\"That\'s the biggest problem I see facing professional practices. They do not stand out at all. Worse, they don\'t understand the principles to stand out.\"
That’s the biggest problem I see facing professional practices. They do not stand out at all. Worse, they don’t understand the principles to stand out.
Practice Perfect: Actionable business information to take your medical practice to the next level. Now your host, Nick Dumitru.
Nick: [00:00:25] Welcome back to another episode of Practice Perfect. The podcast for medical professionals and anybody dealing with a professional services firm as opposed to a bricks and mortar business. On today’s episode, I’ve got a treat for you guys. I’ve got Corey Vanderberg here from Clixsy. Clixsy is an agency that helps lawyers market and fight against large law firms with TV budgets. The title of this podcast is going to be how to fight large competitors with large budgets using digital marketing. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Now if you’re not in the legal space, if you’re operating some sort of practice that’s in the medical space, if you’re a coach, if you are doing anything other than legal, I still want you to pay close attention to what Corey has to say. One of the things that I teach my clients is to synthesize information and when you synthesize information what I mean by that is that you’re taking something from one industry and you’re applying it to another. A classic example of that is the drive through. Drive through for fast food actually came from the banking industry and somebody at some point was looking at this concept. That the bank said ‘Hey, you know what? This would work really well at my drive thru’ and then they applied it to fast food. And since then we’ve had fast food drive throughs. And I want you to take that same type of thinking. And as you’re listening to Corey talk about how they take down some of the large competitors in their space, I want you to think about how you can apply this to your medical practice. Your professional practice if you’re a coach consultant or doctor. I’ve known Corey for years. He’s someone that I trust and respect. I know that what he’s going to share is going to be extremely valuable. I want you to pay close attention to everything that he’s going to talk about. Corey has been working with lawyers and he is probably the foremost authority on legal marketing in my opinion that I’ve seen. I don’t know anybody that can answer questions about the legal space and how to market for lawyers then Corey Vanderberg. Now I have to preface that with the fact that the legal profession is not an easy profession to get into in terms of marketing. You are dealing with people that are incidental. And what I mean by that is that they have maybe just had an accident. They’re going through some sort of life trauma or a divorce. It’s very hard to predict when those people will take action and that’s the hardest type of marketing to do. It’s not dissimilar from cosmetic surgery marketing because when somebody is going to have a breast augmentation, they make a decision. It’s not based on, you know, a predictable thing like age or a life event like having had a baby. Right. That you can sort of see this search patterns as they’re going on. Legal marketing is exactly the same you cannot predict when somebody has had a car accident. Today, they may be perfectly healthy going to work. Tomorrow, they are in a car accident and now they’re already in need of legal help, legal assistance because somebody is taking advantage of them and they’re not able to get compensation for themselves and their families. And that type of marketing is the most difficult marketing to engage. So I consider Corey to be an expert in that field. And he has spent the past several years doing this for lawyers and working primarily through search engine optimization, SEO, and conversion optimization on legal websites to do this. So I think this is a real treat and I’m looking forward to learning from him myself. I really want to find out what he’s got to say so I’m being a little bit selfish here and saying that while you guys are going to get a great episode, I’m also going to take advantage of Corrie’s knowledge and ask him all sorts of questions. So Corey, welcome to the show.
Corey: [00:04:00] Thank you sir, I appreciate that introduction. That was very thorough and undeserved.
Nick: [00:04:05] That is what they all say about it. All right. So Corey, I want to start off by getting everybody to know you a little bit. So I’d like you to tell me how you guys got started. I know you and your partner had a history of helping lawyers and you kind of fell into it. Right. It was something that you guys designed to do. So tell me a little bit about how you got started.
Corey: [00:04:26] Yeah, it seems like the best stories tend to start that way. Right. Like it did is it sort of fell in our lap. So the way Will and I initially met is he was running a program to help individuals improve their credit scores so that they could get a mortgage. And this was really a clever way of manufacturing his own purchasers for properties that he was fixing up and selling. And as you mentioned earlier that idea of synthesising from one industry to another. I love that and I’ve always regarded that as an extremely important business skill and so when I encounter individuals who already think this way, whether it’s intentional or just intuitive, I take note of it and I pay attention to them. So we started hanging out and talking more and pretty soon it evolved into buying some properties together and my business at the time was somewhat similar except the approach I was getting to build my audience was I was working with people who were distressed borrowers. And my approach was I already had an interested party in the people who already live in their own home. They’re just in danger of losing it. And so what I would do is I would go to the banks and I would restructure and renegotiate the underlying debt. And then give it back to them on more favorable terms. So one of the classic examples I use all the time is I had this family that owed. They were approaching 200000 and they were upside down. The house was really only worth 160000 and we were able to go and purchase the second mortgage which was eighty thousand dollars. We got it for I think it was like 6 grand. And so the second mortgage was like ‘Yeah, we’re out. We’ll take six.’ So we wrote them a check. Well then we went back to the homeowners. And remember they owed 80 grand on this note. We went ahead and told them that they could stay in their home and that we were going to give them that same mortgage that was 80 grand. We were going to give it to him for forty thousand dollars at zero percent interest. So every dollar they paid was paying down that note. Now we had gone in and purchased that underlying debt for six grand. Now one of the reasons we did it this way was because we would then go and find somebody like William who knows how to improve their credit scores and we would have them in five years. They would be able to refinance using FHA and we would realize the gain on that note that we had purchased. So that was somewhat of a long way of explaining that we were both heavily involved in financial instruments that brought us in close proximity to lawyers all the time. We were dealing with people on the closings. We were dealing with lawyers that had to do with bankruptcy. We were dealing with the banks’ lawyers renegotiating those notes. And we had a lot of people whose you know. We had a certain ethic when we would help these homeowners and it was that nobody ever loses their home because of us. And so when we did that, one of the things we would always tell them is ‘Look, your absolute worst case scenario is you know, a lot of the bankruptcy attorneys in town, and there are ways that you can save your home utilizing the bankruptcy courts as a backstop.’
Nick: [00:08:15] That’s an interesting thing you said there. I know you guys, as long as I’ve known both of you, you’ve always been very ethical so I want to dig into that a little bit more. Tell me why you had that policy because if you talk to the average individual in business in the mortgage space, they don’t really care if anybody loses their home or not as long as they get paid. So what drove that with you guys? Why did you have that ethical underpinning?
Corey: [00:08:38] I would say it’s probably somewhat experiential and somewhat self-interest. OK. The experiential side of it is I was the one sitting down with these families. And I remember one incident in particular. This one haunts me to this day. This family came in to see me and at the time, I had a home office. So they would they would actually come to my home and sit in my home office with me. And I remember this mother. In fact, I still remember her last name was Valentine because that’s my mother’s maiden name. She told me about how they had gotten into this position to where they were about to lose their home. And it was because they had had a whole bunch of turmoil in their family that all sort of spiraled out of control around the time that one of their toddlers drowned in the bathtub. And I just like I remember sitting there taking in the gravity of the situation and realizing that there was two grieving parents. There was grieving siblings. And the last thing they needed was to also have to pack up and leave their home in duress during all this grief. And to top all that off, they had been approached by hard money lenders and now I don’t want to cast aspersions on the whole industry because there are really good reasons sometimes to utilize a hard money lender. I know that often they’re sort of looked at as loansharks but I think there’s valid reasons to use them at times. But the ones that they had come in contact were absolutely vultures and low lifes. And you know they were in danger of losing their home because of it. So it was situations like that and I could tell you a hundred more stories. Maybe not as heart wrenching but just as meaningful to them. Right. And so it became real to me and that might seem a little cliched but it’s nevertheless it’s true. And then on the self-interest side, it’s funny. I’ve just found that industries are a small world. You know, within the legal space. Within a medical or dental or whatever niche you choose. It’s a small world and word travels quickly. Especially when someone gets burned. And so I would say that the self-interest side of me has jealously guarded our reputation. And so when I look at devising sort of an ethical standard like that, it’s both because I don’t want to have to try and sleep at night knowing that I was involved with somebody losing their home or somebodies business not working. I don’t want it to be my fault. You know there’s plenty of people who aren’t good at running their business but it can’t be my fault. And then the flip side of that coin is I want a sterling reputation because you know, one of the things that’s very surprising to people when they find out is that Clixsy is entirely referral based right now. We do zero marketing of our own. We don’t run ads. We don’t rank for things. We don’t spend any time ranking our own website which I know. You know. Some people say ‘Well geez, you know you, it’s the cobbler’s kid has no shoe.’ But we’re so focused on taking care of the clientele we have and delivering the result for them that 100 percent of our client base has come from those same clients saying ‘Man, I got to introduce you to somebody.
Nick: [00:12:33] You know, I completely respect that because a lot of my history in marketing is exactly the same. I find that in general, you’ve got two types of people that are helping services business. Some of them are really good at marketing themselves and some of them are good at marketing the client and it’s the ones that are great at marketing the client that don’t really waste time on trying to market themselves. They don’t go to a lot of the trade shows. They don’t have booths. And that’s because they just do a great job so they don’t need to. And I think that oftentimes service providers that are looking for a vendor like Clixsy don’t take that into account and they fall for the flash. In the presentations and the slide shows but they don’t look at the the results that that agency is getting and where we’re going to get into that in a moment. What I’d like to hear from you next is how did you go from walking the fine line between ethics and profit in a tough space like mortgages and then divide that in to your words. Like who is the first lawyer you helped? How did you meet her?
Corey: [00:13:31] It’s Interesting. So back to the mortgage world. So this was about just pre mortgage crisis. You know, end of 2006. And I want to say it was maybe early 2007 when Google launched this little thing called Google Maps and Google places. It was the first time that they showed local results mixed in to the universal search. And I had this friend of mine who was today what we would call him as a Youtuber. But back then, there was no reward for that. He just was a guy who made videos all the time and posted them. And he said ‘Dude, watch this.’ And he went into Google Places and he made a listing and he’s stuffed the listing full of keywords. It said something like Salt Lake City Mortgage, something or other. And heput it up and in 10 minutes he was number one on Google. And the next day he showed me that he got three phone calls for people who were looking for mortgages because he had keywords stuffed this listing. And at that point, I was fascinated and I was hooked. Right. So we started doing different tactics marketing ourselves and trying to figure out how we could drive deals to ourselves. How we could find homes. How we could find buyers and mortgages and just all the different things that we were doing. And that period of experimentation lasted from about 06 to maybe 2009 where that’s what we were doing was marketing ourselves. And I got a phone call from a friend who I went to high school with who had been practicing bankruptcy law in San Diego and as I mentioned, we were extremely familiar with the space because of our experience with distressed borrowers. And she says ‘Hey I’ve been seeing all that stuff that you guys do online. Do you think, you know, I’m moving back to Utah. I don’t have anything. I’m literally just picking up and leaving. I will be starting over from scratch. Do you think some of that stuff could help me get a new start and get some bankruptcy clients?’ And I thought gee, I mean, it was so easy to do stuff some keywords and get the phone ranging for mortgages, gosh, I can’t see why not. And since she had no established practice, it was one of those things where I was like. ‘Carl, what could it hurt?’ You know, again, my ethics came into play and I was like if any other business owner approached me and said ‘Hey, can you do this for me? I’ll pay you.’ I would have been really concerned like I don’t know. I mean I’m fine doing it myself but I would not have felt comfortable taking someone’s money at that point. But she was starting over. And so I thought ‘Sure, why not. What could it hurt.’ She was going to share office space with us too. To try and keep the overhead low. And so away we went and we started utilizing some of the strategies that I learned from that friend who did YouTube. And we started. We produced like, I’m not exaggerating. Like a hundred FAQ videos on bankruptcy. And some of them were her/ and some of them, I actually got on camera. And we would put disclaimers all over the video saying, ‘Hey, I’m not an attorney. This is not legal advice’ and stuff like that. But I would talk about the logistics of bankruptcy law and I would come at it from the perspective of what I had been doing to help homeowners. And I would talk to them about when bankruptcy is an option and when you should consider alternative means and all that different advice that I had been giving at that point for going to close to 10 years. So it was really natural fit for me. It was just a slight tweak to my positioning. You know, whereas in the past I was always talking to these homeowners to try and help them either save or sell their home. And now I was talking to them from the perspective of if you need a lawyer. If these are your circumstances, this is when you ought to try getting a free consultation and this is when you should talk to a lawyer. And you know I kind of developed a little bit of a reputation at that time for being kind of a one take wonder. Like who’s really good off the cuff. I could just turn on the camera. Talk about a topic. And so we started producing all these these videos and then it happened. Where she grew from nothing to in about six months, we had her filing between 15 and 20 bankruptcy’s a month. Now that is a decent sized bankruptcy practice for a solo attorney. I mean, it’s certainly not like nobody’s going to become Bill Gates off that. But you can make a living off 10 filings a month. Right. So 15 to 20, she was happy. Let’s say that. So she started to refer clients our way and we started getting clients. We had another bankruptcy lawyer in a different area who didn’t compete with her said ‘Hey, can you do what you did for her?’ And we repeated it. We did it again. And that’s kind of how it started to snowball. And then as most entrepreneurs do, we got a little bit off the beaten path for just a minute. Where because of the notoriety we were getting, I’d say that we had started doing this agency gig for about two and half three years. And another opportunities fell in our lap where we got to do some book launches for Dr. Stephen Covey. And that was so different than anything that we’d been doing but we were really being seen as pioneers and innovators. Because even though by today’s standards, what we were doing was relatively basic, it was so forward thinking at the time. Right. And in the internet days as we say sometimes, we were really on the forefront. Like we introduced Franklin Covey to auto responders. Very progressive. Right. And that sort of took us on a journey for a few years until about 2013. And that’s that’s when everything really started to shift back to a heavy legal emphasis for us.
Nick: [00:20:34] That’s really cool. And I think the important part to note about that story is the fact that you guys have always been innovators as far as I’ve known you guys. You’ve innovated. What you’re doing today is definitely very different than starting with sort of a zero budget with a lawyer out of the gate. But the spirit of what you do is no different. Even though I know right now it takes about 50000 to 100000 dollars to engage with you guys. I think that those budgets are all relative. And the theme of this show is how to compete with the big boys having the budget that you have. And sometimes, in the example of the lawyer that you gave, she had literally almost no budget to competing with guys that have got hundreds of millions. Right. So when we’re talking about 50 to 100000, it’s nothing compared to the guy that’s spending, you know, 100 million dollars on Google ads and TV ads a year. Right. So the TV budgets are very different. So what I want to ask you now is, let’s move from the past into the present into what you guys are doing now. And I’d like to ask you why is it that lawyers have such a hard time competing with these big firms? You know, a guy that maybe is making a few million dollars a year as a lawyer. He’s doing all right. It’s not like he’s hurting. He’s got the 50 hundred grand. But why does he still feel like he can’t compete with the big players? What’s Holding them back?
Corey: [00:21:55] Well, I would say that probably the number one reason, and there’s a lot of different factors and probably we could deliberate on each individual situation like what’s more of a factor in your case vs. your neighbors case. But what I see the most frequently is everybody– Well, I’m going to paint with a broad brush here. Most of the law firms and really professional practices in general that I see are doing what I call copying off the dumbest kid in class. And what I mean by that is that they watch each other. Especially lawyers. I mean, when I was dealing primarily with bankruptcy lawyers, I would weekly have conversations where they would show me the filings for the previous week. They’re sitting there keeping score. Like ‘Look at this yeah who, he filed 20 cases last week. What the hell is he doing?’ And they want me to figure it out. Like what’s he doing. And so they’re very hyper competitive. And if they see someone getting more cases or showing any outward signs of success, they immediately assume that whatever they observe them doing is what’s actually working. ‘Well, look at his website. He’s getting a lot of cases. Look at what his website says. Oh, he’s doing YouTube videos. He’s getting a lot of cases. He’s running TV. That must be it.’ And the reality is when you’re on the other side observing what’s working and what’s not, it’s hilarious to know that on the outside they think they know what’s working. And most of the time, when we’re working with these law firms, the most energy is spent trying to figure out what’s working. Like it’s hilarious to see how that the perspectives when they shift. But I think that when I say that they’re copying off the dumbest kid in class, what I mean is is that they assume that that’s what’s causing them to have more cases. And so then they go do it. So then you have this homogenous industry where everybody’s websites are essentially the same. They’re all just replications of one another. And they may have different colors or different bells and whistles or this is here and that’s there instead of the other way around. But in the end it’s all the same thing. Right. The majority of our clients are injury lawyers. We all know if you had 50 injury law websites and you went to them, how much difference is there going to be between them? They’re all going to be heroes shots of the lawyers. They’re all gonna say some variation of no fee or we fight for you or we’re aggressive or we’re going to stick it to them. You know. Like, that’s it. There’s no differentiation. Everybody’s the same. And like that little kid in Incredibles. What does he say to his mom? When everybody’s special, Nobody is. And that’s the biggest problem I see facing professional practices is they do not stand out at all. Worse, they don’t understand the principles to stand out. Because the cool thing is, there is a very formulaic way to do it. You don’t have to be Steve Jobs or you know, Johnny Ives at Apple to manufacture what it takes to stand out. There’s a formulaic way to do it.
Nick: [00:25:24] One thing I want to touch on that point is the fact that it’s not really the lawyer’s fault that that’s happening. And I did actually a previous episode on this topic on web design. And in my experience, I didn’t really look into the legal space but it sounds like the legal space is exactly the same as the plastic surgery space in that these design firms that contact the lawyers, they sell to the ego. And it’s very easy for them to make money by plastering lawyers or the doctors face on the home page and stroking their ego very carefully and gently and thoroughly and telling them that people are looking for them when that’s not the case at all. And the reason that I see a lot of these websites designed this way is solely for the fact that these design firms care more about their own profitability than how well they do for their clients or they’re so inept. So it’s either ineptitude or negligence but it’s one of the two where they either don’t care or they care about only themselves and they don’t really put the work and the effort and the care needed to make sure that the clients actually making money instead of just them. Because it’s very easy to call someone pretty and then tell them that you want to take their portrait. Right. And that’s what they’re doing to these lawyers.
Corey: [00:26:35] There’s no question. I 100 percent agree with you that there is. You know, it’s one of those things like, I don’t like generalization and stigma because–.
Nick: [00:26:45] That’s okay. I love it so just go for it.
Corey: [00:26:47] No. Right. Well, what I was going to say is that oftentimes, there’s a reason stereotypes develop. And it’s because there’s grains of truth in there. And I think that those reputations that the creative industry, agencies, ad agencies, webdesign, it’s not undeserved. Those types of stereotypes, they’ve absolutely come about. And what I see most frequently is there are a lot of people out there who are what I call button pushers. And what I mean when I say button pushers is they know how to get in front of Adobe Photoshop. Or they know on the advertising side, they know how to get in front of Google AdWords. And they know how to push the buttons and pull the levers. But that does not make you a marketer. That does not make you persuasive. Right. And in the end, whether it’s a website or an ad or a video or a press release or whatever it is. Whatever piece of marketing you’re trying to produce, there is a fine line between simply producing the thing and producing one that’s persuasive.
Nick: [00:28:06] So what you guys are doing now is essentially, we’ve spoken about this in the past but you’ve pivoted away from your history of doing primarily search engine optimization and I understand that’s still a big component of it obviously. I mean, it’s kind of like a given. They have to rank because who is going to go to a website that they can’t find. So it doesn’t matter how pretty or persuasive it is. So I know that’s a big part of your business. I don’t want to touch on that right now. I want to find out about what you’re doing with these brand transformations. What is it? Why do lawyers need it? Talk to me about how you guys got into it and why you feel that it’s important for lawyers.
Corey: [00:28:41] Well, I feel like there is this trend over the last two or three years where artificial intelligence is becoming more and more prevalent in the marketing space. You see it with search on the part of Google. You see it with Facebook. They’re developing an A.I. related to both their ad platform as well as their messenger platform. You see it with Apple and Siri and Amazon and Alexa. There’s so much development going on around artificial intelligence. And what we’ve started to do is just take stock of what are the implications of artificial intelligence being involved and when it comes to search, what I’m finding is that you used to be able to have a really clear delineation between this guy who does SEO and those guys who do paper click. And those guys those are the design people. Right. And what’s happening is if you imagine those different roles in sort of like a venn diagram, the middle is getting a lot bigger and the overlap is increasing between all of those things. Because when you really look at the Big Four. Right. Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook. When you really look at it, the core essence of all of their business models is to give the user what they wanted. To reward the searcher with exactly the right result at exactly the right time. And the thing is like when you’re searching for something on Google, it’s not like there’s a suggestion box or some obvious way that you can tell Google ‘Hey, by the way, good job on that last search for pizza. That was exactly what I was looking for.’ There is nothing like that built into the system. So they have to extrapolate from your behavior. ‘Oh, you went to ten websites before you check it out. That must not have been a very efficient process.’ So then they start baking that into the algorithm. Right. And the end result is that all of those different disciplines are now starting to become all part of the process. SEO used to be a very very technical thing that just merely dealt with links and keywords. And it started to become more and more complex. And advertising running digital ads used to be just about keywords and bibs and a landing page and it’s become more and more complex. And design was merely moving things around in design software and producing something that everybody agreed upon was aesthetically pleasing. But now with A.I., it’s able to calculate millions, billions, maybe trillions. I don’t know. Probably trillions of different variables in a very very short period of time. In fact Google’s new A.I., if you heard some of the stories about what they’ve been teaching it to do with this Chinese game called Go. It’s both fascinating and frightening at the same time to imagine how rapidly this thing learns. And so then when you take that and put that same lens on a searcher who’s looking for an injury lawyer or a bankruptcy lawyer or a divorce attorney, it’s sitting there analyzing their behavior and seeing when they searched, when they went to your website, when they clicked off your website back to Google and clicked on your competitors website, and then went to your competitors contact page and hit click to call. They see all that. And their A.I. is processing all of that. And don’t you really think that if Google’s sole focus is ensuring that the user got what they were looking for. That they’re going to factor that into SEO? Of course they are. And if that’s the case, you know the other day I had had one of our clients. They went to a seminar and I hate when clients go to seminars because they always hear some some sound bite out of context and then they call you in a panic and they’re like ‘Hey I just heard Forest Green makes you rank higher. Are we doing Forest Green?’ You know, some of the craziest things. Well anyways, they called me to talk about mobile site speed and how that’s the new thing that Google’s baking into their algorithm. And had to clear up for them that A. That’s ship sailed. That’s already part of the process and B. Kind of, you know, help them understand what it is we were doing. But the funny thing that they said to me and this is the lesson for what we’re talking about here. They said ‘You know, this mobile site speed thing. Google says it’s going to be important in July. I really think that’s more important than the SEO right now. We should drop the SEO for a minute and just focus on this.’And I was like ‘Guys, the site’s speed is SEO. Designing your site to convert visitors into prospects which convert into client is SEO now. It’s all part of it.’.
Nick: [00:34:28] Yeah, it’s part and parcel. I have to agree with you 100 percent. The lines are not blurred. They’ve been actually eliminated and a lot of people don’t understand that. And for anyone listening that’s not very technical, Google Analytics is a way for you to measure events on your website and Google gives away this tool for free for anyone that’s not a corporation and doesn’t need real time data. And it’s by far I would say the primary mechanism for people to measure website engagement and visibility on their site and the behavior of people on their site. Well, Google has access to all that data. So if you’re wondering about how are they going to know if someone click the call, they know all of that stuff. If you go into Google Analytics you can actually pull up an overview of your website and see which elements on your page get the most clicks in terms of links to other pages on your site. And that’s just the sort of the basic stuff that they provide to us. What Corey is talking about is the fact that they are now aggregating all of this data. They are using it in their decision making process to make sure that their algorithms aren’t being fooled by, you know, on page trickery. Some of the old school stuff where both Corey and I are probably very guilty of which is like white text on a white background and stuffing in a bunch of keywords. And everyone started out that way back in the day when it used to work. But you know, they are eliminating all of those factors so that it’s the user that’s telling them what’s right now. So they have essentially outsourced and crowdsourced their algorithm to real humans and they’re watching that behavior. And because the artificial intelligence is able to keep up with it in real time, their search results are a lot more accurate. So with these brand transformations, what Corey and Clixsy are doing is they’ve taken that learning and the elimination of those lines and started to look at it as a holistic process. So you know, I think you’ve touched a little bit on why a lawyer needs this. Obviously, they need to rank better. How does it affect their business when they do a brand transformation?
Corey: [00:36:27] Well, you know, one of the interesting things that sort of led up to us going in this direction was I started to have the same conversation with different clients in a period of like a month. They all came to me and said something similar. And it went sort of like this: ‘Hey, I talked to so-and-so who normally sends me clients and I found out that someone didn’t choose us because of our website.’ In one case, it was a neurosurgeon who had a big brain injury case and he was going to refer a case over. And he was like ‘Oh, those guys are just car accident guys.’ Another instance was they had done a little bit of a focus group survey and asked some of their clientele and they said ‘We really hate your website. It’s awful.’ And in another case, it was a client coming to me and saying ‘We just aren’t getting big cases anymore. All we’re getting is these little small soft tissue minimal damage to the vehicle, you know, a lot of people calling with no injuries at all. Like where are the big cases?’ And you know, that homogenisation that I talked about earlier, in a lot of times, we’re inheriting these websites. And we’re not only inheriting the site but we’re inheriting the client who has a lot of preconceived notions because this is just what you do. Right. It’s like the old story of the mom and the daughter cooking a pot roast and she wants to know why they cut the ends off. And so they finally get back like four generations and they find out that great great great grandma’s stove was too small so they had to cut the ends of the pot roast off. And I feel like that’s exactly what’s happened with with websites is they’ve just become accustomed to that, well, I’ll just come right out and say negligence that you talked about earlier. And they think that’s how things ought to be done. And so we started saying if there’s this convergence of Google changing and there’s also this feedback of we hate your website or we didn’t refer you a case because of your site then that was sort of like okay, the stars are aligning. And you know. The writings on the wall as they say. Right. We just got to do this. This has got to be a problem we have to solve. And you know, we were coming at it from a unique perspective in that you know, we’ve always been primarily focused on getting the law firm visibility. Whether it was from organic SEO or paid digital ads, we were the ones getting people to the site. And then of course working on conversion. But we hadn’t traditionally been. We we would do design or redesigns of websites if necessary. Was kind of our policy. You know, we would do it if we had to or if there was a reason to or the client requested it. And they were like ‘No, no, we don’t want to go anywhere else. We really want you to do it.’ We’d like okay fine, we’ll do a website for you. But you know it wasn’t something we were actively out soliciting. And so we have this one client who they’ve been with us now for five years and they’ve just over time, we’ve developed that trust and that rapport where they’ll kind of let us take flyers on harebrained ideas. If we say ‘Hey, we want to try this.’ They’ll go ‘OK, try it.’ Because we’ve earned that trust with them. And so we said ‘Okay, here’s what we want to propose. Not just a website but we want to actually propose repositioning you in your market place and trying to come at it from a completely different angle.’ And so I went and brought somebody onto our team who I’ve worked with in the past. He was actually the guy that we did the Franklin Covey book launches with. And he is very very well-known here in the state of Utah amongst branding people. People who were in the branding and design world. And the reason he’s so well-known is because there was a famous case study here in Utah of a company called Maverick. They’re a convenience store chain and Maverick at the time was, and I don’t remember the precise numbers so I may be screwing these up but I want to say they were a fairly large company. But they certainly weren’t on anyone’s radar like 7-Eleven. Maverick, at the time, their brand image was one of sort of like western culture and I’m even just gonna venture off a ledge here and say that it was hickish. Right. Their stories were sort of known for being dirty. And I remember in high school, I remember a rumor being passed around that you shouldn’t go to Maverick and get gas. Because they water it down and that you’ll get water in your engine and it’ll ruin your car. Like I literally remember that being a rumor passing around in high school. But this was their brand. Like your brand is the image people have in their mind about you. The feeling they get. Right. And that’s what it felt like. It was dirty and not trustworthy. And I remembered Tim, this individual I’m working with, telling me that when they first were engaged for this brand transformation, he went in and he’s like ‘I didn’t feel safe.’ And they sat there for several hours in the parking lot and noticed that it was about 80 percent men who went to Maverick stores. Well, they went to work on this concept of transforming the brand. Today, Maverick is an absolute behemoth in the convenience store industry. They’ve expanded outside of Utah. They’re now up into like Idaho and Wyoming. And I believe they’ve even gone into Colorado but they’re expanding outside the state. And again, the numbers are my Achilles heel here. But I want to say at one point, I heard that they had become a billion dollar company since this brand transformation. And the difference was that they changed it from those perceptions that they had to an image and a feeling that everybody wants to be associated with. I know people and I’m one of them. I will drive out of my way. I will avoid four other gas stations to go to a Maverick. That sounds so weird. It’s just a gas station. But they’re so nice and they’re so exactly me. I identify with them. It’s like buying an Apple phone. How you buy Apple because you identify with the brand and that’s how much difference the brand transformation made. Is that it just absolutely vaulted this company into superstardom in the convenience store industry. And we wanted to bring that to the legal space. And so that’s the pivot that we’ve made is where we’re actively bringing a new voice to the legal industry. Where we transform brands to have powerful messages that speak to the audience that you serve instead of merely being an ego boost or a brochure.
Nick: [00:44:35] Very nice. So on that note with the websites, I know one of the concepts I cover in my book is that activity doesn’t equal progress. And I know that that’s something that we’re touching on here. And the fact of the matter is that up to this point, I would say that our industry has been broken because we’ve all been siloed and we’ve siloed ourselves. I mean us as service providers, web designers, web developers, SEO people. We are guilty of it as well because traditionally in the past, we’ve had to go in and say ‘Hey, this is our area of expertise. Let us do this for you and get someone else to do that other component for you.’ But you know, what you’re touching on now is that the industry needs to be fixed where we need to have a big picture view of everything and you know, don’t plant that tomato underneath the tree and have your back to the tree because it will never get sun and you’ll never get a tomato off that vine because you’re just focused on that one little plant and not seeing that you’re actually trying to plant in a forest where it will never work. So on that note and with this concept of activity, I know that you guys, just like us, you do things a little bit differently where you actually keep yourselves accountable for results. So tell me a little bit about the philosophy around that and why you started to do that. Because I think that it’s important for doctors, lawyers, service professionals to understand this concept of activity. Not equaling progress. You do not make progress because your service providers ticking off boxes on what they promise to do. So tell me about why you do that and how you guys do that.
Corey: [00:46:04] I hate that. That’s one of the biggest things that drives me nuts in this industry. Especially when we’re talking to a new prospect who’s being referred to us. And the premise is ‘Gosh, you did such a great job for so and so. Let’s talk.’ And then they want to sit down and look at the 500 point bullet list of things that their previous provider were doing for them. And I’m like ‘You’re leaving them. You’re talking to me about leaving them and you really want to sit and talk about what it was they were doing?’ To me, that’s kind of an absurd concept. And that’s really where we’ve hung our hat and built our reputation. I have a good friend Kurt Marley and he always talks about this thing called Intention Behavior Result. IBR. And what he means by that is ‘You tell me what the outcome is that you want.’ That’s the intention. I will decide which behaviors specifically will lead to that and then we will both work together on getting the result. Right. Because I’m the expert here. I’m the one who has done this. You know, I’m never going to come in and tell you how to litigate a truck accident case ever. Or how to do a breast augmentation or rhinoplasty or a root canal. I will not do it and I expect that same level of deference when I tell you what your home page should look like. You know. And I think that that part of the– it’s funny. You talked about how we’ve siloed ourselves and we’ve pigeonholed ourselves. And since we’re talking to professional service providers, let me couch this in terms that you understand. Prescribing something without a diagnosis is malpractice. So when some agency hands you a 500 point list of deliverables and says ‘Todd, let me slap this on your desk. This is what we do.’ You can know already, they’re planning malpractice. Because that’s what they’re proposing to do. They’ve got some cookie cutter solution that they’ve drawn up on their whiteboard and they know precisely how much it costs and they know exactly the dates that they’re going to be able to do those things by. How? How can you possibly know with all the variables involved? Now I’m not saying that we don’t also hold ourselves accountable but we have to start talking about the level of discernment that it requires to make these decisions about conversion, what your site looks like, where to get traffic, where to advertise, how much to spend. All of those things require that same level of discernment and you can’t draw those up on a whiteboard and expect that they’re going to fit every circumstance.
Nick: [00:49:24] I think that’s all very well put. Corey, I made the mistake of not booking enough time for this. I thought we would be done in an hour. I should have known better. You’ve got a lot of wisdom to share. I think we’re going to have to start wrapping this up and I want to deliver a little bit on the promise of the show. Which is how to tackle larger companies with larger budgets. So for some parting thoughts, I’m going to ask you two questions. The first one is going to be if you are a lawyer. Think about a lawyer that is struggling against big players that has competitors in his marketplace. That is one of those guys that’s always following instead of leading and thinking ‘Hey, how are these guys getting those 20 cases?’ What’s the one or two pieces of advice that you would impart to that lawyer to help them along? What would you tell him to do if you weren’t there and he needed to do something on his own? What could you do?
Corey: [00:50:14] Who’s the guy– I don’t mean to assume genders here but who’s the person that you go to who is most helpful in a hotel when you’re in a new city? You’re unfamiliar with the place, you’ve just gotten to the hotel and you’re like ‘Boy, I’d sure like to know if Nick: [00:56:16] any places around here that are recommended or maybe I want to find a good spa or a good restaurant or a good clothier where I can go get a suit tailored or whatever it is.’ Who do you go to in the hotel?
Nick: [00:50:47] I’m going to say the concierge.
Corey: [00:50:48] That’s exactly right. If I was a solo or a small firm and staring down the barrel of one of these big agencies with massive budgets, my two pieces of advice would be 1, you need to look at how you can serve the client in a way that satisfies all of or as many of the needs that they have that go beyond merely what it is you do. OK? One of my clients does this thing that they call medical management of their cases. And what that means is they go beyond what most firms do which is simply saying ‘Oh, make sure you go to the doctor and get treated.’ No. They’ve got protocols. They guide you. They hold you by the hand. ‘Hey, here’s three doctors that all do that and we’ve evaluated them and here’s the recommendations that we get back from clients that have seen them.’ You know, they put in just a little bit more effort to hold the client’s hand through the experience of being injured. There are concierge for injured people. That right there is something that the big boys often are not willing to do. Because they’re so worried about doing it at scale that they won’t even consider it. And they’ll laugh at you when they hear that that’s what you’re doing. And you will absolutely destroy them because that’s exactly what we’ve done. And you know, you talked at the very beginning of this conversation about being able to take something from one industry and apply it to your own. And you know, we’ve got these big advertising agencies. I call them the Madison Avenues. The guys that they do all the TV and the billboard work and they’ve got big big budgets and they wine and dine and take you in limousines and front row seats games and stuff like that. And you know what? I’ve taken clients away from these guys. Big clients. One of my favorite stories is when I was first getting started, I had this mentor who I really trusted and he started laughing when I told him that we were gonna start doing this. And he’s like ‘Dude, you can never compete with SEO.com. That’s who he was with at the time. Yeah, well we took Franklin Cubby away from SEO.com. And I’ve been told the same thing about these big Madison Avenue agecies. Right? That you’re not going be able to compete with so and so. But we’ve landed clients this year from those big Madison Avenue agencies and it’s because we’re a concierge. It’s because if they talk to me about site speed or they talk to me about conversion or ads or text messaging, I take the time. And here’s lesson number two. Be the concierge was lesson number one. The second thing is as I take time to perfect my craft. I sit down and I read and I explore. And I call people and I talk to them about new emerging concepts. When I hear about some new thing, I don’t go ‘Oh, that’s interesting.’ I go ‘Oh, man. In six months, my clients are going to want to know about that.’ And I start digging. And I hone my craft so that I’m ahead of them. And it’s like Larry Bird talking about how he knew there was some person on the opposite side of the country who was up an hour earlier than him and shot 500 more free throws than him. Take more time to work on your craft. Don’t spend all of it just executing the work. And you combine those two things and man, you will get on your big competitors’ radars fast.
Nick: [00:54:43] I think that those are two huge points. If you’re listening and you can take note of that, go back and listen to exactly what Corey said there. Is that you’ve got a unique advantage no matter the size of your business and understand that what’s gotten you here isn’t going to get you there. And it’s the same for the big firms. Don’t try to copy your big competitors because what’s going to get you there isn’t what got them there and it’s not going to work for you as it is for them. So think about how you can be advantageous and separate and different. So Corey, in three minutes or less, can you tell me anything that I may have forgotten to ask you that you would like to share with lawyers and service providers that are listening to this episode?
Corey: [00:55:23] I don’t think from a topical standpoint and I’m a little wordy as it is. I don’t think I’d be able to broach anything in three minutes. But I did want to add one quick clarification earlier when we were talking about the brand transformation and new website packages. I did want to just clarify that we do still have retainers in the range that’s affordable to solos and small firms. I didn’t want to give the impression that you know, that we’re now one of the Madison Avenues and that we only take on clients who can afford 50 to 100 grand. We certainly have done those projects and we bring it. But I think that it’s a matter of pride for us that we haven’t forgotten our roots and where we came from and that we bring something to bear for the upstarts and the smaller firms as well.
Nick: [00:56:16] Well, like I said at the beginning you guys, are nothing if not ethical and it does not surprise me that you are willing to help people that are coming up and that they are willing to work for what they want to get. So that’s fantastic. Corey, what can people do to get in touch with you? Where they can find you? What’s your website address? What are your contact details?
Corey: [00:56:35] Yes. So clixsy.com is our website and that’s spelled C L I X S Y. There is a watch manufacturer that doesn’t have the S so they sometimes get some of our calls in. And we, them. But yes, so clixsy.com. And you can just e-mail me. I’m actually pretty accessible and it’s just email@example.com.
Nick: [00:56:59] Awesome. Corey, thank you very much for your time. I will make sure to book a lot more time next time so that we can go even deeper. That’s not a slight to you at all. It’s just that you’ve got a lot to share and a lot of wisdom and experience. And I’ve got another meeting book. Otherwise, I would keep this going for everybody. But I think, you know, it’s nice to have a digestible episode as well for everybody so that they can listen and really start to implement some of the concepts that you’ve talked about. And if you’re a listener and if you have taken on board what Corey has said here, I want you to go and take action. I’m a big believer in taking action on what you hear. So if anything has resonated, if you’ve gotten any ideas, if you’ve synthesized any of this information for your own business, go out there. Start transforming your brand. Get in touch with Corey if you’ve got additional questions about that. If you’re in the legal space, definitely get in touch with Corey and make things happen. All right Corey, I want to thank you. I want thank everyone for listening. Looking forward for having you back.
Outro: [00:57:56] Thanks for listening to Practice Perfect. I hope this episode has given you a lot to think about. I hope you’ve got actionable ideas that you can take back to your practice and go back and make changes. Make improvements. And take it to the next level. If you want show notes and additional help and advice and articles on how to grow your practice, Visit us at thinkbasis.com where we hold the podcast. That’s T H I N K B A S I S dot com or just google the Practice Perfect Podcast and you should be able to find our podcasting page. Have a great day. Have a wonderful week. And I wish you all the best with your practice. Go out there. Make a change and make it happen.