The past 16 months since I attended my first Summit have been nothing short of life-changing for my practice. For the previous 6.5 years I had a Tulsa, Oklahoma solo criminal defense practice with no employees, low overhead, an erratic flow of new clients, and a focus that was exclusively on sex crimes and crimes against children. By criminal defense attorney standards in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I was successful with earnings for the previous 5 years of $115,000, $120,000, $118,000, $160,000, and $155,000. My “marketing” consisted of a basic website through Scorpion and a User Friendly Yellowbook ad. I had no idea if any given month or year would be successful or if I would make $15,000 next year or $150,000. I believed that I had hit the top of the market and that it wasn’t possible to make more than what I was making. I was unhappy with my practice and when I wasn’t actively working on cases or in court, I spent most of my work week trading options instead of trying to grow my practice. I had received GLM materials for about five years after first watching some free videos and providing my contact information. In August of 2016, after two ugly months back to back, I finally decided to take Ben up on his guarantee and paid full price for the Summit. I was convinced that if GLM didn’t hold the secrets and couldn’t grow my practice then I would continue to pad my earnings as an options trader. The first time at the Summit is metaphorically the equivalent of dropping Acid. Your life, or in this case your practice, turns into two main chapters, the Before and the After. I came back from the Summit more excited about my practice than I had ever been. I had a dozen ideas in my head and 50 pages of notes. I immediately got to work implementing a few select ideas, I moved into better office space, and I started to see results from my work and systems. A few months later (one year ago this month) I joined GLM as a Gold Member and completely bought in to the system. I still had the “my practice is different” thinking, given my very polarizing niche. So I attended the Bootcamp last April. That small group and one on one time was amazing and took my plans, ideas, and confidence to a new level. Since the 2016 Summit, I have moved from a 600 sq ft office to an 850 sq ft office to now a 1650 sq ft office. I have gone from the one-man show to a four-person team with two support staff and an associate attorney with another associate attorney hire coming in April after the bar results come out and he gets sworn in. Business has exploded with new business growing from $155,000 to $575,000 last year. In the first two months of 2018, we have already brought in over $135,000 in new business (not including $15,000 in referral fees) and we are on track to do over $800,000 for the year. Mindset is one of the biggest changes for my practice. It started with changing how I feel about what I do as an attorney and the service I provide. I believe in my own success, I am proud of what I do and who I am, and I have a framework and instruction on how to grow and build the practice of my dreams. The only thing holding my growth back today is my limited vision of what my practice can become. I think big now, just not as big as I should. When I left the Summit in 2016, I came home and excitedly told my wife that with GLM I could actually earn $250,000 and I had the plans to do it. It seemed almost impossible at the time to grow my practice from $150,000 to $250,000, but I knew it could be done. I hit $250,000 in mid-June last year and had to reset my goals. I have that piece of paper with my $250,000 goal and plan in a place of honor to constantly remind me to think bigger, much bigger. First thing I did after joining GLM is to take Ben’s advice and raise my fees. So I doubled them. The business didn’t drop off, it actually increased. Dramatic increase in my bottom line. It wasn’t easy, at first. The first time you look a client in the eye and say $10,000, $25,000, $40,000, $50,000 or $150,000 it takes a titanium backbone. (Yes, I quoted $150,000. I was hired and paid in full. It isn’t included in my earnings because it skews the numbers). An attorney told me the other day they though my fee was too high and that they knew of only one or two lawyers that charge that much. My response was that he should hang out with better lawyers, and I asked, “How much do they charge? I need to know so I can raise my rates.” I decided to finally hire my first support person. Instantly I knew I should have done this years ago and it made a huge improvement in my quality of life, income, and client responsiveness. Despite a few bad hires along the way, I now have two superstar support personnel that are amazing and have completely bought into the GLM/GKIC direct response way of life. I went after the referral network using the Ultimate Referral Letter process. I have grown my referral network to over 50 attorneys and generated over $30,000 in referral fees and increased the number of cases I received from other lawyers by 250%. I then created a follow-up process for prospects that contacted the firm by phone or email. We developed a nice Shock & Awe package and follow-up sequences for qualified and unqualified prospects. Conversion rates have gone up dramatically. In conjunction with the follow-up systems we put in place, I started a new focus on higher-quality client experience investments. I turned the office into a comfortable, yet upscale experience that married perfectly with the price point and exclusive/select boutique experience we wanted to offer. We added a Jura super-automatic coffee maker, I went to the Wynn in Las Vegas and ordered 5 diffusers used at the Wynn & Encore hotel (Steve Wynn put a lot of money and science into his hotels’ scent), new artwork for the office (looks like the inside of the Gilcrease), drink menus, unique coffee cups that everyone loves and gets to take with them when they leave, etc. I then started to devote time and resources by way of 5 Star Law Firm to getting more and more online reviews. When I went to the first Summit, I had a total of 3 reviews, today I have over 40. It is hard as a sex crime attorney to get your clients to post reviews, but I motivate my staff with cash bonuses for each new 5-star review they get signed up. Next, I started working on new content for my website and my USPs. I decided to make a change in my website provider and switched to Foster Web Marketing (FosterWebMarketing.com). This resulted in a huge improvement in my online presence and every month increases my business. I shot 10 videos for the website with the Foster team and I am constantly adding new content. In April/May of 2018, Foster Web Marketing is sending out a crew to shoot on location video of firm, employees, FAQs, and commercial quality video. I then started working on my master client and contact list. We are now list central around the office. We have lists for everything and everyone. Once we completed the master list we refined it for a newsletter list. Once we had our newsletter list, we contacted Shaun Buck’s team at Newsletter Pro (TheNewsletterPro.com) and our first newsletter goes out at the end of February. Recently, I contracted with Zine (ZineGraphics.com) to take all of my written products to the next level. Kia is in the process of doing some outstanding graphic design work on my USPs (consumer guides and books), business cards, and other print materials to give everything a consistent, professional, and high-end look. I have plans in development to open a satellite office in Dallas in 2019 and in Oklahoma City the following year. Overall, the results have been nothing short of unbelievable. Honestly, part of me is nervous about putting my success in writing because the “old Lee” can’t believe it himself and always worries about when the bottom will fall out. The “new Lee” knows that his first $1,000,000 year is right around the corner. These numbers and growth outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma might not seem like too much to get excited about. But let me tell you, a $500,000+ year in Tulsa, Oklahoma in any profession is BIG money, and I had that growth of $150,000 to over $500,000 in just one year using GLM methods. If I could make two suggestions to a new member or someone considering GLM, they would be 1) Immediately raise your rates/ fees and raise them substantially, and 2) Think big, so big it seems ridiculous, and let that thinking become your new normal.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.