Author: The Process Server Center | PROServerCENTER is a legal professional organization whose mission is to set a national standard for the process service industry in the United States.
Have you tried to find a process server who can serve your legal documents promptly and correctly? If you have ever needed one, most likely you know that it is not so easy to find a good and reliable process server. It becomes even more complicated if you are looking for a process server who can handle a larger volume of services on a regular basis. How about when you need a process server in another county or state? Finding a good and reliable process server can quickly become difficult and time consuming. All you need, after all, is to quickly reach out to a process server who is ready, available and willing to work with your legal team and efficiently deliver your legal documents.
When you are trying to find a process server, most likely you are doing one of the following:
What these methods have in common is that you may or may not find a process server who covers the specific area you are looking for or you end up with a list of process servers, sometimes even several pages of names, without a reliable way to sift through the names and select the best and most reliable one. You have to spend valuable time to call or email each process server and using very little information, you must decide who to hire to serve your legal documents. Yet other times you end up finding someone who seems reliable only to discover that they are miles away from the zip code of the service address and later on they have a hard time providing status on your service. If you are lucky, another legal professional may refer you to a good process server whom they have successfully used before. That's where reviews and referrals could be extremely helpful in saving you time and valuable resources when looking for a process server.
When it comes to reviews, there are a couple of ways they can help your legal team when looking for a process server:
If a process server or a process service business have a website and a Google listing, then most likely they have or are trying to build their reviews online. Of course, there are many other search engines, general business and legal services directories where process servers may have a profile and accept reviews. Are you wondering why reviews are important? Are they trustworthy? Do you need them whether or not they are completely real? Online reviews have created a new field in marketing and communication that bridges the gap between traditional word-of-mouth and a viral form of feedback that can influence your clients’ opinion. Maybe you are already on board, collecting reviews about the level of the service you provide and responding to the valuable feedback of your clients but let’s take a step back to enumerate some reasons that make client reviews so important.
Reviews are an important indicator to consumers as to whether or not to purchase a service. Here’s why:
Some of the reasons reviews are important for your process service businesses:
Almost every paralegal you talk to has a story about their unpleasant experience of dealing with a process server. It is common to hear that it took them hours to just find one single process server. Or they sent their legal documents to a process server who seemed reliable, only to never hear back from him again. Or the story of another paralegal whose documents were served fast, but had the hardest time trying to get an affidavit from the process server. Behind many of these stories, frustration is a common thread.
Fortunately nowadays, there are better ways to find a process server for any type of legal documents, anywhere in the United States. While some legal professionals still prefer to take a risk with search engines, Craig’s List, online forums, or the increasingly insignificant yellow pages, a much better avenue for finding the process server you need is PROServer List.
In fact, when a paralegal needs a process server in Orange county, California, he or she may quickly find the top 3 process servers using PROServer List. How about a process server in the Atlanta, Georgia area? If you have ever tried to find a process server in some of the large metropolitan areas, you are familiar with the long lists of names of process servers some of the nationwide directories throw at you. As a busy paralegal, you certainly do not have time to call each and every process server from three or four pages showing 25 or more servers per page. And how do you even begin to find out whom you can trust to get the service done on time and correctly?
Equipped with PROServer List, legal professionals may now skip the long line and instead focus only on the top 3 process servers included in each county in every state. Built on the foundation of more than 100,000 successfully completed service of process, PROServerLIST connects government agencies and legal professionals directly to its online directory of Pre-Screened and Certified Process Servers in order to improve the legal support services experience for both legal clients and process servers.
PROServerLIST is an exclusive Directory designed to provide client rankings of process servers in order to:
The Process Server Center holds its process servers to the very highest standards of consistent quality of their services, sustainable record of services completed correctly, and continuous training and improvement. PROServerLIST is the only Directory in the United States where government agencies and legal professionals hire Certified and Pre-screened process servers.
Think of PROServer List as the Client Reports for process servers.
You can log-on to the site any time of the day to do some searches for highly recommended process servers as well as read all the unbiased and verified reviews on them provided by legal professionals who have recently used their services. In fact, PROServer List is the only place of its kind that provides unbiased reviews and other-related information that are focused on process servers in the United States. Think of PROServer List as the Consumer Reports for process servers nationwide, represented by the top three process servers in any given county.
Process Servers are rated on the site based on various criteria that includes professionalism, quality, responsiveness, punctuality, and of course, price. Each process server who takes one of the 3 tops spots has successfully completed the Certification Exam and/or Training program for process servers. Paralegals find this rating system and client reviews very helpful. They definitely save time, valuable resources, eliminate delays in legal case proceedings and of course, they eliminate frustrations from improperly served legal documents. With PROServer List, legal professionals have a much better chance of weeding out unprofessional and low quality process servers as client members provide their feedback on their actual experiences with these process servers. Furthermore, in order to guard against unscrupulous legal professionals from reporting positively on themselves or negatively on others, reviews are only accepted by current client members, then verified and checked prior to being included as part of a process servers' online resume.
Author: Richard Farrell, program administrator with extensive experience in training and education development at the PROServer CENTER, a legal professional organization whose mission is to set a national standard for the process service industry in the United States.
It’s no secret that small businesses like process service play a vital role in the US economy. However, revenue for process serving businesses can be scarce. For instance, small businesses that do not have any employees average just $44,000 a year in annual revenue with two-thirds of these companies earning less than $25,000 per year. While various factors can affect a business revenue potential, one of the most important factors is the pricing strategy that its process serving business owners utilize. Whether you're just starting out in process service or you’re ready to begin advertising to drive sales, now is the time to learn what role pricing plays in the bigger picture. Once you have a firm understanding of what a pricing strategy is, you can start reviewing the various approaches and choose the best one for your process serving business.
What is a pricing strategy and why is it important to process servers?
In short, a pricing strategy refers to all of the various methods that small businesses use to price their goods or services. It’s an all-encompassing term that can account for things like:
Pricing strategies are useful for numerous reasons, though those reasons can vary from one process service business to another. Choosing the right price for your process service business will allow you to maximize profit margins if that’s what you want to do. Contrary to popular belief, pricing strategies aren’t always about profit margins. For instance, you may opt to set the cost of a process service at a low price to maintain your hold on market share and prevent other process serving competitors from encroaching on your territory.
In these cases, you may be willing to sacrifice profit margins in order to focus on your process serving business competitive pricing. But you must be careful when engaging in an action like this. Although it could be useful for your business, it also could end up crippling your process service company. A good rule of thumb to remember when pricing services is that your clients won’t purchase service of process if you price it too high, but your process serving business won’t be able to cover expenses if you price it too low.
Here are 10 different pricing strategies for your small process serving business to consider:
As we’ve just identified, project management and strategic, actionable decisions go into setting the price of a your process service. Here are ten different pricing strategies that you should consider as a small process serving business owner.
1. Pricing for market penetration
As a small business owner, you’re likely looking for ways to enter the process serving market so that your services become more well-known. Penetration strategies aim to attract clients, like attorneys, paralegals and law firms by offering lower prices on services than other process servers.
For instance, imagine a process server sells a service for $100. You decide to sell the product for $97, even if it means you’re going to take a loss on the sale. Penetration pricing strategies draw attention away from other process serving businesses and can help increase brand awareness and loyalty, which can then lead to long-term contracts.
Penetration pricing can also be risky because it can result in an initial loss of income for your process serving business. Over time, however, the increase in awareness can drive profits and help small process service businesses stand out from other process servers. In the long run, after penetrating a market, process serving business owners can increase prices to better reflect the state of the service’s position within the market.
2. Economy pricing
This pricing strategy is a “no-frills” approach that involves minimizing marketing and operational expenses as much as possible. Used by a wide range of businesses, including process servers, economy pricing aims to attract the most price-conscious clients. Because of the lower cost of expenses, process serving companies can set a lower sales price and still turn a slight profit.
While economy pricing is incredibly useful for large companies, the technique can be dangerous for small process serving businesses. Because small businesses lack the sales volume of larger companies, they may find it challenging to cut operational costs. Additionally, as a young process serving company, they may not have enough brand awareness to forgo custom branding.
3. Pricing at a premium
With premium pricing, process serving businesses set costs higher because they have a unique service or brand that no one can compete with. You should consider using this strategy if you have a considerable competitive advantage over other process servers and know that you can charge a higher price without being undercut.
Because clients need to perceive services as being worth the higher price tag, a process serving business has to work hard to create a perception of value. Along with providing a high-quality service of process, process server business owners should ensure that the consistency of the high value over time, the professionalism and reliability associated with their process service all combine to support the premium price. An example of premium pricing is a PROServer List member who has differentiated himself from other process servers by obtaining the designation of a Certified Process Server and by joining this exclusive group of process servers who all maintain the highest quality of professionalism in the process serving industry.
4. Price skimming
Designed to help businesses maximize sales on new services, price skimming involves setting rates high during the initial phase of a service. The company then lowers prices gradually as competitor services appear on the market. An example of this is seen when a process server is initially the only provider of process service in a certain local area. Once another process server joins the same local market, the process serving business owner gradually lowers his service fees in order to prevent being driven out of the area.
One of the benefits of price skimming is that it allows process serving businesses to maximize profits on early adopters before dropping prices to attract more price-sensitive clients. Not only does price skimming help a small business recoup its development costs, it also creates an illusion of quality and exclusivity when you first introduce your service and your process serving business to the marketplace.
5. Psychological pricing
Psychological pricing refers to techniques that marketers use to encourage clients to respond based on emotional impulses, rather than logical ones. For example, setting the price of a process service at $199 is proven to attract more lawyers and paralegals than setting it at $200, even though the actual difference here is quite small. One explanation for this trend is that clients tend to put more attention on the first number on a price tag than the last. The goal of psychology pricing is to increase demand by creating an illusion of enhanced value for your process serving business clients.
6. Bundle pricing
With bundle pricing, small process serving businesses offer multiple services for a lower rate than clients would face if they purchased each item individually. A useful example of this occurs when a process server offers service of process, legal documents filing and skip tracing. When marketing each of these services individually, the price may be higher than if combined as a group. For example, a process serving business may set their fee for process service at $50, filing of paperwork at $75 and skip tracing at $40. At the same time the business may offer a bundle of filing and service at $110 or skip tracing and process service at $70 in order to attract more clients to their process serving business.
Not only is bundling services an effective way to increase sales, it can also increase the value perception in the eyes of your clients. Paralegals and attorneys feel as though they’re receiving more bang for their buck. Small process serving business owners should keep in mind that the profits they earn on the higher-value items must make up for the losses they take on the lower-value services.
7. Geographical pricing
If you expand your process serving business across state or national lines, you’ll need to consider geographical pricing. Geographical pricing involves setting a price point based on the location where it’s sold.
Another factor in geographical pricing could be basic supply and demand. For instance, imagine you offer service of process in an area where you are the only process server. In this case you may choose to set a higher price point than in another area where you have competition from other process servers.
8. Promotional pricing
Promotional pricing involves offering discounts on a particular service. For instance, you can provide your process service clients with vouchers or coupons that entitle them to a certain percentage off another service, like filing of an affidavit with the court or locating an individual who has moved.
Promotional pricing campaigns can be short-term efforts. For instance, you may run a promotional pricing strategy over an extended holiday, like Memorial Day Weekend. By offering these deals as short-term offers, process serving business owners can generate buzz and excitement about a service. Promotional pricing also incentivizes clients to act now before it’s too late. This pricing strategy plays to a client’s fear of missing out.
9. Value pricing
If you notice that sales are declining because of external factors, you may want to consider a value pricing strategy. Value pricing occurs when external factors, like a sharp increase in competition or a recession, force the small process serving business to provide value to its clients in order to maintain sales.
This pricing strategy works because clients feel as though they are receiving an excellent “value” for the service of process. The approach recognizes that clients don’t care how much a service costs a company to perform, so long as the client feels they’re getting an excellent value by purchasing it. This pricing strategy could cut into the bottom line, but process serving businesses may find it beneficial to receive “some” profit rather than no profit.
10. Keep track of business revenues
Once you determine the right pricing strategy for your process serving business, your profit margins could increase. You’ll want to make sure you’re using reliable accounting software to keep track of relevant data. Such software makes it easy for you to monitor relevant sales data and manage cash flow in one place. This data allows you to continually evaluate your pricing method so that you can make price changes in real-time, grow your process serving business, and improve your client success.
Author: The Process Server Center | PROServerCENTER is a legal professional organization whose mission is to set a national standard for the process service industry in the United States.
It is with great pleasure that we introduce PROServer James Wheeler, Jr. from the state of New York. Jim is the owner of Here to Serve, LLC, a process service business that provides professional and reliable process service in Otsego County, state of New York, as well as parts of Delaware, Schoharie and Chenango counties. Jim is both a certified and pre-screened process server with PROServer List which means he has successfully passed the Certification Exam, administered by the Process Server Center and has been pre-screened by our client members. "Jim Wheeler is by far one of the best and most professional process servers", shares one of our PROServer List clients, Andrew Watson with Associated Legal, "Our company works with more than 4,000 process servers nationwide, and Jim from Here to Serve definitely stands out. He is knowledgeable and proactive, professional and goes beyond his duties to investigate and many times obtain a new address for difficult to find respondents. Jim is extremely reliable when called upon to serve legal documents and handles rush services fast and with great diligence. I would say he truly deserves the designation of a PROServer, one who is 'the best and most reliable [...] selected among many process servers to be fully equipped to serve process correctly the first time'".
Jim Wheeler Jr. has over 17 years of experience and more than 42,000 papers served and counting ...! Here to Serve in New York State utilizes the latest technologies in the process service profession, including GPS stamped photos upon request. When asked what differentiates him from many other process servers, Jim shares that he is obsessed "with improving and perfecting the process with the ultimate goal of amazing my clients. I strive to work twice as hard as my competitors who are often half my age. " In addition to process service, Here to Serve helps legal professionals with document retrieval, court filings, record searches, notice postings, foreclosure sales attendance/representation as well as occupancy inspections.
Paralegals, attorneys and pro se clients are all eager to share their experience with Jim Wheeler's work. He is one of very few nationwide process servers committed to proper service and thorough due diligence. Jim is knowledgeable, investigative and persistent with fair pricing, quick service and always a correct and timely affidavit. "My very first service of process was in October of 2003. The moment I completed that service, I knew this was my future. So for the next four years, I slowly grew the business while holding down a full time day job. Then in the fall of 2007, I left my day job and went 'all in' on serving papers full time. It has been the most rewarding career imaginable. I love my job!", Jim Wheeler shares. And loving his job truly shows when you hire Jim from Here to Serve to help you with your process service. Jim always goes the extra mile and is eager to continue to learn more and acquire new skills, a trait the Process Server Center highly encourages by offering free online programs to its PROServer List members.
The Process Server Center has a twofold purpose. On the one hand, clients needed an easy way to sift through the many listings of process servers in the United States and quickly find a reliable process server they can trust. On the other hand, PROServer List is the first group of exclusive process servers who stand out among their peers with their highest professionalism. It allows servers to differentiate themselves and be awarded for their hard work and persistence in this difficult profession.
PROServer List is not for everyone, but it is definitely the group for process servers like James Wheeler, Jr. who, in addition to their professional skills, are a pleasure to work with. Jim not only serves your legal documents, and delivers the correct affidavit on time, but watches out for court dates, serve by dates, follows up to clarify on client's instructions, asks questions before attempting a service in order to make sure he has the best approach to successfully serve a defendant in a lawsuit.
In his years of experience, Jim has many process service stories to share. "The thing about process serving is I never know what's going to happen on the job. Some people chase me off their property. Others invite me in for dinner. Once I served a person who then asked me to stay for a cup of coffee and a slice of pie. Still others have asked me to keep them in my prayers. One man I recently served reached out to me online a few days later and we have now become friends. He even made me some homemade apple sauce and a loaf of banana bread. In addition he became a client when he hired me to serve someone else..."
When you need legal documents served in Otsego, Delaware, Schoharie or Chenango counties in New York, do not hesitate to reach out to Jim Wheeler from Here to Serve. "Process Serving, when done with compassion and understanding, can open new doors for relationships and mutual respect.", Jim adds. When you hire Jim Wheeler, your process will be handled properly every time, and who knows, you may even become friends. Learn more by visiting Here to Serve website.
Author: The Process Server Center | PROServerCENTER is a legal professional organization whose mission is to set a national standard for the process service industry in the United States.
"I lost 80% of my process service clients...", John is telling us his story in a phone call.
"I drive around every day, leaving cards at law firm offices, wasting gas and all, and then nothing, absolutely nothing! I don't hear back from them! What am I doing wrong?" Frantic calls like this one are an almost daily routine at the Process Server Center. There are many process servers like John who have lost a large percentage of their process service clients and they all need help. We tell John that he is not doing anything wrong. But there is a huge difference between not doing anything wrong and not doing the right thing to help your process service business, particularly during hard times.
Process servers belong to the service providers industry that has been hit particularly hard by the current pandemic. According to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, conducted in August 2020, 21% of business owners say they will permanently shut down if the economy does not improve within the next six months.
As a process service professional, you servers need to acquire multiple revenue streams to weaken the financial risk, given today’s economy. It is also critical to operate with the right mindset about one’s work. You are the absolute proprietor of your own labor, and particularly during these hard times, it is important that you see yourself as the owner of your own professional process service firm. Your name, reputation and brand are inseparably tied to your process service quality and professionalism. As the CEO of Process Server, Inc., the following are four quick, yet effective ways process servers may use in order to acquire new clients:
1. Connect to a hidden job market
Many process servers regularly mail out, email or drop off business cards and brochures to paralegals, attorneys and other legal professional. Unfortunately, this marketing approach rarely works. Process servers who randomly send introduction letters are at a huge disadvantage. Small and particularly large law firms are also going through the current difficult times, many working remotely or with limited resources. Lawyers and paralegals struggle to find time to review the cards and brochures process servers send them, and instead opt to merely discard the majority of the all-too-popular time-wasters in a digital (or literal) trash can.
A better approach for process servers is to tap into undisclosed opportunities by instead speaking with social-media contacts, business associates, friends, family members and people who are already in your existing personal and professional circles. Networking is a powerful tool for finding new business opportunities or expanding your current process service customers.
In addition to law firms who do not have a process server and are actively searching for one, the majority of process servers clients actually come from customers who are not satisfied with the quality their current process servers provide. Unlike the open and active customers who sometimes even advertise openings for process servers, the hidden ones represent a much larger approach in acquiring a new process server. In fact, a LinkedIn poll from the end of 2020 found that unposted or hidden opportunities represent 75% of all new service industry opportunities. Leveraging this hidden market through networking makes it more likely you will find new customers for your process service business.
2. Touch base with past clients
If you are like most small process service businesses, the bulk of your revenue comes from a few clients while the rest only provide infrequent work or one-off projects. The 80/20 rule says that 80% of the effects (i.e., revenue) come from 20% of causes (customers). Because of this, there is a natural temptation among process servers to ignore past clients who did not previously provide consistent cash flow. However, times and circumstances change. Remember, decision-makers are also routinely replaced and hidden opportunities to grow your process service business are abundant if you know how to hustle for them.
There is a popular saying in marketing that goes like this: “The money is in the list.” That is an email list.
Do some digging in your inbox or process server software and create a mailing list that allows you to touch base with former clients and associates. Remind them of who you are and what services you offer. It only takes one or two resurrected accounts — in addition to current clients, of course — to create a new pipeline of work that will keep you busy year-round. When reaching out, personalize your email and show what you have done for similar clients in the past. Focus on what differentiates you from other local process servers: consistency in quality, excellent turn around time, additional education, industry designations like PROServer. Since former customers have paid you once, assuming they had a positive experience, they will be more likely to pay you for your services again. Slowly but surely, some of your past clients will come back or remember your process service business when an associate asks them for a referral.
3. Fight for strategic accounts
As a process server, it is a good idea to separate regular clients from potential high-value clients, like large law firms, government agencies and nationwide process service management companies. High-value targets are ones that make you very profitable, have a large volume of process service and if they are the right one, then they are also easy to work with.
In contrast, struggling process service solopreneurs work with low-margin accounts which often supply more in the way of migraines than actual revenue. Bad customers imprison service professionals in a cycle of service-to-service dependency, as they are unable to devote enough time to landing more lucrative accounts.
4. Stay connected with decision-makers
In many cases, it is a matter of timing. You may have a shot at landing a lucrative large law firm client but just not right now. Paralegals with whom you have built a relationship routinely go on maternity (or paternity) leave or vacations, attend weddings or come down with an untimely illness — any number of things, really. By constantly networking with decision-makers, you can be first in line when decision makers change. A hidden opportunity to grab this new large process service client may just be around the corner.
With social media, connecting with decision-makers is more convenient than ever. As a process server, it is never a bad idea to become well-acquainted with popular networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, which allow users to connect with high-value prospects, as well as join relevant industry groups like the exclusive PROServer List. LinkedIn is the top choice of social media platform for legal professionals of all sizes, large or small. Join LinkedIn as a process server and also join process server groups, like the PROServer Center. Or join process servers Facebook community groups, like PROServer Center. But don't just join and browse and waste your valuable time as a process server solopreneur. Make your voice be heard, be an active participant and provide regular value. The more fellow entrepreneurs, paralegals, lawyers, managers within your industry view your profile and the expertise you readily share as a process server, the greater the chance you will be considered as their preferred process server. And isn't that the ultimate goal of most process servers, all of whom are chasing a limited number of clients.
Yes, putting in the effort to be top-of-mind can seem daunting, but not everything you do has to have an immediate return. Being predominant with legal industry decision-makers can lead to securing a contract or landing that large new law firm as a client when a business or online acquaintance is suddenly in need of the process service you offer, even if your relationship may not seem very strong at the time.
Will each of the above methods immediately lead to a constant influx of new, exciting work for all process servers? If that is your expectation, prepare for a letdown. What is more likely to happen, instead, is that one or two of the people you have networked with will at least give you a shot and choose you as their preferred process server. From there, it is your job to keep your new client satisfied. Really satisfied! Fortunately, your growing process service business bank balance will be proof of the right, targeted effort!
Author: Brani Andreev, MBA, is an expert in nationwide management of process service, consultant, speaker, and developer of the breakthrough Management Model of the 4Ps™ that ensures the consistent quality of process service.
One of the top questions process servers ask is how to get new clients and grow their process service business. It is also one of the major challenges both new and experienced process servers face.
As a business, process service is a low-margin business, where service fees are usually set very close to the price or expense necessary to complete the actual process service. In order to stay profitable and be successful in the long run, process service businesses must sell a greater number of service of process, i.e. deliver more legal documents. To achieve that great number of services, process servers must attract a great number of clients with single or small volume of services or a smaller number of clients with a high volume of legal documents to be served.
Attracting and retaining clients is a constant effort for process servers in the United States. In addition to fulfilling their main duties to deliver legal documents, to locate defendants, to complete and file affidavits on time, to manage the administrative and financial side of their businesses, process servers must exercise regular effort to attract new clients. In today's world of technological advances, many process servers turn to email in order to market their services to potential paralegals, attorneys and law firms. Understanding their clients and being able to offer them the kind of process service they seek is key to whether a client actually responds and engages back when a process server initiates contact via email. Being persuasive over email is very important to whether a process server actually lands enough clients in order to boost the profitability of his/her process service business.
In general, most people have mixed feelings about email. On one hand, email allows us to instantly communicate with people much more efficiently. On the other, email can be incredibly overwhelming. One recent study, for example, found that the average U.S. worker spends nearly six hours each day checking their email!
The fact that email is a text-based form of communication is both its biggest asset and its greatest drawback. Unlike having a face-to-face conversation with an in-person human being, email is a blank slate. Though we can get our words across, it is harder to convey our tone of voice and the nonverbal cues that are a critical component of constructive communication. This makes email a very efficient communications tool for process servers, but also one that leaves a minefield of potential miscommunications and lost opportunities.
In business, most emails are a form of negotiation. When process servers send emails to potential clients, they are asking these clients to read their message and respond in a certain way or take a certain action within a specific time frame. The result process servers are hoping to achieve is to convince these potential clients to try their services and ultimately become their go-to process server.
To help you get better results when using email as a tool to attract new clients for your process service business, here are six tips that can help you be more persuasive:
1. Know the Best Ways to Use Email
When it comes to attracting clients, your goal should always be to get them to speak to you in person or, in the COVID-19 era, at least over the phone or on Zoom. That said, process servers can use email to support and amplify verbal communications efforts by:
2. Do You See What They See?
Before you hit the reply button, take a moment to think about the person who is going to be reading your message and what you know about them. Is this person a paralegal who is under much pressure from his/her attorneys? Or is it a solo lawyer who hardly has time to take care of his/her clients? What’s happened to them in the past week? What factors might be affecting their mood? Is it impossible for them to be mad about something else while they are reading your email?
If you have encountered this person before as a process server, you probably have an idea of their preferred communication style and a rough sense of their daily routine. Use this knowledge to form your communication strategy and try to add some personal relevance to your email in order to connect on a deeper level.
If you do not have a history to draw from, use what limited information you have to conduct a Downplay ™ to address the negatives the other side might be harboring. Then use Actionable Empathy™ throughout your message to make sure they know you see things from their perspective.
3. Keep It Short
When you are trying to attract new clients for your process service business and you approach them via email for the first time, think of email as playing a virtual game of chess. Would you lay out your next seven moves for your opponent on your first turn?
When you do not have a live audience to answer or interject, it is easy to get carried away and forget about the back-and-forth nature of communication required to build trust-based influence. The paralegal or attorney you are trying to entice to try your process service do not know you, your experience or background. Limit the information you share and incorporate questions, as they invite your potential process service clients to reply back. To keep your cadence and expectations reasonable, limit yourself to two questions per email. If you are sending a 2,200-word email filled with 17 new concepts and eight questions, do not be surprised if the clients you are trying to engage for your process service business never respond.
4. Consider Timing
Every form of communication comes with its own invisible clock. Waiting a couple of hours or even days to respond to an email is perfectly reasonable, less so for texting, and ridiculous to even fathom for in-person conversations. These unspoken rules are helpful to keep in mind when you are trying to grow your process service business for a couple of reasons.
First, remember that you do not have to respond to an email immediately. If you receive a message that makes your blood boil, resist the urge to respond on impulse. Wait until your emotions settle down and you are once again governed by logic.
Second, remember that these social expectations are not guarantees. Everyone has their own timing expectations and set of priorities.
To make sure you and your potential clients remain loyal to the same timeline, and interpret words, like urgent and delayed the same way, use Responsive Questions™ that address how and when you are going to connect again. For example, when you are preparing a message for a new process service client, ask them, "What’s the best time to follow up? Is Friday too late? Is the end of the month good after your deadline?"
By asking these kinds of questions, you will foster buy-in and increase the chances the other side follows through on their word.
5. Use Email Softeners
Here is a little-known trade secret that will ensure your emails are not received in a hostile or aggressive tone. Write your email and make sure you consider all of the tips offered in this article. Then go back and add email softeners like "I’m sorry" and "I’m afraid", wherever they fit. Your process service clients will never read the tone of the email the way you would like them to. Give your email a friendly and welcoming nature by taking the time to add in specific words and punctuation that support this effort. Lacking these crucial elements means your emails will have a cold tenor at best and, far too often, they will even have a harsh tone that will work against you. For positive or even neutral emails, exclamation points are great way to express energy. Sentences that end in a period will likely be received as flat and cold, even when the tone you heard in your head was upbeat.
6. Do Not Underestimate Subject Lines and Sign-Offs
Most people see subject lines and sign-offs as throwaway parts of an email rather than vital pieces of digital real estate. When you are composing messages and hoping to attract more clients for your process service business, think about a subject line as your first impression and your first chance to win your client’s attention.
When people open their inbox, they scan subject lines and mentally prioritize their emails before figuring out which messages to click. If you are using email as a mechanism to spark a quick decision or ignite a conversation after a period of silence, no-oriented questions can make effective subject lines. They warrant a response to set the record straight.
"Have we missed our opportunity?"
"Is it too late to sit down at the table? "
If subject lines are first impressions to attract paralegals and attorneys for your process service business, sign-offs are your last opportunity to communicate tone and intent. Well-executed sign-offs can ensure your message carries the intended weight of your email. Instead of using a standard sign-off, label how you would like to be perceived. Simply signing an email with phrases like "Very humbly" and "With all sincerity" may help you drive home your intention and earn you the benefit of the doubt.
Process service seems an easy business to run. Yet similar to any other small business there are many parts that need your attention constantly, and building and maintaining your client base is a very important part of your success. Learning how to properly craft messages to attract new clients and how to organize your email messages is crucial to how your potential clients respond to your messages and whether they accept your invitation to try serving legal documents with your process service business.
If you are just starting your process serving business or trying to build your volume during these difficult times, most likely you do not have much money to put behind launching and scaling as a business. What you may lack in financial resources to grow your process service volume, you may make up for in mastering knowledge that you could use to become your own marketing department. Here is what Jean Ashcroft, a process server in Austin, TX is saying about her experience:
"What I lacked in financial resources, I decided to spend time learning social media strategy and PR. I even researched other businesses, both local and large process serving agencies. I reviewed different process server associations and what each offered to get more work as a process server. I also enrolled in the one-on-one session with the Process Server Center, and they helped me build a master plan of how to use viral tactics and customer satisfaction to level up and expand my process service business, all for free. Over the past six months, I've worked with hundreds of clients without spending a dollar on advertising or marketing thanks to the great ideas on how to build my process serving business that I got from the Process Server Center..."
Following the feedback we received from Jean, we decided to share the tips we gave her with all process servers. Here is exactly how Jean Ashcroft succeeded to build her process service volume in six months:
1. Build a Personal Brand as a Process Server
When you first start a process service business, a lot of trouble in getting new customers lies in paralegals, attorneys and other clients needing to trust you, especially when you are the one providing the service to them. That is why turning to your personal brand as a process server, which may consist of a few months of serving legal documents to years of experience allows any potential clients to get to know you as a professional in process serving. If you are a new process server, perhaps you can highlight your prior law enforcement experience or your training and knowledge of process service. If you are an experienced one, you may use your track record of successfully delivering process, finding defendants who have moved to a new location or delivering the documents to a respondent who has avoided being served several times. Allowing potential clients to get to know her helped Jean Ashcroft emphasize on what made her stand apart from other process servers, and ultimately bring her new clients.
Every process server or process server agency needs a personal brand. Start by understanding your value, skills, story and your background and experience in process serving. Then communicate that consistently across multiple platforms, starting with a website and one to two social media channels. Paralegals and attorneys have repeatedly shared with the Process Server Center that they like to do business with process servers they can trust and know. That is why your personal brand as a process server will help attract new clients who might be wary of taking a chance on a process service business they just discovered.
2. Do Your Own Process Serving Agency PR
"Getting featured in news articles across legal journals and bar associations newsletters helped me bring in new clients on a monthly basis. I never hired a PR firm and instead found ways to pitch myself", shares Jean. Upon our suggestion she started out by researching and creating a long list of outlets she wanted to be featured on, and then learned what kind of stories they like to focus on. Then Jean adjusted her pitches to each of these outlets, carefully crafting them to share her experience in process service and how she has helped clients deliver legal documents to particularly hard-to-serve defendants. Finally, Jean followed up with them, many times, to get feedback and eventually get featured.
Create a wish list of places you would like to be featured on as a process server, then do your research and craft a pitch that is relevant to what their audience will care about and what will make a good story for them to run with. You can also use tools like Help a Reporter Out (which is free) to get an understanding of what reporters are looking for from sources.
3. Provide Free Value as a Process Server
Most process servers are eager to increase their volume of process service, build their business and make money. Even new servers, just starting out, are eager to quickly grow their volume of work, and one of the most frequently asked questions among process servers is "How do I find more work?" Perhaps the focus, too often seen, is on the growing of your process service business rather than on asking yourself the question of what constant value do I bring to my clients. When she first approached us for an online consultation, Jean Ashcroft shared that "although I was eager to make money when I started my process service business, I realized that I also needed to create constant value for my clients." Upon our recommendation, Jean began offering a few free services to each new client in order to entice them to switch from their previous process servers. She also improved her organization by utilizing a new software for managing her process services. Jean also resolved internal issues that delayed the execution of affidavits. While doing all this, she made sure to let her clients know about the recent improvements or changes highlighting how they would help with the smooth service of process and ultimately benefit paralegals, attorneys and law firms.
The recommendations shown above would help you build and maintain credibility for your process service business and add to the overall value for your clients. In addition to the services your offer as a process server, create at least one way to share free value with your clients. Consider a blog on your process service website, an article shared with an online publication, an active participation in Facebook and LinkedIn groups or other marketing materials that will not cost you anything, and will give so much to your existing and prospective clients.
4. Tap into Social Media Geared Toward Process Serving
Social media can be a powerful free avenue of finding new clients for your process serving business. Every chance you use to build credibility, to allow your clients and peers to get to know you, to showcase your background or your many years of successful process service, all of these would help both new and experienced process servers reach and connect with more potential clients.
Join as many social media groups, pages and platforms as you can. Dedicate at least half an hour each day to visiting and actively participating in these groups. Let your voice be heard and let other servers or clients hear about you. Move from being unknown to someone who others are now getting to know. With perseverance and patience, such daily actions would lead to more and more people "knowing" you. Try and add value when interacting with others and both peers and clients will begin to recognize you as an authority in the process serving industry.
5. Keep Process Service Industry Friends Close
"When I was first starting out, I spent a lot of my free time finding people within the process service industry I could network with", shares Jean. Most process servers do not necessarily have a budget for ads or marketing. Therefore, word of mouth referrals can be a big way to gain new customers as a process server at any stage of your business.
Do not shy to send cold emails not only to paralegals and attorneys, but also to your peers. Introduce yourself and the process services you offer, the areas you cover. Let other process servers learn about you, your background, how they can benefit of getting to know you. Do not forget to reach out and interact with other process servers using the social media platforms discussed above. Help them as much as you can, send them business and ask to help them with their business. Make yourself available and show other process servers that you are available and reliable to them. Taking these steps is a great way of building relationship with people who also interact with your "audience" like attorneys, paralegals and law firms. Establishing such peer relationships would definitely help you reach out clients indirectly and create opportunities to gain new clients on a regular basis. Research who else in the process service industry your clients often interact with or buy from. National association, state associations, online directories and of course, the exclusive directory PROServerLIST that helps legal professionals find process servers the easy way. All of these are platforms for opportunities to find, reach out and connect with potential clients. This can significantly help you build your process service business and get more referrals.
6. Create Superfan Clients of Your Process Service Business
A few weeks after implementing our team's recommendations, Jean shared that "I prioritized over-delivering for my clients to ensure they were happy with my process service." Making sure your clients are happy with your service of process, from the initial phone call or email to the successful delivery or filing of affidavits of service, taking excellent care of each of your clients helps process servers create "super-fan" clients who would share your contact information with their peers and networks, and also be happy to act as a good referral to your process service business.
First focus on providing the best service of process, then when they are happy with your work, ask your clients to share your contact information with other legal professional. Be ready to also offer them a free service (like a check-up phone call) if they brought in a new client. Think about how you can encourage past super-fan clients who enjoyed your process service or working with you to become ambassadors who help bring in new process serving business.
Finally, always remember that you can be successful as a process server without having a big budget to spend on bringing in new business. You just have to have a strong strategy and think outside of the box. Tap into skills you already have, continue to learn through online classes and join social media platforms. Learn how to be your own master marketer, so you can use different avenues to spread the word and grow your process serving business.
Do you know that most people who think they are good listeners underperform? By as much as 60 percent? In fact, it turns out that overconfidence actually impedes your success whether you are interacting with your clients, other process servers or the people you are trying to serve. Being too confident actually prevents you from truly understanding what motivates the other side. This, in turn, stops you from being able to use Actionable Empathy™ to get the outcomes you are looking for as a process server or even in your personal relationships.
Truth be told, nothing puts a relationship in jeopardy faster than poor listening skills. It does not matter whether you are talking to another process server, your client, a defendant in a case or your family. People simply do not take a long time to estimate your commitment to listening, particularly since a good deal of communication is nonverbal and wrapped up in physical syntax and delivery. Suffice it to say it is not easy to convince someone you are actually listening when in fact you are not.
So why do most people who think they are good listeners underperform? It is because most do not have the communication skills to recognize that there are actually five levels to listening. Experience shows that if you recognize and master better listening skills, you are more likely to:
Let's explore the five levels of listening and see how they help you get more clients for your process service business, grow it, and find that defendant who is avoiding service:
Level 1: Listening for the Substance:
The first level of listening is intermittent listening. What it means is that you are simply listening long enough to get the substance or essence or the main point of what the other side is saying. When you are talking to a new client who just called you and wants legal documents delivered, and you think you have got the basic idea, your ears shut off and refocus on your internal voice, which is formulating a reaction based on your worldview. Though you might not even recognize that you have shut the other side off and actually articulate this reaction, you are engaged in an internal dialogue about how what is being said does not line up with your logic. While "talking to yourself" at the same time when your new client is giving you more information about the process service he needs done, you have just missed out on some very important instructions on how the client expects you to serve the defendant.
Level 2: Listening to Rebut:
During this next level of listening, you are still not practicing active listening. In fact, you are listening to rebut. This is the stage at which you listen long enough to understand the incoming message until it hits the trigger (i.e., something in the statement or phrase that you can argue against or rebut). Imagine you are talking to another process server from another state who has just sent you a service, and he is trying to explain to you why he needs the respondent personally only served. You interrupt him and are eager to tell him why you feel he is wrong. When you hear a trigger, you just wait for the other side to shut up for long enough so you can tell them why their position is faulty and, by extension, how much smarter you are than they are. These enthusiastic replies undermine communication and the entire relationship. Interjecting with a quick response is a clear indication that you are not listening. How could you be? At this level, you are actually focusing on your agenda at the expense of theirs, and it is, for the most part, obvious to the other side.
Level 3: Listening for Logic:
The third level of listening involves using inference to try to pin down the internal logic of what is being said, if such logic exists. If this is the other side’s point of view, their conclusion, or their judgment, why does it make sense to them? It is the first step toward truly understanding whom you are actually speaking with. During this level of listening you are paying more attention to what the person who just answered the door is attempting to tell you. Is she trying to say that her spouse is not at home right now while impatiently holding a baby in her hands? Is she ready to move inside and close the door on you before you have asked her when he might be home so that you can deliver the legal documents to him and successfully complete the process service?
Level 4: Listening for Emotion:
At the fourth level of listening, you are listening for any emotions or issues that may be driving their argument. You are standing at the door of that yellow house for a third time this week, and you are hoping to finally find the person you are looking for to deliver the service of process. You feel lucky this time, lights are all on inside the house and you hear people talking inside, a small child crying loud. These emotions or issues may or may not make sense to you. But at this level, you recognize their significance as the other side may be in a stressful situation if the small child needs their attention. The door suddenly opens and you find a very angry man staring at you. When it is your turn to speak, you might decide to use Labels (See https://www.theprocessservercenter.com/serve-like-fbi-agent.html) to identify the unstated emotions or issues you believe are influencing what they have to say. Here is another situation, this one involving a very satisfied client who gives you an energetic compliment about that successful process service you have just done, you might say something like this: "It seems like you’re very pleased with the outcome of your service of process ...", in hopes that the other side will reveal additional information and perhaps agree to give you a written review on your Google listing of your process service business.
Level 5: Listening for Their Point of View:
At this level of listening you become a great listener. It is truly this level where you listen for what the other side’s argument says about who they are in the world, using Actionable Empathy™ to do everything you can to see things from their perspective. This communication skill is how you filter the other person’s emotion and logic through a prism of empathy. It is what you should try to do every time you interact with others, regardless whether it is another process server, a defendant you are trying to find or your client. During this stage of listening it is all about getting beyond the cursory level of understanding to a deeper appreciation of their point of view. If you do not understand where the other person is coming from, you do not really understand them at all, making it that much less likely you will get that new client you are hoping for. If you do not understand the other side, you will never influence them. It’s that simple! Though it is difficult to maintain this level of listening every waking moment of every day, you need to be ready and willing to get here when the situation warrants it. The better your listening skills, the more likely it is that you land this new client with volume process service you have always wanted.
Most limits are self-imposed. The difference between good and great comes from pushing yourself beyond them...
Over the years, we have helped many process servers throughout the United States and have had the opportunity to talk to dozens of extremely successful servers with different levels of experience. One of the favorite questions we ask is: "What got you here?"
The answer reveals a simple truth about success, and the process servers who actually achieve success. During the current times of change, many process servers feel they are on the downside of advantage. It seems that it is tempting for them to rationalize that incredibly successful process servers were blessed with some advantage. Intelligence. Talent. Education. Connections. A special something.
In reality, that never turns out to be true. Almost to a person, highly successful process servers consider themselves to be average in almost all things. Sometimes even below average. Their only "advantage" was hard work.
So what is the secret you may ask? What is that special something that makes some process servers really successful?
Mental toughness. Determination. Willpower. Perseverance.
Whatever word you use, the ability to overcome roadblocks, to push through hesitation and discomfort and even just boredom, and keep working toward a long-term goal, is what allows "ordinary" process servers to accomplish extraordinary things, to stand apart from others, to "land" this great law firm as a client, to succeed and perhaps most important - to retain that level of success for years to come.
Take Dave from Michigan for example (Dave is the name we chose to use for all successful process servers we talked to). Dave is decidedly average. No special background in process service when he started 10 years ago. It has been a difficult few years struggling with learning the rules and regulations of service of process. Finding clients was challenging as it seemed most law firms in the area already had someone they were using, even though they were not particularly happy with who they had as a process server. Dave persevered. He diligently continued to do his work with utmost dedication. No matter how large or small a law firm was, Dave approached each one of them with the same excitement, attention and respect. Doing the extra little something, like a skip trace, even when the client never asked for it, or providing a timely affidavit, Dave kept his focus on how to best serve each and every client that called or reached out to him. Day after day. Year after year. It is when he least expected it that the miracle happened - both local and large law firms started calling him to take care of their service of process. They have heard how great Dave was from other clients. Yes, the miracle happened. Except it was not really a miracle. It was Dave!
You, as a person and as a process server, you always have more in you than you think.
When you are doing something difficult and think you need to stop, you have more in you. When you are trying to find and serve this person who has been avoiding you and are ready to give up, you have more in you. When you are about to give up on running out for that paralegal who called you at the end of the day with a rush service to handle, you have more in you as a process server. When you are about ready to give up on yourself, because finding new clients seems so unattainable, you have more in you. And when you are about to give up on process service because your business does not seem to be working out as you have hoped for, you definitely have more in you!
Why? Because most of our limits are self-imposed. Over time, process servers set those limits for themselves. They listen to other servers complaining how hard it is, and they give up. How long will we stick with a challenge before giving up and moving on? How long will we stare at a whiteboard, trying to think of a way past a problem, before giving up and moving on? How many cold calls to law firms or paralegals are we going to make? Emails to send? Proposals to create? Bids to participate in? Follow-ups to make?
Those limits only seem real because habit has created them. But they are not real.
Think of a time when fear helped you push past what you thought was a barrier. Think about a time when a huge incentive helped you push past what you thought was a barrier to the success of your process service business. Then, you could do more. Because as it turns out, your limit was only 40 percent of what you were truly capable of achieving.
Next time you think you have reached your cold-call limit as a process server, make one more. Next time you think you have reached your training limit, take another class or read another helpful article. Next time you think you have reached your quality in the service you provide your clients, double-check your limit, check again, and find yet another thing you can improve. Challenge yourself to see if you can do even better. And you will realize that your limits as a process server are self-imposed. You will realize that your self-created limits are what holds you back from achieving success as a process server! You realize that you can accomplish a lot more than you once thought possible!
Do you have the perseverance to be the Go-To Process Server in your area?
The Process Server Center is here to help you every step of the way in your journey to the Top!
Don't Let Your Self-Created Limits Hold You Back?
You Can Be the Go-To Process Server in Your Area!
Author: The Process Server Center | PROServerCENTER is a legal professional organization whose mission is to set a national standard for the process service industry in the United States.
What would your business be like if you were the process server who came to mind every time someone said they need a process server in your area? We bet your inbox would be full of requests or orders to serve legal documents from qualified legal professionals. All of us at the Process Server Center want this for you! We want you to be the Go-To Process Server in Your Area! We want you to be successful in growing your process service business! And we are excited to be a part of this journey with you!
Becoming the Go-To person in your industry takes consistent, laser-focused and clear direction and effort. As a process server you must be bold in your beliefs and confident in your knowledge in order to be seen as a resource in your industry.
Does it sound difficult? Perhaps it does, but remember Steve Jobs' words that "perseverance is the main determinant of a success". Most people easily get discouraged or even give up but we are convinced that "about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance", Steve Jobs added.
So who are the Go-To process servers that attorneys, paralegals and other legal professionals turn to when they need that service done right the first time? The Go-To process servers are the fixers who step up and do the actual work. Under pressure, other process servers turn to them to identify and implement solutions. They get the legal documents served every time on time. They are the ones who know how to find that person who is avoiding to get served. They are the ones who know people, know how to talk to people and know how to calm down an angry person. The Go-To process servers possess that knack for making process service seem so easy.
How can you become a Go-To process server in your area? Here are nine ways to achieve that:
As they prepare and train, Go-To process servers imagine the day when it all comes down to the wire. They visualize different scenarios when they knock on that door, and physically, mentally and intellectually prepare themselves. Alone, they study the strengths, flaws, and tendencies of their competition. They learn from the best in the process service industry and never tire to learn. There is nothing supernatural about it. As hockey great Wayne Gretzky explains, "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been." The same is true for the Go-To process servers. They just prepare more and process faster. As a result, their reactions become unconsciously instinctive and the end result is a proper service of process done right every time.
The Go-To process servers are more afraid of missing out than making mistakes. More than anything they want to own the outcome. Go-To process servers take responsibility and assert themselves when others shrink back. They learn from challenges when serving legal documents and they embrace opportunity to step in and take this difficult service of process that no one else wants.
Winners know that the distance between winning and losing is often a matter of inches. Go-To process servers are humbled by the knowledge that they can always fall short no matter how far they came. Despite any setbacks, successful process servers don't dwell on the moment or feel sorry for themselves that they lost that contract or missed that client. Go-To process servers know that learning entails a lot of losing. It may be losing a contract. It may be not charging enough for that hard service. But they never lose their stamina, confidence or will.
What separates them from other process servers is accountability. Go-To process servers do not make excuses or blame someone else. They don't play the victim or wallow in anger. They realize that they set the standard. Top professional process servers get back on their feet and lift their heads high.
Go-To process servers forge relationships. To succeed, everyone must believe in each other. Top process servers build connections with others, whether they are clients or peers. They look for ways to keep everyone involved, helping and finding ways too constantly become better at what they do.
There is one trait that unites top process servers and that is grace under pressure. They have mastered their emotions. Clients have confidence in them and are relaxed because top process servers stay calm themselves, even when the deadline is short. It is exactly what earns them the respect and loyalty of both legal professional clients and their peers.
Do you have the perseverance to be the Go-To Process Server in your area? The Process Server Center is here to help you every step of the way in your journey to the Top!