Russell: First question is tell me about your business and what’s unique about it.
Christine: Well, the business that I have right now is a hybrid business. I have been in practice for almost 20 years in a litigation insurance defense practice. About three years ago, I decided to move in a different direction. I wanted to get out of insurance defense and litigation and move into estate planning.
I started with the estate planning practice probably about six months ago. I’m still heavily involved in the litigation practice trying to segue out of that completely and move into estate planning. That’s pretty much where I am right now.
Russell: Excellent. Describe your target market. Who are the clients you market to specifically?
Christine: In my estate planning practice, my target market is young families with children. Ideally they own their own home and they’ve got anywhere from $100,000 up to $500,000 in various assets including retirement, savings, etc. They may even own their own business.
Russell: Got it. What were your business challenges that caused you to seek out the PFL program?
Christine: When I was starting, obviously I’ve got a lot of experience in litigation and insurance defense, but I had no experience whatsoever practicing in estate planning. Although I have taken various courses on estate planning in terms from the legal prospective, my challenge was how to actually set up the practice from sort of the ground up to the nuts and bolts of actually retaining clients, having people come in and what to do when they do come in and how to get them to retain me.
For me my biggest challenge was really the nuts and bolts and the how tos of practice.
Russell: Right. Got it. What were some of the programs you looked at or tried before engaging with the PFL program?
Christine: I didn’t try any programs that were similar. In fact, I’m not aware of any out there. I became a member of WealthCounsel about three years ago and am really impressed with their programs but again, they didn’t teach me how to get clients. They didn’t go through the nuts and bolts of actually what to say and what to do with clients and how to set up my office systems and all of the things that really an attorney who is new to estate planning needs to understand.
While WealthCounsel is a great organization, it certainly didn’t give me what I needed to actually get going, start literally moving forward with my practice. It was only when I started with the PFL program that I was able to implement various programs in my office as well as step out myself and begin the process of bringing people in.
Russell: Right. Great. How has the PFL way training changed your business for quick results? Provide specific numbers like percentage growth and revenue numbers of new clients, recurring revenue, working less, etc.
Christine: The PFL program has been excellent for me for the reasons that I indicated before because I don’t have any direct experience with estate planning. I didn’t come up in a big firm where I had someone taking me by the hand and walking me through all of the different legal issues that come up in estate planning.
So the PFL program for me has been excellent because it has helped me have a specific understanding of what I need to do to bring clients in the door, the exact kind of wording I need to use when I’m speaking to clients to help them understand the importance of estate planning and to want to retain me specifically, and then even after then retain me what to do from that point in terms of implementing the estate plan, getting it into its final form and taking the client all the way through with our firm with a discussion about becoming members of our membership programs and becoming basically lifetime clients.
All of the programs are useful not just for the legal practitioner but also of course for staff. The PFL program is not just designed for attorneys but also their legal staff. There is a huge amount of support and guidance for both the attorney and the staff to get their questions answered and to basically hold them by the hand and walk them through each step of the process from the time even before the client walks in the door to the last meeting, making sure that the clients are very happy with our services and as Alexis says “become raving fans.”
I’ve just been very, very pleased with the program.
Russell: Great. At this point that you’ve started with the PFL program, has there been a percentage of growth or has there been a noticeable number of new clients? Any specific numbers?
Christine: I don’t have specific numbers but in the past month I’ve retained three new clients and am working on even more. My numbers are probably different than perhaps others who are exclusively focusing on estate planning. I still, as I mentioned, have a considerable litigation practice that I’m trying to move out of but it doesn’t allow me to do as much as I would like in the estate planning in terms of marketing. The clients that I do have have come in and had my initial meeting with them and I’ve had three new clients in the past month which has been great. I’ve had about $13,000 in revenue*.
Russell: Fantastic. Not bad for a little part time thing, huh?
Christine: Right. I’ve been very pleased.
Russell: Congratulations. That’s fantastic. There’s a couple more. What have been the top two to three headaches, pains or growth inhibitors that PFL has taken away for you?
Christine: Probably for me, I just can’t say enough for me the getting started part of it and the detail in which the information is provided. We’re provided literally with information on what to say to prospective clients and how to handle specific situations both for the legal practitioner and for staff.That part for my practice has been indispensible because like I said, I didn’t have someone teach me how to do this business. Having all of this in written form in terms of the timing, telling us when to do what and what our next step is has been great. It’s allowed us to set up our systems in the office and we always know what the next step is going to be.
That for me has probably been the biggest part of my practice that this program filled that void for me to know exactly what to do and when.
Russell: I think you might have just mentioned, but this next question is to make sure that we are complete with it all. Which of Alexis’s systems has been most valuable to you?
Christine: I think they’re all fantastic. Probably for me what has been most useful because it always comes down to the brass tacks is the Client Engagement System because that system has helped me basically retain clients when they do come in. The Client Attraction System has been great as well because that’s obviously about getting the clients to come into the office which is crucial as well but once they are there, it’s important that they do become clients and the Client Engagement System is really designed to ensure that we are speaking to the clients in such a way that they understand the importance of doing this planning and doing it now and doing it with us.
Alexis has provided a mechanism through which we’re able to do that and we’re able to do the same thing every time, basically repeat our process every time with a high degree of success. The Client Engagement definitely.
Russell: Excellent. I think you’ve pretty much just answered the last question which was what do you use in your practice as a result from what you’ve learned from the PFL way, so if there is anything new or any last things you want to share, please do.
Christine: I certainly use all of the programs from the Client Attraction through the Client Services and something that the PFL program really focuses on is not just -- developing a lifetime relationship with the client and so the membership program, there are some very unique parts of the PFL program that much other estate planning practitioners don’t offer. But certainly the membership program and allowing law firms to have a recurring source of revenue is very innovative and it is certainly a benefit, of course a long term benefit to both the client and the law firm.
So it’s really hard for me to say but I definitely have implemented all of the programs and I think they’re all fantastic. PFL gives, I think, an edge over the estate planning attorney because we offer so much more than the average practitioner.
Russell: Yes. That’s fantastic. Just on a side note too, will this be a program that you would refer to other lawyers as well?