Merry Neitlich: Building a Strong and Effective Brand

In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Merry Neitlich discuss:

  • The evolution of branding over the last 20 years.
  • Finding your brand essence statement and recognizing how you stand out from others in your space.
  • Keeping your branding consistent throughout your entire online presence.
  • The difference between brand, marketing, and business development (and how they all interact).

Key Takeaways:

  • Keep your website current (no more than 3 years old) so it is relevant and Google will see it. Have your tagline – make it relevant and tell clients how you are different.
  • You first want to find out what your differentiator is, then build your brand. You need to look introspectively to understand what it is that you stand for and your unique selling point.
  • There should be an overlap between your personal brand and your firm’s brand. If they are not related, it can cause a disconnect for your clients.
  • Consistency is the key. You need to hold yourself accountable to your brand, marketing, and business development efforts for them to be effective and work for you.

“A brand is not just an ad. A brand is not just a tagline on your website. A brand is how you operate and everything that you do.” —  Merry Neitlich

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About Merry Neitlich: For over 25 years, Merry Neitlich has been a successful business development and branding consultant to attorneys and law firms. She works with both firms and individual attorneys to drive revenue by turning branding into a strategic asset. Merry has been inducted into both the Legal Marketing Hall of Fame and the College of Law Practice Management.

Connect with Merry Neitlich:  


Email: [email protected]

Phone: 949-260-0936



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] Merry Neitlich: So, a brand is not just an ad, a brand is not just a tagline on your website, a brand is how you operate.

[00:00:11] Narrator: 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 Pretzin, will take a deeper dive helping you grow your law practice in less time with greater results. Now, here’s your host, Steve Pretzin.

[00:00:34] Steve Fretzin: Hey everybody, welcome to Be That Lawyer. Lawyer. I hope you’re having a lovely day today. I am Steve Brettson, the host, been doing this for, I don’t know, maybe about three and a half years and, uh, just hit over 300 shows. Very excited about that. And again, if you’re looking to get ahead as a lawyer, uh, no better thing to do than to go back and check out some of the previous episodes.

[00:00:53] Steve Fretzin: You know, are interested in marketing, branding, business development, time management, you’re feeling stressed. I’ve probably got a guest that can help take some of that pressure off and give you some tactical, actionable ideas. You know, to help you be that lawyer, someone who’s confident, organized, and a skilled rainmaker.

[00:01:08] Steve Fretzin: Listen, we’ve got a great guest today. Mary, how are you? Good to see you. I’m

[00:01:12] Merry Neitlich: fine. Thank you. How are you today, Steve? Doing well.

[00:01:15] Steve Fretzin: Doing well. Um, you’re in the West Coast? Yes. Southern California.

[00:01:19] Merry Neitlich: Southern California. Cloudy Southern California.

[00:01:21] Steve Fretzin: Oh, okay. Is that the new tagline? Uh, we’re going to talk about ranting today.

[00:01:25] Steve Fretzin: At

[00:01:26] Merry Neitlich: least a hot sun, but now we

[00:01:27] Steve Fretzin: just have clouds. Is that going to, yeah, they’re going to change, they’re going to have to change all their marketing to the cloudy, cloudy, uh, West. We’ve got a fantastic show today, really focused on branding and understanding from a lawyer’s perspective how to brand, and I want to start off with our quote of the show, as I like to do, Mary, and I am, I’m just going to put it out there for you and then, uh, have you kind of explain why you submitted that quote.

[00:01:50] Steve Fretzin: And it’s by John Wooden and it is things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. Really interesting. So, uh, welcome to the show and, and please share some insight about that quote. That quote is very

[00:02:04] Merry Neitlich: meaningful to me because I’m pretty much an optimist and I’ve noticed over the years, I mean, you know, shade happens to every one of us.

[00:02:13] Merry Neitlich: And it’s just learning how to compartmentalize and sort of look at it from a distance and like, isn’t that interesting? This thing just happened, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day or change. And so you just sort of have to accept the way things are and make the best that you can. And the things you can’t change, you have to try to let go.

[00:02:31] Merry Neitlich: So I, I just like that, just kind of optimistic and forward thinking. Yeah.

[00:02:35] Steve Fretzin: And I think it’s like, we particular when I think of failure, like, Oh, I really failed at this or failed at that. And I just think that’s so great because the failures that we have in life, the failures that we have in business, if we learn from them, right, it’s only going to make us stronger, better and more successful.

[00:02:53] Steve Fretzin: And I think most people just look at the failure and they kind of lament on that failure for too long, thinking about the negatives and how bad it is and how bad it feels versus taking a more, you know, kind of proactive, optimistic purview of it. I think that’s kind of where you’re going.

[00:03:08] Merry Neitlich: Yeah, I think so.

[00:03:09] Merry Neitlich: I think so. How we kind of have feet as positive as we

[00:03:13] Steve Fretzin: can. Yeah. Yeah. I think there’s that. There’s something to be said about the way that we live our lives and it’s, I think it’s very hard to be happy and successful in anything if you’re. If you have a negative attitude or you’re a pessimist, generally, it just doesn’t, it doesn’t really work.

[00:03:28] Steve Fretzin: Uh, and then you probably make people around you pretty miserable too, without realizing it, you know,

[00:03:33] Merry Neitlich: so. We’ve all experienced that first.

[00:03:35] Steve Fretzin: Yes, yes. I like that you’re, we are both optimists, so we’re gonna have an optimistic, uh, uh, look at this, uh, podcast today. Mary Knightlich is the founder of EM Consulting and so happy that you’re on the show.

[00:03:48] Steve Fretzin: We had a terrific, uh, pre interview call a week or two ago, and if you wouldn’t mind just giving a little background on, on yourself and, and you know, kind of your be that lawyer tipping point of, of, uh, you’re going to share that with us, but you know, I’d love to kind of give, give your background a little bit if you wouldn’t mind.

[00:04:05] Steve Fretzin: Sure.

[00:04:05] Merry Neitlich: Well, I guess the 1st thing I’ll say is for years, so for over 25 years, I’ve been a law firm consultant. People are constantly asking me, how did you become a law firm marketing consultant? Because back in the day when I did become going to this field, there were no. Law firm marketing consultants, there was no advertising, there were no websites, there was no email.

[00:04:27] Merry Neitlich: So people are constantly, how did you get into this? It is a really simple story. When I was about 10, I remember one day I, I had this epiphany and I went to my parents and I said, when I grow up, I want to be a law firm marketing consultant. Yeah. I said, no. I’m going But I did get into this just by happenstance and have had to grow and change with all of the changes from literally.

[00:04:52] Merry Neitlich: Email to websites to branding to social media now, and so being on top of what’s accepted in firms and being on top of the cutting edge of how you actually drive revenue. That’s really been the, I think the one commonality of my business and how it’s morphed over the past 25 years.

[00:05:10] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, it’s, I’ve been in it about, only about 16 years and I thought I was an innovator then and I was after you and a number of other folks, but it’s, it’s interesting.

[00:05:20] Steve Fretzin: I don’t know if you’re seeing this now, like. It seems like there’s multiples of 10 or 50 more folks in our space now than there were even 10 years ago. Oh, yeah.

[00:05:29] Merry Neitlich: It was five years ago. Five years ago. Okay. But, you know, having the depth of experience that we have, the 16 and 25 years, I think makes a big difference because We understand different practice areas.

[00:05:41] Merry Neitlich: We understand how law firms function. We understand how the executive committee or the management committee of a firm can impact what they’re doing and also change process. So, you’re working with individual lawyers on their business development, and sometimes I have to work with the department or a whole practice group or a firm to get them to adopt or to understand why this is beneficial.

[00:06:02] Merry Neitlich: And I think the experience that we have of doing this for so many years gives us. Insights to people who have just kind of jumped in.

[00:06:10] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. I mean, it’s like a hiring a lawyer with three years of experience versus, you know, 25, I mean, who’s going to get it done faster, better, stronger, quicker than, you know, whatever, then the other.

[00:06:20] Steve Fretzin: That depth of knowledge and experience, I think, pays off, you know, dividends for folks like us. But I think what I really want to understand from you is, is sort of how branding has changed and how branding has changed in legal, maybe even more specific, you know, maybe give us a little background for your kind of your take on that.

[00:06:38] Merry Neitlich: Sure. Well, when websites first came out, a lot of law firms were very resistant and they refused to have a website because this was just a passing fancy. And then finally, they adopted websites, but if you remember back in the days, that was like in the early 2000s. The websites were, you know, very sophomoric, they were, they were just stay and then came flash and everybody had to have this technology, but it wasn’t helping the client.

[00:07:04] Merry Neitlich: What’s really happened over years is law firms are finally understanding the importance of having a current website, so one that’s not more than three years old, so the technology is current, and Google will accept it and use it, and taking advantage of the length of your URL, and then having a brand that says something.

[00:07:24] Merry Neitlich: So, tagline like knowledgeable experience results, because that could be the plumber, or the person who cleans your pool. So, the tagline has to mean something. I always like to use my law, my firm as an example. My tagline is, our business is developing yours. So you look at that tagline and you know what it is that I do.

[00:07:48] Merry Neitlich: And so taglines are genuine and they actually should help people look at the name of your firm, read your tagline, your brand line and understand. Now with that said, a lot of firms, well, they don’t want a tagline and that’s okay. But you still have to have that on the homepage, that brand essence statement that reflects how are you different than others in your space?

[00:08:09] Merry Neitlich: How are you distinct? How do you deliver service? Have you talked to your clients about what predictability and efficiency means to them? You know, clients want to buy a law firm that is well branded. So they’re clear with how they will interact with them and what the brand actually means. And it has to be applied to all the

[00:08:28] Steve Fretzin: practice areas.

[00:08:29] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. And why do you think lawyers, law firms struggle with branding so much, maybe more than other industries?

[00:08:37] Merry Neitlich: It’s a great question. I, I think, uh, law firms are extremely resistant to change. Lawyers are extremely resistant to change more so than other professional service providers. I have worked with other professional service providers, and I would say that lawyers and doctors are the most resistant to, to change.

[00:08:57] Merry Neitlich: And also it has to usually involve many people. It’s not that there’s one person you go to who’s in charge of the brand or the business development. And so getting that consensus. And so when we go in and do a brand development session, the first session we’ll spend two and a half hours pulling out facts about that firm.

[00:09:16] Merry Neitlich: So we can get to those three to five unique selling points that they’ve given me and over time, over this two and a half hours. Back in the day, what if I, or if I’m still in person, I put post it notes all around the conference room up on the glass and the walls. And then we start to see like, Oh, we said the same thing 17 times.

[00:09:36] Merry Neitlich: And they’re usually two or three of those. And that helps me to figure out what the firm stands for. So it’s not me coming in or talking to their clients. It’s an introspective, introspective process to see what they stand for. And so it’s genuine and it’s real. And then it’s my job. To take those three unique selling points and write them into a paragraph called the brand as a statement.

[00:10:00] Merry Neitlich: And hopefully they’ll adopt a tagline, but if not, at least we know what the firm stands for. How are you different than others in your space consistently applied to every practice

[00:10:10] Steve Fretzin: area? Yeah, and I think the difference between a firm that has a brand that people can remember versus, you know, four white guys names.

[00:10:21] Steve Fretzin: Right. Or, you know, there’s no, there’s no words. It’s, I mean, they might throw some words on their website, but they’re, again, they’re just, they’re words that they just came up with out of the blue, like, you know, integrity and, and, you know, results or whatever it might be. So what’s the difference in, in the way that the consumer, the general counsel, the CEO views A well branded firm versus one that maybe they’ve heard has some good lawyers.

[00:10:48] Steve Fretzin: I get that question a

[00:10:49] Merry Neitlich: lot. And one example that I have is a number of years ago, a firm had sent me in to do some client feedback interviews with Maytag. And during the process, I became, uh, friends with the general counsel and he may tag had such a clear brand, right? You’d never see a Maytag prepared for.

[00:11:08] Merry Neitlich: And he thought that the law firms that he hired had to be clear and how they delivered service, how they were distinct, how they were different. What would happen if there was a problem? What would they do if there was a moment of truth that had to be corrected because there was a mistake. And he thinks branding was extremely important to the point where when he left Maytag, he went to a large law firm.

[00:11:29] Merry Neitlich: He made sure that that law firm had a good and clear brand because he knew how important it was going to be for him to market to other potential clients. So whether it’s a big firm, small firm, it doesn’t matter. There has to be something about your, your personality as a firm. What the distinctions are, and then just making sure it’s consistently applied to the practice.

[00:11:52] Merry Neitlich: I mean, you know, who doesn’t want to work with a great law firm? So how do you communicate that in your brand? They’ll learn either just fun or reference and they communicate that brand is part of what they do.

[00:12:04] Steve Fretzin: Everyone is different. And is a differentiator the same as a brand, or do you work a brand around a differentiator?

[00:12:14] Steve Fretzin: And I can give you an, I can give you an example. We first

[00:12:18] Merry Neitlich: find out what the differentiation is by going, okay, this introspective, this introspective process I call turning the telescope. Also, we look into the firm as opposed to like, looking out into the marketplace. It’s not that we don’t talk to clients as well, but the idea is it’s not what the clients wish we were.

[00:12:34] Merry Neitlich: It’s really who, what we stand for. So a differentiation comes from these unique selling points and codified and written and approved by the committee, the brand committee or small firm. It might just be 3 or 4 partners. If it’s a sole practitioner I’m working with, it’s a little easier because it’s just 1 person, but the process is exactly the same.

[00:12:56] Merry Neitlich: Get that differentiation and then ask enough questions. So you see, if it’s genuine, don’t just tell me, well, we’re different because we have the best client service. So the question is, how are you? How is that? What do you do that? That your client service is different. How do you know that that comes across?

[00:13:14] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. So there’s a firm in Chicago that I love, and I think some of the best people I know work there. And it’s called Lainer Mutian and years ago they, they have a top notch marketing guy that helped them come up with this, but they came up with like a two hour return call guarantee. So like every, every person that calls in is going to get a callback because responsiveness was something that they recognized as, as truly important to their clientele.

[00:13:40] Steve Fretzin: So, so they plastered it all and they, they built, I think, a brand, a really brilliant and successful brand in Chicago around the fact that they were being come, becoming known as the most communicative and responsive law firm in labor and employment, for example. So is that a good example of, of, of finding the differentiator through client information and then developing that out as a brand and making that kind of your, your go to?

[00:14:07] Steve Fretzin: Thank you. I’m aware of that

[00:14:08] Merry Neitlich: firm and I remember when that happened and there’s another firm that gave a guarantee. They actually gave a written guarantee to that client that they would return calls. And I think that’s part of the brand. I think that, that when you’re looking for the differentiator, if returning phone calls is part of your brand, what does that mean in terms of how you work and interact with clients?

[00:14:29] Merry Neitlich: Does it also mean That you share with them if you’re going to go above the budget that was slated that month before it happens that you don’t bait and switch and put for other lawyers on the team that weren’t already pre approved. So, it’s not just the. We return phone calls. Is that what your brand means?

[00:14:49] Merry Neitlich: Is it all about client service? Is every practice group in on that? Well, this firm, it was one practice area, labor and employment,

[00:14:56] Steve Fretzin: but maybe clients. So maybe client service starts with returning phone calls, which I hear is, you know, that there’s a lot of issue with, with lawyers now returning phone calls.

[00:15:05] Steve Fretzin: So, I mean, maybe it’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s an intro entry level way of demonstrating client service through, Hey, we’re going to actually call you back. And then it goes from there. Is that kind of what we’re talking about? I would

[00:15:18] Merry Neitlich: not say an entire brand is just that we call you back if that, that is a very strong, it’s we communicate with you and did not leave you hanging.

[00:15:28] Merry Neitlich: We strategize with you. We understand your business goals. And so before we start strategizing on this litigation, we have to know, do we need to keep this under the radar or do we want publicity about this? You have to understand, is a company going to go through a merger or an acquisition or a disposition?

[00:15:47] Merry Neitlich: And so how do we handle this meeting and our service compared to where the company’s going? So the differentiation of we return phone calls to me is just 1 of the of the unique selling points. If a firm is going to say that, there’s got to be some meat behind it, I think. Yeah. It has to be

[00:16:06] Steve Fretzin: something.

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[00:17:52] Merry Neitlich: Make it rain. Visit GetVisible. com and stand

[00:17:55] Steve Fretzin: out. So how can then branding be the strategic backbone of successful marketing for lawyers? Or is that kind of where we’re kind of in that already, but is, can you elaborate if that’s, or is that a different question I’m asking? Yeah, no, it

[00:18:07] Merry Neitlich: is. You know, brands in their truest sense, um, they take on a special meeting to the buyer and successful law firm brands are resonate with clients.

[00:18:19] Merry Neitlich: So sometimes after we brand, we will have a focus group of clients and potential clients of the sperm. And we will run together the brand essence and, uh, graphic images and a few pages for the website and say to them, Steve, how clearly do these words or these images or this graph or this chart or whatever, how clearly do these things reinforce this brand line of, and then share the brand line.

[00:18:47] Merry Neitlich: Because if clients don’t get it, and, you know, we’ll more, we’ll, we’ll change. And so it has to be deep enough so that you can have these meaningful conversations with a few clients or trusted colleagues that maybe, or even potential clients that would be willing to jump on a focus group call and, and vet this brand and see if it’s genuine and if it really meets the needs of the

[00:19:11] Steve Fretzin: clients.

[00:19:12] Steve Fretzin: Well, I think that’s a problem is sometimes the lawyer or the law firm might internally figure out what the brand is. Because they think it’s something, but in reality, the clients may feel it’s something different and it may not resonate. So if you have a brand that may not, that you think is spot on, but it doesn’t resonate, is that an issue?

[00:19:33] Steve Fretzin: Right,

[00:19:34] Merry Neitlich: so right now we’ve just finished branding a law firm and the positioning line that they took was great results begin with great relationships. And for us to come up with that line, we had five pages of notes and almost all of the examples when we pulled out the internal process had to do with client service.

[00:19:54] Merry Neitlich: And this was a place where large law firm lawyers left to get out of that large firm scenario wants to be in this midsize firm. And so it has to resonate with everybody within the firm and it has to mean something. So I asked them to give me examples. What do you mean great relationships begin with great, uh, or cause great results?

[00:20:15] Merry Neitlich: And so if they can’t pay that off with specificity, because we would like to put case studies on the website that pay that off. It doesn’t have to say great relationships, um, you know, create great results, but it has to pay off those stories. At least in my opinion. You have to get on that homepage and in four seconds, get the brand and get what the firm stands for, whether it’s a law firm or any professional services, but especially law firms, you know, people typically, as you said, we’ll go to LinkedIn before they’re going to go to your website.

[00:20:50] Merry Neitlich: That’s Forbes tells us that 68% of all people are going to a LinkedIn profile. So that profile better reflect the same essence message as the brand. It’s, it’s not just sales speak, it’s, it’s actually, this is who we are. This is why we practice. It’s the how we practice and the why we practice pulled into me something about how we deliver services and what our distinctions are in our practice areas and all of that.

[00:21:18] Merry Neitlich: Yeah.

[00:21:19] Steve Fretzin: Mary, how do you feel about curve ball questions? Cause I think I have one for you. I’m good. You’re good. All right. Well, 25 years, right? He better be. Uh, all right. So there’s law firm brands and there’s lawyer brand. So there’s a lawyer at a firm. The firm is branded for client service and maybe, you know, whatever, that’s the firm brand.

[00:21:41] Steve Fretzin: The lawyer now is in a practice area and the lawyer is unique in his or her own way, would like to brand him or herself out in the marketplace separately from the firm. How does

[00:21:54] Merry Neitlich: that play out? Well, everyone has a personal brand. Everyone has a way that they deal with the public. They deal with clients.

[00:22:02] Merry Neitlich: But if a lawyer is really savvy, he will take a look at what the firm’s brand is and hopefully be able to tie that to the personal brand. So a personal brand is, you know, how I deal specifically with my clients, how I go about strategizing on a matter, how I solve client problems. But you’re hoping that some of that reflects what the firm stands for, because they should, there should be some overlap.

[00:22:30] Merry Neitlich: Cause if the firm’s brand is something that you cannot relate to and that you don’t do, it can be a disconnect for the client.

[00:22:38] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. I mean, I guess I’m thinking of someone that let’s say works in a, not only in a practice area exclusively, but maybe in a certain type of arena. So let’s say it’s a, an M and a attorney and that M and a attorney works specifically with pest control companies like that, that, you know, all over the country, pest control companies.

[00:22:59] Steve Fretzin: That’s, that’s gotta create. You know, that a brand around what that individual attorney is doing separately from where he or she practices.

[00:23:10] Merry Neitlich: I would agree with you. You want to communicate through the case studies or examples of problems solved on your bio page. You maybe want to have examples of why you’re an expert in pest control.

[00:23:23] Merry Neitlich: These are the conferences that I’ve spoken on and here are some white papers that I’ve written. These are some podcasts that I’ve been on speaking about that. That’s showing your area of expertise, but in terms of delivering service and understanding what the firm stands for, it doesn’t matter what your expertise is.

[00:23:39] Merry Neitlich: You want to be an expert in that sub area. You’re not going to be an expert on tax law and labor employment and corporate, right? Usually there’s a specialty, but it still should tie into what does the firm stand for? If the firm has a weak or brand that doesn’t stand for anything like knowledgeable experience results.

[00:23:58] Merry Neitlich: It’s, you know, your personal brand will become stronger and, uh, you’re hoping that maybe you even would tie in examples of how you’re knowledgeable in that pest control area. Or these are, you know, I’ve litigated over 25 cases, seven have been to jury verdict and these are the results that I’ve gotten.

[00:24:17] Merry Neitlich: So you can even take a weak brand like that and make it come to life personally. You can, I know recently you had someone talking about social media. This is a great place. Put your personal brand out there. This is thought leadership about pest control. I mean, it’s such an

[00:24:33] Steve Fretzin: arcane area. Yeah. Didn’t I pick a, didn’t I pick a fun one?

[00:24:36] Steve Fretzin: You did.

[00:24:37] Merry Neitlich: I just keep thinking of the Ark, the Arkin man or whatever. The Arkin man, yeah. But you want to have… A paragraph on LinkedIn that ties off your personal brand about why you’re knowledgeable, why you’re experiencing results. Recently during this case with blah, blah, blah, we had to deal with the, you know, the federal trade commission and we were able to, and this happened, but you don’t have to tell the client, obviously lawyers are not happy about sharing clients.

[00:25:03] Merry Neitlich: Clients aren’t happy about that generally. But you share the concept during a recent, you know, I’m a hospitality lawyer and recently here are three changes that are going to impact those in the hospitality business. So your personal brand ties into your thought leadership, I think, but it also on some level, if you have a clear brand for the firm and many still don’t, but if the firm has a brand, you want to at least acknowledge it and tie it into your

[00:25:29] Steve Fretzin: personal brand.

[00:25:30] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. I think that makes a lot of sense. And why, why not leverage everything you can to help you. Get ahead, become known. And I guess kind of my final big question for you is, you know, something around, you know, clear brand essence, clear or, or brand distinction and how that really drives revenue for the attorneys in their firms.

[00:25:51] Steve Fretzin: Cause I think ultimately that’s where we want to go is we want to see it benefit the firm, we want to see it benefit the attorneys and how can successful branding accomplish that or help accomplish that. Well, that’s the money

[00:26:06] Merry Neitlich: question. And that is for sure. So a brand is not just an ad, a brand is not just a tagline on your website, a brand is how you operate.

[00:26:15] Merry Neitlich: And so everything that you do from webinars that you put on to, uh, how you interface with the clients, how you respond to them, are they allowed to call you on your cell phone? Um, all of these things, there’s two things. There’s a difference between marketing and business development. So whether it’s a personal lawyer, marketing their own personal brand and doing this development.

[00:26:37] Merry Neitlich: So marketing is everything about the visibility, what I put on LinkedIn, what I’m telling people about if they go to my website, this is marketing. Business development is when I get face to face with a client or I’m on a zoom meeting or even on a phone call, or I’m at a conference meeting people, am I communicating my personal brand and how I respond, or am I communicating.

[00:27:00] Merry Neitlich: The firm, how our firm is different, you know, technology is you, we are front, front, front and center and ahead of the pack in artificial intelligence. And we are prepared to work with companies right now to talk to you about the metaverse and web three and cryptocurrency and tell you the biggest dangers to small and mid sized companies in that area.

[00:27:22] Merry Neitlich: So that’s your personal brand. Maybe that’s your firm. That’s what the firm does. But you want to lead in with conversations 1 way to get that to happen is to say to a client or a potential client. Say you’re at a conference. You need to find a way to connect and get that get engagement. So you say to that particular.

[00:27:41] Merry Neitlich: Uh, connection, we don’t have much time to talk now. I know you have a lot of people you’d probably like to meet during this break. Uh, in in the seminar, but I’m thinking about writing an article on how this concept is impacting companies. Would it be okay if I gave you a call in a week or so for 15 minutes and I can interview you and get a quote from how this is impacting your company because I’d like to put this together as a white paper.

[00:28:07] Merry Neitlich: So you want to have a business development chance to follow up again, because Steve, you probably know this. I’m sure you know this, but the Department of Commerce tells us it takes 9 to 20 touch points for someone to meet you before they want to hire you. So you can’t just meet somebody one time and then think, Oh God, that Mary Knightley, boy, she’s really nice.

[00:28:27] Merry Neitlich: Let me hire her. It just doesn’t work that way. You know

[00:28:30] Steve Fretzin: that. Yeah. I know that better than anybody. I mean, because, you know, I’m in business, the business development and the marketing branding are different in another way. I think. Marketing. It’s like, Hey, I can pay someone to help me figure this out and maybe even execute on it.

[00:28:42] Steve Fretzin: I’m actually asking lawyers to work with me and then they have to go do it. Like they actually have to go out and do all the time and effort and energy now in a more efficient way and with plans and execution and everything. But it’s still, uh, an effort, right? It’s an effort of, of, of climbing a mountain in some instances.

[00:29:00] Steve Fretzin: So I think for me, it’s even more challenging than for most to, you know, get people to want to talk with me. And so I think the podcast, the books, the articles, the videos, the things that I’m putting out there to generally educate the legal industry about best practices. And if it leads to business coming to me and it leads to people seeing that I actually know what I’m talking about and I do this every day, you know, that’s going to help kind of, you know, put some smooth over things to get those inbound calls or to get those people wanting to talk to me versus me having to.

[00:29:36] Steve Fretzin: You know, push a rope to get someone in the door,

[00:29:39] Merry Neitlich: right? So that’s, that’s your business development. And then you’re trying to help the lawyers understand how to use those same principles to develop their own business, right? It’s all about driving revenue. So, you know, it’s one thing to Introduce somebody to someone else, but one of the things that we do is create sustainable, long term business development plans that are repeatable that go on.

[00:30:00] Merry Neitlich: It’s not, which I suspect you do too. So maybe we’re starting a new group. Or maybe we’re pulling, you know, industry leaders in the cannabis business together to talk about the latest struggles that they’re having. So you’ve got clients and non clients together. So it’s kind of what you’re, just what you do for a living is great and sustainable.

[00:30:19] Merry Neitlich: It’s not like going to a conference and shaking

[00:30:21] Steve Fretzin: hands with 20 people. Yeah, you’ve got to have regular, you know, plans that get updated, but you’ve got to figure out like where, where your low hanging fruit is, where the brand is headed, and you’ve got to have a consistent effort with that over a period of time for it to really…

[00:30:36] Steve Fretzin: Take hold and it’s hard, right? And so I think most lawyers would rather just keep their head down and bill hours. Not the folks listening to this show, right, Mary, because they’re listening to this show specifically because they don’t want to continue billing hours. They want to bring in business.

[00:30:51] Steve Fretzin: They’re interested in, in, in learning marketing as a skill. Versus is just ignoring it and pretending it doesn’t, it’s not a part of what it means to be successful as a lawyer.

[00:31:02] Merry Neitlich: I think branding and the kind of marketing that you’re talking about, take, take consistency. You know, you can’t just write about your brand once and then think, okay, well, we’re branded now, you know, we’re, oh, well, we’re marketing now because I did this one thing.

[00:31:15] Merry Neitlich: It’s consistency and being held accountable by yourself, right? Like. I don’t know what your philosophy is, but if I’m working with people or a firm and we decide to make changes and then nothing happens after three or four attempts, I will kind of say, let’s kind of put a pin in this until you think you have time to make some of these changes because otherwise we’re just meeting and then nothing happens.

[00:31:40] Merry Neitlich: I don’t know how you deal with

[00:31:41] Steve Fretzin: that. I mean, I try to get up front. Agreement and commitment with folks. So before we even start working, I’ll say, before we even like sign anything, I’ll say, you know, look, this is a big commitment of time, money, energy. Are you a hundred percent sure you want to do this now?

[00:31:58] Steve Fretzin: That’s an insane thing to say. There’s no other salesman in the world. That’s going to say that because it scares people. I need them to be scared and I need them to say, Hey, I’m, I’m ready to push my chips in, burn the ship behind me, whatever it is. Because that’s the only way this is going to work.

[00:32:13] Steve Fretzin: Coaching is a coach and a player and the players got to play. So I have to be a little more a great, of course, as I’ve gotten more mature and also more confident and more understanding of what it’s really going to take for someone to be successful with me. You know, I need them to know that don’t do this unless you’re really ready to do this.

[00:32:31] Steve Fretzin: And if that means we have to wait six months, fine, but I’ll also tell them, chances are in six months, you’re going to be busy with something that, you know, you’re having a kid or changing firms or some big, you know, litigation. And you’re ultimately not going to come back because this is one of those things where you either decide to do it and draw lights, like losing weight, Mary, I’m going to lose weight.

[00:32:52] Steve Fretzin: I’m going to do it. in six months. I mean, is that how it works right now? No one loses weight in six months. You decide to lose weight and you put down the Twinkie and you start losing weight right now. And so I think that’s the way kind of it’s been for me in my experience. But I also have them sign a contract that says, here’s what I’m going to provide for you.

[00:33:09] Steve Fretzin: Here’s what you need to commit to doing. And it’s like 10 bullet points that they have to initial. And I can go back to them and. 30, 60 days, if they’re not doing everything that they had committed to and say, look, John, here’s the contract. Here’s what you initialed. You’re not doing this, this, this, and this.

[00:33:25] Steve Fretzin: How do you want to address that with me? Do we want to keep moving forward or do we want to end this? Because I can’t work if you’re not going to work too. Yeah,

[00:33:34] Merry Neitlich: it’s the same thing with branding, right? It’s the same analogy. It’s constant paying attention to the brand. And, you know, if I publish this or I post this, or I go to this conference, how am I going to, what’s my business development plan?

[00:33:47] Merry Neitlich: How am I going to communicate and wrap

[00:33:48] Steve Fretzin: around? Yeah. Well, listen, we have to wrap up, Mary, but I’d love to, to, you know, we’ve been doing this game changing podcast and game changing books. Um, and I think you’ve got a book that you’re really, uh, fond of with Malcolm Gladwell, uh, The Tipping Point. Do you want to just take a moment and, and share why that book is, has been so influential in your life?

[00:34:09] Steve Fretzin: Yes.

[00:34:09] Merry Neitlich: Um, I actually like all of his books, but that’s my favorite because when you start to understand that people who are experts at something spend 10, 000 hours. And then you read the stories of why hockey kids that are eight years old versus nine years old are more successful in 10 months and understand when a product becomes so popular, it chips over and becomes a thing.

[00:34:30] Merry Neitlich: It really helps with marketing and branding and business development to understand the concepts

[00:34:35] Steve Fretzin: of the tipping point. Really cool stuff. And, um, if people want to get in touch with you to learn more about, uh, EM consulting and they want to look at their brand and they want to chat with you about it, what are the best ways for them to reach you?

[00:34:50] Merry Neitlich: Well, uh, I’m very active on LinkedIn. So as long as I can spell my name, cause it’s kind of challenging, um, or well also

[00:34:58] Steve Fretzin: unique. I mean, Mary, M E R R Y versus that’s, you know, right off the bat, I mean, that’s a differentiator and of the Marys I know.

[00:35:05] Merry Neitlich: Right. Right. Although in California, both those words are pronounced the same, which is interesting because I’m from the East coast originally.

[00:35:12] Merry Neitlich: Uh, but so just Mary at EM consults. org, uh, people are welcome to, or to call me at 949 260 0936. I’m always happy to have a conversation with anyone who’s looking to get their brand to be impactful and to drive

[00:35:29] Steve Fretzin: revenue. And in the show notes, we’re giving away one of your articles, which is branding is the strategic backbone of law firm marketing.

[00:35:37] Steve Fretzin: So that link to that article in JD Supra will be in the show notes as well as all of your other contact information. And before we wrap up, just want to take a moment to thank our sponsors. Of course, we’ve got Overture. law. Uh, helping you make money. And guess what? You don’t even have to do the work. Uh, you can just send it out to other attorneys and, uh, and get paid and also, you know, get more business yourself.

[00:36:00] Steve Fretzin: So it’s a win win situation. Check out Overture. And then of course, Muddy Penny, who’s just rocking it. Um, you, you know, you’re tired of paying for, uh, full time receptionist or you got the stupid, um, You know, a phone tree. That’s awful. Don’t do it. Look to Moneypenny. And of course, we’ve got GetVisible and they’re just rock stars in the marketing space for lawyers.

[00:36:19] Steve Fretzin: If you check out fretsin. com, you’ll see some of the awesome work they did on my website. So check out our sponsors. They’re terrific. If you’re interested in my book, Sales Free Selling, you can go to fretsin. com slash sales free selling to grab a copy of that. Mary, thank you so much for being on the show and sharing your wisdom.

[00:36:38] Steve Fretzin: Uh, just appreciate, uh, all of the, the, the marketing, mostly branding things that you shared today and, uh, helping the lawyers to be, be their best selves. You’re very welcome. It was a pleasure. Yeah. Pleasure. My pleasure. Our pleasure. It was a pleasure. That’s all we’ll say. Thank you everybody for spending time with Mary and I today.

[00:36:56] Steve Fretzin: Again, helping you to, uh, Be That Lawyer, someone who’s confident, organized, and a skilled rainmaker. Take care everybody. Be safe. Be well. We will talk again very soon.

[00:37:08] Narrator: Thanks for listening to Be That Lawyer, life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Visit Steve’s website fretson. com for additional information and to stay up to date on the latest legal business development. For more information and important links about today’s episode, check out today’s show notes.