Halloween Podcast Series Episode 13 – Protect Your Practice from the “Tom Sawyer” and Free It from the “Rasputin”

Halloween Podcast Series <span>Episode 13 &#8211; Protect Your Practice from the &#8220;Tom Sawyer&#8221; and Free It from the &#8220;Rasputin&#8221;<span>

Happy Halloween. Today is the 13th and luckiest or unluckiest day, where I describe the monsters that are there to feast on your practice, suck it dry, destroy it, ruin it, trample it, and do all the evil things that monsters love to do. Our last two are friends, other associate attorneys, partners, or anyone in your life. They may be very close to you, and they may even work for you, but they’re monsters and you’ve got to look out for them, look out for these qualities, and stamp them out. You’ve got to get rid of them.

The first one I’ll talk about is the Tom Sawyer. This is someone who gets everyone else to paint their fence and do the work for them, and they take credit for it. They don’t want to do anything. They don’t say thank you, and they don’t give credit where credit is due. They’re just demanding. They are tyrants. Then we’re going to talk about the ever-retiring Rasputin. Remember Rasputin? They tried to kill him 10 different ways and he just refused to die.

This is an old timer, someone who has been there a long time. They don’t have to be old, but they’ve just been there a long time. This could be a staff member that just does things their own way, and they actually run the practice and you work for them. This could be an admin that in essence, if you really think about the power dynamic, is holding you hostage. They don’t want to do this; they don’t want to do that. They don’t want to use new technology, they don’t text, they don’t do live chat, they won’t do this or that or the other, and they’re holding your practice back. It could be an older staff member who just really needs to retire, but won’t go and they dominate the firm.

The Tom Sawyers would be good if they did systematize your practice, so they can be harnessed for good, but you’ve got to watch out. What’s good about them is that they are good at getting other people to do work that needs to be done, so they should be coached to set up systems so that eventually you reduce your dependence upon the Tom Sawyer. This could be an office manager; a good office manager is essentially a good Tom Sawyer because they’re getting other people to do stuff for them. But you want to do it in such a way where if that office manager needs to be fired for some reason, or they want to quit, or they want to make a career change, you don’t want to be their hostage.

This happens in a lot of firms where someone knows everything, so they can’t be fired. Or, if they want to quit or have to quit for some reason, like their husband or wife gets very ill or they have a sick child at home—whatever it may be—then you’re screwed. Look for the Tom Sawyers but coach them to systematize everything, make procedures, make checklists, etc. Some great references here is the Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. It sounds really boring, but it’s actually really fascinating. For instance, in this book they talk about a checklist that was developed for hospitals. When someone comes in, how do they evaluate whether they’re having a heart attack or not? It’s like a five-step checklist. They talk about pilots; would you want a pilot to fly a plane with no checklist, just trying to remember everything they are supposed to do? Hell no.

Checklists and procedures, instead of being stifling, are actually freeing. They’re really great ways to systematize your business. I’ve been working on systematizing Speakeasy Authority Marketing for almost four years now, and I’ve done it again and again and again. I go from customer satisfaction to the product we produce to human resources to marketing and round robin again, and again. I keep systematizing and systematizing and making procedures and checklists. It’s made things really smooth. I used to joke and say that we fought fires every day, and then it got to be a couple of times a week, and then it got to be once a month. You may cringe at this, but now it’s like a hemorrhoid every three months; we’ll have a flare up of a problem. But with our systems and checklists and procedures, we can tamp it down pretty quickly. Life is a lot happier, a lot more peaceful, more relaxed, and everything is really systematized. It took a long time to do this.

If not for being aware of these Tom Sawyers, and I guess secretly wanting to be one myself, I wouldn’t have gone to this extent. I highly encourage you to look for these people in your practice. If they’re there, corral them, get them under your wing, and get them going to systematize stuff. If you’re the Tom Sawyer, well, you’re the business owner, so that’s probably totally fine. But you don’t want to be the micromanaging Tom Sawyer; you want to be the one who can go fishing while everyone else is painting your fence.

There is another book called Work the System by Sam Carpenter. The whole book gets repetitive, but the first five chapters have most of what you need to know. That’s a great reference for you to systematize your business to make it run like a clock and reduce your hours there.

Let’s get into the ever-retiring Rasputin. This is someone who just refuses to die and refuses to go away. They’ve been there a long time, and they’re just stuck in the old paradigm of doing things, and you just can’t kill them, you can’t get rid of them—or at least you think you can’t. These people can stop you from moving forward into the modern world.

For example, it has become apparent on our side that Zoom consults are a fantastic way of selling, especially when clients can’t come to your office. It beats the heck out of the phone. I did a product called the Virtual Closing System on how to use Zoom to pitch clients, diagram their case on a whiteboard, get the contract in front of them right then and there, get them to sign it, and get them to pay the retainer all on that call.

We use it now to get new clients, and any attorney who is out there really should be using it too. You don’t have to buy it from us, but you can if you want to. At least listen to what I’m telling you and do it for yourself. If you’ve got someone in your business who is saying, “Oh, that’s, that’s not going to work,” or, “This is the way we’ve always done stuff for the 12 years I’ve been here,” and they don’t want to change, they’re holding you back. If you don’t change, things will change around you, whether you like it or not, and your firm is going to be left behind in the dust. You may think, “Well, I’ve been doing what I do for 20 years, so why do I need to change now?” If you look, you will see stuff changing around you radically.

Back in 2005 before I started in attorney marketing, I spoke to Braden from Legal Brand Marketing, who has been in it since at least 2005. He said to me, “Back when I started, attorneys didn’t even know they needed a website and I had to convince them. Now look how different it is. Pretty much everyone’s got a website, and if you don’t have one, you’re the odd person out.” Things change big time. Some of the big changes are here, obviously with COVID, not being able to see clients in person, staff working from home, text messaging has gotten huge, and mobile marketing and mobile search is now far more common than laptop search or desktop search. There have been a lot of changes in this industry. I’ve been in it 11 years now. Braden’s been in it longer, and he had a great insight.

If you’ve been in this industry, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 years, things have changed dramatically. If you find yourself being left behind and being stifled, it could be because you have a Rasputin in your business that you’ve got to get rid of. This refers back to the Tom Sawyer. Part of the fear of getting rid of a Rasputin is that sometimes they don’t want to go. But if you have any authority to get rid of them, do it. You may have to plan a few months ahead and start systematizing what they do so that someone new can slide in there quickly and there will already be checklists and procedures in place. You want to watch out for these people because they can stifle and smother your business. Like I said, you’ll find yourself left behind in the next couple of years if you don’t make major transitions.

We’ve covered 26 monsters over the past 13 days. Like I said, Happy Halloween. I’m just going to recap the monsters for you. I’m going to tell you all 26 right now, and I’m going to associate the monsters with the day so you can go back and listen if you’d like.

Day one, we talked about the ghost and the backseat driver; day 2, the nervous nellie and the vampire; day 3, the wimpy and the backstabber; day 4, the bungler and the narcissist; day 5, the canary and the branding barbarian; day 6, the social media serpent and the Rip Van Winkle of referrals; day 7, the follow-up fumbler and the SEO siren; day 8, the paid leads pusher and the new client hopium dealer; day 9, the lowball leech and the omnipresent omnivore; day 10, the budget bully and the strangler; day 11, the devil’s advocate and the bride (or the spouse or the partner in newspeak) of Frankenstein; day 12, the fear monger and the narcissist, and today, day 13, the Tom Sawyer and the ever-retiring Rasputin.

I hope you’ve gotten a lot out of these podcasts and that they’re a good resource to you. If you have any questions about any of this and if you want our help getting rid of any of these monsters, putting a stake through their heart, and helping your practice to grow and move beyond the terrible oppression of these monsters that are sucking your blood, come to speakeasymarketinginc.com or call 888-225-8594. Happy Halloween. Take care.

Richard Jacobs

About Richard Jacobs

My name is Richard Jacobs, and I've discovered quite a bit about the plight of solo practitioners and small, 2-5 attorney firms like yours these past 12 years.

I've come to understand the unique challenges in marketing ethically and effectively that attorneys face because I have:

  • Helped over 180 attorneys author their own practice area book and become the 'implied expert' in their practice area
  • Helped hundreds of attorneys successfully navigate Google's search algorithm changes, growing their websites from 2 potential clients calling a month to 4+ calls per DAY for some clients.
  • Interviewed and promoted over 507 attorneys nationwide, in practice areas such as:
  • DUI / DWI
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Bankruptcy
  • Auto Accidents
  • Social Security Disability
  • Slip & Falls (Premises Liability)
  • Real Estate
  • Estate Planning / Probate
  • Wage and Hour Claims
  • Expungements / Post Conviction Relief

Before you decide to invest in your marketing, it makes sense to first request your complimentary, custom, no obligation video website review.

Richard is the author of 6 books published on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.com

Richard is available for speaking engagements on direct marketing for attorneys and has recently spoken at the following legal conferences:

  • PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association)
  • Las Vegas DUI Summit – Private event for DUI attorneys
  • New York Boutique Lawyers Association
  • Perry Marshall & Associates Marketing Academy (Marina Del Rey, CA)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)