Proven Sales Strategies to Convert More Leads and Eliminate No-Shows

October 8th, 2016

This is going to be an excellent episode with Tera Lee who’s one of our long-term provider attorneys at San Bernardino and Riverside. He has a background in sales as I do. As two sales people will when brought forth into a conversation together, start talking about the fundamentals of sales, communication and how to properly convey the benefits and values of what it is that you offer. That’s really what we focus the core of this conversation on. We talked a little bit about the new way in which he takes a deposit over the phone or he actually doesn’t run that deposit only if they don’t show up and how that’s affected the communication and the way the client feels and relates to him on that initial consultation.

We really just spend a solid hour here just focusing on the fundamentals and how to handle the top concerns and rejections and best strategies for that initial call. Because if you can get them in the office and the folks can come in and meet with you, most attorneys are going to be able to convey what else you can do to help them and have a lot of people a lot into retaining if you can get them in the office. The real key is being effective at doing that initial consultation and answering the concerns, conveying trust, conveying rapport and building that relationship so they can take that first step and come in to meet you in your office and actually show up. Tera has really built a great system on how to do that and we go into depth on it in this call. Hope you enjoy the episode, this interview with Tera Lee, again one of provider attorneys at San Bernardino, California.

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, Tera, welcome to the show.

Tera Lee:            Thanks for having me.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah man, I’m really glad we’re going to get a chance to jump on. We’ve been working together for … gosh, for a long time. I didn’t even take a close look at it but it’s well over a year now, hasn’t it been?

Tera Lee:            Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s a program process that’s successful. It’s worked for my business model and really I have no complaints.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah. It’s been amazing to see totally how many clients we’ve been sending you but how many of them have been getting help through your firm over the time as we’ve been working together. Maybe a good place to start is just maybe give a little bit of background on who you are, how did you got your start in the practice of law and maybe the reasons you serve.

Tera Lee:            Sure. I’ve been practicing alone now in California for a little over four years which is going to sound surprising considering how young I am in my legal career. I’ve only been solo for about two-and-a-half years and really I couldn’t have experience the growth that I’ve been able to accomplish without the help of the leads that are generated for my office. I practice primarily family law and I believe the regions that I cover are both Riverside and San Bernardino. Through the lead generation, I’ve been able to grow my business from really almost a small office in downtown San Bernardino to a very, very nice office obviously still in San Bernardino but it helped me accomplished goals way ahead of my business plan schedule.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah. It’s been a lot of fun to work with you and we certainly been sending a lot of clients. Maybe just a brief, you can share a little bit about roughly how many leads you typically get and how many of those folks you tend to be able to reach on the phone and how many of them tend to come in and pull the trigger. Then what we can do is start once we can have a frame of what you’re accomplishing and we can dive into how it is you’ve been going about doing that. Because from what I’ve been hearing, things have been going pretty darn good.

Tera Lee:            Yeah, absolutely. I don’t have the exact numbers as far as how many leads I get. I do know that 100% of the leads that come in are contacted almost immediately by a dedicated member of my staff to set up a telephonic conference. I do know just in new revenue generated specifically from Unbundled in just the past three months because I looked at it before this podcast. It’s been $20,000 plus in just new lead generation from retainers that are retained from Unbundled. That’s where I’ve been at, kind of what I’ve been averaging as far as immediate contact and the way I’ve converted into retainers.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah. We we’re talking a little bit before the podcast even started that you’ve really dialed in and you mentioned almost 100% of the people that the leads that we’ve sent, you were able to get on the phone and get scheduled into speak with you. Maybe a good place to start here is to talk a little bit about how that’s evolved for you. I mean, initially, you were doing all the calls yourself. Then you made some adjustments to try to find that balance of being a solo practitioner and also being able to respond in real-time which as we know from all these podcast episodes for those who have been listening and anyone that fills internet leads is a really key component of being able to have an effective conversion rate and do well with internet lead generation.

Tera Lee:            Right. When I first signed up from Unbundled, one of the things that was told to me is that I need to try and contact these leads immediately if possible and ideally it should be the attorney contacting them. Some statistics were thrown around about if you contact them with an X amount of minutes, then your probability of turning that into an actual retainer is significantly high. The longer you wait, those statistic struck down and so initially … and it didn’t matter if it’s the weekend or after hours or whatever the case maybe within reason. I was making those calls and trying to get those leads in-office. I found out through trial and error that I made a couple of rookie mistakes.

The first one being is that tended to give away too much information initially, that gave them very little incentive to come in, very little incentive to retain. I think I almost left them with the impression that they could do it themselves. That was mistake number one. Mistake number two that I made was basically being the initial point of contact. The reason why that turned into a mistake is because as my business grew, I had court in the morning and then the appointment set up in the afternoon for new retainers.

With me being that initial point of contact, that created a situation where I was in conflict between having to make this call or having to take the appointment while not wanting to lose that time period between when the lead is generated and when I call them to maximize the result at the end. What I found that worked for me to balance these competing interests was that I have a dedicated member of my staff that as soon as the lead comes in, they immediately call them. It is purely to schedule a telephonic appointment with me.

No information, no nothing, we don’t get anything other than their contact information really and set up an appointment ideally the same day that the lead comes in. That appointment is set for approximately 15 minutes. Then I get on the horn with them and then I try to find a reason for them to come into the office, document review whatever the case maybe so that I can set up the in-office appointment. At the point where I set up the in-office appointment, what I’ve been doing is putting a little tweak on the $50 reservation fee.

Instead of requesting a $50 reservation fee that I take immediately, I get their credit information and explain to them that this is a reservation fee but the $50 will not be run so long as they make their appointment or in the alternative if they reschedule their appointment because I understand that they equally live busy lives and things might pop up where they want to reschedule. By doing that, I feel like everyone starts off on a much better footing. I noticed that when I initially try to get the $50 upfront, there was some reservation there. The feeling of suspicion coming from the end or side of the client was palpable.

By switching that on its head and only running the $50 if they fail to make the reservation fee, I think equally the clients feel that’s a fair arrangement because everyone understands that attorneys get paid by the hour. More importantly, we don’t start off on the wrong foot before they’re even in. By following that program, I found a fair amount of success working the leads and in that fashion.

Dave Aarons:    There’s other point I want to circle back here in just a minute but given that we’re on the topic of that $50 fee only charge in the event they don’t show up, can you talk about how that has shifted the amount of folks. Because you’re serving San Bernardino and Riverside County, I think from your office, Palm Springs is about 40 minutes or so, 45 minutes. Riverside can be about 45 minutes depending on traffic. It’s not super far but it still a bit of a schlep if there’s a lot of traffic. Can you talk about how taking that card and then having the … I guess now it’s only just the cautionary knowledge in the lead that they’re going to get charged only if they don’t show up, how that’s impacted the amount of people that have actually showing up for those appointments now?

Tera Lee:            Sure. Previously before I even started taking the $50 reservation fee, because even though that was advised that I do this initially, I couldn’t quite figure out how to get plans on board with that. When I wasn’t doing any reservation fee, it was really hit or miss. I’d say maybe 1 out of 10 leads would actually show up. Just over the course of time, that just simply wasn’t working, once I started …

Dave Aarons:    Only 1 out of 10 would actually show up or 1 out of 10 would show up?

Tera Lee:            Yeah, would show up with any amount of regularity. My statistics on that were really lone, I needed a way to adjust that because I was getting the contact, scheduling the appointments. I was still scheduling appointments for almost every lead but then when it came time to come in, people simply weren’t showing up. They wouldn’t respond to our calls when we’d call them and say, “Hey, you have this appointment. Are you going to come in?” There’d be no call, no show. When we were taking the $50 upfront, we found that instead of being focused on their issues and actually wanting to retain, it’s almost they’re more focused on the fact that I don’t want to lose the $50 so I’m going to show up and then leave.

I don’t necessarily know if that’s true because I’m not in the minds of the client. That was impression that I got as far as when I gave my in-office consultation, it seem more like they’re in a hurry to get out than they were to actually receive the legal advice. Interestingly enough, when I switched that around and had clients only paying if they miss their appointment, people were coming in. They’re coming in more open minded to the concept of retaining an attorney and the fact that because we started out on almost such even footing and being fair as far as the process, that there are more client to listen to what I had to say.

As a result, not only our people coming in at a significantly higher rate but they are more amicable and receptive to the idea of retaining an attorney to provide various services for them. I don’t know if it’s necessarily people in my area. By switching that around where I only take money if they themselves fail to appear because they’re the ones setting up the appointment, they’re the ones giving this particular time and then explain to the clients that at this point in time everyone should know attorneys get paid hourly. By me setting this appointment, if you miss it, I basically miss out on the opportunity to schedule it for someone else. Everyone seems to understand that and is willing to pay that. Now, they don’t even have to worry about it because they’re coming in and they’re retaining. It’s all worked itself out.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah. It’s like they can just come in and feel comfortable and knowing that’s going to be a non-issue because they’ve already done their part of showing up to the appointment. People that don’t show up, they feel like, okay, well it’s fair. I didn’t show. I did no show. I should get charged because it’s on me to make sure and they understand that your time is valuable. If they just blow up the appointment, then they should get dinged for that. People that do show up, they’ve already felt that they’ve done what they needed to do and now they can just sit down and just have an open-ended conversation about the original reason why they wanted to request the help in the first place is how you can you help them resolve their legal needs.

Tera Lee:            Absolutely. Like I said, it’s just been my impression that by doing it that way, the comfortability level of my clients when they step into my office has increased dramatically.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah. I can only imagine that the pushback that you would get on a client giving you a card over the phone for and only being charged if they don’t come into the appointment versus paying $50 now right on the credit card today, in this moment, and then getting it back or something if they’d showed up has a very different … it just feels very differently for them and they must respond very differently as well too.

Tera Lee:            Absolutely. When I was initially attempting to get the $50 upfront, there was a lot of pushback. Why do I have to do this? I think this is a free consultation. Don’t get me wrong, I was able to overcome that through explanation and things of that nature. The pushback and just the overall feeling that I’ve got coming from the client, I didn’t feel was conducive to an environment where they trust me and they would then want to give me even more money to be blunt about it. In the alternative, when we do things in this fashion and only taking the money if they fail to perform, they feel a lot more comfortable with it.

There’s no pushback whatsoever that I’ve experienced in explaining the reservation fee, explaining that it’s only run if they fail to make their appointment or fail to reschedule. There has been no pushback as a matter of fact. Because I tried the $50 upfront first, I already have my … we call them shots, reasons to overcome objections. I already have my shots lined up. Now that I’m doing it this way, I don’t even need those shots lined up to overcome objections because almost across the board to you. What I hear is, “No, that makes sense, here’s my card information.”

Dave Aarons:    Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I can only imagine that that must have made a big difference. Are there folks that say, hey, I don’t have a credit card? In that case, is there anything that you done specifically to get around that …

Tera Lee:            Yeah, sure.

Dave Aarons:    … or to offer them another option? Do they need to come in and drop off the payment and they come back? How do you work with that as that must come up sometimes?

Tera Lee:            Yeah, sure. Basically, I give them 24 hours to call in with a valid credit card information or else their appointment is canceled. If prior to canceling the appointment, we try to give a follow up call with the client just to see maybe they forgot. Generally speaking, they either call in with the card or it winds up being a canceled appointment. Again, just like with anything else, you’re not going to have 100% conversion rate.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah. Have you ever had clients come in and just drop off cash for that appointment to secure it and then come back again? It was interesting, Matt shared that. He says, “There’s clients that sometimes they just [plumb 00:15:31] don’t have a credit card either because they’ve got debt or credit issues and so forth and maybe they don’t have a bank account this time or whatever. Then they come down into the office and drop off the payment to secure an appointment for later in that week and then come back again.” I’m just curious given that he just shared that on a previous episode if that something you experimented with. If not, maybe it’s something you might want to try.

Tera Lee:            Absolutely. We make it very easy for people to pay us.

Dave Aarons:    That’s golden rule number one.

Tera Lee:            It doesn’t matter if its credit card, debit card, cash, personal check, whatever the case maybe. If you as the client feel comfortable coming in and dropping it off, it’s open, it’s available. People have done that before. We make those options available as part of that contact where we’re trying to set up the appointment. For instance, just last week, there was a client that said, “I don’t have a credit card or debit card.” We went through the options of payment in cash, personal check. What he did was he mailed me a personal check that was postdated for the date of his appointment. He came to his appointment. I gave him the check back and everything went swimmingly.

Dave Aarons:    Can you walk through what those … let’s just say I’m the client and I say, that sounds great but I don’t have a debit or credit card, what are the other options that you might run through to try to get around that …

Tera Lee:            Sure.

Dave Aarons:    … or do work with the client and not on that basis.

Tera Lee:            Right. What I’d first try and do is narrow down the distance. If he’s calling from far away like we talked about before the podcast started, a fair amount of my clients actually end up coming from the High Desert-Victorville, Hesperia area. As a result, they’re 45 minutes away approximately from my office. I’d say something along the lines of, “Well, if you don’t have a debit card or credit card, do you happen to have a checkbook?” They might say yes. If assuming they say yes, I’d tell them, “Well, here’s what we can do. Because I feel that you operate in good faith and I think I want to help you out in operating good faith as well. Why don’t we do this?

If you have a checkbook, why don’t you just write me a check for $50 postdated for the date of your appointment? Go ahead and mail that in. That mailing, once I receive it will confirm your appointment and then assuming you come in, I’ll simply hand the check back to you. If you don’t come in, I will attempt to deposit it. How does that sound?” Generally speaking, that’s the way that particular transaction that I mentioned earlier worked. They said, “Really?” I said, “Yeah. I like to believe that my clients tell me the truth. If you tell me this personal check is good and we’ll be good if you don’t make your appointment, then I’m willing to believe you.” Not only was he surprised at that transaction. Again, I felt that that established the certain amount of goodwill between me and that particular person that segued into him ultimately retaining.

Dave Aarons:    Right. It’s interesting to see how the nuances of how we deal with just this initial steps in the process can make such a difference in the overall feeling in the client and their reluctance or not in order to take that first step especially … it comes back to this common theme with internet leads where they haven’t had a chance to get to know you, don’t have that trust yet. These little adjustments can make a huge difference in people’s comfort level and the rapport that you were able to develop with them right from the gecko. It sounds like that’s making a big difference in the amount of people that are moving forward as a result.

Tera Lee:            Absolutely. I think rapport building between and a potential client is key in listening to the concerns. I found common themes that can immediately establish a good rapport with the client. For instance, if they have a particular issue, being knowledgeable of just some fairly common code section, so for instance, in family law best interest of the child, that’s family code 3011 plus some other statutes. Demonstrating very briefly your knowledge of that particular subject immediately gets them to perk up. When people are in-office, when you start throwing around relevant code sections, they actually start to lean forward in their chair to listen or start taking notes.

Once they’re taking notes, then you know that they’re listening to what you have to say. Equally, by making it easy for them or reassuring them that you trust them or believe in what it is that they’re saying and things of that nature so that they feel comfortable with you. No one wants to call into someone that they don’t know, that they found off the internet and hear that’s wrong, this is wrong. To be honest, sometimes their position is absolutely patently incorrect. Instead of just shooting that down immediately, okay, well I hear what you’re saying mister so and so, now in terms of me working with your case and what the law calls for, here’s the way that we could address this particular issue.

By changing the scope of that interaction and turning it less into I’d almost say a sales pitch and more into a conversation for me and building that rapport and comfortability between myself and the potential client that has worked wonders. If you look at the minor changes that I’ve made and the way that I consult with people and bring them into the office, it’s all designed around creating this ether or atmosphere of comfortability for them so that they can have and gain more trust in me to eventually retain me.

Dave Aarons:    Okay. Maybe this would be a good time and I’m not sure if you can just switch gears in your head Tera and pull this out, maybe we could do it later in the call. You just tell me what makes sense to you or what seems more comfortable to you. Could we just role play real quick how you would explain to me the next step? Let’s say, let’s … we’re kind of fast forward in an initial consultation, you’re talking about my case, I’ve explained to you what I’m looking to accomplish. Maybe you’ve asked me a few questions. Can you walk me through from that point and say, okay, these are my recommendations and what we like to do. If you like to go and schedule appointment, here’s how that works. Then just explain to me what you would say to explain the $50 initial fee and how you break that down to them.

Tera Lee:            Sure. Normally, I’d start by saying, “Okay, so our next step is scheduling an appointment, now we do have a $50 reservation fee. Before you freak out, this is the way this works. In order for my office to confirm your appointment, we have to take your credit card information. Note that we do not run the card unless you do not show up. Let me just repeat that, let me explain that. You’re going to give me your credit card information right now. You’re going to authorize my office to run your card for $50 in the event that you do not show up. If you show up, I do not run the card. If you decided to retain, it’s not an additional fee above if you retain for $1,000, not like $1,050.

In other words, this reservation fee is purely to hold your place because as you should know by now, attorney is built basically by the hour. If you miss your appointment, that’s basically time that I could have spent doing other things.” Does that make sense?

Dave Aarons:    Yes, it does.

Tera Lee:            Okay. Can I get your credit card information? That’s how short and quick and dirty it is.

Dave Aarons:    I was just making it very clear that this is solely to hold the fee as long as they show up, it doesn’t get processed. It’s interesting because when you say it’s this fee, you’re very, very clear at that point. Okay, now don’t freak out, let me very clear about what this is about so they understand that this is not something they’re paying for as long as they just follow through on their appointment.

Tera Lee:            Correct. Again, with that little blurb right there, that’s basically what I’ve used every single time to secure these appointments and to a tee the general responses, “No, that makes sense. Okay, here’s my card.”

Dave Aarons:    Okay, cool. There’s one other thing I want to circle back on. It seems to me that you have a background in sales. I’ve worked on the phone for many, many years as well in the legal access plan business in the past and especially because you mentioned shots. Can you talk about what the shots sheet is and how you would use them? I mean, now that you’ve adjusted your plan, maybe you don’t need to use the shots sheet or what you would call questions and answers guide. Can you talk about the importance of a shot sheet using a script and how you incorporate these things into your overall process so that you’re being consistent in the way you’re fielding each individual lead.

Tera Lee:            Sure. Just by way of background, I used to sell cars. You learn very quickly when you’re in a car a lot that people don’t like our salesman. You have to have built-in not only a thick skin but ways to overcome objections. Those quick one-liners are called shots. Initially, if you’re smart about it, you write down or if you do flashcards or whatever the case maybe. The point is, is you have this information readily available to you so that you can work with it constantly and consistently. Because the value of the shot isn’t necessarily the shot in and of itself, isn’t the verbatim text on how you address this issue.

It’s the confidence in which you convey the message that really resonates with the client. In other words, you’re just reading off a script that’s dead. There’s no emotion. There’s no empathy that the client can feel on your behalf. It’s just words floating out in the space. Alternatively, as you work with this sheet more and more, it becomes natural and you internalize this information so that you can then start speaking conversation and colloquially with the client. These are just part of your presentation. That’s when you start getting the genuine results.

For instance, on the $50, one specific objection that typically popped up time and time again was, well, I thought it was a free consult, why do I have to pay $50 now? All right. The explanation would be, well, mister so and so, granted it is a free consultation, however, you know as well as I know that time is money. Your time is money. My time is money. All this is is a reservation fee to hold your space. If you show up to your appointment, we immediately refund it that same day. All you have to do is put it basically a deposit and when you show up, that deposit is returned to you immediately.

By doing it that way, that was one way in which you could overcome that one particular objection. Now, not everyone is going to be sold on that and depending on what they say after that, you have to then go to your next round of shots. That’s a specific objection and a specific way to explain it such as it’s a deposit that you get back immediately when you show up. By doing that or having this framework that you have set up for yourself. I have an objection that I’m encountering all the time. How do I overcome it? Then you have deposit for that objection.

Another one is just using real world examples. For instance, your time is money, my time is money that establishes that both of you are on the same playing field. In other words, you respect his time just the same way that you should respect your time. By engaging in that mutual exchange, that equally sets up the shot. Once you start working with this and have a script to work off of, it’s not the script in and of itself in my personal opinion. It’s the internalization of the information into the person conveying it. Then being able to then say it effortlessly, that really helps.

Obviously, starting point one is have a script, know what it is you’re supposed to say. Work with it over and over and over again. You’re going to stumble. You’re going to fall. You’re going to miss retainers in this particular instance because you’re not comfortable with that information, not comfortable putting forth that persona. Once it clicks, then it’s just streamline. It’s really a beautiful thing.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah, absolutely. I really hear what you’re saying as far as once the script becomes a part of you. Do you still have those shots and those scripts in front of you? I remember for years, I always had it there anyway. Do you have it to the point where it’s like Bruce Lee eventually had the fundamentals down so well that he could have the intercepting fist and just flow with it, which is good too, I mean, it’s not a very long call. It’s not a very sales process this initial 15 to 30 minutes. Do you still use scripting or how did that evolve for you? Did you start with the initial script we gave you and then evolve that yourself or how is that process been for you over the last year or two since we’ve been working together?

Tera Lee:            Sure. I’ve had the initial script then I look at that and tweaked to my own specifications. I still look over my script from time to time not necessarily because I’m encountering the same objections because I’ve come up a different way to handle the issue but just in case. I think that’s the key is that I rehearse these things that I attempt to say in front of the mirror. I rehearse and role play even with the members of my family and things of that nature to keep the information fresh. Because another issue is that, when you’re saying … if you’re doing it right, it’s almost like you’re saying the same thing over and over and over again regardless of who the person is.

Especially in family law, they’re really only so many issues you can address. I mean, hot topic issue custody and visitation, hot topic issue allegations or domestic violence. The financial stuff is all fairly straight forward. We’re dividing things according to the law, et cetera, et cetera. There’s only so many times you can say things so many different ways before that information becomes stale even for yourself. If you’re not enthusiastic about the information, I’m not saying be a fan boy of family law or anything like that but you have to have a certain level of acumen and enthusiasm in conveying this information so that they see that you actually love what you do.

That conveys a message to them that, hey, I want to hire this guy because he actually likes what he’s doing. While I don’t generally have the script up anymore as I’m talking to clients, I do refresh my recollection almost weekly just looking back over. I do update it. If I come across a new objection which I haven’t recently because again, I have this process that’s been working fairly well for me with little to no objection. I use to update it with … if someone came across something and I was just stumped, I’m like, yeah, I need to overcome that eventually. Like I said, I do rehearse in role playing to keep the information fresh so I don’t sound like a robot and I don’t sound like I don’t care about the information.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah. It’s interesting to look at it from this perspective given that we both have a background in sales. Attorneys I think maybe have some resistance to thinking of themselves as sales people which all attorneys selling their product and selling it themselves. A lot of people would resist that ideas and say, we’re professionals and we’re not sales people and so forth. Looking at it from that perspective really can help you start to realize that what is it you’re doing is a system, the people having finite number of concerns, a finite number of issues that are going to prevent them from wanting to move forward.

If you can start to quantify and better understand what that client is going through and what they need to hear at various stages to feel comfortable and take the appropriate action that you’re able to then assist them with going forward assuming that your services are good fit for what they’re trying to do, then it really helps the client feel comfortable and take those next steps instead of having those buffers that concerns that usually it just going to end up with them not taking action in their case or taking and approach that may not necessarily being their best interest. Can you talk a little bit about that? I mean, as far as just how you bring the selling, how you maybe even brace that aspect of it to help you just become more effective with talking to the clients and we’re finding things in the way you have.

Tera Lee:            Sure. I don’t know if you or the people listening ever watched the Boiler Room, it has Ben Affleck.

Dave Aarons:    Yes, I have.

Tera Lee:            It is a great movie as far as tackling this issue. He has a line in there, Ben Affleck does where he says, “Whether they buy today or you hang up the phone, a sale has been made.” Whether or not the client retains or they decided to walk out of there without retaining you, someone sold someone. In that interaction, you have to decide and make up your mind that it’s going to be me that’s selling myself to these people as supposed to the other way around. Now, there might be stigma or some idea that I’m not a sales person, I’m an attorney and somehow those two are different or separate and apart.

This is my thing is that there is a reason why we have suits and ties and have our attorney persona. That’s because what we do and what we represent is supposed to mean something. As a result, when we’re conveying this image and ideally this ideal to our potential clients to the court, to the world at large, whether or not we acknowledge it, we are selling the idea of an attorney. If you aren’t concerned about the idea of an attorney show up to court in your slippers and aloha shirt if you will and see how far they get you.

We are projecting an image and whether or not we know this is part of equally selling, maintaining, upholding the idea and ideal of what an attorney is. The natural extension of that is converting this thing that we already carry around, this idea of what an attorney should be, a way an attorney should conduct themselves. Then translating that into an idea that the clients can grab a hold on. I don’t view myself as a sales person. I view myself as someone who’s friendly. By being friendly, by being a conversationalist, this enhances my ability to then convert potential clients into actual retainers and actual clients.

When it comes down to, am I sales person? I don’t want to myself. We already do it. You already are whether or not you acknowledge it or you don’t. The idea is, are you going to sit blindly idly by thinking that you don’t or are you going to capitalize on something that’s already been given to you? By virtue of your bar card, you’re allowed to do things that the average person cannot do. You’re allowed to say things that the average person cannot say. As a result, you need to craft that, hone your craft to the point where you’re able to project that and that is in and of itself selling. The two don’t seem inconsistent to me I guess. It is the shorter version of that.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah. When you take that approach and strategy and realized that people are evaluating you based on the limit information that they have especially given that this initial phone consultation when you first get that lead and they get on the phone with you is most of and a lot of times the first time that they’ve ever met you. They don’t know who you are. They don’t know if you’re necessarily except based on our reputation as a company and then of course any reviews they might read from your profile and so forth. There is some social proof there. Ultimately, they’re trying to answer question of mine. Does this guy care about me? Can I trust him? Can I afford him? Can I help him?

These are all the main boxes in their mind, they have to get checked. If you can start to quantify, how it is that you can convey in the most concise and confidence building manner how you can meet those needs assuming that, again, you’re fit to work with them and that’s another commitment is really listening carefully and saying, can I help this person accomplish this. Usually with the leads, generally, they have a genuine legal need. They need to move forward, usually have an option with you offering a bundle they can afford. Most of the time, you have a prospect that you can provide a service for, it’s not suspect.

Once you can start quantifying those things, then you can give the person a lot … help them feel more comfortable, help them realize that, yeah, I am here for your wellbeing and for your needs. You can trust what is we’re doing. Guess what? It’s even at a price or a rate that’s a fraction of what a lot of attorneys are going to charge you. They really can see the value in that. The better you can convey that and start to quantify how to communicate that, it’s just going to help a client feel more comfortable. Then, of course, the end of result of that is been a lot of more of them are going to be electing to take the next step and eventually retain you for your services.

I really appreciate your perspective on that because I think starting to learn how to quantify what those responses are going to look like and refining that over time is in my mind the tale tell sign of a true professional, not necessarily a sale special but someone that really cares about their clients and really takes their communication seriously for the sake of their clients.

Tera Lee:            Right. Just as I think about it, I have the step by step approach that I can probably explain fairly well. My step one is be friendly. That can manifest itself as an attorney in a bunch of different ways. I tend to again be approachable in the way that I speak and attempt to convey friendliness over the phone. The number two thing I do, because again, these are like 15-minute contacts is I try to answer one question competently. That establishes trust that tries to convey the fact that I’m knowledgeable about their issue but that equally conveys that I’m listening to their problems and already in a span of five minutes I can already help you.

Number three step is find the reason to come in if a reason exists. We don’t force the issue. For instance, if you have a document, I need to see it. Why don’t you come on in and let me see it? If you have pictures, I want to see it. Find a reason to bring them in. Then last, that transition into the $50 reservation fee. Again, by switching it, we only run it if you don’t show up. That adds a level of responsibility to them that they are then held accountable for and that completes the process. Be friendly, answer one question competently and briefly, find a reason to come in, get the $50. Basically, by following that step by step process, my ability to get them and then retain them has shot through the roof.

Dave Aarons:    Absolutely. Are there any specific shot or question or objection that you get even now that you have the $50, you come in and you only get charged if you don’t show up. Is there any other concerns, objections that maybe other attorneys might get that you found particularly a response that is well received amongst the client number. We used to get, I want to talk to my husband or third party quite often and develop a way to approach that but maybe that’s one of them. Is there anyone that comes to mind where it’s a pretty common one that you found a way to help overcome for the client on that initial call?

Tera Lee:            Well, normally, if there is an objection, it’s like, well I’m going to think about it or I want to talk to someone before this or that the other thing. This is basically what I found useful for me is let’s say I’m on the phone with you and say, “Okay, well, that all sounds nice but before I give you my card information, I want to discuss this with so and so.” Since we deal in family laws, certainly not their wife. I want to talk to so and so. At that point, I say, “Okay, look, here’s the thing. I understand that you need to speak to people that are important to you to try and help you make this decision, let me try and make this decision just a little bit easier for you. Tell me some of the questions that you might ask them.”

How about this? How about that? Or I don’t know, I would feel more comfortable if I had an opportunity to speak with this person. I said, “That’s fantastic, all right. How about we do a third party call right now?” Ideally, you’ve established a level of comfortability where that doesn’t seem pushy. That shot in particular is kind of a double-edged sword because if you haven’t established a good enough rapport, it’s almost 100% certain that you’re going to lose that person because now you seem, again, pushy. You know what I mean. Generally speaking, it’s a feel thing or I don’t know I’d want to talk to someone right now.

Well, how about this? How about we set you up for another telephonic or an in-office with that person so that we can get this moving? Generally speaking, it falls into a category of answer a question with a question that seems relevant or in the alternative try and incorporate whoever it is. Because we used to call them third basemen, people who are not the actual person that … so for instance, just car sales. The person who’s actually buying the car is not the third basemen. The person that they have to talk to in order to make that purchase happen is the third basemen. We use to call them third basemen.

There’s two ways to deal with their basemen. The first one that I found almost successful is attempt to include them and include them as soon as humanly possible. Just like in car sales, you would make eye contact with that person constantly and consistently acknowledge their presence and things of that nature. The other one is to try and ignore them and convince the person that they shouldn’t listen to third basemen. Sometimes people need that but generally speaking, that’s not the way to go. Translating that into over the phone conversation, I try and present options that will allow them in a timely fashion to not only talk to whoever it is they need to talk to.

Also, flush out whether or not that’s just an excuse because I don’t want to waste anymore of my time if this person isn’t serious about retaining my services. If you ask a simple question like, well, who do you have to talk to? They fumble a lot, then that’s more an excuse. Like I said, you’re not going to convert 100% of them but you don’t have to waste your time on someone that might be a flake. Give them your relevant information, wish them a good day. If they call back, they call back. If they have a legitimate response like, “I have to talk to my mom because they’re going to help me finance this.”

“Well, why don’t we talk to them? I got time right now, why don’t we talk to them right now? Why don’t we set up an appointment so that we can do a three-way conversation between myself, yourself and your mom?” Generally speaking, as long as I’m setting TCs, I don’t take the $50 reservation because I can do a 15-minute contact without feeling bad about myself at the end of the day if nothing happens. If I make that option available to involve that person that they need to talk to so that everyone has the same information, not only like, wow, this guy is really nice. He’s willing to talk to even my parents about it, just by way of example.

It’s a necessary risk to take where you don’t take the $50 because you’re not coming in-office but you’re willing to take that risk. Because if you can get the third basemen in sales, everyone knows that if you get the third basemen on board, the sale is basically done for you. Because the third basemen goes from being the person objecting the most to the person telling that person, no, you should do this right now.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah. This whole time we just spent, [like I said, 00:43:06] massive grin on my face since this is the stuff that I was brought up as well, learning how to be effective on the phone and especially with a third basemen becoming an influence or I think what comes to me is I’m going to share what we used to say with third parties. Because family law like you said is a little different where it’s a lot of times, it’s the grandma or the parent or someone that’s going to be financing the case. Sometimes you’ll find out and maybe … correct me if you do deal differently Tera, sometimes you find out that that person is now remarried.

Then the one party is dealing with the custody issue or visitation matter for a child with a previous marriage or you find out through questions and really good questions and I’m curious if you ask questions to find out. Are they in a new relationship? Are they married or something like that to figure out if there is a third basement early on in the call.

Tera Lee:            Well, normally, it just naturally arises. For instance, if they have a new girlfriend and their divorce is still pending, across the board generally people will disclose that information fairly early without any prodding. Equally, especially recently, having someone put their card down for $50 where it’s not even being run. I think now that we’ve actually talked about and … I’ve said this out loud, I think part of not having to deal with that issue in particular is because no money is out their pocket so they don’t have to check with anyone or get the funds from anybody else either.

For all I know, they have zero money in their back account. Because they can give me a card, they’re still allowed to come in. Since they know they’re coming in, everyone walks away happy from that transaction. I guess to answer your question, I don’t fish out for if there is a pre-existing third basement that just arises. The funny thing is, is that in those particular situations where it’s like a girlfriend or they remarried or something like that, those third basement are actually the easiest to convert because they want this done.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah, they do.

Tera Lee:            They don’t want their current significant other involved in litigation with another so and so about anything to be honest with you because that’s more time, money, et cetera out of their current relationship. If you can just give them that person their due respect and listen to their concerns as well as your client’s concerns and then drop little hints or make little statements, for instance, and you know mister so and so that he’s going to be extraordinarily happy when we wrap this up, right? Then you look over to the other person and they’re already starting to grin.

Because even if they’re silent the entire time, you have to know that that’s something that’s weighing on their mind. It’s just the inevitable conclusion of, if you’re in a pre-existing relationship now and you still have issues with a past relationship, that never goes well with your current significant other. It’s fairly easy to get them on board.

Dave Aarons:    Yup. It’s really amazing. It’s a testament to the power of the fact that small adjustment and not charging the fee and only charging with the coming in that it’s basically what you call a lay down. There’s no resistance there because they know they’re not coming out of pocket as long as you’re just willing to come in and show up. There isn’t really that much of a financial decision. For the sake of attorneys that maybe do want to enroll someone over the phone, we just had a couple recent podcast episodes where attorneys do enroll clients for 500 or 750, 1,000 where they’re making that financial decision.

What we found is if we laid out the cards to that client as far as how much is going to cost with the fees are and then got the I want to talk to third party response, that it was a lot more difficult to schedule the three-way call once you’ve already done explain all the cost. Because then that person wants to go and explain the cost for them and then what happens, there’s a lot of time they don’t do a very good job to that. Then they do a very good job at that and then they’d go hire someone else or don’t take action at all because it just didn’t make sense they weren’t able to convey it very well.

What we used to do is we’d find out if you get a sense for the fact that they have a girlfriend or a boyfriend, a new boyfriend or a new girlfriend or that they’re remarried. In the questioning or because the case they moved into a new home with their boyfriend or girlfriend, we just ask, okay great. Before we talk about the services at all and what they cost, we would ask, okay John, have you spoken to your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband about this situation what we’re looking to accomplish here? They say yes. They usually say yes.

“Okay. Does your boyfriend feel the same way as far as wanting to help you accomplish getting custody or getting visitation rights to your boy?” They would say, “Yeah, I know.” They’re on board, of course. We ask that next question. The next question would be, okay, do you think your boyfriend or your husband or wife would want to be involved in any part of our legal game plan or a financial decision regarding this matter? Then they answer that question and they’d go, yes, no, maybe so. They said, okay. If they say yes, I think they’d want to be involved in what we’re going to do legally or the financial decision.

You say, okay great. Well, then why we don’t we set up a time that both you and your wife or husband or boyfriend are going to be available and then I could explain all your legal options to you together and then you guys can make a decision on what you like to do as one unit. Would that work for you? They’d go yes. Okay, why don’t we set up a time? When do you think would be a good time to do that? Do you think John or James would be available right now? They’d go, yeah, he’s at work or no, he’s not at work. We say, well, why don’t we just set up a three-way call right now and then I can go over what you share with me so far, catch him up.

Then we can talk more specific goal that we can do to help you out, does that sound good? Then initiate the three-way call from there before you even get the objection because you’ve already isolated early on in the call if that’s something that’s going to be an issue. In other words, we use to handle the I want to talk to third party or third party basement objection by never getting that objection in the first place because we try to flush it out before we talk about the money at all.

Tera Lee:            What I’ve done is very similar like attempt to avoid the objection altogether. By the way that I handle it is necessarily the walk down. You ask them a bunch of questions where you’ve pretty much predetermined what the answer should be. Then once you get your specific set of answers, you know where to depart from that walk down scenario to simply creating a scenario where they come in. Then at the tell in, if you need anyone there to help you make this decision, make sure that they’re at an in-office so that they can have the same information that I’m given to you so you’re not repeating yourself, I’m not repeating myself.

Everyone walks away with the same information. Then generally, because I feel like a large portion of my ability to speak with potential clients is more so in person than over the phone. To be honest with you, it’s not just me, it’s just people in general. By having the relevant people necessary to make that decision in my office, generally, I’m able to overcome any objections that arise from that potential third basement or whatever the case maybe. Equally, I try and avoid things like pricing over the phone. I try to avoid any reason for them to tell me no over the phone.

I try to ask really only questions in which I’d get an open-ended responds or response that’s purely yes to get them in the mode of yes. That way, when I ask something like, okay, so now do you want to schedule your in-office appointment? The answer almost automatically is yes because of the way I framed the scope of the conversation.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah. It’s a luxury once you use the process you’re outlining where they don’t have to make a finance come in upfront then it’s ideal for them to have both of these two parties come in and sit down with you because there isn’t a fee to do so. That way, you got a chance to sit down with both of them that’s going to be obviously your best opportunity to handle any concerns that either those parties may have. For a long time, we always felt that was the ideal case scenario for most attorneys. I think it is, is to have everything you’re doing in the consultation, transitioning them to come and meet with you in the office because that’s what’s going to make people feel the most comfortable.

It’s actually to be able to meet you and get to know you and sit down with you and see that you’re real and see that’s entirely we talked about or whatever it is and see the comfortability of your office. That’s just going to make them feel more comfortable to trust you as opposed to over the phone. Yeah, it’s interesting though that we do have some other attorneys that are starting to handle that more over the phone especially when you have long distances. This is where the creativity on having your shots or your responses well thought through becomes … starts to impact things a little bit more when people are talking where you’re looking at, having people make payments over the phone without having first met you in person.

Tera Lee:            Right. It’s funny that earlier you brought up Bruce Lee and one of his major concepts was being fluid like water. We can all do the accent in our head. The point is, is that we never limit our potential to make money. We don’t follow the script so rigorously and so rigidly that if someone wants to throw money at you right now and you tell them no, you have to come into my office first. The point is, is to make it as easy as possible again for them to pay. If it’s long distance and you can hear that in their voice, you can hear their hesitation in coming to your office.

Saying something like, I can’t pay for gas right now generally sends alarm bells to attorneys as well like how are you going to pay for your attorney’s fee. That’s almost prejudging a client because you don’t know what sort of friends, family. You don’t know what sort of retirement that they might have access to. You don’t know what sort of house they might have to sell that X amount of equity that you could put a lien on. We don’t want to prejudge or prequel. We don’t want to prequalify clients just by virtue of certain information. We take them as is. If you hear the hesitation about the trip, then you start asking questions on ways to make it convenient for them. What you’re trying to do is conveying a manner that makes it seem like you’re doing them a favor. For instance, well, I notice that drives a long drive and you have trouble because of your [crosstalk 00:53:35].

Dave Aarons:    Or maybe they don’t have a car or something like that, yeah.

Tera Lee:            Right, so why don’t we try and do it this way then? I’ve even done some video conferences with GoToMeeting, Skype and FaceTime to help facilitate that transaction. No one has to do any driving or anything like that. Then we can still do the credit card after the fact and things of that nature. The point is, is that I don’t go into a consult thinking, okay, because this is in Palm Springs, I’m going to wind up doing a video chat with them or something like that. I just go in with the defaults that I’m going to talk to them and feel out where this thing goes.

Then I know in my bag of tricks, I have a number of ways to make it very easy for them to feel even more comfortable with me. For instance, being able to set up a video chat conveys to them that you’re text savvy, whatever that means nowadays. It conveys to them that they have a method of seeing and talking to their attorney that doesn’t involve them driving the hour that it would take if they were to drive. By accepting something like a personal check initially, a lot of people are surprised when I do that. I do quality that statement with obviously if it bounces, A, I’m not going to accept another personal check from you ever again although we know that that’s not going to happen.

There was a $35 surcharge fee because my bank charges me at $35 surcharge fee. Everyone seems all right with that. The fact of accepting a personal check [inaudible 00:54:53] look, I think you’re operating in good faith so I’m going to accept your personal check. That in and of itself, they were like, wow, really? Allowing them to, again, schedule potentially multiple telephonic conferences just to get the relevant people on board if that distance is too great for everyone to make it or if because of their schedule they can’t have it, that’s another thing.

One of the things that I hear often from clients is, well, I tried calling this other attorney but they never called me back or I talked with this other attorney but they didn’t want to talk with so and so or whatever the case maybe. That’s true. Because, I mean, our time is valuable, our time is literally money. As a result, if people don’t hear basically dollar signs right off the bat, they’re not willing to go. It’s not even really an extra step when you break it up into increments of 15 minutes. It’s just what’s in the attorneys best interest at that point.

If making that additional contact, if becoming familiar with how to FaceTime or Skype or use GoToMeeting, all of these things are things that attorneys nowadays should be familiar with and then by demonstrating that you have these tools available to you that’s building confidence in you. Because you’re not only solving their legal problems but you’re solving their logistical problems as well. Again, it’s creating this atmosphere of, hey mister person that sent an email through the internet and I’m meeting for the very first time. I really know what I’m doing. More importantly, I’m solving your problems right now.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a legal problem or logistical problem. People like that. The only reason why they call an attorney or email for an attorney is because they’re having problems, if we can solve as many as those problems with minimal intrusion into our day to day. I’m not saying solve all of their problems, I’m saying logistically, make it easy for them to talk to you, see you, see your office, logistically solve at least one problem that you can do confidently and swiftly. Especially in family law, that’s generally pretty easy to do and by doing that, you’ve already set the groundwork for them being able to trust you and it’s that trust and that rapport that then segues into increased retainers.

Dave Aarons:    If you found when you do have a little bit of that, geez, that’s a long way or my girlfriend’s got the car, I’m not sure if I can make that or even they don’t say that. You just get the sense of like, okay, that’s about an hour away or whatever it is that they can hand at this a little bit further. Have you find that offering the video conference call? That would maybe is the main … be that next step, would you then book appointment for the video conference call and do you still take the $50 fee reservation to do that? Has that video conference call actually worked well or they still have a feeling of comfort that they get to see you? You have a full length conversation and has that still been effective to do that, to use that strategy?

Tera Lee:            I don’t take the $50 reservation for the initial video conference because I categorize that kind of as a TC as well and gives me … a telephonic conference, TC, gives me an opportunity to feel out the entire situation as well. What I do is, is that in the event that … well, like being fluid, if I get the impression that this video conference will turn into a normal standard consult which I generally don’t like because I like them in-office, then I do still attempt to get the credit card. If it’s just a contact so that everyone can mean how well and then convince them to come into my office.

Because again, I feel that them being in my office significantly increases my chances. It also increases the comfortability level of everybody then I don’t. It’s one of these decision things where I make a cash decision, I haven’t been right 100% all the time. I fail to take a $50 reservation fee. To me at that point it’s moot because you’re talking to them anyway. The only reason why you would take it is because you’re talking to them. Sometimes it’s such a minimally invasive contact, a Skype session, whatever you call it. Then they generally make those. I haven’t had anyone skip out on a video conference.

It’s not necessarily something that I stress about, it’s something that I do make the decision based on the input that I have. Equally, the whole reason for the reservation fee is just unsure that they show up so I try and reserve the asking of that for when they actually come in-office.

Dave Aarons:    Well that makes sense because if you don’t have the problem of the no show, the original reason you start taking the reservation in the first place is because you [inaudible 00:59:18] clients were coming in the office. If you don’t really have that issue when you’re doing these video calls whenever off time that becomes necessary, then the reservation fee doesn’t really have a purpose per se except in the off event which you said pretty much doesn’t even happen where they don’t show up for a video call. That sounds like it’s probably something that’s going to be straight away anyway if they can’t come in. They’re going to be at their house the next time you can schedule it.

Tera Lee:            Exactly.

Dave Aarons:    Okay. Well, hey, I guess the last thing maybe we could touch really briefly on it because it was something part of our conversation earlier and then we’ll just wrap it up because we spend a lot of time. This has been really a flashback into the core, beliefs and core strategies of sales and just understanding your client’s comfort zone so comfort points and how to communicate well and how to make them feel comfortable and trust. It’s been just really enjoyable to re-explore all these original fundamentals. Just the final thing was you mentioned we talked earlier that one of the things you’d be doing is doing a balance between general retainer and then flat fee services? Could you just do a quick, quick lay down of those two different options and how you put those, offer those as separate approaches depending on what the client feels most comfortable for, then we can wrap up from there.

Tera Lee:            Generally speaking, when people retain from the unbundled leads that’s either for a flat fee retainer of $1,750 or for my general retainer of $2,500. The general retainer covers the doc prep, the appearances, and all that stuff. It’s an hourly billable as opposed to a flat fee. The 1,750 is a flat fee but those are reserved for a very specific matters that have generally speaking, very set timelines and neither of those retainers include trial. Just in case anything goes sideways on this, we can still acquire more money or request replenishment in the event of trial.

On the flat fee side, they’re generally reserve for things like domestic violence restraining orders or post-judgment modification of orders because there’s a finite timeline that those things wrap themselves up on. For instance, generally speaking, a post-judgment modification of say spousal support is one to two hearings. We can do that on a flat fee. We handle all the paperwork. We do the appearances. We know, generally speaking, when it’s concluded. Again, since it doesn’t cover trial, if it turns out to be something more than that then we’re insulated by putting in a retainer that it doesn’t cover trial.

On the general retainer side, what I generally do is if the person has problem paying and this goes back to the idea of making it very easy for them to pay. I explain to them that nothing will be filed until half the retainer is paid or $1,250 so I don’t care if it’s a dollar today or if it’s $500. The point is, is that my office doesn’t have to file anything on your behalf until at least half the retainer is in. Then I explain to them that I’m not required to appear at any of your hearings until the remainder of my retainer is paid. Basically, retainer paid in full before the first appearance. People can get on board with that plus if they’re having issues, coming up with the money financially, it allows them to be in charge of their own timeline. Know that they have an attorney still doing work in the background and things of that nature.

Dave Aarons:    Well, that’s key. Even if they can’t do the 1,250 right now, if they have 250. Every two weeks, then you’ll take those initial payments and put them in trust and start racking up and get them going in the process even if they don’t have the full amount upfront as opposed to going, okay, well, whenever you have the 1,250 or whenever the 2,500, give me a call. That way at least you’re getting the case on board even if it’s just a few hundred dollars or whatever it is and you’re starting to do work for that client. They feel like they’re moving forward and they have a structured way to go about it. I mean, that’s key.

Tera Lee:            Right. Again, I try not to turn away money to the extent that the structure that I follow insulates me as an attorney from extraneous liability. Like you said, I accept those payments. I do work that can be done. It’s billed according. If they request a refund before the retainer is pain in full, we send them a billing statement and we reconcile the bills and things of that nature. Even that, say 250 a week, A, that’s 250 a week that you’re not receiving or weren’t receiving previously. B, there’s plenty of stuff that you could do that could bill away quite easily that would be required for you to do anyway.

We do the doc prep upfront. Even though it would be done, meaning that we’ve basically insulated ourselves from a refund request, we don’t file it until that 1,250 is in, you know what I mean, same thing with making a general appearance and solving in on their case. If your full retainer isn’t paid too me, that’s fine. As part of that, we don’t prepare your documents with my name on it. We prepare your documents pro per and then we simply walk in with a sub or notice of limited scope at the point where the retainers paid in full.

We have the scenario sometimes where they haven’t quite paid the full amount. We submitted their documents pro per because the courts will kick back a preexisting case if you put your attorney information on it and don’t have a subfile and we don’t want to file or substitution of attorney without being paid. We file those documents pro per so that’s accomplished the first half of it. We’ll walk in with notice of limited scope the day of … and so it’s not a full sub but for that hearing. Then we allow them to finish up their payments or whatever the case maybe. There are steps that can be taken to protect the attorney from being on the hook full services without having your appropriate retainer being paid.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah. More has long to do with that pay as you go one step at a time and limited scope of involvement then only doing a flat rates when you have cases in which there is a pretty clear timeframe of the amount of appearances or whatever. You know that’s going to paid to get it done.

Tera Lee:            Right. Then another …

Dave Aarons:    Or finding that balance and evaluating.

Tera Lee:            Right. Then another key step in all of this is obviously get your credit card authorization and get the authority to run it at a specific point in time each week, each two weeks, each month, whatever the case maybe. That way, you’re not chasing the client necessarily. You have a viable method of collecting from them. Once you get their authorization on file, then you just run at the same time. It’s very rare that these payments don’t go through. We don’t want to run into a scenario where it’s just their word, get their credit card information and then run that card.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah, exactly. Is there a specific tool or merchant processor or law practice management software that you use that makes that other more seamless that card authorization and then those weekly or monthly payments, whatever the interval is for that client?

Tera Lee:            Interestingly enough, I’m still old school. I still have an old school card reader. That’s funny that you brought up old school fundamentals to sales because I’m very much steep in that. I think there’s room to grow from the fundamentals. You need to have your fundamentals down path before you could grow. No, but I am exploring like pay law to try and make this a lot easier to just run those cards I’m having.

Dave Aarons:    You mean LawPay?

Tera Lee:            LawPay, yeah, LawPay, to run those [inaudible 01:06:34]. It’s just something that was recently introduced to me actually a few months ago. I haven’t had a chance to transition all over to doing that just yet. That’s definitely something in my future especially with the way that things have been going lately. Because again, by following the step by step process by getting these credit card authorizations, by then being able to have and make these payments regularly, it just seems much better process where I don’t even have to think about it.

Because right now, it’s basically my secretary running the cards at the appropriate times and we have tasks at scheduled times to make these credit card payments. If it could become automated which I’m told they can be, then that’s the natural next step of where I’m going.

Dave Aarons:    Yeah, yeah, absolutely. LawPay has been a really powerful tool for a lot of our attorneys to be able to automate those every Friday 250 or every other Friday 250. They close that in one, set the interval, set the amount and set the period. It’s done and it’s just processes. It also can be well timed so that when the person is getting a direct deposit on those same day as it happens, that’s more likely to be able to go through. It’s a tool that cuts down the admin. Also, we found also increased the percentage of times that that payment is going to go through as well …

Tera Lee:            Right. Human error, right?

Dave Aarons:    … is to the time schedule.

Tera Lee:            I mean, so I might forget to run a payment or I get too busy during your normal course of the day to run it. Then before you know it, the money was there but it’s gone because they’re low income or whatever the case maybe. That’s one of the reasons why I’m diligently exploring transitioning over and how quickly I can do that. Because again, we want to get those payments in and then we want to make it seamless both for them and on the administrative side for us.

Dave Aarons:    Yup, and be able to [sign 01:08:19] additional length in their email or taken over the phone and set that up. If you haven’t seen it already Tera, we’ll send you the webinar that we did with LawPay in a short time ago. They do a pretty job of demoing the full appearance and so forth. If you haven’t seen that, I’d be happy to send it over to you.

Tera Lee:            Yeah. I’ve actually seen that but if you could send it anyway.

Dave Aarons:    Okay, yeah. It has the links and everything you need to get that set up. Then they usually will integrate into most practiced management software so it becomes pretty easy. Okay, well, listen Tera, this has been a lot of fun. Like I said, it brings you back to the good old days and good old fundamentals of just client communications, quality communication, rapport building, taking people from just a low impact to high impact, making it very easy for people to take those initial steps and not giving them too much financial resistance in the frontend, and have given a chance to meet with them.

I mean, these are just the fundamentals of the sale. Again, law lawyers don’t like to see themselves as sales people or making a sale but a sale is happening one way or another. Understanding these principles can really make a big difference in people’s ability to feel comfortable working with you and also feeling comfortable to pull the trigger and retain you for your service. I really appreciate all your insights from your sense of background and in this field.

Tera Lee:            Thank you. It’s been a pleasure. Even for me, saying a lot of this thing out loud … for a second there, I thought like, man, I’m doing some new novel things with Unbundled and my lead generation. Then in talking with you and hearing it out loud, I’m like, no, actually I’m just defaulting back to tried and true methods of the sale and again, rapport building and all that good stuff. It was actually really refreshing to understand that actually what I’m doing is the fundamentals because I’m a strong believer in the fundamentals to begin with.

Dave Aarons:    It’s a slightly tailor fit to the people you’re talking to and what makes the most sense for them. I’m glad that this was a helpful refresher for yourself as well.

Tera Lee:            Right. Thank you so much.

Dave Aarons:    All right, Tera. With that, thanks again Tera for taking the time. For everyone else that’s been listening to the podcast, we certainly appreciate your participation. If you join the podcast, share with any other attorneys you think might benefit, jump on iTunes and share review, read every single one of them. We’ll love your feedback. Until next time, thanks so much for listening.

Tera Lee:            Thank you.

Dave Aarons:    For more information about how our lead generation services can help you grow your practice, visit our website at If you’re enjoying this podcast, please be sure to subscribe so you get each new episode as soon as it’s available and leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Once again, thanks for listening.

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Episode 16: Proven Sales Strategies to Convert More Leads and Eliminate No-Shows

Tera Lee is a long-time unbundled provider attorney based in San Bernardino, CA who has applied best practices and strategies he learned from his background in sales to calling leads. Today Tera joins our show to discuss the importance of embracing sales as a critical component of building a successful law practice, and how to develop systems to consistently improve your sales process over time. He also shares many of the effective sales tactics he has developed, including how to completely eliminate “no-shows” from your practice without having to charge a fee to secure an appointment.

To read the complete transcript of this interview, click here

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to employ a secretary who will respond to leads in real time when you are not available, and not lose prospective clients in the process
  • How Tera’s strategy allows him to completely eliminate “no-shows” from his appointment schedule, without requiring clients to pay upfront fees to secure an appointment
  • His four step approach for the initial phone consultation with your leads
  • How to overcome some of the top objections you can get from a phone consultation; such as “I need to think about it,” or “I need to talk to my wife/husband/3rd party”
  • How to adapt your consultation when clients are reluctant or unable to travel to your office, such as using facetime, skype, or video conferencing alternatives
  • The benefits of offering a flat rate retainer for certain types of cases or tasks
  • 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:

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