The Art of Racing in the Rain

By Joryn Jenkins

The Art of Racing in the Rain

One of my favorite books ever (which is saying a lot; I have so many on my list that I’ve got three different lists now!) is a book by a dog. It was a Friday when I had lunch with a girlfriend who said, “You have to read this book . . . .” She then described the story, leaving out the spoilers, of course, and I thought, “Fine, I’ll pick it up when I see it at a garage sale.” She couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful it was.

The next day, I had completely forgotten the book, but, at the end of my weekly garage sale travels, I happened on a last yard sale quite unexpectedly, not on my Craig’s List, but just there . . . on my way home . . . and I stopped, despite that it was hot, and that I was sweaty and tired. I climbed down out of my SUV and was immediately sorry that I had bothered. The yard was dusty brown and deserted; she had laid tables out to display her wares, but, if there had been anything interesting there, it was long gone; the tables were already picked over, a shambles of infant toys and pacifiers, onesies, diapers, and blankies. It was clear that there was nothing there for me. But the gal in charge approached me with a welcoming smile, so, because I was out of the car, I felt compelled to look around, to try to find something to have some conversation with her about. (Yes, I do give my pitch for the merits of a collaborative divorce at garage sales . . . all the time!)

I Will Know It When I See It

She joined me at one of her tables, asking, as so many folks throwing these shindigs do, “Are you looking for anything in particular?” (I never know what to say, because the answer, of course, is “No, I’ll know it when I see it,” or maybe “No, I won’t know it until I see it . . . .”

Despite having already seen no books, I responded reflexively, smiling back, “I don’t know; a good book, maybe?” Maybe she was hiding them?

She brightened, reaching for an item on the next table. “Here, try this; it’s an audiobook. I haven’t had time to listen to it, but I’ve been told it’s really good.” It was brand new, still in the plastic wrap.

I whipped out a dollar. (I carry them loose in my pocket on Saturday mornings!) I didn’t even look at the title; it was only a dollar, for cryin’ out loud!

It wasn’t until I arrived home, unpacked all my new/old treasures, and was cleaning them up (yes, sometimes they required Windexing!) that I read the title. It was the same book my girlfriend had recommended so very highly the day before: The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein.

Over the next week, I listened to it and I haven’t been able to give my copy away since. In fact, I bought a hardcover copy, as well.

Make The First Step Easier

Sometimes in life, we don’t know what we are searching for. Sometimes, we’re afraid to say; not everyone will bare their souls to get a recommendation. Which is why, as professionals, it’s our jobs to make that first step easier. If we meet people where they are (and don’t make them get out of their cars LOL), then they are more likely to retain us.

A few weeks ago, I (finally) synced my Microsoft office calendar to Calendly, an online scheduling app that allows potential clients to schedule an appointment online. (Yes, even I am a bit technologically slow at times.) Why did I finally cave in? Calendly 1) offers my availability immediately to potential clients, 2) sends us both a Zoom link once an appointment is scheduled, and 3) emails to remind the client just before the consultation. Benefits?

Potential clients don’t have to call my office crying about visitations rights for their dogs (it’s happened) or answer a stranger’s potentially intrusive questions on the phone before they come into their consults. I’ve learned throughout my years of practice that the more information I request up front, the less responsive my clients become. I’m still asking the same questions (and getting the answers) but, sometimes, it’s easier to take the first step to admit you want a divorce to a cell phone screen than to a twenty-one-year-old intern.

Consults Started To Schedule Themselves

A few hours after I synced, our first Calendly client scheduled a consult. Then, that same day, a second did, and then a third! All on that first day! And two of those three consults retained us!

During our conversation a few weeks ago, a marketing colleague of mine, Matt Dzierbun, argued that the challenge of divorce marketing is that people decide on a lawyer quickly. Half the time, they have a deadline to file an answer. They don’t have time to shop around and compare retainers. If you make it easier for them to schedule an appointment with you, in their timeframe, then you are more likely to be the one they retain.

For more on how to meet potential clients from their cars, reach out to me at or find me at Your Collaborative Marketing Coach. Your marketing is my marketing! And if you’d like to learn more about how to become a Collaborative Champion or a Legal Influencer, buy my toolkit or attend my training!

Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.

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