When I first went into legal practice for myself, I didn’t really understand much about business or marketing. Of course that’s changed with years of experience.
Without that valuable experience, I didn’t really understand that there is a process behind getting a new client. I thought that if I place an ad in the Yellow Pages, announcing my services, some people would hire me.
As I grew wiser with experience, I began to track all my marketing. That enabled me to know what worked and what didn’t, and how much it cost me to get each new case via each marketing channel.
I also learned that clients generally don’t hire you on the spot, unless they’re in a bind. At the very least, I would have to follow up with potential clients to get their paperwork or find out if they had any outstanding questions.
But even back then, when advertising meant TV, radio and Yellow Pages, the same rules applied in marketing if you knew what you were doing. You’d pay so much to advertise to a thousand people with your message. TV stations, radio stations, billboards and newspapers all worked the same way.
And you knew that just because your message reached 100,000 people, that didn’t guarantee they actually saw it. If you knew your numbers then you’d know that for every 100,000 people reached with your message, you’d get X number of clients.
The Internet hasn’t really changed that pricing model (except for pay-per-click) but it has complicated what you need to do to get a new client.
The Internet enables such a free flow of information, from blogs and videos to Social Media and online reviews, that you have to work harder to sweep your new client out of the clutches of a competitor.
It’s still a numbers game, but like the evolution of video games over the years, there are a lot more levels you have to play now to win the game. You can’t just run an ad and get clients. You have to provide more than your competitor. More information. More knowledge. More communication. More value.
You don’t land a new client just by running an ad – and you don’t get a new client just because they landed on your website. You have to work for it, or at least you need your content and follow-up to work hard and convert that potential client into an actual client.
Leads and Follow-Up
Yes, it’s all about the follow-up. Today’s technology enables businesses to follow-up with leads in so many different ways.
Just because you run a law practice, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be trying to drum up leads and then systematically follow-up with them.
It’s not purely the domain of a typical salesman or woman. You might expect repeat follow-up from the salesman at your local car dealership or for a new practice management system.
So why should you be any different? Because you’re a lawyer?
If you needed a lawyer yourself and had to look at the marketplace and choose a firm, would you make a spur-of-the-moment decision? Or would you appreciate a law practice that earned your business? Wouldn’t you find value in a systematic follow-up that educated you about the firm and how they would handle your affairs?
I know I would.
Does your mind create a picture of a sleazy car salesman when I suggest that you pursue a systematic follow-up to convert leads into clients and get the business?
It shouldn’t. It’s not unethical to follow-up with a potential client, even multiple times, to offer them more information or seek to answer any questions that they have.
I said in the title of this blog post, “Think like a salesman”.
Today you find everybody is following up to try and get business. Online retargeting ads are a follow-up of sorts, designed to try and nudge the prospect into taking action. Nobody thinks it’s unethical.
Nor should you think it unethical to follow up with a potential client.
It’s one of the most fundamental things we teach at PILMMA: think traffic, leads, follow-up and conversion. That’s how you get clients.
When a new member joins PILMMA and they have a chaotic approach to marketing and growing their caseload, one of the first things they need to do is shift their thinking. They have to start thinking like a salesperson to get on the right track. They have to start thinking the numbers game: traffic, leads, follow-up and conversion.
Once you’re working with that framework, it’s easy to see how much each lead is costing you. It’s also easy to see how little you have to spend to convert leads into clients. It’s still a numbers game.
However it’s the shift in thinking that enables you to analyze each step in your process for getting new clients.
I’ve explained before how important follow-up is for successfully signing new cases and at a reasonable cost. But I never said, “Think like a salesperson”.
When I’ve seen law firms with a poor follow-up, or even none at all, and the owners asked me what I recommend as a strategy for more clients, the advice is always the same: “Fix your follow-up”.
In every case it’s made a huge difference, and those law firm owners did not suddenly feel like sleazy salespeople.
But if it takes telling a lawyer to think like a salesperson, to shake them out of their faulty thinking, then that’s what needs to be done.
To convert leads into clients, you first have to have leads. That means you need to capture information from each caller or website visitor so that you can then follow up with them.
No capture of information means no leads. If that’s what you’re doing, then you’re depending entirely on potential clients hiring you immediately. And we know that doesn’t happen very often.
98% of visitors to your website will leave it without taking any action. So if you aren’t capturing contact information from your website visitors, then you’re paying a load of money for nothing.
You can flip that by turning those visitors into leads. You’ll convert some of them into clients and transform your return on investment in getting that traffic in the first place. And the same deal with people who call your office.
Thousands of website visitors or hundreds of callers don’t mean anything if they don’t translate into new clients and cases. It’s follow-up that makes the difference.
And remember, if you’re concerned about implementing a systematic follow-up for your law practice, your competitors are not concerned about it. They’re already doing it.
So if you want more cases for your law practice, but you’re focused only on leads, start thinking like a salesperson and fix your follow-up.
Getting new leads and then following up with them are two of the 7 Secrets To Getting More Clients For Your Law Practice, my free e-book which you can download by clicking on the banner below.