It can be difficult and time-consuming to build relationships with your clients, but relationship-building should be the very heart of your business. Today’s guest is Andrew Goldberg, Founder of the Law Office Of Andrew J. Goldberg. Andrew confides with Jordan Levin how he enjoys talking with his clients and helping them out with their problems. If you need strategies on how you can improve your relationship with your clients, then you’re in the right place. Join in the conversation as Andrew spills much-needed wisdom!
Listen to the podcast here:
Andrew Goldberg – Founder At Law Office Of Andrew J. Goldberg
I’m here with Andrew Goldberg. He is the Managing Founder of the Law Office of Andrew J. Goldberg. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know you throughout the years. I can tell you truly have a passion for what you do. Can you share with the readers a little insight into the kind of law that you practice?
What I try and do is provide competence and clarity to my clients by clarifying the legal issues, confidence that we can solve them, and giving them a clear path to resolution. I do it in the context of business transactions, day-to-day business issues, and all things business for small, medium-sized companies. I’m never going into court on that one.
You talk about helping small businesses. Can you give us an example of maybe a client that you’ve worked with that, where they started from, and where do you able to help them get to?
There’s a client that I’ve helped from day one when they started and they opened the doors. I’m going to go back several years ago. They were a QuickBooks solutions provider. This was in the days when QuickBooks was in its infancy and was small. People thought of it as second-rate accounting software. Now, even big companies can use QuickBooks, but they gradually grew. They found this market where a lot of CPAs didn’t want to get involved in dealing with QuickBooks and they took over that market. As they grew fast forward, they merged with another company out in Portland, Oregon, and now they’re one of the largest QuickBooks Solutions Providers in the country.
It’s all things QuickBooks, so if you have inventory or you’re doing eCommerce, all those things that integrate with QuickBooks. They can provide invoicing and human resources. They have the ability to give you software solutions, technical support and hardware in some cases, but end-to-end QuickBooks. That’s an example. Another example is a human resource and consulting workforce development. That’s what they do. They have government contracts along the Eastern seaboard and Mid-Atlantic states. I started working with them when they were $5 million in revenue, and now they’re $75 million in revenue. I have amazing clients. What’s amazing is that they’ve invested in me. They’ve invested in a relationship and I’ve invested a lot of time and effort in that relationship. A lot of attorneys say they hate their job. I’m fortunate to say I don’t. I like coming to work, helping my clients and talking to them. It’s enjoyable for me.
You mentioned something that’s important for people to understand, that is developing relationships with the client. We both know it’s not an easy thing easy to do. You have developed these rituals that allowed you to build the relationship. A lot of times, people think it’s not always about the money. It’s about developing a relationship. Would you have any tips and tricks for some other attorneys to help develop relationships?
First off, it’s not easy and it’s time-consuming. It’s false to think that it’s easy and that I have some magic pill that can solve the problems. It takes a lot of effort but if you break it down into one small thought process, a lot of it is a thought process about, do you want to help the other person? Just be helpful and take that attitude. You’re going to find ways. I’ll give you an example. There was an article about some new laws that are coming on cyber risk and how companies’ liability might be limited. I happened to see this article and I sent it to 4 or 5 clients who are in that space.
Enjoy keeping your brain active, learning new ideas, and having new tools to talk to people with.
They’re either IT consultants or they’re responsible for IT within their company. You could send them a link to the article and say, “I thought you’d be interested in this.” That’s all it takes. Clients want to know you’re thinking about them. It is the heart and soul of how you build the relationship. Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Even though people might say, “It takes away from the billable hour. I can’t charge for it.” It’s the cheapest form of marketing because otherwise you might go out for a cup of coffee and that’s an hour or lunch is a 1.5 hour. This is sending an article which is useful to be acted upon immediately. It took you all five minutes with an email. That is a way better ROI. Even a coffee, a lot of times.
With the pandemic, now you see virtual coffee. Speaking of the pandemic, how do you change a business model a little bit now? Do you record it now?
I’m a big in-person. I like being face-to-face and in-person so 6 feet apart for me is hard. I like sitting across the table, talking to people and learning about them. Now you have to do it through a video. That’s been hard. I’ll give you the best example. I never wanted a virtual paralegal. I wanted her in my office. I want to be able to hand her papers. Lo and behold, I had a great paralegal. I still have a great paralegal but she decided to move. She moved from five minutes from the office to closer to Lansing. She now lives in Lansing but we haven’t missed a beat in terms of that. The idea of remote work, I got over that fear because I had to because I didn’t want to lose my paralegal. For all the ambivalence that I had about it, it’s worked out great. That’s one.
Another is that people recognize that they’re not going to be able to see you. Everybody’s in the same position. Their businesses have had to adjust so they recognize that your business is going to have to adjust as well. There’s been a lot of camaraderie around that. With Zoom calls, seeing your face is good for me instead of a phone. The bad part about Zoom is that what would normally be a five-minute call always ends up being a 30-minute Zoom call. People want to get the niceties, “What are your kids up to? How’s homeschooling?” The Zoom calls are taking a little bit longer. I honestly don’t have Zoom fatigue because I like to see people. I hate the phone more.
I’m from the same boat. Since the pandemic, I’ve been doing my show on Zoom. I’ve been on Zoom meeting for several months. I do not mind. It’s easy for me to have a conversation in a video. Unlike before, I hated phone calls. Now I enjoy a five-minute conversation. A 15 to 30-minute conversation, that’s okay. That’s the cost of doing business and people have to understand that time has changed. We’re going to see this continuing for quite some time.
You analogize it. If you had to go meet that individual in person, you would have spent 15 minutes driving, 15 minutes bullshitting and another 15 minutes when you come back. You’re still saving time anyway. I don’t get too worried about it in that regard. Those are the two things about the pandemic. Plus, I keep telling my wife that, “Maybe we could spend some time South in the winter.” I haven’t seen clients in my office in several months. They just click on a video camera and away you go.
It’s the unfortunate circumstances that we have to deal with. That’s about the best way to deal with that. I’ve been following you on LinkedIn. You’ve been pretty active on LinkedIn. I have been trying to be more active and that seems to be the new way of communicating and developing business. How did you approach being in LinkedIn and how do you think that helps you?
I call it the long game. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’m ever going to get any business from it. It allows me to stay top of mind and see people so they see my name. It’s a different avenue. I’ve done a lot of reading and ideas. A couple of ideas that I’ve seen is blogging used to be the big thing, but to do a 500 or 1,000-word blog takes a lot of time. You have to think of the topic. You have to edit it. It’s proofread and all this other stuff. Now you can use LinkedIn. It’s like a microblog. You can write something down. People are a lot more forgiving about the content because they know it’s not supposed to be some great educational piece or technical article like a blog.
People have the ability to write things that are a little bit closer to home that they would never put in a blog because a blog is a business. You would never write personal stuff in a blog that you would post on your company page. I spent a lot of time. For every post that I make, I probably comment on 8 to 10 other posts. I have more communication in the comment section than I do with my posts. This is what I’ve learned. I’m passing along ideas I’ve had. I’ll never say, “Come talk to me about this issue.” If somebody raises an issue that I might know something about, I’ll add it in the comment and say, “Have you thought about this? Here’s another way to view it.” It added a little bit different perspective. It’s important. Adding your own personality and perspective is important. It gives you a great way to show off who you are.
As a lawyer, sometimes we come off as staid and buttoned-down and uptight. In LinkedIn, you could be a little bit more humorous and show a little bit more personality. That’s important. It’s easy to do videos. Take out your iPhone and test with video. There are people who post every day and have tremendous followings. I’m never going to be that person. I just recognize them. The funny thing is the people that post every day will sit down on a Saturday and write out their posts for a week. All they have to do is hit send. That’s fine too but I don’t know if I’m ever going to be that way. I’ve used LinkedIn in other ways. I’ve done some webinars and promoted them through LinkedIn through the event platform and send out specific messages. I encourage anybody who’s doing a webinar or having an event to use that tool. I’ve had great success with that event platform, but the key is to send messages to people in your contacts on LinkedIn. It’s where we’ve had great feedback.
Playing the long game. That’s what this is. I read a book, it’s called Social Media Pie by Brenda Meller. I finished the book. It’s a great step-by-step process to teach you how to understand how to build that LinkedIn profile that it becomes efficient. When I looked at yours, I thought you did a pretty good job of laying it all out. That’s the thing. Letting people know what to do, why they’re good at it, and putting those comments. If you continue to have a little bit of time, we’ll be able to get both of us included and get some business article eventually.
It’s like planting seeds. Some seeds will bloom and some don’t take. That’s part of the process.
We’ll talk about all these different types of knowledge and all this stuff. Of all the years of law, one can choose to practice to focus on understanding people, how they are and how they operate, real estate planning or advancing a business. How can you help them move forward with confidence? What is it about combining business and law that intrigued you the most?
I had an Undergrad Degree in Accounting. I said, “I’ll go to law school and I can become a tax guy.” It was a certain natural synergy. As individuals, we evolve over time. I don’t know when you started your gym, but several years ago, you started in your garage. Who knew it was going to end up being this big box? You may not have even been into it at that time. You discovered this as you went along in your life. Like people who discovered CrossFit, they may have gone to another gym over the course of their life. They found different things that intrigued them. All of a sudden, they got passionate about CrossFit and coming to your gym.
You can disagree with others. Then you can talk about it and expand your perspective.
For me, it’s evolutionary and we all learn over time. Truly, experience does give us a lot of knowledge. If I knew at 25 what I know now, I would have had a different path. What I liked about the business world is when I’m dealing with it, many times it’s not confrontational. If I’m working with a client, a lot of times, there’s not an opposing side. If there is, it’s not necessarily confrontational as it would be in litigation. We’re trying to lift everybody up and trying to help. My brother’s a litigator and he complains about it all the time. I’m glad I’m not in his shoes.
It’s the idea of helping somebody grow and achieve their dreams because a lot of people that I’m working with are working hard every day. They have specific goals and dreams. If I can add a little bit of help to them and they show gratitude, and I show gratitude to them for allowing me to contribute, that’s so worthwhile. That’s enough for me. In talking to those business owners, I’m learning how they think. Even though I’m a lawyer and we’re taught to think creatively or analytically, when you talk to a business owner, I learned something new every day. Conversations like, “I can see why my advice might not work in that case.” That’s important. I enjoy keeping the brain active, learning new ideas and having new tools to talk to people with.
I love the fact that you’ve mentioned gratitude because that is a habit that you’ve created for yourself that allowed you to live everyday life and appreciate things that you have right in front of you. Gratitude allows for that to happen because you do it every day. It’s second nature to you. You don’t have to think about it.
I haven’t always been like this but when I was 40, I realize that there are two things. One is nobody’s responsible for your happiness except you. Nobody can dictate to you whether you’re going to be happy or not. I said, “I’m in control of my own happiness.” I had been doing a lot of reading, even going back to those times about happiness. I truly learned and believe that if you express appreciation, it makes me happier. Think about it. Every time you thank somebody, you’re usually smiling or it makes the other person smile. For me, it can be great satisfaction.
Even when a client comes in, I thank them for giving me their time so we can talk. I didn’t give them my time. I’m honored to have you give me your time. I get as much pleasure even about saying that or writing it in a note or telling somebody that. Over time, there is a lot to the idea of expressing gratitude. You as an individual can become a happier person but I didn’t realize it until it’s 40. For me, it is a lot of second nature. Hold the door open for somebody. If you see somebody putting groceries in the back of their car, help them. It takes five minutes. I assure you, nobody has ever done it for that person. You look like a hero to that person if you take that five minutes because it’s so rare still now.
It’s not that easy to do. I’ve noticed myself when I started appreciating this, not because I’m older, but I feel like the older I get the more I realize some of the things that I did or shared or whatever was back in the day. I’m like, “You learn so much from your own mistakes.” You hear other people talk about their mistakes and then you think about it and realized what was going on. That what this whole conversation gets to understand that. That’s why I love having these shows because I’m talking to all these individual people. It’s crazy the gratitude, different habits and different things that people were doing. It’s quite enjoyable.
You’re talking to people and you learn. You can’t be learning if you’re talking because when you’re talking, you’re only saying what you already know. You have to listen to learn. The only way you’re learning is either by surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you or reading books or blogs that can shed light on different ideas. That’s how you try and stay on top of it. Some of these come later in our lives. I don’t know if I could expect my kids who are younger to have the same perspective because we realize at our age that it’s not always about us. It’s about what you can do for somebody else. That’s more pleasurable. You get more gratitude and joy by helping somebody else succeed. Even your mantra and what you talk about. Even at the gym, your greatest pleasure is helping somebody else accomplish their goals. When they accomplish it, it’s almost ten times more for you. You got more pleasure than the person who did it.
I didn’t think it in that but you’re one of the few people to share it that way. I appreciate you sharing that because that is 100% true. People always say to me, “Do you guys have kids?” I say, “No.” I always say the gym is my kids. I myself out there for everybody else in that sense.
I keep saying to my wife who is a huge fan of you that you put so much effort and time into it. Everybody knows you’re always smiling. Nobody’s ever seen you with a frown, more upset, annoying sometimes. Nobody can be around you and not be happy. It’s either aura or what you give off. That’s an amazing characteristic to have. I don’t know if I’m that good but I hope when people come in contact with me, they leave a little bit happier or they had a nice experience. That’s what hopefully happens in that process.
I’m going to ask you to talk about being so inquisitive and that stuff. Who inspired you to be inquisitive and digging deeper? Who or what inspired you to be that way?
Where I went to high school, the one thing that instilled in me is this love of learning. I’ve always been a huge learner. I’m the guy at the museum that’s reading the little metal bars about the artist and when it was painted and what his bio was. I’m the annoying family member who’s spending two hours in a museum when everybody else is out in 45 minutes. That’s me. I have always been that way. I hate to use the word “growth mindset” because that phrase has been beaten up so much over the last several years. Part of it is if you learn a lot, you can have amazing conversations with other people.
It’s tools to have great conversations and then you say, “I read something in a book. I saw this in a movie. I heard it on a podcast,” and then somebody else can say, “Maybe I disagree with you.” “Let’s talk about it. Expand my perspective. Expand what I know or what I think. I can’t say that I’m right or wrong, but here’s an idea to think about.” If you don’t have that in your skillset, all you’re going to have a conversation about is, “What’s the weather. What did you do during COVID? Did you get COVID? How were your kids at virtual school?” You end up having a very narrow scope of things you can talk about. Honestly, I use it as a tool to have conversations with my clients because I want to be a resource for them.
It’s easy to say I’m a lawyer but we live in Metro Detroit. You could drive up and down the main roads and you could find a ton of people like me. I’m not a Supreme Court justice in the business law field. It’s not something unique, but if you can have conversations about different things outside of the law, if you can bring business ideas or some HR ideas or, “I read about this new sales concept that maybe you can implement.” If you can bring different ideas to your clients, that’s what makes you valuable and a little bit more distinguishable from the other attorneys or other people that they turn to as trusted business advisors. I do it for that reason as well.
I love that analogy because I’ve said through the years that if I can help one person a day, I’m happy.
I read something like that. If you help one person a day, that means you help 365 people in a year. You do that 10 times, it’s 3,650. There will be a lot of people at your funeral if you help that many people. I read something like the seven emails you should send each week. One is to a mentor, a former client, a current client, a referral source, all these things. I go in waves but I try and write thank you notes. It’s still a lost art.
You still do?
I used to do that when I first started the gym back in ’09. The first year or so, I would always write handwritten thank you notes. I learned that from my father. He always said, “Whenever someone does something for you or whatever it is, write a quick note.” It hit me. A quick example, when I bought my first car back in the day, I worked at two different dealerships and I got a thank you note for the one dealership. She’s the person at the dealership. I bought the car from her because she took the extra five minutes to write them out and putting a stamp on. That reinforced my process of the thank you notes. I tried to do thank you notes even now.
I still send it to my current clients, “I appreciate you allowing me to serve you.” I try and make my kids do it. They yell at me but they understand. Everybody sends everything through email. Hopefully, the US Postal Service gets your thank-you note there in a timely manner. In our day and age, it’s still so unique to get a thank you note in the mail. It stands out even more and it makes you even more memorable.
It’s too easy to send an email. It’s the extra stuff that makes a big difference.
When people write, it takes longer and they put more effort and time into what they want to say. People realize and recognize all of those and they appreciate the effort that’s taken by the person who sent the note. No question. I’m a 100% believer in it.
Let’s talk about this. What motivates you every day? Two questions. What motivates you and how do you recalibrate? Do you have anything specific that you do during the day to help you recalibrate?
Gather information and make a critical analysis of it.
What motivates me every day is the opportunity to learn something new and have interesting conversations. I tell everybody this, this is going back many years ago. There was a guy on WJR, J.P. McCarthy. Your dad would remember him. He was on WJR and all he did is he had an afternoon show. It was from 10:00 to 2:00 or 12:00 to 2:00. He would have guests come in and they would talk for two hours. That’s my dream job, to have a radio show where people just come in and I talk to them for two hours. It’s the equivalent of a little bit of a podcast.
Do a podcast. I heard your intention of doing a podcast. I have a business coach that I’ve been working with. I started talking to him about it. I’m like, “Why not?” It took me two days to get everything together for my first podcast. When I have an idea that makes sense, I took one with him.
Our personalities are a little bit different. You are very quick to start something new. Me as a lawyer, I have to gather my information and do a critical analysis of it. When I make a decision to go, I’m all in but the process is a little bit slower for me. In terms of motivating me, a lot of it is having great conversations, the opportunity to help people and learning something new. At the end of the day, can I make a difference in somebody else’s success? Even slightly, can I help them be successful? Whatever it may be. It may not just be I gave them a great legal answer or I solve some problem. For a lot of those people, all they’re looking for is to bounce an idea off me or to double-check the thought process.
That’s one. In terms of recalibrating, I asked my wife and she says I’m terrible. I’m a little bit like you. I can’t sit still. To sit still and watch a TV show, you have to handcuff me to the edge of the couch. I’m not great at that. For your benefit, I’ve been running a lot. The weather’s getting nicer but I love running in the winter as well. We were the last people to subscribe to Netflix or get a Peloton. COVID is over so we decided to get a Peloton and Netflix. We’re a little late to the party. We’re doing a little bit of that, which is enjoyable. I’m not great at recalibrating always. I do like to sit down and watch a lot of sports on TV.
That comes. When you don’t have to think, there shouldn’t be calibration. During the summer, you have a pontoon. When you pass out and took a day off, that’s a recalibration.
I spent a lot of time on it last summer of 2020 and I’m looking forward to that again.
My last question is very important, what brings you joy?
As a parent, anytime your kids reach a new milestone in their life or they succeed, that’s by far the best thing. My son was accepted into a Master’s in Public Health program. It’s his first choice. For me as a parent, there is nothing better than seeing your kids’ wishes and dreams realized. My daughter was one of the kids that moved into her own apartment during COVID. Moved versus kicked out a little bit by her parents. It’s a combination of both but doing that and seeing her succeed and seeing her in a new job and she has her own business. She’s the quintessential Millennial with lots of little jobs but she’s loving life and doing everything she wants.
Those are what give me joy. Even when my son was accepted into grad school, I called my mom. I said, “Mom, I am so excited for Ben.” She goes, “I know. Ben told me.” Even my son knew I was so excited for him. When you’re 25, you don’t think about those things. When you’re my age and you have kids in their twenties, your excitement and what you want, your achievements are less important than what your kids achieve. Even what your friends achieve. You happened to be happy for other people around you. It’s not about you anymore. It’s about everybody else. That’s a lot. We have Friday night dinner together, our whole family because everybody’s crazy in that one time of the week. Everybody can get together and my daughter comes over. We all have dinner and it’s loud. People are talking over one another. It’s crazy but I love it because it’s the scene of a vibrant, fun household. Everybody’s comfortable. People are laughing. That to me is a great time of joy.
That’s a good learning investment because when you’re young, you don’t think about these things. In the real world, when you have responsibilities and then you become a parent, having those kids and making sure the kids are happy, that becomes a priority.
To expand on that a little bit more, my joy is seeing other people happy or succeed. We even talked about it with you. You get a ton of joy when somebody accomplishes something at the gym. That’s your joy.
It comes down to how do we make the best of life. There’s no amount of education that can give you that. It all becomes within you to discover what that is.
I’m not sure that somebody who is 25 or 30 can do that. If they could, they’d be unique. A lot of that empathy, sometimes that only comes with age, experience and a mindset. I’m not sure 30-year-olds can have that same sense of empathy and same perspective that somebody who’s had more experiences can have. Maybe I’m wrong. If there are any 30-year-olds out there who say they are, look me up and we can chat. I’d love to hear about it.
That all comes down to how we’ve been raised, whatever type of environment we’re in and how we expand that. That’s how we learn. We learn from our parents, but we also learn from family and friends and all that stuff.
I have a question for you. What gives you joy?
For me, it’s the gym and making sure my clients and friends are happy in what they do and making sure my wife is happy. My family, my brother and his family in Miami, and my parents, that’s my joy.
Family first. You forgot to mention your boat.
That is an enjoyable thing to me.
You talked about how you relax. That’s an important part for you.
For me, it’s getting out for an hour or two to just relax. If I’m surfing or whatever, that to me is a meditation. It’s about recalibration. Any form of meditation that will turn your brain off like hockey, boating, maybe mountain biking. Mountain biking is another thing that I’d added to my I like to do stuff. This was a time spent on goodness. It’s great.
Thanks. I thoroughly enjoyed it. You were great. Great questions.
It takes a lot of time to make up those questions. Thank you. I hope you would do this again sometime soon.
About Andrew Goldberg
High-growth companies come to me for one thing: They want to be confident and clear in the decisions they make and the direction they are heading as they face new challenges.
Most people think of their lawyer as someone who says “No” and prevents them from growing their business. Not me. My job is to find a way to say “Yes” and help businesses develop strategies to grow and face the challenges ahead.
But I’m not just your lawyer, I’m a voracious consumer of all things business. I stay on top of business management and leadership philosophies, HR trends, sales and marketing strategies, mergers and acquisitions reports, and more. And I learn all this from books I’m reading and podcasts I’m listening to (ask me for suggestions), conversations with my network of experts, and my favorite resource, the Harvard Business Review.
It’s quite simple for me: I love working with entrepreneurs and learning everything about the business. And if you want to know something unique about me: I love all things neuroscience, mental models, how human biases affect how we learn and make decisions, and my guilty pleasure, power-washing.
I’ve has been told my approach to practice law is unique (when you meet me, you’ll find out). I’ll guide you in thinking and viewing situations from new and different perspectives. And I’ll do it with Passion. With Energy. With Knowledge. And With Experience.
I’m frequently involved in matters where legal, accounting, and business issues intersect. I regularly counsel clients on business formations and corporate transactions, business continuity planning, operations and management of businesses, the accumulation and preservation of wealth for business owners, taxation, and contract matters.
I earned a B.S. in Accounting from Indiana University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan. I’m also a Certified Public Accountant.