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April 02, 2004

Don't Sell Like This.

Yesterday, I received two after-hour voice mails that went something like this, "Hi, I'm Bill Johnson and I have some clients in your area in urgent need of a matrimonial lawyer.  Please give me a call as soon as you can at XXX-XXX-XXXX."  The number is not toll-free, but a long distance number on the west coast.  I'm not calling it this time, but I've fallen for this ruse before.  The caller is not an attorney seeking to refer a client, but rather LegalMatch, a for-pay lawyer referral company.  They don't have a client in "urgent need of my services," but want me to sign up for their costly service to have them send me prospects.  Many lawyers I've spoken to don't think highly of the company's claims.  I can't vouch for their services, but their deceitful telephone pitch really pisses me off.   If they are trying to sell me a product, tell me so. 

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» Clue Train Manifesto in practice from tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog
There’s an interesting thread going on at the [non]billable hour right now, between Matt Homann, a lawyer, and the CEO of LegalMatch, a company that used fairly aggressive tactics in pitching their services to Matt. Read Matt’s original pos... [Read More]

» Cluetrain Manifesto in practice from tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog
There’s an interesting thread going on at the [non]billable hour right now, between Matt Homann, a lawyer, and the CEO of LegalMatch, a company that used fairly aggressive tactics in pitching their services to Matt. Read Matt’s original pos... [Read More]

» Cluetrain Manifesto in practice from tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog
There’s an interesting thread going on at the [non]billable hour right now, between Matt Homann, a lawyer, and the CEO of LegalMatch, a company that used fairly aggressive tactics in pitching their services to Matt. Read Matt’s original pos... [Read More]

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Comments

I sold for LegalMatch for a short time, approximately 3 months, which was about 2 months too long. The problem is, when you take a great salesperson, get them excited about a business plan/brand and make them believe there is value to the client, it may well take them more than a month to admit that they made a mistake and must flee as soon as possible. And, if you put a sales person on a commission only plan, they start looking at the projected revenue, looking to pay day, vs. looking at the day to day realities of the business. That said, I've not heard on this blog about the whereabouts of the then VP Sales, Paul Mush. He was unbelievable- one of a kind- in the very worst way. He was the person pushing the sales tactics, tricky voicemail crap, etc. I chose not to use the tactics the way presented and rather made friendly, honest, consultative sales calls, perfectly willing to take the "no", Sure, I needed to call more people, but I was unwilling to mislead to my gain. Perhaps this is because my father is an attorney? Perhaps this is because I like to believe sales is more about very clever marketing and convincing personalities than trickery. The point here is that every company needs to sell, and that includes asking for the time of people who feel too busy to have a sales conversation. I asked nicely and sold, from what I am told, as much in my first three months as anyone ever had. Upon hearing that, I thought "I must be a damn good sales person, then, since I'm doing it nicely and it still works... I think I'll go sell something better and more expensive." That, and the fact that the taste in the air in that icky boiler-room environment was sapping all the good stuff from my soul. The point is, more than the business model or potentially shady (desperate?) business practices of the CEO... look to the ring leader of the sales team for the rotten roots... the sales folks are branches from that very tree. My two cents...

both companies do very little to market there websites on the internet.

Odd that someone sitting on the ADVISORY BOARD at CasePost.com http://www.casepost.com/ourteam.php would be against LegalMatch.

Way to be ethical and two faced. Oh yeah, Randy Wells is the CEO over there now. Odd bedfellows.

I was very impressed when someone from your site made contact with my company to purchase the Talk About It Divorce conversation cards. They were going to give these to their clients as a way to let them know they were a caring law firm that cared not only about the money, but about the well being of the children.
www.talk-aboutit.com

Posted by: Nate | October 4, 2004 02:46 AM

I am a former sales rep/independent contractor for Legal Match. I did not make any sales. I was not able to sell "the dream" to some very lovely attorneys who took the time to do "the demo and interview". Instead of selling "the dream",
---------------------------------------------------
Unlike Nate I can sell the dream and "the pain." After six months being part of this cult though, I am about to move on. If I had any doubts about my decision, I sure don't now after reading this posts.

I knew all this stuff was out there buty avoided reading it because I was in denial. I must say though I disagree with some of the stuff posted though. For example, 20% total commission payout is not exorbitant, especially when that is usually split up between 3 or 4 people.

Someone complained about Mahima Achutan, she is a very sweet person and never rude or condescending when I heard her. She saw the light and is going back to law school.

I am kind of disappointed not to see my name up somewhere in the blogs...oh well.

Anyway, no one, as far as I know has touched upon or really grasps the "secret" of how, even with all of the negative publicity, that Legal Match is able to be successful as it is. Number one, the model is really, really good and does, theorretically, serve a niche.

But number two, LM has created a sales process that is absolutely extraordinary and NO ONE HERE (as far as I can see) has a clue as to how we/they operate.

I will be providing the details in a later post after I formally sever my ties.


Just got a call from Mahima Achuthan of legalmatch.com. Really OBNOXIOUS sales call. When I asked for references she said she needed to make a decision on an attorney by Thursday and she really need to move on. so I hung up on her. Whatever.

Just got a call from Mahima Achuthan of legalmatch.com. Really OBNOXIOUS sales call. When I asked for references she said she needed to make a decision on an attorney by Thursday and she really need to move on. so I hung up on her. Whatever.

Randy,

All you need to know about me is that I don't like people getting abused: and thats exactly what you do.

By examining your response we can gain a better understanding of what little regard for the truth you have.

'We embarked on a program to hire people with law backgrounds in the hopes of bringing up the professionalism of the process.'

Your false claim of having a sales team staffed w/ nearly 50% JD holders, is not validated by stating you embarked on a 'program' to hire more people with a law background.

*Of course you'd WANT former attorney's to work for you, for a myraid amount of reasons. This however, is completely different from THEM actually choosing to work for you, which is what you claimed.

'We are no longer a commission only based company.'
'We offer a Training Allowance plan, that provides a stipend during our 3 month training process.'

So I take it that you're still not paying your managers any salary?

Knowing the sensitivity involved in legal matters, your company has been paying those individuals resposible for all new attorney memberships no salary?

If your managers' only source of income derives from completing a sale, what kind of incentives are you creating for honesty and transparency?

Do LegalMatch member attorneys know that 20% of their membership fees are paid to salespeople as commissions?


'The New York office was closed temporarily because we found that we could not support the training and processes in that office.'

This pattern of lies, cover ups, and more lies is rampant throughout LegalMatch's history.

Stay tuned more lies to be exposed soon!

Maurey,
I'm not sure who you are, but, I would appreciate you posting your contact information so that we might talk. We embarked on a program to hire people with law backgrounds in the hopes of bringing up the professionalism of the process. We contracted many attorneys, former attorneys, para-legals etc. A large portion had completed their JD. Some did well, others didn't. I prefer contracting people with a law background so that they understand the world in which our member attorneys are involved.

We are no longer a commission only based company.
We offer a Training Allowance plan, that provides a stipend during our 3 month training process. Yes, I said 3 months! We invest a significant amount of money in the people we contract because the process is very sophisticated. I get calls and emails all the time from "great salespeople" who tell me how they can do the "one call close". Let me tell you something: I don't like pressure closes, and our attorneys don't like it either. I will expand on this shortly in this blog. Suffice it to say, we don't contract those types of people anymore. I am not "slick", nor untruthful.
We are trying very hard to create a company that honors the consumers that have come to us for help. They trust us to help them find the right attorney.
Maurey, I think I know who you are, and we were forced to terminate your contract due to the un-ethical part of your sales practices that violated your agreement with LegalMatch. You know it, and I know it. So, if you would like to call me, please do.
The New York office was closed temporarily because we found that we could not support the training and processes in that office. When we re-open, it will be under our new training system. Our goal is to serve the public, and our member attorneys, in the most credible way possible. If we have a situation where we don't feel the company goals and the support systems are in harmony, then we have to make changes.

Randy Wells
CEO
415-946-0896

If you examine the response by Randy "Slick" Wells, who is now the CEO of the company, you can begin to get an idea of how unethical this company is. For example, he states:

"In fact, close to half of our attorney allocation managers have their J.D. and many have been in practice."

This is obviously complete nonsense, as only a small amount of their salespeople possess their JD Degree. Think of the absurdity of his statement, that close to HALF possess their JD (a position that pays ZERO SALARY and NO BENEFITS, yet HALF of these people have their JD?)

These types of fabrications indicate what little regard Wells has for the truth. (Along with other management like Lance Burton, who works on a nice salary and yet has no problem bashing ex LegalMatch contractors who've been upset for getting takin of advantage of by LegalMatch)

Wells' claim that they "uphold their attorney relationships in the highest regard" is exposed for the lie that it is.

Think about it for a moment. The company is established, yet the important role of 'Allocation Manager' - the people they hire to "interview" and sign up new attorneys are paid NO SALARY.

If those people are only paid when they complete a sale, how serious can they be about promoting ethical practices??

This is part of the reason that their New York office has shut down due to the huge of amounts of people who walk out on them.

Always watch out for characters like Randy Wells and Lance Burton, especially when dealing with the sensitive issue of acquiring new clients.

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