John Ross: Ideal Clients and Innovating Marketing

In this episode, Steve Fretzin and John Ross discuss:

  • Differentiating yourself in your marketing.
  • Client engagement and communication.
  • Networking outside of other lawyers and reciprocating referrals.
  • Hiring a marketer to do what you were doing to build your brand and business.

Key Takeaways:

  • If you’re doing the exact same thing as everyone else, you will not be noticed.
  • Being broke will force ingenuity. You don’t need a lot of money to get out there, get noticed by your client, and bring in those you can and want to serve.
  • Look for ways you and your networking partners can both benefit, even if it isn’t additional clients.
  • There are creative ways you can do marketing where you don’t have to spend anything (and may make money from it!) if you look for what works for your firm and not just try and do what others are doing.

“I can’t go out and meet every potential client. But if I go out and meet a CPA, then I can effectively meet all of their clients. And if we have the same clients, then I’m accomplishing that goal. I can identify who else my clients were dealing with, and then go out there and meet those people, impress them, and often look for ways that I could also benefit them.” —  John Ross

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Episode References: 

About John Ross: Raised in South Texas, John Ross graduated from San Marcos High School. He followed that with four years as a United States Marine, serving as an infantry squad leader with First Battalion Seventh Marines. Immediately after, John attended Texas State University and completed a Bachelors in Business Administration with a major in Accounting. From undergraduate, John went to Texas Tech Law School where he again graduated with honors.

Since graduating from law school, John has had a distinguished legal career handling sophisticated matters for a wide range of clients. The below list is just some of the ways he has assisted the people of Texas and Arkansas:

  • Designed estate planning and asset protection devices for high net-worth clients, including family limited partnerships, tax planned wills, and various trust agreements.
  • Successfully handled multi-million dollar contested probate matters while maintaining cordial relations among the family members.
  • Assisted countless families by helping them protect their life savings from nursing home costs.
  • Developed plans for disabled individuals, including special needs trusts, to maximize their quality of life and preserve needs resources.

Connect with John Ross:  


Email: [email protected]






Connect with Steve Fretzin:

LinkedIn: Steve Fretzin

Twitter: @stevefretzin

Instagram: @fretzinsteve

Facebook: Fretzin, Inc.


Email: [email protected]

Book: Legal Business Development Isn’t Rocket Science 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.


[00:00:00] John Ross: There is an element of get out there, right? But but just that get out there. That didn’t make any sense. You know, I’m, I, so I made lists and I was like, okay, you know, here, here’s who my client is. Right. And so, and I would tell anybody, you know, identify your client.

[00:00:20] John Ross: 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 will take a deeper dive, helping you grow your law practice in less time with greater results. Now, here’s your host Steve.

[00:00:42] Steve Fretzin: Well, hey everybody.

[00:00:43] Steve Fretzin: Welcome to be that lawyer. I am Steve Fretzin, your host, and I hope that you’re having a lovely day today. I always say the same thing. I wonder sometimes, John, if I should say something different at the beginning. Do you do that on your podcast? You start off with something.

[00:00:55] John Ross: Yeah. No. And in fact, we, uh, we, we.

[00:00:58] John Ross: It, it became something that we started very early on that, uh, my, my cohost, he introduces it same way and, and he always kind of finishes up with and joined as always, uh, my cohost John Ross and I respond with howdy.

[00:01:11] Steve Fretzin: Okay. So you’d like people to become like, yeah, so people, okay, so people like the consistency of hearing maybe the same opener, the same closer, the same kind of things.

[00:01:20] Steve Fretzin: It’s like their, you know, Pavlov’s dog, like they like, they like what they hear. They want to keep it. It becomes familiar. Yeah,

[00:01:27] John Ross: absolutely. It’s like, it’s like, okay, now I know what to expect. Right. I’m getting in my zone here to listen to this show or, or, or whatever it is. And, and what we find like on our, you know, Facebook, uh, Facebook group and stuff like that is, is people will, they’ll post on there and they’ll say, howdy, I have a question.

[00:01:44] John Ross: And, you know, so it’s, it became a thing. Yeah.

[00:01:47] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. I have people come up to me and they just do like, Hey, be that lawyer guy. Like that’s like, I’ve become the be that lawyer guy, which I had not intended. But, uh, And I’m saying like, no, you’re the lawyer. You’re, you’re the, be that lawyer. I’m not the lawyer.

[00:01:59] Steve Fretzin: Uh, and, uh, John, thanks so much for being here. Um, uh, we’re going to get an introduction for you in a minute, but I do love to start the show off by just sharing the quote of the show. And this is a very famous Earl Nightingale quote, uh, Earl Nightingale, for those of you who don’t know, is like one of the most famous, like sales trainer, like business developing guys and the, uh, he’s got to be dead for years though.

[00:02:22] Steve Fretzin: Right. Oh yeah. I think like, yeah, from the seventies or so it’s been a long time anyway, but this is such an interesting, interesting quote. Look at what the majority of people are doing and do the exact opposite and you’ll probably never go wrong for as long as you live. I believe, and then he says, I believe that this whole, wholeheartedly.

[00:02:40] Steve Fretzin: So it’s, it’s that, that’s so opposite of what most people think, right, is to go the other direction. And here he is saying, you know, in his heart of hearts that that’s what people need to do. So tell me about that quote and why you submitted it because that, that seems so in line with where, what you’ve done and where we’re going to go today.

[00:03:01] John Ross: Yeah. Well, I think that’s, uh, you know, uh, with a lot of things you just see, you see people get into this pattern of, well, it, it has worked maybe for others. Um, and, and I want it to work for me. So I’m going to do what the others are doing, right? And you can see that in, you can see that in all kinds of things, right?

[00:03:24] John Ross: I mean, you know, yeah, we talk about in business, but you take diet and exercise, right? I mean, if, if you, you know, you go back to the 80s and, and it was, you know, okay, everybody is going to eat a high carb, high sugar, zero fat diet. And, and if you’re doing that, then you’re probably one of the bulk of the population that now has diabetes.

[00:03:50] John Ross: Right. Right? You know, and, and, and yet maybe you, you know, you could have said, Hey, I’m not going to do that. I’m, uh, I’m just going to stick with eating good old fashioned regular meat meals with, uh, some Some lean meats and some vegetables and you’d have been fine, but you know, it’s, it’s, that’s just an example, right?

[00:04:06] John Ross: And you can see that all over and particularly in business. I think you, you, we get, we get so caught up in, well, that’s what everybody else does. So that’s just what, that’s then what I need to do. Yeah. And, and I think it’s wrong. Or

[00:04:19] Steve Fretzin: they also just might not know what the opposite is or what the other like outstanding direction would be for them.

[00:04:26] Steve Fretzin: So they just follow in line. And again, I get that. I get like, Oh yeah, we have to network to meet people to build business or we have to write or speak because that’s what all the managing partners and rainmakers around the world, you know, did for them. And that’s how they do it. So that’s what needs to happen.

[00:04:42] Steve Fretzin: But it isn’t necessarily the case. No,

[00:04:44] John Ross: it’s not. And, and I think that’s where, especially with. You know, when you talk about the legal field and you look at the, the number of lawyers that are out there, uh, the, the competition in that market, I mean, anytime you’re going to saturate a market with professionals and if you’re, if you’re doing what everybody else is doing, you’re going to get lost in that mix.

[00:05:07] John Ross: And, and so you’ve got to figure out some way to differentiate yourself, and, and doing what everybody else is doing, just not going to get

[00:05:13] Steve Fretzin: you there. Now, that’s true. Uh, for everybody listening, uh, John Ross is the, the founder of Ross Schoemeyer. And, um, I just was, I mean, I don’t know, like you, you, we did, we did an entire episode of the show unrecorded in our conversation prior to today.

[00:05:29] Steve Fretzin: And I was like, can you do whatever just happened? Can you bring that back? Cause that we, we talked like 30 minutes and it was like, so engaging, so interesting, the things that you’re doing are so out of line with what. Most people are doing that. I was just intrigued. And I was, so I know we’re not going to do the same, the same exact show, but I’m excited about it.

[00:05:47] Steve Fretzin: You want to give a little bit of background leading up to your be that lawyer tipping point and things that, that, that kind of changed for you in your career.

[00:05:55] John Ross: Yeah, well, you know, uh, I went to law school, uh, mostly I went to law school because I thought I wanted to be a tax attorney, uh, but had a degree in accounting.

[00:06:03] John Ross: And I was going to go to law school. I’m going to be a tax attorney. Uh, during that process, I kind of learned about the wills and trusts side of things and how the estate planning ties into all of that. And, and mostly that was high net worth type planning. And so I think, well, that’s what I’m going to do.

[00:06:16] John Ross: I like this stuff. It’s kind of a blend of law and tax. So, uh, you know, I get out of law school, I, I get my first job. It’s a traditional. estate planning type law firm. Everybody wears fancy suits and bow ties. They all lack personality and they sit in a big room and they wait for they wait for clients to be privileged to sit in the presence of the estate planning attorney.

[00:06:46] John Ross: Uh, you know, and, uh, and so, and what I, what I, what I found almost instantly, I was like, one, you know, we’re not, we’re not engaging with people at all in any way, shape, or form. I mean, I’m sitting in, I mean, I’m a baby lawyer, I’m brand new, I’m right out of law school, and I’m sitting in with a client appointment, and I’m, I’m, I’m looking at the eyes of the person that’s sitting across the table from us, and they’re glazed over, they don’t have any idea what we’re saying.

[00:07:13] John Ross: Um, it’s not being communicated in a way that they understand and I’m like, well, okay. So first of all, this is all wrong. And and then I start, you know, I’m, I’m talking to the bosses and I’m saying, well, where does the business come from? We don’t know. I mean, it just, you know, people call, people call

[00:07:29] Steve Fretzin: in and

[00:07:30] John Ross: that’s it.

[00:07:31] John Ross: Yeah. Uh, well, when, you know, we do have a, we do have an ad in the phone book, um, you know, and I’m like, what?

[00:07:38] Steve Fretzin: John, John, let me just stop you right there. For those who don’t know, a phone book is the way that people used to find, uh, people back. Right. You don’t know what a phone book is, right? If you’re under, under 40, under 30.

[00:07:49] Steve Fretzin: Right.

[00:07:49] John Ross: Well, even then, I mean, and you know, this was 20 years ago. Yeah. Even 20, 20 years ago, the phone book was a, was, was gone, you know. Yeah. Um, and so, you know, I’m just, I’m like, okay, yeah, this doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. And then I’m looking at the, at the, I’m looking at the demographics and, and again, I mentioned high net worth estate planning.

[00:08:08] John Ross: Well, high net worth varies, you know, and, and in large part, it’s tied to the estate tax and the death tax, which I’m looking at the law at the time. And I’m saying, well, this estate tax is going to go up, up, up, up. Which means the pool of clients is going to go down, down, down, down. And so we’re going to be competing for a, uh, a smaller percentage of the population that need this type of service.

[00:08:31] John Ross: Meanwhile, what I’m actually getting more often from clients is questions about, well, um, you know, what happens if we have to go to the nursing home and we lose all of our money paying 7, 000 a month and, well, I’m a, I’m a physician and I, I don’t have death tax problem, but I, I’m worried about, you know, leaving a, a Dirty glove inside of somebody’s chest cavity when I close them up or you know, whatever the deal is, right?

[00:08:58] John Ross: And so we’re getting a lot more questions about asset protection and and and how that ties into the estate planning Anyway, all that to say at one point I looked at the I looked at the bosses and I said we we need to we need to essentially drop everything we’re doing based on what I can see and we need to we need to sell ourselves as You know, we’re the people that can address these, these asset protection issues, whether it’s long term care, whether it’s lawsuits, whether it’s your, your kid that has a cocaine addiction, whatever the deal is, right?

[00:09:30] John Ross: But we need to, we need to focus on that sort of stuff, and we need to get this message out to the people, and I’m not talking about phone book ads. Um, and, uh, basically what I got back was, well, that’s not how it’s done.

[00:09:47] Steve Fretzin: I mean, I, I had a time where I, before podcasting, where I actually went out and interviewed managing partners all over Chicagoland.

[00:09:57] Steve Fretzin: And some of them were hostable and some of them were not the ones that were not, it was because what I was trying to get out of them was like their story and how they did it. And there were so many that were saying, you know, I say, what do you tell your associates about growing business? Like, well, you got to get out there.

[00:10:12] Steve Fretzin: You just got to get out there, get out, get out from under your desk and get out there. And I go, that’s not helpful at all. Get out, you know, but that’s, but, but, you know, just put it in the phone book, the same, same, same mentality that they just, there’s, there’s not a prescription for. For, for things, especially 20 years ago now, now there’s a lot more, right?

[00:10:31] Steve Fretzin: There’s a lot more books, information, podcasts, me, you know, other, you have mentors, think people like that, that actually can give direction. But I think, you know, 20 years ago and even in some cases today, there’s, there’s, there’s a, you know, it’s just the way it’s been done is the way it works and it’s the way it’ll always work.

[00:10:49] John Ross: Yeah. Well, I mean, my, my dad, for example, was, uh, uh, he’s a retired professor of strategic management at Texas State University. And when I was getting out of law school and, and I was going to that first job, I can, I very distinctly remember the conversation with him. He said, well, now, once you get to that new town, you need to join the lion’s club or the rotary.

[00:11:09] John Ross: And, uh, you know, start making some connections and, and, and yeah, that was probably the right advice in

[00:11:19] Steve Fretzin: 1950. Well, I love the lions club. Got to love the lions.

[00:11:22] John Ross: Right. And, and, and if you’re, if you’re, if you’re, if your passion is that charitable organization, hey, that’s fine, but you’re not doing that. You know, don’t, don’t fake your charitable intention just to try to generate business.

[00:11:36] John Ross: I mean, people are going to see through that anyway. And, and, and so, yeah, that, none of that stuff really, again, how, you know, this is what everybody else does. So do it. Well, no, that’s not how I want to do it.

[00:11:47] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. Oh. So, so, sorry, so is that, so when the firm said basically, hey, that’s not how we do it, you were just like, okay, fine, I’ll just suck it up and stay here, or did you do something different?

[00:11:58] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. So,

[00:11:58] John Ross: uh, essentially me and, uh, there was another attorney that worked at that firm. Her name is Lisa Schallmeyer and, uh, and, and she and I were talking about it. She’s also a CPA lawyer and we both, we said, you know what? I think there’s, uh, I think there’s a thing here. The demographics make sense. The, uh, our, our desire to build and, and market and things like that, though we, we saw on the same page, let’s start our own firm.

[00:12:26] John Ross: We, we quit. Yeah. Uh, we had two laptops and a card table and, uh, we, we rented a tiny little office that we even couldn’t afford that we had to rent. It was a three office suite and we had to rent a third office just to be able to cover the rent. So we were broke. Uh, we bought some furniture on credit. So we would have, uh, you know, a couch in the waiting room for people to sit on and a, and a bright idea, you know, of get out there and, and let’s, let’s hustle this.

[00:12:56] John Ross: But we were broke and, and I will say that being broke brought in, you know, some ingenuity. Yeah. You know, we didn’t have a big marketing budget or, or things like that to go

[00:13:06] Steve Fretzin: with it. Yeah. Back, back against the wall and you got to burn the shit behind you and move forward with it.

[00:13:11] John Ross: Yeah. And, and so on that, you know, that quote, get out there.

[00:13:15] John Ross: Right. Well, I mean, there is an element of get out there. Right. But, but just that get out there, that didn’t make any sense. You know, I’m, I, so I made lists and I was like, okay. You know, here, here’s who my client is, right? And so I, and I would tell anybody, you know, identify your client. Now, how is your client going to get to you?

[00:13:35] John Ross: Well, you know, if it’s a referral type situation, well, who else are those clients going to be interacting with? And I’m looking around at my stuff and I’m saying, well, financial advisors, CPAs, um, maybe a social worker at the hospital, um, you know, uh, insurance agents who are, who are writing policies for professionals or business owners.

[00:13:58] John Ross: And, and I said, well, you know, I can’t go out and meet every potential client, but if I go out and meet a CPA, then I can effectively meet all of their clients. And if we have the same clients, then I’m accomplishing that goal. And so it was identify. Identify who else my clients were dealing with and then go out there and, and meet those people and impress them and often look for ways that anything that I could do could also benefit them, right?

[00:14:30] John Ross: Yeah, I mean in the lawyer field, we can’t, we can’t fee share with non lawyers.

[00:14:36] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, tell me I’m giving away more. I’m giving away more business than I can handle. I’m like, I get good karma. Karma is good. And I love doing it, by the way. But like, yeah, I mean, I’m not a lawyer. So I mean, at some point, somebody is going to hit me up for the non lawyer own law firm thing.

[00:14:50] Steve Fretzin: And then I think I’ll probably start getting some referral fees. But, um, it’s right now. No, but, but you’re right. I mean, it’s, it’s, that’s where, but I think there’s reciprocation. That’s really the key. Right. I mean, if you’re somebody, right. That’s, that’s the fee sharing with the CPAs and the fee sharing with financial advisors and such.

[00:15:06] Steve Fretzin: It’s, it’s, it’s, how are you referring them and them getting business? Yeah.

[00:15:09] John Ross: Although, you know, even then, you know, you go back, like, let’s say you’re a, uh, you know, Edward Jones, that’s the biggest, uh, uh, financial advisory firm out there in the world. Um, and they still, to this day, they tell their brand new financial advisors, you need to go out and make a relationship with an attorney and make a relationship with a CPA because you’ll send the, the attorney business and the attorney will send you business.

[00:15:35] John Ross: Yeah. And they’re, they’re still taught that. And, and I would often shock them because I would walk in and I would say, uh, I would say, hey, um, you know, I’m John who is state planning and they’re like, oh, well, I, you know, I should develop a relationship with the state planner, right? That’s trickling in the back of their mind.

[00:15:50] John Ross: And then the next thing it would be come out of my mouth and say, look, let me tell you something though. It’s unlikely I will ever refer you a client and they’re, they’re looking at me like, what are you talking about? Uh, you know, this is the whole thing I was taught, right? I developed the relationship and I said, look, but here’s a couple of things.

[00:16:06] John Ross: I said, first of all, my clients already have relationships with financial advisors. And, and if you sent me somebody, you wouldn’t want me sending that to somebody else. And, and I’m not going to do that to you. And I’m not going to do it to the other guy that refers me business. So what I can guarantee you though, is if you send me business, I’ll send it back to you.

[00:16:26] John Ross: You don’t have to worry about me siphoning off your clients because I’ve got a better relationship with somebody else, you know, so let’s just be upfront. I’m probably not going to refer you any business, but here’s, here’s the second thing though, I’m going to be actively looking at ways that we can both benefit.

[00:16:42] John Ross: So if I’m looking at that client’s, uh, uh, estate planning and I’m seeing investment opportunities or insurance purchase opportunities, then I’m going to be identifying those and I’m going to be sending them right back over to you saying, Hey, you need to go talk to your financial advisor about buying some long term care insurance.

[00:17:00] John Ross: And now you’re selling product, you’re selling services, and the only reason you’re doing them is because I’m doing the selling for you. You know, and, and all of that. And so they, you know, again, I was kind of approaching them with a different way. This is not a, you send me somebody, I’m going to send you somebody.

[00:17:17] John Ross: That’s not how it works. It’s, you’re going to send me people. I’m going to find out how you can make money by

[00:17:21] Steve Fretzin: sending me people. Okay. Yeah. Hey everybody. Check this out. You’ve just had a call with a client where they need help with something you don’t do. You’ve reached out to colleagues, you’ve searched the lawyer directories and you simply tell them you don’t know anyone that can help.

[00:17:36] Steve Fretzin: Overture changes all of that. Overture is the first private attorney network designed for the country’s best independent attorneys to refer matters to one another and ethically share in referral fees. It’s a great way to keep your clients happy and build your practice with referred clients. It’s by the founders of LegalZoom.

[00:17:55] Steve Fretzin: Membership is free if you’re accepted, but act now to get priority access to referrals for your state and practice area. Apply for membership at overture. law. Overture dot L A W. Okay, let’s take a quick break to talk about how money penny is changing the game for lawyers who are losing business every day and may not even realize it.

[00:18:15] Steve Fretzin: It’s impossible to provide amazing client service when you have phone trees, voicemail, jail or untrained staff handling your phones. Every inbound call could be a new client to intake properly or an opportunity lost. With MoneyPenny, it’s all been ensured the call will be handled exactly the way you want it every time.

[00:18:34] Steve Fretzin: To take immediate action on this, write down this email and start your free trial. It’s svj at moneypenny. com. And just mention my name in the subject line

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[00:19:11] Steve Fretzin: and stand out. I mean, I think my, my philosophy has been more of figuring out how to add value for people in one way or the other, and, and, and having that reciprocated.

[00:19:22] Steve Fretzin: Sometimes it’s equal, sometimes it’s not. And if people aren’t able to step up and be a producer, like I, here’s how I look at it, John, like, I’m a baseball scout. My job is to build the best team I can. And for an estate planner, it would be who are the best one or two financial advisors? Who are the, the two best CPAs?

[00:19:40] Steve Fretzin: Who are the two best? You know, lawyers in different areas and that’s the team. And as people produce value for you and you produce value for them, they stay on the team and they’re the starters, right? If somebody isn’t producing value in one way, shape or form, it doesn’t even have to be direct business, but it has to be new relationships.

[00:19:57] Steve Fretzin: It has to be branding, marketing, co authoring articles, speaking, whatever. And if that isn’t happening, they might drop down to the minors. They may never make it up to the major. So that’s, that’s my mindset about how I’m helping lawyers to build strategic partnerships. Now, in some instances. You have to keep it to one person in one field and others, they might have two or three cause they want to get fed back from the two or three.

[00:20:21] John Ross: Sure. Yeah. And it is going to be very field, you know, dependent, although, you know, you start looking around and for example, like financial advisors, I mean, you know, you’ll find more financial advisors offices in your, in your local neighborhood that you will Starbucks.

[00:20:36] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. I mean, we’re, yeah, we’re Chicago.

[00:20:37] Steve Fretzin: I mean, it’s, it’s low, they’re like a recorder and Matt and mattress stores for some reason.

[00:20:42] John Ross: Yes. Mattress stores. But, but you know, um, and, and so, yeah, that was one of those things where it was like, um, you know, I want all of them. I want the, the, the financial advisor that’s just starting out and only has a couple of clients and they’re not really even high net worth folks.

[00:20:56] John Ross: They’re just, they’re just average folks that have a little bit of retirement. I want them sending those people over to me. The, the financial advisors that own the top of the bank building and, and, you know, their minimum client is got 10 million. I want them sending their business to me as well. And so, you know, it was, it was go out and, and, and, and target those type of people and, and get them to, to come back.

[00:21:19] John Ross: But you know, that is very time consuming.

[00:21:23] Steve Fretzin: Uh, yeah. Oh, you don’t have to tell me. I mean, the, the first line of my networking, uh, attorney’s networking handbook is no one has wasted more time networking than I have. So I mean, I, I, I’ve done it. I don’t do it. I mean, now I’m like the, the pinnacle of efficiency and, and in teaching lawyers the same, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t go out there and hustle and make more mistakes that I can name.

[00:21:43] Steve Fretzin: I’ve got some great stories, by the way, around that too. You know, some of them. I’m pro. Yeah.

[00:21:47] John Ross: Yeah, and, and, and some of it sucks too. Oh, yeah. I

[00:21:50] Steve Fretzin: mean, there was, I, I had three hour marathon meetings. I remember meeting with a PR guy who sat there for two hours and tried to hard sell me. I was like, does he know that I’ve been in business for like a month and I have no money?

[00:22:01] Steve Fretzin: Like he’s hitting me up for like 700, 7, 000 a month in like PR fees to, I’m like. What is going on here? But I sat there took it for a marathon meeting.

[00:22:14] John Ross: Yeah. So, so, you know, I, I mean, it was very difficult. And so, um, and I think I had told you this story. I was, I, one day I was going to a doctor and I don’t even remember why I was at the doctor’s office, you know, but I’m sitting there and it as typical.

[00:22:28] John Ross: You know, my appointment was probably at 1 o’clock. It’s, it’s 2 o’clock or 2 30 in the afternoon. I’ve been sitting in the lobby of the doctor’s office for an hour and a half past my appointment time, along with a lobby full of people and. You know, I’m sitting there minding my own business and I look up and this, this young woman in a, uh, Brooks Brothers suit, the, the skirt, probably a little short, um, comes strolling in and she’s pulling her Pfizer bag, a little rollie Pfizer bag, and she walks right past all of us, right into the back and immediately has the attention of the physician, and I was sitting there thinking to myself, you know, I bet Pfizer or whatever company it was, right?

[00:23:11] John Ross: I bet they’re paying that girl. Yeah. I don’t know, six figures, probably at least, you know, low six figures for sure. I mean, especially the, again, 20 years ago, I mean, that was, you know, the, the, the, the pharmaceutical reps were making some bank and something and okay, she’s all she’s doing. She’s going back there and she’s providing some, some samples, some here’s, here’s what we do and maybe, maybe brings a lunch or something.

[00:23:39] John Ross: That’s it.

[00:23:40] Steve Fretzin: Well, I mean, I think I, I mean, I think also some concert tickets, some, you know, some, some sports sporting event ticket. I mean, the, the laws have changed significantly for how pharmaceutical reps can, can approach doctors and they still get, I think, meals out of them. But I think like the, and sometimes trips, but like, I think back in the day, 20 years ago, like they were.

[00:23:59] Steve Fretzin: It was flat out bribery, but whatever the case is, John, like your point is well taken that here’s someone that, that gets immediate access when, when all the clients are sitting in that waiting room.

[00:24:10] John Ross: Yeah. And, and what I’m, so I’m thinking, I’m saying why, you know, why would, why would Pfizer or whatever pharmaceutical, why would they pay this person, you know, six figures to do that job?

[00:24:22] John Ross: Well, because it works, right? But I’m looking around at the legal field. And, and I’m thinking, I’ve never, I’ve never even heard of a law firm having a marketer, you know, somebody like that. I’ve never heard of that, but why not? I mean, if, if the pharmaceutical industry is doing it. And so, you know, my, uh, our first hire was a receptionist who worked part time as a retired lady and she wanted to be off at two so she could go pick up her grandkids, you know?

[00:24:56] John Ross: But she was cheap and we could afford it. Okay. My second, my second hire was a real paralegal. And uh, when I hired her, her starting salary was more than I had made the previous year. Um, but I knew I needed good talent that could, that could really do a lot of the work. On the back end so that I could get out there and hustle.

[00:25:20] John Ross: Yep. Um. And my third employee was a marketer and

[00:25:25] Steve Fretzin: just to be clear with, you know, just so there’s no confusion that, that, you know, the terms business development, marketing sales, they all get kind of mixed up. And what you’re talking about is someone that was a business developer, someone that was job was to go out and develop business, not to, you know, cause law firms mid market, they think of the marketing people, you know, they’re the ones that are posting on social.

[00:25:45] Steve Fretzin: They’re the ones that are, you know, getting the, you know, the super lawyer. Stuff together that that’s not what this person was. This was a

[00:25:52] John Ross: hustler, right? And, and basically what, what had happened around, around that same time, if you, you know, those kind of the mid two thousands, there was, uh, some real tightening in the pharmaceutical rep world.

[00:26:05] John Ross: And a lot of folks, uh, got cut and they, they broadened out the regions and they just have one, uh, sales rep for a giant region. And then they’d fire all the other ones. And so all of a sudden the market is flooded with, uh, with some really top notch, um, you know, outside salespeople. And, and so anyway, I found this, this, this young lady and I said, Hey, I’m just curious if you’d be interested in doing essentially what you were doing, but for a law firm.

[00:26:35] John Ross: And she was like, I can’t imagine, but that I don’t know anything about law. I was like, that’s okay. I can teach you. I can, you know, just like you didn’t know anything about how, you know, XYZ drug worked, but you figured that out and you were able to talk intelligently. Uh, to, to a physician who dang sure knows how those drugs work, right?

[00:26:57] John Ross: And so you’re, you were able to do that. Well, I could do the same thing. I can teach you how to, to describe what it is that we do intelligently to a CPA or to a financial advisor or to an insurance agent. And, uh, and so that’s, that’s what we did. So we hired, we hired this person and, and all of a sudden they’re going out and doing all of the things that I was doing.

[00:27:19] John Ross: And I was like, wow, this, and it worked.

[00:27:21] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. You just, you just duplicated yourself in a way of how are you going to get out there? Build brand, build business. It isn’t just on you. Now you’ve got someone else doing it and that in the legal space, even today, I know law firms across the country. That struggle with the concept of someone else going out and doing business development, some firms take a shot at it and it either works or fails, but ultimately, I mean, I kind of thought that was going to be the future of legal was to have that going, but I’m not really seeing it take off.

[00:27:51] Steve Fretzin: So you were, you’re definitely an innovator, you know, back, back 15 years ago and plus, and they wouldn’t know when it was doing it.

[00:27:58] John Ross: Right. And, and, and I’m, again, I was, I was like, I don’t know why. I don’t know why everybody’s not doing this. You know, I was kind of having the same thing as you and I would too.

[00:28:06] John Ross: I was kind of thinking, you know what, I bet this is going to catch on, you know, and I’m going to, you know, uh, you know, state bar meetings or, or things like that. And, you know, just talking to other people that are in the same sort of business and. You know, we’re just kind of offhand. I’ll say, well, yeah, my marketer went out and did this, or my business development person went out and did this.

[00:28:25] John Ross: And they’re like, you’re what?

[00:28:28] Steve Fretzin: Not to, not to comment at all, but, but I mean, when it comes to building business to going back to original point, you know, innovators and people that are looking to go a different direction that everyone else is going can pay off. It’s just, it’s sometimes hard to come up with that.

[00:28:46] Steve Fretzin: But again, learning from you and, and seeing what other people are doing that are, you know, contrarian types of methodologies or, or ideas can pay off. Yeah,

[00:28:56] John Ross: absolutely. And, and, and really what, when we hit, once I had the market, the, the next immediate thing that really kind of came up along with that same line of things was, well, okay, if you’re going to have somebody that’s going out there and talking to people, well, they’re going to need, they’re going to need some, some handouts, some, something to, to leave behind, right?

[00:29:17] John Ross: And, you know, okay, I, I could, you know, she could carry a stack of my business cards, but, um, well, maybe we could do some pamphlets, uh, you know, I mean, do I have pamphlets? Yes, I have pamphlets. Everybody has pamphlets, right? You got a little trifold pamphlet. Sure. But whatever, um, but not exciting, right? Um.

[00:29:41] John Ross: And then, and not terribly informative, right? It’s, I mean, a, a, a threefold, a threefold brochure. Yeah, it’s got some, uh, got some stuff. Hey, this is what we do, right? Uh, but nobody actually reads any of it. Uh, you spent way more time working on the wording of it than anybody else ever will looking at it. And I started thinking, well, you know, I need to actually be able to provide them some information, some real information.

[00:30:05] John Ross: You know, if, if I was going to, uh, you know, if I was going to talk to that social worker at the nursing home, um, well, you know, maybe I need, maybe I should have an article about, you know, how people qualify for Medicaid and maybe I should also have a list of all of the nursing homes within a region. Well, that would be handy.

[00:30:24] John Ross: You know, and if I’m talking to a, a, a financial advisor, uh, well, here’s, um, here’s some new IRS rules on Roth conversions. Well, that would be interesting for them, you know, um, and, and so maybe I could, maybe I could put to some of these sort of things together and I could create like, you know, a couple of little articles and a, a list of resources.

[00:30:47] John Ross: And then that would give us something to, to leave behind. And, and so I kind of put this idea together and I, you know, I gave it to my marketer and I said, maybe we could put something together. And, and first thing she did was she kind of, you know, played around with it a little bit and, and, you know, all of a sudden it’s like a, you know, 40 page sort of deal.

[00:31:06] John Ross: And we’re looking at how much this is going to cost to print. And wow, that was going to get expensive. It is. And so I said, but you know what, if I’m putting this in the hands of every social worker at the hospital and every CPA in town and every financial advisor in town, every insurance agent in town, I bet the local credit union would buy an ad, you know, and tell that business development person, Hey, why don’t you call over, you know, the person that, that does stuff over at the credit, you can call them over.

[00:31:39] John Ross: They’ve got a huge marketing budget. Um, I bet they buy an ad from us. And, and then while you’re at it, I mean, if we’re going to leave these at the hospital, I bet the hospital would put an ad in there. They’ve got a huge marketing budget. Um, you know, so I’m looking around, who else is advertising in print media?

[00:31:56] John Ross: And, and well, let’s go out there. And next thing I know we have published a magazine and it’s a, it’s a 50 page high gloss advertisement for my firm. That cost me nothing. In fact, we, we typically make a little bit, not a much, but I mean, it, we, we, we make more in ad revenue than it costs to print the, and, and pay for the graphic designer and

[00:32:22] Steve Fretzin: all of that.

[00:32:22] Steve Fretzin: Right. Right. But ultimately it evens out. And then on top of that, you’ve got this, this 50 page, you know, thing that’s going to lead back to business.

[00:32:31] John Ross: That’s exactly right. And it, and it, it reads we, you know, we, and of course we would bring in, actually, we’d have other, this also gave us an opportunity to tell that financial advisor, well, Hey, if you would like, um, to write an article for our magazine, you know, then we could put it in there and then you could have your ad and a whole article and, you know, that would be even better.

[00:32:54] John Ross: Right. And, and so. Yeah. All of a sudden, now we’ve got, now we’ve got this whole magazine and, uh, we’ve, we’ve been doing that, uh, we’ve been doing that for probably seven or eight years, uh, nine years of, of publishing the Aging Insight Magazine. Uh, anyway, it was just, you know, it was just one of those things that it just, it came out of a necessity to, to get stuff out there to, to people that had information about us and, and, and the fact that we couldn’t afford to print it.

[00:33:22] Steve Fretzin: I mean, John, I’m just, I’m just hearing, and I know there’s even more than you’ve shared and we’re out kind of out of time at this point, but the, the, the, again, the contrarian direction of how you’re going about business development, making it unique, building your brand, doing the business development and making that a big part of your life, a big part of your, of, of how you’re building business and making this a business, not just a law firm is all I think inspiring and if people want to reach out to you to learn more, they want to network with you.

[00:33:52] Steve Fretzin: They want to throw business your way. What are the best ways for them to reach you? Yeah, it

[00:33:55] John Ross: was. So, uh, the name of the firm is Ross and Schollmeyer. Uh, our website is Ross and Schollmeyer. com. Not that anybody can spell Schollmeyer. I did try to get Lisa to change her name before we started the firm. Um,

[00:34:07] Steve Fretzin: but that didn’t go

[00:34:08] John Ross: over too well.

[00:34:09] John Ross: It didn’t work, but it’s S H O A L M I R E. But anyway, John, uh, Uh, my email is just john at rossenschollmeyer. com and, uh, and of course, I, I also have a podcast now, you know, as we’re again, trying new things, um, but I do a podcast called the big picture retirement show. Um, and, uh, you know, even if you’re, even if you’re, uh, I mean, whether you’re a lawyer or whoever you are, if you’re interested in learning everything about estate planning and, and, and planning for your own retirement and stuff, it’s a great

[00:34:39] Steve Fretzin: show.

[00:34:40] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, well, we’ll throw all of that in the show notes so that if you’re listening to this, you’re going to have all of John’s details. Last thing I want to cover is the, um, the Game Changing Podcast, and I think someone’s mentioned this on the show before, but so this is just doubling up on, on a great show that people need to check out, uh, Huberman Lab.

[00:34:59] John Ross: Oh, yeah, yeah, that’s, uh, that’s, uh, that’s probably my, my, my favorite podcast out there.

[00:35:04] Steve Fretzin: Okay, that’s dealing with the brain, right? It’s a brain

[00:35:06] John Ross: show. Yeah, it’s a brain fitness, um, I’m, I’m a, I’m kind of a fitness nut. Um, I get up, uh, my alarm clock goes off at 4 30 a. m. I walk into the gym at 5 a. m. Uh, you know, but I, and not only that, I mean, I get up at 4 30 and immediately take an ice

[00:35:24] Steve Fretzin: cold shower, um, man, you’re

[00:35:27] John Ross: hardcore.

[00:35:28] John Ross: Yeah. And then I’m in the gym, you know, and, and I, and my, my, my diet super regimented. And so I’m a, I may be a little, uh, uh, over the top on, on some of that, but that feeds that side of me.

[00:35:40] Steve Fretzin: But I think it’s, it’s all a, it’s all a pack. You’re a package deal, right? I mean, you’re. You’re highly motivated, extremely healthy, I don’t know if people are picking up on this, innovative, like there’s things that are going to drag someone down from a, from a health, wellness, business perspective, life quality perspective, and then there’s people that step up and stop eating the Snickers bars for lunch and stop, you know, they, they get up earlier and get their day on and, you know, I think that all works together and a lot of the folks I’ve had on the show that talk about, um, The stress of being a lawyer, the street and the pressure and all of that, you know, they’re all going to talk about those things as, you know, you got to take care of yourself first.

[00:36:19] Steve Fretzin: So I think you’re spot on with that. Um, Hey, as we wrap up, John, I just want to thank our sponsors. You know, if you’re just tired of, of looking through directories, you’re tired of, of, you know, trying to find colleagues that can help your clients and just don’t know who to turn, check out overture. law, uh, that’s overture law.

[00:36:37] Steve Fretzin: They’re terrific at helping you not only get business, but also, uh, you know, uh, get paid on business that you refer out. And a lot of attorneys leave a lot of money on the table. Of course, we’ve got MoneyPenny helping you get rid of those stinking phone trees and uh, get a live person actually directing the calls 24 7 to make sure they go to the right people.

[00:36:54] Steve Fretzin: And of course, GetVisible, who just, you know, if you just want to get any kind of idea about their work, go to my website, fretsin. com, check them out. They’re just rocketed for me and the law firms they work with. So check out all three of those great sponsors, everybody. Also if you’re interested in, uh, Grabbing my first book, which is sales, free selling, and understanding my methodology of, of, of, you don’t have to sell and convince and pitch to be a lawyer that’s successful in growing business.

[00:37:19] Steve Fretzin: It’s really about how you, um, uh, build a network. It’s how you walk a buyer through a buying decision and how you do it in a non salesy way. And, uh, you can go to fretson. com, uh, slash sales dash free dash selling to grab a free copy of that ebook. Um, John, thanks so much, man. I loved our initial conversation and I’m love this one is just as much and I appreciate you being on the show and sharing your wisdom and giving people an idea that they can be that lawyer by not being the same, that being different and doing things differently.

[00:37:51] Steve Fretzin: So really great. Meg.

[00:37:52] John Ross: Get out there and throw some stuff at the wall and see what sticks.

[00:37:56] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, yeah, and check out what other people are doing. I mean, it’s just because, you know, John did a magazine, you know, you can do a magazine. Again, you’re in your own market. Stealing and borrowing and altering ideas is kind of the basis of all sales and marketing.

[00:38:09] Steve Fretzin: I mean, everything’s been, been borrowed, stolen and adapted. So, right. And I mean, it was, uh.

[00:38:14] John Ross: Pablo Picasso said that all good art is plagiarism.

[00:38:17] Steve Fretzin: Well, there you go.

[00:38:18] John Ross: There you go. Yeah. Yeah. You could say the same thing about

[00:38:20] Steve Fretzin: business. That’s it. That’s it. All right. Well, thank you, John. And thank you everybody for, uh, spending some time today with us on the Be That Lawyer podcast, uh, helping you to be that lawyer.

[00:38:29] Steve Fretzin: Someone who’s confident, organized, and a skilled rainmaker. Take care, everybody. Be safe. Be well. We’ll talk again real soon.

[00:38:39] John Ross: 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.