Just 2 Months After I Became a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant I Landed My First Big Client*
by Melanie V. Paquette, RN, BSN, CLNC
For the first two months, nothing was happening. What was I doing wrong? My husband said, “Give it a chance, Melanie. Let me help.”
He began calling the attorneys I had sent postcards to, and he got results. He booked me for presentations at law firms where I discovered that face-to-face interaction is my strong suit. Once an attorney agrees to a presentation, and I show what I can do, closing the sale is a given.
Our biggest attorney-client emailed us to say we had become their best friends and they cannot function without us.
My first big client, however, came by way of a referral from my insurance agent. My agent’s neighbor is an attorney who referred his medical malpractice and personal injury cases to another attorney. That’s when I found out how useful it is to know people who know people who know people. He passed my name along, and I got a call.
“What can you do for us?” the attorney asked.
Boy, did I answer that question. Amazingly, their firm hadn’t used legal nurse consultants. Their paralegal was pulling her hair out, unable to provide what they needed.
In closing I asked, “When may I come to your office and show you what I can do?”
The Work Started Flowing and We Replaced My Husband’s Salary
I handle all of that attorney-client’s cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury and workers’ comp. This single attorney-client can keep me busy full time, but my goal is to grow big enough to hire CLNC® subcontractors. We’re almost there. We have four attorney-clients now – and the work keeps flowing.
I say “we” now because my husband left his job and came to work for me full time as an office manager. That was one of the smartest moves I made. A disabled veteran, he’s able to take care of our children and still help with our marketing. He also answers the phone, which means an attorney gets a live voice, not an answering machine.
Being responsive is one important reason our business has grown so fast. We make $5,000-$6,000 per month and have already replaced my husband’s salary.
I Like Educating Attorneys – Once They Know You, They Need You
The most amazing thing happens when I give a presentation at a law firm: attorneys pay attention. I wow them with the CLNC services I can provide to help them win cases and they treat me as a professional. I use their feedback to refine my presentation for the next time I deliver it.
After attorneys learn what a CLNC consultant can do for them, they see the value. Later, when I actually work with them, they begin to rely on me in more and more areas, on more and more cases. Just recently, our biggest attorney-client emailed us to say we had become their best friends and they cannot function without us.
One thing I learned from Vickie is to hold my ground on nonmeritorious cases. That principle is working for me. After I review a case, my client will ask, “Melanie, what’s your recommendation? What do I do with this?”
If the case has merit, fine. I lay it out. But I sometimes have to say, “I understand that something bad happened, and your client is upset about it, but I don’t see merit here.” In the long run, the attorney saves money by not pursuing cases he can’t win.
My attorney-clients listen to me and respect my judgment. That makes me feel that my nursing experience and knowledge are making a difference.
While taking my CLNC training, I came up with the slogan we use in our marketing: We make you look best. My attorney-clients love it.
I Enjoy What I Do Every Day
Being a nurse is important to me, and my CLNC business makes me happy in many ways I never expected. I enjoy my attorney-client relationships. I enjoy feeling that I’m still helping people, even though it isn’t at the bedside.
On every case, I learn something new, which I can then use on future cases. That’s exciting. While I’m teaching my attorney-clients about medical records and the healthcare side of a situation, they’re handling the legal side and I’m learning from them, too. Together, we make a brilliant team. I help identify issues that will help them look good in the courtroom and win the cases that deserve to be won.
I also enjoy knowing that my children are not spending time at daycare. I used to feel guilty about leaving them, but now they’re getting the best care at home with their father. My CLNC business has positively impacted our entire family.
After serving his country in Iraq, my husband came home with limitations that make it hard for him to work outside the home. I created a job for him, and he’s a valuable asset to my CLNC business. No one could do a better job running the office, and I love working with him. This could never have happened if I’d stayed full time at the hospital. I’m proud that ours is a family business, that we can grow it together.
Recently, I’ve begun traveling for my attorney-clients, which is another exciting aspect of what I do. On one case, the attorney requested that I meet with his client who needed to be assessed for a life care plan. When I asked the attorney if he wanted me to find someone local to assess his client in order to save on travel cost, he insisted that I go myself because of the quality of my work. I was flattered. My office-manager husband made all the travel arrangements for me to fly in early one morning and come back the same day. This was a wonderful experience! I had never had a frequent flyer card before now. I feel professional!
We Keep Marketing Smart to Attract New Attorney-Clients Like Vickie Taught Us
One day we drove past a billboard for a law firm that specializes in personal injury cases. I told my husband, “We should call on them.” He called and booked me for a presentation.
That’s the sort of marketing that gets big results at low cost. This month we’ll be mailing out and following up on a hundred postcards, which is also low cost.
We offer a discount on the first case. Attorneys are like anybody else when it comes to saving money, they expect to get value for their dollars. The discount encourages them to take a chance, and it costs us nothing until a prospect actually hires us. We do a great job, the client is impressed and hires us again at our full rate. Marketing can be effective without draining your bank account – Vickie taught me that too.
Vickie Made It All Possible
I feel very lucky to have been trained by Vickie Milazzo. She’s amazing. When I completed the CLNC Certification Program, I told my husband, “Vickie’s a tiny lady but powerful. She looks at you like you’re the only person on the planet. The world around her stops and she listens to you, giving you her time and all her attention.”
It has been a year now since my CLNC Certification. A very happy year. I think back to those first two months, when I doubted myself, and I have to laugh. My life has changed in so many wonderful ways since I became a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.
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