3 hour call backs & how the pizza guy cost one lawyer alot of business

Hi Joe,

Have you received your How To Market A Small Law Firm audio program
yet?  AFTER you’ve had a chance to listen to it, please send me an
e-mail if you still have those IP-specific questions.  Not sure I agree
with your 3 hour call back rule though. 

Have you seen an ezine article I’ve written about the so-called "sundown
rule" most lawyers try to live by?  That is, they try & call their
clients back before the end of the day.  In my experience that’s a
mistake.  Puts alot of pressure on the lawyer and fails to give the
client what they want most which is to bring some measure of
predictability to what is for most a very scary and foreign experience
that’s way outside their comfort zone.  Instead I’d suggest you try to
get in the habit of scheduling telephone appointments with your clients
rather than bust your butt to try & call them back within 3 hours
if 3 hours isn’t convenient for you, not enough time to find the answer
so you can resolve their question in one call instead of two and 3
hours may not even be convenient for them either.  Better in my
experience to just schedule a call back appointment so everyone can
relax and maximize the efficiency of the phone time together. 

The point of the pizza story is that our staff has as much to do with
our success as the quality of our substantive work.  In that real life
example, the lawyer’s assistant lost her a good client who has alot of
business to give because the assistant was doing what was most
convenient for herself not what was most convenient (and most
respectful) to the paying client who was standing there like a jerk now
running late because the freakin’ pizza guy was more important to her
than me. 

Let’s just balance out the priorities and look at this objectively. . .
I’m paying you $3,000.  I hire lawyers for this exact same kind of work
on a pretty consistent basis.  Between me and all the people I refer to
real estate attorneys I probably represent well over $50,000 of work
per year.  My own time is easily worth a few thousand a day and after
having been jerked around a few times while the staff of this attorney
demonstrated to me that they really don’t give a crap about my time
they added a final straw onto the proverbial camel’s back and made me
stand there in my $1,000 suit with paying clients waiting for me to
call them back and myself waiting to pick up a settlement check for
over $70,000 so that they wouldn’t inconvenience the pizza guy for 5
more minutes because he has to make a living too!?!  It’s not like the
guy stumbled in off the street and was bleeding or dying of a heart
attack.  He was waiting for someone to make change for the cost of a
pizza he was being paid to deliver.

Rhetorical Question: How would you like it if it was YOUR phone call
that was being delayed and when I got on the phone I explained that the
reason I’m 20 minutes late to call you back is because I had to give
your time to make change for the pizza guy?

The purpose of writing the article was to make my clients aware of the
need to look at their practice from the client’s perspective because at
the end of the day, they get to cast the final vote on your success.

Thanks for your participation in my coaching program.  I look forward to continuing to learn of your success,

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