues and they want you to know what are the 20 factors of equitable distribution. And if you can’t list them off the top of your head, they will go to an attorney who can. So you have to be knowledgeable in the area. What is your product going to do for me? I believe that you believe that your product’s great, but what’s actually going to happen? And they’re looking for somebody to tell them it’s going to be okay. And so, at least for some of these family law issues, the attorney to some extent plays mental health therapist. Obviously not licensed, but you’re helping your clients through these emotional times, and you have to assure them that they’re not the first person to get divorced and there are procedures that will happen, and no they won’t see their kid again. Just being a calming, stabilizing force.
I don’t think there’s a magic bullet. I think that every person who has sold something has sold it for their own different reasons, and it’s about finding those reasons and getting over no. If you can find out why there was a no, and just being trustworthy and well put together, and available, if all of that makes sense.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, I think you summed it up right there at the end with those cornerstones that are key. And then it really just comes down to looking at it from the perspective of the client and being honest and transparent. I think that would be the only thing I would add to that equation is just really being in their shoes and thinking about whether this is a good fit for them or not? Should they move forward? Should they not? How you can serve them and how you can overcome any barriers that might be in the way of them getting what they want.
Matt Rosen: Right.
Dave Aarons: And when you come wholeheartedly from their perspective and their shoes and communicate as if you’re them, and really be honest from that standpoint; I think people can pick up on that. They know that you’re sincere and you’re on their side.
Matt Rosen: And you can’t lie to them. The quickest way to destroy a relationship with a client or a potential client is for them to find out that you told them some half truth or something that you shot from the hip and you didn’t really know, and you gave them an answer and it wasn’t true. So, you have to give them the respect of giving them an honest I don’t know if you don’t know the answer; or giving them a hard truth. I understand that you want full custody of your son. This is what it would take to get there and from what you’ve told me, your case might not be a good candidate for full custody. So sometimes you got to tell them what they don’t want to hear and they will appreciate you for it later on when they haven’t expanded resources fighting a battle that was a losing battle to start.
Dave Aarons: Most of the time they’ll appreciate that, except for the ones that are like, “All right pal. Well, I’m just going to go call other lawyers until they tell me what I want to hear”.
Matt Rosen: Yeah, and I mean, that happens but I don’t know what the actual percentage is. But wiser and older attorney than me once said, “It’s five percent of your clients that give you 90 percent of the trouble and anxiety that you will have in your practice.” And it’s true, and better to let a client go in the second or third conversation when you realize that this person is looking for a yes man than to endure the stress of three calls a day, and infinite trouble with a know it all client. I mean, we have unfortunately had to let-go clients that because we were the cheap option, took too much liberty with that and abused the communication on weekends or late at night. And it’s unfortunate and it’s not what we’re looking to do, but it does happen and that’s up to you to find the boundaries as well.
Especially with the leads, sometimes lead will come in at 9:15 at night, and it’s right on the cusp. Do I call and now the boundaries ruined forever? They’re going to think I’m available at 9:15. Or do I want to take this lead right now because it’s got the best chance of converting if I call it right now? In that situation, usually, I call. I say, “Look it’s late. I’m trying to get the family to bed, but why don’t we talk at 10:00 tomorrow?” I’ll do that quick type of introductory call, if I can and I can’t always, unfortunately.
Dave Aarons: Of course, and you don’t always need to either. It’s that making that call and looking at your own personal … and I think this also goes back to what we just talked about earlier. Where if you have your own boundaries, it’s not just about selling them. It’s you really listening and getting a sense for do I want to work with this person? And sometimes it’s saying no, and when you’re also kind of qualifying them and deciding if you want to work with them, there’s a certain degree of not just trying to convince them, but also needing to hear that this is a good fit for you too. And there’s finding that nice balance where you want to serve them, but you may not be a good fit and you both need to get to a meeting of the minds on whether that fit is there or not.
Matt Rosen: I assume that most of the Unbundled customers are either small firm or self-employed solos. That might not be true, but as every one of my colleagues in that situation will tell you, you have to find a work life balance because it’s three jobs. It’s sales and marketing. It’s business and management, and it’s doing the legal work. We have been talking mostly about the sales and marketing aspect of how do I actually close these leads. Unbundled touches all of these areas. There’s the business decision of do I want these leads to keep going? Am I getting my money’s worth out of these leads? I think the answer to that is yes, or at least for our firm. There’s the sales and marketing aspect. Is this putting out the right image for my firm? Is it a good thing that I’m taking leads? Is it a bad thing that I’m taking leads? Am I getting the right type of work, getting in front of the right type of judges? And then there’s the actual legal work. Does this legal work interest me? Do I feel like I’m making the world a better place like we talked about with the Peace Corp? Am I actually helping people? Am I in this for the right reason?
It’s incredibly rewarding to be in the small firm environment. You know, where we constantly wrestle with these questions. It’s incredibly rewarding and for us at least, Unbundled helped us grow and helped us because it sustains the practice with this regular work that allows us to go out and do other things as well. And I would absolutely recommend it for a young small firm and I think that’s basically … I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to say, but there’s the marketing, there’s the business, and there’s the legal. These Unbundled leads touch on all of those things. I think they’ve improved the firm in all of those areas.
Dave Aarons: Yeah. You know, we certainly have a lot of younger attorneys, new attorneys, solo practice, smaller firms, but then we’ve got some attorneys that have been practicing for 50 years, 30 years, 20 years. You know, and I think it really comes down to … it’s a lot of things, but I think most importantly the underlying philosophy I think of most attorneys that we work with, 95 plus percent of them is hey we really want to help folks that otherwise couldn’t get help from a traditional firm. And I think smaller firms and solo practitioners have a little bit more leeway in order to be more creative, and be more flexible, and make decisions on the fly, and take a different business model. Look at the marketplace we’re in now, see where the majority folks are and start serving that region. Also, they are compassionate and want to serve people in a way that a lot of other attorneys are unwilling to do.
So I think that’s certainly an underpinning of I think all the attorneys we work with. It’s just at the end of the day, I think every lawyer really wants to help people, but you know, not every lawyer’s willing to adapt their business model and push the boundaries on what they might fell comfortable with to be able to serve people that otherwise couldn’t get help. And you talk about-
Matt Rosen: Well, yes. Certainly, with family law, this is where the people who need help are. I mean, maybe also criminal law, but this is a do-gooders section of the law. And figuring out how to get paid and support a practice on it is certainly a challenge. Other attorneys, they take a $10,000 retainer on a divorce, I look at that as helping me out. They’re advertising for me by charging what they charge. A lot of these things don’t require that, but it is what it is.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, well I think that’s a goo place to pretty much wrap up. I think maybe they last thing I’ll ask you is just kind of an open ended question. Is there anything else that you’ve taken away from these last seven months or anything we didn’t cover today that you think you might want to put out there? Whether it be a sales strategy, [inaudible 00:47:33] leads, running a practice, getting a start in the practice of law, or anything else that maybe you thought we might cover today, but we didn’t that you’d like to put out there on any level that you think would be helpful, or that you’ve learned in the process.
Matt Rosen: Well, I’ve learned a lot and as anyone that is a lawyer knows; the process isn’t over. The law changes and the clients change, and the courts are busy everyday. I feel extremely lucky. I would want to thank my law partner if he’s listening to this for being with me on this journey. And I’ve definitely enjoyed the Unbundled experience. I think it’s improved my sales skills. I think it’s improved my legal skills, and I think it’s also improved my business management skills in terms of looking at costs and cost benefit. And gotten me involved in business management maybe a little closer than I would have been if we hadn’t done Unbundled. So, I think that it’s overall been a great opportunity and I look forward to continuing to get the leads and hopefully over the next 40 years growing something that I’m really proud of and becoming a real asset to this community. So, that’s ultimately why we do what we do, and we’ve worked very hard as attorneys to get to where we are in this position in life. But the reward is that we get to work very hard and I think Unbundled has allowed me to get to work quicker and on more interesting stuff than maybe more traditional streams of advertising revenue would have gotten me. So, it’s been a very positive experience.
Dave Aarons: Cool, well I’m very glad to hear that Matt and I certainly appreciate the candor with which you shared what you’ve learned, and the journey along the path, and certainly a lot of the tactics and strategies, and ideas, and philosophies that you were bringing to the table, and some of the lessons you’ve learned. This certainly is a community; we’re all collectively serving communities all over the United States and pretty soon Canada as well. And collectively we all stand to make a real lasting difference. And so, I certainly appreciate your time contributing to this community, sharing ideas openly, and cooperatively. You know, that’s really what makes this podcast and this community, and this whole network possible is we’re all sharing ideas openly and willingly rather than trying to keep them to ourselves and only serve our own businesses in general. So, thank you for being open and willing to contribute in that way. And we certainly look forward to continuing to support your practice and helping it grow over the years to come.
Matt Rosen: Absolutely, and if you have any listeners in the New York, or northern New Jersey areas, you can look me up. My name’s Matthew Rosen, I’d be happy to speak with you.
Dave Aarons: Okay, beautiful. All right, so with that we will go ahead and wrap up. For everyone else that’s listening to the podcast, thanks so much for participating. Thanks so much for sharing it around with fellow attorneys, that’s how the podcast grows and how we reach more folks and share some of these ideas and ways in which you can serve more clients and be more effective in running your practice. So, thank you for that and we will see you all on the next episode. Thanks so much.
Matt Rosen: Thank you.
Dave Aarons: For more information about how our lead generation services can help you grow your practice, visit our website at unbundledattorney.com and if you’re enjoying this podcast, please be sure to subscribe so you get each new episode as soon it’s available and leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Once again, thanks for listening.
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Episode 38: Fundamentals of Closing the Deal: Sales Strategies That Help Solidify Relationships and Retain More Clients
New Jersey attorney Matt Rosen has the “sales gene.” Not just because his father was a successful corporate salesman, but because of his extensive background in sales and many years studying the art of building rapport with clients and closing the deal. Today Matt joins us on the show to discuss some of these core strategies, and how they have helped him consistently convert his leads into paying clients. We also discuss the many challenges of starting a new practice, investing in advertising with a limited budget, and how working the leads from Unbundled Attorney has helped him develop the knowledge and experience to overcome these barriers.
To read the complete transcript of this interview, click here.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How Matt Rosen’s past work with the Peace Corp influenced his practice
- Why utilizing a lead generation service lends itself well to developing optimized systems for your practice
- Matt’s exact process for contacting each lead, which enables him to consistently convert 30-40% of his leads into paying clients
- Questions you can ask to qualify your clients during the initial call
- How understanding the law of averages removes the pressure from feeling like you have to convert every lead, especially when you first get started
- Strategies for relating to clients with confidence
- Why fielding leads is an opportunity for new lawyers to develop core competencies by getting a great deal of hands-on client and court experience
- Strategies that improve your sales ability, regardless of whether sales come naturally to you or not
- What it takes to start a practice from scratch, and what Matt has gone through to overcome some of those startup barriers
- The importance of respecting your clients, particularly by giving them enough space to make their own decision on whether to retain you or not
- How to make your clients feel more comfortable and become a calming and stabilizing force
- How working for Greenpeace in the streets of NYC taught Matt about learning to overcome “No’s,” and fear of rejection
- The value of making your website, appearance, and overall brand consistent
- And much more…
If you enjoy this podcast, please head over to iTunes, subscribe to the show, and leave us a review. We love hearing from our listeners and look forward to reading your feedback!
For more information about Unbundled Attorney and how our Lead Generation services help grow your practice, visit: https://www.unbundledattorney.com