I have been in business since 2017, and unlike most people starting out, I had absolutely zero resources. There was no budget for marketing or anything else to be honest. I spent my days and nights Ubering to have enough money to fund myself and my business and to put myself in front of people for the purpose of handing out business cards to anyone who would listen. Google Adwords, billboards, digital marketing, mailers, or any thing else that cost money was out of the realm of possibilities. There was also no plan B. Most people in my industry are retired LEO and have a pension to fall back on. For me it was sink or swim.
As it turns out, this was the best thing that ever could have happened to me and what I now refer to as "the power of being broke" which I took from the people's shark Daymond John (purchase here). I had to be creative, and the solution to all my problems, I found, was relationship building aka networking, which was free minus some small expenses such as business cards and gas. I would Uber my way around and whenever I got close to a law firm, I would stop in and introduce myself. I would invite paralegals to lunch or happy hour (happy hour prices were a life saver), and I would build a relationship with them. To me this was not an unnatural thing as I am a natural extrovert and I am genuinely interested in other people's lives (My temperaments are split 50/50 between sanguine and choleric...if you don't know what that means click here and find out your temperament which can help tremendously in business in regards to identifying your strengths and weaknesses and hiring a team accordingly). The point is, I wasn't there for the quick sale, I was there to build long lasting bonds.
I am writing this because people see how much I network, and wonder if it is worth their time to do the same. The short answer is yes, the long answer is let's take a snap shot of my last 5 surveillance cases for a better idea.
3 cases were referrals from paralegals that I have built relationships with by meeting them in person.
1 case came from an internet search.
1 case came from another business owner, unrelated to the legal industry, who I built a relationship with.
To put things in perspective, I do not use google Adwords but I do organically show up on the first page of google for my area, according to a recent website audit.
But wait there's more. I also track my leads/conversions and have found that the referrals from humans, produce a better quality of client meaning they are more likely to sign a contract and pay a retainer then someone who has simply found me on google.
So you tell me? Is networking worth it? I am a firm believer that in a world of AI and tech, the human relationship wins every time.
Immaculate Investigations, LLC
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The Process Server Mindset
Because of the fact that most states have a plethora of different laws regarding civil service of process, coming to any kind of consensus on “the proper way to serve a paper” across the board is a semi challenging task. However, one thing that process servers from California to South Carolina can agree on is the fact that serving papers is an acquired skill and there is a certain etiquette that goes along with it. Aside from the obvious importance of knowing your state laws, I believe the mindset of a process server is equally as important.
Like most professionals, I have found that process servers have different philosophies on how they approach the bearer of bad news role. One mindset that is common among servers is the "hunter" mentality. These types make it their life mission to hunt you down and serve you. The more evasive the better. While I can relate to this (I have tracked people down by a t- shirt logo on their Facebook picture...story for another time), the problem with the hunter mentality is that once you are actually in front of the person it is necessary to turn hunter mode off. The same aggressiveness that produced the information that put you in front of the person can be felt by that person and interpreted as confrontational once you are face to face and trying to get them to take your documents. There is definitely a time for hunter mode, but it is usually in the skip-tracing phase.
Make them feel like you are on their side:
The first important thing to note is that I usually give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I am honest about who I am, and I try my best to use all means (phone, text, email, social media) of communication to get in touch with the person. The reason I do this is to prove due diligence and so the excuse of “I didn’t know they were trying to serve me papers” is eliminated. People also have more respect for you and are more likely to do what you want them to do if they trust you. If all transparent efforts fail, I then go on to use more covert methods, but only as a last resort.
From my early professional experiences in leadership positions in primarily male dominated fields, I have found that the best way to get someone to do something they don’t want to do or are unsure of doing, is to make them feel like you are on their side. This method has never ever let me down. I have found more success as a process server if I approach people from a position of “let me help you” rather than “you are taking my papers whether you like it or not,” even though the latter may very well be the case.
Keep in mind, for the most part I keep my serves as simple as possible and say as little as possible along the lines of "I have time sensitive legal documents for you. Be sure to read through the documents and consult an attorney if need be." Most people accept my papers without any issues. For the more suspicious or hesitant ones my speech goes something like this:
“Listen I know you are probably not happy to see me but my whole purpose here is to make sure your constitutional rights are protected. It is important that you are informed of the complaints being made against you and that you are afforded the opportunity to tell your side of the story.”
The wonderful part about my "let me help you" speech is that it's all true. In fact if it wasn't for due process we would all be out of a job. I always do this with as much respect as possible and with a tone that does not involve talking down to the person being served. If they are rational humans, once they hear that they get to tell their side of things, they usually accept service.
Depending on the person, putting them at ease right off the bat is also an efficient way of conducting business. If someone opens the door and the first thing they hear is "your rosebush is absolutely gorgeous," they will have a harder time slamming the door in your face. Find a balance here though because no one likes a you-know-what kisser and people can tell when you're not genuine.
In conclusion, most of the time people are willing to work with you if they get the impression that you are not there to do them any harm (physically or financially). If you can put them at ease and make them feel like you are doing them a favor by serving them papers you will be a better server, enjoy what you do, and you'll get more "thank yous" than insults. Serving papers is a little like sales, and it takes a skilled sales person to influence someone to buy a product they don't want!
A special thank you to Grooms & Thomas Attorneys at Law LLC. for their kind words. We are passionate about serving our clients and love feedback.
"Top notch service! I highly recommend their services and will certainly be using them again."
It was a pleasure working with Mr. Thomas. This firm is prompt and professional and works to fulfill your needs in the greater Myrtle Beach, SC area. Practice areas include:
Wills & Probate.
Check out their website at http://groomsandthomaslaw.com/
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"Few animals can hide from a hungry shark. Notorious for their intense and dogged manner of tracking prey, sharks are extremely tactical about finding and catching their food."
*Revised Edition -Apex style*
"Few persons to be served can hide from the pink sharks. Notorious for their intense and dogged manner of tracking evasive individuals, the pink sharks are extremely skilled in finding and delivering legal documents to their targets."
source - www.apexlss.com
A special Thank you to Weathers Law Firm LLC. in Pawley's Island, SC. for the tremendous review!
We love to hear from happy clients as we strive for quick and effective service. It is truly a blessing to work with such wonderful people. If the sharks can't find them no one can!
"Amanda and Maureen are not only professionals, but extremely pleasant to work with. Weathers Law Firm, LLC gave them a needle in a haystack to locate for us and not only were they successful, but they were successful within a day!! We wish them every success with Apex Legal Support Services, LLC and we highly recommend them!! Thank you Ladies!!
P. S. We also LOVE that they support our VETERANS!!"