Roberta M. Gubbins, Esq.
I Write Content--You Practice Law

Draft Three / blog

The Importance of One

Joe Girard, a car salesman, is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the #1Retail Salesperson. How did he get this title? He sold more cars than any other car salesman. 

What was his secret?

Early in his car selling career, he attended a Catholic funeral. The funeral director was passing out Mass cards to all those in attendance. 

“How do you know how many Mass cards to have printed?” Joe asked the man.

 “I print up about 250 each time since that’s usually how many people show up for a funeral,” he answered. 

Soon after that, Joe sold a car to a Protestant funeral director. When he asked how many people attended his funerals, he got the same answer “About 250.” He soon learned from another minister that about 250 people usually attended the weddings in his church. 

From this informal research, Joe developed his “Rule of 250.” The basic principle is that most people have about 250 people in their lives that will show up at their funeral or wedding. There are exceptions, of course. Some have more, some have less. But the average seems to be 250. 

How did he use this information?

•    He realized that if he did a great job selling a car to one person, he could potentially gain 250 more customers

•    But, if he did a crummy job, he could possibly lose 250 customers.

Joe sold cars. You, on the other hand, are selling a legal service, not a product a client can touch like a car or a toaster, but a vital service they need but may not be pleased about purchasing. The concept, however, is the same. 

Each time your service produces a satisfied or accepting client; you could potentially gain 250 more clients. How does that happen? With referral and repeat business. Satisfied clients come back for more work and refer others to you. 

Some referral related tactics include:

Follow up with your clients. You can do this with a thank-you card, a call to see how things are going, ask if they have any questions and, if all is well, ask them to remember you when their friends ask ‘if they know a good lawyer.’ If there is a problem, attempt to fix it. 

Use CRM software or keep a file on each client listing personal information such as names of children, what they did for a living, birthdays, etc. You can use this information when you talk to them. 

Stop by their business or take them out to lunch. Your goal is to keep and maintain a relationship with this client.

Make sure they know every service your firm offers. Ask for their e-mail address and get permission to send them the firm newsletter or occasional updates.

Send cards for holidays and thank-you notes for referrals. Send information they can use, not a sales pitch. They will need legal work someday and they will turn to you. And refer you to one or two of the 250 people they know. 

Remember the Rule Of 250 every time you meet new people, whether at an event or standing in line at the coffee shop line. (I once acquired a great client standing in line at Target.) Every person you meet could be a potential client. And they could bring in 250 more. Keep this in mind and soon you have a thriving business.