Injury Services

An all go, no quit interview on Rankings.io podcast with Joe Zarzaur.

Joe Zarzaur, Zarzaur Law – Multi-Channel Marketing, Candid Conversations, and Healthy Employees

Chris Dreyer / July 09,2020 / The Rankings Podcast
Joe Zarzaur is the founder of Zarzaur Law, a personal injury firm based in Pensacola, Florida. Joe is a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer, a distinction that only 1% of Florida attorneys can claim. Throughout his career in the courtroom, Joe has won record jury verdicts for injury cases in both Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. In addition to his Board Certification, Joe has also been awarded an AV rating and a 10 out of 10 on AVVO.com.

What’s in This Episode:
– Who is Joe Zarzaur
– What motivated Joe to start Zarzaur Law
– How big wins impact the growth of your practice
– What Joe’s biggest career mistake taught him about candid conversations and when to have them
– How to market a personal injury firm to get both mass volume and quality cases
– Why you should prioritize your employees’ physical health

Listen to the full podcast HERE! >

This transcript was created using an automated transcription service and may contain errors.

Episode 24:
Prologue
Welcome to The Rankings Podcast where we feature top founders, entrepreneurs, and elite personal injury attorneys and share their inspiring stories. Now let’s get started with the show.

Chris Dreyer
Chris Dreyer here CEO and Founder of Rankings.io where we help elite personal injury attorneys dominate first page rankings. You’re listening to the rankings podcast where I feature top business owners, entrepreneurs and elite personal injury attorneys. Speaking of elite personal injury attorneys, I have Joe Zarzaur on the show today. Joe is the founder of Zarzaur Law, a personal injury firm based in Pensacola, Florida. He is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, a distinction that only 1% of Florida Attorneys can claim. His career in the courtroom has seen him win record jury verdicts for injury cases in both Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. In addition to his board certification. Joe is also AV rated a Super Lawyer, a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Joe, welcome to the show.

Joe Zarzaur
Hey, thanks for having me, Chris. Appreciate it.

Chris Dreyer
This is awesome. Yeah. Great. Great to have you. Let’s jump right in. So, you know, how did you get started? Where did the idea come from to create Zarzaur Law?

Joe Zarzaur
You know, I think everybody that works for a company thinks fantasizes or think about having their own business, right, at some point in time. And sometimes it’s a fleeting fantasy. Sometimes you’re better off not having your own company, right. But I think there are personalities that are better on their own kind of kind of thing. I just, I had that kind of personality where I was like, Okay, I was, I think I was a decent obedient employee as a lawyer. But at the same time, I’m opinionated. Right, and I think I have a i don’t know i Have a guess. Unlike a lot of lawyers, I like business stuff. So I think a lot of lawyers and doctors and other professionals, accountants, they like their craft. And then the business is sort of second. I like my craft. Okay, don’t get me wrong, I love it, right. But I like being a businessman, to an entrepreneur, an advertiser, a marketer. So I enjoy that aspect of this too. And I think what, what gave me the idea of thinking this is the right move for me was wanting to make all the decisions for the business and not be questioned about it, not have to go through layers of other people. I wanted to make this decision this way. And why don’t we mark it this way? I don’t have to ask somebody permission to do that. I wanted to just do it. So I think that’s really what made the decision for me.

Chris Dreyer
Yeah, and I think that’s great. So you want to drive, you wanted to be innovative and explore unique opportunities that you probably saw weren’t being applied to the firm you’re at previously, and you wanted a little bit more control. So what were those early days to the firm? Like, how are you? How are you hustling to get those clients in the early days?

Joe Zarzaur
A while they’re scary, right? You’re scared to death. You’re, you know, you look back at bills that used to make you like cringe. And you’re thinking, Oh, my gosh, I wish I had that kind of American Express business bill now, right? Like, I was, like, worried about $3,000 a month on my American Express business card. So But yeah, I remember being scared to death. I remember thinking to myself, how am I going to make it? I think it helped me when I went out on my own that I didn’t have a I wasn’t married at the time. I didn’t have a child at the time, and so it was less than Scary. I didn’t have a ton of student loan debt at the time I had retired most of that I didn’t have a lot of other debt. So I think that is that makes it a lot easier for people when they go out on their own to not have personal debt and personal concerns or as many as a lot of people have, right? So it makes the decision and basically makes the risk a lot less, you’re not just risking, you’re only risking you, right? You’re not risking people at home that are counting on you. Creditors that are counting on you to pay your bills. If you have a bunch of debt already, you know, it made it a lot easier for me to branch out and just go

Chris Dreyer
so it would be fair to say Dave Ramsey would be would be really it’s kind of the Dave Ramsey approach. He didn’t carry a lot of debt. You got to make moves and make your cash work for him.

Joe Zarzaur
I don’t know that I agree with everything Dave Ramsey says

Chris Dreyer
but I don’t think we all do

Joe Zarzaur
but The whole debt thing I think the less debt you have in general in the world, the more free you are to make decisions.

Chris Dreyer
Absolutely. I 100% agree. So, you know, taking it to the next level, you started acquiring cases you started building your brand. Is there a big turning point, maybe a case of settled or a marketing initiative that you did that really took it to the next level?

Joe Zarzaur
Absolutely. In this business, in the trial lawyer business, you really don’t know for sure you’re good at this until you get a big you can settle thousand cases right? And you can settle them for millions and millions of dollars. But until a jury after hearing you present your case, gives your client millions and millions and millions of dollars. I don’t know that you know that you’ve made it in this profession until that happens. And until that happens over and over. You may think it’s an anomaly, right? So that is what gave me confirmation until that time. Even though I loved what I did, and even though I felt like I did it better than average, I didn’t have that validation that a jury had awarded my clients, millions and millions of dollars. And until that happened, I didn’t feel like I had validation. So I would constantly be thinking, we know that I like doing this and I feel like I can make some money. And I feel like I’m really good. And I feel like I’m better than average. But maybe I should do something else like sports, marketing or sports agency or do this, do that. And until you really get that verdict that says, No, no, no, dude. You only you know, point 2% of lawyers in this business, get this kind of number verdict, you are doing what you’re supposed to do. Right. So that’s that gay validation? Word.

Chris Dreyer
Yeah, absolutely. validation and confidence. I’m sure there’s just a ton of confidence and momentum that build from that. And then you can, I guess, leverage that that giant case result for marketing, you know, marketing and referral potentials. So, like, do you know very few successful, successful business owners get to where they are without making some mistakes? Are there any mistakes that come to mind that you learn from daily?

Joe Zarzaur
Professional mistake maker actually. I just try to make less mistakes and then then don’t and then also try to fix them when I do right. mistake was. Oh, my god, there’s so many. Let’s just take maybe the biggest mistakes I’ve made is joining up with firms along the way without making sure I had an ironclad understanding On and writing about how we’re going to split fees. So if you want prosecutions with firms, and everybody’s buddies and whatever, everybody’s happy in this business, you know, it’s very, everything’s contingency related, right? So nobody gets paid until the case is over. Everybody’s working towards the same goal. Nobody realizes there’s money until there’s money. And what happens is, we all are working towards that recovery. And then when it happens, everybody’s like, well, everybody’s got an inflated impression of what they did to get the money, right, including me. So when the money’s there is not the time to try to figure out how much you should get and how much you should get whether this is a fair deal or not. Right. So if I learned anything from the biggest mistake I made, the ones that has cost me the most is that when I have co counsel in cases that I feel like or not not pulling their weight, so to speak. And I feel like I’m giving more to the mix than they are, then I need to immediately address that before the recovery happens so that when and if the recovery does happen, there’s not this big fight over.

Chris Dreyer
So candid conversations right when you see him

Joe Zarzaur
hard conversations to have, but they’re a lot harder to have when the money sitting in a trust account, and we’re all fighting Oh, you know what I mean?

Chris Dreyer
That makes sense. And that’s something I haven’t heard before but I totally understand and that’s something just now that you’ve experienced that pain now you can you know, you’ve learned from that situation I’m sure that you’re you’re establishing those boundaries, those situations now in the future.

Joe Zarzaur
I’m a little militant about it now, like, I’ll overdo it too much like, first phone call with somebody to refer in a case i’m very diligent about making sure everything’s clear in an email as soon as we get off the phone, here’s what we decided, right, here are the percentages. Here’s what we decided, put it in writing, done, right. And then if something changes, immediately address it, as uncomfortable as it may be. I may say, Listen, you know, I’m starting to take a lot more depositions than I thought, I think we should revisit these numbers.

Chris Dreyer
That makes sense. And I would say that probably even that experience kind of relates to those hiring situations where instead of pushing stuff off, you’re probably addressing those situations more early. It’s kind of a similar type of thing

Joe Zarzaur
about staffing is by far I think the number one challenge of any business owner is getting good staff, keeping them and weeding out the ones that are aren’t going to ever make it. A lot of businesses I think hire people and they’re mediocre. But mediocrity is it doesn’t ever push anybody to make any big decisions, you know, one way or the other. They don’t pissed you off enough to get fired. They don’t impress you enough to give them big bonuses, so they just sort of wallow around and mediocrity for years. Meanwhile, there’s a candidate out there, that could be taking that position to a whole nother level, right? And you’re not doing that. And I know that grass is greener on the other side kind of thing. But I’m a firm believer in that in the professional setting. Maybe it doesn’t work and in personal relationships, always looking for maybe a bigger, brighter, shiny or object. But I do feel like there if you if you don’t want your staff to be mediocre. You don’t want your brand to be mediocre. Everybody in your facility needs to be doing their best to be better than every day. And if they’re not,

Chris Dreyer
I totally agree and the longer someone’s with your company, the harder it is to have those conversations so just address in early two makes it even easier from a personal feeling. type of situation. So let’s talk about the good. What’s a proud moment that really stands out for you?

Joe Zarzaur
Ah, well, of course, opening your own office is a big deal, right? Getting those verdicts or big or big deal. I think being recognized as a Board Certified civil trial specialist by the Florida Bar is a big deal because you don’t get that it didn’t come along easy. There’s like 90,000 lawyers in Florida, and 1% of those have the certification. And I think that was a big deal. being recognized in the community as someone that cares about the community with awards, that, that, that applaud their the the amount of work we do in the community, helping people is important to us, also. You know, I think I’ve gotten a lot of employees that have worked out, and that ended up going elsewhere. bigger and brighter things have written some really have kept him over the years really nice notes that said to me, You helped me grow into a better worker, human, blah, blah, blah, I think those things that matter. And then, of course, clients that are thankful about their cases. And that’s a weekly thing, when they, it makes me like, a calf to catch my breath every time that happens, because when I read these things, I forget and like, God, you know, I am having an impact on people’s lives, right in a positive way. And of course, I’m not out here saving lives, you know, with my hands, but at the same time, I’m making lives a little bit better that have been pretty much destroyed, right or messed up pretty bad. So those things mean a lot.

Chris Dreyer
Yeah, that’s incredible. And just you get to feel they’re having Happiness and just make an impact like what you said on their lives. These people you know, they have these serious injuries and you can you can help their family they’re even they’re the next generation in some situations. Joe neck. Next let’s talk about what it takes to build a successful law firm. What marketing initiatives should growth minded attorneys invest in?

Joe Zarzaur
Personal Injury Lawyers is what I can really speak to. And I can tell you this, that I don’t think that you can just invest in one medium, you have to be sort of like a shotgun approach. You’ve gotta if you’re going to be on TV, you almost have to be in billboards. If you’re going to be in billboards, you got to be in Google AdWords or some other internet search thing, right? I think everybody wants to use their phone to contact everybody, including lawyers. And if you’re not accessible on your phone, your phone, right. They may know who you are, they may know your name. They may remember your name, but when they go through a traumatic Event they’re going to forget for a second, right? And what they need to do is to be reminded who you are again. And the best way to do that, fortunately, or unfortunately, is SEO and Google AdWords, because they’re going to search Google, they’re going to do some kind of search. And ideally, you want them to see your ad on Google and say, Oh, that’s the TV ad I saw yesterday, or that’s the billboard I saw yesterday, the more you can put the seed in their head. So when they go to look after an event, because it’s almost like they have amnesia when the event happens, and then they personal injury lawyer, and I Oh, wait, that. Why don’t I think of that guy. That’s the guy that I see all the time in the billboard that’s the guy see on television. They use Google as a way of looking it up. Right. And I hate to say it, but Google controls a lot of that business and unless your website is like top notch Which is a daily deal, like daily you have to update the content make sure you’re the algorithm is, is the same hadn’t changed, whatever, tweak it here and there, you can’t guarantee SEO is going to be at the top every time so you got to do something else to make sure you’re at the top. That’s why Google AdWords i think is you know, they’ve got a they’ve got a sort of a monopoly going in a way

Chris Dreyer
Yeah, I 100% agree. You know, so you’ve got your top of the funnel whether you call that in the note, you know, no is no like trust or awareness, engagement in consideration wherever you talk about your TV billboards, that awareness, but then that’s that’s the brand equity place. So then, when someone does type it in Google, you got to be able to show up for them to be able to convert.

Joe Zarzaur
Now, I do think this, I do think that there is a way to get a mass volume of cases which I just described, and there’s also a way to get quality cases with people that are going to take time to hire a lawyer, they’re not going to just put a Google search in and and say our guy’s name, they’re going to want to say, well, let’s compare his credentials to her credentials. And let’s see who’s actually better suited for our case. I want to have, frankly, I’d rather have three quality cases than 30. My neck hurt cases, right? So not only are those going to provide the internal satisfaction for the firm and for the client and for me for actually helping somebody that you’re in really bad situation and helping the community by making a wrong Right, right. But it’s more valuable. Right three is is what would take 40 neck my neck hurt cases right. So And I’m not making fun of our little of people’s neck because neck injuries are bad things. But what I am saying is non herniated disc cases did cases where you can’t show something in an objective film. But the person has soft tissue injuries for certain injuries, but perhaps those cases are just not as valuable as a neck surgery case. Right? Right. You got to be doing both you got to be you got to be appealing to the to the folks who may not research you very much, because there are good cases there too. But you also have to be making sure that people that are going to be smart about the process, that you’re providing them the content they need to make intelligent decisions, and so that you appear and sound as different as your

Chris Dreyer
I 100%. Agree I, you know, the multi channel approach is, first of all, how you’re getting your name out there, but It also complements each other TV in, and billboards compliment the SEO because then you capture those clicks. And then the other thing, you know, the higher your brand perception and expertise raises, the more likely you are to get those great cases through a referral to just in another different avenue, not only from directly from the consumer, so I 100% agree and i i think the multi channel approach is what you have to do nowadays to capture attention,

Joe Zarzaur
right? I can’t agree more.

Chris Dreyer
So next let’s shift to let’s shift to kind of like a personal development. What’s one book that comes to mind that you’d recommend?

Joe Zarzaur
That’s a tough question. I try to read a lot of current events. Non like nonfiction. for business purposes, Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike. I thought That was a great book. I read it about a year ago, but it sticks out from a business standpoint as one that I enjoyed a lot. Richard Haass just wrote a book called The World. It’s brand new, just started it a couple nights ago, but it seems like it’s a really, he basically calls an introduction to the world. And it’s almost like everybody is coming through school should be required to read it, because it basically introduces you to every part of the world and what their interests are, right? And how they’re different than ours, and how we can use that knowledge of everybody’s differences to get along better, and to understand why people do things, right. So I think that would be those two books or stick out for purposes of this conversation?

Chris Dreyer
Yeah, I’m gonna have to read The World you said and then Shoe Dog. I did read Shoe Dog and it was kind of nice because it exposed the good and the bad kind of Nike’s journey. So it was nice to see them like at a human level. What about mentors or influences? Or is there a specific mentor that comes to mind that helped you develop your expertise?

Joe Zarzaur
I don’t know that I have any one particular person, but there are lawyers in Florida that are older than me, that are sort of, you know, through my trade groups, the Florida Justice Association, we get together two or three times a year and you just sort of, you put your arm somebody you’re like, that dude’s got it, got to figure it out, right? Or that lady’s got to figure it out. And so I’ve quietly watched people that, you know, I don’t really care to name and I don’t know that they would care, to name them, but, and I’ve admired them from afar and thought to myself, maybe I can build my practice to be with theirs. That’s right. And this is the level of respect they command from their peers is so impressive, that you know, it means more than any verdict actually, you know, the idea that your peers Think that much of you is really success, right? If you in any particular industry, if your peers respect your abilities to do that job, you’ve really succeeded, right? Regardless of how much money you have, or how many boats and cars and planes you have, if you’ve gotten their respect, you’ve done something because there’s a ton of people that make money in this business that have no respect. I mean, I was really, there’s a lot of people that advertise and they get a lot of volume cases who I wouldn’t hire to handle a speeding ticket, literally a speeding ticket, right? Like they have no clue what they’re doing, right. But they’re great marketers and they’re great business. But that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to this trade. Going to trial or so.

Chris Dreyer
Yeah, and when you when you when you congregate with those people that are successful, it’s kind of you you kind of immerse yourself you get ideas that maybe you know It leads to innovation and I’ve seen that myself and our digital agency masterminds work with a dozen different digital marketing company and I’m like, well, that’s that’s a great idea the to implement that. Joe, what one final question. Is there anything you wanted to talk about? We haven’t discussed.

Joe Zarzaur
I think it’s important for people to be physically healthy. Yep. One of the big things here at the firm is we do the firm does a required yoga session every week. I pay for their Y memberships. I encourage people and was just like right across the street from us a brand new sparkling, beautiful YMCA. And I encourage people to take an extra pay for them to take an extra long lunch if they’re working out. So I don’t the women want to take a shower afterwards they get an I give him an hour and a half instead of an hour. You know, ah, personally have to work out every day or I don’t feel like I’m ready to work. And I feel like the healthier people are physically, the more productive they’re going to be, the happier they’re going to be, the more mentally healthy they’re going to be. It’s just the better they can be with their family, the better they’re going to be with themselves. I mean, it’s just, it’s a priority. And I feel like businesses that don’t put that as a priority for their staff are making huge miscalculations because you work them to death, right? And then you reward them with like, beer, wine and food, and you’re not paying attention to promoting their health and well being. They’re just gonna crash and burn like you are at some point, right? Now, of course, I’m not saying I’m going to live forever, but, you know, I want to be living until I drop, right. And so, it may be a sudden drop, but it ain’t gonna be Any one of those long, extended sickness kind of drops, you get my drift.

Chris Dreyer
I think that’s a great piece of advice. And I know that my wife if she’s listening, this episode is going to push me more on it. Yeah, so I 100% agree and I applaud you for that. I think that’s tremendous. That’s a way better benefit than uh, you know, munities other types of benefits you can be provided as a business owner Besides this, the standard health, health insurance and all those types of things. Guys, we’ve been talking to Joe, elite personal attorney at Zarzaur Law. Joe, where can we learn more about you?

Joe Zarzaur
As ZarzaurLaw.com if you want to read my website or read about me, JoeZarzaur.com. And one of the first big verdicts I got. I saw a lawyer out at a retail store and he said, Man, you beat that lawyer and that lawyer worked for Johnson and Johnson. And that lawyer hates your guts. I was like, What are you talking about? And that lawyer had been litigating against him for 10 years and then went to trial. And the most he had offered was like $200,000. And the verdict was like 9.3 million or something. And in the course, the guy was pissed off. He had all these Ivy League, you know, crew in the courtroom, and he was talking down to everybody, including the jury, the whole trial, you know, using words, nobody understood how to look up. And at the end of the case, he was telling people that he hated me. Like, he hates me for the verdict, right. And so I took that statement, and I made it into an advertising campaign. IhateJoeZarzaur.com. And so I put that all around town and do like what the heck What is that? IhateJoeZarzaur.com. And you go to the website and he explains that whole story about why this lawyer hates me because I beat he’s, you know, he and his client to oblivion in bed. And, and so in any event, IhateJoeZarzaur.com is also a way to get my story.

Chris Dreyer
That’s great. We’ll share that our audience and I’m gonna have to check that out right after this. Hey, Joe. It’s been awesome having you on the show. Thanks so much.

Joe Zarzaur
I enjoyed Chris. Y’all Take care. Thanks for having me. Thank you.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, it is important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

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