Attorney Rich Sierra founded Florida Small Business Legal Center with the goal of helping local business owners alleviate their legal problems and solving their business needs. He approached Crisp Video Group because he wanted to pursue a marketing strategy that would set his firm apart from his competitors and increase the likelihood that potential clients will contact his firm. Check out his success story below:
Describe your firm in 2-3 sentences.
We’re a business litigation and transactional firm that focuses primarily on small business clients. Some of the clients that we work with range from the restaurant owner around the street to real estate developers.
We have a wide range of business clients but commonly we work with partnership disputes, contract disputes, and shareholder agreements for people who want to buy and sell businesses. We also work with transactional matters and litigation matters.
Why did you decide to produce a video for your firm? What problem/challenge were you looking to solve or improve?
I wanted a high-quality video to show my potential clients the type of firm that we are. My goal was to really to rise above the rest and do something different than my competitors are doing.
When I saw Michael’s presentation at Avvo and Rainmaker, I thought Crisp and my law firm would be a perfect combination. I thought Crisp offered the perfect product for me to add to my advertising mix.
There are a number of legal video companies out there, why did you choose to produce your videos with Crisp Video Group?
I was really impressed by Michael’s presentation. I have an advertising background and when I saw that he understood that lawyers need to present themselves differently than their competition if they want to stand out, I felt a connection.
Typical lawyer ads are about experience and what we do as a firm – they’re based on a commodity or service model.
What Crisp does differently is that they really get to know you as an attorney and produce a video which showcases why you should be hired over other attorneys in your market.
They use that knowledge to create a video that connects with your ideal target market. So, I thought it was a little bit different [than most video production companies] and I was really attracted to Crisp because of that.
Where were you at with your business one year ago vs. one year later?
I now get better quality clients and I can barely keep up with the leads. Marketing the video through social media platforms has been a tremendous investment.
My Crisp video has really helped me crystallize what I do and I have more confidence in my presentation. It also has allowed me to attract great talent to the firm.
Since releasing my Crisp videos, I’ve started getting calls from clients that are already committed to working with me.
How has your video content impacted your firm?
At my law firm, I do charge a consultation fee for every client that wants to meet with me. Now that I’ve released my Crisp videos, potential clients are more willing to pay that consultation fee without hesitation and are more committed when they signed the Retainer Agreement.
So, my overall quality of clients has increased and the client billings.
Through the video, I find that prospective clients understand me better. They really want to make an appointment to meet with me after watching the video. I know that the video gives me an opportunity to introduce myself to them before they make the call, which makes them more likely to commit when they get on the phone.
What concerns/hesitations did you have leading up to this decision? Did you have any doubts about making the right choice?
I didn’t have any hesitations regarding the video. I think it’s really more of a financial commitment to invest in a quality product. At the end, it was all worth it and I signed up to do a second video this year.
For a small firm, it is a big financial commitment. I know my competitors are not going to commit to investing in video marketing. They have the choice to make the financial commitment but I know that they don’t want to. I made that commitment, and my videos have paid for themselves since releasing them.
Of the various marketing investments you’ve made in your firm, what has/hasn’t worked?
I advertise in a number of online directories. My strategy is to invest in multiple ad platforms. The reality is that if you rely upon one particular strategy, and that’s all you do, it’s going to work sometimes; but not going to work all the time. You’ll really never know. So, what I try to do is really make sure that I’m highly visible on the web and social media and a variety of directories.
I would say that what has worked for me would be Avvo directory listings and Google Business placements.
Do you believe investing in video marketing for your firm was the right thing to do?
What advice would you give to attorneys struggling to differentiate themselves and grow their legal practice?
They need to make a commitment to advertising, and they need to make a commitment to marketing.
Within that commitment, they need to invest in the right media that will set them apart. The feedback that I’ve gotten from my Crisp video has been amazing and the confidence that I’ve gained as a result of doing the video has been very good as well.
Because it is really a two-way street: you can have a great video but once you have the client in your office, you need to have the confidence to be able to sell your services and also to be able to ask for the business and collect the funds.
The entire legal climate has changed, and the entry point and the expectations are a lot higher for a law practice than it was before.
What would you say to an attorney who believes that professional video marketing is “too expensive” or is doubtful of the value/impact it would make on their firm?
The attorney needs to ask whether he/she is committed to growing the practice. You cannot expect to grow a law practice, in a highly competitive environment, without the right visibility, the right marketing, or the right vehicle to send your message.
Video marketing is extremely cost-effective. When you have the opportunity to be presented in a way that will make potential clients say, “You know, I want to hire that attorney, I want to talk to that attorney,” it is a thousand times more different than if you create a video yourself and you just get your webcam or your phone and start shooting video.
Crisp Video Group is a lot different in their approach to video production. So I’ll tell an attorney if you spent a hundred thousand dollars on your legal education to become an attorney, you owe it to yourself to spend a few thousand dollars and get the best video production company that will showcase why you should be hired.
Has your investment in your video marketing improved your life? If so, how?
Yes, it certainly has. I’ve gotten more retainers and more billings and that always helps your personal life.
But perhaps more than anything, I think my Crisp video really has boosted my personal confidence level and my focus.
The way I perceive myself as an attorney has changed dramatically since producing my Crisp video. When I first watched my video and the client testimonials, I remember just thinking, “Wow.”
I didn’t realize that my clients thought those things about me. When I heard their testimonials, I was really touched by them.
I think that when clients come in, we as attorneys sometimes forget the responsibility that we have in our hands when somebody comes to our office with their legal problems. They entrust us with their money (which most of the times they don’t want to spend or have) and their legal problems.
I felt more connected to the clients because of that, and I’m also taking more risks.
I’ve also moved my law firm into a bigger office, and I don’t know if i would have done that had I not produced videos with Crisp.
What the best part of owning your own law firm? And, what’s the biggest challenge?
I think that juggling the demands and also delegating is the second part of it.
When you’re used to doing everything yourself you’ll have a really difficult time delegating. Delegation is something I’ve learned to do better — to delegate and trust my staff and allow them to grow.
Really, the challenge lies in managing the roller-coaster ride that you sometimes have with cash flow, with risks, and so every single day you’re managing time.
Time management is another one of the big challenges that we have as business owners, because we only have so many hours in a day. That’s really the most challenging part of owning a law practice — managing all the information that we have to make decisions on, on a daily basis.
What piece of advice do you wish you would have been given when you first started your law firm?
Perhaps work for someone for a few years or recruit a mentor to guide you in the practice and business of law. I think that would have been a good piece of advice. I started my practice basically right out of law school after selling my online marketing business. Unfortunately, when you come out of law school you are not really prepared to practice law.
I had to pay people out of pocket to teach me, I just basically got mentors and paid them using my retainers. They taught me a lot over the next few years and I then developed my business.
One of the most important pieces of advice is to have a mentor, to have somebody be there to assist you, so when questions come up — which they will — I think that would have been good advice for me to have.
What do you see as the future of legal marketing?
I think there’s going to be some legal battles for various Bar Associations throughout the country. It’s already beginning to happen. In light of the fact that many directories are now being considered legal referral services and they’re regulated by various Bar Associations, that’s going to create inevitable legal challenges.
It’s hard for me to tell you what the future is going to be with respect to legal marketing, but whoever is going to be successful has to really be flexible, has to really adapt, because what worked two or three years ago is now obsolete.
Video now allows us to send our message through mobile devices, through the web, through social media and it’s something that is not at this point being overly regulated.
Anything else you’d like to mention about the impact video has had on your firm?
What I’d like to add is that it’s been truly an amazing experience for me to add the video that Crisp produced to my practice.
It truly has changed things in my firm. It was not easy to make the investment, but I once I saw the final product did not look back. It was a milestone in my practice that I was able to take my message from one point to the other.
I also have a message for any attorneys who are considering Crisp video but may be hesitating: you owe it to yourself. Just do it!
If you’ve spent all this time getting a law degree, learning how to practice law, and then you’re a few years out and still just doing Google ads and directories, you have a choice.
You can either stay where you are or take your practice to the next level.
There’s really no downside to working with Crisp. You’re not going to lose. I even signed up for another video after seeing my first. You have a choice to be memorable!