The Day We Got Our First Customer at LawTrades.

Since LawTrades is a marketplace, one of the first things we had to do to make LawTrades work was find lawyers to build the supply on the platform. Only once we had lawyers could we ask clients to use the service.

So it’s a Tuesday in January, and it’s freezing. Our prototype was up and we needed to find some lawyers that would be willing to use it as a mechanism for growing their law practice. Luckily, we had a signup list of lawyers that were interested in using it so @r44d and I wanted to meet these initial users face to face to teach them how to use it and to charge them.

We met our first potential customer in Brooklyn. After nearly showing up an hour late because of parking we finally walked her through the platform and how to use it and after much convincing, she finally decided to give us a try. The bad part was that we had to give her an insane discount and by the time we got back to our car, we noticed there were three parking tickets on our car. So our first customer ended up costing us way more then what we actually charged her.

No sweat, we had one more meeting with a lawyer across NYC and we drove from Brooklyn to meet a prominent employment attorney in Queens because he was interested in learning more. We get there at 2pm and the plan was to meet him at a coffee shop. He calls us and tries to bail and reschedule, it was a terrible feeling. Somehow we convinced him that we can wait for him until he gets out of work. So 8pm rolls around and he finally calls us back and says he’s ready to meet. We literally waited 6 hours to meet him and instead of coming to the coffee shop, he asked us to meet him at a bar. We thought we were doomed, how could we close a sale at a bar? There was no way we could walk him through the platform at a bar, we thought. As we’re walking we there, we think of bailing because it didn’t seem very promising, and honestly, we were just frustrated. This is not what we had in mind.

We meet him at the bar and after showing him screenshots of LawTrades, he seemed very interested but he gave us one of the “Leave me your business card and I’ll sign up eventually.” This is not what we wanted to hear but nonetheless, maybe he would sign up eventually. After Raad and I were hinting that we had to leave and get back home, he asked us to stick around for one more beer. He enjoyed talking to us so he asked us to stay, Raad and I decided to stick around. We felt bad, we didn’t want to leave him alone.

After having stuck around, we connected with him even more and he decided to just sign up right on the spot! Thank God we brought our Square reader with us. He became our first fully paid customer and we felt like rockstars. It was probably the best damn beer we ever tasted after getting that sale. As we were driving home we realized there was no turning back and since then we’ve been fortunate to expand our lawyer base into different states.

The takeaways? I guess the first one is to always spend the extra 20 minutes with the potential customer, it’s totally worth it. The second is to grind, even if it means you have to wait six hours for a customer. When Cyrus Massaoumi started ZocDoc, he would do the same thing and wait for doctors to get finished with work, even if it meant that he had to wait hours! The third lesson is to never turn down the second beer.

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If you need some legal help for your startup or small business, feel free to check us out at LawTrades.