Obstacles have to be overcome in every economy. What obstacles are you facing now?
Dale: Vickie, my biggest obstacle is time. Particularly trying to squeeze in time to continue marketing every month. I’ve been a CLNC® consultant for 9½ years, so I don’t have to market at the same level I did in the beginning, but I know that being busy is no justification for not marketing. You taught me to always keep marketing to assure the phone is ringing.
Another challenge during a tough economy is maintaining attorney-client relationships with attorneys who may be dealing with the stress of their clients. Do you have any suggestions?
Dale: One word: communication. In any situation, that’s the factor that enables me to enjoy an excellent relationship with my attorney-clients and to keep them coming back. I’m always a phone call away, and I never let much time pass without being in touch. But more important, anytime I decide to go a different route on a case from what we’ve discussed, or when I have some new ideas, I don’t go forward until I call and talk to my attorney-client. Usually, they’re fine with whatever I’m suggesting as the Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, but they appreciate being kept in the loop. Then, if they get a bigger bill at the end of the month, they’re not startled. Nobody likes surprises of that nature.
Also, if I see something in the record that’s not good for the attorney’s case, I pick up the phone quickly and lay it on the line. It may not be what the attorney wants to hear, but he always appreciates the heads up.
Forging ahead when the world is taking a “wait and see” position shows a very independent and entrepreneurial disposition. How has your independent streak contributed to your CLNC® success?
Dale: Tremendously. Every day I do what I can to make certain my business is secure, my work is secure, that I have all my ducks in a row and that I have new business coming in. When the world seems to be falling apart around you, everything you do in your legal nurse consulting business takes on a different level of importance. For me, it’s about maintaining what I have and gaining a little too.
What is your best piece of advice to CLNC® consultants getting started right now?
Dale: My biggest piece of advice is to be prepared for rejection and frustration and to keep plowing ahead. It will pay off. CLNC® consultants who say, “I’ve spoken to ten attorneys and nobody’s interested,” are going to lose out. Business is a numbers game, and ten attorneys are nothing. Even CLNC® consultants in rural areas, where attorneys are not as numerous as in cities, can succeed handsomely in their CLNC® business. You don’t have to market only in your own backyard. You can market anywhere.
In any economy, you need to make a marketing plan and stick to it. Whatever marketing methods you use – whether contacting attorneys in person, on the phone or via mail – be consistent and follow your plan. And always follow up.
Vickie, you always say, “Do what works, not what’s easy.” I’ve known legal nurse consultants who created their marketing packet, mailed them, then sat back and waited for the phone to ring. They were surprised when no one responded. The same thing happened to me. Even when I sent out ten letters and followed up with a phone call, at least half the attorneys said they never received my packet and had no idea who I was. Attorneys, like the rest of us, toss mail they don’t readily recognize.
So I call my attorney-prospects before I mail anything. It takes more time but new CLNC® consultants should try it.
If you can’t always get through to the attorney, that’s okay; ask for their voice mail. The attorney gets to hear your voice, who you are and why you’re calling. A brief voice mail presentation lets him know that you’re a professional who understands his legal practice. He knows you’ll be sending a packet and that you’ll be following up. I get a much higher success rate when I call first.
Success Is Inside!