In broadcast since 1987, Gary Sarner is a legal marketing expert who knows how to construct a winning media campaign. Founder of ROI360+, Gary and his team have over 55 years of combined experience in media planning and buying. They combine practical expertise with data to help maximize a firm’s ROI.
Successful firms invite potential clients to do business with them- both on and offline. When the unthinkable happens and they need a trusted attorney, Gary’s insights can keep your firm top of mind.
Today, we cover how your firm should be spending on broadcast media to have the most impact – at any budget. And we get into how success is won through addressing your fears, embracing patience, turning to the data, and adjusting accordingly.
- Commit to the process. Successful campaigns are not won overnight. Start where you are and keep at it. Consistency and persistence are the keys to brand recognition.
- Tap into empathy. To connect with the community, explain who you are and how your firm aims to serve.
- Invest in yourself. 30 years ago even the biggest names in the industry were unknown. Invest in marketing early and often to reach your goals sooner.
Maria Monroy, LawRank, and Gary Sarner
Gary Sarner (00:02):
And all of a sudden, boom, you’ve got magic.
Maria Monroy (00:05):
At the end of the day, we all want to be heard. We all want that human connection.
Gary Sarner (00:10):
That is just another piece of the puzzle in reaching out to a community, so when their moment of truth comes about, they find you.
Maria Monroy (00:22):
When someone’s been in a car accident, especially the more serious kind, or their loved one has been, it’s a really stressful time.
Gary Sarner (00:29):
You need to ask, you need to believe, and you will receive.
Maria Monroy (00:33):
Gary Sarner (00:34):
The universe watches over us.
Maria Monroy (00:35):
Gary Sarner (00:36):
So the more that you can invest in yourself, the faster you’re going to be known. But if you don’t have a ton to start, you still have to start somewhere. There’s opportunity out there for every single law firm to grow their business.
Maria Monroy (00:56):
In law school, attorneys are taught to challenge everything, tear things apart, break them down. But the qualities that make lawyers great can be some of the worst for running a business. At every stage of growth, running a business and practicing law can feel overwhelming. And what happens when you try to add life and family to the mix, it can feel nearly impossible. You don’t have to do this alone. I’m Maria Monroy, co-founder and president of LawRank, a leading SEO agency for ambitious law firms. Each week we hear from industry leaders on what it really takes to run a law firm from marketing to manifestation. Because success lies in the balance of life and law. We’re here to help you tip the scales.
Gary Sarner understands how radio can grow a law firm. The founder of ROI360+, Gary and his team have 55 years of combined experience in media planning and buying. They use experience combined with data to help maximize a firm’s ROI. Today, Gary and I dig into how to spend marketing dollars with a limited budget, the surprising trends in traditional media, and where your firm should be spending. How success is won through addressing your fears, embracing patience, and turning to the data. We also get into the nuts and bolts like non-negotiables when setting up an effective radio campaign and what it takes to do with the right way and come out on top. But first Gary shares how he made the leap to start his own business.
Gary Sarner (02:31):
It was scary after 35 years being in broadcast media, and saying, okay, it’s time to go out on my own and do something. But it was time to take that leap. I did not expect to open the agency and become a legal marketing expert.
Maria Monroy (02:50):
How did that happen?
Gary Sarner (02:51):
So I do have a client that I handled for nine years while I worked at the radio stations, and did all the marketing for a firm in South Florida that grew into a statewide juggernaut, Anidjar & Levine, and they’ve built a mighty, mighty large business in the state of Florida. But one of our dear friends, Alex Valencia, told me about this National Trial Lawyer’s Conference.
So I decided, what the hell? Let me go to this conference. I need to invest in myself. All I’ve ever done in my career is tell people that they need to invest in themselves. Not by advertising, you’re investing in your business. There are many, many different channels obviously to do it. So I signed up for the conference. And my better half, who’s just a true inspiration in my life, says to me, “How are you going to separate yourself at this conference of 1,000 lawyers and a bunch of marketing people that are going to be there? ” I said, “Well, I’m going to just sit at the bar and I’ll have my seltzer water, and I’ll buy a few tequilas for everybody.”
Maria Monroy (04:01):
You don’t drink?
Gary Sarner (04:02):
I do drink, but you can’t drink all day long because then you become an idiot.
Maria Monroy (04:09):
And some people at conferences become idiots.
Gary Sarner (04:14):
She took me to the Robert Graham store. And she says, “Buy nine shirts. One for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for dinner.” And she starts picking out one shirt that’s louder than another. And I’m like, “You’re out of your mind. I’m not wearing these shirts.”
Maria Monroy (04:34):
You do wear loud shirts.
Gary Sarner (04:36):
The loudest shirts in the business. The guy says to me, “Okay, it’ll be $3,300.” I was like, “No. I’m not buying $3,300 worth of shirts-
Maria Monroy (04:47):
Gary Sarner (04:48):
… that are ugly.” Ugly. So I did not feel comfortable in this. I was a coat and tie guy my entire career.
Maria Monroy (04:57):
Really? I can’t imagine you like that.
Gary Sarner (05:01):
Yep. And always the tie fully done, the button never unbuttoned.
Maria Monroy (05:08):
Gary Sarner (05:08):
So I bought the shirts. And as Alex and I are walking into the Loews, there’s Paul Liebman from X Social Media. I don’t know Paul Liebman. I don’t know anybody. I know Alex. I’m walking into a sea of 1,000 people and I know one person. Well, Paul is now one of my dearest friends in the world. I actually stayed at his house a couple of weeks ago in Long Island when I was up there. And between Alex and Paul, they know everybody. Just like you.
Maria Monroy (05:43):
Gary Sarner (05:44):
Just like you. And Joe Fried was there. Joe Fried might be the most amazing human being that people don’t know enough about. Joe Fried. He’s a phenomenal trial lawyer. He’s a better person. But Joe Fried is a friend of mine since I’m 13 years old.
Maria Monroy (06:08):
Oh, that’s right. You’ve told me this before.
Gary Sarner (06:10):
And I didn’t really reach out to Joe that I was coming to the conference because I knew Joe was a specialist in trucking, and I didn’t know enough about this whole legal industry and mass torts and all the different specialties. I was concerned with motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, and a little bit of nursing home abuse. Commercials that I had done for Anidjar & Levine. And I see Joe. There’s this big embrace. He’s like, “Dude, I’ll introduce you to everybody. I know everybody.” I’m like, “Okay.” So from Alex to Paul to Joe, I just start meeting people on the marketing side like you. Then started meeting lawyers after lawyer after lawyer. And nobody knew my name. I was the loud shirt guy.
Maria Monroy (07:03):
But you put yourself out there, even in all the discomfort, you said, okay, I’m going to wear the loud shirt. I’m going to show up. I don’t know anybody, but it is what it is. And I’m super big on energy. I feel like the universe supported you on that.
Gary Sarner (07:19):
You need to ask, you need to believe, and you will receive. The universe watches over us.
Maria Monroy (07:26):
Absolutely. And how do you think that this could translate for lawyers? Do you think it’s important that lawyers network?
Gary Sarner (07:34):
So networking is the key to life in everything. In building friendships, in building business opportunities, in helping one another, in helping your communities. There’s way too many people in the world that are afraid to walk up to somebody, and say, “Hi, Maria. I’m Gary. Nice to meet you. I would like to learn more about you.” Because it’s not about making a sale. In the legal industry, who do lawyers need? They need people to be their clients. And if you’re not going to advertise, whether it’s on the internet, it’s on the radio, on the TV, how are people finding out about you?
Well, you better be able to communicate one on one with people so they can refer people to you to grow your business. Be good to people. Have no expectation. Because if you expect, you get disappointed. But if you just do and are good, people will want to associate with you and hopefully you get to do business together. And not every opportunity is right, but you at least have a connection because that person might be able to connect you to the next person who will connect you to the next person. So as many people as I know, if we walked into a conference, Maria knows 90% because time, and people like your energy. You walk up to somebody, and you were just infectious. Even though I’ve watched you get a little bit nervous before you went on stage.
Maria Monroy (09:25):
Oh my God. Public speaking seriously makes me so nervous. But everybody was so supportive. I remember everyone was like, “You’re going to be fine.” I was getting text messages from everyone. You were there. Alex was there. Everybody was like, “You’re going to be fine.” And I was fine. And now I’m less nervous.
Gary Sarner (09:41):
First off, when it’s natural, it’s easy. When you try and prepare a speech for somebody, whether it’s about your business, about yourself, if you’re natural and you love what you do, which I sit here looking at the two of us, and we’re on opposite ends of what we do for lawyers. But we’re really in it together. Because what you do at LawRank and what I do on radio and television, they work together.
Maria Monroy (10:15):
Oh, so much synergy. It’s crazy. And one thing I want to address with you, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but I feel like a lot of lawyers will try something, but they don’t go all in. So a lawyer wants to advertise, and whatever they decide to do. And they go and they get a billboard, just one billboard only for a short period of time, and then they’re like, “Oh, it didn’t work.” Or they want to do SEO, and they do it for a few months, and then they’re frustrated because it’s not working. Or they don’t have the budget to go into radio, but they do it anyways. And one thing that I think lawyers really need to consider is whatever you’re going to do, do it right. And stick it out and then go from there. I also feel like a lot of law firms have a budget, and they want to spread it out so much. Like, “Oh, I’m going to put this much to TV, to radio, to internet, to social.” And it’s like, well no, you should just take that budget and pick one. Do you agree with that?
Gary Sarner (11:18):
I don’t agree with just picking one.
Maria Monroy (11:21):
But if you don’t have the budget for multiple, would you rather do two and half ass it?
Gary Sarner (11:26):
No, you have to own whatever you do.
Maria Monroy (11:29):
Exactly. That’s my point.
Gary Sarner (11:30):
So if you’re going to be a billboard guy or girl, own the billboards in your market. If you are going to be a radio person, you need to own a station. You really need to own all the stations, and it can build up to it. There’s actual strategy that goes behind how to grow it. Just like there is strategy in SEO and the website.
And that’s the most crucial part of any business in today’s world. Forget lawyers for a minute. Doesn’t matter what the business is. Your home is your website. And I tell anybody that I speak to, especially people that are new to marketing, first have your home in order. Your home is not your law firm. Your home is your website. Then you better make sure that whoever’s answering the phone, the receptionist, director of first impressions, whatever you want to call them, they have to be spectacular.
Maria Monroy (12:38):
Oh, we could talk about intake for the whole podcast. But before we do that, I do want to talk a little bit about media and radio. Most consumers are spending the majority of their time online, yet we are seeing a massive uptick in traditional media. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, B2C service companies are predicted to increase traditional media spend by 10%. So tell me why should attorneys in particular be adding broadcast into their marketing mix?
Gary Sarner (13:06):
So you have to invite people to do business with you. Now we all know in this industry that it’s a very small percentage of people who actually get in an accident and need an attorney. But at that moment of truth, if they don’t know who you are and you don’t have a brand, they’re going to go and do a search and they’re going to find several in your market that have a brand. Oh, I know those people. I’m going to click on them and go to their website.
Maria Monroy (13:46):
Well it instills trust. If you’ve seen a brand over and over again, and you go to Google and you Google car accident lawyer, and you see a brand that you’ve heard on the radio or seen the billboards, the commercials, right away, there’s trust because it’s familiar. And it’s the reason why AT&T, Coca-Cola, they don’t stop advertising, and we all know who they are. But they don’t stop because there’s that safety, that trust that’s there. And brands convert better online. So I agree.
Gary Sarner (14:17):
If I were to ask you to name what you believe are the five greatest brands in the world, what five would you say first?
Maria Monroy (14:27):
Geez, that’s hard. Nike, for sure. Coca-Cola, AT&T, Google, Amazon, Apple.
Gary Sarner (14:35):
You hit number one. Google might be the greatest brand in the world today.
Maria Monroy (14:45):
I mean people think it’s the internet. Google has actually come out and said, “We are not the internet.”
Gary Sarner (14:51):
Well think about this, and I’ll give you the analogy why I go this. Let’s say you cut your finger right now. You’d go into your bag, and what would you put on your cut? A Band-Aid, which is a brand. It’s actually a bandage.
Maria Monroy (15:05):
Gary Sarner (15:05):
It’s a bandage.
Maria Monroy (15:05):
There are a couple brands that have done that.
Gary Sarner (15:08):
If you use Bing or Yahoo or any other search engine out there, and you were to ask 100 people, how would you find something on the internet? They’re going to say, “You Google it.” You don’t Yahoo it, you don’t Bing it, you Google it. So they have built this brand. And I have this conversation all the time with lawyers around the country. “I want to do radio, but I want to know that when I go on XYZ station, I’m getting 15, 20 leads a month from that station.” And I’m like, “Great, that would be perfect. And cool guy Paul will get you the vanity number that you need so you could own your market with the number.” But what do people really do? They don’t pick up the phone and call the law firm today when they hear the commercials or see the commercials because they don’t need the law firm.
So when that moment of truth comes, they go to Google. So everything that you do at LawRank is there to bring them to the top of the search. Hopefully they don’t click on that PPC ad, they click on something that’s organic. My goal is for them to do an organic search and search the brand, which is what we’re doing on radio and television. But if the SEO agency has them ranking, and they click on that, perfect.
But all of a sudden the intake team really doesn’t have to do much because the phone rings off of the phone number on Google. It’s easy, it’s a Google lead. It came on that number. So I have clients that I talk to all the time, whether it’s radio or television, I didn’t get 20 leads from XYZ station. You might not have because your team didn’t have to ask that question. But how do you think people are hearing and finding out about you? Well the more you do on the outside, the better everything you do at LawRank looks always. I always say I am the best advocate to an SEO agency.
Maria Monroy (17:27):
That’s awesome. And I love that. And you’re right, and it works very well together. So we have two types of clients. The clients that do offline and the clients that don’t do offline. The clients that do offline advertising, what I always tell them is you’ve done the hard part because you’ve built a brand. And I think a lot of lawyers are scared to build a brand. And I get it. It’s hard. When we started building a brand and going to conferences and spending so much money on marketing, it’s scary. And it’s scary not to see the return on investment right away.
So for us, it’s conferences. For example, we don’t really see a crazy direct correlation between conferences and our return investment. But what it does for the brand, that’s something that it’s really, really hard to measure. And it has value. And I think if you’re really caught up on, okay, well I spent this much and this is my ROI, and you’re completely missing the boat on the branding, you’re really doing yourself and your brand a huge disservice. Because there’s something to be said about brands.
And just think of, like you said, what are the top brands? Just as humans, we like brands. So to think that everybody else is different, and that when they get in a car accident that doesn’t matter to them, I think that’s ridiculous. Having a brand is so, so powerful. And that’s not something that we necessarily do much except for informational intent searches. If somebody googles some random question that has nothing to do with a car accident, and you’re answering that question, well your brand is getting exposed. But where you really build a brand as a law firm is the offline. The TV, the radio, the billboards. Why do you think so many lawyers are so hesitant to do that?
Gary Sarner (19:23):
That’s easy. What’s the first legal brand you think of if you were in an accident? And we’re in the business-
Maria Monroy (19:32):
Morgan & Morgan.
Gary Sarner (19:33):
Morgan & Morgan. What has Morgan & Morgan done for 40 years?
Maria Monroy (19:38):
Gary Sarner (19:39):
Advertised. Whether it’s TV, radio, billboards, digital, Morgan & Morgan is everywhere. And then you hear from somebody who-
Maria Monroy (19:50):
Bigger is better.
Gary Sarner (19:51):
Well, that’s what they say.
Maria Monroy (19:54):
Have you seen their billboards?
Gary Sarner (19:55):
You know what? I have seen all their billboards, I’ve seen all their ads. And they do a great job. But sometimes they’re upsetting the apple cart. So again, sexual innuendo is good in some marketing, it’s not good in some marketing. Some people are offended by it, some people love it. But that’s going to happen with anything in life. But if Morgan & Morgan is what we’re going to call the number one brand that comes to mind, it’s because of marketing. So then you look at a firm, let’s call it a small seven figure firm that wants to grow to an eight figure firm, well how do you get there? And these are the tough conversations that a LawRank has, that an ROI360+ has with lawyers.
Maria Monroy (20:45):
But why are they scared? Why? What’s the hold up?
Gary Sarner (20:48):
Because most advertisers, and I learned this in my 35 years of marketing in radio sales, they want to buy what they listen to or watch. They don’t have great creative. People leave that out all the time. Just like a website. If the website doesn’t look good, why is anybody going to be there? Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s going to drive traffic for you. So they buy the radio or the television, they don’t have great creative, they didn’t buy the right audience. And number one, they didn’t have patience.
Maria Monroy (21:26):
No, no, no. My question is why do you think they’re afraid to do it?
Gary Sarner (21:30):
Because they don’t have the patience. They can’t see 40 years. John Morgan, 40 years ago, Morris Bart, 40 years ago, Jim Adler, 40 years ago. I mean we’re talking about people that are household names here around the country and in this community. But one thing that they’ve done and never changed, they started advertising. They put their balls on the table, being the money, and they were patient. It is harder today than it was 40 years ago when there were only three or four networks and a few radio stations and billboards. Today you’ve got OTT, you’ve got streaming, you’ve got HD1, HD2, HD3 radio, You’ve got standard television stations with secondary and tertiary signals. You know, could watch shows from the ’60s on a .3 TV station and on.
Maria Monroy (22:30):
I understand what you’re saying, but how do you know that you’re on the right track? So it’s like, okay, let’s be patient, but how do I measure this? How do I know that it is on the right track? So that five years from now, 10 years from now, heck, 40 years from now, my vision will be realized. Is it a lack of vision?
Gary Sarner (22:50):
It’s fear. It’s fear. Because if we just speak about history, history repeats itself good or bad. And I know from 35 years in selling advertising to people, I saw what the success rate was and the failure rate was, and what caused success versus failure. And it all comes back to telling the story over and over and over day by day.
Maria Monroy (23:27):
Okay. Let’s talk about this for a second. So I think this is super important. What are the non-negotiables when setting up an effective radio campaign?
Gary Sarner (23:36):
For me, you must commit to one year of advertising.
Maria Monroy (23:42):
That seems short, in my opinion.
Gary Sarner (23:45):
Well this is a way, first, that you get the broadcast companies to work better with you because it’s a long term commitment. They’re not thinking of somebody coming on and coming off. Now is it cancelable? Of course it is. But you want to get the best value for the amount of money you have to invest in yourself.
Maria Monroy (24:08):
So they do it for a year. And do they typically see a return on investment by the end of that one year?
Gary Sarner (24:15):
Yes, 100%. If it’s done correctly.
Maria Monroy (24:18):
And what does it take to be done correctly? Can we talk about that?
Gary Sarner (24:23):
A lot of frequency. And what law firms, car dealers, marketers don’t understand, they make a call to their favorite radio station. Their favorite radio station might not be the most effective radio station. Or their favorite newscast on the ABC affiliate because they watch it. They want to see their commercials there. That might not be the best place to be. And then the expectation is, once I go on, phone’s going to ring, website’s going to light up. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. No, it takes time to build a brand. Then if you look at all the firms that have been advertising for multiple years, one thing they all have in common is they never stopped. Did they have some rough months? Of course. It happens. But over time, if you market a product, a law firm, well, great creative, right audiences, and give it time, you will never stop. I use a really bad analogy, but it’s the only one that I’ve figured out, and maybe you can help me find another one. But other than rehab, what does a heroin addict need?
Maria Monroy (25:45):
To deal with their trauma?
Gary Sarner (25:47):
Well yeah, they need to deal with it. But if they’re in the throes of the addiction, they need more heroin. What is the heroin of a law firm that advertises? More advertising. Because once you start, and you start seeing the-
Maria Monroy (26:02):
But it needs to be done right?
Gary Sarner (26:06):
It has to be done. But that’s why professionals should be involved.
Maria Monroy (26:08):
And what does that consist of?
Gary Sarner (26:10):
A strategy. Understanding who the target market is going to be to start. Brand message. What is the message going to be? What do you want these people to know about you? So everybody cares. Well, if everybody says they care, what different… Every law firm has to know what they stand for.
Maria Monroy (26:31):
And do you help them with this? Do you help them with messaging?
Gary Sarner (26:34):
Absolutely. I have five different copywriters that I use around the country for the different law firms. And I have yet to have any one of my clients’ commercials look or sound the same. Because what I do is have a creative meeting with the copywriter and the law firm to discuss why they’re doing what they’re doing on their website. Because that’s the home. What are the core values of the firm? What does your team believe the law firm stands for? Try and get deep into who they are and what they stand for. And now all of a sudden, you could tell a story.
Maria Monroy (27:20):
Voice is obviously important. Who should be doing the recordings?
Gary Sarner (27:23):
So optimally it should be the lawyer because now you don’t have to say non-attorney spokesperson. Gives you more time.
Maria Monroy (27:32):
What if they’re not comfortable? It can be very daunting for a lot of people to be in front of a camera. Or for me, being on stage was uncomfortable. And again, we go into fear, right? And I think you and I would agree that it’s just like do it. I’m a firm believer that whatever you’re afraid of, you should lean into it. I mean assuming it’s not like you’re afraid of dying. Okay, I’m not saying lean into death. But if it’s something exciting, and I guess it’s the same chemical, excitement and fear, that is released. So just kind of changing that mindset of, okay, I’m afraid because this is exciting, this is what I should be doing. So if you have a lawyer that is really uncomfortable speaking or being in front of a camera, what do you suggest?
Gary Sarner (28:15):
There are apps that we could download to record our voice. So I have them just take the copy, record it, send it to me. I then send it to a production studio. And I have it produced with the music, what it would sound like on air. And I’m not a technical guy so I don’t know how to work all that equipment. But they play with the levels, they get the voice a little bit. And all of a sudden, boom, you’ve got magic. And when they hear it, they hear it. They’re like, “Wow, I didn’t know I could sound like that.” Well you can because we can manipulate anything. I haven’t had somebody that’s voice was that bad that we couldn’t put them on the radio. Now there’s another part. You could have endorsements by talent that listeners of a radio station love and trust, and they can endorse the law firm. But personally I don’t start with endorsements ever. That’s generally on the back end of what I do, as we grow the brand and we grow what they’re doing inside their market.
Maria Monroy (29:24):
And do you only do radio or you do commercials as well?
Gary Sarner (29:27):
So I don’t produce the commercials. I help get everything from soup to nuts. So we do the planning, the brand strategy, the buying. And then most important we inspect what we expect of the radio stations and TV stations on a daily basis, which a lot of people don’t do. They’re having a lot of commercial inventory moved on them, which breaks what the strategy is. So having the relationships with the broadcasters is crucial.
Maria Monroy (30:04):
Which we go back to networking. So it all just ties in. And maybe our next episode that we shoot together, we can just only focus on relationship building. Because I think you’re really, really good at it, and obviously it’s a passion of mine. So the name of your agency’s ROI360+. So let’s talk a little bit about ROI. How do you use data to measure the effectiveness of a campaign? Are there specific tracking codes or numbers that you use?
Gary Sarner (30:34):
So most of the advertisers buy so many different stations, you’ve got to have one brand message. So whether they use the vanity phone number, in some cases we are building very short landing pages to market. You could do an Atlanta 404hurt.com, or you could have a vanity number that’s easy.
Maria Monroy (31:01):
Gary Sarner (31:02):
Paul Faust. But to really track radio and television in today’s world, it’s very, very difficult because people go to Google first. So when I speak to my clients, we talk about leads that are coming into the firm, and keeping it simple. You’re getting 10 leads a month right now. You start your radio, your TV, you’re doing your SEO, your website is right, the next month you want to see an increase in leads, and an increase in leads, and an increase in leads.
And then as you add more marketing channels, whether it’s radio or television, leads keep building and building and building and building. But if you’re going to sit there and say, “I want to attribute X number of cases to this radio or television station,” it’s not going to work. Just don’t bother. You’re never going to find that. Unless you buy one radio station, one TV station, you have one way to measure it. But you better give it more than a year. You’re going to need to do it for two years. Because now people aren’t hearing and seeing you in different places. So a well built strategy will include multiple channels and multiple ways to touch people. Another guy that’s done a great job out there in the social media world, James Helm at TopDog Law.
Maria Monroy (32:39):
Gary Sarner (32:40):
And Ali Awad in Atlanta. I mean even Seth Bader. These guys have huge, huge followings.
Maria Monroy (32:50):
They do. They do a great job, all three of them.
Gary Sarner (32:52):
That is just another piece of the puzzle in reaching out to a community. So when their moment of truth comes about, they find you. Whether it’s on Google, through all the phone numbers that are put out in the ad, the URLs that are put out in the ad, or because of the social media, and they DM you. At the end of the day, you want to be the most known person in your market. And if you don’t do outreach and you just wait for the phone to ring, or you wait for the click to happen, you won’t win in your market. And there’s something very big that’s going to be coming into this industry in the next five to 10 years. Private equity money.
Maria Monroy (33:44):
I mean it’s already happening.
Gary Sarner (33:45):
In a small way.
Maria Monroy (33:47):
Yeah. If it’s a brand new law firm, attorneys starting a brand new law firm, and they have really a big vision and big goals and they’re like, I want to dominate my market, what would you suggest?
Gary Sarner (34:02):
First and foremost, you must have an amazing website. You have to have a place to convert. You have to have an amazing receptionist, director of first impressions.
Maria Monroy (34:15):
Director of first impressions. I love that. Because in that moment ,that person answering your phone is your brand. The other day I asked, “What do you pay a bilingual intake specialist on social?” And I was surprised by how many people pay them so little. I was like, really? This is the most important person.
Gary Sarner (34:36):
Well people talk about empathy, right? Most people can’t be empathetic to somebody that was just in a car accident because it’s such a small percentage. So sympathetic, having that great voice to make somebody feel comfortable quickly.
Maria Monroy (34:54):
And listening. I think that’s another thing. If your intake specialist doesn’t get them to kind of vent and tell the whole story, they’re going to call the next firm. Because at the end of the day, we all want to be heard. We all want that human connection. And when someone’s been in a car accident, especially the more serious kind or their loved one has been, it’s a really stressful time.
Gary Sarner (35:19):
There’s a very small amount of cases that are catastrophic major injuries, when you really think about all the accidents. Nobody should ever go through that. But these law firms make such a difference in these people’s lives. Their lives have already been changed with something bad. Law firms now help them. People give PI firms a bad rap. Well, I say nobody that we know should ever need a personal injury attorney for something that was really bad. Because when you see verdicts of 5 million, 10 million, and they’re out there on a daily basis around the country, somebody went through hell. And without the right representation, they never would’ve been compensated for having gone through hell. And these guys help make them as whole as they possibly can. I have a lot of respect for what law firms do, especially personal injury law firms. It’s quite amazing to watch from the inside out. And I don’t think people in the general market really understand how much a PI firm does to help them.
But back to the sympathy, empathy. And a new firm, you then have to find a channel, where to market and tell people who you are. And I’m here to do business with you. I’m here to help you. There are some strategies to talk about money. There are strategies that talk about care. There’s so many different ways to speak to the public, online, on air, at events, and it just doesn’t happen overnight. I don’t care what business it is. Because even if you walk into a brand new market, and you have millions of dollars to drop down in marketing, nobody ever heard of you before. So the more that you could invest in yourself, the faster you’re going to be known.
But if you don’t have a ton to start, you still have to start somewhere. Morgan & Morgan was not the largest PI firm in the country 30 years ago. It took time to build that business. Now, are you afraid to compete with Morgan & Morgan? Don’t be. You can. You just have to work with the right people. Look, if somebody asked you a question, Maria, about a legal case, you know enough to be dangerous and answer the questions.
Maria Monroy (38:05):
Oh, I would not dare.
Gary Sarner (38:07):
But we wouldn’t have that call with an insurance company because we’re not trained in that. We know how to market law firms so they could do what they do best with more clients.
Maria Monroy (38:24):
Absolutely. Now Gary, I’ll ask you a question that I think everyone’s wondering. So what is the cost to do this? And I assume that there’s a minimum spend to make this worth it, right? And what is that? And I know you’re going to give me a lawyer answer. It depends on the market. What are we talking about? Major, metro, what’s the minimum spent?
Gary Sarner (38:45):
To do it right, if you don’t have $50,000 a month to invest.
Maria Monroy (38:51):
For a year.
Gary Sarner (38:52):
Maria Monroy (38:53):
Per month for a year. What about a smaller area?
Gary Sarner (38:57):
It could be anywhere from 10 to 15,000, but you might get more channels in a smaller market. In a larger market, you might only get one, two, or three. It all depends upon those initial discussions. Who do you want to target first? There are some lawyers that want to target the Hispanic community only.
Maria Monroy (39:21):
I love the Hispanic community. I mean I’m Mexican as you know. But targeting the Hispanic community, and it’s something we specialize in, what all of our clients tell us is that the Hispanic community, they’re amazing clients, and it’s an underserved community.
Gary Sarner (39:37):
You get one person in a Hispanic family, and you treat them right and you do what’s right and they feel really good, you have the family for life.
Maria Monroy (39:49):
Gary Sarner (39:50):
Maria Monroy (39:50):
We’re very loyal people.
Gary Sarner (39:52):
Being loyal is important. Trusting people is important. I trust everybody, but I don’t want to be proved wrong. Because once you break that trust, then it’s gone. Tough to get that back. What’s important to me is to know that my client that we’re working with is not struggling to pay that bill. Because if you invest your last dollar in something that doesn’t work, you’ve lost your last dollar.
Maria Monroy (40:22):
And I think if there’s a lot of fear attached energetically, it’s less likely to work in my opinion. We’re the same way. And I tell clients all the time, “Look, you have to feel good about this. If you’re going to move forward, you have to feel good about it.” And that’s why you’re never going to get a hard close from LawRank. I know you’re the same way. We truly want to help law firms grow.
Gary Sarner (40:46):
And I truly believe that each and every law firm that’s out there, there’s opportunity out there for every single law firm to grow their business. And there’s a lot of us that are in the business that help law firms. And there’s a lot of people who are specialists in what they do. Speak to us. We will help. And if we can’t help, we will direct you to the right partner that can help you. And hopefully you grow to the point where maybe we can. But I value every single conversation I have within this industry, whether it’s people on our side or it’s the law firms. Every conversation matters because it brings you one step closer to knowing somebody new.
Maria Monroy (41:34):
Digital marketing is evolving every day. Let’s talk about getting in front of traditional media. What’s on the horizon?
Gary Sarner (41:43):
Wow. I mean that’s a loaded question. There are so many avenues now to be a part of in marketing. The TikToks, the Instagrams, the LinkedIn, the Facebook. Which one is best to reach the next person? You got to try them all. Radio, it’s very targeted. African American, Hispanic, Anglo, white. TV, very segmented. Do you want to go after news? Do you want to go after older? The information is out there. And with the right trusted professionals, you will have it all at your fingertips to know where you’re going.
But as you try it and you track it and you see where your engagement is, just keep pressing. All of it works. But it all works better together. It all works better together. And as you build a team around your law firm, and you actually work with specialists in their area, not that we do it all. Because when you do it all, what are you an expert in? Then you might as well open up a PI firm that does med mal and that does workers’ comp and that does nursing. All these other things out there in legal corporate law. Well no, when you’re a specialist at a PI firm, and you have great trial attorneys for personal injury cases, you’re going to win more than you lose. But if you want to be the jack of all trades, you’re never going to be an expert. So having a team of experts around you matters.
Maria Monroy (43:29):
And one final question. You’ve worked with a lot of law firms. And based on your experience, what do you wish attorneys had learned in law school?
Gary Sarner (43:40):
That’s funny because I have two children starting law school next week.
Maria Monroy (43:44):
I know. Congrats.
Gary Sarner (43:46):
I hope that they’ll walk out of law school with a passion for the law that they’re going to choose to work in, and understanding about business and compassion for people. The lawyers that I work with, you know what, you get a gut feeling in life when you meet somebody, and it just clicks from the beginning. You can make a contract as to what the expectations are of one another. But I want to be able to also pick up the phone and speak to my clients or prospects about something other than legal marketing all the time. Those relationships matter because we are all human. We all have feelings. And my God, yes, I’ve been screamed at top of the lungs about things in marketing. It happens, but when you’re able to get past that, it deepens a relationship even more.
Maria Monroy (44:49):
To become the very best, you have to start where you are, go all in, and stick with it. Hire the right teams and you will be amazed by how far you can go. Thank you so much to Gary Sarner at ROI360+ for everything he shared today. If you found this story valuable, please share it with someone you want to see succeed. Subscribe so you never miss an episode and leave a five star review. It goes a long way to help others discover the show. Catch us next week on Tip The Scales with me, Maria Monroy, president of LawRank. Hear how the best in the business broke out of limiting beliefs overcame adversity, and built a thriving purpose driven business in the process.