The Man Behind the 9s: George Sink on Legal MarketingJul 22,2020 / Law Firm Marketing
Eric Elliott of VIP Marketing sits down with George Sink of George Sink P.A. Injury Lawyers to talk the man behind the 9s, where he came from, his success, and advice for people aspiring to become an attorney.
Get to Know “The All 9s” Guy
George Sink moves to South Carolina from Michigan after attending Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia.
Why South Carolina?
Sink joined the Marine Corps before college. He fell in love with South Carolina while at Parris Island.
“South Carolina, heaven on Earth.”
Recalling the feeling the Southern Hospitality from fellow Marines, Sink instantly knew he wanted to call South Carolina home.
George Sink the Marine
Starting out as a middle school teacher in Michigan, Sink saw Marines landing in Vietnam in the 1960s.
Sink recalls the emotional moment, saying he began crying as the events unfolded.
In that moment, Sink realizes that there was something else in him, a sense of duty.
“I’m a duty-driven person. What’s your duty? What is your duty in this situation? And my duty in that situation was to help my country when my country needed help.”
He joins the Marines so he could serve his country by being onshore in Vietnam.
Sink tells of the “Finest group of men I’ve ever been associated with.” From athletes to accomplished leaders, he remembers being immeasurably impressed by the fellow Marines.
He says it was a great challenge, thrill, and honor to be a Marine.
“.. to this day, to be able to say, I am a Marine. ”
The experience allows Mr. Sink to qualify for the GI bill, then save some money since he was still fighting in Vietnam.
And thanks to the GI bill’s timing, Sink was able to return home and put his dreams of becoming a lawyer into action.
A Marine’s Duty to a Lawyer’s Duty
After apprenticing for 3 years, Sink takes on the task of opening his own law firm.
While not an easy ride, Sink finds some of his best lessons from getting his feet off the ground.
“I did litigation for people, the hard stuff, the things that the busy lawyers didn’t want to do, the difficult cases. But by doing that, I learned all the secrets of how to handle difficult cases.”
Shortly thereafter, Sink is asked by an insurance company to represent the police, firefighters, teachers, and government employees of Charleston, South Carolina.
Little does Mr. Sink know, another lesson that would alter his path was on the horizon.
“I learned while I was there how the insurance companies work. What’s important to them? What makes them move for you? What buttons do you push? And I always had a great experience. I worked, and I learned to like them too. I like those people, but they are in a different business than I am. They’re in the business of making money. I’m in the business of making people happy.”
This move pushes Sink to develop a new concept for his monumental law firm.
In the 1900s, George Sink P.A. Injury Lawyers was born.
What’s the Difference?
PA is a professional association. Injury lawyers, meaning that’s what we do. That’s all we do. We only help injured people and we only help them on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid until they do. It comes off the top. We’re very happy that way and our clientele is too, it keeps growing and growing.
Developing an ‘Attorney’ Character
“Character is your fate.”
Sink tells Elliott that he has a “people-first mentality” that comes from his family values.
His parents, a teacher and factory worker, came through the depression, saving what they could.
Sink recalls his parents would only buy the cheapest items they could find.
These families values push Sink to always want to “treat people like queens and kings.” He says he wants to pay it forward.
He made a vow to himself to always put people first, using the customer’s always right, the client’s always right, philosophy.
He believes this mindset sets the word-of-mouth construct for GSPAIL. Friends will tell friends, family tells family.
“That’s a life philosophy that I’ve adopted. And if that doesn’t suit others, that’s fine. There’s plenty of good lawyers out there, but this is what separates us from the pack.”
Sink recalls a medical malpractice claim incident with a friend. He remembers asking his friend why he didn’t sue.
This moment fell hard on Sink.
This lesson would soon help Sink realize the Bible for GSPAIL was “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
“…why do you want to influence people? Because I know the path that they should take when they’re in a personal injury case. I know what they should do. Now how do you convey that to them? By being their friend. By giving them the alternatives, explain them to them, and help them to get to the right decision.”
Calling All Nines!
George Sink is one of the most influential people when it comes to attorney advertising.
Sink says being genuine and warm, being a human as opposed to a stiff lawyer is a key to his 20+ years of success.
He does not want to be known as an ancient lawyer or an outdated lawyer.
Sink says he wants his advertising to be fun. He hopes that the “all nines” helps with that ‘human’ aspect.
“… all nines, the number, to anybody who’s interested in getting a hold of us. Now, why that? Because it’s easy to remember and I want to make it easy for people who are in need of legal help and can get a hold of us.”
He hopes GSPAIL commercials make people laugh and let them know that the law firm is filled with nice people that can help in their time of need.
Law Firm Growth
From the birth of George Sink P.A. Injury Lawyers in the ’90s to now.
You can find the ‘All 9s’ guy throughout South Carolina and Georgia.
As of 2019, GSPAIL has 45 lawyers. Even though the law firm continues to grow, you can find Sink on the other side of the phone from time to time.
Sink knows the importance of being heard.
” We will even go to them, and we even do that on the weekends. Saturdays, Sundays, nights, we’re available by phone. So if people have trouble, we are there. And of course, it’s all nines, whatever your local area code is, it’s all nines baby.”
Sink says the ‘all nines’ is not only fun for advertising, but it’s easy to remember for when you do need a lawyer.
Advertising for a Law Firm
There was a time when lawyers and hospitals did not advertise.
Sink says it was seen as unprofessional.
Now, a law firm is seen as a business, and you must promote your business.
“You want to let them know this is what we do. We help people who are injured. George Sink PA Injury Lawyers. That’s what we do. We help people who are injured. Automobile wrecks, people hurt on the job, various other injuries.”
There are plenty of personal injury attorneys. Sink explains this is why what GSPAIL does is in their name.
Advertise who you are, not who you want to be. Show compassion and humanity.
Advice for a Young Lawyer
“I got lucky.”
Sink says many things “worked out” for him.
After he left his apprenticeship, he went out to into the world taking on the biggest and hardest cases he could find.
He says this was one move that helped him in the long run.
Sink was able to learn from the plaintiff’s side – the injured people; and from the insurance company’s side.
Knowing what both parties are fighting for and what problems each has helped Sink become a better attorney.
What makes their world go round? Why do you settle more cases in December than you doing in February? Because they’re adjusting their books. I know all this stuff. I know what to do to make the world work for my clients.
Do not be afraid to ask to be someone’s apprentice.
Sink says if you can get some experience from a seasoned professional that knows what they’re doing, then you need to ask them all the questions you can.
Any experience helps.
Whether it’s CLEs, Continuing Legal Education, or an apprenticeship or shadowing an individual for some time.
Take notes, study your craft. But always take any opportunities that may arise.
“Many people go and they learn, but they don’t do anything. You’ve got to do something.”
Take what you learn and apply it. Find out what you can learn from real-life scenarios.
Have A Niche.
“Don’t bring back the book and say, I’ll do it all. Don’t do it. What you want to do is you want to incorporate one or two things from that seminar.”
Make sure your basics are down, your fundamentals; Get them straight so that it’s second nature.
You never think about it. Get your fundamentals down so that you can function when the pressure’s on.
Marketing Experts are a Must
There are many mediums for advertising these days.
Whether it’s television or online, you need an expert.
Sink says he makes sure to listen to the advice of Elliott and his team.
Listen, have discussions.
There’s no shame in learning.
“People go to lawyers because they just don’t know the tricks of the insurance company. I do, and I don’t know the tricks of the media, and you do. And you know which way the wind’s blowing, and so I think it’s critical to be humble and ask for advice from people who know what they’re doing, and surround yourself with those people, and let them carry you to success.”
At the same time, make sure you know your character and communicate that to your team.
“But within those confines, if it’s all that I’m going to consider doing it, and you get good advice from people who care about you, and you try to be happy, and have fun along the way, and life gets to be a joy.”