This week Liel and Grace welcome Harlan Schillinger, a renowned legal marketing authority, for a conversation on CRM & CMS.  Harlan explains, how he most recently was able to double in three months the caseload for a law firm with the use of a CRM.

We review what are the differences between CRM and CMS and what you should consider when choosing a CRM for your law firm. We talk about LeadDocket and what was the thought process in developing this powerful platform that has helped many law firms increase their caseload and revenues.

Harlan, explains the meaning behind some of his most celebrated trademark phrases, and gets you to answer questions like, how much does it cost you to say no to a caller? And if you don’t know the answer,  Harlan will tell you how much.

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Transcript

Liel: [00:00:00] On today’s episode, we are joined by Harlan Schillinger, owner of Lead Docket. We talk about CRM, CMS, what you know, what you don’t know and the price of saying no. I’m Liel Levy, co-founder of Natto Media, and this is In camera podcast, where you’re not allowed to leave until your plate is empty.

Liel: [00:00:54] Welcome to In camera Podcast Private Legal Marketing Conversations. As always, I’m here joined by Grace. Grace, how are you today?

Grace: [00:01:02] Good. How are you, Liel?

Liel: [00:01:03] Very well, Grace. Thanks so much for asking. And Grace, I must say, I’m very excited about today’s conversation because we have a special guest, someone who’s going to be joining us for our CRM and CMS talk.This is our first episode on our last block for this tool kit for success in 2020. And so Grace, why don’t we introduce our host?

Grace: [00:01:22] So wonderful, wonderful person that decided he was going to actually speak with us today. We appreciate your time. Welcome to Harlan Schillinger. He is going to discuss with us a conversation about CRMS and CMS, it is a real pleasure to welcome. Harlan, thank you for joining us. And this conversation, as I mentioned, is gonna be regarding customer relationship management and case management software. So Harlan is not just well known in this industry. He’s well known in quite a few industries. He has over four decades of experience in legal advertising with a passion for legal marketing, intake and conversion. He has worked with more than 120 law firms in over 90 markets throughout North America. Currently, Harlan is working with and in charge of business development at Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys, the second largest firm in the country. He is also owner and founder of Lead Docket, a CRM and also CMS. In addition, he was the first to produce television advertising for lawyers in 1978. Harlan is widely considered the father of commercials for the legal industry. You can find out more about Harlen by visiting  leadDocket.com, or you can visit his Web site at HarlenSchillinger.com. Harlan, welcome to In camera.

Harlan: [00:02:54] Well, thank you so much, Grace. That was a very nice introduction. I really appreciate it. I’m humbled by by what you said about me. Not so sure all of that is true, but I’ll take it.

Liel: [00:03:05] It’s a real pleasure to have you, Harlan. I’d like for us to start this conversation before we start with everything that has to do with CMS and CRM. Last week, you were a guest speaker and moderator for the business growth in digital marketing talks at the trial lawyer summit. Also, I’d like to mention that we did make an episode entirely about everything that went on on those talks last week and Harlan, I’d like for you to share with us a few thoughts about the event. What would you say to those who could not attend this year’s trial lawyer summit in Miami?

Harlan: [00:03:41] Well, quite frankly, it was the Super Bowl of Lawyers Summit. I got involved with Keith Givens and Chase when we first started this project. That’s 12 years ago, we wanted to start national trial lawyers. Because we feel very strongly about perpetuating the business of law. And there’s many groups that are out there, but the business of what is caramelize without the business of law, you’re not in law, you’re not in business. Without business, you really don’t have an opportunity to thrive. So with that being said, I’m an original founder of the, you know, of the program. So each year, four of us, I believe, put this program on. I entered the business of law with my associates, Howard Nations. John Romano, Mark O’Mara and myself. Keith Gibbon and Michelle Swamis questions our executive director. Very, very proud to be part of organization. And so really what it gave lawyers an opportunity to do is to attend the three day conference, certainly pick up to at least for the entire year. But really listen to the greatest lawyers, you know, that are are out there right now on trial skills. We devote an entire day and a half to the business of law, which is digital, which is advertising, which is business practices, which is everything really that is not taught in law school. We’ve been doing this, as I said, for twelve years and we keep on growing. So I invite everybody to join us. Next year, it’ll be on Martin Luther King’s birthday weekend in Miami at the Lowe’s. What you will achieve is tremendous networking, tremendous trial skills direction, and a phenomenal insight into best practices and best business practices, you know, to stay alive today. And so, you know, I welcome anybody that would like to join it.

Liel: [00:05:48] That sounds wonderful. I’m personally looking forward very much to next year’s National Trial Lawyers Summit. And so for those of you who couldn’t attend now, you know, it’s definitely worth the time and investment. Grace. So I think we’re now ready to move on to the first topic of our conversation, which is CMS and CRM. So take us away.

Grace: [00:06:10] Definitely. So the first question we’re going to ask is what is a CRM or CMS, you know customer relationship management software or client management systems systems excuse me, case management software. Is there a difference? Like, what do you think of the difference? Because I know you’re the owner of Lead Docket, so I’m sure you have really good insight.

Harlan: [00:06:29] Yeah, well, I’ve been in this business for 47 years and you know, I’ve watched the growth of it and there is a significant difference. Or CRM as a customer relations marketing tool, that is a tool that handles the client prospects intake and it fits basically in front of the client management system. Client management system is in essence a cloud cabinet and it manages the fire. And we all grew up on, you know, the great customer relations customer management system. There are many out there now and they’re all very, very good. The interesting part is that none of them that I’m aware of and I try to be on top of a lot of things understand the customer relations part of it because it’s in essence, a CMS, such as CasePeer, FileVine or Needles and so on and so forth, manages the file. But once you put a lead, once you put something in the file, you have to manually get it out of the flat. You have to request the, you know, the item in front of you. The difference within customer relations management tool is that it manages the entire  customer experience on the upfront end of it. And I’m very adamant about using a piece of software that manages the client experience that helps you with intake, that helps you convert because it has all that accountability and all of the process that take place prior to it being put into a file. Once it’s in a file, we know we got to open up the drawer and we have to look for it. And that’s really the big difference between the two. And in today’s age, having a CRM sitting on top of a case managing system is truly the way to go. It’s mystifying to me how few people in the world of advertising lawyers haven’t had a chance to recognize that. So. But I guess that’s one of the reasons why it’s there.

Grace: [00:08:40] That’s great. Thank you so much. I mean, that’s such an important difference, right? That one is for clients and relationship with those clients and the other is their cases and managing the cases. So that brings me to my next question. Why do you feel should we have a CRM? Do we need a CRM even if we have, let’s say, a CMS?

Harlan: [00:09:01] I think the most important thing is to have a case management system because that helps you manage the file management legal aspect of the case and allows the client to get a good a good recovery because of the organization that you have. But it’s actually quite ludicrous, not to have a CRM up front or have the mentality of a customer relations management tool, because in this day and age, we’re in a very, very competitive market, very competitive. The bottom line is you spend a lot of money to advertise. You get a call how that call was handled, how that call is managed, how you intake that call, how you treat that call and how you then convert that callt to business is everything. So it only makes sense to have that. What mystifies me in which I what I’ve noticed, you know, for many, many years is that customer management system, case management systems simply don’t address that. This is a marketing tool and they’re mechanical, software. They just simply haven’t looked at that end of it. Sure, they have, you know, opening pages. They have scripts that you can put in, but it doesn’t have a process. And the process is what’s needed in customer relations management. I mean, one of the biggest business software in the world is Sales Force. The reason being is that it gives you a process from  moment somebody calls to the time you close the sale.

Liel: [00:10:31] So Harlan basically, if I understood correctly, what you’re saying is that case management is great and is very powerful. Why? Because it will allow you to take control over your case after the client got signed. But what the case management software is leaving completely out of the picture is how did you acquire that case in the first place and be able you took it a step forward by actually be talking about the importance of understanding the source of your leads and then tying that back to your marketing investment, being able to understand well, if I’m bringing an investing so much money in X and Y platforms, how many leads am I getting from these ones and what’s the quality of those leads? And what happened with those leads after they’ve converted into  to sign clients? Or if they’re not converting, where are they in in that customer journey that Grace talks about? Is that it, Harlan?

Harlan: [00:11:30] Well, yes, that is it. But I learned another thing, to it. Its complete accountability on your expenditures. A CRM allows you to track, monitor all aspects of your advertising and truly the gift is that it allows you to convert more business with the existing business that’s coming to you. You know that it’s a competitive world. It brings complete accountability to the intake and marketing aspect of it.

Liel: [00:12:03] Actually, Harlan is so interesting that you’re mentioning that because  as I was preparing for this particular episode, I came up with a chart that explains why are attorneys not using CRM and the main reason at 67 percent was the lack of accountability. And these resonates very well with what you’ve just said right now. It’s that lack of commitment to holding marketing investments and the business itself accountable for their lead acquisition practices.

Harlan: [00:12:35] Well, yes, but you just hit a real big hot button with me. And the truth of the matter is lawyers are arrogant. Lawyers count what they what they have. Now, I’m giving you my own personal view on this. And after 42 years of being the grandfather in this business, you know, maybe I pop off a little bit too much. But here’s the way it is. The truth of the matter is that lawyers and actually most people count what they have. They see the cases coming in. They see the cases that go to trial. They see the cases that settle. So they see all the positive aspects of what they do. What they don’t see is what’s missing. And what’s missing is really the biggest hole in the bucket, their bucket. Because they don’t know what they don’t know. And by using CRM, using a countable software, you’re really taking a good look at the business and you’re taking a look at what you don’t know and what you don’t see. That’s really the essence here. It’s the widest lawyers not pay attention to it. You know, I’ve always used the smart ALEC turnover and been making too much money. But the truth of it is, I make the analogy of going to a fancy restaurant, a great steakhouse. And, you know, we order off the menu. We order a tremendous steak we order all the fixings. We love it. We absolutely cannot wait to eat it. We eat it and we leave half of it on our plate. Then what happens is the waiter comes over with the bill. We can’t wait to pay it. We pay it and we tip graciously. We walk away. And we’re happy. I am focused on that. What’s left on the plate? And what’s on the plate in law firms is huge. It’s huge because you don’t know what you’re missing. And number two, you already paid for it. So if you can increase your conversion from what is left on the plate or what you don’t see. That’s real money. You are increasing your profits, on leads that have been paid for. Now, one of the interesting things that I’ve heard over the years, I don’t think lawyers come up with this, but the majority of lawyers that I know have met say they get it. 94% of everything they want. Well, that’s an ambiguous statement, because, first of all, what they want usually is what’s in front of them in a consultation. What they don’t know is what they want and they don’t know what’s in front of them if they can’t see it. Lawyers are very arrogant about that because they count what they have, not what they don’t have. And I can’t emphasize that enough. And what CRM does it exposes all of that, it allows you to function in your business. Not only telling you where you’ve made your money, where you lost your money, where your leads went, where they’re coming from your agency, you can manage your advertising. But it simply tells you what you didn’t sign or what fell through the cracks that you are not aware of because you’re dealing with other matters. How beautiful would it be if we are able to pick up business that we already paid for and increase our business by, let’s say, 30 percent on the net?That’s real money.

Liel: [00:16:02] I feel I understand very well what you’re saying. The theory of it makes a lot of sense. Would you be able to provide us with an example as to what would be a good situation for an attorney, the kind of opportunities that, as you say, they’re being left on the plate that could actually, with the help of a CRM, be turned in to increase of revenues for the law firm?

Harlan: [00:16:26] Well, sure. Let me give you an actual example. Give me some facts. When I got together with Glen Lerner to work on his business, he said to me, hang out for three months and just tell me what I have. Tell me tell me where my holes are. Well, after a week, I have an opportunity to sit down with Glen and Kevin, and we are in Chicago and they were taking in about 180 cases a month. Fantastic. An unbelievable amount of business. Well, I completely looked at their intake and I felt it was completely done backwards. They had people roaming the fields. They had to sign up on paper. They had to come in to an intake coordinator. Vanessa Soto. And she would enter it into kept or not kept. I believe they were using capsule at the time. The CRM and nobody really was using it. So the first thing that I did is, number one, I trained everybody in intake on capsule. The second thing I did was completely rearrange intake. And believe me, this was not a rocket scientist move. I put iPads in everybody’s hands and I got them to use Docusign. Well, within forty five days, their intake immediately went up to 300 cases. The most significant thing is that I was able to cut the media budget by a hundred thousand dollars a month. That is true. Call them, ask them. And now they’re hovering around 500 cases a month with a completely different intake process. And they have what’s called a ninety four percent conversion rate on wanted cases. That’s the whole conversation. What do you want? What you don’t want with the truth of the matter is, if it’s a viable case, that is a wanted case. And in addition to that, they were able to manage all the turned downs, all the people that they couldn’t help with that was put into a system that we could market to in the future. So the bottom line is that is a true example. It’s kind of interesting when my continent and I developed Lead Docket and Eric Coston is really the brains behind Lead Docket. And you know, we are absolutely in awe of what he has done. But he made a system that was very easy to use so that people would use it. Lead Docket has a little over 100 clients right now and is a boutique situation. They don’t advertise. They invite you in. But what’s significant, and I can guarantee you this, is that the majority, over 90 percent, were able to increase their business and net profit money in their pocket by up to 40 percent. Call them, ask them, by using a Crm system.

Liel: [00:19:13] We totally believe you so. And so here are a few follow up questions to that. So first of all, I’d like to confirm with you, if I understood correctly, what you’re saying is that the use of CRM helped you increase the number of signed leads that were coming from intake. So in other words, no additional marketing investment, yet intake practices became more efficient and more signed clients were acquired by the law firm over a comparable period of time in the past. Is that correct?

Harlan: [00:19:50] That is absolutely correct. What it did was it maximized everything that was coming up the law firm.

Liel: [00:19:57] I’m going to dig a little bit deeper. So I assume that the Docusign part of it help to sign the clients faster. Right. Not having to wait, too, for them to show up to their appointments or send representatives or whatever process the law firm had that could have potentially slowed down the process and therefore miss on getting on some of those leads. But what exactly the CRM did in order to improve the quality of intake and take them to these results? What was the role of CRM?

Harlan: [00:20:33] Well, first of all, on the Docusign issue, lot of the sign up reps in the field use Docusign side and the documents went directly into the CRM. And so that allowed them not to have to drive in with the hard copy. It went immediately and it completely opened up the case right then and there. That was one big sign. And then about a month and a half, two months later, we initiated uses DocuSign and everybody was hesitant to use it. But within thirty five days, literally thirty five days, I remembered that thirty five like it was yesterday. Ninety five percent of all the contracts were done in DocuSign, you know, so the big resistance of how do you get somebody to sign on that telephone or how they get them to sign? But what you did was made it easy for people. And if the intake representative believed in the product, they used it. And that was really significant. And so what it did was it just system. The other thing that really was outstanding was it developed the process, the CRM developed the process that allows you to have a formula and a path to systematically talk to the client in an intelligent and organized way that makes you look very good and let me say very smart. When somebody is calling and they’re desperate and they just had their lives turned upside down, they want to talk to somebody that’s stable. They want to talk to somebody that’s organized. They want to feel secure and what the CRM allows you to do, or helps you do that, you organize that that whole process. So it’s just far more professional. And consequently, the results speak for themselves.

Liel: [00:22:19] Better customer experience is a factor to an increase in business. And I think, Grace, that doesn’t surprise us at all because we are adamant believers on these and it’s been our recurring conversation in this podcast. And so, thank you so much. Harlan, we love hearing real life examples and you are just giving us so much of that. So I think this is being very, very valuable to all of our listeners. Grace, what else do you have for us?

Grace: [00:22:46] So you answered really I think most of the questions I had without having to directly ask them. So I’m going to kind of combine a couple of them into one and ask you, you know, how do we choose the right CRM for our firm? You know, what questions should I ask during the demo? You know, how do I know which one is right for my firm? You know, these are all kind of one question, really. I mean, how do we know?

Harlan: [00:23:11] Yeah, well, it’s kind of like choosing a telephone these days or choosing, you know, a piece or more, you know, a computer. You know, I like Mac because I like the format. It’s easy for me to use. I like Windows because, you know, I like it. The thing you really have to focus on is number one yourself. The ease of use on a CRM is very, very important, because if you don’t have an easily used system, a system  that’s not plumpy, that’s built on a contemporary platform. Your employees are not going to use it. They’re not going to embrace it. So that’s really, really important. In choosing a CRM you have to have, it has to be compatible with case management and like Lead Docket acts seamlessly with almost every Case management system. There are others that do the same, but the ease of use is most significant. And then looking at a platform, you have to figure out, am I on a platform that I can customize? For instance, if you’re on a platform with Microsoft and use Microsoft Dynamics, it’s clunky. You have to go to Microsoft to make every change. You also have to pay Microsoft for every change. When they built Lead Docket, three priorities were ease of use by the  client, people using it, absolute seamless integration with ac ase management system and the ability to customize and make changes and make this your product, and I believe that whether it’s Lead Docket or whether it’s any other product that you’re looking at, you should look at that as your priority in choosing something. And I look at customer service, impeccable customer service as the only option.

Grace: [00:25:07] I can attest to that, guys. So for those of you do know or don’t know, persist communication integrates with other CRMs and Lead Docket was one of our most recent integrations and it the ease of integration and the ease of use of Lead Dockett really is up there compared to many, many that in my 20 years of doing this, I’ve been through a LexisNexis interaction, I’ve been through Microsoft Dynamics CRM, I’ve been through … I can probably name a billion of them, definitely 10 off the top of my head. And from what I’ve seen, especially in the legal field, Lead Docket is one of the most easy to use, makes sense and integrates seamlessly. And if you can’t, it’s gonna be seamless because of Eric Kaufman. I mean, he really is that great?

Harlan: [00:25:55] That’s that’s correct. That’s correct. You know, it’s interesting. You know, it’s interesting. Great that you bring up persist. I love it because it works. It’s a great tool. But if you take a look at what we’re really doing, you have case management. You have persist and you have Lead Docket all working together. Persist is a tremendous tool because it’s forces the phone call it dials until you get somebody on the phone. It eliminates all the excuses that a new tech person could have been trying to reach somebody. It persists because it is persistent. And when Ed like CS developed that, it was brilliant. I love using persist.

Grace: [00:26:39] Thank you so much, Harlan. I appreciate the plug. And I know you don’t see it as that, so I appreciate it even more.

Harlan: [00:26:46] Well, you know, pluggers is interesting. I mean, we all want to plug each other’s, you know, items. But the truth of it is I don’t plug anything unless it works. That’s just in my history, all my life. Credibility is the name of the game. And when I work with anybody, it has to be credible and it has to be an A Game. Anything less is a, C and B player. 

Grace: [00:27:10] Well, in any industry, but I think I don’t know if I could say especially in ours. Right, Harlan? I mean, if you can’t trust somebody, if you can’t trust that it works, then you just don’t go that route, you know, and a lot of these companies have kind of gone fly by night. Maybe not CRM companies per se, but a lot of, you know, pieces of software open today and close tomorrow. So the the fact that, you know, you can say that about us, we appreciate and I can say that about Lead Docket because I’ve used it and I know that it is simple to use. And they actually went that route, meaning they went to integrate with persist with Lead Docket as opposed to the CMS because of the ease of use. It made it easier for them to handle the intake. And, you know, the firm that we’re integrated with uses. Lead Docket really enjoys that integration.

Harlan: [00:27:55] Well, two things one it’s easy to use and it’s built on a very dynamic platform and you have a sensory service. The truth is that there isn’t anything like that in the marketplace and the profit margins are actually larger because I’m not paying Microsoft, not paying a programmer to have to program every change. It was built in and was built brilliantly for that reason. And it’s called service. It’s called the fluid nature of the product. That’s really cool. It’s dynamic. It’s a dynamic and intuitive approach. I tell you one other thing that I wanted to add when choosing a CRM company or a customer management system, case management system or any piece of software, you gotta really be careful. What I find is that most salesmen, their mouths move faster than their feet. So when you’re starting to ask a lot of questions, you asked about installation, asked about how far out it’s going to take to install what’s your service and absolutely get references. The biggest faux pas in buying software is that you don’t get references. And if you do get references, they usually ringers give you somebody that didn’t use the product, or is not currently using the product. Give me a dozen resources. You can’t do enough homework these days. That would be my biggest takeaway.

Liel: [00:29:21] Absolutely. Like with everything that we’ve talked about, Grace, right. How important is it to talk to people that you already know, right? And are using these platforms and let them be the ones to tell you what their experience has been using it? And that’s why we put so much focus in general and in everything that has to do with reviews, because that’s exactly what he does for your brand. So great, great insights. Harlan, thank you very much for that.

Harlan: [00:29:47] You’re welcome.

Liel: [00:29:48] Now, Harlan, if I may, this podcast, we made it with the intention of having conversations about legal marketing that sometimes are not that conventional. And you’ve mentioned something as you were giving us an answer about how a CRM has helped you increase business in the current law firm that you’re partnered with. You’ve mentioned about creating a list of leads that you could not convert at that time and then market to them in the future. And I really want to ask, how can you do that? How can our listeners learn from your experience, how they can market to a lead that did not turn out to be an actual case for them right there and then but could in the future, how should they approach that?

Harlan: [00:30:36] Well, that’s a great question. The truth of the matter is, is just because you can’t help somebody today, that doesn’t mean we can help them tomorrow. And one of the things that I really like to preach is that don’t look at another lawsuit on how they’re doing it. Look at a number of business law firms most law firms have pretty lame at it. And as I said, they make a lot of money in spite of themselves and they count what they have. So take a look at another business. I mean, one of the things you can absolutely look at is the internet, retargeting. But if you can capture every single person that you do business with or don’t do business with, which is the question and keep yourself in front of those people when they need you, you will be tackling name awareness. You know it is very interesting. Generally out of 100 percent of the calls and you get 30 percent of them turn into cases. That leaves 70 percent floating. Some of those cases are just simply people that don’t have a case today. A lot, some of those calls or people from an institution or a prison that aren’t applicable. I’m not making fun of that. So we get wild kind of crazy phone calls. Those are not wanted cases. But the majority of wanted people, of wanted cases, you’re paying money to get them to call you. Figure out how much it’s costing you to say no to people. How much does it cost you to say, I’m sorry, I can’t take your case? Generally, it’s about a hundred and twenty five dollars on the average and on an advertising budget, part of your budget. That’s a lot of money. If you add up how many people you said no to today, you’re looking at more money saying no than saying yes. And you have to maximize that. That’s really the essence of advertising. To ignore that is ludicrous.

Grace: [00:32:34] The best way to put it, honestly. I mean, you couldn’t put it better, Harlan. And you know, this is part of the reason why I’m really glad that we brought you on. In particular, having been, you know, the original attorney advertiser. I mean, people spend so much money on these leads and you have unconverted leads like you couldn’t put it better. I mean, you said at the beginning you’ve spent money on it doesn’t mean they can’t be a client later. Right? And just keep top of mind.

Harlan: [00:33:04] You know, Ed Lake and Steve Gacovino taught me something. They taught me some very, very valuable lessons years ago. One of their models was to give me your leads that were turned down. Give me your garbage. Give me what you threw in the garbage pail. And they turned those leads into cases. This garbage, according to the lawyer, they threw them out. And what Ed and Steve taught me years ago was the how to farm let the calls. They turned lemons into lemonade. And they built a huge business just doing that. And I learned that very, very valuable lesson. So I took that and I really went into all the other aspects of lead generation and lead conversion. And so, I mean, there are people making the living on just give me your garbage and I’ll turn them in. Very few people do say that, I should say it because they don’t really get that process. You know, lawyers, again, are very arrogant. They’re very they’re very myopic. They count what’s in front of them. They don’t count what’s not in front of them or what’s there but they can’t see.

Liel: [00:34:16] Great point of view, right? I mean, this is exactly aligning very nicely to everything we’ve talked about in so many different episodes, like just farm your leads, right? Terminology. It’s fantastic. It’s very rich. And I think a lot of our listeners can definitely get a whole new perspective as to how to look at the results of their marketing and how to really revise their strategies and see are there really taking the most out of what they’re getting. Question themselves, especially now at the beginning of the year, that it’s time to set up goals and make sure that we are finding new and creative ways to grow our law firms. Grace, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Grace: [00:34:55] He covered so much. Honestly, I think we answered just about every question and then some. And so at the moment, I think I would just want to say, is there something that you want to add, Harlan, because you’ve given us so many wonderful nuggets of information here. Same thing specific you would like to tell our listeners.

Harlan: [00:35:15] Well, let me let me give you what I think is probably the biggest takeaway. I know I said that earlier, but this is, I think, the most important thing that you need to focus on. Your main competitors environment. You have many lawyers in your market that are advertising, marketing. Everybody’s halflings to the case. And so what separates you from them? What’s the 1 percent difference that people should recognize? Well, what separates you from your competitors what’s going to give you the competitive edge, what’s going to help you grow your business? So you flatten out. If you take a look at your marketing, it’s not making more phone calls. Yes, you have to have more phone calls, but you have to have a process that converts everything that’s coming at you. And I can guarantee you now I’m in advertising. So we don’t guarantee a lot. I guarantee you if you focus your attention on that, your competitors do not focus that you will be a one in an instant. And one of the one and only maybe two and only in your entire market that has that mentality. And that’s the most competitive thing that you can do. You know, it’s interesting. I got into this that twelve years ago, 15 years ago, when I had my agency and clients would say, give me more leads. And I said, what did you do with the last one? Well, they weren’t any good. And so the most significant thing that I did in the last couple of years with my dictatorship, the agency, was I wouldn’t take the client unless I could record their phone calls. And I did that because I wanted to hear what was going on. Not to criticize the lawyer, but to help the lawyer grow. If every lawyer I’ve ever met, every lawyer that I’ve ever met, said I get 94 percent of what I want, I buy and say, that’s not a problem. You record somebody’s telephone calls and you’ll know exactly how your business is lawfully. If you don’t record them, you don’t know what you don’t know, you don’t know,. 

Liel: [00:37:11] Guys, just so you know, that’s an actual trademark phrase of Harlan, which you don’t know, you don’t know. And it’s great and it’s clever, especially when you put it into context of your ideas, Harlan is just wise and something that we can all learn from.

Harlan: [00:37:27] One more point, there is another trademark that I have. Ambassador, first impression.

Liel: [00:37:32] Yeah.

Harlan: [00:37:33] Why did I do that? Is because the most important person and the most overlooked person, the most abused person and least paid person in a law firm is usually the receptionist. So you spend all this money to get somebody to call you and you don’t respect or don’t maximize that front desk. You do, you have one chance to make a good impression. Your first impression is that very first person that answers the phone.

Liel: [00:38:02] We talked, we did three episodes on that.

Grace: [00:38:05] Yep.

Liel: [00:38:06] And that’s exactly that’s exactly how we feel about it. And I wanted to follow up on what you’ve said about recording calls and letting up. I’m the owner of an agency as well. And so that’s exactly what I do. I don’t report on what they signed. I report on what they did not sign and why. And so absolutely monitoring calls you will never understand really the core of your business until you’re not getting involved either by monitoring or participating in that very critical process, which is the intake. So everything you’re saying, Harlan, really resonates very well with our values here as a podcast and in the way that we do marketing and conduct business for our clients and the law firms that we’re partnered with. So, Harlan, thank you so much. If our listeners want to find out and hear more about you, what what other events can they find you this year? You know, we know that you’re gonna be at NTL next year, a national trial lawyers summit in Miami. But if we cannot wait that long. Is there anything coming up over the next few months where we can find you out?

Harlan: [00:39:13] Probably be it. I will be at Mass Torts Made Perfect. I will be at the conference in New Orleans in June. Fantastic conference put on by Tim McKay and his group. I will certainly be at Michael Mobile’s Crisp conference, speaking there. Wonderful, unbelievable summit. Nothing about what it’s all about the culture of your law firm. Probably the most important summit have ever been to about culture. Just love what he does. And then, you know that a number of events that, you know, between now and then, that you can just simply Google me Harlan Schillinger and see what I’m up to. I’m not into self-promotion. What I’m into is is giving more than I take. And I just hope that this podcast shed some light on opportunities for the people that listening.

Liel: [00:40:11] Absolutely Harlan. And that’s our mission and that’s what we stand for. And I’m sure that everyone who is listening to this episode will definitely take a lot, and particularly if they implement. I can guarantee that a year from now they’ll be in a completely different place than they were when they first listened. And that’s fantastic. And that’s exactly what we’d like to accomplish with this. So from my end, I really want to thank you. It’s been a pleasure talking to you and I’m looking forward to running again at one of these conversations  or at one of the events that you had actually mentioned in which we will also be.

Harlan: [00:40:46] My pleasure. Thank you so much.

Grace: [00:40:48] Thank you so much, Harlan.

Harlan: [00:40:50] Have a fantastic day.

Liel: [00:40:51] Grace, what a great conversation with Harlan, wasn’t it?

Grace: [00:40:54] That was fantastic. I can’t thank him enough. It was pretty amazing.

Liel: [00:40:59] So I don’t think, honestly, like even though that we plan these conversations very strategically. I don’t think we could have had a better way to breach between intake and case management and client experience than having a conversation with someone like Harlan that is as much involved in marketing accountability as he is to the business side of the law firm and conversion and retention. And I think that came up 100 percent in the conversation. It was so rich, full of examples. And I think we have so much to take away from this. But if we need to bring it down to just a few takeaways. Grace, what would those be?

Grace: [00:41:45] So I think for me, the actionable insights as we like to give you guys right at the end of this and into our listeners here. The number one takeaway I got from it was ease of use. The CRM. What kind of CRM are you supposed to pick? What kind of CRM are you supposed to know for your firm? What do you use; the importance of it is ease of use that it automates communication, it has case management integration and that there’s customization. What do you think?

Liel: [00:42:14] One hundred percent. So you have to get a CRM. It’s no longer an option as to should I or should I not? Is which CRM is right for you.

Grace: [00:42:24] Right.

Liel: [00:42:25] The way to define that is exactly what you just said. Grace, you need to find one that is going to be easy, not just to use for you, but to your team. So make them part of the process of selecting it. So that way; here I’m going to tell you, as someone who had back in my hotel life, I had to implement several platforms and systems, to different teams, the resistance that you get when you actually tried to implement something like a CRM is tremendous. So. How do you get your team to be excited and enthusiastic about it? Well, very easy. Make them part of the selection process. OK, you’re definitely going to see better results. You’re not going to overcome all the challenges that come with integrating something like CRM because let’s be honest, people are not resistant to use CRM just because they want to be resistant to the idea. It’s because they’re not gravitating towards that. So by making them the part of the process, you may see better results and you definitely need to consider all of those sort of points that you are mentioning Grace. I think from the cost side of things, you need to also look as to how much will that CRM cost you as you grow. Because they may have a very competitive pricing level, but then when you’re starting to scale and you need to add more users and you need to grow your CRM capabilities, things may start becoming more expensive. And so you want to make sure that it is value for money, not just at the beginning, but on the long run. What do you think?

Grace: [00:44:03] Well, especially that’s part of the biggest reason why I mentioned the integration piece. Right. So how easy is it to integrate with other systems? That’s a big part of the cost because, are you going to have to hire a Sales Force administrator to customize everything? Well, if you use sales salesforce, you will. So if you use Lead Docket, no. Because that’s meant for the lead industry, right? The legal lead industry. So you mean ease of use, automating the communication part of it, the integration and customization and cost, all of those things are a factor in costs. So I agree with you completely. I think that kind of leads us to the next takeaway, Liel if you’ll permit me to go ahead with that one. So don’t look at just other law firms, right? Look at other industries. And that’s such a big deal in the CRM world. I mean, you know, is it built for you? You know, look at their processes, look at how they do things, you know, and take away from that. I know that you have a couple of things to say about that, Liel.

Liel: [00:45:04] Right. And I really liked what Harlan’s take was when he brought up this idea on the conversation, is don’t limit yourself to doing what other law firms are doing, because in most cases, what you’re going to be doing is setting the bar very low for you. The customer experience competitiveness of the average law firm is not that great. But when you try to implement a client experience that is comparable of a leading brand, say you want Adidas, right? Say you want Apple, say a brand that is actually excelling at customer experience for today’s market. And you tried to take ideas from these other brands that you can implement in your law firm. Then you’re going to really not just be competitive, but you’re going to potentially be ahead of your competition. So see, what great experiences you’ve had as a client and see what you can do to implement those to your client experience as a law firm. What do you think, Grace?

Grace: [00:46:10] Exactly. I couldn’t put it better. I mean, you’ve got to craft the client experience, right? Create a customer journey and make sure that your customer every step of the way is being touched. And whether they’re a customer or not, whether they’re a prospect or lead or client, I mean, along the entire journey of people when they first get to you. And as Harlan so aptly put it, the first person on the phone and how many times you and I have talked about this in all of our previous podcasts already. That’s your first impression. So craft the client experience. Call yourself, you know, make sure that there’s no hiccups along the way. Automate things so that your people can take the time to speak with the people. Right. And make sure that journey is the way it needs to be.

Grace: [00:46:52] Absolutely Grace. Like the difference between a client calling and every single time they call have to introduce themselves. And yes, I have a case and it’s about this and it’s about that. And then the person saying, OK, what’s your name? What’s your last name? Let me check. Oh, yeah, I can see your case. How can I help you? As opposed to actually, you know, call comes through client information come up on the screen right away. You can see what’s been the time line of communications. What was the last conversation that was had? You can be 100 percent anticipatory to what the call may be even about. And so when you’re delivering that level of experience, people notice they do. People notice. And it actually is day in light. It’s what’s gonna get you the reviews. It’s what’s gonna get you the referral. So there’s a lot to learn. There’s a lot to explore and CRM is a powerful tool to craft and shape that customer experience. Grace, what else do you have for us?

Grace: [00:47:48] So I really, for me, it’s it’s about bringing it all together, right? And that includes, again, I go back to the fact that these people may not be clients. Maximize your unconverted leads. We call them dead leads, in our industry. I mean, you paid the money for them, right? Add them to your journey. Create a system for those people. I mean, just, you know, drip marketing. Make sure that they’re part of it. You know, you’re letting them know that you’re still there. You’re top of mind. So that unfortunately, people will eventually need an attorney or they may know somebody that needs an attorney. So unfortunately for that, but fortunately for you, you have kept top of mind. You’ve been informative. You’ve helped them. You try to make sure that you keep top of mind. Right. That’s number one. So create that system, maximize your unconverted that leads you really paid money for them.

Liel: [00:48:38] Absolutely. Grace. I’m gonna go back to our first episode on the intake ride. Refer them out. Refer them out. It’s part of your marketing strategy. You build a strategy and if you don’t have anyone to refer them out, then refer them to the local bar because you actually want to be of use to that person who have already decided to trust you and give you an opportunity at helping them out. So now it’s entirely up to you. Are you gonna turn your back on them or are you actually going to do what you can to actually try to help them? So in the ideal world and probably kind of like getting ahead of our next week’s conversation, you’re going to want to refer to so you can actually use them as leverage for your network. And use is not the right word, but you want to make sure that you can contribute to helping them and at the same time helping your network continue growing. Now, the other thing you want to make sure that you’re doing is being a reliable source of legal assistance for this particular individual that called, because it’s exactly what you’ve said. They may not have a case for you right now, but they will have it in the future. And you want to make sure that the next time that they need to call someone, they don’t even think it’s twice as to whom they’re going to call. And that’s what’s going to make the difference, because they’re going to reach out to you directly. And even if they know that you’re not going to be able to help them directly, they’ll know that you’re going to be the one to refer them to the person that’s going to be able to help them. And that’s powerful. And that’s building a brand and that’s becoming an authority in your market. So, Grace, I think that Harlan really brought it up wonderfully. And I’m not surprised that it’s going to continue to come up as we go along different conversations on different topics about law firm growth and law firm marketing. Grace, I think we’ve covered it all.

Grace: [00:50:23] I think that said it Liel, we took them to the whole hour. I feel like.

Liel: [00:50:28] I think we covered it at all. And so, Grace, thank you again for another wonderful conversation. And I’m excited for next week’s one, which is gonna be on referrals. Thank you all for listening. And we’re looking forward to talking to you again next week on another private legal marketing conversation @ In Camera Podcast.

Grace: [00:50:48] Thank you.

Liel: [00:50:55] If you like our show, make sure you subscribe, tell your co-workers. Leave us a review and send us your questions at ask@incamerapodcast.com. We’ll see you next week.

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