How Attorney Les Sandoval Converts 50% of His Leads

April 12th, 2016

This is going to be an excellent episode with provider attorney Les Sandoval. He is one of the top converting lawyers in our entire network. He has consistently been converting about 50% of the leads that we send him, meaning that 50% of the clients elect to hire him for some amount of service with his firm. Needless to say, he’s doing extremely well with the leads and our program. More importantly, he’s a classic solo practitioner attorney, meaning that from soup to nuts he handles all aspects of the case. He has a little bit of part-time help, but for the most part, he wants to keep the hands on the wheel for all aspects of the case.

As result has some really good advice and guidance for especially attorneys that are solo practitioners, really small firms, and how to communicate that as a value statement to the attorney, to the client, excuse me. And also has gotten very creative in the ways in which he can limit the scope of the involvement in a case down to a very specific task. He has a lot of pay as you go approaches because every client that he speaks with, he focuses on delivering some service to them immediately or in a way that they can afford it so that no one’s turning away just because of a financial barrier.

He has a lot of ideas and suggestions and ways in which you can start thinking about how to offer these types of options on either a pay as you go where you’re handling the case, the aspects of your case usually, or even in more of assisting the client to proceed pro se on that fashion as well. Without further ado, enjoy this episode with provider attorney Les Sandoval from Albuquerque, New Mexico

Below is the transcription of this episode from our Unbundled Attorney Mastermind Podcast. You can listen to the entire episode by clicking here.

Dave Aarons: All right, Les. Welcome to the show.

Les Sandoval: Thank you very much.

Dave Aarons: Yeah, really happy to have you on here. It’s been a really great experience working with you over the years. I think as far as I know you’re one of our top converters as far as effectiveness in converting leads into paying clients. How long has it been now that we’ve been working together? It’s got to be at least a couple years, right?

Les Sandoval: Actually, this next September will have been two years.

Dave Aarons: That’s right. Yeah.

Les Sandoval: [crosstalk 00:02:44] year and a half or so.

Dave Aarons: Right. Maybe we could start, Les, by just giving everyone a little bit of background, kind of how you got started and got your office started, the area you practice in and the areas of law.

Les Sandoval: Well, I used to work for a couple big firms here. Didn’t like the way they did certain things, so I went on my own in 2006. Usually get referrals by word of mouth. Then in September or so, August or September of 2014 I got a call from one of your representatives. I was always very leery of these things because I’ve gone into other referral systems where you pay a flat fee per month or things of that nature. They never really worked very well.

Graham Scott, the representative, says, “Well, try it out.” He threw me a lead. Worked out really well and I said, “Okay if they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is I will be doing the same thing because of the fact that it worked really well.” All of the other places, the other referral companies you have to sign up with them first and you’re stuck for a year or so not knowing whether you’re going to get anything out of it. So before I even signed up, Scott had to give me the lead and it worked out fine. It works out great. It’s a great system.

Dave Aarons: Yeah, and so what is the area … You’re doing primarily family law in New Mexico, right?

Les Sandoval: I do family law in New Mexico. I do some bankruptcy. I do some minor criminal representation. Nothing too big. I’m ambulance chasing. A little bit of PI, but primarily domestic relations, which is family law.

Dave Aarons: Right. I think we’re about to start experimenting with estate planning, right?

Les Sandoval: Yeah, and I do some of that too.

Dave Aarons: Then maybe to give some of those that are on the call a little context on how things have been going and what you’ve been doing, maybe you can share a little bit about roughly your conversion rate or return or whatever you feel comfortable with just to put in perspective your experience level and what you’ve been able to accomplish with the leads so far.

Les Sandoval: Well, I usually claim about 50% of the leads that I get. The leads can vary anywhere from custody to divorce, things of that nature. If anything, it would be unbundled services. It allows you to pick and choose. You can always make something, some money out of the clients because they need something. So whether they can’t afford to hire you completely as a retainer, well then you can enter into an agreement that says you’ll help them fill out the documents or that you will do a limited entry of appearance for a one-time hearing. That way they can afford the representation. And then you’re in and out once the hearings were done or the order’s answered from the hearing, your obligation to that client is done and you move on. Most of the time they’ll end up retaining you for additional service, so it worked out pretty well.

Dave Aarons: Right. I mean 50% of the leads are outstanding. For various different kinds of services that’s a really good return. Is that for the clients that you speak with or is that total amount of leads, 50% you convert?

Les Sandoval: It’s usually the clients that … usually the total amount. The key is sometimes getting them … you know, calling them back right away. Making sure that they don’t feel abandoned. The quicker you call them, the way easier it is to close the lead. It’s just common customer service if you call them back relatively quickly they’re happy. A lot of times they can’t afford you. “Oh, I’ll call you back three or four weeks.” And they do. They’ll hire you for the hearing, because it will take them two or three weeks to save up for the hearing, but the hearing’s three or four weeks down the road. They have a goal to work on. Then usually they’ll come up a little bit more funding to keep you on board because they’re going to need somebody beyond that one time. It works out really well.

Dave Aarons: Right. Okay, well maybe we can just go start to finish, dive into the process that you use because to close 50% of the clients that … the leads that we’re sending you into paying clients, it also means you got to get a lot of folks on the phone. Maybe you can start with how you currently receive the leads? Is it through email? Do you get the text messages or do you use the app to receive the leads? Are you the first person to make the call or do you have an assistant that does that? Maybe we can start with just that initial step there.

Les Sandoval: I’m the first person to make the call. I usually get it through an email. Then once I get the email lead I’ll call them as soon as I can. I’ll make the inquiry. If they answer, there is a good chance of closing the lead and converting them into a client. If they don’t answer, it just depends. Sometimes you think they … The quicker you get a hold of them … I do that. Because I used to have an assistant that did that and they didn’t really know how to let’s say how to answer certain questions, things of that nature. So I do that myself.

It lets the client know that you’re actually talking to a lawyer and not the paralegal or somebody down the food chain.

Dave Aarons: Right. Exactly, and they actually get a chance to speak with the attorney. About, on average, how much time goes by from when the lead, when you call the lead as soon as you get the notification. I mean I know sometimes you’re in court and it varies given that you’re the one that’s calling them, but how quickly do you try to get back to them if possible?

Les Sandoval: Usually within the day. Then, for example, let’s say somebody sends something at six o’clock at night and I’m gone. I’ll check my emails and I’ll get back to them, first thing the following morning. Usually within a 24 hour period. Sometimes it’s been a weekend. My family time is on the weekend, so if they’ll send something on Friday, then I’ll call them first thing on a Monday.

Dave Aarons: Right. Exactly, and if you’re not able to reach them, do you usually send them an email, send them a text message in the meantime let them know someone will get in touch with them or you just back to them as quickly as you can with a phone call.

Les Sandoval: I’ll either leave a voicemail and or follow up with an email because most of the time they provide both, a phone number and an email.

Dave Aarons: Right. Right. Got you. When you call the clients and say you get a voicemail, how often do you follow up and if so, at what frequency do you do it? How many times will you give someone a call before you kind of say, “Hey, if they’re not getting back to me, maybe we’re not a good fit or maybe they’re already gotten help.”?

Les Sandoval: I usually follow up once or twice. Any more than that you’re following the fine line between following up and bugging. I figured if you left a message they wanted to hire, you’ll call you back. Sometimes they’re like, “Oh.” For example, I have a bunch of truck drivers as clients and they’ll say, “Sorry, man. I was out of the …” not out of the office … “I was on my route and I can only talk to you on certain days.” Things like that, but once or twice.

Dave Aarons: Yep. I would agree with that as well. It’s what we’ve seen across the board is usually two or three calls. You call them once. Then maybe you call them at a different time of day. And then when you have some downtime. Or even some attorneys will call, maybe do a few calls after hours, maybe five, six o’clock before they head home to try to catch some of the folks that are working during the day. Those are obviously the types of clients you want to connect with, but after two or three calls it kind of becomes a loss leader. Those that are serious will eventually get the voicemails and get back to you if they’ve been too busy.

Les Sandoval: Exactly. Exactly.

Dave Aarons: Yep. Okay, so let’s say you get the client on the phone. Maybe you can take it through the initial process of that call and then kind of what the goal of that call is whether it be are you just touching base with them and scheduling them to come in, or do you go in depth about their case. Do you talk about the costs and so forth? How does that call usually go and what’s your primary goal in making that initial contact?

Les Sandoval: I will call them and see what the issue is, see what they’re looking for, see if they have any pending hearings, see if anybody’s filed anything when their response dates are due. If they’ve just been served. Things of that nature. You want to get to that. You want to find out who the other party, of course. Do a council check right away. I find if you give them about five or 10 minutes, they’re happy because most other lawyers won’t even talk to them. Then that gets them in and I usually am able to retain them as a client that way.

Dave Aarons: Right. Okay, so when you chat with them and get a feel for the type of issue that they’re working on whether it be custody, visitation, divorce. Do you then say … What do you say to them to then get them in the office? Is your initial consultation in the office also at no additional cost or is there a fee for that? You can walk us through a little bit more specifics on how that goes.

Les Sandoval: I usually charge a fee but I waive it. For example, on these clients, I’ll say … It depends on how long I talk with them on the initial telephone call. I’ll get them in and I’ll charge them a relatively low retainer, I mean a consultation fee. Then I’ll tell them I’ll waive it you hire me. Why pay for the same thing twice? Most of them end up hiring me. If not, I’ll get the consultation fee and they’re done. If they can’t afford the consultation fee, then I’ve spent about five or 10 minutes but I know if they can’t afford the consultation fee, they can’t afford the retainer so it kind of weeds out some of the cases that way.

Dave Aarons: Right. What’s your typical consultation fee?

Les Sandoval: It ranges. I mean it depends on the issue. For example, if they want drafting or something like that, drafting assistance I’ll say it’s going to be 100 bucks. It’s usually no more than 100 bucks.

Dave Aarons: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. If you’re going to book someone in for a consultation, do you have them make that payment to you via credit card over the phone or do they come in and pay it?

Les Sandoval: I have them come in and pay it usually.

Dave Aarons: Okay.

Les Sandoval: Because if that’s the case, I would like them to sign a letter that says this was for a consult and I’m not representing you. It’s just for ethical purposes because there is that concept of the cocktail hour client where you’re at a party or you’re drinking somewhere and somebody asks you a question. Before you know it the bar thinks you gave them legal advice and that you’re their lawyer or they have an understanding. So I just make sure that they sign a letter that says it’s for the consult only, and we go from there.

Dave Aarons: Sure. Do you ever have a challenge with clients not showing up for the appointment, and if so, is there anything that you do specifically to maybe call them the day before or send them an email reminder? Anything to help to prevent no-shows?

Les Sandoval: I get about 20% no-shows. If they do, they usually schedule, “Sorry we ran late. So and so’s sick.” Things of that nature. The true no-shows where they just don’t … That’s probably about one out of 10. I usually just make the appointment, then they come in.

Dave Aarons: Okay. So it really hasn’t been much of an issue. Okay. Now they’ve come into the office. Maybe you can talk a little bit about … On that initial call, have you identified at all where they’re at financially or is it really just focused on the issue, making sure that they have a pathway to resolving their case and then just having them come in and figure out from there? Or do you do some analysis on where they’re at financially and what kind of options you might be able to offer? Or do you leave that for the in-person consultation?

Les Sandoval: It usually depends. I’ll ask what they’re seeking. If they’ve had a lawyer before. If they don’t, how’d they get my name? Things of that nature. Because sometimes they’ll call me before I get the email. Then I’ll talk a little bit about finances. I’ll tell them what I think the cost typically for the type of representation they’re seeking or the type of help that they’re seeking. I’ll tell them the estimated cost, and then they’ll either come in or they won’t.

Dave Aarons: So on most consultations, you will give them an idea of what it costs to retain your services on the type of case that they’re working on?

Les Sandoval: Yes. I do.

Dave Aarons: Okay. How do you communicate, because one of the things that you’ve done really, really well at over the years is adapting the amount of service you provide to the financial resources that the client has available to you. It’s something we talked about a little earlier on the call that whether they only have a couple hundred dollars of 500 dollars, you can kind of help them pay as you go, kind of step by step unbundled approaches so that you’re finding ways to serve client and give the most legal bang for whatever buck they have. Do you get into that on the initial call? If so, how do you explain … how do you articulate to the client how that works for them? What do you say usually?

Les Sandoval: We get into that with them in the initial call because you never know … Once you talk to them for a little, you don’t want to give them too much time because then wasted time on a no pay initial phone call. You want to let them get to know that you’re interested and that you want to really hear a little bit about what’s going on to give them some ideas.

You can say, “Well, okay. You could use a full-time lawyer, but here are your options. I recommend that you get somebody. If you don’t get me, get somebody because in this type of case you need this or this or this.” That’s usually what I’ll explain to them. Then they’ll determine whether, you know, what level of services they want.

Dave Aarons: Right. Okay. So you do kind of give them a perspective on the various ways you can work with them, but you don’t get too far in depth. Because I agree if you get too long-winded on the calls then it ends up taking up a lot of your day. Whereas it really is best, especially when someone hasn’t met you yet that’s coming from a lead, which means that they weren’t getting a war market referral from a close friend or family member. You know the sooner that they can come in and actually get a chance to meet with you, the more comfortable they are to be able to make a decision on whether to retain your services or not.

Les Sandoval: Exactly. Exactly.

Dave Aarons: When they do come in the office then, how do you dive into determining … Obviously, as any lawyer after having some experience learns is kind of what exactly needs to be done, the petitions and so forth. How do you structure the types of options you offer? Maybe you can talk a bit about the different types of options that you’ve offered to clients whether it be doc and preparation, doc and review, kind of advice, step by step. Maybe you could share a little bit about what you found has worked well for you in limiting the scope of the involvement for the clients that maybe don’t come in and pay the full representation retainer up front, immediately.

Les Sandoval: I’m sorry. Say that one more time.

Dave Aarons: I was asking if you could elaborate a little bit on the types of options that you have offered that are unbundled. For example, doc and preparation, doc and review, or pay as you go, kind of giving people advice in the case for those that don’t necessarily have the capacity to come up with the full representation retainer right up front.

Les Sandoval: All of the above because depending on their ability you say, “Okay, I can help you draft paperwork. I can give you advice for the hearing. I can prep you for the hearing. You can hire me to attend the hearing. These are the various costs. These are the expected outcomes. Things of that nature.” Sometimes, for example, a case has just been filed and somebody’s been served and they want to file a response. It’s like okay, fine. We’ll file a response. This is what it’ll cost you. In the meanwhile that’ll give you a month or two to save up for the retainer because under that scenario it’s a lot of hurry up and wait.

For example, if a divorce petition or something along those lines is filed April 1st. You may not but in court until June. Or your first proceeding may not be until mid-May. It depends on the situation, but most of the time it takes a month, month and a half to get in. And on an initial pleading, for example, the divorce petition or a custody petition, by rule they have 30 days from the date that they were served to file a response. You helped them with the response. You get that taken care of. Then when it’s time to go to court, then they’ve saved up enough or borrowed or did whatever they need to do. That way you get some return on your time and you probably get a guaranteed return customer if they can afford it because if this guy helped me for this issue then he’ll help me for the other things. They’re not going to go shopping around for someone else.

Dave Aarons: Right. Brad talked about that on a previous podcast as well. Just how important it is to have the clients start working with you in some form or fashion because … maybe you can share your experience if that’s been the case or not, but what he’s found is that if they start working and he starts preparing documents or doing specific tasks for them, even if it’s just the thing that’s immediately in front of them and needs to be addressed immediately and then they’re making a decision from there if they want to keep working with you, he finds that most of the clients elect to continue working with the attorney with them once he’s had a chance to provide some services to them.

Les Sandoval: Yeah, it works out great that way. It just works out great and it provides the customer … I say customers because I come customer service area, but the client, potential client, the customer, it gives them a good opportunity to think, “Wow, this guy’s really interested and he’s willing to help me.” I used to work for a firm that’s a $10,000 retainer. That’s it. That’s fine if you have that niche market, but I don’t and a lot of lawyers don’t. And so you can always get some investment return on your time, and then eventually they’re going to refer somebody to you or they’re going to come back and hire you. You still make money off of them.

Dave Aarons: Right. Okay, for the attorney that maybe hasn’t done these type of unbundled options. They’ve been traditionally trained maybe in a firm like something like the one that you’ve described where they require a full representation up front retainer, which they then bill by the hour and is starting to see the writing on the wall or maybe is going out on their own now into a smaller firm and is going to be working with a different marketplace, doesn’t have the country club type of clientele that can throw down $10,000 at any given moment. Can you talk a little bit about what those options look like and maybe give some insight into how to start thinking about or how to structure these types of packages or options for the folks that in need or the types of options that we’ve been talking about?

Les Sandoval: Well, the structure again, it depend upon their need, but their need … For example, you have to meet with them. You have to figure out what’s going on, what the issues are, and see what is pressing. You’re basically triaging the case. Once you do that you determine what needs to be done right away, and then what needs to … what can be put off, what the cost would be, given deadlines, things of that nature. You go over the different price points, price structures. If you hire me for this or for this and this. That’s how you do it. Sometimes you bundle everything. You say, “Would you hire me for this, this, and this, and this? It’ll cost you this much. If you just hire me flat outright it’s probably cheaper for you and more efficient. This is what we’ll do and this is how much it is.” They usually appreciate that input.

Dave Aarons: Right. Technically speaking, when you’re working with a client and they say, “Okay, I want to hire for this and this.” The agreement becomes, “Okay, this is a limited scope involvement agreement in which I’m performing these specific tasks for you and that’s the limit of the contract.” As opposed to I’m now your attorney of record. This is the hourly rate. This is the billable rate. You actually specifically outlay in the agreement with the client what it is that you’re going to be providing for them for services?

Les Sandoval: That’s exactly it.

Dave Aarons: Yeah. I think that’s one of the … I don’t know that resistance or one of the things that attorneys are a little bit concerned about when they’re doing unbundled is starting working with a client on an unbundled basis at a low rate or a fixed fee and then the client has all kinds of question or other things come up and then they think, “Well, you’re my lawyer aren’t you? Aren’t you supposed to be helping me with these things?” Maybe you can talk a little bit to how you communicate and create a meeting of the minds between you and that other person to make sure they understand not only what you can do for them, but also the limitation of that scope given the agreement you have to put together and maybe perhaps the limited means they might have.

Les Sandoval: Well, I do that by … I make it clear in the consultation. Then if they decide to go with me and hire me for whatever function they want to hire me for, I spell it out specifically in the limited entry of appearance. I’m sorry. The limited fee agreement, that this is what’s [inaudible 00:23:22] and only for this. After this, if you … For example, we have a hearing on April 1st. You’re hiring me for the April 1st hearing. My responsibility ends after April 1st when whatever’s entered, and then you are responsible for yourself. If you want to hire me again, we’ll have to enter into another fee agreement. Things of that nature. That’s how that works out. I make it very clear in those setting.

Dave Aarons: Right. Exactly. Usually, do you find that with the models you’re working with … I mean what it really sounds like is kind of a pay as you go one task at a time type of model. Where for the most part it sounds like you’re doing the work, you’re still representing and handling the actual legal work but they’re just paying one step at a time. Or are there certain times when you’ll just do one thing for the person and then give them advice on, “Okay, now you go file this yourself. This is what you can expect at court.” Is there also a coaching or assisting of the pro se in more of a ghost writing fashion as well?

Les Sandoval: It’s a little bit of all it. For example, they’ll say, “Hey, I need help filing a response.” I say, “Okay, fine. I’ll write it for you. You’re going to sign on a pro se basis because you are not hiring me as your attorney. You’re hiring me to draft this. I’m giving you advice based on what’s been filed, and a strategy. If you want to hire me, I recommend that you get somebody, come back and see me, but after this, this is what we’re doing.” Then in the fee agreement where they pay me for the services, they’re clear that they’re not hiring me as their lawyer but they also walk away with a little bit of understanding as to where the case is at and what they need to do and their responsible and so on.

Dave Aarons: Right. I would think most people would prefer if they could to be able to have you do the full response and file it, but it seems like I guess it really comes down to can you afford for me to do all these things. Then at a certain point, people say, “Well, I can’t do all of that.” I guess the conversation starts to have to go around, “Okay, well if you can’t afford me to do these, these, and these things.” Then you have to start talking about what is it they need to do. Just kind of cover some of the nitty … account for some of the hourly that you would be doing for them where they have to take that on themselves?

Les Sandoval: They have to take that on themselves. There is a certain cushion I built into the fee which includes time spent with them in the consult, time spent with them explaining what’s going on, what they need to do, couple follow-up questions. I’ll just take follow-up questions or two but after that new fee agreement.

Dave Aarons: Right. Is it a different approach or is there a different way you have to think about it when you’re working with someone where you’re doing the work for them and working as their attorney, but maybe just for limited periods of time as opposed to doing something in which you’re then going to be empowering the client to have to do some things themselves. Is it a different process? Do you have to give them checklists or do you have things written up that help them understand all the steps they have to take after maybe the time that you’ve worked together and then they have to do the steps themselves?

Les Sandoval: Yeah, I do that. I will give them a little bit of advice on what’s pending, what the next steps. It’s kind of like a legal chess game. Here’s where you stand. Here are the possible moves they can make. This is what you should do. And I point them in that direction. Because again, you want to make sure that they’re walking away from that they’re aware of what their rights are and that you’ve explained everything to them, but they’re also clearly aware that after this he’s not my lawyer.

Dave Aarons: Right.

Les Sandoval: Yeah.

Dave Aarons: Yep. Do you have a certain amount of clients that will start out with you on a limited scope, unbundled basis and then come back and hire you for full bundled service? If so, how often does that typically happen and how quickly after usually?

Les Sandoval: Well it happened about a month ago. She hasn’t hired me back, but she’s going to. She hired me for a hearing. She didn’t do anything that the court had told her previously. I kind of got her through the hearing. Had she not had a lawyer she would’ve really been hurt legally speaking. So we minimized the damage because she didn’t do anything she was supposed to do. Then she felt happy about it and she said, “Well, okay. Can I hire you for the next hearing?” I’m like, “Sure.” So she’s going to hire me for the next hearing because she really would’ve gotten a tremendous amount of damage.

Sometimes it’s lawyers help you in that they tell you what to say or how to say it. Not what to say but how to say it. And to kick them under the table when you need them to be quiet or to not answer in a certain way. That’s the benefit. But, yeah, she’s going to come back and hire me because she realizes the benefit that she got, and of, therefore, she’s like, “Well, at the next hearing …” which is probably a month away from now because they set them every 60 days or so “… can you please go to court with me?” I said, “Sure. We’ll do another fee agreement and this is how much it’s going to be. Sure. Tell me when you’re ready.” That’s how that works.

Dave Aarons: Yeah. Is that somewhat common? Relatively common? I think a lot of attorneys think, “Well, if I tell them about the unbundled option then I’ll lose the full bundle case.” So they only really talk about it when the people have the limited means and they turn the direction. It seems from feedback from other attorneys is that, that really isn’t necessarily the case. Even if they start work with them on an unbundled basis doing limited tasks, that there is a good majority of the clients that once they kind of take some steps on their own and then realize that perhaps this is a lot more challenging than they originally had imagined or the expertise was really, really … they could really definitely benefit from it, they kind of get an experiential understanding that they really need the attorney. They need you to be helping them on a more full representation basis from there. Has that been your experience and how’s that going for you?

Les Sandoval: [crosstalk 00:29:26] I mean you’ll find out in the initial consultation whether they’re going to be able to do the full bundled services or if they want to do unbundled services. They get you in the door because of the unbundled. They might set out that way, but a lot of times … Maybe 50% of the time they’ll end up hiring you for the full scope of employment. That’s how that works out. You’re not necessarily limited to unbundled services because when you go in here and you explain everything that’s going on, they’ll hire you. There was a guy that wanted to hire me a couple weeks ago for a hearing and he ended up hiring me for the entire case. It just depends.

Dave Aarons: Right. You never can quite tell until you actually have a chance to sit down with them whether they’re … how they want to proceed and what’s really necessary to really help them get the result they want. It seems like once they really get a better picture of what’s involved and what it’s really going to take to able to get the result that they actually do in their heart of hearts want as opposed to what they would have to settle for if they didn’t have an attorney really on their side handling it from start to finish. That sometimes they’re going to change their tune as far as the amount of assistance that they want. I would assume that’s probably what it comes down to, right?

Les Sandoval: That’s what it comes down to. Most the time that’s what it comes down to, yeah. It’s just informing them.

Dave Aarons: Right. Okay. I’ll ask maybe a couple more questions here that we typically do towards the end of the call here just to get a feedback. The first would be are there any technologies or applications, client management software, tools they use, Dropbox, Adobe EchoSign, things like this that you find that have helped you with streamlining your process or helping you with doc and preparation? Also, do you have any help or staff that supports you as well?

Les Sandoval: I have part-time staff but I usually do most the stuff. I try to keep my practice so I know what’s going on at all stages. In the past, I’ve had assistants that just didn’t do what they were supposed to do. So I try and stay on top of everything myself. But some of it [crosstalk 00:31:36] I stand and they know everything that needs to be done, everything’s that’s not done, and where everything is pending, at what point in the process.

I’m not a big technology guy. I’ll download one of my tablets or things like that. I have my notifications sent to my cell phone through email. Things of that nature, but that’s about all I use. The normal things.

Dave Aarons: Pen and paper is the tried and true way. Right?

Les Sandoval: Actually yeah, because every now and then when you try to get fancy and put it on your tablet or your phone it’s not synced properly. Put it on the wrong day where if you look at the calendar and you see the word hearing notice or this or that, it stands out much better. I mean there are multiple systems that overlap to protect you, but I like the tried and true big calendar with a red pen.

Dave Aarons: [crosstalk 00:32:28] The at a glance calendar. Right?

Les Sandoval: Exactly.

Dave Aarons: Yep. I still journal on … I still use the moleskin journals, pen, and paper. Read real books. You know paper books. Not the kindle version. Maybe we are just old school like that.

Les Sandoval: Imagine that. Yeah, [crosstalk 00:32:49]

Dave Aarons: Right. Okay, and then maybe the final question here is if there is one thing … I mean you’ve got a year and a half, almost two years of experience fielding leads from us. Maybe you could kind of zoom out and give some feedback on either lesson that you have learned over the past year and a half fielding leads that … maybe from mistakes you’ve made or what you’ve garnered from your experience that maybe has made the biggest difference in your ability to be effective and bring in the clients and having them pull the trigger on your services from this type of a funnel.

Les Sandoval: I think the big lesson, it just goes to the whole practice, is that pay attention, explain to the client what their options are. Make clear what your limits in representation is if you do this unbundled. But the more you explain to them, the more they feel. I make the analogy that if you go to the doctor and they say, “Oh, bad news,” but they don’t tell you what the bad news is, you want an explanation. The other thing is I get a lot of clients who come from other firms. They’ll find my name and say, “Oh, well so and so. I never met with the lawyer. I meant to them in the initial consult and then I never saw them again.” Things of that nature.

I make it clear that I’m the one who goes to court. I’m going to be the one who reviews every document, and usually, I’ll write every document that goes out. You know except for an occasional typo or something like that. Everybody does it, but they’ll know that substance wise everything is going to be accurate and explained to them. So as long as they know where they stand, they’re happy.

I’ll say, “Look. You’re probably going to lose on this one, but here’s where we can pull a rabbit out of our hat on this issue or on this issue.” They appreciate that because I think a lot of lawyers show false expectations. The firm I used to work for, I won’t name, it’s a bigger firm. They would say, “So and so, I want somebody killed.” “Well, we can help you out. Just sign the retainer.” Well, you know that’s not right. You want to make reasonable expectations for the client. You want them to say that they expect more than they’re entitled to.

Dave Aarons: Right. I think people have kind of a natural inclination for whether they’re being told the truth and whether someone’s willing to tell them the hard truth or not. People will tend to appreciate that.

Les Sandoval: And most the time when you tell them that, again, you need to tell them what they need to hear not what they want to hear necessarily. Sometimes they coincide. But if they don’t and they get all ticked off about you. Well, thank you. Pay me for the consult and I’ll see you later. You know because you don’t want a client like that anyway.

Dave Aarons: Absolutely.

Les Sandoval: It works out. So just explaining to the client every step of the way where they’re at, where they stand, what needs to be done, and so on.

Dave Aarons: Right. Exactly. I think that point you made there is for those attorneys that are solo practitioners or very, very small firms, you know, one, two, three attorneys, it’s important to recognize that that’s a great benefit to your firm. That they have the ability to work exclusively with you, with you the attorney, and not some associate they’re going to get farmed off to after that initial consultation. That’s something that you can really highlight as a benefit that you are a small firm. You’re nimble. You’re flexible. And throughout the case it’s going to be a one on one relationship between the client and yourself. I think people really appreciate knowing that the person that’s sitting across your desk when they first meet with you is going to be the one that’s going to court and being there to take them to the finish line.

Les Sandoval: That’s exactly it. They appreciate that.

Dave Aarons: All right. Awesome. Well, Les, I want to thank you again for taking the time to jump on the call today. Also, just appreciate you for the work you’re doing, for the amount of folks. I mean I’d have to go back to do some math, but I’m sure we’ve sent you hundreds of clients over the course of the last year and a half or so that we’ve been working together. If half of them have elected to hire your services, that’s a lot of folks that have gotten help because you’ve been there to serve them. On behalf of them as well, we really appreciate everything you’ve been doing.

Les Sandoval: Well, thank you. I stand by my statement that you guys are great and it’s a good … You know compared to some of the other lead generators, you guys are very reasonably priced. It’s not a contract. You can quit at any time. You put your money where your mouth is. It’s a great service.

Dave Aarons: Thank you. I appreciate that. We work really hard and we’re committed to your success and every other attorney’s success that we work with. I’m glad that’s showing in our results as well. With that, we’ll go ahead and wrap it up. Thanks again, Les, for taking the time today. For everyone else that’s listening, we’ll see you on the next episode. Thanks again for listening.

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Episode 2: How Attorney Les Sandoval Converts 50% of His Leads

In this episode we interview Les Sandoval who was an Unbundled Attorney in Albuquerque, NM.

Les explains how he consistently converts 50% of his leads as a sole practitioner by offering service options tailored to the needs of his clients.

You'll Learn:

  • How to educate the clients on the value of being able to work with a sole practitioner or small firm
  • Why you as the attorney should make the initial contact with each lead
  • The types of unbundled legal services and flexible retainer options you can use to tailor services to the financial needs of your clients
  • Tips and best practices Les has learned from fielding literally hundreds of leads over the past couple years, and consistently converting half of them into paying clients

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For more information about Unbundled Attorney, and how our Lead Generation services can help grow your practice, visit: https://www.unbundledattorney.com?t=podcast

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