Brocton Skeen is the Principal and Attorney at The Skeen Firm, a law firm that advises clients in the areas of bankruptcy, estate planning, business, oil and gas, family law, and criminal defense across Pennsylvania. He is experienced in business, oil and gas, and estate planning and sits as the President of Omega Oilfield Solutions. Before starting his practice, Brocton worked at one of the nation’s largest natural gas production companies, EQT Production Company, using and honing his negotiation skills.
Brocton graduated from the West Virginia University Institute of Technology with a BA in history and government. He attended the Appalachian School of Law for his JD and Penn State University for his MBA.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Brocton Skeen explains how technology can both help and hinder the courts
- How to find a balance between growth and value in your business
- Why is simplification the best method for working with clients?
- Brocton talks about interacting with clients to create a lasting business
- Why should you plan for an exit?
- Brocton talks about which clients are better for your firm
- Why communication can lead to reasonable solutions and compromising resolutions
- The importance of actively listening to your clients rather than making assumptions
In this episode…
As an attorney, how can you create value for your clients? What steps can you take to create an enduring enterprise? How can you turn yourself into a leader that people can trust?
When you begin practicing law, you work in your business to grow and establish clients. But Brocton Skeen recommends you work on your business to achieve accelerated growth. Your approach should always be how to add value to the situation, not how to add value to yourself. Brocton stops and listens to truly understand the pain points of his clients, so he is better equipped to find a resolution. By being open and honest, you can transform yourself into a leader and connect with your clients to improve your success.
In this episode of 15 Minutes, Michael Renfro sits down with Brocton Skeen, Principal and Attorney at The Skeen Firm, to discuss cultivating value and leadership in your firm. Brocton talks about the evolution of technology in the courtroom, how simplification is the best method to connect with clients, and why active listening and effective communication can help with reaching resolutions.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, where we deliver tailor-made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential.
To have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and decades of experience to outperform the competition.
To learn more, go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com or schedule a free marketing consultation. You can also send an email to Adam@gladiatorlawmarketing.com.
You’re listening to 15 Minutes, where we feature community leaders sharing what the rest of us should know but likely don’t.
Michael Renfro 0:12
Hello everyone, Michael Renfro here I’m the host of 15 Minutes, where we talk with top notch law firms and lawyers on what it takes to grow a successful law practice. This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing where we deliver tailor made services to help you accomplish your objectives as well as maximize your growth potential to have a successful marketing campaign and make sure that you are getting the optimum ROI your firm truly needs to have the best if and definitely the better content than your competition at Gladiator. One of the things we do is use artificial intelligence along with machine learning and now over a century of combined experience to make sure that content is better and that you’re outperforming your competition. To learn more, please go to GladiatorLawMarketing.com That is simply GladiatorLawMarketing.com, a bunch of three letter sequences there. And if you would like to get a free consultation, again, you can go to the website, we will do that for you. And we will actually take a good look heart analysis at your current situation. And with that said, today, we have Brocton Skeen Brocton, I hope I am pronouncing the last name correctly, spot on, bought on and he is with the scheme firm. And all I can tell you is we’re about to have a very interesting conversation because I did this intro at the beginning and we just started talking and I never stopped the record button. So you folks will enjoy.
Brocton Skeen 1:38
You know, technology’s beautiful, right? We two years through a pandemic, and it was like, I think everybody get $1. For every time we’ve heard Hold on, I can’t hear you or you’re on mute.
Michael Renfro 1:50
Not at the same time. Collectively, I think at the same time, we, we also gained a greater knowledge of what technology can do for us when you actually run it correctly. And what we also found out too, is most of the time, and I don’t mean this in any harm to what happened now. But most of the time, there’s a small user error that we just did miss and when we, you know, look at it, it usually it usually is fixable, that obviously that is not all the time, I actually have a deal in a lot of different SaaS paths. And I asked, which is I don’t know if you know what all those acronyms are. But software is a service, whereas a service platform as a service and Infrastructure as a Service. So, you know, there, the one thing that you always have to remember is it comes down to how good the coder was behind the meat and potatoes. And if they’re if they’re generally if they’re good, you know, then they’re going to continue to make it better. And because I’ve built SaaS, and you cannot think of everything when you launch and you’re amazed, you’re amazed at like, every single month, you’re like, why didn’t I think of this in the beginning?
Brocton Skeen 2:50
So I mean, that’s, that’s every business,
Michael Renfro 2:54
like one goal. And then you realize how many more things you can do. Particularly, if you do have a good coder and your team or at least maybe a couple of them, then you can you know, really quite frankly, the sky’s the limit.
Brocton Skeen 3:07
Yeah, I guess I’d never thought of it like that. But it’s It’s true, though. I mean, but every business is kind of like every time a new problem comes up. There are actually four or five problems, they’re gonna fall off of it that you just don’t expect. And then they just keep growing. But that’s, that grows your pie in that Yeah, exactly. It’s a, I mean, it can be a bad way to look at it. Because you don’t want to say like, Oh, hey, I hope people have a billion other problems, but right broseley Where there’s one, there’s another one behind it. I always solving them is you know, solving them is more important than just saying, hey, they exist in my backyard.
Michael Renfro 3:42
And you know, the funny thing is, every time my wife and I just I mentioned her only because we talked the most, you know, worked from home and she worked from home. So we’ll sit there have a discussion about it. And it’s funny because, you know, probably dating back to by by the time I was 25 I would say anytime I read a rule that I didn’t understand or a policy that I didn’t understand what the company I looked like, that’s because they had to write this something happened that they’re like, I don’t want to deal with this again. I’m going to outline it the it’ll be in the terms and if it goes that far they will have litigation but we will not go down this road again.
Brocton Skeen 4:22
The warnings are always one of the best to just like any warning on anything you were like who thought that was a good idea. Don’t know how many times I do that. And it was
Michael Renfro 4:33
like, you know somebody did somebody was like I’m gonna take this thing and fly off of that roof and see if I can catch it in my glove. Okay, man for
Brocton Skeen 4:40
worthy. I think it’s the wood inside of YETI Coolers. There’s a giant yellow don’t let your kid sit in this. And you know that because they had those air gaskets. They didn’t do that.
Michael Renfro 4:55
wrapped it either. They didn’t do that. One kid that you have to wonder how Many kids got trapped in the cooler.
Brocton Skeen 5:02
Yeah, it? Yeah, that’s, but no, you’re in technologies. And it’s funny because everything I run at the firm is on the Mac platform. So some sort of iOS. And I think the problem is, is my air pods just get? It’s like hyperstimulation when I open the AP case, because it’ll want to connect to one of two phones. Yeah, for the Mac, you’re just like, okay, hold on. Yeah, melting down. And
Michael Renfro 5:29
I can show you, this is a MacBook, there’s a 13 MacBook Pro in one sitting here, I’m on an iMac. 21 and a half, and then a 15×15 inch MacBook Pro, that is my my workhorse. And so the iMac is just work. The MacBook, the small the M one is just a projects and you know, other things that I do. And then quite frankly, everything ties in to that one. But I’m like you, you know, when I open something up, you know, between my watch and my ear pods and anything else that wants to connect or is alarm, it’s like I say and you’re moving everywhere.
Brocton Skeen 6:08
stuffs happening, please stop that. No, it’s, again, I think it goes back to the technology has been great. But it’s also it’s also frustrating. I think the biggest frustration I’ve had with any of the with any of the adoption, it’s been awesome to see courts transform a little bit. Especially native in Pennsylvania, where I’m at because it was I jokingly say if it was William Penn didn’t do it. We’re not going to do it. Oh, yeah, we’re still operating like it’s the 1600s at times. But
Michael Renfro 6:40
I was I grew up in South Carolina brother. So you can imagine I grew up in one of the original 13 My entire life was spent the original 13 Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. So until sixth, I was in what they literally call the Bible Belt, right? Like that is
Brocton Skeen 6:57
no, man. And it’s uh, but it was, you know, the only thing that that hasn’t really adopted? Well, I don’t think is there so used to doing calls in court, right, and everyone just shows up, and now they want you to get on the platform and stay logged in all day. And you’re like, Well, you know, the notice said, 1230, does that mean? Maybe around 1230 Just show up at nine hope for the best. So it’s, that’s been frustrating, because it was like, we could be much more efficient, but on their into just like just stacking the queue.
Michael Renfro 7:37
Here’s, here’s an olive branch that I see coming. And what I mean by that is, you know, I’m 50 you look to be like maybe in your late 30s, I’m guessing maybe, maybe, okay, so the nice thing that you have ahead of you. And what I mean by that is really anybody who’s 15-20 years younger than me or PAL, even 10 will see more of those changes implemented in their daily lives. And I would I would bet my my weekly paycheck that within 15 years, by the time you reach 50, right, the courts will be completely because here’s, here’s what’s beautiful, all the ones that are keeping it from happening, will die, they will die, they will be gone. And the new board will be like I’m not doing it like this anymore. We know that we are more efficient, we are more cost effective. Right? You can knock out more cases, if you use Zoom technology in a day guaranteed by a minimum of 20% 25%. Which means at worst case scenario, that means you’re saving, how much and paying that judge for that day as well getting more work done and more efficient. Absolutely. On top of that to Brockton. The best part about it is you’re not nearly as tired after a zoom day as you are having to go from courtroom to courtroom to courtroom for the judge and and
Brocton Skeen 8:55
the attorneys will say we have multiple, let’s say we cover multiple counties and have offices in different places. So it’s almost kind of you pinball everywhere, and you’re like, Oh, well, you know, I need to be here, we need to have coverage.
Michael Renfro 9:09
And if you just have a solid internet connection, then you’re everywhere you need to be on time. And fact you and I both know, with the technology now, because you can mute and take your camera off in one place, but still be attending it and seeing everything that’s going on, you can actually have multiple meetings, and it doesn’t interfere. So if you truly have and I wouldn’t do more than two because you don’t want to you know, but we’ve learned how to do that back in the 90s when PIP became the thing for everybody to have where you’re watching two programs. So if you can keep an eye on two things, you know, particularly, let’s say that it’s not a case, but you’re just having a meeting, you know, with two people. Obviously, if it’s a court case, I’m not saying you’d want to try to do to court cases. But if you had to log in and be like, Look, this case is still going on. I’m going to have to do something you have that ability as well where you don’t have to worry about running or getting a paralegal or somebody else to do it for
Brocton Skeen 10:00
or just the random coverage with various other attorneys who don’t know the file, haven’t worked the case? Because I know from experience of serving as local counsel, that’s the time that you get tripped up by the judge, because the attorney says, oh, yeah, it’ll be simple. Here’s what should go on. And the judge wants to know more, you don’t know more than you, you know, you get roughed up a little bit. You’re sent back with a message to the other counsel, and then they’re like, why did they ask that? Like, I’m not the judge? I don’t know. I don’t shoot the messenger on either side. Please, please. Just, I’m just here to help everyone. And I don’t know what’s happening. So. But yeah, it’s I mean, I think you’re right on. I think you’re gonna see the same thing with law firm ownership, like, Well, yeah, what the most recent ABA vote was? And they were like, well, it’s a protection for lawyers. And it was like, knows that insulation to protect and inflated billing practices, or is it actual protection for lawyers, because at the end of the day, my partner and I have this conversation every time there’s like, I’ve never looked at it as just a traditional law firm model, I show up, let’s build all these. Right now. I got to do all of the standard things. It was like, we’re business owners, we own a business, our service is providing legal advice. It’s yeah, so it’s a backwards look at instead of oh, I’m a lawyer,
Michael Renfro 11:24
it’s actually it isn’t backwards. But I’ll tell you this more and more folks, particularly you millennials, and I don’t mean that in a bad way, are really starting to see, hey, if I am a lawyer, and I’m also the one that’s running the company, then I have to separate because this guy is doing for this guy. But this guy cannot listen to this guy.
Brocton Skeen 11:42
And it’s tough at first because you you know you, it training wise and a lot of law school teachers, you’re just straight down rabbit holes all the time? Well, if you do that, you’re going to start being inefficient, in a lot of ways, because you’re gonna spend a lot of time you may not need to spend. And it’s getting, I think it was like, for me, at least it was, how uncomfortable is it to say, you know, I’m never going to find the perfect answer. I can give advice, and we can adjust on the fly as things move. But at the end of the day, it was like, you still got to be a business owner, if you’re spending too much time on something that’s at a certain point, you can’t just keep going. It makes no sense. Like they are going to fire you immediately. You’re like, Oh, hey, I needed eight hours of research. But I was productive for four of it. Okay, because they, you know, the last four kept telling me the same thing. But I thought there might be something out there too.
Michael Renfro 12:41
That is part of what you know, true research is going to have repetitiveness and redundancy, due to the fact that you typically if you’re a good researcher, you’re going to use maybe three, four, maybe even more different sources, right. And obviously, there’s going to be many things that each source probably sees the same way. But then you’ll get those little nuggets. So yeah, like you say, you might only actually had four hours of production, but that four hours of production was spread out over the eight hours of time of getting each little nugget from each source. And not you needed to do and you’re doing
Brocton Skeen 13:14
absolutely and I but I think it’s like that balance. What does that look like? Right, as your firm continues to grow?
Michael Renfro 13:22
Because when you’re the business owner versus just an attorney at the firm?
Brocton Skeen 13:25
Yeah, early stage, that was great. Because, you know, it’s like when I started from my house on a computer, I laughed. It was like I dumb lucked into starting everything virtually because it made sense to me, like why get an office? Right? I work with businesses and do estate planning, where business owners and people that want to do this, they’re gonna have an easier way to be more comfortable at their office virtually or at their home. It was like our travel to you don’t come to me. How many? How many attorneys and I’ve thought about this for the past four years, like, how many people miss out on opportunities, because they said office hours, nine to five and religious you want to have someone try to come into that? Well, now they’ve got to take time away from their
Michael Renfro 14:11
business day, out of their life, many time, exact same time that they’re working. Yeah. And it
Brocton Skeen 14:17
was like it. It just didn’t seem to make sense from the get go if you’re going to serve people. And at the end of the day, that’s what lawyers do is it’s a service industry. So like if you’re going to serve people, why not make it easier on them? That should always be the end goal. How do we add value and how do we get the access and go
Michael Renfro 14:36
we’re getting ready start recording here because we’re going to be talking about all this I mean, I’m even gonna tell the guys go back and get some of our conversation before we started. Because it’s good stuff but you know, it’s it goes right along with what you you know, you’re I’m assuming it’s kind of your mission statement, if you will, for your clients to leave saying something along the line. Something along the lines of I’ve never experienced working with attorney I didn’t know working with attorney could be so easier. So I plus whatever it is, and, you know, that, to me goes with with, similarly to our approach, and I’ll just say real quick, you know, like, we deal with only attorneys as Gladiator Law Marketing, right, that’s all we deal with is attorneys. And one of the first things we try to tell them because we, we deal with everything from firms that have 30 attorneys, and we’re dealing with a marketing director who has literally not got a degree in law, right, or we’re dealing with the solo practitioner, or maybe a couple of partners who are wearing both hats, they’re both the attorney and fight for those cases. But at the same time, they’re trying to grow a business and bring leads leads in for themselves. And I always tell them, like you really, you really have to learn to separate your roles. And understand that this isn’t just wearing two hats, you have to wear one hat at a time. And if you wear both at the same time, you will it will become convoluted number one, and you will end up making poor decisions, because you’re making them based on what the the lawyer thinks rather than the businessman who is trying to make, you know, business savvy decisions.
Brocton Skeen 16:05
And that’s true, I think, I don’t know where I read about somebody one time really broken down. Well, it was like working on your business as opposed to in your business. And it was like, when you’re practicing and doing legal work, you’re working in your business, but you have to work on your business to keep the pipeline full, to continue to grow to get any sort of accelerated growth. So you’re looking at, I remember early on, I think I sat down, it was like 20% of my week needs to be how do I grow the business?
Michael Renfro 16:33
Right? Leaving to work and
Brocton Skeen 16:36
leave 80% For work time on it. And it was like, some of that obviously, morphs and changes as the firm grows, because there’s a certain amount of, you know, you’ve got to go get more and then you’re like, Okay, is it time to hire, what does hiring look like? Right? And we’re right at that cost now. But it’s, yeah, it was, it was surprising to me because you sit there and you’re like, Well, I did, you know, got a website out. I’ve done everything that it says to do to start getting clients were the clients, right, then eventually, you’re just like, I gotta go get them. It’s like, high tide to seek they’re out there hiding, you just,
Michael Renfro 17:11
they’re there, you just got to find them, you know, I want you to not say is if your business continues to grow healthily, which I’m sure it’s what you want, you know, eventually, that 20% will turn into 100%. And you will no longer be an attorney, you will still be an attorney, and probably take the credentials and give advice to friends. Yeah. And the guys that you’ve hired, and the girls that you’ve hired, right, depending on whatever, whoever comes in, but the reality is, you know, like I have, she’s one of my favorite clients. She’s a female, and she only she does divorce for men, right? So she’s a female that fights for only men, and that’s her niche. But she no longer really does the actual fighting anymore. She has built that image, built that name and that brand, and now has multiple attorneys that work the cases, but she is now 100% In the role of building and growing the brand and the business.
Brocton Skeen 18:03
And that’s it. That’s
Michael Renfro 18:05
it, it’s to that point. I’m just saying it, could it No.
Brocton Skeen 18:08
And it’s, I mean, that’s like kind of the long term goal. And actually, I told one of the court administrators at a recent bar event that was like, you know, I want to be ideally that 10 attorney range over the next five or so years, he was like, Well, that’s pretty aggressive scaling. And in, in my opinion, it was like, Well, no, because it was like, we go to a purpose. Like the firm. Our approach is to provide everyday legal advice was like take, all of it kind of goes to my philosophy of cutting against the grain of being a lawyer was like, simplify everything. Get it to the clients in a way that’s understandable, because that’s where they see value. Not, hey, look at my big words. I went to somebody for a long time,
Michael Renfro 18:54
you can do it so much that you terminate them and make them feel inferior. And then there have learned that
Brocton Skeen 18:59
that is one of the biggest comments that goes back to what I said in the intro and somebody intake it. Having someone say, I didn’t know working with an attorney can be this easy. Should be my goal every time someone is in my office or on a call with me because if I don’t, if I don’t make it easy for them to understand, in a situation that’s probably confusing, hectic and stressful for them. Right? I’m not actually helping them out. If I say a lot of things that are confusing, the sound smart, I’m able to get more confused. And then that just makes the situation worse, because they’re going to send 1000 different questions that don’t relate to what it is they’re going to do the
Michael Renfro 19:40
Brocton Skeen 19:42
You’re just going to send the train off the tracks and that’s not the goal. So yeah, it’s I get that and it was looking at the back to the 10 attorneys thing was like, if our approach is to provide everyday legal advice, how do we get to the point attorneys would want to work If they’re do that similar thing, and he was like, Well, yeah,
Michael Renfro 20:03
how do I, that’s the atmosphere that you’ve got to create to attract the same type of attorney as you.
Brocton Skeen 20:09
How do I build? It was like how do I build a firm that attorneys want to work in? Because there’s like, yeah, at the end of the day, making money is a great thing. But there’s also like, being happy, being happy what what do the people you work with work? Like, what are the clients you work
Michael Renfro 20:22
with? Do you enjoy working with the people that you work with? Or is it more of God I gotta go to work again today.
Brocton Skeen 20:28
And that’s, I think every lawyer kind of has those moments. I mean, you always hear the horror stories like you get the burnout you get everything else I think depending on the area you practice to some of the stresses that show up on a regular basis really have an impact on how much you want to do but then some of that is also is that the right practice fit for you not just firm wise but practice area but your morals I know every every now and then if I cover if I cover for my partner who handled a lot of family law matters. I understand them I know how they should work. They don’t necessarily make me feel great in the process. Sure. So I feel extra drained emotionally to quarter for covering for her yeah for emotional middle side and I for me, I don’t know that I could do that. Day in and day out. There’s that her as well. She She handles that as well. So I mainly work with our small businesses. Bankruptcy here from startup. Yeah, do Kitson, bankruptcy work and then estate planning and the oil and gas and it was it was an odd combination? Because I was at a large corporation where I started the firm four years ago.
Michael Renfro 21:53
Right? You were at a large?
Brocton Skeen 21:54
No, I was just at work. I wasn’t doing any of the legal work. So I did land work, I bought oil and gas leases in southwestern Pennsylvania. So at a time period when the market for that was booming. Lease prices were astronomically high put a lot of money into individuals pockets in certain counties is you know, you turn around, look, you make someone a lot of money. And then you wonder, Well, did they have any sort of planning on the back end? Right, they got a chance to have generational wealth, what happened? What would I got with a knee? And you see sometimes it was like, You know what happened, they bought a couple Escalades and blew their money, money, money went out the door. So part of my philosophy was, as I started to practice, I know how to do oil and gas work. Very familiar with leasing side property rights and mineral ownership. If I get to the door, just to
Michael Renfro 22:52
be clear, it sounds like you understand that both the commercial side of it as well as the residential side affecting the people on the on the on the at the very end, if you will,
Brocton Skeen 23:01
yes, and use it. So it was trying to be very intentional in if I’m working for someone, and they give potential life changing money, we should also offer some sort of estate planning that looks at what they’re about to get holistically. And then having an MBA and some business experience is like bringing a different approach to just the normal transactional, commercial side, for business owners of saying, Hey, I’ve ran teams I’ve grown. I’ve done all the things you’re going to do with your business. So I can provide. Here’s what the law says. And here’s what also the business side might say and hear how they’ll interact. But again, it goes back to what to most business owners and start a business never think of how they leave. Right? What is your exit plan? What’s your strategy, their carrier family,
Michael Renfro 23:54
most of the time, they don’t even have an exit plan. And quite frankly, if you’re doing a full business outline for yourself, you should have some sort of just I mean, if nothing else, a one sentence paragraph of an exit plan concept of what do I do when one of these things happen that could present present me exiting this, whether it’s the sale of the company, or you know, turning it over to someone else? Whatever the case may be.
Brocton Skeen 24:23
I actually work that into new business formations of not only Hey, what’s your one year goal through your goal five year goal is what do you actually want to achieve with this you’re going to grow the company and it dies with you. Okay, great. You probably will have a chance to make a good amount of money if you plan right save right? You’ll be fine. But what happens if you know how you operate a business is going to change if you want to grow and sell it in three years or five years, as opposed to I want to grow this bring people in and set solid transition plans for me Leadership and and have something that lasts much longer than I do something from an understanding that’s for other people, whatever. Yeah, and understanding that’s a huge part, I think of getting business owners off on the right foot, because you have to know where you’re going to figure out how to get there. If you don’t, you’re just I mean, how many businesses do we see that come out of the gate, have great ideas, great concepts, get traction in the early stages and go away, because they
Michael Renfro 25:30
throw this one out there, just because it’s one of the biggest ones I’ve seen, as far as a highlighted one, they had an incredibly great concept. All the shows were good, but Kwibi. Unfortunately, it was a perfect storm of launching at the exact wrong time due to pandemic had, they said, You know what, let’s put the brakes on. And of course, they didn’t want to do that, because they have all this content that was already ready to go. Right. But I mean, quite frankly, you take that concept and redo it, I think even today and do it properly, it will catch on because I personally, Everybody I talked to love the ability that they could watch a piece of a show, and the time it takes to catch the bus and go to work and not have to worry about, you know, it was a great concept to give you something to do in those moments that you didn’t want to do this with your phone and pop bubbles or whatever the hell else.
Brocton Skeen 26:16
Yeah, it’s it. But execution was the timeline. You should. And it also tells me from a formation standpoint, what are sort of next steps on the legal horizon? Are you going to bring employees in soon? Are you selling products and have to collect sales, the sales tax, and other things that it’s one of those, I don’t want to be the buzzkill that most attorneys are labeled. But you’re trying to think about, Hey, these are next steps I see. These are things I know that need to occur.
Michael Renfro 26:49
And sure insurance, insurance agents get the same bad rap because you’re trying to plan for the inevitable but nobody wants to look at that. And everybody until we die. We all think we’re not going to die. It’s kind of this funny little, you know that?
Brocton Skeen 27:03
That’s, that’s part of the estate planning conundrum. Exactly. On top is
Michael Renfro 27:07
like it’s gonna You don’t know how you don’t know when but it’s gonna happen. So plan for
Brocton Skeen 27:12
it, man. Absolutely. And it was like, Look, I’m going to ask you questions, we’re going to be uncomfortable. Yeah, these are gonna make if we can pull, if we can plan your life, your plan your death, you can go live your life.
Michael Renfro 27:23
And people don’t understand the amount of I think some of I’m assuming that you might be a father at this point. No, no, no. So I will tell you this, it even it accelerates and amplifies the need for planning ahead. And when I was doing insurance, and I, you know, maybe you can take this as a nugget, I was not afraid I would tell him like this is not a scare tactic. You have children, if something happens to you prior to your ability, or prior to them being able to take care of themselves. How would you feel about that? If you could see it happening? Because here’s the problem. If you die, you’re not going to see it happening, but they’re going to be going through horrible things. Yeah, you know, and again, it’s not a scare tactic, it’s a reality of what can happen. And then I would try to show them, you know, a testimonial of someone who was like, because it you always have both right, you have a testimony of someone who didn’t plan properly. When you have a testimonial of someone who absolutely did everything almost, you know, perfectly by the book, and their family is in a much better or their business is in a much better place when the unfortunate does happen.
Brocton Skeen 28:37
And I the longer I do estate planning work, the more I’m convinced that people aren’t necessarily afraid of dying, it’s afraid of leaving everyone behind, it’s what’s going to happen and not knowing how they’re going to be taken care of. And it was with just like you said, from the insurance side, if you do the right amount of planning and have your state documents in order to have the proper life insurances or any coverage you can and you invest the right way you can make sure that everyone’s taken care of.
Michael Renfro 29:10
It’s one of the best no waivers in the in the country. It’s never it has not stopped being a great way of wealth transfer.
Brocton Skeen 29:17
And in a way it was like it should give you more peace of mind even though it’s scary to think of Yeah, okay. We’re going to ask about final disposition but great. At the end of the day, we know we all die that’s the only thing we get to do in life is that you know, not to be not to be completely morbid,
Michael Renfro 29:34
but it no it’s not more but I
Brocton Skeen 29:36
you know, you just got to stare it down and kind of say, Okay, well how do I plan for the people that I love and I’ll just go about my life because going to happen one day,
Michael Renfro 29:46
to me anything other than looking at it straight on is, you know, that old that old adage comes into my mind and that is denial is not a river in Egypt. You know, if it’s true, the fact that you’re going to die then you are literally in a state that is just unrealistic with how life is going to play out, you know, and I hate to bring it up as a. But you know, I’m sure that an heshe was probably very properly taken care of and probably had all of her affairs, I would like to think so just because typically when they have more money, and they have more influenced by other people when they’re counseled, right, but like, you never know, when something like that’s going to happen. She was having one of the greatest days of her life, you know, and it ended tragically now, obviously, she, there was other factors. And I’m not going to get into all that. But my point is, you just never know, you know, Tiger almost year and a half ago almost took that deep end. Right. So yeah, it just goes to show you that you have to go to me the moment that you really come to terms with it. And I think also truly having kids like it just I know it. For me, it was a much bigger deal, because I was no longer living for myself. Right? Yeah. That makes it Yeah. You have to put something in place. Minimal. Yeah, no. And it’s, you know, it’s,
Brocton Skeen 31:03
I think you get cost conscious people, and it was like, it’s worth it. At the end of the day. It’s just like life insurance. It’s worth it. Yeah. Okay. It might cost a little bit now. But they don’t peace of mind. Sorry, sorry. But it’s amazing that, you know, it’s fine. It’s like, it’s amazing how little it costs to actually buy peace of mind, right.
Michael Renfro 31:25
And you’re buying money at an exponential rate almost always like, not to sound rude, but the ones that, you know, do it. And then two years later ended up cashing in a whole life that they were paying a million dollar policy, they’re getting a world of wealth for very little money in, you know, and that’s obviously the risk management of the of the insurance company, I understand all that stuff. I’ve studied it for years. But my whole point is, even if you were to pay in for the entire set of the policy, right, and it matures at 100 1051 10, whatever it is, these days, depending on who you’re with. And you get that money back, you’re getting a heck of a lot more than you ever put in. And if at any point in between that you you pass or demise, then your family gets that and anytime before that 100 is only better money, it’s only a higher percentage of return. Right? And I try to I try to show that to people I’m like, you know, where else can you literally buy 100 grand for $10,000? Just tell me, where else can you do that?
Brocton Skeen 32:22
Ya know, it’s it’s kind of mind blowing, when you look at it
for annuities are very, very similar, obviously. Yeah, no, absolutely. But yeah, it’s funny just to see, you know, how how people react to a lot of, well, it’s
Michael Renfro 32:37
the heinousness. Dude, we all have it lawyers, salesmen, insurance as a general these service industries, right? Because sales is nothing more than a service, you’re just Yeah, well, I shouldn’t say like that. But to me, it’s nothing more than a service. Because of the way that I look at it, right? Just my point of view. And you’re because you’re servicing people. And if you are a good salesman, then I refer to those people as what, as a people sweeter versus a mean nippy later. Because if you’re manipulating, you’re doing it 100% for yourself, right. But if you’re a people waiting or persuading, you’re usually doing it for the best of the person or business, whatever the case may be on the other side. And that’s why I say I consider sales a service, it’s my service to show them this product, this service, and then help them decide and decipher if it’s truly worthy, and will work for them. So when I choose me, when I look at it that way, you know, and you see other people that just really don’t take it that way, it becomes more about sharing purely for the money. And I think any business that’s starting also, by the way, purely for ROI sake, I think has the wrong start. Yes, you want to make money that is the end goal on all of it in one form or fashion. But I think you have to look at you know, how am I going to make money and most of us have principles and morals, right? So we want to try to do something that is somehow beneficial to somebody in some way. At least that that’s, you know, I’m not a scammer, and I don’t think
Brocton Skeen 34:06
No, no, I mean, I can 100% agree with that. I remember telling one client one time I forget what I forget how it came off. It was right around the fee conversation and multiple parties involved, and how will the other people get paid, have the other attorneys get paid? And it would have made me just because I was a couple years younger and didn’t look at things quite the same, but I think it would, it’s still the same today was like I really don’t really don’t care about making money. I care about doing the work, doing the money. That’s Ziff you do if you do the work, do the right things and do them repeatedly. Everything else will take care of itself you’re going to start attracting it. So it was like
Michael Renfro 34:54
stop worrying to attract what you put out. So if you’re only putting out I’m doing I need money for this right If you put out I’m only for money, then you’re gonna get people who are coming to you or only in things for money and you’re gonna, it’s not gonna be it’s gonna be ugly, you know, and I’ve watched that I’ve learned it, I’ve lived it, because I’ll just say, I haven’t always had the same outlook, I was young and dumb. And we know the rest of it, and was very aggressive. It was all about the money for many years.
Brocton Skeen 35:20
And and, you know, it may be a slower approach than what most people would like to see. But it goes back to, you know, kind of like that Warren Buffett saying what the stock market is day to day basis, it’s a voting machine, but on a long term basis, it’s a weighing machine. So it was like, would you rather vote a lot, or weigh a lot? At the end of your career? Like I, you know, I’m leaning toward, hopefully weighing on at the end, and not just in physical or so. Yeah, it’s, it is amazing, though, about what you like, what you put out what you attract 100%. So it was, you know, trying to stick to that all the time. Is not when you first start a business is terrifying, because I remember early on was like taking work because you needed work, because you have to pay the bill,
Michael Renfro 36:12
just to have the conversation, I have to interrupt you, you’re gonna love this, just Just hear me out rocket, just as more I had a conversation with a guy who said one of the best things you can learn is that it is a sales table that you’re at, they’re selling you and you’re selling them. And it’s the hardest thing when you want the money to go, you know what, I know that you’re not a good fit, you’re gonna be a problem, you’re going to cost more money on the long run, than you’re bringing into my firm. And we just need to let this go. That is it’s one of the hardest lessons to learn to be able to do it. And say, you’re not good for this company. I see your fat wallet. You got 100 You got a million. I don’t want it because I don’t want what comes with it.
Brocton Skeen 36:50
And that’s exactly where I was going was like learning this hard lesson. No, that’s it’s perfect. But it was like learning the hard let learning the lesson. The hard way that saying no will make you more money than saying yes to every bit of money that walked in the door. And it kind of reminded me of I forget, I think it was a professor I had in law school. Maybe in professional responsibility that he was like all lawyers remember that you’re not have need to remember you’re not a bus. Like you don’t have to pick everyone up that’s at your bus stop. Yeah, I was like, oh, that’s like it. Until I started saying no, though. It was you Tality of gotta make money. I’m about
Michael Renfro 37:31
anything that I can that walks in the door that has money in their hand to pay me.
Brocton Skeen 37:36
What do they call those door? What do they call them? Door lawyers? Yeah, anything that walks in the door, you just take it. And
Michael Renfro 37:45
when you’re fresh though I can I can assume that it’s extremely attractive to do that. Because you feel productive, and you feel like you’re moving forward. But it’s many times maybe only three, sometimes six, maybe a year later, six months, a year later, that you realize that a lot of what you did was painful, and causing you more time, more effort, more money. And that’s that’s when the I think that’s when the lightbulb goes off. You’re like, you know, maybe, maybe I can start syncing these dudes out or these chicks out or these businesses out and just be like, You know what, you’re really nice. I would love to take your money but you’re probably going to do better somewhere else.
Brocton Skeen 38:23
And that was right around the time in that six month two year window I think that it did click for me back to I guess the head I stuck to the just do the right things the right way you end up bringing in the right clients. But it was no Hey, you gotta get money in the door and it was it? I definitely would say it slowed. Looking back at it. It’s slow progress. Because
Michael Renfro 38:48
would you say that was your biggest challenge
Brocton Skeen 38:49
with the with the firm? You’re getting off the ground? Yeah.
Michael Renfro 38:55
As far as getting it off the ground? Would you say the biggest challenge was learning to say no to a case that was honestly hazardous to
Brocton Skeen 39:01
you? Absolutely. And it’s still I think you constantly adjust what your red flags look. Oh, yeah. No, you constantly in the intake in the intake.
Michael Renfro 39:11
It started out like this brother now. Yeah, I gotta listen to the ground. Like, are you doing that? No, no, no, no flags all over the place.
Brocton Skeen 39:18
And it was a and some of that, I think is that for me, it’s been trying to get as quick a connection as you can with the client learn them. Yes. To be able to get the trust to learn them to say it was like are they being? Are they being honest and open with me because that
Michael Renfro 39:37
Mr. This authenticity from them that I am trying to give to him?
Brocton Skeen 39:42
Absolutely. Because that is one of those. There’s no worse feeling of walking into a deposition. And all of a sudden, it’s just like, a bomb goes off because your client starts answering things in the complete opposite way. than what they’ve told you what your
Michael Renfro 40:04
mouth right like shut.
Brocton Skeen 40:06
And you’re, you know, the panic sets him because like the other lawyer may be asking great questions you can’t really object to because all we can object to sport beer in it. You just know it hurts and that you that was having that happened was a good time for me to really step back and look at but it taught you what was what was said like yeah, you know what was said in early questioning and early interviews? What can I ask different right?
Michael Renfro 40:37
What can I add to my process
Brocton Skeen 40:39
under to understand earlier in the process what might be going on, because you may have something that looks one way from what the client says you can do a reasonable amount of investigation, it still looks that way. But when you dig just a little bit deeper, and you get further into the process, it might not be but it was like how do we cram that down? And have that happen sooner because you know, that’s not a good, it’s not a good way to keep your business growing. Because eventually, it by doing that it’ll prevent I think, that process of becoming jaded of oh, hey, every client is going to only tell me what they want, right? You got to know we’re going to have to get that amount of work in. And then they’re going to at some point, it’s going to become a train wreck. And it’s how do you how do you learn that in a rapid way? And then I guess right now as we start to grow is like how do you get that the other people we bring in like, hey, look, these things aren’t going to happen, especially if you’re bringing younger turkeys in there. They want to bring business in, you’re like, look, hey, these things, if you can ask these questions and get good answers, you’re probably got a good case, if you get weird answers and
Michael Renfro 42:04
growing out of his head, let me just say
Brocton Skeen 42:08
it you know, if everything the potential clients ever done was right, and everything and ever, anyone on the other sides done has screwed them over. It’s probably a good sign. There’s a lot more going on than what they’re letting on. decides to ask a couple more questions. Because yeah, it was like the other side of the story. Is it the exact same? I’m sure. Very rarely do you have someone to come in and like yeah, you know, I screwed this, this this up. The other side screw just as much if not more out, what can you do with it? It’s always the other side. They took everything from me, they did something terrible, I did nothing wrong. And I need you to get you can get jillion dollars from them. And you’re like, Okay, well, what actually happened. And again, you get the same story and you start going through the process and get other parties involved in. it morphs nonstop. And like, this is how did I end up here again?
Michael Renfro 43:08
That’s funny, because I find that to go into the you know, it’s something that I constantly try to tell my boys, right. And what I mean by that is, if you take the philosophy of, if I’m not the problem, there is no solution. And then even and you really have to, you know, do that when you’re talking to someone else about a problem you’re having and be like, Look, they did this, I did this, I am as much, you know, because I learned that a long time ago, it takes to to fight it really does. It is a simple concept. Because if one person is fighting, the other person’s just standing there, that’s not a fight, someone’s getting their butt kicked, period, right? To take it to, to take it to, you know, a different place. Beyond that, too is that, Oh, I lost my train of thought there. Oh, goodness. That happens, you get 50. And sometimes they these, the thoughts just go. I was going to try to come back around to to the fact that if you’re truly looking at yourself, then you understand you can only control yourself. But if you’ve had a problem with someone, and there was a dispute, yes, you still have you know, that was what it was. There’s three truths, right, there’s your truth. There’s the other side truth. And then there’s the truth in the middle. If you try to come to somebody and tell them the truth in the middle from the beginning, particularly someone in your position where you’re fighting for them, you’re gonna have a much better chance at representing them and fighting them if you know the defects and the shortcomings of the person you’re representing because we all have them. And I think anybody that tries to act like you know, any situation that has become the need for litigation, there is fault on both sides. Because if you have to get litigation that means you didn’t react well possibly If you’re the one, right that says they’re the victim, then you probably didn’t react to this accordingly to be able to get the right response. Because most the time, I feel like if you talk it out and communicate, you don’t need an attorney until you need an attorney. Right. Like, and that’s when there’s no more communication when, when you can’t make this happen. And it’s just hitting, you need an attorney.
Brocton Skeen 45:21
Absolutely. That back to the communication side. It’s funny when potential clients might tell you, they’re like, you know, I hate to bother you with this or like, I’m sure this sounds terrible. Outside of forming new businesses, or people that are really excited to do estate plans, most of the people that call our office are not calling, because everything’s going great, right? We already know it was like, it’s it’s a sad truth. But it’s a baseline of there’s a certain amount of awful that you’re bringing to this phone call and to this conversation. What that looks like and how I help you is determined by what you answer what’s going on, and how and what facts come out. And it was like, yeah, that is true. But it’s, it’s surprising. I think the number of people were like, Oh, I hate to get attorneys involved, or I’ve never needed an attorney before it was like, Well, no, you don’t until you actually do need one. Yep. And if you call, odds are you probably need one because something has happened that you address on your own? Absolutely. And they think that’s, for me, that’s usually step one, especially when people call it sound panicked is to let them know that. You know, you hear and understand that. And then it’s awful. But like, start telling me what the awful is so that we can address them together? Because if not, they don’t want to tell you because they’re like, oh, it might be embarrassing. Well, they’re gonna find out anyway. Yeah, we’re going to find out anyway. I don’t really care. Look, I’m not here to judge you.
Michael Renfro 47:08
Exactly. I’m here to I’m here to take home. I have to know the nitty gritty, though, I have to
Brocton Skeen 47:12
tell me, tell me what’s going on so that I can help you. Because if not, you’re going to give me bits and pieces, something really bad’s going to happen. And something’s probably going to end up more embarrassed than than what you are when you first showed up. But if if we can get that out of the way now, we can start moving forward and figure out what actual reasonable solutions look like. I imagine I think that oh, sorry. Go ahead. I say and then back to that reasonable solutions. I think that’s another thing outside of helping them get away from the stigma of that is, what is an actual resolution to many people, I think, by the time they get to the point they need an attorney, they’re so focused on winning. And it’s What does winning mean? What does winning mean to you, because resolving a matter, and spending less money on me, or my partner is more important, at least to me than just getting an outright win. Because yeah, you may get a win at a judgment or in some sort of contract negotiation may get all the terms you want. But then the other side, especially if it’s contract, and you’ve got to perform on it for the next year, two years, however long the term is, well, they don’t want to perform, they don’t want to do anything, because you they feel like you tried to get the best of them no matter what. There was no sort of compromise. So it was I’m really big on telling clients that it was like in great resolution is one where both sides walk away. Yes. Satisfied with maybe not having
Michael Renfro 48:48
lost something a true compromise both lose both when that way, you know, like you say the the post performance of a compromising resolution is drastically different than one where there was a judgment and somebody clearly lost their ass. And someone clearly won that case because like you said, particularly if they’re, you know, if it’s something that they have to work the next three years in order to to pay back or do back or whatever the case may be. Yeah, while you’re doing it. Let’s face it, they are clearly doing it but grudgingly they’re not in there with a smile like thanks, Jim for breaking suing me and
Brocton Skeen 49:27
Absolutely. And it was you know how much sometimes you have to lay down and it was like how much does the wind costs?
Michael Renfro 49:35
Right? What are the actual cost of the wind beyond my financials, financials, financials?
Brocton Skeen 49:40
How much? Yeah, it was like one how much is how much is in it based on what you’re going to pay to get that? So can we get a resolution before that? Because if if you if you’re owed 100 grand and it costs 200 To get it, you’re still out 100 grand, you’re in a
Michael Renfro 49:55
white while you’re in the exact rather just taking the original loss if that’s if I know that’s how it’s going. and up, I’m gonna walk away
Brocton Skeen 50:01
trying to get that there was like if you know if they offer anything, hey, here’s that sort of back to the business side, it was like what’s the cost benefit analysis? And what’s your risk analysis? You know, juries are wildly unpredictable
Michael Renfro 50:16
style, especially if you have you feel like the more you add than the more, you know, what’s the word I’m looking for? variables that you add period, you have each person thinking differently. And you never know what one of them might say that can infect that whole group. And then they all go against you. And
Brocton Skeen 50:35
you go in with something you think’s a slam dunk case, and you get the classic, here’s some nominal damages. Oh, great. We spent a client spent what to get $1. Right. You know that. So I think that has been a big focus of mine, because it goes back to that focus on serving and providing value. Because without all of that approach, by the way, with without it, you can just say, you know, it’s great to have clients that want to take things the distance, and sometimes you just have to because you’ve got to do what’s right. It is what it is. Yeah, but otherwise, there’s always somewhere in the middle. And the approach should always be how do I add value to the situation? Not? How do I add value to me? And I think we kind of discussed that earlier on certain books, though, what are we in it for? And it was if you can add value somewhere, it’ll keep adding value down the line for that potential client. So it? You know, it’s a I think it’s hard to? It’s hard to quantify that though, too, because it was like, what’s what, what does value look like?
Michael Renfro 51:53
It’s hard to quantify. It’s also hard to teach someone how to think
Brocton Skeen 51:58
in those terms, if you will. Yeah. And I’d say that’s probably something that was a shift much later than the whole, you don’t have to pick every client that comes in the door.
Michael Renfro 52:15
But you get rid of a lot of those problems when you don’t take every single client that walks through. Yeah.
Brocton Skeen 52:19
And then it was like, then how do I actually create value? Because otherwise, you know, you might grab some work that it was like quick money, and you feel like you’re just generating documents. And well, LegalZoom can do that now Rocket Lawyer, all of these places that I think a lot of attorneys feel like they have to compete with but the end of the day, what’s the actual when people call an attorney? Yeah, they could do it there. And then they contact an attorney, what are they doing that for? So it was like trying to get behind and under, understand the why of what they’re in it for? Because they may know enough to create an issue for themselves down the road. Or they may, you know, online documents may be everything they need. And that’s the perfect solution for a lot of people. But there are people that sometimes have more going on. stating that
Michael Renfro 53:14
if you have so much as one variable that is not part of the standard, then it’s really best to if nothing else, and get at least get some legal advice. And you know, take that and change, because there is a certain amount of editing you can do to these documents online. Right? They’re not completely just the way they are.
Brocton Skeen 53:31
But here’s your here’s your name, where do you want stuff to go? Right? Or, you know, what’s the address? Yeah, no, and that’s 100%. True, but it’s, for me a lot of again, I think a lot of time lately has been trying to spin out, spent figuring out, what’s the why for most people? And then how do you add value to that? And if you if you can’t, maybe shouldn’t take the work? Absolutely.
Michael Renfro 53:56
And back. I’ll end it with that. But it’s knowing that moment, that’s, you know, and I think I think you said it earlier, maybe it was kind of spoke to this more nails, but I believe that, quite frankly, our filters, and we Yeah, you didn’t say too, but our filters and our awareness of that just increasingly becomes better. And some people might say you’re judging a deal. No, I never judge a deal until I’ve asked so many questions that I’ve heard the answers that allow me to judge this, this in front of me and go, Yes, this is good for the company, or no, it’s not. But I don’t make a snap judgment. But at some point, you have to judge you do have to. So if they you know, for people that say you’re judging, I’m judging it for the best scenario for both sides. Because if they’re not good for me, then I’m not going to be good for them either. And they really need to find their solution somewhere else.
Brocton Skeen 54:51
Absolutely. That’s and it’s something that takes time and a significant amount of practice. I mean, It’s, you know, I’m not going to
Michael Renfro 55:02
be altering it adding to and sometimes take some things away, right? You might like, I don’t need to use this filter anymore.
Brocton Skeen 55:08
No, absolutely. It was like, you know, I know, I’m not the lawyer I was four years ago. And I’ll be a different lawyer next year, hopefully better, right. But, you know, if you’re not trying to make some of those changes, you know, you’re just becoming a robot. It was like, we’re, people hire people hire us, because we’re people, we’re supposed to understand. We’re supposed to listen and solve problems. And that’s pretty much it.
Michael Renfro 55:37
Well, you know, you said it earlier, and I’ll just come back to it. And then I’m gonna, I’m gonna get my introduction that I would normally do at the end just so they can take it. But we obviously and I only this and they’re just we went off rails, but the conversation was great. So I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to sit in interrupted with the questions that I had planned. I threw a couple in there. But you answered a lot of it anyway, just in talking to me. And really, the philosophies were, I think, more important for today’s podcast. But to come back to what the point I was going to make is one of the things that cop cars and to me, cops and lawyers are very much hand in hand, the same kind of person, right? One enforces the law. One knows the law. Right? That’s, that’s the difference to me. Really. Okay. One is an enforcer. And one is the book guy in the back that this says, Okay, what you’re doing is right or wrong period. Having said that, you know, cops, it used to be that it was on every cop car in America, right to serve and to protect. And many, many cop cars throughout the country, throughout cities, states and, you know, throughout the entire country have lost that it’s not on all the top cars the way it used to be. And to me, I think one of the philosophies that definitely has hit in the bar when you take it, right, you know, this, because you’ve taken the bar, it really is to serve these people, right? You’re, you’re their counsel, and you’re their representation that is, in essence, 100% serving them, they pay you to represent their needs, their wants, whatever the case may be. And so I love, I just want to give kudos to because I love the fact that you’re trying to bring back, what to me is ultimately the real role and why attorneys even came about. And that was, you know, Jerry Seinfeld makes a funny joke about it. But, you know, the attorneys are the guys that play the play the board games that actually took the time to read every freaking wheel before they play. That’s it. I want to read all this and know how to play this game. Because life is nothing more than a game. And it’s nothing more than a game when you’re in these boardrooms.
Brocton Skeen 57:39
And I think you I think something you said with the service side of like to serve and protect it was on all of the bar certificates from anywhere from, you know, the one hanging on my wall from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and it has attorney and counselor was like, how often? Do we ditch the counselor side and focus on the attorney side? It was it? No, it’s a dual mandate, you have to and counsel doesn’t just mean Hey, give advice on any situation? A lot of it is listening, digesting and understanding the situation. Yes. You know, that’s if you can, if you can keep both parts together all the time, you’re going to actually serve better I think,
Michael Renfro 58:21
Oh, you’re going to be a much better attorney. Because you one, your empathy and your Authenticity will come through to whoever you’re dealing with. Right? Because I’ve learned that that the biggest thing you should do when you ask a question is actually listen, I know it sounds like it’s common sense. But there’s so many attorneys, salespeople, you know, insurance, whatever you want to call that ask a question. And then they don’t listen entirely to all the answer. They hear something and many times they try to come back. I’m guilty of it myself all the time where, you know, I hear something and I move on it. But the more I learned to sit back digest and let them get off, let them regurgitate everything they want to tell you from that question. You’ll usually get two or three other great questions to ask from it. Number one, and the insight is invaluable when you’re dealing with with them in whatever situation with you’re trying to sell them represent them, whatever the case may be.
Brocton Skeen 59:14
It’s actually it’s it’s pretty ironic that you just said that because most of my consults now when I start after the general intro is tell me what you have going on. Right? And when you’re done. So it was it’s that chance to stop and listen, truly listen, try to understand because I can always go back and ask questions of something that I thought I heard before instead of stopping them but let them get everything out. So they’re heard. And I would let them understand that they’re heard and then start from there because you’re going to that’ll direct the questions I actually do best to understand because if if I try to automatically assume what I think’s going on, I’m going to lead their conversation Exactly. Then it’s going to be bad instead of, Hey, give everything that’s going on. Let’s see what’s happening.
Michael Renfro 1:00:06
That’s what I call controlling a conversation but allowing them to lead where it goes you the, the, you know, the attorney, in this case you control where the conversation goes, but they lead you down the informational road that you are trying to obtain. Yeah, right. And if you do that properly, they also feel very, I have found that if you do that properly, they feel very respected. Because they feel heard. I hear all the time when people deal with me, particularly that they’re like, you feel very authentic. I really believe like you listen, because one of the things I tried to do when I listened to is repeat some of what they said right back to them to let them know, I heard it. This is your problem. This is the pain you’re having. This is how we can fix it.
Brocton Skeen 1:00:48
Or is it? You know, did I hear this correctly? It’s right this like, what does that?
Michael Renfro 1:00:55
Expand on? Like, when you say this, John? What do you really mean? Can you tell me because I’ll give you a just a quick example. And I know you’ve heard this one probably in your in your dealings through life. But if you ever ask somebody why they’re doing something, almost the first answer in any freaking situation in this day and age is for the money, right? Why are they doing Oh, well, I need to do I need this for the money? Well, when anybody ever tells me that I’m like, okay, my first initial question is number one. That’s what everybody I literally say this to like, that’s what everybody tells me, let me ask you, what is your money for? By the way, the very first thing that they say is inevitably not steal the true pain. And what I mean by that is just a quick example, one of my favorites that I dealt with when I was training it, guys. And this is a real call. But I was like, so he’s like, I need $10,000 more, you know, a year and I was like, why is that? He’s like, Well, I want to put an addition on to the room. Why are you putting that addition on? Well, I have somebody that’s going to be who’s going to be living with you, bro, my mother in law, whom he does not want to see this woman and he needs $10,000 A year extra to make sure that she has a end law in law room where she has everything she needs. That’s the pain. It’s not the money. It’s that I don’t want to deal with that one. It’s not even the room. It goes.
Brocton Skeen 1:02:12
Yeah, it goes back to that, that why and it was like trying to figure that out sometimes takes a little bit of work to pull out. But once you get it, once you get it, it should direct everything you do after that. Because, you know, at the end of the day, the procedure for most things inside of the law are the same. They’re always the same. The actions are similar, because the law is the same. The facts always change, but it was what’s driving the facts that then filter back to the other two parts that dictate how works done, right. Yeah, and
Michael Renfro 1:02:50
I completely agree. Well, man, I gotta tell you, we could honestly sit here and probably go on for all these things like our philosophies are very, very similar. I know one thing, I just want to touch back on it too, because you said and I meant to say I very much Zig Ziglar kind of guy. I pride myself on maybe even one day being another type of Zig Ziglar motivational and teach people the real way to real way to sell. But there’s there’s two things that you said that really stand out to me that are very much Ziggs types of philosophies as well that I’ve taken no further in my own career. But that is if you’re doing it for everything but the money, the money will absolutely come it will. Because if you’re not doing it for the money, you’re doing it typically for righteous reasons. And the universe, God karma, whatever you want to call it is going to bring it back to if you’re not going to be that good guy, and truly be doing it for good reasons. And the world continue to crap on you. It just does not happen. It might for a while. Sometimes you have Carmody have to pay back, right? But yeah, and the other thing, but I’ll just I’ll end it with this. Because it all kind of boils back to this actions, I think speak louder than the words. And when you’re an attorney and you’re listening, or you’re a salesman, and you’re listening, those little actions, those little things really show them that you care. Yeah, they really, they really pointed out. That’s why I say they’ll give you everything that you need to know, if you just ask the questions. And listen, you will get every piece of information that you need. And then you can either truly help them or make that decision like we talked about that I am not the right fit for you. And you’re not the one to help your need that you need.
Brocton Skeen 1:04:34
You know, absolutely I agree.
Michael Renfro 1:04:37
So we went a little off track this, this this week, folks, but please know that I go with what feels great. And quite frankly, talking with Brock today had a lot of good things that I prefer to talk about than following the normal measures. So thank you all for being here.
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