43. Paul Faust, Ring Boost Custom Attorney Phone Numbers & The Power Of Your Voice

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Paul Faust wants everyone to know his number. His company Ring Boost is America’s largest marketplace of custom phone numbers. But aren’t vanity numbers defunct in the age of digital marketing? Paul says no way (and he’s got the Inc 5000 fastest growing company listings to prove it!).

Today, we talk about the power of voice in the internet era, the real reason why your firm’s leads aren’t converting, why you should never use the number 4 in Chinese markets, and why, after appearing in an episode of The Office, becoming a Krav Maga master, and volunteering as a firefighter, Paul is still hungry for challenges.

Whats in This Episode:
Who is Paul Faust?
How did a softball tournament turn into a big business opportunity?
The difference between vanity numbers, easy dial numbers, and tracking numbers
The secret to creating your memorable attorney phone number
Why voice is still king in the digital marketing era
Should you choose 1-800 or a local area code?
The two firm management fails that no great vanity number can save you from

Transcript

Chris Dreyer

Paul Faust’s company is solid proof of synchronicity. 15 years ago, he would have never believed that a chance encounter at a softball tournament would turn into a huge business opportunity

Paul Faust

I said, “What do you do?” He’s like, “Well, I just sold my company and I started his phone number company.” And I’m like, “A what?”, “A phone number company!”. I’m like, “What the heck is that?” And we sat on the plane and he told me about the company. I’m like, my brain just exploded and I wrote all these ideas down and he’s like, “You got to come join me.”

Chris Dreyer

Today, we explore the powerful tool that is the memorable attorney phone number. We discover why your voice might just be your biggest asset, why you should never use the number four in Chinese markets, and how the heck Paul Faust ended up on an episode of The Office.
That’s coming up on The Rankings Podcast, the show where founders, entrepreneurs, and elite personal injury attorneys share their inspiring stories about what they did to get to the top and what keeps them there. I’m Chris Dreyer, stay with us.
Paul’s company Ring Boost hooks businesses up with personalized memorable phone numbers. That might seem like a kind of niche proposal on the face of it, but Ring Boost is so popular that it’s been included four times on the Inc 5000 list of fastest-growing American companies.

Paul Faust

What we do ultimately is provide toll-free and local numbers, vanity numbers, easy dial numbers, tracking numbers to business owners all over the country – we just happen to have a lot of clients who are lawyers – to help them get a better response from their marketing, be more memorable, standout. And then over the last six, seven years also, we added tracking numbers for people who were doing digital or certain mailers you want to track. So it’s all about connecting potential clients to a lawyer or a business via voice. That doesn’t mean I don’t think people should connect via the web and text and social media… it is another avenue that was neglected.

Chris Dreyer

Let’s, you know, for our audience – and specifically, we’re talking to mostly personal injury lawyers – so, what would be an example of say a vanity number and then maybe a popular repeater number?

Paul Faust

Alright, so, look, a vanity number, whether it be toll-free or local, would be like a number that ends in, you know, HURT NOW, INJUREd, MASS TORT, BAD TALC, CAR WRECK, those are vanity. They’re words, and it could be words or phrases. An easy dial pattern would be, you know, my area code (914) 222-2222, um, 213585 00 10 10, easy patterns and digits. And you can combine them. I have a lot of attorneys that’ll get a number of their local market that’s like 222-heart. Something that’s easy to stand out. You know, we see thousands of ad messages a day, so we need that… just, it sticks in the head. I don’t have to go look you up, makes referrals easier and, quite frankly, the human eye will just go to it, even if it’s put in an ad on a pay-per-click, there’s something about the eye going to an easy number?

Chris Dreyer

Let’s jump right into one of the most frequent uses of the phone number that I see, especially when on the road, let’s talk about billboards. Are you more of a proponent of say a repeater number – and I’m going to reference local, so we have Brown and Crouppen, they have six one eight and three, one four, two, two, two, two two, two, two, or something like St. Louis which would be Paige Law’s, they have 1-800-car crash. You know, is it both of these work, do you see one working better than the other, you know, specifically the personal injury attorneys listening, where would you kind of guide them on that decision?

Paul Faust

I think both work and both have their applications. I think some of it ties into how you market, you know. If you super want to be known as the local guy in St. Louis, I am St. Louis, I was born and bred, that’s my market, you might want to look at a 314, because it really says St. Louis. 213 says Los Angeles, things like that. But if your brand is Page Law, Page Law, Page Law, the 1-800 Page Law is a great number, right? I recommend having both! A toll-free number doesn’t mean national firm, it doesn’t mean I’m not local because if they can get to know you from your website and how you talk to them on the phone, if you operate multiple area codes, let’s say you operate statewide and you can’t get 314 636 Page Law on every market, so 1-800 Page Law is great. There’s also benefits to toll-free numbers where if something happens with a storm in the phone company, I could reroute the calls to another call center. You can’t block caller ID. So there’s a time and a place for both. The only time that this is my personal belief that I tend to recommend digits over words is if you’re going after ethnic markets- the Hispanic market, the Asian market, cause I don’t want trouble with translations and spellings. Um, so if I have lawyers who go after specific markets, I might say, let’s get an easy digit pattern. And then when you get into that, there’s whole theories behind that. Like in the Asian market, they don’t like fours. It’s an unlucky number. They like eights. So there’s all sorts of cool, fun things that we get to play with. But I recommend both and all, I think some of it ties into how else you market.

Chris Dreyer

Of course, the way we use phones today has changed. We’re not on the rotary phone or we’re not punching digits anymore. Yet, according to Paul, vanity numbers are more popular than ever. It’s all about memory, ease of use, and getting that direct dial because someone has to look you up online, someone with better SEO than you might just steal your lead.

Paul Faust

I think it’s about like, you know, you’ll see guys like Will Mattar – hurt in a car, call Mattar, just the fours, like, and then he owns what he’s using, which is the fours. Other guys like Elk Ohio use 1-800-ELKOHIO. So, I incorporate into the marketing and I’m not a marketing guy, I’m a phone number guy, but if your marketing is “We fight for you, we fight in St. Louis, we fight, we fight!” then you might not want a number that’s 1-800 HURTNOW, you might want 888-WE FIGHT. Or I did a campaign for a lawyer, which his campaign was: “Do you ever wonder why some lawyers get more for their clients? Do you want to know why they get more, call 844-GET MORE”. So it tied into the branding. So there’s a time and a place where it ties into the branding and another time where it’s just memorable. What are we seeing here… 3000 ads a day, maybe more, in this digital world? We’re getting bombarded. I just want to give you that little advantage where somebody knows how to reach you, or let’s say somebody says, I need a lawyer. Paul, I was in hurt in an accident. I go, Oh, you got to call my buddy Chris Dreyer. He’s awesome. What’s his number? I don’t know…it’s Chris Dreyer Law. They Google you cause they were in a motorcycle accident and they Google Chris Dreyer law. So I told them to find you and they had to Google you and right above you or right below you, it says St. Louis’s best motorcycle lawyer, never lost a case. Is there a chance that somebody might call that guy too, or fill out that lead form? So why am I going to drive someone to where your competitors might be? I am a huge proponent of digital marketing and social media marketing. If somebody finds you that way, it’s awesome and you should spend every dollar you could find to do it right. But if they find you offline from a referral, a radio, a billboard, taxi top, bus stop, why do you want them to go online to find your number? Look, I’ll tell you a great argument I use at conferences. I give them two scenarios. I’m like, “I can tell you 10 reasons why you should have a great number. Or we can make this really quick so you can get back to the conference. Why not? Like we’ll have a really short conversation? Why not?”. There’s only two reasons why someone might say why not one is “I can’t afford it.” Okay. But I have numbers that are two or three hundred dollars, not every number is 10, 30, 40,000. So we take the ‘I can’t afford it’ off the table. And the other one is I just don’t believe that a memorable number is better than seven random digits. And if that’s the fact that I just haven’t done my job, or maybe I’m just wrong, but what I’ve said to guys is, look, if I’m wrong, if Paul Faust is wrong, you spent a few hundred or a thousand dollars, you have a cool number and it doesn’t grow your business, oh well! But if I’m right, and it increases the response rates by even 3%, 5% something small. Could, could that change your business? So if I’m right, it could be a lot of money. If I’m wrong, you have a super cool number anyway, just like you have cool sneakers and everything else.

Chris Dreyer

I 100% agree with all of that. And it’s funny when you’re sitting and you’re talking, I’m thinking about when I was in college, some of the jingles I heard on the radio and I can still, their numbers are just beat into my brain. They had that catchiness to them and then driving in St. Louis I can immediately just call out, you know, Brown and Brown and Brown and Crouppen because they have these like very memorable phone numbers. And then I see some of the other billboards that I’m like focused in, I remember recording a video and I was just trying to remember the phone number and I couldn’t.

Paul Faust

It’s funny you said that, I was at a radio station talking to their sales reps and I said, “Look, I want you to, on your way home tonight, I want you to consciously listen to your radio station, conscious you listen” – which nobody does, you’re driving, you’re talking- “So when you get home, run inside, write down every phone number you can remember we’ll talk tomorrow”. And they got it, it’s just sort of intuitive. Are you in St. Louis?

Chris Dreyer

Yeah, I’m about 15 minutes away.

Paul Faust

Right. So let me ask you, have you ever heard 1-800-FLOWERS?

Chris Dreyer

Yeah.

Paul Faust

You know 1-800-FLOWERS, alright. So, just do me a favor- off the top of your head just give me the name of two or three other florists in St. Louis. Just to give me two or three, not 10. Just give me two or three and their phone numbers.

Chris Dreyer

I can’t do it. Edible arrangements. I don’t know theirs either.

Paul Faust

Right. So when you give a pitch and you’re talking about what you do, it’s very technical, it’s meta-tags, it’s keyword density, and it’s algorithm, it’s real. I can sit in my booth or talk to guys and I’ll bet you, you can’t tell me the last 1-800-FLOWERS ad you saw, you just know the number. And I’m not saying that’s the end all be all, I am not arguing that phone numbers is a key to success. It is an arrow in the quiver. It’s one weapon and too many people look at the phone number as just the utility, like the light switch. I challenged lawyers. I said, look, did you consciously pick your domain? Yeah. Your tagline. Yup. Your social media stop. Yeah. Did you pay someone to design a logo? Yeah. Did you have a couple of paint swatches before you pick the color paint in your office? Oh yeah. But then you let someone at the phone company just grabbed the next seven random digits off the pile. To me that is insane. Then why is your domain not www dot PQ app, personal injury? It’s insane to me that you would do all these things to build your brand and who you are and then just say, yeah, phone company, just throw me whatever you want, just pick the next one. And I don’t get it.

Chris Dreyer

Okay. So if you’re listening, you’re thinking, yes, I’m in. I want to create an unforgettable phone number or perhaps you’ve always wanted one, but you just can’t think of the perfect tagline, you don’t know how to fit it into your marketing strategy and you don’t know where to start. Don’t worry, I got you! I asked Paul to run through the process from a to Z so you can get it right the first time.

Paul Faust

You know, a lot of attorneys will come to me and say, I want to get a number, I want it to spell Zinewski. I’m like, you don’t even know how to spell your own name! So I try to talk to them. I’d like them to reach out to me. Are you local? Do you cover statewide, national, what’s your target market? Do you have a tagline? Go back and forth with them to find out what they like, what works with their business outlook. And you tell me you want 1-800-ZINEWSKI, I’ll try and find it, but I’m also going to tell you why I don’t like it. And people think I have to have hurt, or car wreck – no, like there’s a very successful firm out of Florida that’s ‘Ask Gary’, but he owns it. Everything has Ask Gary, Ask Gary so he brands it. Or ‘the hammer’, things like that. So it could be a tagline, what you do, it could be your first name. So I like to talk to people and we’d go back and forth, budgets, where you’re marketing, what’s available,. And then I try and narrow down for them. I like to white glove it, like, if people just don’t want to talk to me, they want to go to my website, just search on their own…go get it. But I like to talk to people. And I also have access to other numbers, I can be creative with them and it’s a process. Um, something that they just, that resonates with them. And at the end of the day, it has to resonate with them, not me. I’ll give them my advice, but it’s gotta be more like “that’s the one I like”. Great, then go with it. You know, maybe with SEO, you’ll hire one SEO company or you hire one pay-per-click company. With phone numbers, you can have one, you can have a hundred. If you don’t like the one you have, you can get rid of it. If you love the one you have, you can say, you know what? I want to get another one to test another campaign. So we can have lots of them. Um, and a lot of lawyers once they get one and they see how it works, they’re like, I want to get another, I wanna get another one. I’m like awesome. My product is phone numbers. What I really believe in is that voice matters. Your voice matters, who you are matters. It’s the greatest differentiator. You can’t empathize on a text message or a chatbot. You can’t go “Oh my God. Are you okay? Is your family, are you in a safe spot? Alright, I’m here to help you.” – I can’t do that in a text message with my tone, my intonation. When people are hurt, injured, like most of us don’t deal with this ever… maybe once in a lifetime. They want someone who could help, that’s going to take the pain away and guide them. And I can do that with my voice. It just lets them know that they’re safe and that I’m going to do my best to help them. But again, for certain things – like to get information, your mass tort case, you just want to learn about someone- the website, the content you put up, the images you put up, you know… we all know there’s a guy in the business, you know, that Crisp Video. He’s exactly the same as I am. He makes videos, but it’s all about telling who you are as a lawyer, why you got into it. It’s your voice. It’s not “I got 80 degrees and I get millions of dollars of settlements”, it’s “I got into this because, and I play softball and I do this and I just believe in it so much.”Um, I don’t want to be in a world where your bot talks to my bot and then eventually, you know, the world ends, two people don’t ever talk.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah, and I completely agree. Everyone has their phone at arms reach, right? And what’s interesting about that is that technology has advanced so much where everyone’s communicating digitally, email, and they miss out, like sometimes when you write an email and there’s inflection, you don’t know how to interpret it, you emphasize a different word. And I think that across all industries, legal, mine, everything, I’m a complete agreement, cause I think those soft skills, the EQ, the empathy, I mean, you get that through calling someone on the phone.

Paul Faust

Driving the call is one piece. It is critical. And I will say this to every lawyer listening, you can get a great number, it’ll drive you a million calls. You better make sure that you have taken the time to train your intake staff, that they know how to handle a call, they know how to express empathy. And we can have the best number and it increases your costs 5000%. If you don’t have good people on the phone, you took the time to train how to express empathy, how to get through the process – that is one, it is a skill and it’s not for everybody… it might not be for the lawyers. It’s professional. And number two is a case management system or CRM. I could be the best intake person in the world, I could empathize with Chris Dreyer, make sure I know everything about you and your family, I’ve got you taken care of, I know what makes you tick, I know what you like, I know when you’ve been hurt before. But if I don’t get that information to the other people at the firm, who cares what I know! The other lawyers or professionals paralegals only know what they know, as Harlan Schillinger, our dear friend said, “you only know what you know”. So if you don’t have good training and then a customer relations system or a case match, so I can pass that information, everything I learned, to everybody else…you’re going to fail. So I might even guys, I’ll ask people, do you have a system in place? It’s not just about getting a number so you just can make the phone ring all day, cause you’ll be wasting an opportunity.

Chris Dreyer

I think that’s a tremendous piece of advice. I think it’s applicable to any business because you know, you have your SDRs, you have your sales individuals, whatever you call them, you know, your rainmakers, whatever, but if they’re not transitioning that data to another individual through the handoff, there’s a loss in translation situation.

Paul Faust

Have you ever listened to calls to law firms? I’ve listened to the calls. Like when intake, people say, you know, say, “Do you handle that.. Kind of, you know… are you guys professional?” They’re like, “Oh yeah, we’re, we’re pretty good at that.” Like, “Hey, I’ve been hurt in an accident, I’d like to talk to an attorney” and then someone will say, “Oh my God, okay, can I get your number? Someone will call you back.” The marketing worked, Chris Dreyer did his job, Paul Faust did his job, your TV guy did his job, the call came in, this person’s hurt and you just say, “Oh yeah, let me get someone. They’ll call you back”. So it wasn’t the marketing, the phone number. It was, you didn’t think about your intake process, who’s answering your calls. So it all plays in, I’m just literally like the tool. I could buy you the nicest car, you gotta drive it and treat it right, you know, put the oil in it. So I’m just, again, one tool that’s, I believe, never going away. I think there’s a revision back to voice in this increasingly digital age where you see funny commercials saying, yeah, I don’t have voice jail. Hello? Hello? Press one, press three. I hang up. I want to talk to somebody. I wouldn’t even do business with a website that there’s not a phone number there. So I know that if I have a problem, I can call later to get it fixed.

Chris Dreyer

Because we all live in a digital world, it’s easy to write off the vanity or easy dial phone numbers as a thing of the past. But Paul is passionate about the power of voice as a differentiator that doesn’t just fit into your digital marketing plan, but actually enhances it. Now, while I had Paul on the line, I just had to ask him that one question that everybody wants the answer to…
So I was at the Crisp conference, Michael Mogills conference, and we met up after later and we were conversating and I went home the next day and I’m popping on The Office and boom! You pop up on The Office, the show, The Office. I take a screenshot, I text you. I was just blown away cause we just had spoke like literally the day before. So give me the recap. I mean, I got to ask you about it. So how did you end up on an episode of The Office?

Paul Faust

I’ll give you the 30,000 ft view. So my wife’s family created the show, uh, Greg Daniels, executive producer, Paul Leiberstein, his cousin is Toby and he was a writer. I was in LA on business, on phone number business, and I had a day to kill. So I said, can I come on set? So they said, yeah, come by. So I spent the day on the set and at one point they said, you want to meet the writers? So they brought me into the writer’s room. And it was just after a California earthquake.
So he said, this is my cousin. He’s a little crazy. Tell him about what you do. So for some reason, I don’t know why to this day, I told him about another business that I started called 1-800 repair. So I built a brand around a phone number 1-800 repair, which is preparedness kits. So I talked about it for three minutes and they’re like, alright, you gotta get outta here, we gotta work. So I leave the room. Unbeknownst to me, BJ Novak said “That guy’s got to be a character on the show”. So he wrote a character called Cool Guy Paul, the owner of a disaster kit company. And fast forward, six months later in my office in New York and I got a call from Paul Lieberstein saying, “Hey, it’s Paul. Hey, look, I don’t know if you’re shooting this or if you can even do it, but we wrote a character based on you. And we can’t find an actor to play the part. Do you want to audition to play the part?” And I’m like, alright, where’s the hidden camera, this is BS. But he was dead serious. Over the next hour, scripts came in, I had to read them, send it back, blah, blah, blah, casting. And they’re like “Alright, you got the part. We shoot at 9 am tomorrow, be in LA.” So it was just me being me. And I was passionate about the 1-800 prepare business. And I always tie it back to what I do for a living. Because it wasn’t the business. It was me and my personality and how I portrayed it. They audition actors all the time because they have to for SAG. They just couldn’t find someone that was me, that was my voice. So they asked me to play myself. So super cool story. Great life experience. I just don’t go around talking about it, but everybody finds it.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah, it’s amazing. I know I went right to Facebook and I was looking all over your Facebook and I had to ask you about it. I also want to ask you too – so you’re a volunteer firefighter and you study Krav Maga, you know, where, where does the drive come from to constantly be pursuing these new challenges?

Paul Faust

I think life is not about building your resume. It’s about building your life resume. I’m actually part of a program with a dear friend of mine who one of my mentors named Jesse Itzler – he created a course called Build Your Life Resume. And then now another one called the Big Ass Calendar Club. And it’s all about your life residence. We get one go around, like as Jesse says, you’re on a bus, the bus doesn’t stop. So for me, it’s not about the things. It’s about experiences. It’s about trying things and doing things. So I was passionate about firefighting. I want to do it. So I do it. I like Israeli martial arts. I do it. I love charity stuff, so I give back as much as I can. I am not trying to collect things. I’m trying to collect experiences in my life. And inspire everyone I touch, try new things, challenge myself, you know because I think it makes you who you are. And, and I would caution this to any personal injury attorney, even if you’re young, starting out: working 47 hours a day, nine days a week, isn’t going to make you a better lawyer. People are going to hire YOU. You have to find the balance of your family, your interests, your life. It will come across in who you are and why people want to do business with you.

Chris Dreyer

That’s wonderful. And I think everyone listening is probably kind of reflecting on, you know, am I just in the daily grind? What am I doing to create these experiences?
So I think that’s a great piece of advice.

Paul Faust

They interviewed a lot of wealthy people and they said, why do you work so hard? And the answer was so I could have money, so I could spend time and do things with my friends and family. And then they say, what is your biggest regret in life? And they’ll say all the time I spent working to make money, I couldn’t spend time with my family and friends. So it’s a balance. And I think that I am better in my job. I’m a better boss. I’m a better person. I’m a better father. I’m a better friend. Because I live and I experience and I challenge myself and learn new things. And I think that balancing act makes you better all around.
So I just, it’s just the passion I live by. I even got my first tattoo at 50 years old that says no zero days. I don’t have a zero-day. Go do something with every day, and it could be sit in a park and read a book – that’s a no zero-day. It could be learned something. It could be inspire somebody. It could be work your butt off, but I just don’t want to zero days. You don’t know when the bus ride is going to end.

Chris Dreyer

So Paul, as we come to a close here, we’ve got a new segment. It’s a 3 for 3 – it’s a quickfire round, so, kind of shoot from the gut. Uh, I’m going to ask you three questions, so I’m gonna jump right in. And the first one’s not going to be a surprise, SEO or PPC?

Paul Faust

SEO.

Chris Dreyer

Good answer. Uh, which entrepreneur do you admire the most?

Paul Faust

Wow, Jesse Itzler. One of my coaches. Incredible, changed my life.

Chris Dreyer

Amazing. Uh, what would you tell personal injury attorneys looking to grow their business?

Paul Faust

Learn from other attorneys. There’s people in this industry who’ve been there, done that, and there’s a lot of people willing to share. Even guys in your own market. You’re not all competitors, there’s a big market out there. Ask, be willing to learn from other people’s mistakes, be humble, learn, learn, learn. And when you go to a conference, you can learn as much from the vendors outside who often know more about how to get cases in the market than attorneys do. So just keep learning, be humble, ask for help. And even your competitors will guide you because that’s the way things are supposed to be. And I encourage everyone to do it.

Chris Dreyer

Excellent advice there from Paul Faust. The personal injury space is hyper-competitive, but as we prove every week on The Rankings Podcast, there are so many people with a wealth of expertise who are really generous with their time and want to help. There’s tons more information about unforgettable phone numbers on the Ring Boost website. Or, better yet, just give Paul Faust a call. He’s at (914) 200-0013 that’s (914) 200-0013. Don’t forget it!

You’ve been listening to The Rankings Podcast, I’m Chris Dreyer. A big thanks to Paul Faust for joining us today. You can find all of the links from today’s conversation in the show notes, and be sure to hit the subscribe button to get future episodes. Thanks for joining us. We’ll see you next time.

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