Academy of Chiropractic’s Doctors PI Program

Office Systems and Marketing #22

From the Desk of :

“Cold-Calling: Part 3”

How the Caller Should Handle Cold-Calling

Cold-calling law offices is not easy.  Why?  Because lawyers are historically unresponsive to meetings that are not related to their cases or that they cannot clearly see will benefit their practices.  Therefore, don’t do what we did; don’t stress, don’t wonder what you’re doing wrong, don’t sweat the small stuff.  We have developed and am providing you with the tools to make your endeavor as successful as possible and it all based upon market research (a.k.a. what we did that failed so you don’t have to fail as much as we did to figure out what works). 

Before I provide the templates on what to say, I want to give you an idea about how to prepare for your calling.  First, pull out your yellow pages, whether it be a hard copy or an online version.  Search for personal injury attorneys.  Make a list of names and phone numbers, 20-25 of them.  That’s how many you’ll call in an hour and you should limit your calling to 1 hour per day so as not to suffer from “Burn-out” as a happy, lively voice is critical to success. In other words, you must give “good telephone.”.  

Cold-calling should be conducted based on hourly cycles.  First, you make calls for an hour and then you fax/email all requests for information when that hour is complete.  Part of the system is to offer information to get the recipient interested in what you have to offer from an academic perspective. (You will find the information you can share, in a brief letter format, later in this consultation.)  I found that if you make one call after another, it’s faster and easier.  If you stop to fax/email, you break your rhythm.  However, don’t wait more than an hour to send the information.  In this way, you’re still getting the information out while whoever you spoke to remembers your call, you seem professional as you didn’t wait all day to send the information, but you’re also helping yourself get more accomplished.  Basically, do the same tasks repetitively and they get done faster and most importantly… a more efficient utilization of your time.

I found it helped me to use a spreadsheet to record all information.  Click Here  to obtain the Excel document we created for you.  However, what is most important is that you record the information, particularly the date and the name of the person you spoke to, first name is fine, in whatever format works for you.  This will not only help you when you need to make callbacks, it is required information if you are going to fax information.

When you begin making calls, you will receive many responses.  Some receptionists will say they’ll take a message.  See if you can avoid this because they’ll end up writing down the doctor’s name and phone number and giving it to the lawyer who will not recognize the name and simply toss the message.  Instead, say something like, “That would be great, but if it’s easier for you, I could simply fax over some information.”  In this way, you’re accomplishing your goal, but making it sound like you’re doing him/her a favor.  If he/she insists on taking a message, just leave a message and move on.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a summary letter you can fax/email.  Click here to obtain the letter.  Make sure to customize it with your office’s demographics.  

Now, what I am about to tell you was one of the biggest discoveries I made when I was cold-calling, so read carefully.  I used the summary letter sooo many times and finally began to wonder if it was worth sending because almost nobody set up a meeting based on the letter.  Then one day, a lightbulb went on.  We talk constantly about how important credentials are.  What if these lawyers who I knew had stereotypes about chiropractors could see that I was not calling on behalf of a chiropractor who thought he could grow “hair on a cue ball,” but a well-educated, well-credentialed chiropractor inclusive of medical school credentials?  Therefore, I started sending the letter WITH THE DOCTOR’S CV.  This made such a difference. I am not saying that the lawyers were beating down the door for a meeting upon receipt of this information, but when I called to follow up, I was getting significantly more meetings from the information that was sent.  I have no doubt that the lawyers weren’t reading the letters until they read the CVs and once they knew the doctors were experts that could pass a Daubert, Voir Dire or Frye expert hearing, meaning they could work with and benefit from relationships with, they read the letters.  

MAKE SURE doctor, that you have your CV reviewed and it is in admissible format and HAVE the necessary courses documented as it all starts with the doctor’s clinical excellence and verification on a CV. This one step validates everything we have been saying about your credentials, they are the key that unlocks the relationships.

Another very important note that took some time to learn is that offices won’t call back.  I was so concerned about not “bothering” people that if the receptionist told me he/she would call me back if the attorney was interested, I believed him/her.  I was foolish (so much I wanted to buy the bridge the guy offered J).  If you have not gotten a flat out, “No,” and for any reason the possibility of a meeting has been left open (you left a message, you sent information, etc.), call back in 2-3 business days.  They will not call you back.  It’s not that they’re not interested, it’s that you’re very low on their lists of priorities and you need to do the leg work, remember, you are “courting the pretty girl” and it is a process just like dating.  Whether you call back and say you’re following up to the message you left or the information you sent, it doesn’t matter, just call back.  

This is another reason you want to make sure to get the name of the person you speak to.  When you make callbacks, obviously, you won’t recognize voices, but if you spoke with Julie and its Julie again, you’re coming across as more professional and organized; you’ve got your stuff together.  This is where the 6P’s come into effect; Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance! If you call back and reach Sarah, when you mention you spoke with her co-worker, Julie, on Tuesday, you’re at least letting Sarah know that her co-worker gave you the time of day and she is more likely to let her defenses down.

Now, some general points you should be aware of and answers to questions I’ve been asked many times during trainings:

There is no way, in this day and age, that as many faxes failed as I was told did when I called back and said, “Hi, this is Alli.  I spoke with Julie on Tuesday and sent over some information at her request.  I just wanted to make sure it was received.”  Dozens of people told me the information was not received.  The truth, they either dropped the ball and/or want to “blow you off.”  The solution, politely tell them you are re-sending it and resend the information, make note on your record sheet, and call again in 2-3 business days.

Should you live in a small community or even if you want to just make sure you get as many meetings as possible, call back the people that turned down a meeting, but make sure you wait at least a month before you do so.  Sometimes you get a “no” because whoever answers the phone is having a bad day.  Sometimes the lawyer/firm is in the middle of a major case that is occupying virtually all of their time.  Whatever the case, it is possible to change some “no’s” into “yes’s.” You often don’t have to be the smartest, jus the most persistent, while being respectful of people’s time. 

Speaking of waiting, it’s really not worth calling between mid-November and mid-January.  Lawyers are trying to wrap up everything they can for the end of the year and the holidays and then when they come back in January, their plates are overflowing. 

There is no particular time of day that is optimal for calling.  I would stay away from Friday afternoons.  That’s really the only restriction.

At least 90% of the meetings I set up were during the 1:00 hour.  I’m not sure if that’s “lawyer lunchtime” or when they tend to take meetings, I just know when I asked offices that agreed to meetings what time they’d prefer, I almost always heard 1:00 or 1:30, although I like to be the first meeting prior to starting practice. .

Final tip, color-coding can be very advantageous, especially once your call list gets lengthy.  That way, you can start your calling day with the callbacks you have to make and then proceed with new calls.  It’s also easier to see who has already said “no” because some lawyers/firms have multiple listings in the yellow pages and you don’t want to call a lawyer that turned down a meeting two days ago.  I went basic: red for offices that said no, yellow for anyone that was a maybe and I needed to call back, and green once I booked a meeting.  Use whatever colors work for you, but I think it’s a great, easy way to organize your calls.

Finally, see the script below for cold calling.  Please let me know if you have any questions, whether it be before you start making the calls or when you’re in the process.  I want to hear from you if you’re frustrated and need help or if you’re rocking it and want to brag to someone who can appreciate your accomplishments.  GOOD LUCK!!!

Cold-Calling Attorney’s Offices

When the phone is answered:

Hello.  This is XXX and I’m calling on behalf of Dr. XXX.  Doctor XXX is part of a national medical-legal research organization and is looking to meet other lawyers in his/her area that handle personal injury cases.  This research has proven to be the arbiter for prevailing in many cases and he/she is looking to set up a brief, ten-minute meeting with the attorney(s) and any of his/her interested associates, to educate them on the current research.  Dr. XXX wants the lawyer to understand that this is not a solicitation for business, but a chance to educate the legal profession and help overturn the deceptive defense rhetoric that has unfortunately prevailed too often. 

At that point one of five things will happen:

1. You will get hung up on.

2. You will be told no, they are not interested.

3. You will be told they cannot make that decision, but will leave the lawyer a message.

4. You will be transferred to an office manager or office manager’s voicemail.

5. You will be transferred to a lawyer or lawyer’s voicemail.

If number 1 or 2 happens, simply move onto the next office.

If number 3 happens, see if you can fax a letter summarizing what you are offering to the office.  This way the secretary can simply pass the letter onto the lawyer.  Make it sound as if you are doing the secretary a favor (rather than saying this would be much better, as there is no way he/she will convey the proper information).  Let the secretary know this is often requested, as that way he/she does not have to take down all of the information; this way it sounds as if you are doing the secretary a favor, when really you are making sure the information you want to get to the lawyer actually gets there.  Get a fax number, the name of the person you are speaking to and the date. Be sure to record all of the above information so you cannot be accused or sued for faxing improperly.  Thank them and tell them to have a great day.  After all, he/she will probably be the one to pick up the fax, and you want to make sure it gets passed along in a timely fashion.  If fax permission is not granted, simply leave a verbal message, but make a note to yourself to call back in a few days.

A sample script for this scenario is: “Would it be OK if I faxed over a summary of the research I want to share with the lawyer? “

If yes: “Thank you, what is your fax number and who am I speaking with?”

If number 4 happens, use the same script as above, but include some extra details.  Let the office manager know thatpart of the agenda is to for the doctor to meet with the lawyer because he/she has patients to refer to as well and wants to get to know them better. 

In this scenario, you are using your referral as the “hook” to ensure you can get the information faxed over. 

If number 5 happens, use the initial script and the script above, but also let the lawyer know that the research you’d provide in return for their time covers a variety of topics, but some of the more popular ones with attorneys have to do with arthritic degeneration and the fact that pre-existing arthritis does not mean an injury is pre-existing.  Also, clients do get injured in “no damage” crashes.

Obviously, whenever leaving a message, make sure to leave your name, number and location of the doctor, just the city or town without giving an exact address as it becomes cumbersome in a phone call.  If your number has a different area code than that of the doctor, try to mention that you are leaving your personal number, and that is why it seems like it is out of their area.  This again reassures whomever you are speaking to that this is not a solicitation and this is coming from a doctor right in their neighborhood.