Denny Esford: Planning for Success

In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Denny Esford discuss:

  • How lawyers can better plan their day and execute that plan.
  • Build in “no” answers to your strategy.
  • Executing your business plan first thing in the day.
  • Content calendars, scheduling your business development, and preparing in advance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Without having clients coming in, consistently, running your firm is just an expense. You need to have a plan to have those clients coming in regularly.
  • Be willing to walk away from situations where you and the client are not a good fit.
  • Plan your day so your day doesn’t have you.
  • Lean on the basics – you do not need to be your banker, your accountant, your bookkeeper, your marketer, your receptionist, etc.

“Find out where your energy is in your day because that’s when you’re going to be most productive, and that’s where you schedule the stuff that’s tough to do.” —  Denny Esford

Episode References: 

Book: Eat That Frog! By Brian Tracy

Be That Lawyer Episode 205: Lesley Wallerstein: Confidence, Adaptability, and Embracing Discomfort

Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Connect with Denny Esford:  

Website: https://www.windycitytrialgroup.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dennyesford/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WindyCtyTrialGp

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/denlaw1217/

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Practice Panther: https://www.practicepanther.com/

Connect with Steve Fretzin:

LinkedIn: Steve Fretzin

Twitter: @stevefretzin

Facebook: Fretzin, Inc.

Website: Fretzin.com

Email: Steve@Fretzin.com

Book: The Ambitious Attorney: Your Guide to Doubling or Even Tripling Your Book of Business and more!

YouTube: Steve Fretzin

Call Steve directly at 847-602-6911

Show notes by Podcastologist Chelsea Taylor-Sturkie

Audio production by Turnkey Podcast Productions. You’re the expert. Your podcast will prove it.

SPEAKERS

Narrator, Steve Fretzin, MoneyPenny, Jordan Ostroff, Practice Panther, Danny Esford

 

Danny Esford  [00:01]

This is a struggle for me. I have to do this dyno. I have to do this to make the business work. But how do I do it? And I think the issue is you’ve got to absolutely plan it in advance and then you have to execute. You can’t have a you know, the old saying is like an 80% plan 100% executed is better than 100% plan, it’s 80% executed. So you’ve got to get out there you’ve got to actually execute.

 

Narrator  [00:28]

You’re listening to be that lawyer, life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Each episode, your host, author and lawyer Coach Steve Fretzin. We’ll take a deeper dive helping you grow your law practice in less time with greater results. Now, here’s your host, Steve Fretzin.

 

Steve Fretzin  [00:50]

Hey everybody, welcome to be that lawyer. I am Steve Fretzin as the announcer mentioned and it is another beautiful day here in Chicago you’re somewhere warm you can go suck an egg it’s getting cold here. We love our fall and we relish in the in the color changes and now that’s gone all that leaves her dead. So not to be too depressing right from the get go. We’re gonna we’re gonna pump things up. We’re gonna have a lot of fun today we’re going to have a lot of great takeaways for you to be that lawyer someone that is competent organized in a skilled Rainmaker. I’ve got Danny in the wings, how’s it going, Danny?

 

Danny Esford  [01:21]

Good. I’m in Arizona, so it’s warmer here.

 

Steve Fretzin  [01:23]

You’re one of those people. I want to punch you through the screen. Sorry, here you go. It’s 60 and we got sweaters on so All right. So yeah, so socket, it’s 60 degrees and you’re miserable 60 For us, as you know for being in Chicago and it’s that’s a pleasure. We love our cities, whether it’s shorts whether obviously want to take a moment to thank our sponsors. We’ve got money, Penny, we’ve got legalese. And we’ve got practice Panther, and you can hear they’re very engaging ads and offers coming up soon in the show. Danny was so kind as to send me a really good quote of the show, which is a Dale Carnegie special, as I like to call it, it’s 99% of what I worried about never happened. Well, that just defined my wife’s life. My wife comes from a long lineage of warriors. And I don’t worry about much and she just looks at me like I’m an alien, but she worries about everything. And everybody and I just don’t care. Things that are out of my control. But why did you put that quote in front of me this morning? I love it.

 

Danny Esford  [02:19]

Well, because one of my, you know, going out on your own, which I’ve been since 2013. One of the things that I’m I’m really kind of a shy person. So I wants to break the ice. I’m really kind of really good at it. I kind of like warm up real fast. But I was always worried about rejection. Yeah, what if he says no? Yep. Well, and then worried about somehow that was going to be terrible, right? Yeah, I wasn’t gonna live to see the next breakfast or something. Yeah. But it hit me that through my prior experience, before I even got into law, I was in sales for a while. And I found out he was right 99% of the time, the things you worry about just never happened. So why make that an impediment to what you’re trying to do? Yeah. Another one, I

 

Steve Fretzin  [03:03]

heard I listened to a great podcast called The happiness lab. And I just gave it to my my wife, because I think it would help her now that she’s not happy or that I’m not happy. But it’s just really interesting, the things that they talk about, and there was a piece specifically

 

Danny Esford  [03:16]

on the fact that

 

Steve Fretzin  [03:19]

that all that effort and time and worry over things that are not in your control. If you just say to yourself, is this going to matter to me next week. So like something went down with my teenager? To me, it seems like a big deal today. But is this really going to matter? Next week, next month, in a year? Am I ever, ever even gonna think about again? The answer to that question is mostly No. So I think that falls right in line with with with Dale Carnegie’s quote and your experiences. Denny, welcome to the show. Welcome to be that lawyer. You have become that lawyer. Right. So I think it’s really

 

Danny Esford  [03:53]

Yeah, it’s my second go round in career so it better work. Well. We’re

 

Steve Fretzin  [03:58]

going to hear all about your background in a minute, but currently, you are the founder of Windy City Trial Group, which doesn’t sound like something in Arizona, but I guess you’re playing both sides of the fence. There.

 

Danny Esford  [04:09]

We are. And the funny part about it is I was going to have I had when I moved out here I was, I have a couple of clients who are located out here and and I said, you know, I’m moving out to Phoenix guys think I’m thinking of changing it to like Windy City West. You know, Taliesin West like with the Frank Lloyd Wright. And he said if you’ve lost your mind you many people in Chicago have moved to Arizona. Oh,

 

Steve Fretzin  [04:30]

yeah. It’s like Florida. It’s like halfway

 

Danny Esford  [04:33]

there just stayed with it. Awesome. And

 

Steve Fretzin  [04:35]

you windy city people so there are people listening to this podcast all over the country. And I wonder if they know why Chicago is called the Windy City. Do you? Ah trivia question and then you want to do you want to share that answer? Do you know the Earth?

 

Danny Esford  [04:51]

It has nothing to do with the wind and the weather? It has to do with I believe a somebody from the New York Post New York Times back a long, long time. I’m gonna turn the century was talking about the blowhards of the city council.

 

Steve Fretzin  [05:04]

The city politicians.

 

Danny Esford  [05:05]

Exactly. Yeah. That’s where it comes from.

 

Steve Fretzin  [05:09]

Now, do we have some wind in Chicago? The answer is yes, we do have some great wind in Chicago. But that’s not how it got named the Windy City. So you guys, if you had nothing out of the show today, Danny and I have no value to offer you whatsoever. You got the reason why it’s the Windy City. All right. Danny, thanks so much for being on the show. Man. It’s so good to see you. Good. I thought our initial conversation like our pre interview call was fantastic. And, and kind of you’re living the dream of what a lot of solos are wanting to do, and like how they want their life to be. And so I want to hear about your background. And then I want to get into the weeds on kind of like, how can someone that struggled with business development and marketing turn that corner? I think that’s gonna be a really engaging and inspiring story. But let’s go back to your background, because I think you actually have a sales background. Is that correct?

 

Danny Esford  [05:57]

A little bit of one. Yeah, I started out as an engineer, that’s my, that’s my undergrad training. And I was an engineer for a while. And then I went into sales, selling machine tools. Because I bought one of them, and then I ended up selling them. There you go. Then the manufacturing market took a huge downturn in the 90s. And so I had always thought about law school, but just never thought I was smart enough, couldn’t do well enough on the LSAT, but I just decided to give it a shot just to see what would happen. Well, I got in, I went to law school at Chicago, Kent at night. And of course, when I got out of undergrad, there was a recession, when I got out of law school, there was a recession. So my joke is, if I’m trying to change careers, you better find out what it is because there’s a recession coming. But so I kicked around doing some contract, work, I mean, literally going through documents, I hooked on with a small, firm guy who was he was almost a solo, just a couple of people. And he needed self help with trade secrets. And it so happened I had added class and trade secrets and law school. And that’s kind of where it started. I went to a bigger firm. And then they went through a downsizing in 2013. And I’m sitting there I’m 45 years old, and this is my second career. And now what do I do? So I just decided that would be the time to hang a shingle to an outcast. Yep.

 

Steve Fretzin  [07:19]

And and so there was a B, that lawyer tipping point that you shared with me of the difference between going solo and having a law practice, and then ultimately where you are now. So he talked to that change?

 

Danny Esford  [07:35]

Well, I guess again, I hope I know where you’re going with this. The the change and change that made it successful for me. Yeah, was going back to a very old sales thing that I was taught years ago. I think I told you earlier, right? My very first job as an undergrad was selling insurance door to door trying to figure out

 

Steve Fretzin  [07:54]

how to get and you told me that but you didn’t tell the audience that now they’re hearing that they’re going oh, boy, that guy?

 

Danny Esford  [07:58]

That guy, right? He did that? Yeah, that’s why this whole 99% that I hated that. Yeah. And so but he did say, say to me one thing that really stuck with me, plan your work, and work your plan. So if I was going to make this successful, the only way I felt that was going to be the first way I was gonna be successful. And I was to get business in. I could do all the other planning and marketing plans and all this other stuff. But if I don’t have people coming in the door and pay me money. Oh, that’s not Oh, that’s just expenses. Yeah. So I had to come up with a consistent plan, and execute it and execute it all the time.

 

Steve Fretzin  [08:35]

Yeah, I would say to that, there was a fear of rejection that I had, certainly with girls in high school and a little bit in college. I think lubricating my brain helped a little bit. But ultimately, I didn’t want to be let that I didn’t want to take that risk. And I didn’t want to be let down. And jeez, I wish I had gone through some additional, you know, sales training, you know, for me, taught me in high school with the girls. But that didn’t exist, it still doesn’t thank God I guess. But getting to a know, like, the old Steve Fretzin, the old sales guy, Steve Fretzin, coming up in sales and working for Yellow Pages and high tech and franchises. The last thing I ever wanted to hear was a no. In fact, most of the sales training I went to went through was how to handle the objection of No, when someone says no, I’m not interested, I would have five or 10 different ways of working them over if you will, to get them to eventually come to my side of thinking. And I think while that was somewhat effective in the 80s in the 90s, I think today that would just upset people and turn people off. So I actually build it into my strategy of sales Free selling, where I tell people up front. So Danny, if I’m talking to you about my services, for example, you know, hey, if we feel like there’s a fit and a synergy and a desire to proceed forward, let’s continue that dialogue. If you are I don’t feel that it’s a fit. We should be very comfortable telling each other no, and saying it’s okay. And moving to that type of an outcome, because ultimately, it’ll save us both a lot of time and follow through. That’s unnecessary. Are you okay with that? Getting someone to agree.

 

Danny Esford  [10:09]

But what you also have to keep in mind, though, Steve, is in that scenario, you’re trying to convince them that you have a service that they want. On the other hand, you have to decide if you want to work with that person. Yes, it’s a two way street. One of the things I learned very early in my career here was when the first sale wasn’t there. There’s such a temptation that, boy, I don’t have a good feeling about this boy, he’s got a check. You know, yeah, well, that’s a mistake.

 

Steve Fretzin  [10:35]

You can take the check of the check and run and deposit it before it can can get turned

 

Danny Esford  [10:40]

one of the biggest things I ever learned that I learned while doing this, as a solo that wasn’t expecting was, the most important thing I learned to do was say no to them. Yeah, I didn’t feel it was a good fit. Yeah, because I, my gut has almost never been wrong. But I have that pit in my stomach is going to pay me, I don’t know if this is going to be a good relationship, he’s going to be looking over my shoulder every five minutes. I don’t, I can’t work like that. And if that’s the kind of person he’s going to be, I should walk away from it, regardless of whether he’s got a check in his hand.

 

Steve Fretzin  [11:09]

Well, it’s counterintuitive, because if you’re let’s say, you’re not hitting, hitting the numbers that you want to hit, you’re, you know, you’re not bringing in the business that you’d like to as a lawyer, it’s hard to consider turning away a check. And I’m not suggesting that you have to, you just have to weigh out the pros and the cons. But if you can get to the point where you go, you know, look, I know, I need that five grand or that 10 grand, but it’s going to take so much away from my other clients, it’s going to take away from my business development activities, because this is someone who’s going to be bugging me needy, desperate client who’s going in and may not ultimately pay me. So there’s suddenly got a look at that.

 

Danny Esford  [11:50]

Yeah, as you go along. And you learn to say no, and then you spend your time getting better clients. And you know, the plan works, because you’ve been doing it consistently. Like, for example, when I first started out, the first year, I probably averaged a new client per quarter. But the plan was working a new client per quarter paid for everything, you know, that I was doing up to that point was breakeven for me to get a new client, cuz all I do is litigation. And usually, that’s not, you know, something to do over two weeks now over several months. So when you realize that the plan works, you feel better about saying no to somebody? Yeah,

 

Steve Fretzin  [12:25]

for sure. So let’s talk about the switch between practicing the law and growing a law practice. And so what are the main struggles that you had, and that you see other lawyers having as a relates to the balance and in making that court turning that corner of just billing hours versus building business? How did you how did you do that? And then what do you see are the challenges that other lawyers have?

 

Danny Esford  [12:49]

A couple of ways. One is one is overhead, and one is just sale? As far as sales go? It’s a separate activity. It has to be planned, it has to be consistent. For me, it’s I’m a morning person. So my big high energy to do what I don’t really want to do is try to sell is execute the plan between one and two hours every morning. Yeah. And then once I’m done with it, because it’s a plan, and I know it works. I don’t have to wait. I don’t have to take take all day. I’ll just take those two hours and I’m done those two hours, I will move on to practicing law. Yeah, but building the business and practicing law are not mutually exclusive. You can’t there’s

 

Steve Fretzin  [13:24]

others out there that work. Sorry that I interrupted, you go.

 

Danny Esford  [13:29]

No, unless you’re an associate. And all you do is take your paycheck. And of course that means you work weekends and whatever. If you’re a partner in the firm, one guy taught one guy went to school with said, I congratulate him on being a partner he says a said so what does that mean? He says it’s just mean to do the same work before but now they want me to bring in business too. Yeah.

 

Steve Fretzin  [13:47]

A lot of lawyers going through that a lot of lawyer Yeah, they finally made partner. Great. Now you’ve got your workload, and you now have to go bring in business. There’s a book out there. I don’t know if you know it’s a Brian Tracy special but I think it’s called Eat That Frog or eat the frog is essentially saying like there’s, there’s something nasty and disgusting that you have to do during the day, it might be sales, it might be having to go and try to like drum up business, do it first. Get rid of it, knock it out, send out five, you know, it’s not that scary and set actually, it’s sending out some emails to set up some meetings to set up some coffee, some zooms whatever, get those five emails out early in the morning. Okay. And then the rest of the day is easy. If you eat the frog first, the rest of the day is going to seem like a breeze because you totally believe that eating the frog. Totally. But I’m seeing a lot of lawyers who are overwhelmed by the billable hour. I’m seeing a lot of lawyers that are not delegating properly. Their time management and they’re just letting their inbox control their day. And someone’s listening going Yeah, what do you Yeah, that court Well, how else should I do it? Well, that’s what all the time management people are talking about now is how to run your day how to as you said, plan your day, versus just having a day Something people have heard me say is did you have the week or the week? Have you? And it’s the same, right? It’s the same kind of commentary. So what how do lawyers? How did you and maybe you know, your, your coaching now a little bit? How do lawyers better plan their day and execute on a day where they can get their work done? And also do the BD that there may be dreading?

 

Danny Esford  [15:27]

Um, well, you know, that at some point, you’re just going to have to look yourself in the mirror and say, This is what I have to do. You had you had Leslie Wallerstein on? Yeah, long ago. I

 

Steve Fretzin  [15:36]

just saw her 20 minutes just hanging out with her 20 minutes ago, Danny,

 

Danny Esford  [15:39]

there’s a really okay. Yeah. So Leslie, if you’ve heard that podcast, which is excellent. It’s very much the same thing. Like, this is a struggle for me, I have to do this. I know, I have to do this to make the business work. But how do I do it? And I think the issue is, you’ve got to absolutely plan it in advance, and then you have to execute. You know, the old saying is like an 80%. Plan. 100% executed is better than 100% plan, it’s 80% executed. So you’ve got to get out there and you’ve got to actually execute. You can sit down and by yourself, especially if you’re an introvert type person. You can sit in your little cocoon all day long come up with all these plans. But if you don’t execute any of them, just paper? Yeah.

 

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Steve Fretzin  [17:46]

And so let’s talk about this in two parts. So we’ve got the plan. I’ve got some specific things that I think should go into a plan. What what goes into your plan, what is what is your plan actually saying to you? That’s helpful to you. And in that executing?

 

Danny Esford  [18:03]

Well, my plan says, This is what we’re going to accomplish this week or today. And this is the average amount of contacts I need to make. And I’m going to do this before anything else happens before I turn on the computer before I look at my emails, here’s what’s going to happen. It’s going to happen from 8am to 915. Today, yes, I think this is how long it’s going to take. And when when I’m done at 915. It’s time to go work on something else. What’s that something else? The other thing is, what’s my next plan to execute for the day as a lawyer. Because I think a lot of people, a lot of lawyers can get down a rabbit hole, do something really comfortable. And then avoid the stuff that’s not right. And yet, like very much the same as sales, if you’ve got a difficult client, for example, and you’re about to send him a bill that’s twice as big that he that he was expecting. That’s a tough call. Yeah, because the first thing he’s going to ask you for is a discount. And you don’t want to do that. Right? So there are things like that, that even as a lawyer, you can set your day up for the tough things to happen first. And I would suggest not for me it’s morning. Because as I told you, that’s my big energy loves. Yeah, like three o’clock in the afternoon. I’m on the third cup of coffee. And I gotta find something like some CLE or something.

 

Steve Fretzin  [19:17]

Yeah, that’s less brain less brain work, right? But

 

Danny Esford  [19:21]

find out where that energy is in your day. Okay, because that’s when you’re going to be most productive. And that’s where you schedule the stuff that stuff to do.

 

Steve Fretzin  [19:28]

Yeah, the thing that I that I work with lawyers on every day I’m planning is a where’s the low hanging fruit? Where’s that? Where’s the business coming from? Or could it come from, that you either enjoy where it’s coming from, or you know, it’s easy. So client introductions and referrals, existing lawyers that you have a relationship with and getting back together with them. Those are all going to be far easier to execute on than attending a new networking event or coming up with a speaking engagement that you now have to promote Get in and try to figure out where you’re going to present that, you know, what type of group and in getting in the door doing that. So it’s like, there’s all this, it’s like, it’s like there’s, there’s a triangle and at the bottom is where all the spaces, that’s, that’s, that’s the really hard stuff to do. That’s all like, you know from cold calling all the way to networking to whatever, then at the top of the pyramid, there’s going to be stuff that’s, that’s lower hanging fruit takes less time with a greater return. So I’m always trying to push my clients to figure that out and only go down the pyramid when we’ve run out of stuff at the top. You know, it’s add more and more 20 rule. Yeah, prioritizing? Yeah. Coming up with what those those people who those people are, what those activities are, where they’re going to produce the best results in the least amount of time. That’s always kind of my, my game plan for a client versus, you know, let’s do everything.

 

Danny Esford  [20:51]

Right, right. Right. Well, doing everything is also is also a big mistake. Well,

 

Steve Fretzin  [20:55]

let’s get into that because that now we’re moving to execution. So you okay, you write up a plan, you figure out low hanging fruit, figure out what you enjoy. That’s all fine. Now you actually have to go do it. And so what are the some of the things that you have found to be successful for you morning, obviously, is super helpful. Actually,

 

Danny Esford  [21:10]

it’s I’m gonna go a little different route maybe on you. Okay, go for it is I was when I first decided I was going to thinking about, you know, hanging the shingle, because when we went through this downsizing, my firm was very nice to me, I worked for like three months, transitioning things out, kept my office, get my salary, you know, no hard feelings is just what we’re gonna do. So I had a very good opportunity to kind of sit back and figure out what people around me do that I think are really cool, are really smart. And things that are really stupid. Letting your AR get too big. Yeah, Seagull will get too big. Trying to do everything yourself at one lawyer. I told you he was doing his accounting. He was doing his banking, he was doing everything. And by the way, he’s putting in 12 to 16 hour days, because he still do about eight hours with the law work to pay for all that stuff. Yeah, so I learned very early on, I got a banker. I got an accountant who’s still been with me now. 10 years. Yep. And they do all of the bookkeeping, the accounting, the taxes, the banking, I let somebody else worry about that. Yeah, I have a banker, I have an accountant. I have a tax guy. So and I even have a lawyer for that. When I set up my firm. I was like, I don’t know how to set up a firm. I’m not going to spend hours and hours trying and then still not me not getting it right. So I called no law school buddy, who does that? He said how much I said that you said $1,500 and said I’m sending you a check? Yeah, it wasn’t my bill rate. $1,500.

 

Steve Fretzin  [22:34]

I’m gonna spend, I’m going to be working at minimum wage by the time I figure how to do that. Yeah. So I think what we’re saying is that there are people that we need to try and Lena in a trust, but verify. But we need to lean on the basics, who’s going to do our numbers, who’s going to send us that p&l Every month, to make sure that we have our numbers and we’ve got who’s sending out invoices, it shouldn’t be us. Okay, there are people that do that. The big one that’s come out into the forefront and he too has been VAs VAs in South America VAs in the Philippines VAs that charging 10, eight to $12 an hour. And they’re doing a lot of the marketing, they’re doing a lot of the admin, they’re paralegals there, whatever. But they’re able to assist us and take tremendous amounts of of tedious administrative and marketing burden off of our plates. That’s been a huge benefit to the legal community in the last couple of years. Well, and just to go to show you that you’ve got to constantly keep learning, I just ended up with a new marketing system, where don’t need to promote who it is. But basically, they have a system of putting my contacts in forming, setting up schedules for mailers. Yeah. And they also do content. Yeah, one of the things I talked about with people for a long time was like, how do you lawyers have all these blogs and all this stuff? And still do well every day? I mean, I started doing blogs, I’m like, This is too much work. Yeah, do this. And then they find out they hire people to do they still do the edit and final approval of what goes out. But they’re not writing that themselves. No, no, there’s there’s so many different, you know, from Upwork, to agencies that help you to get like legalese. Right. So legalese. You know, they’re helping put out all my podcasts, all my podcast episodes, go on my website, the graphic design for that. They’ve got my newsletter going out consistently. They’ve got emails going out for me consistently. They’ve got my social media, people think I’m some kind of social media, you know, Maven, I’m not, I mean, I am producing a ton of content, but they’re the ones that are actually putting it on social for me with the blurb and everything else. Right. And so it saves me so much time and energy. And I like to think that lawyers and I have something in common. We’re charging a premium for a high level of service. And there’s a lot of things at the 10 to $30 an hour range. thing that we’re doing that we should absolutely not be doing. And we just need to make a list of those things and start talking to our friends and listening to my show or whatever it is to get the resources in place to not have to spin our wheels doing that kind of crap. Well, let me

 

Danny Esford  [25:16]

tell you how this work, too. I just give because I’ve tried all kinds of plans right now doing it all myself. I found these people I really liked what they do. It’s not cheap. But you know, like you said, at the $30. Now I’ll ever Why am I doing it? Yeah, but in terms of keeping in touch, and because I only do litigation. So the only time anybody’s gonna be thinking about dentists for a referral is somebody got sued, or they got the incident practice area, they don’t do send it over to Danny, well, I’ve got like, in LinkedIn, I’ve got like 769 contexts that I don’t ever keep up with, yes, I can’t. Now I have a system, I have the context in the system, I have content created, I’m already out through January, or whenever we know what’s going to happen. Nice. And so and I don’t even have to do it, because we set it up on a schedule, right goes out automatically.

 

Steve Fretzin  [26:04]

Yeah, that’s also content calendar, just as an example, another thing, you know, marketing agency can do. And you can help produce content or not. But you know, those, those posts are going out every day, every week, every month through January for you. Okay, so do I. And it’s like one less thing to worry about. And it’s something that you know, is helping build your brand. It’s helping build your, you know, your notoriety in your space. But it’s not something you need to do. Right? That’s a very big lesson, could be the biggest one. Now,

 

Danny Esford  [26:37]

I think what a lot of if you if you have ever went down that road, try to do everything yourself, you are going to fail. There’s I don’t see any right way around it. I couldn’t do it, that I had all the sales, training and all that stuff. But running a business. You got to have people that know what they’re doing that do it all the time. And it’s like I said, people said, Can you do a real estate closing? Well, yeah, but it cost you five grand, why? To do it. It’s not my thing. Now, if it’s a copyright case, I know that part of the law, like the back of my hand. So yeah, I could complain in an hour, if I needed to. But that did. But that’s why you charge the rate you charge, right? Because you have all this knowledge, and you don’t have to go look it all up. So finding out what you’re good at and what you’re not. Some people just can’t let go. Some people are going to want to do all their own banking or whatever. And if that’s what makes you happy, I guess that’s fine. But keep in mind that that’s not paying bills, revenue coming in, that’s expenses going out, whether it’s your time or somebody else’s.

 

Steve Fretzin  [27:36]

Yeah, I think that the final point, and you and I talked about this, in our pre interview is, you know, one way to stay consistent with business development is to find in particular, one thing that really works for you. And, you know, test it, try it a B test, you know, but work out and if it’s working, and it’s actually driving in business and everything, lean into it and own it and make it more of what you do. And I think you have one thing that you’re doing, that’s really working and paying off dividends, I’ve got a number of things I’m doing but I stay high stay hot and heavy on them to ensure that, you know, I don’t have to go and attend some random networking event or start cold calling or things like that. What So talk about that finding the one thing that makes that works for you and sticking with it.

 

Danny Esford  [28:19]

I think the the answer to the question is, well, I my marketing thing, my sales thing is, is contacting people who have recently gotten sued. Yeah. And there’s a lot of rules. By the way, I can’t just pick up the phone and call them, right. It’s actually an ethical violation for me to pick up the phone, say, Hey, you just got sued, unless you’re a lawyer. So I have to do I have to contact them, basically through mail or email. And there are rules of what has to be said attorney advertising on the envelope attorney advertising in the subject matter. But that was the plan. I was starting with the introvert that I am, I tried the networking thing, I wasn’t getting any business out of that. So I just said, I’m going to try this plan, we’ll see how it works. He was I almost gave up. Steve almost gave up. It was like three or four months before I had one client with me. And there wasn’t much left to bill on it because it was a motion for summary judgment. And for the lawyers out there. That just means the judge is going to take his time to figure out what to do. So it has nothing to do. So I really had a client but not really any revenue. And so I started doing these letters. And it took me four months to get first one. Yeah. So I was doing three to five letters a day, every day, five days a week. And it still took me four months to get something to happen. Right. But once it started happening, I was all this time I was tweaking the letter, and I’m not getting a response. Maybe I should say it this way. Maybe I should try something else. But then once I found it, like you said hammer it. Yeah, exactly. So,

 

Steve Fretzin  [29:44]

you know, it may be that you get rejected or that something doesn’t work, but as long as you as long as you feel or believe or know that there’s potential there and you keep tweaking and improving it and testing it and making sure that the return is better is getting better on that. could be asking clients for introductions or improving your networking acumen, whatever it is that you, you know, you feel like you have the ability to do well with, you just have to keep making it better. And then you start seeing results and then you can double down triple down on it. Yes, exactly. Really good stuff. Danny, your game changing book for our show is we’re back to Dale Carnegie’s. So we’d like Dale Carnegie from the quote. And now we’ve got him back How to Win Friends and Influence People, which is like the, you know, quintessential, you know, book on business development or, or how to, you know, live a better life through through relationships, right?

 

Danny Esford  [30:34]

Yep, exactly. In fact, I, so we’ve talked to him before the start of the show. It got when you asked me what the favorite business development book was. I hadn’t read it in years. Yeah. Long since long old sales training from somewhere that I had the original book. So I went online at Amazon. And it’s on sale right now for like, 1199. The book is back out in a new edition written by his daughter, where they basically upgraded some of the scenarios, but the speaking voice is still Dale Carnegie. And I’m back about through the first couple of chapters. And it’s just a reminder for me, of all the things that I know, I shadow. Yeah. And, again, I’m not I’m not some guru that all of a sudden figured out all of a sudden the light bulb went on. I’m still working on it. Yeah, you know, I still have a book like this that I read, to remind me of the things I know I should be doing. So then you get up every morning at eight o’clock, and always go do that. I wish that were true. Yeah. But then he then doubles down said, Okay, tomorrow, we’ve got to be on it. Or you’ve got to make extra time somewhere. Danny, you’re not working eight hours today cuz you screwed up this morning. You screwed around drinking coffee and talking to your to your wife about politics for two hours. Yeah, now you got it. Now you’re behind? Well, gotta make up for that. So it’s not getting to some perfection. And just cruising along. If you think you’re going to get there, and it’s probably not going to happen, you’re gonna have

 

Steve Fretzin  [31:58]

to constantly keep improving yourself. Well, in your defense politics in Arizona is there’s a lot to talk about. We won’t get into it. But all the macro there are a lot to talk about. Danny, thank you so much for being on the show, sharing your wisdom, your experiences, I think, you know, there’s a lot of individual lawyers, whether they’re big firms or solos that aren’t really hitting the mark as it relates to a consistent performance and business development. I think that’s really what you shared today. That was so helpful. So I just want to tell you how much I appreciate you taking your time and sharing your wisdom. Your good, thanks. Yeah. Hey, and thank you everybody for spending some time with Danny and I today, you know, again, you know, opportunities to consider what are you doing? what’s working, what’s not how targeted Are you? Do you have a plan? Are you executing on the plan? If not, why not? How do we get back to the basics of making business development a consistent part of our legal careers because that’s what’s going to end up paying the dividends over not only initially but over time and it’s something that you have to work so we can keep making better and smarter decisions. But you know, it ends up being you know, on your you know, resting on your shoulders, that you either are gonna be consistent with business development and make that a part of your life or not. And obviously Danny and I are both on the on the JUST DO IT side, right? Right. There’s no other way to me. So again, helping you try to be that lawyer someone who’s competent, organized and a skilled Rainmaker. Take care everybody be safe be well, we’ll talk again soon.

 

Narrator  [33:30]

Thanks for listening to be that lawyer. Life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Visit Steve’s website fretzin.com. For additional information, and to stay up to date on the latest legal business development and marketing trends. For more information and important links about today’s episode, check out today’s show notes

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