Share This Post
The Sales Warrior Within | Season 2 Episode 31 – Crushing Chaos: A Conversation with Allison Williams
Allison Williams is an accomplished lawyer and founder of Law Firm Mentor where she and her team provide business coaching services for solo and small law firm attorneys, helping them grow their revenues, crush chaos in business, and make more money. Allison shares great insights on sales, scaling an enterprise, and the importance of “systemizing” your business and sales approach.
Crushing Chaos: A Conversation with Allison Williams
- Allison shares the story of her journey in building two multi-million-dollar businesses
- She shares why the “rich” lawyer may be better than the “poor” lawyer
- “Systemize” your law firm, sales approach, and business allows the entrepreneur to earn more by working fewer hours
- Allison discusses the importance of “Crushing Chaos” in business. Chaos is the inefficiency, time suck, and friction that interferes with talented people sharing their talents directly with clients
- Andy and Allison discuss the importance of creating a sales mindset no matter what profession you work in. Without sales skills, lawyers and salespeople will not create revenue.
- Allison shares insights on “Getting Prospects to “Yes” and talks about how natural “closing” business is when you follow a relationship-based, value for value approach
- Enjoy this dynamic episode and multiple gems that Allison shares on how to build, scale, and excel in your own law firm, business, and sales
“Good Selling, Good Leading, Good Living.” – Andy Olen
Andy Olen is a Sales & Leadership Trainer and High-Performance Coach. Andy works with talented salespeople, business teams, and leaders who seek empowerment, improvement, and insight. Andy’s clients strive to be the best in class.
Speakers: Andy Olen & Allison Williams
Speakers: Andy Olen & Allison Williams
| 00:02 | There’s a Sales Warrior within each of us. My name is Andy Olen, and I’m here to help you discover and empower the Sales Warrior within. Hello and welcome to another episode of the Sales Warrior Within podcast. This is Andy Olen, and I hope all of you are out there accomplishing your goals, hitting your numbers, and continuing to build and discover the Sales Warrior within.
| 00:34 | A real special episode today. I had an absolute thrill talking with Allison Williams. Allison Williams is the owner of not one, but two very successful companies. She is the founder of Williams Law Group, a full service family law firm on the East Coast. And after she took William’s Law Group from just a start up to a multi million dollar business in just over three years, she actually created a second business called Law Firm Mentor.
| 01:04 | And here she and her team provide business coaching services for solo and small law firm attorneys. And she helps them grow their revenues, crush chaos and business, and make more money. And so I wanted to have a chat with Allison about her advice for lawyers and also the importance of discovering and empowering the Sales Warrior Within for all of us. One of the things that you see for folks within professional roles, like being a lawyer, a doctor, or maybe an accountant, is they don’t see themselves as salespeople yet.
| 01:37 | Allison and also our community here encourages everyone to see themselves as a Sales warrior and express the goodness and the value creation that salespeople can bring forward to their clients and customers. And so what Law Firm Mentor does and her podcast, Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor, it’s really focused on helping lawyers build their own practice, scale their practice, become great salespeople business operators, and also continue to demonstrate the excellence that they bring in their legal subject matter expertise.
| 02:14 | So it’s about finding the Sales Warrior in for lawyers. And I think that’s a great service, it’s a great opportunity. And in this podcast, you’re going to hear Allison and I talk about not just sales skills and business development skills and the importance of being a good owner operator as a lawyer, but she does a really nice job of expanding her lessons and her insights to all of us as salespeople. So some real rich gems within this conversation. I really enjoyed talking to Allison Williams.
| 02:43 | I encourage you to listen to this and enjoy listening to Allison and her insights. And again, check out her podcast called Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor available on her website, https://www.lawfirmmentor.net/ and anywhere that you can find podcasts. Enjoy my conversation with Allison Williams. Allison Williams. Welcome to the sales warrior within podcast. It’s great to have you. Andy Olen it’s so great to be here. Thanks for having me on. It’s a pleasure.
| 03:13 | I know you’re traveling and we’re all running into some travel delays out there, so hopefully you make it to where you need to go here in the next couple of hours, literally. But I’m really excited to have you on the show for many reasons. I’m really excited to talk about lawyers and the business of law and your business law firm mentor, and how you’re helping build the confidence and sort of the entrepreneurial chops of lawyers out there looking to do their own thing or to scale and build a great practice.
| 03:46 | And I always say to salespeople that a good lawyer is a salesperson’s best friend. And I think about all the great lawyers that I’ve worked with in my corporate roles and even in my personal life. And I think it’s always important to have on speed dial or in your favorites on your phone, a good lawyer, if you’re a salesperson, the terms and conditions of the contract, if you’re in real estate investing, or if you just get yourself in a pinch, it’s always good to have a lawyer nearby.
| 04:13 | So I always love sharing conversations with experts in law. You certainly being one of them. But enough about me introducing you. I’d love to hear your story and have you go ahead and introduce yourself to the sales warrior with an audience. Yeah. So I am a family lawyer by trade. I’ve been a family law attorney for 19 years. Can’t believe that God making me feel old just saying it out loud. And much like other people, I started working for others and at some point decided to stake out on my own.
| 04:45 | And I was by that time, a very successful lawyer. So I figured I would just take the success that I had as a lawyer and put myself in business and people would just hire me in my own entity instead of someone else’s. And very soon after I started, I realized that this was a lot different and a lot more challenging than I could have ever imagined. The business of law ran me over, and so I am running from courthouse to courthouse all over the state of New Jersey.
| 05:14 | By that time, we were in 16 counties. I tried to hire people that did not work well and finally said, after three or four incompetent hires, I finally said, I’ll just do this myself. So I literally started the process of getting up at six in the morning or getting into the office at six in the morning. I got up much earlier than that, and I was a secretary from six to 830, a lawyer from 830 to six, and then back to a secretary from 630 to nine, and then rinse and repeat seven days a week.
| 05:42 | And I did that for several weeks until the point of exhaustion hit me. And one night I was driving home and I fell asleep and woke up one quarter centimeter away from and realized very quickly that working harder does not work. So there were only so many more hours I could tack on to one human soul and it wasn’t going to be me. So I went out and help start working with business coaches and very quickly married the process of coaching to what was already my instinctual gift, which is systematizing everything.
| 06:16 | Put those two together and was able to grow a multi million dollar law firm in three and a half years. And from there I was bored because I had basically eliminated just about all of my work except mentoring my attorneys and started helping people kind of out on the internet streets and very soon realized that I didn’t just have a gift for it, I had a love for it and decided to create a business around that.
| 06:42 | So I created Law Firm Mentor in 2018, grew us to a multi million dollar business also in another three years or so and we’re still scaling and still helping lawyers. Now we’re in 46 different states. We have helped hundreds of lawyers at this point and continue to grow our base of lawyers, all different practice areas. Doesn’t really matter what type of practice it really is just that you have a business value and that you are seeking to grow your business. That’s what we help lawyers do. That’s great.
| 07:12 | So a lot to unpack there. But I want to double click on the word systematize which it sounds like it’s a superpower of yours. Talk a little bit more about that gift that you have and sort of your passion even around systematizing businesses and then helping entrepreneurs and lawyers systematize their practice. Yeah. So most people, if they find Law Firm Mentor they will find that we are a business coaching service for solo and small law firm attorneys.
| 07:41 | That we help them to grow their revenues, crush chaos and business and make more money. And the crushing chaos piece is all about systems. And when I talk about systems, most people are thinking, oh, I need a system for protecting my clients interest. I need to make sure I hit the statute of limitations, I need to make sure that I file things on time. But I’m talking about systematizing everything from your profit center to your legal work to your communications in your office so that nothing that requires daily activity, nothing that you rinse and repeat in the course of your business ever has to be thought about, it is on rote.
| 08:17 | Right. Because the more energy that we give over to the mundane, the less energy we have for the sophisticated and that’s the legal work that your clients are hiring you for. And the lawyers worst enemy in the business of law is being broke. So I’m a big proponent of lawyers not working 90 hours a week to have a five year income. That morally offends me. And I tell lawyers it is not just about making as much money as possible, but it is about affording yourself a level of comfort and security that you are not horse trading your value against your clients, right?
| 08:49 | The client who believes that a rich lawyer is the worst thing for you is sorely mistaken. It actually is the poor lawyer who is now having to decide, am I going to give my time to this client or am I going to rest for myself? Am I going to take time for my family? Am I going to enjoy the work that I’m doing? And so my view is that you very much need to be working on both of those aims. And you do that through taking all of the time and energy out of the mundane and business through systematizing.
| 09:19 | So as a small business owner myself, systematizing is something that’s very important. And I think a lot of people, lawyers included, think that systematizing, you move to a technology solution, that technology can hear all of this and you made mention of it as well, that sure, you have your scheduling, you might want to make sure you’re hitting the deadlines for the courts and your clients aren’t missing certain documents that have to be submitted, et cetera.
| 09:44 | So there is some technology, but my sense is your definition of systematizing goes much further and broader than just a technology place. So I think that’s interesting. And am I right in saying that technology will not create this mindset and it will not cure the unorganized attorney or salesperson, but it’s really much broader than that? Yeah, absolutely. Tech is definitely our friend.
| 10:11 | There’s a booming industry of legal tech, so we do propose that you use it. But I think when we talk about systematizing, we’re really talking about creating a culture of problem solving. That’s what a system is. It solves a problem over and over and over again. And the more that you systematize things that are not typically thought of as a system, most people think marketing is, I hire a company and they market for me. That’s not your system, right?
| 10:38 | Your system is how you get them information efficiently and how you mass produce that information and how you put your economics around that system. How much am I going to spend? What’s my return on investment, et cetera. All of that needs to be systematized so that you don’t have a question when someone approaches you with the shiny new object, the new marketing gimmick of the day. You don’t have a question of, can I afford this? Will this get me a return? Will this grow my business? You already have a system that will answer those questions for you. It becomes a lot easier to make decisions.
| 11:07 | And it also empowers people in your business, especially as a small business, to be loyal to your business because you’re not just going to do it yourself. We teach our lawyers that you should be involving the people that you hire in that process so they actually have more buy into your business and they’re better at your business. That makes a lot of sense you said something also is that people should be looking for. And I’ll paraphrase a little bit the rich lawyer. Not the poor lawyer. Because you might be in a battle of trade offs with the poor lawyer.
| 11:35 | With the rich lawyer that may be an individual where he or she has been able to build a proper system and be able to do what they’re really good at. Which is helping you. And then there’s certainly a premium on that. Can you talk about that a little bit more? Because it was sort of surprising to hear that, but then as I listened to you explain it, it wasn’t very surprising, actually. It was somewhat intuitive. Yeah. Well, this really goes to the heart of what you talk about, Annie, which is sales, right. So when we think about sales, if you really understand sales, you recognize it in exchange of value, right.
| 12:06 | So I am going to trade my knowledge, my expertise, my ability to navigate a system, the legal system, and in exchange for that, I am going to receive financial compensation. You value my knowledge more than you value your money, or else you wouldn’t hire me. And I value your money more than I value the information that I’m holding onto, or else I wouldn’t give you that information. So both people are getting a win win in that exchange. It’s the same thing with every part of your business. Right.
| 12:34 | So when someone comes to your business as a client and they’re saying, wow, that costs a lot of money, the reality is, if I am well taken care of, then my value proposition on you goes up. Right. I look at you and I say, this person is more valuable to me because they’re affording me time that I want, money that I want lifestyle, that I want culture in my business, that I want. If I see you as someone who takes away from that, if I am resentful of the fact that I am working hard and I’m putting more labor into you than economically is justifiable in our marketplace, then I still will do my ethical responsibilities to you.
| 13:10 | But I will do so begrudgingly. I won’t be happy. I won’t see you as a win win. And if you don’t have a win win exchange, that’s where you get the lawyer who is begrudgingly serving the client, the client who’s begrudgingly paying the bill or not paying the bill. That’s where you get client complaints. That’s where you get grievances. That’s where you get malpractice lawsuits, whether they’re valid or not. That’s where you get a lawyer who doesn’t show up 100% for the client, and that doesn’t serve anyone in the system. Yeah. Again, it was interesting to hear you say that. I love how you just unpack that.
| 13:40 | But I think it’s a good lesson for salespeople, too, that if you’re buying a product as a customer from a salesperson and you’re working with an incredibly successful person who might roll in in a nice car. Don’t be put off by that. There may be a real good opportunity for high levels of value to be exchanged. This is probably a professional in his or her area, probably tenured in his or her area.
| 14:06 | Again, you can’t make all of that decision despite seeing what kind of car they roll up in, but you will very quickly deduce on how they engage with you, what their sales process sounds like, what it feels like, the conversation, the time they take with you, because it’s in that relationship and it’s in that exchange. Whereas you said correctly, value is exchange. And the greater the value exchange, the greater the premium that we’ll put on that and the more that we will reward that economically as well. Absolutely. Where did your passion for law come from?
| 14:36 | Where if you look back and say, this is the day I said, I want to be a lawyer, if you remember that day or the days around that, where did that come from and why law for you? Yeah. So I would love to give you a sweet story about I saw an old lady cross the street in some car, ran her over, and then I suddenly decided I was going to use law to vindicate the wrongs of the world. But candidly, that wasn’t my story at all. I was in 11th grade, and my American history teacher required our class to research and then enact the trial of Christopher Columbus for war crimes.
| 15:10 | So you had to go outside of a history book, you had to go to a library and actually find the data that you could about that and the different perspectives on that. And then we had to ultimately try a case. And I was chosen for the role of prosecutor, and I prosecuted Christopher Columbus. And I guess I did a good enough job at it that my history teacher played it for the faculty. And my mother actually was a teacher at the school where I went to high school. So people started turning to my mom and said, well, I hope you’re going to push your daughter to become a lawyer.
| 15:40 | She’s really good at this. Of course. I’m just kind of reenacting what I saw of the law shows of the time, like Allie McBeal and La Law. I’m acting, but there was some truth at the heart of the acting. So I figured I would pursue law. Not so much because I really had a passion for law at that stage, but it was really more of a, okay, this is something I think I can be good at. And I thought it was something I could candidly make a lot of money at.
| 16:08 | It wasn’t until I got to law school that I realized how mythical it is that lawyers all make a lot of money. More than half of us are in solo and small law firms. Where you tend to make less money but have more quality of life. And I didn’t want either of those. I wanted success. So I worked very hard at law firms, billing a couple of thousand hours a year to become an expert at law. And once I got there, I decided I also wanted quality of life. So I then created a system to become an expert at balancing a lot of money with a lot of time.
| 16:37 | And now I help lawyers to do the same thing. Folks, can find a lot of your great insights and information on your podcast crushing chaos with law firm mentor. What type of chaos are you looking to crush? It’s all chaos in business. So it’s interesting when I talk to people about what crushing chaos means, the first thing that pops out is systems because it’s the easy way of talking about it. But really the way that I would define chaos is any type of disorder in a system, right?
| 17:08 | So it is the proverbial crushing into each other of the molecules that are within an ecosystem. And that’s really what law is. If you go into the average law firm, it is very poorly run as a business. And not because lawyers aren’t smart, but because it takes so much out of you to lawyer that the side of your well being that is business is not something that you tend to write because more often than not, that business is as a result of focus outside of business.
| 17:36 | And that should actually impress the public that we’re more concerned about you than we are about ourselves. Not healthy, but that’s typically what you find. And so when you come into a business that’s not well run again, you get tired. Lawyers resentful of their clients. You don’t get the highest level of client service. And I think that’s harmful to the profession and to the public. So ultimately we help people to crush all chaos in business. So anything that is disordered, anything that’s not tightly wound into a structured process where you don’t have to think about whether you will get paid this week.
| 18:10 | You don’t have to think about what is going to be said on your behalf from a marketing company or from you as a person who’s marketing yourself. You don’t have to think about what your sales system is going to be, right? When people call the phone, you know what’s going to be said to them, you know how they’re going to schedule an appointment, you know what rate at which people who call will be scheduled, you know what rate at which people who schedule will show up and what rate at which those people will be converted to clients and on average, how much you will charge them. All of that data.
| 18:38 | That is normally something that you have to think about that keeps you up at night. If we can get that into a system and get it running on autopilot, then you’re free to really be a true entrepreneur. You can start creating second businesses, right? I run two seven figure businesses in less than 30 hours a week, and I take months off at a time. And I work when I want to work. And if I don’t want to do something, I don’t do it. And I don’t fear that that’s going to hurt my income because everything is dialed into a system that tells me that.
| 19:08 | And the more we get to that place as lawyers, the better our lives are. And every life that you affect in your business is then benefited from that. So that’s ultimately what my aim is. It’s interesting. I grew up selling and working in the medical device and healthcare arena and marketplace for big companies like Siemens and Abbott and others.
| 19:29 | And one of the things that I noticed with working and engaging and selling to physicians was that even though they had an MD after their name and title, or as their title, they certainly all thought they were MBAs as well, that they were also had the Master in Business Administration and they didn’t. And the fact is that three different professional schools business school, legal school, or law school, and the School of Medicine, it’s hard for, I can imagine lawyers.
| 20:01 | And for physicians who then are asked to run their own business, they’ve never had that training. It’s easier for me to have started my own business because that’s where my 20 years of experience was professionally and my schooling was centered and focused on that as well. I’m still in my sandbox. So what is some advice that you give to a lawyer who’s thinking about transitioning from a big firm or is just jumping out of law school and says, I want to do this on my own?
| 20:33 | It takes a while to get to that systematized approach, but where would you say? Here? You got to put your shovel in the ground first. Here? Yeah. So it really varies from person to person, depending on how much they have with them when they are leaving, when they go out on their own. If there’s somebody, like, I’d say, the statistical majority, and they don’t have a client base, that obviously is where you have to start, which means you have to start with selling. Right? And that is something that is a very unfortunate part of lawyering, that we are not just not trained to be business people.
| 21:05 | We are also educated on how there is a cost benefit trade off between being a good professional and being a good lawyer or being a good business person. So you don’t get to have both, is what the bar teaches you. And that’s something that’s slowly changing. But we really do have to break that mold. You have to break the mindset that you’re not in business. Right. And if you’re not selling, you’re not in business, because ultimately you will run out of business. So the one thing I always tell lawyers is you have to learn how to sell.
| 21:34 | And learning how to sell is not learning how to swindle people, convince people. It’s not conjoling people, it’s not manipulating people. It is understanding what problem they have and then offering them a solution to that problem. And it’s offering them that solution in a way that fits with their instinctual mind as a human that is seeking the desired outcome. Right. We all seek our desires and you have to get people to see your service as a desire, not something that they feel they have to do, but something that they desire to do.
| 22:05 | And it really is shutting down that inductive reasoning and getting or shutting down that deductive reasoning and getting them into inductive thoughts so that they can make a decision that is closely tied to their actual problem. Once you learn how to do that, it becomes a lot easier to do all of the other things. Right. Because when a person is in front of you, you can charge them a premium price.
| 22:28 | You can actually feel good about that premium price and the higher rate of margin that you’re keeping out of the dollars that you’re selling, the faster you can grow yourself into getting some help so that you can start stacking your business with people who will make money for you. Instead of you doing all the work, you making all the money, you selling all the clients and you’ve been exhausted, right? Exactly.
| 22:52 | It reminds me, I had a session yesterday working with bankers and I always ask folks who are not by title and definition today, working in a sales role. I asked them at the beginning of a training, are you a salesperson? And nobody raises their hand. And it’s my goal, by the end of the training, which is focused on selling skills and prospecting and market development activities, that I want to see everyone’s hand up that they believe that they are a salesperson.
| 23:22 | And it reminds me of what you just said, is that you have to sort of break down this mystique or this myth that even though you have the JD, the law degree and you may be incredibly well trained, you might already have great legal experience, you have to be a salesperson too. And once you start to wire yourself and think about that business development side yes. It doesn’t have to be cajoling. It’s not about being a snake oil salesperson. You are a subject matter expert.
| 23:50 | And if there is someone that needs your expertise, you just have to make yourself available to that person and start a simple conversation. And once people see that, it’s not that hard. In fact, in all of the relationships that we have in our day to day life, there’s a sales element to that. Getting to know someone, finding out what you have in common, building trust, building a rapport, building a partnership out of that. And so it sounds like a lot of your work with law firm Mentor is helping people just change that mindset.
| 24:18 | Yeah, I mean, sales is really at the heart of everything that we do. I always say every good thing resulted from a sale from your house to your spouse. You didn’t happen upon the thing that you desire and then just go and make a run for it. You ultimately have to exchange some value for it and you have to find out what would resonate with whatever the person was who had the thing that you desire. Even if you’re doing it through an agent, like a real estate agent, ultimately you had to get to that point of exchanging value.
| 24:49 | So it is about the conversation and it’s really not that scary once you learn how to have that conversation in a powerful way that will more than likely lead to a person saying yes to you. And Allison, you have a free training available called Getting Prospects to yes. Can they find that on your website? Yeah, absolutely. But I tell people the easiest way to get to it is just go to our website link, which is lawfirmmentor net, and then Getting Prospects to yes. There are dashes between each of those words. Getting Prospects to yes.
| 25:18 | It is a five video training that we put together absolutely free, and it details all of the components of transitioning from a legal consultation into a sales conversation. So we talk about the psychology of sales. What is it that you should be working on in yourself and what is going on in the mind of your prospect to get them into that emotional place where they make decisions? What are the questions that you need to ask them? Right? You need to be asking more than you’re telling. Stop auditioning for people.
| 25:45 | Stop trying to get them to believe you’re the smartest person on earth in this area because you know the judge or you know the adversary or you went to such and such law school, they don’t care. They care about their problem, not you. And then how do you ultimately overcome objections? Right? What are the things that people are going to say that are rooted in their belief system about your transaction, that you can help them to make a decision that’s well placed for them? And then, of course, the follow up, right? We always like to skip the follow up.
| 26:15 | Not everyone’s going to say yes on the first meeting. And if you lose all those opportunities, because if a person says no or if a person objects and you can’t help them overcome it, you say, all right, on to the next. You are missing opportunities to take a person who might be a little bit slower in the bicycle. They have a different bicycle than you, you ultimately are going to miss opportunity and then you’re paying for more leads when. You really could just be converting more people that are in your orbit. Absolutely. I teach a similar methodology.
| 26:44 | I call it used the acronym Air A IR. So you have to get access. When you have access and in front of a person, you have to make an impact that’s the eye. And then you have to ask for a revisit. You need to come back and see it again. Things, especially when you’re dealing with legal services, you’re dealing with premium services that requires time. And for a lawyer, for a salesperson to practice what you just said, it’s like, hey, follow up, stay on it.
| 27:15 | And no, you’re not hounding someone if you just say, hey, it was a great lunch that we had together, let’s go ahead and schedule a follow up like we talked about. That’s not hounding. In fact, for someone that’s busy on the other side of that email, that text, or that phone call, you’re doing me, for example, a service by following up with me. Oh good, yeah, let’s get that on the calendar, no problem. And totally, totally agree with that.
| 27:38 | One of the other challenges that so many sales people have and I find that the bigger the dollar amount of the service or the product, the harder it is for people to close or, as in your training, getting prospects to yes. And I work with people and ask them what’s your closing line? And right away, almost that question makes them feel, again, going back to some of the negative sales stereotypes out there, ABC, always be closing, all that stuff. I don’t want to be that person.
| 28:05 | I don’t want to push well, I always encourage people that there’s a small business owner, there’s another person in need of your services and value on the other side. And if you don’t ask for the vote, if you don’t ask for the business, that may leave them unsure whether or not they qualify for your services. And so there’s this odd gray space. And so it’s up to the lawyer, up to the salesperson to bring the conversation at some point, the right point to a request or a closing moment, a request for the opportunity to partner together.
| 28:41 | What are your thoughts on how lawyers and how other people can navigate that closing situation, that getting that person to say yes without it feeling awkward or funky, if you will? Yeah, well, this is a great question because I think a lot of people do think it boils down to what is the thing that you do to steal the deal? And what I always tell people is that the closing competency is its own value.
| 29:06 | But if you are really good at consultative selling and qualifying the prospects who come in, closing becomes something that is just a natural conclusion to the conversation, so it doesn’t become quite so gimmicky feeling. And the consultative piece of it is really you have already gotten some information presumably, if you had an intake call, which is our sales by phone conversation, you’re selling them on scheduling an appointment to come in. Whether that’s physically coming into an office or coming into a zoom room, they’re willing to engage in a sales call.
| 29:37 | Once you have that, then you have to be chipping away at the problem. And you generally know what the problem is from the intake call. Right. So you should know where you’re going to leave that person. And as you are leading them there, you’re kind of figuring out for them what is going to really strike at the heart of them making a decision. And you’re going to constantly get check in and buy in from them about the fact that they’re going to make a decision. Right. So the thing that AIDS closing is not, we have a great conversation about your problem, and then I say, great, it’ll be $10,000, please, and smack them over the head with it and hope that they say yes to that.
| 30:11 | There are some people that buy that way. Most do not. Right. So you have to be thinking about if we know that this is a $10,000 service and the likelihood is that a person isn’t used to just dropping $10,000 on a stranger to solve a problem that’s painful for them every day of the week. Most people legal services were not planned for, even if you are a business. So then you have to start feeding the idea of this. If we get to the point where we can solve your problem and you see clarity, that you will be able to statistically get a greater likelihood of a positive outcome.
| 30:43 | If you work with us, are we going to make a decision today? And how can we make this decision the right decision for you? The person sees you as serving them. They don’t see you as pushing them or convincing them or cajoling them. And then when you get to the end, it can just be a natural segue to, okay, so have we laid out that pathway that you can see the solution to your problem? If so, let me talk to you about what it is that we’re going to offer you and the person then is bought in.
| 31:12 | Oh, yes, here it is. I get to have as opposed to, oh crap, they’re going to push me, I have to run away from and goes up. Right. Yeah. And as soon as lawyers and sales people see that the best in the business close business without ever having to ask for the business, it is a natural progression. It is a desire from the client or the prospective client to want to continue on that.
| 31:39 | The consultation and the insight and the value add, the value is so clear that the economics of the transaction also makes sense. And for me as a customer, if I’m working with an attorney, like, hey, when can we start? And so I’m almost doing the same. The closing line, if that attorney, if that salesperson, has done a really good job in laying the foundation for how his or her services are going to create value for me.
| 32:07 | And so these are really timeless lessons and they’re really important mindset shifts for people to make, especially as you’re moving to be a business of one and then looking to scale that up like many of your clients are. Yeah, absolutely. And one of the things that I think is most scary is because we are not trained as salespeople, a lot of state people say, this is such a hard competency for me to master.
| 32:34 | And so I always tell them, you do need to learn how to do this because at some point, if you employ someone to do it and that person leaves your company, you don’t want to be without the ability to sell. However, we do recommend that at some point, you do outsource this role of selling to a trained professional. So I actually, in my law firm, I have a salesperson, I recommend to our clients that they work toward the economic metrics that will allow them to have a full time salesperson. So that person is not just competent at selling, but they’re also sharping the knife.
| 33:05 | Right. They’re in a constant state of getting better at the skill. They’re not also trying to lead a business. They’re not also trying to go to court and do the things that lawyers do. Absolutely. No, that makes a lot of sense. And just a reminder, please check out Allison Williams podcast, crushing Chaos with law firm Mentor. Allison, I’m sure people can find that anywhere that podcasts are available, is that right? Absolutely. Apple, Google Stitcher, Spotify, the usual suspects. That’s great. Forget the podcast on our website.
| 33:34 | So on our website https://www.lawfirmmentor.net/ , if you just want to see the podcast, you can check out the episodes at podcast. That’s awesome. Highly recommend that you check out Allison’s. Great work out there. One of the things that is also part of running a business is being comfortable with numbers. And it sounds like it’s a lot of work that you do with lawyers. It’s work I do as salespeople because often it’s just assume that you have a law degree, you’re running your own business. You must understand financial statements and an income statement and how it all works.
| 34:05 | Your accounting system must be up and running. And with salespeople, when they’re engaging with business owners or people that are managing huge budgets, having the economic confidence or the financial acumen to be able to navigate and create value with the numbers is so, so important. Yet it’s one of those myths that just because you’re a salesperson or because you’re a lawyer, because you’re a doctor, it doesn’t mean that you have the numbers.
| 34:33 | And that skill set on your tool belt, is that something that you find pretty common with lawyers and how are you helping them become more economically and financially more savvy and more confident? Yeah. So just about every lawyer that we work with has a money story that’s not compatible with being rich. Right. Because for most people, if they had that money story and they were of the mindset of this is how I create money, I exchange value and I do that over and over again and then I produce a high amount of money for myself, they would have already done so.
| 35:06 | Right. They would have figured it out. Even if they had to struggle with the operation side, they would have figured out how to hire people at some point in time to be able to do the work and oftentimes that’s not the case. So we definitely deal with that here. At law firm Mentor, we have coaches that are industry specific and so we have someone who’s trained in finance that ultimately works with our lawyers specifically on things like income statements and creating cash flow projections.
| 35:34 | But it’s something that we teach as pillar content because there really is no way. I think one of the things that’s probably the most challenging for a small business owner is you finally start learning how to sell. You start getting people through the door. And if it’s not a skill that you have honed that you have mastered before you go into business, then all of your time and attention is pulled in so many different directions that you easily fall down in that area. So every dollar comes in, has something response that it’s going to be allocated to before it gets here, right?
| 36:04 | Oh my God, I got to buy the new copy. Oh great. I’ve got to it’s time for me to move into a bigger office space. So you’re constantly spending. But what becomes easier as you start learning how to create sales systems so that money is coming in more frequently and more consistently is once you learn how much you need to run your business, we always break it down. The very first exercise we make people do when they come to the company is they do that one number, right? What’s the one number that you need to hit every single month to have all your bills paid?
| 36:33 | So that as soon as you get to the point of consistently hitting that number, you are saving money and you’re retaining earnings in your business. So that we can start to work on growing the profit. Because we can’t grow the profit when you’re in a state of economic distress, right, you got to eat, but we don’t tell you save instead of eating. Right? That’s, that myth that you can start pulling back on the Starbucks and suddenly you’re going to have millions of dollars, it’s just nonsense. So we really do work with people on that one number exercise and it’s one of the most powerful things you can do so that you can get clarity on it’s one number, right?
| 37:05 | I don’t have to know all the numbers on the spreadsheet. I just got to know the one number that I got to hit every single month and start breathing as soon as that number is in the bank. Simplification find that one number, work from there. And also, I think there’s a momentum behind it at once as a lawyer, as a salesperson, because salespeople have quotas. It is that singular number. And it implies then sort of the economic utility or what the number is going to be on the paycheck and then how they balance that with their spending habits.
| 37:33 | But there’s a momentum that once you start hitting that number, you feel good about that. And once it’s consistent, then you can put sort of the growth mindset cap on and think about what’s next. How do I further systematize this opportunity? How do I create freedom in terms of my time or freedom to allocate my time, to the things that I love to do as a lawyer as well? So there’s a momentum play that also comes from that very simple root of finding that single number. I think that’s really good advice. A couple more questions for you, Allison.
| 38:04 | One of the things that I think probably you’d see with lawyers, maybe it sounds like you went through this yourself, that you can join after law school, a big law firm, and try to work your way to partner and put in the billable hours, and you probably have to sacrifice a lot of your quality of life to do that. And yes, there can be riches found by becoming a partner, managing partner of a big firm. And you can do that, but there’s a trade off to that.
| 38:33 | But it also sounds on the other side that you can create that richness and wealth along with giving yourself, as you said, multiple months off at a time by doing it differently. How should people think about sort of the trade offs? Do I send myself down the big firm big money route, but it’s going to be a grind, but there is a payoff there? Or do I take the risk if there really is an implied risk there and do this myself? Yeah, so, I mean, I love the way that you characterize that question because I think it’s in the minds of most lawyers that way, right?
| 39:07 | Do I take the safe route and work and hustle and sacrifice quality of life, or do I take the small business route and ultimately put myself in risk that it would not work out? And the reality is, I always tell people that you always have much more control over yourself than any other person or any other entity. So you actually. In my view. Have less risk creating a business than you do working for someone because your boss could come in and say you’re fired tomorrow without cause in most jurisdictions and not have an issue versus when you are at the helm of feeding yourself and supporting your family through your own business.
| 39:42 | You have a higher motivation to make sure that you get things done. But even aside from that, the kind of time money conundrum is a real thing, right? It’s a real thing whether you work in a large law firm or you work in a small business. Because people that are employees and law firms, they have to decide am I going to go the extra mile and build more hours and do more things to advance or am I going to do the minimum that’s required of me whether that’s 1500 or 2000 hours or 2500 hours or whatever?
| 40:10 | Am I going to do the minimum just to keep my job and have that economic security but not advanced? Right? So you’re always making that choice when you are in the world of work. The difference with a business is when you create a business you’re not just putting your name on your job. Right? That’s what you do when you start you’re putting your name on your job. Right? So instead of working for John DOE’s law firm, I now work for Susie Smith’s law firm and my name is on the business. But once you get it to the point where it is a business, that means it can run without you.
| 40:42 | And in order to do that, you have to put some very foundational pieces in place. But once you do, you are not required for the business. So you’re not required for your income. Which means you can scale the revenue and the profits in the business and take more of it every time it goes up. So that then means you can do less and less work while also achieving more and more money. I tell people all the time, every time I want to raise, I always say it’s time for me to get fired from something, right? I’m almost always the bottleneck. I’m almost always the thing that’s stopping us from getting to the next level.
| 41:14 | So once you figure out where the rubber meets the road, where you are at problem and you’re not the solution, that’s where you can start really having fun and scaling in the business. Absolutely. And it’s the parallels to corporate America. So becoming an executive and a Fortune 500 company, that pathway is very similar to the lawyers pathway through the big firm. It’s the grind. Yes, there may be a big payoff as you’re going or at the end, especially in corporate America, equity pays out well.
| 41:46 | Certainly in the legal community the firm is doing very well and the profit sharing that’s implied there. But I agree with you. Allison and I found this to be true as well. You’re not safe in corporate America. That is not a safe role for you. You can be excused at any time because we’re all what at will employees, which doesn’t mean we have an employment contract and to start your own business? Yes. I think it puts the good pressure on your shoulders to go out there and earn for yourself and then have that freedom.
| 42:18 | And it was a compliment that one of my teenage daughters gave me the other day after three years in business. She’s like, dad, you haven’t been working for the last three years. And I said thank you to her and I said, you just don’t see it because when I was in my old corporate job, I was leaving Sunday nights or I wasn’t getting back till late on Friday, but now I just schedule my time. That when it’s the weekend, it’s that Sunday dinner. I’m there and you just see me more, I’m more present with you. And she’s like, oh, I get that I’m still working a lot, but I’m enjoying what I’m doing.
| 42:51 | And I’m doing it in a way that prioritizes the things that are most important in my life. And so I think we share these common experiences and common outlook and we share this with other people too. So if you are thinking about starting your own business, your own law firm, get out there, take the leap, and people like Allison are there to really help you be able to do that. Last and final question for you, Allison.
| 43:12 | Let’s talk a little bit about sort of one of the best things about running a great law firm and also running a great business is that when you build client loyalty, you have an opportunity to take a long journey with a handful of people and help them through life’s events or business events. But from a business standpoint, loyal customers are also your most profitable. There’s no new investment you need to make on going to find them. Right? You’ve already found them. You can launch or add new products to them.
| 43:43 | They want to work with you. It’s a partnership that over time, really is valuable for both sides. What advice do you give to lawyers on building long term loyal clientele? Yeah, so most people that come to law firms are in some state of distress, right? Whether it is economic distress, emotional distress. They could be in life distress, they could be at risk of losing their liberty or their children or their families. And so you have to think about the fact that these people are not likely to be happy, joyous, glorious people.
| 44:17 | Even when you save them from the struggle of the day, they oftentimes don’t want to think back on the time when you were helping them, not because you did anything wrong, you might have been their greatest asset, but ultimately, the problem is a major issue for their lives. So what you have to do is you have to stay in front of those people and constantly educate them of your value so that they will remember when the opportunity presents itself to tell someone about you. Right.
| 44:44 | And I think that’s one of the challenges that lawyers will oftentimes encounter with their own ego, that they want to help the client. And oftentimes helping the client is helping them to not be the lawyer anymore. But we can get repeat business from clients depending on the nature of the service that you offer. And you can get referrals from clients. You just have to be very strategic about it. So we actually teach systems around that too. Right. How do you communicate with your clients in a way that isn’t just dumping them on a newsletter list? Right.
| 45:13 | You’re giving them a very concerted, very specific message about the fact that you are growing your business because people appreciate the law of increase. People appreciate something that’s growing, they want to contribute to that. And then you have to craft the message in a way that the client sees that they are doing something good. As a thank you to you. And I know a lot of people don’t necessarily want to say, hey, can you thank me by sending me someone? But there is a law of reciprocity people I give to you. It is natural that you give to me.
| 45:44 | And so when you are reminding a client that you gave to them, you will naturally trigger them an instinct to give back to you. And depending on your jurisdiction, you might not be able to do that with discounts or referral fees or things like that with clients, but you certainly can get that thank you by virtue of a client referral. And when you do that regularly, you have to spend a lot less money on marketing because then the people who you’ve already served are the source of marketing that’s going to generate the most money for you. Absolutely.
| 46:10 | And it’s not necessarily that the individual that you’re serving today, that client is going to have a life trauma after another life trauma where they’re going to be bringing you more and more opportunity, but their testimonial, their encouragement to other people to reach out to Allison for her services, that type of referral is so valuable.
| 46:35 | And if you do a great job as a lawyer, as a salesperson, that referral, that reciprocity the act of re gifting, the gift that’s been given to you is an incredibly powerful way and it’s also, I think, a way to look at loyalty and also scale as well. So really good advice there. And also I’ve really enjoyed our conversation a lot on how lawyers can scale, how they can systematize, how they can be strong salespeople, but also just great general advice for salespeople as well.
| 47:05 | Like I said, this is why for the sales warrior with an audience that a salesperson’s best friend is their lawyer, you can get a sense from Allison that I’m sure a best friend for many great salesperson, many great lawyers out there. Again, you can check out Allison Williams podcast crushing Chaos with law firm mentor. You can find it at her website https://www.lawfirmmentor.net/ and anywhere that podcasts are available. Allison, thanks so much for joining the conversation today. Thank you for having me, Andy. This has been great.
| 47:36 | I love talking me about this stuff, and I love interacting with people that I know are masters of their crafts. And you really are a great asset to the salesperson. So thank you so much.