Is there a 100% risk-free process of selecting a vendor for your law firm? No. Even when you only consider working with vendors that have been recommended to you by people of your network, you still cannot know for sure if they will be the right fit for your law firm or even available to help.
So what should lawyers and practice managers do when they need to find a marketing agency or other kind of vendor, and they have no one to recommend them an option? Google is a great place to start.
In this conversation Grace and Liel explore why it is important to research vendors before reaching out to them; but more importantly, why not reaching out to vendors due to fear or skepticism may be holding your law firm from finding the partnership they need to take their practice to the next level.
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Liel: [00:00:00] Every other scroll you make on Facebook, introduces to your feed, a new legal marketing guru who has the secret formula to endless leads at a very low cost and it gets you thinking, who can you trust when you run out of recommendations and still need a marketing vendor? I’m Liel Levy, co-founder of Nanato Media and this is In Camera podcast where we say only take measured risks.
Liel: [00:00:56] Welcome to in camera podcast, Private Legal Marketing Conversations, Grace, how are you today?
Grace: [00:01:01] Good, how are you, Liel? I’m doing great, Grace. I always feel like after a bank holiday, the rest of the week is so hard to get caught up on things. Right. Even though it’s a short week, it’s just kind of like a challenging week. First of all, because, you know, it’s hard to come back to work after a sort of mini vacation. And then on top of it, it’s like now you have to do five days worth of working for. And so the pressure is on. How do you feel about that Grace?
Grace: [00:01:34] I not only agree, I yeah, I feel like I go through that every week. I try to pack 10 hours worth of work and each day to begin with. So having an extra days sounds nice in reality, it’s not so easy to catch up.
Liel: [00:01:49] Yeah, it gets back at you later, right? It does.
Liel: [00:01:53] Yes. Great. So, Grace, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking in. First of all, I want to acknowledge that this is our 30th episode on our second season. Can you believe it? I know it’s crazy. It’s 30 episodes in, though. We’re into this. And that is not taking into consideration the first 10 episodes of the first season. Right. So today is 40 episodes. So that’s quite an accomplishment. I’m proud.
Grace: [00:02:23] I’m proud, too, because that’s a weekly thing that we’re doing.
Liel: [00:02:26] So now. Yeah, so now we’re putting it in the air that we need to think of something special for the 50th year episode. Right. You can reach 50 of something and not do something special. So we definitely have to now prepare a special 15 episode that is going to be coming up in 10 weeks. So, Grace, but as I was saying, I was going through in my mind all of the different episodes that we’ve created and we’ve had here so many vendors come and talk and how to help law firms and we hardly ever talk about how do you make sure that you’re choosing the right vendor, right, Grace? Like. Yes, it’s easy when you get a recommendation, when need a referral with somebody that you already know, it’s telling you, hey, I work with these guys and are good, but here’s the backside to that, Grace. And I want to hear what you think. Not every time every recommendation is going to be suitable for you because you may be a different market. You may be a different law practice. Their recommendation may already be engaged or committed to another law firm in your market and therefore not be able to help you. And so there are still times and opportunities when you’re going to be kind of like having to do the research, having to look out for alternatives yourself. What do you think, Grace?
Grace: [00:03:53] No, you’re 100 percent right. It’s actually, some of the law firms that we’ve worked with before have had that exact same question where they’re like, where do I even start? You know? I mean, I can come ask you I can ask the people that I’ve trusted before. But, you know, that doesn’t narrow it down to exactly what I might need for my law firm right now. So, no, I completely agree with you. It is a difficult it can be a difficult process if you don’t know where to start.
Liel: [00:04:20] That’s exactly the point, right, Grace?
Liel: [00:04:22] And so that’s what this episode is about, is about taking that first step, but doing it in a smart way, doing it in a way that you can actually make good decisions about whether you will be initiating a partnership with that vendor or not, and kind of like being able to identify signs that are good and should help build trust and also kind of identifying red flags that should tell you that, you know, you’re better off, kind of like cutting it short and moving on to the next possibility in your least. So, Grace, you know very well, I mean, I’ve heard it so many times, at least I hear it once a week. And it’s attorneys telling us, sadly, that they’ve had such bad experience working with X and Y agencies or marketing managers or freelancers or whatever, that they are very skeptical about their hiring process of a new agency marketing manager, you name it, because they just haven’t seen the results.
Liel: [00:05:25] And so when you’re starting from that point, you definitely need to understand how to build trust with that prospect, without trying to push on a sale too fast. Right. So I’m interested, Grace, because you see both sides.
Liel: [00:05:45] You are a client to many agencies and to vendors, but you also have your own products and services. And so I’m very interested to hear. How is it that you take that knowledge that you have from being a customer and translate it into being a vendor and meeting your prospect in a way that you can then enable for a partnership to come out of those interactions?
Grace: [00:06:16] So I’m actually going to pick that last word you used, which was the partnership that is the key term. And sort of like you vet a client, right, where you kind of go through all these different questions, making sure that they don’t, you know, that what their history looks like, what their you know, their finances, whatever it is that you’re trying to vet the client, it’s the same thing as vetting a vendor. You need to ask certain questions. You need to look at the process. And, you know, like you said, being on both sides, creating a partnership and transparency is key. If when you are asking certain questions or you start the process and you get pushback at the beginning, I mean, there’s like Liel, just like you said, there are signs and there’s a certain way of doing it that you should I mean, obviously, you can’t mitigate 100 percent of the risk, but there’s a way to mitigate a large portion of it by doing your due diligence, just like if you were, you know, as the lawyer looking into a client and seeing if this client is eligible, et cetera, et cetera, you should do the same with your vendors or have somebody do it for you. If you don’t, if you can’t do it yourself, you need someone you trust to do the same vetting process of your vendor.
Liel: [00:07:28] I agree with you Grace. You need to take a certain level of risk to the point that, you know, if you’re not willing to even invest the time to have one conversation or a few email exchanges, then you’re never going to know. Right. So that at least needs to be something that you need to set your mind to want to do or to commit to doing that. And great things may come out of it. But as you’ve said very well, you know, you may also come up with the wrong kind of vendor for your law firm. And so the point here is like just move on to the next thing fast. There’s no problem. I really don’t think there is anything bad about coming across a vendor or an agency that is not suitable for you. Just don’t waste your time talking to them more than you need. Right. To really understand. So that’s kind of like the first thing. But Grace, first, before you even get to the consideration stage of actually initiating a conversation with someone, the qualification process, like how do you search for vendors? What are ways to actually find, say, you digital marketing agency, a media buyer or a content writer, whatever that is? Where do you think our attorneys should start their search process?
Grace: [00:08:48] So I could tell you where I actually start my search process. I have a large variety of sources that I mostly through Google, I’d say, but something similar to that, where I see certain ads, certain types of marketing, basically advertising, and I pay attention to all of it. And for my process, I start there. If I see things that I trust and know already, I’ll give you an example. Neil Patel, he’s like in my book for me, the digital marketing guru, and I always go back to his content and his information. So if I see something that he’s talking about and it seems to make sense, and when I do some research on Google, because it’s someone let’s say, I don’t know if it’s someone I know or don’t know. Right. And I do some research on Google. They come up well, guess what? There’s a reason why they’re coming up. I do that type of research and then I create a list of basically ten, usually three to ten. If you can get to ten, great. If you can’t at least three so that you have somewhere to start.Liel: [00:09:57] Grace, you’re super-thorough. First of all, I love what you’re saying there. That’s it. Right. This is 21st century. If your potential partners are nowhere to be found, meaning Google, then you should rethink your entire strategy.
Grace: [00:10:11] Run.
Liel: [00:10:11] Right.
Grace: [00:10:15] If the point is for you to be seen, your vendor and partner should be too.
Liel: [00:10:20] Particularly if you’re after a digital marketing strategy, right?
Grace: [00:10:23] Right,
Liel: [00:10:24] If you’re searching for a kind of solution. And you’re considering of hiring someone that is not amongst those that are listed on the first page of results in Google, then you’re potentially not going to be going for a very qualified candidate. Now, Grace, the honest truth here is that there is quite a few well positioned. You can call them vendors, agencies, but there are quite a few of them that are well positioned within the legal industry. Mm hmm. And let’s be very honest, they just don’t rank anywhere.
Grace: [00:11:05] It’s very true.
Liel: [00:11:06] And we’re not going to name names here, but it is a fact. And so I guess that’s when you go back to looking at the recommendations and you still need to understand your law firm, your needs, and what is it that you’re interested in accomplishing and be just mindful. That the fact that this solution has worked for another law firm doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to also be applicable for you.
Grace: [00:11:39] 100% Liel.
Liel: [00:11:39] It’s a mix of things.
Grace: [00:11:39] Be super aware. I want to go back to what you were saying there. That actually for me is my very first process, part of the process, and that’s the most important part. What is your goal? Do you have a plan and how are you going to act on that plan?
Grace: [00:11:58] So just like you said, Liel, I think that is number one. We need to look at the law firm, what our requirements are and what is your goal, what phase you are in. So those are to me, those are four things, right? You just got to look at it and make sure that that last part of all of that, the you know exactly what you’re trying to achieve, because a conversion to you, let’s say, on digital marketing strategy may not be the same as a conversion to the vendor you’re talking to. And that might not be your goal. What if you just want awareness, right? You just want people to have eyes on the law firm. You just want to get known or do you want clicks?
Grace: [00:12:36] Do you want cases? Do you want newsletters out? Do you want you know, so you need to very, very clearly define what you’re trying to achieve by looking at all these different vendors and then look for the right vendor.
Liel: [00:12:48] That’s right, Grace. And so here is kind of like dilemma, right, that some people have some prospects that come our way. We see them have sometimes and it is having or not having a budget. Do you actually have to have a budget in mind before you reach out to someone? I’ll tell you mine. I know you’re ready to answer. I can see you’re ready to answer. But I’ll tell you what I think.
Liel: [00:13:11] I’ll tell you what I think. I think you don’t need to have a budget in mind. If you have it great. Even better. Right. But I don’t think it should be a factor that’s stopping you moving forward, because here is the point. The whole idea that you’re reaching out for help on an area that you’re not an expert means that up to a certain extent, you probably also don’t know how it’s priced and how much you would need, particularly for your circumstances to be able to achieve what you want.
Grace: [00:13:47] I see what you’re saying.
Liel: [00:13:47] As a matter of fact, knowing how much you would have to spend in order to achieve what you want would mean in a certain way or another that you already know what you need to do. Right. And so I think that it’s perfectly fine not knowing how much you are willing to invest, but you do need to know that you are willing to invest. What do you think, Grace?
Grace: [00:14:12] No, you’re right. That’s the key because, it’s funny because I always go to into something…
Liel: [00:14:18] You were going to say that they need to have a budget.
Grace: [00:14:21] I do. I was. Until you said what you said. I sure was. But you’re right. I mean, I guess it’s because I do know exactly what it is that I have to do for the law firm, you know, on that side of it. So I am coming from a different perspective. Right. I already have the research. I already have the network. I already have the knowledge on both sides of the coin, whereas a lawyer or whoever’s working with the lawyer may or may not right, they may not have an idea of exactly how they can get to the goal.
Grace: [00:14:50] They have the goal in mind, but they don’t know how they’re going to get there. And so speak to an expert like yourself in your agency. It makes sense, you know, where you come in with an idea knowing you got to spend, but not knowing how much you have to spend and just knowing you need to be committed to whatever it is that you’re going to be spending. You’re right. So that makes sense. You know, just knowing you have the money to do it, but not necessarily a budget. That makes perfect sense. Liel, I agree.
Liel: [00:15:17] And quite frankly, while it’s important information, as long as we have an understanding that there is a willingness to invest, we consider at least. Now, I’m talking from from our agency’s standpoint, we consider it a qualified lead, but of course, we were there to guide them and give them options so we can find a strategy that can fit their budget now. And we were going to get later in this conversation to also talking about, OK, how flexible can you be in when actually so much flexibility is a red flag for you as a client? Right. Because if somebody is telling you. Yes. Everything is possible. Everything is possible. And, you know, no challenges and seem to be brought up, then I don’t know. Is life that way? I mean, no. Can you expect someone to promise you the moon for a couple of hundred dollars a month? That’s right. I think we could all agree with that without going into further details there. So, Grace, that’s you know, I think we’ve really covered up some two very good strategies to qualifying. Who are you going to be considering as a potential partner or vendor? You look at your network, can you recommend someone? But you also go and search online. And here’s particularly for when it comes down to marketing, that’s already a great qualifier to start with. If they can come up for the search queries that you are searching for that already tells you, you know, they know what they’re doing up to their ranking. Well, that’s because they’re doing marketing. Right. So that’s kind of like reading in between lines. And it’s a good factor to take into consideration not the only one, but certainly one to be taken into consideration. Now, Grace, how about when you already know, OK, you have your list. I think ten vendors, companies, agencies. I think that’s a lot. I mean, I can certainly see you putting the time and year forward to really looking at every single option you have before you get into something. But I can also see our average listener probably…
Grace: [00:17:40] Are probably three at most.
Liel: [00:17:43] Three at most.
Grace: [00:17:44] Usually one or two is what the standard ends up happening. I say three because honestly, you need a choice between three. You should always, give yourself the option to have at least three to look at, you know.
Liel: [00:17:58] And that’s what I was going to ask you, Grace.
Liel: [00:18:00] I mean, because, you know, we’ve all even when buying for marketing, it’s an impulsive decision, right? You still do it with emotion. So my thing to you, Grace, is let’s say that you have your first conversation and I’m getting way ahead of myself here. But I still want to ask this question now. Let’s say you’ve had the conversation. You’re super happy. Sounds good. I’m ready to jump. Do you jump or do you still have another two or three conversations?
Grace: [00:18:27] I still have two or three conversations.
Liel: [00:18:28] Just like that.
Grace: [00:18:29] Always. There’s never a question. Yeah, I mean, because you never know. You know, you literally never know. Tomorrow could be another day, another person and this person could blow it out of the water for me. And just because I decided to stop and not continue moving to the other two. I’m going to lose out and I can’t have that happen for the law firm, so I always, always vet, triple vet. And again, if I can get to it, 10, there’s never 10 vendors available within what I’m looking for, but I always do at least three. And that’s because of that. And then I always speak to them, you know, and then I do my own pros and cons list where I compare them side by side as to what they can actually produce and provide to me. And sometimes I’ll even, you know, without naming names to each other, basically pit them against each other right there. My vendor, they’re here to provide a service. And so this is what this guy is going to get me or girl or company, and this is what this company is going to get me. Can you do better? Or what can you prove to me that you’ve done better? That’s how I look at it.
Liel: [00:19:39] Grace, I’m telling you, you are a demanding client. But you know what? That only makes an agency better. Right? And more capable. And you know what? I totally agree. Why not? It’s your investment, is your money, and it’s perfectly fine. And in other industries, it’s super common practice. Like we cannot even have a point of comparison because it’s totally normalized in other industries.
Grace: [00:20:08] It sure is.
Liel: [00:20:08] OK, Grace right. So you say yes. Go after other quotes, opinions, consultations, whatever that is. OK, fair enough. I’m going to say yes, but I would also understand people that say, you know what, this sounds good enough to me. I’ll jump into it right away. However, what I would still say is make sure that you can answer yourself very well with answers that are objectively good. OK, so Grace, let’s face it, most companies, most agencies or vendors in general, today’s communications would be you either send out a form submission expressing your interest, maybe in email or phone calls, which I think they’re a little bit rare. No?
Grace: [00:20:58] They are.
Liel: [00:20:58] Tell a little bit. Most of your clients, how do they, like your prospects, how do they reach out to you? Do they reach out to you? Do they phone you up and say, hey, Grace, I was told to call you by this and that or I was searching online, found you.
Grace: [00:21:11] So, yeah, it’s actually mostly online form fills, particularly because of the software side of it anyway, you know, through Persist and the Persist communications platform. It is. And I just read something yesterday that’s kind of specific to this, where it seems like 80 percent of the people that look for software or deal in software, regardless of the industry, would prefer to do this stuff online and fill out a form or chat or look for the answer as to what they want to do or if they want to see a one on one demo, they want to do that online.
Liel: [00:21:42] I totally agree with Your Grace. And this goes back to our conversation with Engage. When we had Brett here, one of our first episodes, we were talking right. How consumer behavior has shifted in a way that all of these transactional communications we just prefer to have them online is just the least amount of friction. And it actually gives you a good opportunity to kind of like take a first step without overcommitting. Right. There’s not much if or there’s not much commitment from your end. But then that’s exactly why the answer to that Web forum is so critical to really be able to drive things to the next step. I cannot stress that enough. And so this maybe of the conversation is equally valuable for both the attorneys and for our agency or legal industry service providers listeners, because the Web form submission is just half of the battle won. There’s no guarantee that that person will actually give you a chance to talk with them or to continue communications if one of the following things happen. Right. Number one, you do not respond timely. And this kind of is like the same principles that we preach on the attorneys to have when it comes down to them receiving web forms from prospective clients. So you definitely need to write back in a timely manner. And here is one that I really think is so important Grace. I think it’s very important at that stage not only to answer back and say, yes, hey, we’re thank you for reaching out. We are available to have a conversation here or there or here’s a link to my calendar book yourself whenever you’re available.
Liel: [00:23:24] I’m looking forward to our conversation. If you have any questions until then or if you can just tell me a little bit more about what is it that you want to solve? Excellent bye. Right. I think what a lot of service providers, agencies, you name it, failed to do at that stage is explain the process. Thank you for reaching out. We hear that you need these because usually these submit on the Web forum interested in is interested in this problem, this practice area. Right. Acknowledge that, take the time to read that. I do. Here’s another one, Grace. I’m a big fan of automation as much as you are, maybe a little bit less than you are. But I’m very big on automation; don’t automate the response for that web form submission.
Grace: [00:24:06] No, don’t.
Liel: [00:24:08] Unless it’s going to be something like. Thank you, we received your form and we’ll get back to you within the next X time frame.
Grace: [00:24:18] That’s what I do.
Liel: [00:24:19] And then you send and then you send the personalized thing. Right. But you can also put up this message on a thank you pop up box or something when the form submission is sent out or on a thank you page or whatever. It can also be an email or such, but that doesn’t count for your follow up, right? You still need to go open up and go through it, acknowledge in the first paragraph. Thank you very much. This is it, this is what you’re looking for. We’ll be glad or something along those lines to have a conversation with you about that and see if we can help you or how we can partner about it and so forth. And then you explain your process, Grace. And I’ll tell you now a little bit about our process, because it’s very important that we set expectations with our clients. And they also understand really where they are at each stage in terms of level of commitment. Right. Because I think that’s kind of like the dreadful part about initiating these conversations. Why? Because many of us are old enough to remember the days when you went to an auto dealer. Right. Just to consider potentially changing your car or something. And what a nightmare of an experience that turns into when the salesperson doesn’t allow you to leave until you actually sign a contract. Right. Many of us are still part of that generation. And so we kind of bring that experience many times to the online world. And we let these kind of like play and hold us back from actually seeking out for information because we feel old. We’re going to get bombarded with sales. Offers, are not going to be letting us. They’ll going to be emailing us, and calling us every single day. And so do we need that know. Of course, you don’t write. Nobody wants that. So that’s the reason why we like to explain the actual sales process in our agency. It’s something along these lines. We first have 15 minute conversation just to really be able to understand very well what is it that they want to achieve.
Liel: [00:26:22] Now, mind you, Grace, let’s not confuse that 15 minute conversation in kind of like getting basic information from the client, because there is a difference between coming to your first call prepared and already knowing enough for your clients so that you can talk a little bit more about their goal objectives, the current challenges and such than to come and ask them, where are you located? What do you do? Right. You should already know that by the time you come to a call like that. So that’s not what that call is about. Then in our case, our second step is, well, now that we have all of this information and we know exactly what are your challenges and where is it that you want to take your law firm and what goals you want to achieve? We put together our strategy, taking into consideration everything that has to do with your market, with your competitors, with your current marketing efforts, how they’re playing, how they’re supporting you right now. And based on that, we explain what is it that we would do, how we would do it, and also how much it would cost up until this point. And this is actually written down up until this point, you don’t owe us anything. There is no commitment of any kind between you and us. And at that point, after you’ve heard all of this information, then you get to decide if you would like us to send over a proposal and what would that proposal include?
Grace: [00:27:45] I don’t mean to interrupt, but it sounds exactly like what a lawyer does with a new potential client, a free 15 minute consultation where they already know about the issue that they had. But what is their goal in this lawsuit right? Then, the next step is once you had all this conversation and everything, then you signed the contract, a retainer agreement. Is that kind of like the same thing?
Liel: [00:28:08] I think that’s a very, very valid point that attorneys should keeping in mind. Yeah. Am I getting a service comparable to that that I would give my clients before I actually ask for their commitment? And if your answer to that question is no, then that’s an indication that you should potentially walk away and move on to your next prospect on the list, right, Grace?
Grace: [00:28:32] Yeah, the next vendor, because, I mean.
Liel: [00:28:34] Exactly.
Grace: [00:28:35] It’s all about the customer service. Right. So like you were saying in the very beginning, even I mean, you worked in hotels. So, you know everything about customer service. I have to say, when it comes to travel and tourism and that industry, when you’ve worked in a hotel, especially five star like you have, it’s a whole other level of customer service. And so I know, you know, customer service implicitly. And if you’re not getting that exact response or feeling like you’re trying to give to your clients from the vendor, get out, be done, move on to the next one.
Liel: [00:29:07] Absolutely. There’s no reason why you need to settle for a low expectations whenever you are dealing with a marketing agency or anything along those lines. Now, I do want to, however, reiterate it all goes back to your initial research. Are you, I mean, are you reaching out to a freelancer on Fiverr dotcom? You get what you pay. Yeah, right, you get what you pay in the best case scenario, you get what you pay, pay five dollars, you get five dollars worth of work. Right, exactly. But when you’re talking to an established agency, you know what? You should definitely, by all means, expect to get at least as good as a service as you’re providing to your clients. Right. And in some cases, you should definitely feel that you’re having the same kind of experience and the same level of service that you would at a luxury establishment, be that a jewelry store, a luxury hotel or boutique. Right. Right. It’s not a cheap product, right? It’s not it’s not a cheap product. It’s not a cheap service. And if you’re going to get charged a premium, then it should not just reflect on the results that you were getting. It should be part of the service that you’re getting as well. How many times have we said that operates? Yes, like so many law firms, they’re focused so much on the results. They’re oriented in results. Right. It’s all about we get the good results to the clients. We’ll get results. That’s not enough anymore. It’s about the client experience. It’s about the customer experience. And so that’s a really good thing. And another thing. So if we were to think and probably we’re going to have to leave that for another conversation, like, but what are the questions that you need to be asking agencies? And one of them definitely has to do with who’s going to be my point of contact? How fast will I get here if I ask a question or such? That’s important, right. That’s setting up expectations. And you need to know that information. If you’re working with someone and you reach out or you call and you don’t hear back that same day, well, you may want to consider whether that’s something that you want to put up with or not. Can you afford putting up with that right now? Can you you stop what is it that you need for a whole, you know, three, four or five, six hours and not hearing back so those are very important considerations, Grace.
Grace: [00:31:29] In software, we call them service level agreements. So depending on who it affects and how it affects you in the impact on your business and how you’re operating, we have a service level agreement that we will provide service, customer service within an allotted time frame as defined by the agreement based on how it’s affecting you as a customer. So if it affects everybody and nobody can use the system for whatever reason, there will be a response within less than 30 minutes, generally speaking, but definitely within less than an hour and a resolution within, I think, two to four hours, depending on what the issue is. So, yeah, no, I agree with you. That has to be done. And that’s an expectation that needs to be said at the beginning. And I know you do that. You know, when you’re talking to your clients that they know immediately what their expectation is or what the expectation is of them, what commitment you’re expecting from them, because that’s important too. There are certain clients, that we’ve talked about this before, right, that we want or don’t want and there are vendors that they want or don’t want? Right. And it works for both.
Liel: [00:32:38] Absolutely, Grace. Now, the last part I want to talk a little bit about. OK, so you’ve submitted a form. You made an initial phone call. Now you’re scheduled for that second conversation, depending on really the service that you’re after. So you may have kind of like what is known as a discovery call, which is a little bit of what we’ve talked about. Right. Kind of like understanding the current situation. Where is it that you are? It’s sometimes an important stage, right, Grace? Because you need to in order to be able to really give a relevant and valuable solution to your prospect, you need to first gather some basic information about what is it that they want to achieve and where is it that they are right now. And so many times, particularly as an agency, you may want to take one route when the client has already or the prospect has already set up their mind on something else. So it’s very important to have that understanding at the very, very beginning so that at least it doesn’t mean that you were going to, you know, go after exactly what the client wants. If you already know that there are not going to be good results there or it’s going to be a harder route to take. But at least you need to understand that your client has that into her mind so you can then get them to see things from the perspective that you’re seeing. And so that’s usually what happens on what is better known as the demo. Right. Or the presentation. And so, Grace, I want to talk a little bit about that, what you should expect to see on that second call where there’s already been information established, the vendor, the agency already have a good understanding of what is it that you want to accomplish, the challenges that you have. So now it’s their time to really tell you, OK, here’s the solution that we have for you. So Grace, what would you say are things that need to happen during that conversation, that presentation demo?
Grace: [00:34:41] So first and foremost, they need to make it as personalized as possible to you, your business and exactly what you’re doing. That is the most important thing you should have. All of a sudden, I come to a demo or a presentation of any kind, and they don’t mention specifically what we’ve spoken about and gone over on a 15 minute consultation on the phone. We’re going to have problems. I don’t want a general demo unless you tell me, OK, I’m going to provide you with a general demo because we haven’t done X, Y, Z before. Specifically to I’ll give you an example, a specific example, actually, where I’ve had to do that. We haven’t done an integration with a specific CRM. So I’ll show you a demo that shows this CRM. I know you use this other one, but in order to show you the demo, I have to show it to you with this other one. So if I level set expectations at the very beginning, I know that I’m showing you this, but this is really what you’re looking for. That’s OK. But again, communicate, communicate, communicate. So at the very beginning, that is the first thing that I need to see. You’re making it personalized and now you start your presentation and you’re answering my questions and you’re giving me a solution to my problem of what? How are you going to get me to my goal?
Liel: [00:35:57] Couldn’t agree with you more, Grace. That’s absolutely right. Right. So personalization is the key point here. And it needs to be specific to your pain points to your problems, just as you’ve said. Now, Grace, I think and it’s also very, very important, of course, depending on what services are you seeking for, but I think it’s also very important that it has marketing sites. It needs to have some correlation that is actual, real and relevant to your market. I think it’s very important for any kind of vendor, particularly those doing marketing, to be able to demonstrate their level of understanding, knowledge and insights into your particular market. And I see this a lot because it’s not uncommon for you to initiate a conversation with someone that has a lot of experience and they give you information that it’s way too general and not applicable to you. And so even though it is for your practice area, even though they seem to understand very well what are your pain points, they seem to be leaving out a very important component here, which are your market specifics. And that’s going to be a whole critical factors. Now, outside of your market, specifics in your part of it is your actual competitors, right?
Grace: [00:37:24] I was going to say that, that’s why they always look to be part of it.
Liel: [00:37:27] And so when these things come up as part of this conversation and there can actually speak and talk about who your competitors are and what are they doing and how can you fight that back or how can you stand out, then you know, you’re talking with someone that has a real deep understanding of what is it that you need to do in order to achieve what you want.
Grace: [00:37:54] So I take it a step further. I actually do. I like the way you do it. Liel, when you and I have spoken a couple times on these different calls, on these different podcasts we’ve done, I see how you have a comparison not just of the individual practice area, but you have it broken down by let’s start national right. You first have national, then you have a broken down but practice area that you haven’t broken down by location. Then you have a broken down by demographic. You go down to like as far as the granular level as you possibly are allowed to go without getting into privacy issues. And that’s what I have always looked for, which is why when you and I first started talking about digital marketing back when it feels like a million years ago now, right?
Liel: [00:38:40] At another lifetime.
Grace: [00:38:41] Right at MTMP, a million years ago.
Liel: [00:38:43] Oh, my God.
Grace: [00:38:44] That very first time when I was talking to you about digital marketing and how you thought of things and how you broke it down, honestly, that’s the reason I was like, not only does Liel know what he’s doing, like this agency must be amazing because he’s talking to me the way I think about things from my side of it, you know, from the firm side, I’ve looked at it from the agency side too, I looking at it from the firm side. I’m like, there’s not very many, I don’t feel like there’s a whole lot of full blown agencies out there that truly break it down as personal as it needs to be. When we get to that point, to that discovery call and just your reports from our calls that we’ve had on the podcast are more than I’ve seen on some of these proposals.
Liel: [00:39:29] Oh, Grace, I really appreciate your very kind words, Grace, but. If I were to give here a few points that I certainly think that people need to keep in mind, right, because the reality is that depending what is it that you’re after or not, you know, some of these points that we were mentioning here may or may not be very applicable. But here are a few things that definitely you need to keep in mind and you need to kind of like wonder. We’ve all grown very used to expecting to see social proof. We want to see the quotes of the satisfied customers and so forth and so on. But what I always challenge is you don’t know really what went behind that particular partnership. You don’t know what led to that quote. You want to believe that is actually great work, a great result and everything, but you don’t know. Right. So as wonderful as it is when people are telling are giving you the quote and they’re telling you, look, look how many satisfied customers we have. And it’s a page full of pictures and quotes. Yeah, that’s wonderful. Right. But is there more that they can show now come to case studies. Right. What are they like? Are they just kind of like written reports about, you know, we’ve fought X, their caseload, OK, great. Can I see right. Can I see some data? You know, you’re telling me they started here and there and there ended up there.
Liel: [00:41:03] How do I know it’s true, Grace, it’s the Internet. Yeah. You can be a better business bureau business and still lie on your website. Like, I’m sorry to say, it’s the reality. You need to be skeptical. So my point here is, OK, they’re doing you a case study, are they showing you data points from sources that you can verify, like if they’re showing you traffic already showing you an Excel chart that they created or are they actually showing you our report pulled from SEMrush or another tool that you know that you can very well go subscribe, put up the domain name and get that exact same amount of information. That’s the kind of…
Grace: [00:41:41] Past results you need to see.
Liel: [00:41:42] I think. Yes. I mean, if you are the kind of person, it’s very important for you to understand the results that have been achieved for somebody else. Right. If that’s going to be the factor driving your decision, then don’t settle for a quote. Don’t settle for case study that it’s not backed up by actual reports that you can have access to or that you can actually pull out yourself and say, OK, I can see here the chart…
Grace: [00:42:07] I even go and ask for whenever possible, I try to go ask for two referrals, like other lawyers that use their system right now or use their agency right now and call them.
Liel: [00:42:19] You know what, Grace? And I think it’s great, but that can also be staged..
Grace: [00:42:23] OF course.
Liel: [00:42:24] I always look at the opportunity of coming across as untrustworthy. Right. And so that’s kind of, because we are very aware of it. And I want to make sure. But here it is. I mean, here it is what I do. Right. I make sure that whenever we’re having a presentation or such, there are enough references of existing clients that the person on the other end can actually get those names, Law firm names. And if they want, just call. Right, because there is a thing here is the thing. If you go to Google right now, how to get referrals, the first thing that they’ll tell you make sure that you call that person that you’re going to be giving as a referral and let them know that you’re going to be giving them a referral so that when people call, you know, they say good things about you, defeats the purpose of having the referral. Right. So I work that way or the other way. But I want to make sure that no matter which approach the prospect takes, they actually get the right kind of information that’s going to help them with their decision making process. Grace, right now, with all of these marketing gurus popping up on Facebook everywhere, every other scroll that you make, people are getting very skeptical. Yes. And they’re starting to confuse. Real marketing. With other nonsense stuff. Unfortunately, yes. And so that’s another great indicator of. How to properly vet and choose who are you going to be reaching out to get more information? I’ll give you ten thousand dollars or one thousand dollars if I don’t get you 20 MVA cases a month. Run away, OK. That sort of thing doesn’t happen, that sort of thing can only lead to disappointment, loss of time and potentially money, right? Definitely not a one thousand dollar check at the end of the tunnel.
Grace: [00:44:35] So and I take it a step further, no matter what, I always run a test. Always, and if they give me a problem for wanting to run a test, I tell them directly, I’m sorry, but I can’t work with you, then I have special things that I am able to do within Google, where I can run tests for basically three hundred dollars. And it would be enough quality information because I know you know how it works, Liel, if you don’t have enough quality data or traffic or this, that or the other, the test doesn’t rhyme and it’s not anything valuable, whatever.
Grace: [00:45:12] But because of certain things and I’m sure you probably have a similar setup when your Google partner or Google certified, they let you run kind of real tests within Google AdWords and for three hundred dollars at least with this particular practice area. And what I was doing, I was able to run a true valuable test with this agency, to see if I was going to use the. And we ended up using them because they ran a test, they ran the test actually on their own dime. That doesn’t happen, by the way, and that’s not something that you normally should ever really ask for. But they did. They ran a test on their own dime and the results that came out were valuable for both them and us as a law firm in a way that it made sense for us to partner with that agency, for that particular practice area because of the numbers they were able to run.
Liel: [00:46:07] And that is why exactly these conversations. Right, at the stage of discovery, the presentation, the demo, all of these things need to take place. Right, because they can all lead to actually coming up to these agreements where this can be agreed on, where certain conditions to a potential partnership can be established. That’s really the value of going through this process, is that the better understanding exists between both parties, the more likely there is to really be able to establish a good and strong partnership, Grace. So, Grace, honestly, you know, we could have gone three more hours talking about what to look for.
Grace: [00:46:46] Warning flags and this and that.
Liel: [00:46:49] But we need to bring it to takeaways. So, Grace. I’ll let you go with take away number one, I already have here my three takeaways, but I don’t know. I think we’re going to have several takeaways here, but tell us the first one.
Grace: [00:47:07] Know what you want. Know what your goal is. To me, that is number one. What are you trying to achieve? You cannot ask something of somebody until you know what you want.
Liel: [00:47:18] I agree, Grace. I totally agree with you. And you know what? Thank you for bringing that up, because my first takeaway was going to be a little bit more at a later stage from there. But my thing is like do your research, but reach out. Don’t just be researching and then do nothing about it.
Grace: [00:47:37] Yes. That happens all the time.
Liel: [00:47:39] Do your research and reach out. And it’s perfectly fine. You are still at a point where you don’t have to act upon things if you don’t feel like moving forward, but by reaching out, you’re already giving an opportunity for the potential partner to let you know. How is it that they all respond back to you? What is it that they all do? And so you ideally want that response to further encourage you to want to go to the next step.
Grace: [00:48:10] Exactly.
Liel: [00:48:10] So definitely reach out. There’s nothing to lose at this point other than the 10 minute study that it took you to fill out a web form, which honestly shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds. But let’s make it 10 minutes, right?
Grace: [00:48:25] Yeah. So I always felt like you. You’ve always been quick to respond, you know, like Spanish legal marketing stuff. That’s how I got to know you was because of your responses and how quick you were with all of them. So, guys, everything he’s saying, this is the stuff that he does. So it’s expectations and back and forth from both sides.
Liel: [00:48:45] Grace, you have a takeaway, number two?
Grace: [00:48:46] Well, you gave the takeaway number two, so.
Liel: [00:48:51] Well, yes, I guess I guess I’m doing my three. I’m letting you do three as well. But if you want, I can go with my second take.
Grace: [00:49:00] Take it away.
Liel: [00:49:02] OK, Grace. So. Be quick at dismissing our options, right, just like we’ve said, don’t hesitate, reach out after you’ve done your qualification and you’ll find someone that says, yeah, this could work or this seems to be the right fit just reach out, but then also be very assertive of when it’s time to just cut things out. Right. Your child, you didn’t hurt by taking X amount of time or it’s been two attempts of you trying to reach out and you’re not hearing back or you’re having that first conversation over the phone. And the first question you get is, what’s your name? You know, just walk away. Just walk away. Don’t waste your time. Right. Like we’ve given this advice so frequently in other conversations about how to run your law firm, how to build your team and so forth. Right. Like you can make mistakes and hiring, but you can be fast firing. Right. If it’s not working, your team, exactly the same thing here, you can be very fast and reaching out to people, but you definitely also need to be very fast at making sure that you’re discarding those that are not living up to your expectations. Right.
Grace: [00:50:10] And make sure you tell them that, you know, you tell them and you know, you don’t have to tell them why, but just tell them that you no longer interested, you know, and to basically leave you alone, if that is really of no longer any interest to you. Otherwise, they will continue because most of them are marketing agencies and that’s their job to keep following up. Right?
Liel: [00:50:29] Yeah that’s true.
Liel: [00:50:29] So just tell them no thank you.
Grace: [00:50:31] And I am no longer interested and will no longer be interested if you’re truly, truly done with them as a vendor.
Liel: [00:50:37] Good point, Grace. That’s going to be your second take away. Grace, now I’m going to put up here another one, which is something that we’ve just mentioned now. And it’s follow the process. If you’ve reached out, they have responded. They are actually being professional. They’re actually being timely. Don’t rush to ask. I want to know how much this cost and this and that, because you may not be getting the right answers. Right. Particularly when you’re talking about things that don’t have a set price to them. It’s potentially because there is a process to get that price. To get to that price, you need to have the conversations and you need to let the process play its part in getting you that information that you want. So I think personally, Grace, that’s very important. Now, here’s the other reason. And I’m kind of like really putting the agency hat here, price, cost, these are somewhat subjective, right? Somebody can come and tell you I charge half a million dollars for my services. That’s a lot of money, without a doubt. But if they can make the case that that five hundred thousand dollars are going to generate you ten million dollars, is it a lot of money, Grace or not? But if they don’t make that case and they just give you the price, you just think that it’s a lot of money.
Grace: [00:52:10] Perspective.
Liel: [00:52:11] And that’s basically what it is, right. That’s the thought process.
Grace: [00:52:16] Perspective is reality.
Liel: [00:52:17] So, yeah, if you don’t let first the value come through and show up, then no matter what the cost is, no matter whether it’s one hundred dollars or if it’s a thousand dollars, you’re not going to objectively assess what’s the worth of that investment. Right. Because it’s also a bad decision to get into something because it’s just cheap. It’s cheap, what do I care? A couple of hundred dollars a month. If it works, work. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Why? Because you can go throughout your entire life making those poor decisions. And before you know it, you’re wasting five thousand dollars a month on…
Grace: [00:52:53] Miscellaneous for no reason .
Liel: [00:52:54] On cheap services and products that are generating zero. Right. When you could have invested a dollar into one strategy or service that could potentially help you grow your business, bring results. That’s one thing, Grace. My last one here is another way to know whether you find the right partner or not. And this is why I said, Grace, you know, if you would certainly have the time and the commitment to go to three vendors and or four vendors or five vendors and choose the one that spoke best to your need and such. Excellent. Do so. If you don’t and you are only going to be talking to one or two, here’s what I would say if after the main conversation took place. So this would be the demo, the presentation or whatever, you feel that if you would have been charged five hundred dollars for that conversation, it would have been an investment from your end then go and hire that people. Right. If you don’t feel like that, then keep on looking.
Liel: [00:53:59] What do you think Grace?
Grace: [00:54:00] That’s a good way to look at it. I never thought of it that way, Leah, to tell you the truth. They are lawyers, right, so they build billable hours, so if you feel like you got value from the free consultation, then you got value from a free consultation and hire them. I 1000% percent agree. Actually, I give away so much free advice I forget sometimes that getting it from the agency or from, you know, another side that is tons of value. Right? I mean, that is the most important thing. If I know I like and because you gave me valuable information, now I trust that’s when you want to buy.
Liel: [00:54:36] But but here is the key. Grace, right. You’re not paying them five hundred dollars because they made a beautiful presentation. You’re paying them five hundred dollars because whether you use them or not, they actually gave you information that is going to change the way that you think and look at things and will, in a way or another define how are you going to be moving forward with this particular project or strategy, disregarding of who you’re going to end up working with. And so that’s a good way of also assessing whether a meeting was good or not and if there was real value there or not.
Grace: [00:55:10] Such a good point.
Liel: [00:55:11] Right? Yeah, I think so, Grace. That’s why it’s my take away number three or four. I don’t really know.
Grace: [00:55:18] I think that’s four. You call it two point five. We’ll call this one three point five. You know, I’ll give three point five two. I got one last one. I just want to make one comment actually. Let the results play out, particularly if you’re doing a test. OK, so you vetted them, you went through, you signed the contract. Whatever it is you did, you need to let the results play out. OK, because I’ve seen too many people after literally five days, Liel, I’ve seen this. OK, five days they pull the plug on a PPC campaign. Like what? What what is wrong with you? You cannot do that. You have to let it play out because things happen over the course of time, particularly with digital marketing.
Liel: [00:56:07] One hundred percent, Grace.
Grace: [00:56:08] Have you had that problem? Well, with other clients, like wanting to just pull the plug because they didn’t get a result in a day. I mean, I’ve seen it. So it drives me insane.
Liel: [00:56:16] Grace, we’ve basically and I’m going to be very honest here with you, we take cautionary steps at a very early stage to set up those expectations from the very, very beginning.
Grace: [00:56:28] So you don’t run into that.
Liel: [00:56:29] Like if this could be something that you would want to do. If you’re not willing or interested in investing at least X amount of time into this, then we may not be the right partner for you.
Grace: [00:56:42] That’s so beautiful.
Liel: [00:56:44] Again, you know it. I’m not saying right or wrong. I just usually recommend for those people to explore other marketing alternatives that are not digital marketing related because particularly as you’re very well said, Pay Per Click, it’s so volatile and in this time that we are Grace…
Grace: [00:57:03] My gosh, we are during COVID. It’s crazy. The numbers are insane.
Liel: [00:57:08] I cannot even start explaining how much fluctuation there is.
Grace: [00:57:14] Yeah. We’ve briefly touched on, you know.
Liel: [00:57:18] But that’s yeah, another reason why it’s you want to partner up with someone who levels some couple of things and despite the circumstances, able to handle your campaigns and deliver results. Grace, what a great conversation. I certainly enjoyed it.
Grace: [00:57:33] It was fun.
Liel: [00:57:33] Next week, another one episode, Thirty one next week.
Liel: [00:57:38] All right. Well, thank you very much. Have a great rest of your day.
Grace: [00:57:41] You too Liel, bye.
Liel: [00:57:44] If you like our show, make sure you subscribe. Tell your co-workers. Leave us a review and send us your questions at email@example.com. We’ll see you next week.