Lawyer Marketing: Tree Down! Call The First Tree Surgeon You See

Tree Smashes Gerry’s Garage

On October 29, 2012 New York was hit by a massive storm called “Sandy.” A massive tree on our front lawn decided to topple over and crush our garage and damage our roof. It was devastating, but thankfully it was only property damage. Our neighborhood seemed to be at the epicenter of destruction as Sandy tore through our town.

After the storm I needed to get a tree cutter ASAP. No repair work could be done without the tree being removed. I called a tree ‘surgeon’ who had removed a limb on the offending gigantic tree only three weeks earlier. He came the next day and quoted me an outrageous price to cut up and remove the tree. There was little room to negotiate. He was in such high demand, he made no promises of when he could start. “Maybe in 5 or 6 days. Maybe.”

The following day, my gardener called me. He was at my house expressing shock at what he saw. He wanted to cut up the tree and remove it. He was willing to start right now and for less than the quote I got a day earlier. He had seven workers at my house right now, ready to remove my tree embedded in my crushed garage. I immediately said yes and let the first tree ‘surgeon’ know that his tree cutting services were not needed.


There are two key take-away points:

(1) The tree cutter who was willing to do the job immediately, won the job.

It didn’t matter that he was ‘better’ or ‘more experienced’ or ‘had more staff’ who helped him. It didn’t matter that he had better chain saws or wood chippers. It didn’t matter that their trucks were bigger or smaller. What mattered was his willingness to jump-start solving my problem immediately. You see, I had a pressing problem. I needed the tree removed from the house in order to get repair estimates and start to get repairs done. The tree surgeon who was quickest to solve my problem at the best price won my business.

(2) The tree cutters were commodities who were competing on price. All other things being equal, the only thing I cared about was getting the tree removed. I wanted it done at the cheapest price. There was no way either of these tree guys could distinguish themselves except by price and speed.

As an attorney who markets your services, you cannot and should never compete on price. Ever. If you do that, you simply become a commodity and will be unable to distinguish your legal services from the next tree cutter who also offers legal services; metaphorically speaking.

There is however a significant advantage to the speed at which you  jump-start solving a client’s legal problem. That can be a huge competitive advantage.

Make sure your marketing messages reflect your unique advantages and importantly, how those key advantages can help your consumer in dire need of your legal services.

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4 Responses to Lawyer Marketing: Tree Down! Call The First Tree Surgeon You See

  • Barry Doyle says:

    The key point to me is that the second guy was ready to get after the problem right away. You were willing to pay a higher price, but you really wanted the tree out of your garage and the second guy was ready to address the pain point in your life.

    When I sign up a new case, at the end of the initial meeting, I let them know what we will be doing immediately on their case – e.g., we’ll send the notice of representation to the insurance company so they stop calling you. Whatever those commitments are we try to honor them as scrupulously as possible and let the client know that has been done. When you do that, you bury the concept of buyer’s remorse and build trust with the client

  • Gerry- Exactly. I shared my thoughts on this topic about a year ago in this short video I recently pinned to Pinterest (if you’re interested)…

    Not sure you’ll agree with my take on things, but this approach seems to be working well for us. Have a fantastic weekend and here on the West Coast, we sincerely hope the worst is behind everyone hit by Sandy.

  • Great video Mitch. I do agree with you that it’s so important to build trust-based relationships. Otherwise, a client only sees you as a commodity looking for the lowest cost attorney to handle their problem.

  • Exactly Barry. That’s key. Helping the client understand exactly what you’ll be doing right now to address their legal problem and actually showing them what you’ll do right away is a powerful way to build trust with the client. That’s the exact concept Mitch Jackson talked about here as well.

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I decided to create a whole video library to help educate consumers in my market about auto accidents and other injury claims, and also to help supplement other advertising. I chose not to do this on my own because I do not have the time to sit down and put all this together and figure it all out. And I wanted sort of a turnkey solution. I definitely recommend Gerry. I mean, you know, I think it’s a great program and I have been here all day and I’ve shot, I don’t know, 40, 50 videos. And so it’s hard to get that accomplished especially for what you’re getting. You know, you have to go to a studio somewhere, it’s on site. And I would definitely – the ease of this – I would definitely recommend it to any colleague or friend.

Charles Pitman
Charles Pitman Injury Lawyers, LLC