Sales-Free Selling: The Art of Developing Legal Business Without Pitching, Convincing or Selling

As the host of Be That Lawyer Podcast, Steve Fretzin acts as a kind of business development therapist. He coaches and trains lawyers on the most modern day business development skills, providing precise tips, fresh ideas and actionable tasks that drive tangible results. In today’s episode we discuss sales free selling. Many lawyers have an aversion to selling, Steve offers great insight, as well as a book on the very topic.


In this episode we discuss:

  • The approach of sales free selling as opposed to selling by convincing.
  • How it’s ok if someone isn’t a good fit for your services.
  • The steps to qualifying a prospective client.
  • Developing a relationship based on trust and likability.
  • The importance of the diagnosis preceding the prescription.
  • Building questioning skills versus using solution oriented answering skills.
  • Debriefing after meetings to identify and learn from missteps.

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, crush chaos in business and make more money.

Allison Williams: [00:00:25] Acting as a kind of business development therapist, Steve Fretzin coaches and trains lawyers on the most modern day business development skills, providing precise tips, fresh ideas and actionable tasks that drive tangible results. The host of Be That Lawyer Podcast, Steve, has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Cranes and entrepreneur dotcom and has appeared on NBC News and WGN radio. He has written three books on legal business development, is a regular contributor to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and has published articles in Attorney at Law Magazine, The National Law Review, the American Bar Association and the Illinois Bar Association. And today I’m going to be talking to Steve about sales free selling. I know that sounds kind of draconian, like how can you have selling without sales? You’d be surprised. But I know a lot of lawyers have an aversion to sales. So we’re going to dove into that topic. And Steve has a lot of great insight, as well as the book on that very same topic. So enjoy.

Allison Williams: [00:01:33] All right. My guest Steve Fretzin. Welcome to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast.

Steve Fretzin: [00:01:38] Thank you for having me. Great to be here.

Allison Williams: [00:01:40] Yes, I love it. We’re going to be talking today about sales free selling, because this is one of those things that I know you know a lot about. It’s what you help people with in your business, which we’re going to dive into a little bit deeper. And in particular, I like this topic because I think a lot of lawyers really struggle with the idea of selling and they think of themselves as in business, but really a profession. And so, we can’t do anything that’s considered to be too businessy or too or too salesy. Right. So when you hear the word sales, you almost always get like a visceral reaction from lawyers, which we’re going to hope to deflect a little bit today. But first, I want to talk to you about you because you are not a lawyer. And in light of that, I want to know how you got into helping people in the legal space.

Steve Fretzin: [00:02:26] Yeah, the closest I ever came to being a lawyer was I was growing up in a household with a father who who was a lawyer. He’s retired now 20 years. But he used to put me on the cross regularly about what I was doing in high school and when I was home from college until I moved out. And it was, it was quite, quite aggravating because he he always had lots of questions for me. But I ended up in the legal space with the recession in 2008. I started getting referred. I’ve mainly focused on helping my entrepreneur clients with growing their businesses through sales training and coaching. And then I got brought into the legal space in 2008. And that’s really what what drove it. And what I think lawyers loved about what I’m doing is exactly what you just brought up, Allison, which is sales free selling. I hate being sold. I hated being in sales because of all the negative connotations, not to mention all the the things my managers were having me do to try to close business today. Close business, you know, give them a discount, give them this, do this, whatever to close, close, close. And it always aggravated me and it wasn’t always a great fit. So the idea behind sales free selling is that it’s all relationship driven, it’s all consultative, and it’s really about walking a buyer through a buying decision to identify that there is a fit. And if that happens, great, let’s move forward. And if not, let’s be OK saying this isn’t a fit. And if it isn’t, let’s move him to a No and we can move on with our lives and stay friends. Or maybe it’s a fit and not a fit for now, but it’s just it’s a release of anxiety that lawyers have and people have with with dealing with sales. And so they really appreciate the systems I’m teaching them because they don’t rely on having to convince or pitch or sell anything. And that’s a relief to most to most lawyers who never got into law to have to go find clients or develop business.

Allison Williams: [00:04:19] Yeah, you know, it’s interesting you say that, too, because I think a lot of times lawyers and, you know, as a lawyer, I can speak to this because I’ve personally experienced this and then I’ve seen it in people that I’ve worked with is that we almost go into that convincing energy when we’re meeting with prospects because we have a conception of selling that says I have to convince you to want to work with me as opposed to I have to help you make the right decision for you, which could mean me or it could mean something else.

Steve Fretzin: [00:04:47] Yeah, I mean, part of a big part of what I’m teaching are simple skills, but but they’re not simple to someone who’s never had to learn them. Right? So the idea of qualifying and who do you present to? Who do you take the time to put a proposal together for or start to provide consulting or pricing? And so I try to break it down into a process, sales free selling process that includes some qualifying steps.

[00:05:12] And when that occurs, you start to really understand, is this person a fit or not? And should I invest more time or not? And that’s really what’s so important is lawyers are valued on their billable hour. They’re… On their time. That’s how they’re there. That’s where the money is. And so any time you don’t have a good process for how to do business development, you could be wasting time, which is wasting money. And so we want to identify the qualifying steps and I’m happy to go into those. But of what makes a qualified prospective client versus one that may not be qualified.

Allison Williams: [00:05:48] Yeah, well, since you help lawyers with business development, I do actually want to dive into that. That process of qualifying a little bit because we know that, as you said, you know, time is money, whether you are billable hour, flat fee, subscription model, it doesn’t matter. Right? The more time that you are spending, the less you have available to give to something else that might be of greater value for your business. So talk to us about what what you would advise a lawyer to do in order to qualify a prospect.

Steve Fretzin: [00:06:14] So in my my first, so I’ve written three books on business development for lawyers and the first one’s called Sales Free Selling; The Death of Sales and the Rise of a New Methodology. Right. So we’re saying basically sales is dead. So what we’re really thinking about here is when you have a a prospective client that has a need for legal services, OK. You can approach them with your pitch, you can approach them with free consulting. You can try to show how smart you are. Those are all in my in my experience, outdated methodologies. Right. Because you’re falling right into the buyer trap of getting free consulting, getting pricing, getting information, and then they have less need for you or there’s less urgency to move it forward. So I’m giving a variety of steps. And by the way, I work with lawyers sometimes for six months on learning these steps. So it’s not something that you hear. And then you go execute and you’re a superstar. It does take time and practice. And just like learning any skill, becoming a great golfer, a great chef, it’s all about about learning steps and then and then making them work. And so the steps I’m teaching are are developing a relationship where you can, where there’s trust and likability and you find common ground as a foundational step leading into setting an agenda. The agenda is where the lawyer sets the tone or the game plan of how to control the meeting. And essentially the control element is in the lawyer asking the questions, not answering the questions. OK, what we’re trying to avoid here is prescription before diagnosis and we consider that malpractice. So if we can ask the questions and diagnose first, then the prescription becomes so much easier down the road, or in this case, the proposal becomes much more focused. If if you’re giving a proposal up front, a free consulting up front, you’re really missing the missing the play. And you’ll see that as I continue to explain what this is.

Allison Williams: [00:08:05] So, Steve, I just want to interject there, because it’s one of the things that I that I tell lawyers all the time that we just have such a hard time with. We have we have such an aversion to this idea that we should be in control of the conversation. And so what tends to happen is we think, oh, they’re going to ask me a question and I’m going to answer. And when I answer, that’s going to demonstrate my value. So they have like a, almost like a visceral thought of I’m under serving the client if I don’t answer their question. If they come in and say, what am I going to get in my divorce settlement or am I going to jail or not under this scenario and we just start rattling off statutes in cases and process, then we’ve given them what they’ve asked for, but we haven’t served them. And that is one of the hardest things for us to conceptually understand.

Steve Fretzin: [00:08:52] I mean, we’re talking about that the top solution, people in the world. I mean, that’s what lawyers are. They are the problem solvers of the world. That’s their job. That’s your job. Right. So to get someone to not solve early in the process is a very, very hard. And so I’m I’m like breaking, you know, like you take a wild horse out of the, out of the out of the woods and you have to break that horse to ride the horse. That’s what I feel like sometimes with lawyers. I have to break them of this habit of being a solution person too soon. And again, it’s not about that you’re never going to solve or that you’re never going to be able to provide consulting. For me, it’s more about when I want to do it at the end. So I go back to diagnosis then prescription. We will prescribe, but it should happen after a thorough diagnosis, after a thorough evolution of that. So we need to if we don’t take control early on in the meeting, the whole thing can go off the rails. And now we’re now we’re answering questions. We’re solving. We’re doing everything the buyer wants. But what what’s missed there is the diagnosis. And that’s where the money is. That’s where the business is. That’s where the the sense of urgency comes from. So by establishing some trust and likability, by establishing control through an agenda and then going through what I call discovery, this is where we spend time asking questions. So your skills as a lawyer in a courtroom might be unquestionable because you’ve done it so long and you’ve become such a great expert at a deposition, a courtroom trial, talking to a jury. But when it comes to questioning a prospective client on their needs, you fail, you fail. You don’t get in the weeds deep enough to really understand not only do they have problems, but how deep the rabbit hole goes. And so I spend a lot of time working with lawyers on questioning skills around being an effective diagnoser of problems for legal, for for for finding, for helping their legal clients.

Allison Williams: [00:10:51] Yeah. And I and I would imagine that when you work with lawyers on this topic, one of the things that I’m sure will come up is that oftentimes the prospect has a much more narrow belief about their problem than the problem actually is. So they’ll come in and say, you know, I need you to tell me X and they think that that in and of itself is going to be value, not what you’re asking me about X, but there’s Y and Z. A, B, C, D, E, F and G that you hadn’t considered because you’re not a lawyer and hence you’re giving them more value just by asking them the right questions to poke in to poke holes in the theory of that of their their problem being as linear as they think it is.

Steve Fretzin: [00:11:28] Yeah, and again, the the the lawyer isn’t trained to ask the kinds of questions that are going to drive this this this thing home, and I’ll give you the best example. OK, so I’m going to see a therapist. I’m having some troubles with my father, the retired lawyer who gives me a hard time, OK? And I now have emotional problems because of it. And that may be may or may not be true. I’m not going to disclose that. But I go to a therapist and the therapist. I say, here’s my problem. What do I do and the therapist says, look, I’m going to give you some medication. I think you should take this and you’ll feel better. You won’t even worry about your dad. You’ll probably just be in a daze all day, which is what you need. So that’s that prescription before proper diagnosis. And where’s my attachment to that therapist? That that psychiatrist? It’s probably pretty limited. Now, scenario number two is I go to a therapist and the therapist is, why are you here? And I say, well, I’m having bad thoughts about my father. I didn’t like, you know, the way he said something to me recently and it really rubbed me raw. Well, tell me about your childhood. Tell me about where that started. Tell me what happened. What’s your what’s your earliest memories? Well, thirty five forty minutes in I’m bawling my eyes out. I’ve got a tissue box, there’s snot running everywhere and I feel so much better that I’ve been able to share these these problems that go much deeper than just the comment my father made to me recently, that, not only do I feel like I’m attached to this therapist, but think about it. At the end of the 50 minute session, am I going to say I feel so much better? I feel like I feel understood. Next week I’m going to go find someone else.

Steve Fretzin: [00:13:02] I mean, not going to happen, I’m probably going to want to see this person week after week after week until I’m better or whatever. Maybe I’ll never leave. And that’s the way I need lawyers to think about things. I need. I need you to diagnose the problem at such a level that not only does the prospective client feel understood, but feels attached to you. And by the way, you’ve sold them nothing. You’ve solved nothing. You’ve you’ve given no free consulting or rates at this stage. All you’ve done is a thorough diagnosis to see how far, how deep the rabbit hole goes and get them attached to you because they feel understood. And that’s really what, that’s a deep seated human nature thing that people want to feel understood. And lawyers are doing a terrible job at this particular piece.

Allison Williams: [00:13:46] Yeah. And, you know, it’s interesting you say that that people want to be understood because I think it is, I think that auditioning piece, that piece of us that immediately jumps to respond to the client or the prospect when they’re asking us a question, that really comes from a need to serve ourselves. Right. We want to fill ourselves up… Oh, I’m so smart. They can see that I know what I’m talking about. They like me and we get that fell for ourselves when we’re under serving the person on the other side, that’s going to make a snap decision because we in the moment are more concerned about filling our needs than ultimately getting that person over the finish line as our client so that we can really help them.

Steve Fretzin: [00:14:20] Yeah, and it isn’t to say that business isn’t being conducted in the traditional way where you present your pitch and they say, yes, I mean, that happens. But what’s missing is a couple of things. It’s missing the connection that I just shared of that deep understanding and likability and trust that happens with a thorough diagnosis, with thorough questioning. And I teach questioning so that they start off with some. It’s just like, you know, again, in a trial, you start off with some softball questions. And as they answer, you respond and go deeper and deeper and deeper until you really get to the to the to the, you know, the middle of the problem and where they’re willing to make a change.

Steve Fretzin: [00:14:56] It’s also a great qualifier because if you identify that the problem is a nothing burger or the problem isn’t something that they’re willing to pay for to solve, well, then you may identify that this isn’t a good fit. This isn’t a good prospective client, and maybe you’re able to to move them to a no. And while that might sound like a terrible business idea, it’s actually a great business idea because I teach that no is the second best thing you can get to because our time is money. So yes is great. And we love yesses and no is great because it saves us time and it moves the wrong people away from us. They’re not a good fit. Why are we continuing to push a rope? So this is all common sense stuff, but it’s things that aren’t taught in law school. It’s absolutely not taught at the law firm level. I mean, God bless the business development people in the law firms that have to deal with lawyers. 20, 30, 50 lawyers, and they can basically scratch the surface of how to do business development. I’m getting in the in the virtual weeds to teach skills that just need to be learned but aren’t being learned.

Allison Williams: [00:15:57] Yeah. So let’s talk about those skills a little bit broader so we know that you’re going to help us to qualify our prospects so that we can either get to get to no, but most importantly, get to decision so that we can use our time effectively. And then at some point we’re going to be trying to expand our reach. We want to develop more business as a lawyer who’s out there pounding the pavement with thousands of other lawyers doing qualitatively the same thing, even though it might be delivered, I should say, quantitatively the same thing, even though it might be delivered qualitatively different. So how do you help lawyers develop their book of business so that they can be more successful in their careers?

Steve Fretzin: [00:16:33] So so there’s two parts. There’s multiple parts to it, but the two main parts are number one, is effective prospecting. How do you get your activity? You’re marketing your branding to get you in front of actual decision makers? Right. People that need your services. That’s one skill that I’m teaching daily. And then the second one is the sales free selling. You just spent, you know, your time and effort and energy to get in front of a decision maker. Do you want to go at it with no process or do you want to go at it with a proven process that allows you to develop deeper relationships and get the business today? Not something that’s going to drag out with a think about it maybe and I’ll get back to you, which, by the way, is a nice way of saying no. But they don’t do that. They just they just just that’s what we do as buyers. We don’t want to hurt feelings. So if it’s OK, Allison, what I’d like to do is just finish up the sales free selling and then come back to the prospecting, because I have just a few more things I want to share that I think would really critical for the people listening to this so they get the full picture.

Allison Williams: [00:17:26] Sure. Absolutely.

Steve Fretzin: [00:17:28] OK. So we’ve got relationship to develop the foundation. We’ve got an agenda that’s established control. We do discovery to do that deep dive diagnosis. I continue with with asking commitment questions, decision maker questions and financial questions. And those questions are paramount to understanding not only what the presentation should be, but am I presenting to the right person and is this is this real or not? And one of the goals that I try to teach Lawyers, is to identify lies or to identify stalls. And by asking good qualifying questions that happens. So not only do I understand do they have compelling reasons to change? Are they committed to change, maybe change law firms? Or am I actually talking to the decision maker? I think that I am because it says CEO on the person’s title. But is that really the decision maker? Is he or she the only decision maker? There are additional questions that need to be asked to identify that and what their process for making the decision might be. And then financially, do they have the wherewithal, not only the willingness to pay me, but the ability to pay? And if you miss any of those answers, you could be presenting or spending time with the wrong person or someone that really isn’t qualified. So that’s really sales free selling. And the beauty is, if you do all that properly, if all of that goes to spec as I’m teaching it and you’re executing it, you then understand who you should do a proposal for or give a presentation to or who maybe you shouldn’t be. And that’s this is all, again, totally new to lawyers that have never been through any real professional training. And so with that process, you’re going to find yourself like an assassin, being able to not only get the business at the right level, but also disqualify business that maybe you should be walking away from without spinning your wheels. So that’s sort of the sales free selling model that I’m, that I’m teaching lawyers and it’s just eye opening for them.

Allison Williams: [00:19:22] Yes, I know that you work with lawyers directly, and then, of course, you also have your book, Sales Free Selling. And so a lot of this a lot of the depth that you’re going into right now is a lot. Obviously, this is this is like high level overview. There’s a lot more to it.

Steve Fretzin: [00:19:35] Oh, yeah.

Allison Williams: [00:19:36] And I’m sure that people encounter kinks in the process all the time, that they kind of start it and they’re like, oh, this is uncomfortable or I’m not doing it right. And I’m afraid that I’m not going to be able to get the business unless I go back to my old ways. How do you kind of coach lawyers through that, that start that process and say, I’m not so certain about this? It’s not it’s not turning out the way that I felt that it would when, you know,

Steve Fretzin: [00:19:58] Now you’re hitting on the probably the biggest differentiator of me versus other coaches and other people that do what I do. And I’m not saying everybody’s great. Everybody’s got value to add. But I would say here’s here’s where I shine. It’s not only teaching the process, but keep in mind, any time you’re learning a process, there’s going to be kinks, there’s going to be objections, there’s going to be discomfort.

Steve Fretzin: [00:20:21] What I do as a coach is work with that training to help people plan for those meetings, debrief after those meetings and learn what needs to change for the next one. Who does that? Nobody does that. Right. So you could say I’ve been doing business development for for, ten years, but really, you’ve been doing business development for ten years, the same way without making improvements, without making adjustments or changes, you could be doing the same thing wrong for ten years. So what I’m doing, for example, I’ve got a client that goes on a meeting and we debrief that together. It’s almost like watching the game tapes. And in doing so, I identify a missed question, a misstep, something that came up that that the lawyer didn’t realize was a thing. And let’s say that it’s I’ve identified that there may be another decision maker. The assistant GC says, send me a proposal. I love it. I want to work with you. The lawyer thinks that’s a go ahead, that this is an engagement letter to be signed. It is not. It is not. That lawyer missed asking this question: Other than yourself, Frank, are there any other people that will be involved in making a high level decision like changing law firms and working with your with your company? That assistant GC might have said then? Yes, my boss Bob or Judy or whomever, you know, is involved in this process. But I need your proposal to send it to them because I need to sign off on it.

Steve Fretzin: [00:21:52] Well, what is going on there? There’s another decision maker that that lawyer has not met, does not have a relationship with, does not know the pain points or what’s going to make that person move, move off the needle. And that’s a misstep. So now I would say to that lawyer, look, not only do we have to go back in and try to get that meeting with that GC, but now you’ve learned something vital that could change the course of your career, change the course of your growth forever, because you don’t want to make that same mistake again. You don’t want to miss that question again. And that’s the beauty of getting better and better and better, not just learning something and hoping it works. So I hope that hope that makes sense.

Allison Williams: [00:22:34] Yeah, that does make sense. I mean, it sounds like you have literally just like one quarter centimeter away from, like the Cyrano De Bergerac of.

Steve Fretzin: [00:22:41] It’s a little bit. Yeah. People people want to put a little Steve Fretzin on their shoulder. They have me in the meeting or they have me before and after the meeting. And again, I don’t go on meetings with people obviously. But but it’s it’s it is a big part of my day taking these calls and emails from my client base to help them through scenarios that are more complex than a simple yes, let’s move forward. Right. There’s things missing and they don’t always know where they, where they are. But that’s… If I had to say, like, what’s my gift or what am I bringing to the table? It’s probably the ability to listen to any scenario and be able to identify where a mistake happened or where something really beautiful happened, and then be able to give congratulatory compliments or to identify that maybe we need to go back and fix something.

Allison Williams: [00:23:28] Yeah. So so obviously the lawyers can benefit from having that before and after and that that wrap around analysis of their process so that they can be consistently and repeatedly doing better in the pitches that they’re giving. But let’s now turn a little bit to the prospect piece of it, because you have to be able to close the business once you’re in front of the money. But most importantly, you have to have enough people to have conversations with in order to create the revenue that you desire for your business. So let’s talk about how you help lawyers to get in front of the right decision maker so that they can have those substantive conversations.

Steve Fretzin: [00:24:06] Absolutely. So the most important thing is, is, again, going back to time is money. And there are lawyers that are doing presenting. They’re doing networking. They’re doing writing. They’re doing a lot of different things. And in some cases, they’re doing great and it’s all working. In other cases, we identify that they’re not getting results with the activities that they’re putting forth or they’re missing missing the main events. And I’ll give you a great example. So I have this client from my past. He’s an attorney named John. John is a networking maniac. He is. And now, of course, you know, depending on the timing of the world, this is you know, he’s having drinks, he’s having golf outings. He’s doing this. He’s doing these everywhere, OK? And he’s spending a tremendous amount of time. And I ask him, how’s it going? So it’s going pretty good. I get some referrals here and there. And then I asked him the following. John, let me ask you, how many clients do you have? And he says, I don’t know. Two hundred fifty, three hundred clients. And I go, how much business are you getting from them? And he goes, well, you know, occasionally they call me up with a need and I go, all right. So hold, hold, hold your horses here, my friend. I said, you know, he got upset with me a little bit. I was like, you’re not networking anymore. He goes, What? I go, you’re not networking anymore. You’re stopping all the networking you’re doing. And he goes, Why would I do that? I go, Because you’re spending your time in the wrong places with the wrong people.

Steve Fretzin: [00:25:26] He goes, But what are you talking about? These are all great people. Like, I’m sure they’re great, but who’s more likely to refer you? A stranger that you meet at a networking event or a client that you’ve had for ten years that that thinks you’re the best thing since sliced bread and knows everybody? He goes, oh, well, well. But I don’t I’m not comfortable asking for for them to give me that. I go, well, that’s because you don’t understand how to do it. You haven’t been trained on how to get introductions from your clients. You don’t know the language, the questions. You don’t have a good approach. He goes, oh, you’re right. I don’t. Well, that’s a learned skill, my friend. That’s not something you have to be afraid of. You just need to learn how to do it, make it their idea, you know, whatever. So we basically were able to get him tremendous results in so much less time by creating a plan, a written plan around how he’s going to leverage his existing client base and stop spinning his wheels networking every which way. And it was like immediate results. Immediate success, because now he’s getting people referring and he’s up-sell cross-sell. He’s getting referrals like he’s never gotten before to GCs and other business owners that could use his services because he’s being talked about at a high, high level by his clients who are speaking about him like he’s the guy you got to talk to no matter what. And people are not rejecting that.

Steve Fretzin: [00:26:41] So that’s an example of what we were looking for, is we’re looking for what’s the easiest way to get business in the least amount of time, in the least amount of effort. And that’s something that needs to happen. Otherwise, you’re just out there, you know, spinning your wheels, hoping that things are going to pay off and they don’t always, they don’t always pay off.

Allison Williams: [00:27:00] Yeah. So it’s, it’s the low hanging fruit. Right. The person that has already bought from you has already bought into you. And the idea that going to your existing clients is something that requires a skill, I think is something that a lot of lawyers probably haven’t given a lot of thought to. Right.

Steve Fretzin: [00:27:18] Yeah, it’s something that that we just need to put a fine point and walk someone through an exercise of of identification of that low hanging fruit, those opportunities, and then how to approach them. Right. How to get the prospecting approaches down to get the meetings. Well, once you get the meeting, well, that’s when the sales free selling kicks in. So it all works together to have a plan execute on the prospecting activities and in a very efficient way. So, again, not wasting time and then seeing how that produces appointments that are quality appointments and then using sales free selling to drive urgency and get it locked up. So it all works together so that people are incredibly efficient. And, you know, I’m you know, I use the word assassin. I’m turning out Assassins. Legal Business Development Assassins. And that’s what people should want because, you know, your your ability to generate a book of business, to generate originations directly determines your movement in the firm, your sustainability, your your ability to provide for your family and to have security in your job because people don’t get fired when they have a big book of business. Right. Unless you’re a jerk. And then then all bets are off. But if you’re a good person and you’re developing business, you’re the most valuable player on your team at your firm. Right. And you know who they are because you’re looking at the rainmakers at the top and saying, wow, that person’s, you know, I say be that lawyer. And what I mean by that is, are you that lawyer? And if the answer is no, maybe you want to work to be that lawyer, because that’s the one that’s going to work less, make more and have more freedom to have a lifestyle, which is really what I think everybody craves that balance. But you don’t have that balance when you’re just billing hours or spinning your wheels, doing countless unproductive business development activities.

Allison Williams: [00:29:06] Yeah. So since you reference Be That Lawyer, of course, we know that you have an amazing podcast, Be That Lawyer, where you talk about these strategies and more, and how lawyers that really want to take themselves to the top of their profession and to some degree immunize themselves from termination. Right. We know that money is power in our profession. And the more you have of it and the more consistent you are bringing business into a business, the more likely you are to have an enduring presence there. Whether you want to be there or you want to take it and import it somewhere else, you have the power, you’re in the driver’s seat. So if someone wants to be that lawyer and they want to work with you, of course they have to be qualified to work with you. So who is it? Who is the lawyer that you are really looking to work with? Who is that person that has the attributes? And you say I can add the most value and they’re going to get the most out of our relationship.

Steve Fretzin: [00:29:52] So interestingly enough. It’s not about practice area. It’s not about age. It’s not about race or sex or any of those things. It comes down to one thing. Do you have the ambition to grow? Do you have an open mind? Are you someone that that with given given the right instruction, can go and execute on a field? Because I’m working with, let’s say, a five or 10 percent sliver of the legal population that has the right mindset to take coaching and to execute, and that is is driven to improve and is willing to invest time, money and energy to do it, to learn the skills that never were learned before. And that’s who I’m targeting for either coaching and training. I also run pure advisory groups where I put lawyers together in accountability groups where they can learn from each other and improve. And a lot of those people are my past clients because they’ve already learned all the things they just want to stay in. You know, they want to stay in the room with me. They want to stay engaged with me and with other lawyers that are positive and that are driving success. For the other 90 percent.

Steve Fretzin: [00:30:53] I’ve got my podcast where I interview amazing people like you, Allison, and others, where they can learn a ton about business development, marketing, branding, how to be efficient with their firm. I have three books on Amazon you can buy, so I have a lot of content for people that aren’t a good fit for me and I recommend all of those as a way to get ahead. But truly, if you want to go to the next level, double, triple your book of business, have a sustainable platform for growth for the rest of your career. That’s really what I do and that’s who I’m looking for. So, again, not for everybody and I would never claim to be.

Allison Williams: [00:31:28] Yeah. So you obviously provide a lot of value, whether you are working directly with a client or just speaking to people like me on my podcast to share with us some of the strategies that are necessary to be that lawyer. And so I highly recommend your podcast. I did have the pleasure of appearing on it. You were, of course, a wonderful host as you are a wonderful guest on our show and all of the wonderful resources that you referenced. We are going to provide links in the show notes. So everyone, you will be able to check out those books and, of course, get on to Steve’s website. So if you want to schedule a consultation, you can help with that as well. So before we let you go, Steve, I do want you to tell us what’s the best way for someone to reach out to you if they would like to inquire more about how to be that lawyer and work with someone like you to get their business development skills to the next level.

Steve Fretzin: [00:32:11] Yeah, I mean, there’s there’s probably three easy ways. One is just to look me up on LinkedIn and connect with me on LinkedIn and maybe just mention, you know, as we connect to I’d love to get together with you to learn more about what you do.

Steve Fretzin: [00:32:23] You can email me at it’s basically my name, Steve at Fretzin dot com or going to my website, Fretzin dot com. It’s it’s F as in Frank R, E, T, Z, I, N dot com. And those are really the best ways to reach me. And I’m, I’m always willing to give a 30 minute consult to help someone figure out where their gaps are. Again, that’s my gift. If I have one. And and again, if it works out where we want to work together, great. If not, I promise I will be a resource to push you in the right direction, to provide books to you, to help you in any way I can, even if we’re not a fit. I really believe in trying to help the legal population with an understanding that with the million plus lawyers, I’m not going to be able to help everybody, nor do I want to, but I will be a resource.

Allison Williams: [00:33:08] Yes, and you certainly have helped our our our audience today with all the wonderful tools and strategies that you’ve shared with us, Steve Fretzin. And thank you, as always, for being a great guest and a great resource. And I am Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. Everyone, thank you for tuning in for another edition of The Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. Have a wonderful day.

Allison Williams: [00:33:44] Thank you for tuning in to the crushing chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. To learn more about today’s guests and take advantage of the resources midship, check out our show notes. And if you own it solo or small law firm and are looking for guidance, advice or simply support on your journey to create a law firm that runs without you, join us in the Law Firm Mentor Movement Free Facebook group Fair. You can access our free trainings on improving collections at law firms, meeting billable hours, enjoying the movement of thousands of law firm owners across the country who want to crush chaos in their law firm and make more money. I’m Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. Have a great day.

Guest Bio: 

Driven, focused and passionate about helping attorneys to reach their full potential, Steve Fretzin is regarded as the premier coach, skills trainer and keynote speaker on business development for attorneys.


Over the past 16 years, Steve Fretzin has devoted his career to helping lawyers master the art of business development to achieve their business goals and the peace of mind that comes with developing a successful law practice.


In addition to writing three books on legal marketing and business development, Steve has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s and He has appeared on NBC News, WGN Radio and has written articles for Attorney at Law Magazine, the National Law Review, the American Bar Association, and the Illinois State Bar Association. You can also find his monthly column in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.


FRETZIN, Inc. Law Firm


Email Address:

Phone Number: (847) 602-6911



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Allison Bio:

Allison C. Williams, Esq., is 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. 


Ms. Williams 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. Ms. Williams won the Silver Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017.  In 2018, Ms. Williams 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, Ms. Williams won the Seminole 100 Award for founding one of the fastest growing companies among graduates of Florida State University.


In 2018, Ms. Williams created Law Firm Mentor, a business coaching service for lawyers.  She helps solo and small law firm attorneys grow their business revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money.  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. 


Contact Info:

Contact Law Firm Mentor:




00:04:19 Allison Williams

Yeah, you know, it’s interesting you say that, too, because I think a lot of times lawyers and, you know, as a lawyer, I can speak to this because I’ve personally experienced this and then I’ve seen it in people that I’ve worked with is that we almost go into that convincing energy when we’re meeting with prospects because we have a conception of selling that says I have to convince you to want to work with me as opposed to I have to help you make the right decision for you, which could mean me or it could mean something else.


00:04:47 Steve Fretzin

Yeah, I mean, part of a big part of what I’m teaching are simple skills, but they’re not simple to someone who’s never had to learn them. Right? So the idea of qualifying and who do you present to? Who do you take the time to put a proposal together for or start to provide consulting or pricing? And so I try to break it down into a sales free selling process that includes some qualifying steps.