In the time of COVID-19, countless business owners have pivoted from operating their businesses out of traditional brick and mortar locations to operating primarily online. While many businesses have made this transition to best serve their customers during these uncertain times, Law Firm Mentor client Bridgette Bennett excelled by following our advice by implementing very specific and strategic tactics online. These systems allowed Bridgette to continuing operating her business and gain more leads using non-traditional marketing strategy. Many of these strategies have been outlined in our LFM Accelerator Course.
In this episode, Bridgette and I discuss what she did to 5X her law firm leads in ONE WEEK through use of these non-conventional strategies.
In this episode we discuss:
- Being inspired to lawyer from your own personal life experience
- The realization that your law firm isn’t about you, but about the people in your future waiting for you.
- Recognizing the need for mentorship to follow through and take action
- Adapting to a new way of doing business when COVID-19 forced working from home
- Staying connected with your team and the weight of responsibility you feel for them
- Facing the challenges of speaking with PNCs on-line or by telephone
- Accept that you can be scared of the uncertainty and be kind to yourself
- The importance of exercise and enjoyable activities to reduce stress levels
- Discovering solutions that are already there to be found
- Overcoming insecurities and realizing the audience appreciates authentic, real people
- How Facebook Lives immediately increased leads
- The importance of letting go and trying different ways of doing things
- Letting go of the good to get to the better!
Allison Williams: [00:00:11] Hi everybody, it's Allison Williams here, your Law Firm Mentor. Law Firm Mentor is a business coaching service for solo and small law firm attorneys. We help you grow your revenues to crush chaos in business and make more money.
Allison Williams: [00:00:25] Hi there, everyone, it's Allison Williams here, your Law Firm Mentor, and on this episode of The Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor Podcast, I am going to be sharing with you guys an interview that I did of one of my clients in Law Firm Mentor. Her name is Bridgette Bennett. She owns the Bennett Law Center in Florida and she is an immigration attorney. And we talk in this episode specifically about the pivot that she made to take herself from being purely brick and mortar traditional law firm to being essentially an online business. And by online, I mean that she delivers her message to the people, her marketing message, via Facebook Lives. Now, a lot of people have decided to pivot online when we became a shelter in home country. So a lot of people are doing that. But Bridgette took our advice and made some very specific, very strategic moves that we talk about in detail in the course of this Live so that, you know, people can know that it's possible and that people can know what to do in order to get there.
Allison Williams: [00:01:35] So we have, of course, the Law Firm Mentor Accelerator Course. This is not a pitch for that course. Bridgette did not actually take that course when we quickly gave her some coaching around getting online. We started pouring into our community when COVID hit, and that was one of the strategies that we knew would work for her based on her level of comfort in being in front of people. But even to the extent that she really was not comfortable, she did it anyway. And that's really the takeaway from this. So without further ado, I'm going to share with you our interview of Bridgette Bennett. The one thing I will give you as a caveat is that because this is an interview that we did on Facebook, the sound quality may be a little bit different than you're used to hearing on the podcast. We wanted you to have this content no matter what. Because we really thought this would be beneficial for people, especially right now. So please excuse the sound quality and please enjoy the show.
Allison Williams: [00:02:32] Good morning, everybody. It is Allison Williams here, your Law Firm Mentor. Law Firm Mentor is a business coaching service for solo and small law firm attorneys. We help you to grow your revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money. So today we are actually broadcasting from the Law Firm Mentor business page. And I want to let you guys know I'm going to be sharing this Live to various places so that as many people as possible have the benefit of seeing, hearing and experiencing, the wonderful guest that I have on the show for today, our wonderful Bridgette Bennett, who I am going to introduce in just a moment. But before we get started, I just want to let everyone know if you have questions or comments throughout the Live, please, please, please do share those with us. Let us know that you are here. Let us know that you are getting the benefit of what we are talking to you about today. And let us know if you have any questions for our guest, because this is designed today to be an action packed benefit for everyone in the legal community. I know a lot of people out there with their law firms are either struggling or experiencing some level of frustration in the ways in which people are now retaining our services.
Allison Williams: [00:03:36] That has changed quite a bit as a result of COVID-19. So part of us right now is all about sharing resources for people. And in order to do that, I very much wanted people to have an experience of an actual lawyer doing wonderful things in the legal community, helping her clients, serving her clients, being available to her clients, and, of course, how she was ultimately able to be a success in that regard.
Allison Williams: [00:04:03] So I want to welcome our guest for today, Bridgette Bennett. I'm going to read just a little bit about her because we couldn't possibly be here all day reading her entire bio, which is quite fabulous. But Bridgette is the attorney and the sole proprietor or rather the sole owner, I should say, of the Bennett Law Center. She has a solo practice that focuses exclusively on immigration and nationality law. And she graduated from Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law in May 2011. And she was admitted to the Florida bar in November of 2011. Now, these dates are important. OK. So listen to these dates and keep them in mind for just a moment. During law school, she was the vice president of the Black Law Student Association for one term and the 2009 recipient of the Florida Bar Association's Young Lawyers' Division Scholarship. Prior to moving to Lake County, Bridgette lived in Washington, D.C. for about 10 years, and she received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Government from Georgetown University in 2000. Now, as I said before, 2011 was like the critical year because that was also the year that she officially opened the Bennett Law Center. So I want to first welcome our wonderful guest, Bridgette, to the show.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:05:16] Good morning, everyone. It's nice to see everyone. Thank you for joining in.
Allison Williams: [00:05:21] All right. So let's dive into the sexy topic of the day, which is you and all the wonderful success that you are having despite this global pandemic. OK, so first thing I want to know is really why did you decide to practice immigration law? What was the draw in that?
Bridgette Bennett: [00:05:37] Ok. So I decided to practice immigration law first because I am an immigrant and I immigrated to the United States back in nineteen eighty eight when I was a bright eyed, bushy tailed nine year old from Kingston, Jamaica, immigrated to New York City. So going from an island to snow and definitely having that immigrant experience. But much later in my life, I met my now husband back in nineteen ninety seven and he came here on an entertainment visa.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:06:11] He's a DJ and a producer. And I guess after he met me, he decided he didn't want to go back to Jamaica. So after having overstayed his visa in nineteen ninety seven, we dated for about three years and then we got married. But because he overstayed, as we said, we had tremendous issues with immigration. So we fought with immigration for 10 years. We paid over thirty thousand dollars in legal fees. And that does not include the government filing fees. And we had three different lawyers and very, very different experiences with the lawyers. And having endured that situation, the possibility of my husband being deported. In fact, at the end of all of this, he was granted his green card in front of an immigration judge here in Orlando. So this for me is very, very personal. I know what my clients are experiencing. And there are moments during my consultation where I'm led to share that experience of me being on the other side of the table, me experiencing heart palpitations, the sleepless nights, the doubts of not knowing whether my family was going to be together or not. And because of this, I quit my cushy corporate America job. I was making money. I like this. Things are good. And I just thought, you know, going through this, this is crazy. I did more work on the case than the lawyer we paid twelve thousand dollars. Lawyer number two. I was like this is some bull shit right here. So I quit my job, went to law school full time from 2008 to 2011. And that's what my husband got his green card in 2010 while I was in law school. So it's not that long ago.
Allison Williams: [00:08:09] Yeah. So, wow, that is quite a story. And I think it's really impressive. And I think people really need to hear the idea of somebody taking themselves out of the comfort of the security of that steady paycheck that nice steady large paycheck and then putting ourselves into what can be a very tumultuous, insecure feeling of being an entrepreneur. So kudos to you for that. And let's talk about your law firm. So the Bennett Law Center is not just born out of a desire to make money and have a business, but also, like you said, very personal to you. So talk to us a little bit about how you ultimately create in the course of being a business owner that you created your lifeline. You know, you brought your story into being through being a business owner.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:08:57] Well, I think the first thing that I realized was that the law firm was never about me. There was a point when, you know, we all question ourselves and there was a point when I was like, why am I even doing this, even having had the experience that I did? And basically, it's like the Lord revealed to me that this is not about me. There were people in my future waiting for me to be victorious and my husband to be victorious, so that we can share our stories with them. So even going through an immensely difficult financial, emotional period, it still wasn't about me. It was about creating a space where I can bring in people that had my experience or the experience that my husband had, because they were waiting for me in the future. So you might feel discouraged in your practice at some points, but your practice really isn't about you. There are people in your future waiting for you because of who you are and the story that you have. And that has what has kept me from 2011 to 2020 when sometimes I just want to pull my hair out.
Allison Williams: [00:10:11] OK. So we're not going to say, we're not going to use that as an example of something you actually did. We didn't pull it out. OK. We just styled it down for right now. And it looks fabulous, by the way. All right. So you created your law firm and like you said, it was more than about you, which I think for some people it is, and for some people it's not. Right. Some people it's like, you know, I've got to make money. Gotta do something. This is what I'm doing. But your a very purpose driven entrepreneur. So let's talk about what the purpose is. Like, what's the big vision for your law firm? What do you want to see it achieve? What do you want it to become? What is it going to be beyond what it is now?
Bridgette Bennett: [00:10:52] I want a law firm that lives on without me. I think one of the first things that when we met at our retreat and you asked what do I want? And I said, I want to fire myself. So what that means to me is that I have worked so hard to create a reputable practice, to create a wonderful presence in the community, whether it's giving back through helping hands and feeding people through our office and the way that we serve our clients. But I wanted to do more than that. I want to create a space where I can develop my staff. So that's something that is very, very important to me. So right now, having fired myself from the day to day runnings of my law firm, I am able to now pour into my staff to develop them to get to the next level of their careers. So I really want to position myself as someone who is not just a lawyer, not just in tan entrepreneur, but someone who is able to create a space where others can realize the dreams that they have as well.
Allison Williams: [00:12:01] Wow. OK. So obviously there's a lot there in terms of your mission, your passion and wanting to have that legacy. Right. So if the goal is to have a legacy with your law firm and you want to have something that lives on without you and like you said, you want to fire yourself. Why did you seek help to do that? If you kind of you clearly outlined that, you know where you want to go? Like, why was it important for you to have assistance getting there?
Bridgette Bennett: [00:12:28] Ok, so let me confess right here. Miss Allison always says you don't want to be be the president of the Parcheesi club. You want to be on the football team. So for me, I'm like a real nerd. I love learning. And it is... That is a passion of mine. I'm always reading, listening to something to develop myself or just to relax. But the point is that. Oh, my God. I just totally lost my train of thought.
Allison Williams: [00:12:57] So we were talking about why you wanted to get help and you were saying that, you know, you don't want to be the captain of the Parcheesi club. Right.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:13:05] Yes. So for me, I did every CLE possible. I'm traveling all over the country to get to these CLEs. I'm traveling out of the country to get to the CLEs. Like, I love learning. However, having achieved I looked at my record yesterday, I have over 300 and something CLE credits in a year, in that year period. I mean, it's it's pretty ridiculous. But what I found that was happening was that I was getting all this great knowledge. And I would comeback. Fired up. I'm ready to go. I'm going to put this in action. And I never did. So I was sick and tired of learning all this stuff and not putting it into action. And so I knew that I really, if I wanted to move forward, there was something missing. And that thing was a coach, a mentor, someone who can get into my headspace to get me to a point of not just obtaining the knowledge, but using that knowledge to the benefit of my business.
Allison Williams: [00:14:09] Yeah. So I think a lot of lawyers experience that, myself included. Okay. I at one point was one of those lawyers that went to the conferences get all juiced up. Say, oh God, this is great. And then I just say, all right, I'll get back to my office and I'll do something with that. And then law happens. Right? Business happens. We get back into our groove and then we're kind of stuck with. Well, I can't do that now. I've got other things. I've got other processes. I've got other problems. I've got other issues. So kudos to you for recognizing that you needed help. And let's talk a little bit about what that looks like. So once you started the process of working with Law Firm Mentor, I want you to talk to me a little bit about, you know, kind of what the experience is because this is not turning in, by the way, just so that you guys know, this is not turning into a coaching one on one type of program. We're really gonna get into the hard strategies of what Bridgette did to get herself where she is now. But I really want people to understand that, you know, there's a difference between getting someone to tell you what to do versus having someone facilitate your ability to do what's necessary for yourself and to co-create with you your business. So talk to us a little bit about what the experience was for you when you started working with a coach.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:15:23] So for me, it's been a tremendous experience. When we first started off, it was a little weird because I'm not, I'm used to being alone in making decisions, in kind of running my business. So now I feel, you know, being the CEO, it can be lonely sometimes. And I have other friends that are immigration attorneys, but they don't have the staffing level that I do. They have different issues. So I'm usually the one helping other people. But I felt on the other side I didn't have the same type of support. So having Allison as my Law Firm Mentor has been tremendously helpful. She not only encourages me, but she challenges me.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:16:14] So I remember when we first started talking about my sales process, I was pretty closed off to some of the ideas and keep... Breathe. Just allow yourself to experience the moment of, you know, why is that resistance to a certain process being there? So it has really expanded my mind going through this coaching program. And again, you know, Allison is not doing the work. She's actually helping me to be empowered to do the things that only I can do. So I really appreciate this experience. It's, it's been life changing.
Allison Williams: [00:16:58] I'm glad that you say that. And I think a lot of people come into a coaching experience thinking someone is going to give them a step by step. Here is your, here's your blueprint, law firm in a box. Right. I bought a law firm in the box. So somebody is going to build my law firm for me and then I can go back to just being a lawyer, which, of course, is not what it is at all.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:17:18] No.
Allison Williams: [00:17:19] Yeah. So let's shift a little bit and talk about the current situation. Right. Because being in business is scary enough.And then uncertainty, you know, unforeseen circumstances happen to us. But this is a life unforeseen circumstance that everyone is experiencing together. It is a connectedness of all people and all business owners and in particular lawyers to their clients, clients to their communities. So let's talk about COVID-19 and its impact. So first, I know that everybody has had an impact. I know that you've had an impact. I've had an impact. Every lawyer that I know has had an impact. When did you first start to experience an impact of COVID-19 on your business?
Bridgette Bennett: [00:17:59] So for me, I, I didn't really understand how serious it is. So I feel like I shut down a little bit later than other people. So it was probably about five weeks ago that we made the decision to shut down the office. And it was very scary for me. Our model that we've been building is all about the team, us being together. And we literally had just solidified it. I had set up my attorneys as team leaders over teams of paralegals and literally the moment that was solidified, we had to set free. So it was kind of like, OK, God, I feel like I'm getting my stuff together. And then this. So it wasn't until about five weeks ago that I made that very important decision to shut down, despite my fears, despite my concerns, as of whether this is going to work for our clients. I personally hated phone consultations, video consultations. And now that's all that I would have because I love to be in person. I love to have that dynamic, that vibe with the clients. And so it was a very uncomfortable situation for me and the impact was pretty immediate. I went from probably twenty five to thirty consultations a week to four. So we shut down that Friday where I normally would have 30 people that I saw and the following week we had four. And the week after that, we may have had six.
Allison Williams: [00:19:49] Ok. So I want to pause there for a moment because that, that kind of like, you know, I remember when you told me that and I remember thinking, all right, we've got to come up with something here. Because twenty to twenty five, down to four. That is a hell of a drop off. Right. I want you to really pause for a second and for everyone. Let's listen to this. I don't like to tell people to get into their feelings, but I think a lot of times that's where we take our actions from. And we're gonna talk a little bit about that in just a moment. But I can only imagine how terrifying that was, especially given the size of firm that you have. We should let everybody know you have a seven figure law firm. So to go from having that amount of responsibility, that number of people whose livelihoods depend on it. That amount of overhead for a business owner to suddenly have a fivefold drop off in what you normally create in your law firm as a matter of course, I can only imagine what that experience was. Like, talk to me about some of the thoughts that went through your head.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:20:55] Wow. Well. Some of the thoughts that went through my head were, OMG. That was one.
Allison Williams: [00:21:10] Kids. Turn away, turn, turn, turn the computers away from your kids if they're in the room. Right. This is an adult forum.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:21:16] Yeah, I internalize. I have a very personal law firm. So when I think about the 17 people that work for me or work with me, I multiply that because I know every single one of their kids. I know their birthdays. I know the spouses. I know the pets. Like, they've all been to my house, you know. So the stress for me was very magnified. And I remember I started my first intro to doing video stuff, which we'll talk about later. Was that I started something called CEO Corner because I wanted to connect with my staff via video even though we weren't together. So I would make these little clips to talk to them and encourage them. And I remember one of the things I said to them was that my commitment to you all is that we're going to get through this together. But, you know, I'm going to do it in a way that no one is financially impacted. So I gave them my word. And so my word is everything to me. Like, say I'm going to do something. I want to be able to do that. So the fact of now. OK, I said I was going to do this. And the circumstances show me I might not be able to do this. That was really hurtful to me. And I really think getting to that feeling where I was going to be not only disappointing my staff, if I had to go into layoff mode or furlough, that would really have killed me emotionally, because I know that they're not only dependent on me, but their families are dependent on them, who's then dependent on me.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:23:00] So that's pretty heavy for me. So that's really one of my big motivators. The other thing is I was thinking about my clients. Well, if we fold like I have 800 people that have invested sometimes their entire savings to go through this immigration process. And then it brought me back to, you know, when we were going through this and when we had to pay all this money. What if the lawyer let me down? So it got me really deep in my feelings because they're so much counting on me to run this firm. So I had no other choice than to woman up and get the job done.
Allison Williams: [00:23:45] Yeah. Wow. So there's a lot there. And I think it just, it speaks to your immense integrity as a leader. And I want you to hear that I, you know, I try to see the strengths in my clients. It kind of naturally comes. But I think a lot of times lawyers intentionally attempt, intentionally believe and speak the idea that I am responsible for, I have to, I must. But lots of lawyers didn't take your approach, right? A lot. A lot of lawyers immediately thought and this is not a criticism of anyone. Right. This is a major catastrophic experience that we're all going through. But a lot of people thought, OK, I've got to take care of my family. Let me see where I can cut bait as soon as possible, and let's hope for the best. But if it doesn't work out, you're going to get plucked off. You're going to get plucked off. And then, of course, the people looking at us at the top have that fear of, oh, my God, what does that mean for me? Like, is my job OK? And I can't, you know, I have no control. And you ultimately took control and took on the responsibility of all of those people and their livelihood.
Allison Williams: [00:24:50] So, you know, there's just there's just a lot to be said for having that mindset. And then living that truth. And so when you hit that snag, right, when you got to that place where we went from twenty to twenty five leads a week to four and then up to six, you know, and there's obviously quite a gap there. What did you do from a mindset perspective, just to be able to buttress. I mean we know that you're thinking about the people, but obviously thinking about the people doesn't necessarily get us to solve our own internal head stuff. Like what did you do to kind of get yourself in a steady place to be able to move forward?
Bridgette Bennett: [00:25:29] Well, I've been experiencing kind of mania and depression. I wouldn't say depression, but very highs and very lows. So during this time, I'm thinking if I could just work harder, do more, then things will be all right. I'm responding to emails. I'm doing all these different things. And then it would kind of feel like it's sucked the life out of me. And then I'm just like, well, my bed, you know, that down comforter that you adore. It's calling you just now. So I've been experiencing these real ups and downs. So it's not every day I wake up and I'm sunshine. It's it's definitely not like that. And the first thing I had to do is acknowledge that, and acknowledge the fact that it's OK.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:26:24] It's OK. I think I've sent you several messages on FB. And you're like, OK Bridgette. It's OK. You know, it's. Don't be hard to yourself during this time. You can be kind to yourself. So if you're not on your A game every day, it is OK. So that was the first thing that helped my mind to resettle. So if I had a moment where I just didn't want to do a damn thing, I'm going to be like, OK, I'm just not going to do a damn thing at this moment. I know that another moment I will do things. But for this moment, I'm just going to sit down. I'm going to take a nap. I'm going to go for a walk. I'm going to play with my cat. I'm going to hang with the hubby in his studio. I'm going to go spend some time with the kids, just taking that time. I also have been walking about five miles a day in the mornings. That really helped me a lot of times. Allison's on super early. And, you know, part of my five miles was tuning in and seeing what she's talking about. And that kind of got my mindset, thinking and going and going and going. So that's been helpful. Let me be honest. I have fallen off the wagon with my walks, OK? I sleep. It's so damned messed up. It is. I can predict what time I'm going to wake up in the middle of the night. It's usually about three, 30.
Allison Williams: [00:27:52] Ok. So then you can join the party with the rest of us looking up at three thirty. There are a whole lot of us, by the way, that are in this club of OK. I go to sleep and then, poof, I'm up. And I'm not just up. I am up like it's time to be up, even though it's 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and there's a lawyers club. I almost want to create a group, but I don't want to encourage the experience.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:28:19] ...Tic-Toc videos in the mornings. Like we're up and we're like three o'clock in the morning. We're just scanning Tic-Tac videos. It's ridiculous, but I think it's, for me... Exercise is definitely important and it's something that I'm fighting my way back to. The five miles. But I'll tell you, I see Miss Angela on and she'd appreciate this. Let me tell ya'll what happened. So this right here. My Fitbit. This is my life. I love, my Fitbit. And my Fitbit is where I can track, because when I'm doing exercise, I want to see the rewards. I want to see how many steps, how many calories, how far and all this stuff. Do y'all know that the devil killed my Fitbit on Good Friday. Good Friday morning, ready to go for my walk and my little Fitbit would not turn on. I said the devil, I would...
Allison Williams: [00:29:14] The devil killed my Fitbit.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:29:19] I prayed. I said, Jesus, I know you rose on the third day. I know. It's coming. So my Fitbit is going to be resurrected on Good Friday. It was not. So..
Allison Williams: [00:29:32] Jesus rises. Fitbits don't.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:29:36] But fortunately it was under warranty and I got a brand new one, a new model. But even though I've got it, my pattern was broken and I haven't been... It's been two weeks and I haven't been able to get back. So exercise. I know that's something that's very good for me. The other thing that has helped me is to just cook. So that's a double edged sword.
Allison Williams: [00:30:02] I know, right? We're not exercising and we're cooking.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:30:05] Definitely a double edged sword that I've enjoyed, that my work doesn't allow. So my family, we'd eat out all the time. But my kids are like, oh, my gosh, I forgot Ma. You can cook. You can cook girl. So those are things that help my mind relax. My mind is always going. So the exercising, the cooking to bring me down, bring me down in terms of my cortisol levels, my stress levels, those things help to get my mind right.
Allison Williams: [00:30:39] Yeah. So I think you said something. I mean, obviously you gave a lot of great examples of what you personally do. And I think kind of what the thing is that we can all take a lot from, in what you just said, is the fact that it's not a linear path. Right. It's not like you get happy and poof, there are never any problems again or you get emotionally well and poof, there is no there is no ripple effect in that. You know, there there's going to be a period where you're gonna be up and you're gonna be down and you allowed yourself to kind of lean into that and kind of go with the flow. You know, I think of it like riptides.
Allison Williams: [00:31:14] You know, you're a Florida girl. I'm a Florida girl. I'm an implant in New Jersey, but born and raised in Florida. And I learned how to swim before I learned how to walk. And so one of the things my father taught me early on was if you had a riptide, don't fight it. It will win. Yeah, right. It will pull you under. You have to go with it and let yourself feel the moment when you can pull yourself out of it. And there is something to be said for that just in life and emotions in general. So it sounds like you definitely did that.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:31:43] Yeah, you have to. Sometimes your body doesn't give you the choice.
Allison Williams: [00:31:48] Yeah. So mindset obviously is where we start. Right. So anybody that's heard me do anything, talking about anything with regard to business and how to coach ourselves to success in business. I talk about thought work and the fact that a circumstance is simply neutral. We give it meaning with our thoughts. And then once we give it meaning, we have a feeling that implodes from those thoughts, whether they're positive or negative. And then we take action or fail to take action based on our feelings. And that leads us to a result. So let's talk about the action that came from those feelings that you started to experience in this, in this moment. Right. So you didn't just have your positive ideas about what you're gonna do to keep yourself well, like exercise, cooking habits, sleep patterns, things like that. You actually started doing things in the business. So let's talk about what you did, OK? How did you know you had to make up a big difference between that four to six number and that twenty to twenty five number? So that's a big chasm to try to to climb over. How did you do that? What was the action that you took in order to get yourself out of that low number?
Bridgette Bennett: [00:32:57] Ok, so first of all, I had to take a step back. Fortunately for us, we had just gotten back from the retreat, the Marketing for the Masters retreat. So I had a lot of information coming from that. We had some action items there. And I was just like, you know what? I'm just go... I feel somewhat overwhelmed or a lot overwhelmed. So I'm going pick one thing. I know I can't do all of these things. I'm just going to pick one thing. What's the one thing that I like, that I think I could be good at? And I remember at Marketing for the Masters when we talked about the videos and we did those little shots within our teams, our groups, and that was very, very powerful because, you know, even though I said it wasn't so hard for me to go on camera, there are lots of insecurities that I have. So number one. I said, OK, I'm just going to pick Facebook Live. I think it'll be fun. I think. I think I can do it. So I just said, that's all I'm going to focus on. Facebook Live. And let's see. So I wanted to create a show and I could not think of a name. I'm like, are you serious?
Bridgette Bennett: [00:34:23] And so I reached out. I posted it in a couple of different groups. I reached out to friends and families. And, you know, people are coming up with all these names. And I'm like, naah, naah, naah. And then someone was like, well, why don't you do some kind of a bridging the gap? I'm like, oh, yeah, that used to be my tag line because, you know, based on my name. And then I remembered that I actually had created a logo called Immigrants' Bridge. So I had started developing an immigration app, which I went three quarters of the way through. So that's a business opportunity for the future that I know Allison will definitely help me to hone in on. But the logo was already created. So that logo that you see in the advertisement for my show, it had already been there waiting for me, waiting for an opportunity. So I grabbed it. Immigrants' Bridge and we went live.
Allison Williams: [00:35:24] All right. So let's, let's pause there for a second, because I want everybody to get what you just said, which is it was there all the time. Right? Now, not everybody is going to have a logo and a name and something that they can immediately pick up and import onto a show. But the opportunity for you to create from something that you had already had in your mind and started to take action on was there. And the only reason you saw it, is because you went looking for it.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:35:53] Yeah. Yeah.
Allison Williams: [00:35:55] Like, that is what I want everybody to get out of this. That isn't that Bridgette is just remarkably talented, which she is. Right. She has a lot of natural get up and go and a lot of intestinal fortitude that a lot of us don't see in ourselves. But that's there. But she also made use of universal law principles, even though she might not have known it at the time. The reality is oftentimes our opportunities come either in something undesirable or in something benign. And it's only when we put our minds and our energy into that action of looking for a way instead of sitting down, hunkering down, taking deep breaths, crying in the corner. All of those things that are natural recovery mode activities when it's time to get to work. She got to work and her mind started working to look for an answer. And the answer was already there.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:36:50] It was crazy. I was like, wow, that's amazing.
Allison Williams: [00:36:53] Yeah. So you started. You created the show. Let's talk about you said, you had to overcome some insecurities. Right. You know, you mentioned the video exercise that was at Marketing for the Masters. And just so that you guys know what that is. You know, we have four signature retreats here at Law Firm Mentor, one of which is Marketing for the Masters that helps people to create marketing plans. And one of the activities that we did in this particular show, was this particular event was an exercise in video and how to get yourself into a place of comfort with video. Now, obviously, we're not going to go through all that went into that particular exercise, but there was a lot there that helped Bridgette and other people to realize that there was a potential for them to be uncomfortable and still go forward with making video.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:37:42] Absolutely. And that's the thing about it, I decided, OK, if I am going to do this, I am going to do this. So I know that a lot of people say, OK, I'm just going to do a show once a week. I said, no, I'm doing five days a week. And you remember, I'm coming from so many consults, to four. That is a scary place. And that is such a huge difference. I know. I knew that whatever action I took had to have the corresponding size. So doing a show every single day, it can be exhausting. And that's probably one of the reasons I can't sleep, because this show is from like seven to seven forty five and my cortisol, the adrenaline is way up. So it takes me so long to come back down to a level where my mind can even relax to sleep. But I know I have to do this at least for a certain time. Eventually I'll get to maybe twice a week or something. But during this time, it's important to get out there. So, go big or go home. That was the attitude that I took. I immediately saw results. So I was thinking, let me share with you the doubts that I have. So I hate my voice. I do. I do not like the way that I sound. So that was insecurity, number one. Insecurity number two. Okay. My braids were all stale. They were so old. I'm like, oh, my God, I'm going to look so ghetto on this camera. This is crazy. I was telling myself, you don't look the part, you know, just all these things. And then, you know, last weekend I decided to take my braids out. So that gives me another level of insecurity. I love naturally, I love short hair, but I like my short hair done. OK, so this is completely natural. I had somewhat of a meltdown. I did contact Allison about that, too, and we kind of had some back and forth about that insecurity. Also, I do the show in English and Spanish and my Spanish ain't all that great. I mean, I do all right. I can get the point across, but I would love to improve my Spanish. And so sometimes I don't even know the word in Spanish and I'm just like, OK, whatever. How do you say that in Spanish? ... and it's not that big of a deal.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:40:24] So for every single insecurity, it led me back to the fact of why am I doing this? This is not about me. Just the fact of going on this thing sets me up as an expert. They are not looking at my hair. They're not looking at all this stuff. They are looking for the information I'm going to provide. And again, just starting this show, I think our first video has about twenty four hundred views at this point. I did, the Friday show is always an immigration happy hour. That one has twenty six hundred likes.
Allison Williams: [00:41:01] Love happy hour!
Bridgette Bennett: [00:41:04] And if y'all saw that show, ok. Let me tell you about that show. So at the end of the show, everybody's supposed to open their drink, take their shot and we cheer and, you know, whatever. So I have this bottle of tequila for about two years that I'm just saving and waiting for this nice little bottle of tequila. I have my Mexico shot glass ready to go and I could not open the bottle.
Allison Williams: [00:41:29] So you were on the Live when you couldn't open the bottle?
Bridgette Bennett: [00:41:34] Yes. Yes! People were hysterically laughing. It had like about 500 comments because it was so funny watching...
Allison Williams: [00:41:45] You can't get anything done except open the bottle.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:41:49] The jokes were unending. So even if things don't go your way and, you know, sometimes things happen on the show. People appreciate it. They want to see real people. So every single insecurity that I had was addressed. What if I didn't know the word? What if I didn't know the answer? What if I didn't look my best? What if I didn't feel my best? It didn't matter because people are tuning in for the information. And then our lovely president decided to do an executive order.
Allison Williams: [00:42:22] All right. Before we get into our lovely president. OK. Because that might be a little bit much for this morning, right? We're still in the morning and we've got to keep this on a happy note. But in all seriousness, you said so much there that I love, like the idea that you can actually do it. Despite the fact that you don't like the way your voice sounds, don't like your hair. OK. And, you know, even though I serve a very broad, diverse audience of people, you know, I have a lot of black women followers and what to do with the black girl magic when we can't get to the hair salon is a real thing. OK, people that don't necessarily have that experience don't know what that is. For me, it was actually quite traumatic to actually not have my hair done for a period of time and to have to be seen by people.
Allison Williams: [00:43:10] So you had to push through all of that discomfort and all of that internal judgment in order to get yourself to a place where you said yes. And, I want everybody to hear that, that's listen to this Live. And by the way, speaking of people listening to this Live, I broke my own rule because I was so excited to talk to Bridgette this morning. For those of you that are getting value out of this Live, please do like and share this Live. Share it on your pages. Share on your business page. Share it on your personal page so that people can really get the value of what Bridgette has to share, because what she's sharing with us is all about humanity. Right? This is not business 101. This is being a person. This is being a human being in a world that is very harsh, judgmental, stark. That particularly tells us as business owners, that tells us as lawyers, that tells us as lawyers that don't work at large firms, that tells us as women, that tells us as people of color, that tells us as people that serve unpopular populations, that we're not good enough, that we can't do, that someone is going to listen to what we say and laugh at us. Someone is going to make inappropriate comments that I've already had to delete on this particular Facebook Live. You know, we know that those things exist in the world and we have to put ourselves out there anyway, because what we have to share with people is much more about serving other people than it is about feeding our own ego. And when you get out of your own ego, you can accomplish amazing things. So let's continue to talk about some of those amazing things.
Allison Williams: [00:44:39] You said you got twenty six hundred views on the inability to open the tequila bottle, Facebook Live as it was. Let's talk about some of the other consequences that came from this show. OK. So you launched your show. You launched it daily, which was a lot. But you committed to it. And you've been doing it. And there have been great ripple effects from that. So tell me about some of those ripple effects.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:45:05] Yes. So one ripple effect is internal. I was able to create, we call it BLC social. So people who are already on my team that are already loving Facebook, they're on Instagram. They're always on social media anyway. So those people signed up for our committee. So it's a brand new committee that we never had before. So I am actually, I have created a space where people in the law firm want to participate in this and be a part of it. So that's kind of helping them to do what they love anyway and be supportive of the vision. So we have internal engagement. So when I'm on the show, they're also tuned in. So I have members of my team there supporting me because I can't respond to the comments real time. So they're responding. They're giving out phone numbers, talking about when we're open and things like that. So out of that, the week after. I think probably immediately we started getting more phone calls and we're starting to track just exactly how many leads we've gotten from it. But I can tell you, the phones are ringing. I have an average of probably four appointments per day on the days that I am taking consults.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:46:29] I still keep one day to just work on the business, but we have definitely seen an amazing uptick. And the majority of those leads are from people who were on the Facebook Live or because of the Facebook Lives, now our page is so much popular. So they're finding us on Facebook. So I'm tracking leads from Facebook. Facebook Live. And then it's kind of hard to track because a lot of people that didn't watch the show, their friends watch the show or family watch a show and told them, make the appointment. So we have seen such a tremendous difference in how Facebook Lives has impacted. It's kind of revitalized everyone. We are... Likes on our page went from about nineteen hundred and something. And we are at I think at this morning we were at two thousand two hundred ninety nine. Wow. Well almost three hundred and fifty more new likes and followers. So the word is definitely getting out there. And even though it's a lot, it can be draining. It's worth it. It's worth it. And I kind of like the fact that I am giving great information real time. And this information is actually going to help people.
Allison Williams: [00:47:52] Yeah. So there's a lot that you got out of just putting yourself out there. But let's talk about all the specifics that you just put in there, because I don't even know if you're aware of the fact that you just kind of distilled probably three hours worth of substantive content of how to, into all of these punch lines that I was talking about yesterday in terms of what people need to know. So first, you were able to get more likes on your Facebook page just by virtue of being there. Right. People see the content. They like the content. They like the page. And the value of that is, of course, the more likes that you have on your page, the more you are going to be able to show up in an organic feed. So the people that will see your page, naturally, the more popular the page is, the more it is going to be shown to people. Second, the show itself is converting. So people see the show, they're like, yeah, I got to do something about my immigration problem. This is who I want to help me. This is the resource. This is the tool. This is the opportunity. This is the person that has the goods. And people do business with those that they know, like and trust. So people get to know I can trust you when they hear you, when they see you, whether they see you in person or they see you on the page. They see you. They have a sense of you. They have a feel of you.
Allison Williams: [00:49:10] So that is automatic value for them. And then third, that that ripple effect that there's a little bit harder to measure in the marketing world, but that we know it's still converts bodies, which is when somebody sees something and hears something and shares it with someone and they share it with someone, the next thing you know, there's four or five levels of detachment, the six degrees of separation. But it still leads to a body in your seat. Right. It still leads to a client. So all of these ways that you're marketing, both just by putting yourself out there and saying, I'm going to just given this moment, you are putting into effect the law of receiving, which is that the first part of the law of receiving is to give and you're giving and you're giving a valuable service to your community and the people who need you in this time. And you're not stopping yourself because the first thought is not. I got to get a dollar. The first thought is I got to give to people. And that will then translate over.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:50:04] Yeah. And you know what I've noticed and I will probably try to get some hardcore metrics by the end of the month. Is that the consults from... The consults from Facebook Live or Facebook, actually convert. So I have noticed that, for whatever reason, the Facebook Live gets them into their feelings space. So my team is there to get them to consult. So we track the leads from there and make appointments for them. And those are the people that are actually converting, which is very, very exciting because it's like they got the information real time. They know there's a possibility. And so when they come, and they actually have the consult, they're primed and ready to go. So it's kind of, I don't know what that is in the sales process, but it's actually working. So I'd be interested to kind of see from the leads we got from Facebook or Facebook Live what's the percentage of them that convert versus people coming from other lead sources? So that's something I'll probably check.
Allison Williams: [00:51:18] Yeah, definitely. And so one of the things that you're picking up on, just without knowing kind of the description of it, is what we call compressing the sale cycle. So most people have to make a decision. And most people don't make instantaneous decisions. Right. They encounter something and then they go into thinking about it. And when we teach about legal sales, we teach people that you have to get a person first thinking about the nature of their problem and the true size of their problem. Right. A problem sounds like a problem that I need to solve. And then when someone starts asking me good questions, I can expand my problem because my problem is not just, oh, I don't feel good about my being naturalized. My problem becomes I am in a, I'm unable to get certain types of work. My family is at risk of having me leave. I'm the only source of support from my family. If I have to go back to a country, I could be at risk of losing my life. Right. So the problem becomes bigger and then people start thinking about that and then they think about what's going to happen if they don't do something about the problem.
Allison Williams: [00:52:24] Right. That impact that really lands on people. And that's at the place of heightened emotion where they can really make a good decision and you can be the resource to help them do that. So if you think about it, your Facebook Live can go through in a somewhat impersonal position because you're not going to bring a potential client on the line live and start going through a sales process. But you've got to talk about the things that you would normally talk about that they would be delivering up for themselves and a sales conversation. Right. So you can talk about what happens if. And all of that will start to stir that emotion so that a person who is inclined already to be thinking about it can now get there a lot faster. And so I would imagine you are going to have a much greater conversion rate off of your Facebook Lives than if you were just sending out email, just, you know, just giving out basic information because you're using it in a way that really is a sales process. You're just not, you're what we would refer to as an unconscious competent to some degree. Like some things that you are infusing in are great. Some things that you are infusing in are not so great. But you're not aware of what's working. You're just aware that it's working. Right. So there will becoming a process of making sure that we know what's working in that so that we can do more of that and pull back on the things that are working less so that we can make space for more of what's working well.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:53:46] Yes. And I know we probably won't have time to really get into this. But the other thing besides Facebook Lives that I did immediately was to really hone in on revamping our sales process in my law firm. And that was the sticking point when I started my relationship with Allison. And I'm like, nope, this is how I like to do it.
Allison Williams: [00:54:09] Yep. It's my way.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:54:12] But sometimes you find yourself in situations that force you to rethink how you do things. And following Allison has a virtual course on sales. I've made every single person in my law firm who touch money go through that course with me and they would watch one hour a day and then we would talk about it. And based on that, I started revamping my system. So I moved from doing traditional sales into doing legal sales and that also I am seeing results and I am just loving it. And I'm like, why the heck didn't I start this earlier? But I think the combination of those two things have really impacted. So even though we are seeing less people than we used to. We're converting at a higher rate.
Allison Williams: [00:55:07] Yeah. So it's a combination of both making sure that you are getting as many opportunities as possible through marketing and making sure that those opportunities convert to clients through sales. And I love the fact that you talk about the fact that you were so resistant. I try my hardest not to chisel into the rock. That is my lawyer's mindsets when we first start working together. But there is a process, right. We all have to overcome ourselves. And you have really, through manifest necessity, said, listen, what... It's not working right now. Right. We're at four leads. We got to do something. So I'm going to just turn myself over, because really, what do I have to lose? And it's often at that what do I have to lose moment that people say I'm going to just throw caution to the wind and go for it. But a lot of people hold on to the faux success that they believe they have. Right. I've got enough. I don't want to lose that. Rather than reach for what I desire, I'm going to hold on to what I have because I'm so afraid of losing what I have. And when you don't have anything or when what you're having is dwindling away, that's the time where you can really say, yes, now is the time for me to go stepping forward and doing something dramatically different. Because if it works great. If it doesn't work, I'm in no worse position than I was before.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:56:24] Yeah. And I just have to say something here about what Law Firm Mentor means to me. It really has helped me to let go a lot, so I know that part of why people may choose the coaching process is, you know, all about getting, getting, getting. And for me, it's been about letting go, letting go and letting go, which is a good thing. A lot of times we hold on to the good and we are resistant to letting go for the better. And that is truly what has been happening for me. I had spoken that I wanted to be a CEO of my law firm yet and still I was still managing 10 paralegals, all the attorneys, the admin staff. I was still doing everything. And it wasn't until I changed my signature line and I'm not Attorney Bridgette Bennett anymore. I am the CEO and founder of the Bennett Law Center that has helped me to realize CEOs don't do certain things. And so I had to let go of the day to day management because management is my comfort zone. It's what I love to do. I'm great at it. But if I wanted to be the business owner and entrepreneur, I really had to let go of that. So letting go of my paralegals was so hard. But I'm great, because I promoted all of my attorneys into senior attorney positions and now they have management responsibilities and they report up to me. I've also let go of the traditional sales cycle, which I just loved what I was doing before.
Bridgette Bennett: [00:58:10] But letting go of that has, has given me the freedom to go into another space that is better. So if there's one thing I would love to encourage you guys is what are the things that I'm holding on to that might be good that may be preventing me from getting something better. And that is the mindset that Law Firm Mentor has been able to teach me over a period of time.
Allison Williams: [00:58:39] Well, Bridgette. I'm so glad that you shared that. And it's a, it's an intimate look into, I think what a lot of people don't express, which is when you are good at something. We get self-esteem from that. Right. So when people look at you and they say, wow, she's such an effective manager, she's such a great lawyer, that's what she ought to be doing because those are the things that make her better. Those things also prevent you from bringing more of your essence into being.
Allison Williams: [00:59:05] They prevent you from creating a firm that's going to have a legacy that's going to live on without you, that's going to be more of the goodness that you bring into the world. Right. There are fewer people that you can help if you have to be the one helping every single person. So you have to magnify who you are and what you stand for through the people that work in your business. And so a lot of us have that issue. I know that when I first took myself out of a courtroom, I used to cry every night like I thought, what am I doing this for? I'm not you know, God put me here to lawyer. Right. And it was only, it was really only stepping out of that and owning that, I had a greater vision for what I wanted to create. And I could help more people with that, that I was able to really accomplish that. So seeing you on that same journey and seeing you so quickly overcome your resistance, I think it's just remarkable. And the fact that you have turned around a bad situation in the midst of the pandemic rather than hold still, hunker down and pray for the best, which is what a lot of people are doing right now is a testament to you and a testament to the will that you have and the fact that you were willing to reach out and accept the help that was available to you. So having said that, we're coming to the end of our hour.
Allison Williams: [01:00:18] I do want to thank all of the wonderful guests. I have not acknowledged you personally just because Bridgette had so many great things to share. I wanted to make sure that she had a chance to do that. But I do want to let you all know that one of the things that we have been doing here in Law Firm Mentor and that I'm always committed to is serving my clients where they are and what they need in the moment that they need it. So our clients have been receiving some extra support. And one of the things that we have been promoting strongly for our clients is getting online, because right now, whether you're hunkering down for immediacy or you're hunkering down for the next month, the next week, the next year, etc., we know that you are ultimately going to have to get to people where they are in this moment. And the myth that there are not people spending money on legal services right now has to be eradicated. So I want to help you all do that. And to to accomplish that, I have created a course called the Law Firm Mentor Accelerator. This course is all about doing the things that are necessary. In order for people to be able to go online and going online in the way that Bridgette ultimately went online, which is both through Facebook Lives and one of the other things we're working on right now is webinars as well as podcasts. So the course is, I have created the link.
Bridgette Bennett: [01:01:35] It is available for you in the comments section to this video. It is only two hundred and ninety seven dollars. I created it at a low price, relatively speaking, for the eight weeks of content that you're going to get in the eight weeks of access to me and Q&A that you will get in the course. Because I wanted lawyers to be able to do something today. But I wanted them to have the mindset of I am investing something today, even though it's not a lot. It's a lot for me in this moment because I'm afraid about spending money. I'm afraid about what's going to happen with my future. And we want to have the same type of successes broadscale for the legal industry that we have been able to help Bridgette to achieve. And so the course information is in the comment section. If you have questions about it, you can always message me here on Facebook and you can always reach me in the Law Firm Mentor Movement Closed Facebook group. I want to thank our special guest today, Bridgette Bennett, owner and founder, CEO of the Bennett Law Center. And for those of you that were inspired by Bridgette's story, know that she's around and about in the Law Firm Mentor Movement. But she's also very busy right now saving and scaling her law firm. Bridgette. Thank you so much for being our guest today and for inspiring our audience. I really just can't thank you enough for this.
Bridgette Bennett: [01:02:49] Well, thank you so much for the opportunity. I appreciate it. And I appreciate you. And I love all of the Momentum crew. Love y'all. And I hope to see everyone pretty soon in person.
Allison Williams: [01:03:02] All right, everyone. I'm Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. Have a wonderful day.
Bridgette Bennett is the attorney and sole owner of the Bennett Law Center in Groveland Florida. She has a solo practice that focuses exclusively on immigration and nationality law. She graduated from Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law in May 2011 and was admitted to the Florida bar in November of 2011. That very same year she officially opened the Bennett Law Center.
During law school she was the vice president of the Black Law Student Association for one term and the 2009 recipient of the Florida Bar Association’s Young Lawyers’ Division Scholarship. Prior to moving to Lake County, Bridgette lived in Washington, D.C. for about 10 years and received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Government from Georgetown University in 2000.
Allison C. Williams, Esq., is The Law Firm Mentor. Law Firm Mentor is a Business Coaching service for solo and small law firm attorneys. It helps lawyers to grow their revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money. Law Firm Mentor was born out of Allison’s experience starting a law firm and scaling its revenues into a multi-million dollar business in only three years. She shares her extensive knowledge of business, mindset coaching and entrepreneurship alongside her team in Law Firm Mentor.
Allison is also Founder and Owner of the Williams Law Group, LLC, with offices in Short Hills and Freehold, New Jersey. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney, and is the first attorney in New Jersey to become Board-Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in the field of Family Law. Allison is a member of the New Jersey Board on Attorney Certification (NJBAC) – Matrimonial Committee, a New Jersey Supreme Court committee that determines eligibility of candidates to be certified as a recognized practitioner in the field of matrimonial law.
Allison has been named a Rising Star Attorney by the New Jersey Super Lawyers franchise continuously from 2008 – 2013, and has been named a Super Lawyer by that organization for 2014 – present. In 2016, she was featured in the Super Lawyers publication (Williams v. The Rubber Stamp), she has been named one of the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in New Jersey from 2017-2020 and in 2019-2020, was voted in the Top 100 Super Lawyers and Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in the State of New Jersey.
Allison is an accomplished businesswoman. In 2017, the Williams Law Group won the LawFirm500 award, ranking 14th of the fastest growing law firms in the nation, as Ms. Williams grew the firm 581% in three years. She won the Silver Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017. In 2018, Allison was voted as NJBIZ’s Top 50 Women in Business and was designated one of the Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners. In 2019, Allison won the Seminole 100 Award for founding one of the fastest growing companies among graduates of Florida State University.
In 2018, Allison created Law Firm Mentor, a business coaching service for lawyers. Through multi-day intensive business retreats, group and one-to-one coaching, and strategic planning sessions, Ms. Williams advises lawyers on all aspects of creating, sustaining and scaling a law firm business – and specifically, she teaches them the core foundational principles of marketing, sales, personnel management, communications and money management in law firms.
She received her B.S., magna cum laude, and her M.S., summa cum laude, from Florida State University. She received her J.D., cum laude, from Syracuse University College of Law.
To contact Allison:
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