Gary Johnson/J2 Marketing Interview – Marketing Strategy for Attorneys
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Gary Johnson/J2 Marketing Interview – Marketing Strategy for Attorneys


(light music) – Alright, hi, Tim Santoni here, today on the Santoni Spotlight, we have the pleasure of
interviewing Gary Johnson of J2 Marketing. Gary, welcome to the show. – Thank you for having me. – Maybe to start off, tell us a little bit about you and your company and what it is that you do for your clients. – So, J2 Marketing is a consulting firm. What we do is we help attorneys to build their book of business. And the way that we do that
is by building strategies with them, but what makes us different is we also help them
implement the strategies. So we take it a step further and we hold them accountable
to doing the things that they said they were going to do to actually build revenue. I mean, attorneys are like a lot of people that are in professional services. They don’t want to do the marketing, mainly because marketing
doesn’t make you money. You know, closing a deal
actually makes you money, but marketing to get
that doesn’t make you it. So what they would rather
do is build, build, build, build, build because
they make money off that. Well, it’s me holding them accountable to doing the things that
are going to be effective for them and profitable. – Gotcha, so the whole cycle. – The whole cycle. – Changing the mindset of getting them out of that day-to-day feeling grinded and understanding that the
whole flow is super important. – Yeah, we actually have a program that’s called Mindset of a Rainmaker that shows them the different attributes that you have to have in
order to become a rainmaker. So it is changing the
mindset which is good. – Awesome. So, you know, obviously
people aren’t gonna outwardly talk about, “Oh hey, hey buddy, “my business is failing. “I’m not generating revenue. “I’m not rain making. “To make partner here
at the firm I’ve gotta “bring in more business.” Usually that’s not something
that’s well publicized, for obvious reasons, so what are some… Give the viewers a sense
of what kind of triggers and what happens, what
goes on in people’s minds or in their businesses where they’re like, “Hey, I need to reach
out to someone like you “or find someone like you.” Walk us through that. – So there’s a couple different triggers. One is when they don’t
know where to start. They’ve probably been doing this but they just don’t know where to start. They don’t know what to do. Or they’re really frustrated because they are doing
a bunch of marketing and it’s getting them no results. I hear that a lot. Attorneys are like, “I go
out networking all the time “and networking doesn’t work.” And it’s not so much that
the networking doesn’t work, it’s you’re probably
going to the wrong places and you’re probably not
doing the right things because what most people do is, and especially you know
this being a ProVisors, they do a strategy what I
call show up and throw up. Show up to an event. They throw up all over
the other individuals. And they get no business. They don’t understand that
there is a full process of what you do before, during, and after. It’s that after, building
those relationships, that’s so important and
having a system and a process helps them out and they go, “Wow, this is “actually really easy.” But you just have to have
that system and process in place so that you can
actually do the stuff. But the trigger is typically “I don’t know where to start. “I don’t know what I’m doing.” And a lot of firms, as well, will hire me for those associates that
just got promoted to partner. Typically they bill, bill, bill, bill, and then all of a sudden
you’re promoted to partner and now we want you to
go out and get business. They don’t know, “What do I do?” And typically the managing
partner has to teach them. I take that off of their plate so that the managing partner has the time to do what they need to do
which is running the business instead of teaching this
either senior associate or new partner how to go
out there and get business. – That makes a lot of sense. It’s almost like it’s a whole
new role they’ve stepped into. They’ve been really good
at being an attorney and learning the practice and learning from the other partners and now they’re saying,
“Well, how am I gonna be “sales, marketing, business
development, rainmaker, “like, whoa.” – Yeah. – “I don’t have the skills for that. “You never told me about this.” Right?
– Right. Because they don’t teach
you that in law school. – [Tim] Right. – And they don’t teach that in most of the professional
services, whether it’s a CPA, financial advisors, life insurance, any of those professional services. They just don’t teach you, unfortunately, which is how do you get business. You can’t do any of those things without having the business. – Right. You can be the best lawyer, CPA, whatever provider you are, and if you don’t have the
clients to offer services to, it doesn’t make a whole
heck of a lot of difference because you’ll be sitting in your office waiting for somebody to call
or email you or something. – Yeah, exactly. – So give us some historical
information on Gary Johnson, like how did you get into this, how did you end up at this point? Did you just wake up one morning and say, “Hey, I’m gonna help attorneys “generate more profitable clients”? What got you to this point? – Yeah, I just woke up. I wish it was that easy. Before this, I was with a company called American Capital Group. We actually did commercial finance. And I was with them for 13 years. When I was there at the last two years, I actually got a coach because I wanted to start up my own business. And I wanted to do something that I was not only good at but passionate about. And that was helping people
build their business. When I started looking at it, I went through a target
market exercise with my coach. It’s the same thing that
I do with my clients is getting a target market. What came up was attorneys. I wanted to be an attorney
when I went to school. My degree is one of the
most worthless degrees ever in political science. Until I decided I don’t
want to become an attorney. I had so many attorneys in my network. I have an interest in the law, and they need my services
in such a big way. And so, I decided to focus
in on that for 90 days. So I’m gonna do this for 90 days and see how it goes. Because you can always
change target market. So many people are so fearful that, “Oh my God, if I
pick this target market “and it’s not good, then I don’t want “to pick a target market at all.” And I said just 90 days. You can commit to something for 90 days. Well, that was three and a half years ago and I’m still going with the attorney. So it’s working out pretty good. – That’s awesome. So you’re going along,
obviously very niche and very specific which
is great for marketing and business development purposes and I’m sure people come to you and say, “Well, can you help me? “I’m not an attorney,” or whatever else, which I’m sure is possible.
– Absolutely. – But it’s really great
to be focused on that. So because you’re kind of
constantly helping people overcome obstacles, whether
it’s mentally or physically, doing different things,
and we talked about certain strategies work or don’t work, it’s really not about those strategies, it’s about how you’re
navigating those strategies. Whether it’s social media,
LinkedIn, networking, whatever it is. So for you, what’s the
most gratifying thing to see your clients and
what do you enjoy the most? Like when they call you or you
show up at that next meeting, give us a sense of a story or a sense of what’s that moment like when… – Yeah. – [Tim] What happens? – So I start out my
meetings with my clients, we start out with wins. One of the best ones
that I can remember… How can I say this without… ‘Cause I have a confidentiality
with my clients. – [Tim] Sure, I understand. – So I had this client
who’s a corporate attorney and he had a very niche practice. He called me up and he was so excited because he just landed his largest client. And not even like close. It wasn’t even like,
oh this one is one of, it was by far the largest one. This was a little over a year ago and he’s still a client of mine and he still deals with that client on a monthly basis. And they’re about 30
to 40% of his practice. That really invigorates me
because when they’re excited about it, they go, “Oh my
gosh, this stuff works, “and it works really well. “And it’s really not as
difficult as I thought it was. “I can actually do this.” You know, you had brought up
a good point, a few times, is getting them in the right mental frame, changing their mindset. And that’s a really important aspect because, as you know, when
you’re doing marketing you have to have that confidence that, one, you’re giving
your clients the best, but also you’re changing their lives in a very positive way. And you have to have that
confidence to go out there and network and get referrals
and do speaking engagements, do writing engagements, all of that stuff. That confidence has to come out of that. – Right, those uncomfortable things that there’s a ton of fear
that comes with those things. – Oh God, yes. – So you brought up a point about, you know we’ve talked
about it in the past, I guess about it being a process, right? This isn’t a one-time
thing, like call Gary and you know you’re gonna strike it rich and then have all these clients, right? So when you talked about starting off, you mentioned starting off
each meeting with the wins, a win could be anything right? But how is it you’re able to convey that this is a process, not
an event type of situation? And what you’re doing is not… You’re changing behaviors and
attitudes and their mindset. It could take time and
some people, I think, are just like, “Oh, I
just go to this boot camp “and I should be fixed.” (finger snap)
– It’s done. – Yeah, so how do you convey that? How do you explain that? How do you get them to change that? Because it’s not just
changing what they’re doing. It’s also changing their outlook of like, “Hey, I’m not gonna go from
a million in revenue one year to 10 million,” but you’re
gonna maybe progress through different stages? – It’s through the assessment. I do assessments with potential clients and so I’ll meet with somebody to see do I get along with them. – [Tim] Got it. – I have to get along with all my clients. Once we get past that,
then I do an assessment to see are there expectations of, “Hey, I wanna get rich right now.” I had a guy, and this is
gonna sound far-fetched, but this was about a month ago, I had coffee with a guy,
got along with him great. We started to do the assessment and I said, “Look, what
do you want to accomplish “in a year, revenue-wise?” And he said twenty million
dollars in revenue. I said, “Okay, so let’s look at that. “What was your last year?” He said two hundred thousand dollars. I go, “You want to go from
200 to 20 million dollars?” “Yes.” “You’re solo?” “Well, I have an associate.” “Okay, but your associate
doesn’t do any of the marketing?” “Yes.” So this is what I asked him, “Why do you think you can
go from two hundred thousand “to 20 million?” And he goes, “Because your referral source “that referred you over said
that you can do miracles.” And I said, “Well, that’s
not something I can do.” And especially because
that two hundred thousand was his best year ever
practicing for 15 years. I told him, “Look, it’s
just not the right fit,” because I was trying to get
him back down to reality and saying, “Look, 50%
increase would be great. “But two hundred thousand to 20 million, “it’s unrealistic.” And he didn’t want to do
any of the work as well. So I just explained it to
him, this is not a good fit. There’s a lot of times I
actually tell no to people just because I don’t wanna
have that false expectation with them and when we do
that, we’re on the same page, we can then be running
in the same direction instead of fight, fight,
fight, fight on every aspect, which is frustrating to
them, it’s frustrating to me, and we don’t work very well together. So I have to make sure that
I do a correct assessment to make sure that what I can
give them is what they want. – Makes a lot of sense. Gotta be on the same page from the get-go, otherwise the strategy’s not gonna work. They’re not gonna want to buy in and do that kind of work. – They’ll be disappointed
like there’s no tomorrow because they’ll be
like, “Okay, this month, “we didn’t get in 1.5 million dollars.” In one month. Well, yeah. – We’re off target. – Right (laughing). We’re way off target. – So obviously the
example you talked about is another client referring you in, so maybe give me a
sense of who refers you, what does that look like, what other marketing do
you do that draws in? Obviously, it’s a very
sensitive, confidential type of engagement, where
there’s an assessment, but what’s the best referral source and how does that work
for you in your business? – So I actually break down referrals in two different aspects. One is a true referral and the
other one’s an introductions. A true referral really
comes from my clients because they’re the only ones who can say, “Gary is awesome because
this is what he did for me.” – [Tim] Right. – That is a true referral
when somebody goes to another individual and says, “Tim, you need to use J2 Marketing “because this is what they got for me. “I got an increase in X, Y, and Z.” That’s a true referral. So I get those from my clients. On the other aspect,
introductions are from my network. People that know my knowledge, they know what I’m capable of, they’ve heard from my clients, but they’ve never really
directly worked with me, that’s an introduction. And those introductions are,
“Hey, John, this is Gary. “Gary works with
attorneys, yada yada yada.” “Hey Gary, this is John. “He is an attorney.” But this is where they
have to follow up with “Here’s the reason why you two should meet “is because you guys could probably refer “each other business. “You might be able to help
each other out with knowledge. “And you guys are both
interested in X, Y, and Z.” The reason why I bring that up is because there’s too many times
that people will go, “Oh, you need to meet this person,” and they go, “Oh, this is a sale.” It’s like if I introduced you to somebody and please, anybody who is
watching this, life insurance, please don’t take this the wrong way, but if I introduced you to
somebody in life insurance, you’d be like, “I already
have life insurance, “why do I need this?” But if I explain the reason why and say, “Hey Tim, this life insurance agent “knows a lot of attorneys
that could use your services,” then you’d be like, “Okay, now I wanna “meet this individual.” And then we’re having
this conversation to say do I like you? Do you like me? You know, could this be a
good working relationship before any sale because
I don’t sell anybody on that kind of stuff
because it’s a turnoff. It’s a complete turnoff,
especially for a marketing guy. – Yeah, I agree. You can’t be talking to and networking with professional service
providers and trusted advisors with the idea that you’re doing that because they’re gonna need your services or they know somebody. The idea is that people, no
matter what service they’re in, if they will network,
they’re very professional, they’re always looking for opportunities to grow their network and
interview other professionals, look into their services
because maybe it’s… You know, like you
said, a marketing person that does lawyers. Okay, well you probably
know marketing people that work with insurance
and other people, right? So it might be good to connect because we have that direct relationship, but there’s someone that can offer to someone that I know, that I care about, or that I trust. – Absolutely. It’s funny because, you
know, we’re both in ProVisors and I’m very close with almost
all of the marketing people in ProVisors which people are like, “Oh, you’re competitors.” No, they’re not. They’re not my competitors
in a certain aspect because we all different personalities. We all have our different
way we do business with different individuals and at the same time I can
learn from those individuals because they’re smart, they’re creative, they’re great people. And if they’re not, well then I just don’t hang out with ’em. – Right. And you want to know how
they are and what they do so that in the event
you can feel comfortable referring someone that you can’t help. You also want to know the other, maybe this isn’t somebody
I’d want to refer to. – Exactly, yeah. Which is good. And all of my business that I have, and I can say it to a client, has been through either a
referral or an introduction. Every single one. It’s just being intentional
and understanding why people send you referrals. Because if you don’t know
what’s in it for them, how are you supposed to
ever speak that way to them? I mean, speak into that aspect, and when you are, when
you do understand and say, “Hey Tim, if you refer
somebody over to J2 Marketing, “you’re not gonna get a referral fee. “You’re not gonna get any money, “but what you will get is you’ll look like “a total hero to the attorney,” because imagine their
revenue goes up dramatically. They are able to sleep at night. They’re able to pay their bills. They’re able to expand their practice. Who are they gonna be thinking of? You. I mean, they’re gonna be like, “Oh my God, “my referral source is great.” Well, how do you keep
feeding that individual as much as possible, which
I also teach them as well. Remember, so-and-so referred you over, we need to take good care of that person as much as possible. – I think that’s an important thing that people don’t realize is that you need to take care of those referral sources and treat them as if they’re
almost like another client because that’s really what they are. – They are. – And it goes a long way, a
handwritten card, whatever, a thank you note, whatever,
they appreciate that because most people are not doing that. So it’s a way to stand above and to be like, “Oh
that Gary, he’s amazing. “He sent me a little box of chocolates,” or “He sent me a gift card,” or he sent me whatever
it is or thought of me for something else that was going on. Because no one else is doing that, they’re busy going to the
next, next, next, next. They’re not thinking of being intentional. – They’re also going to
who’s the next person I’m gonna meet? And I tell my clients, after
you have worked with somebody, three months after that,
take your referral source out to lunch and just talk to them. How are things going? How can I help you out? Thank you again for that. Because what’s gonna
happen is they’re gonna go, (finger snap)
“I know somebody else.” And then they’ll be able
to refer another person and another person. – Well, and also too,
if you did a poor job, you want to know about that too and what happened with the interaction. You can clear up anything else so they’re not an obstacle
to future referrals because if it’s just an
issue with that client, a misunderstanding or something that… – Absolutely, because they wanted a 500% or 5000% increase and you were only able to do 200, you know? (laughing) – Shame on you. – Right. How horrible are you. – Alright, well, before we wrap things up, we have a little fun lightning round. (thunder and lightning cracks) So let’s put 30 seconds on the clock and go through some quick questions. Alright, so, coffee or tea? – Coffee. – Coffee, black? – Black. – Cats or dogs? – Dogs. – Dogs. Favorite app? – Favorite app, oh God, Google maps. – Google maps. You’re the fourth person that’s said Google maps or Waze. That’s unbelievable. You don’t know your way around? – No, because it allows me to circumvent around any accidents
because there’s always like four or five different
ways of getting somewhere. Like when I got here, I
didn’t take the normal route that I would have taken. – There you go. Alright, and best book you’ve
read in the last 12 months? – Uh, best book, um. Can I say two? – [Tim] Sure. – So one is Think and Grow Rich. I’ve read that book
probably about 20 times. I typically will read
it once or twice a year. It’s just a great reminder. The other one is The Experience Economy. It was just suggested
and actually given to me by Ashley Bleckner. I don’t know if you know Ashley. She is with RS Crum, financial advisor and she said, “You know,
this book is great. “I’d love to have you read it.” With all her notes in
it, unbelievable book. It really talks about how an experience is within all of us and
how we should perform. – Great. Gary, thanks for joining us. – Oh, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. – And we will look forward to linking up your contact information in the show notes and encourage everyone to reach out and connect with Gary. Thanks. – Thank you very much. (light music)

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1 thought on “Gary Johnson/J2 Marketing Interview – Marketing Strategy for Attorneys

  1. Gary is an expert in marketing and works with attorneys and law firms to help them attract profitable clients. What questions do you have for Gary?

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