UPDATE 1/16/19: Getting law firm reviews is SO important to your law firm that you should make it part of your system. This ensures that it gets done – and gets done every time. Check out this new article on the importance of having systems: The Perfect Law Firm Has Systems For Bathroom Visits
A couple of weeks ago I was talking to PILMMA Platinum Mastermind member, Melissa Emery, about how she has grown her practice since joining in the summer of 2017.
Melissa joined PILMMA immediately after opening her own law practice last year in Louisville, KY. She has used a number of low-cost strategies and grassroots tactics to grow her caseload, including online reviews. She knows how important online reviews are in generating new cases for her law firm. (Click here to read our exclusive case study on how Melissa Emery rapidly grew her law firm.)
“I got two cases last month,” said Melissa, “where both said, ‘We didn’t want a TV lawyer. We Googled ‘lawyers near me’, we saw your reviews. Based on your reviews, we went to your website. Based on what your website said, we set up an appointment. But it started with seeing those reviews.’”
Disappearing Law Firm Reviews
Melissa told me that a lot of her reviews had been removed by Google.
“We did have, at one point, 176 reviews on Google,” she said. “A lot of them, that was the only review they ever gave. So Google didn’t like that, and over time, deleted them. And we made a big push in our office a year ago for reviews, and it turns out when you get a whole bunch at once, Google doesn’t like that either.”
So I’m going to share here in this article the same advice I shared with Melissa about how to get more reviews consistently – and have them stick without being removed.
I figured out the best systems for getting reviews and testimonials by working backwards from the desired outcome. Melissa thinks the same way. You start with the end goal in mind, and work backwards to work out each step that ensures it will happen.
Melissa mentioned an insight that Ken recently shared at a PILMMA Mastermind meeting.
“When you settle the case and give the client their check, if you ask them, ‘Will you please post an online review?’ – they totally mean it when they say, ‘Of course I will,’” said Melissa.
“But Ken said, ‘The second they leave your office, where are they going? The bank! With the check! Then home and dinner. Boom. Done. Forgotten. No review.’”
That’s brilliantly simple insight there from Ken. I’d never wondered about specifically what law firm clients were thinking about when they drove out of the parking lot for the last time, never to be seen again.
I just knew that they were being allowed to drive away without getting a review or testimonial out of them.
They’re thinking about banking that check.
It’s so obvious.
And so is the solution.
Solution #1 – Get The Review
“We’re going to ask clients to post a review on their phone, while they’re in the office,” said Melissa.
“We’ll offer to get them a drink or check on their paperwork, to give them a few minutes to post it.”
Melissa is smart. She gets what needs to happen because she’s serious about getting online reviews. She’s not just paying lip service to the idea.
“With 56 reviews, which is not a whole lot if you think about it, in the scheme of things, we’re light years ahead of most law firms in this area,” says Melissa. “We’re spending just a fraction of what they are spending on marketing.”
And that’s the point. 5-star online reviews can make a big difference to a law firm’s caseload, and for practically no cost. Free even.
Don’t Chase The Review
Instead of letting your client peel out of your parking lot with their check, and then chasing them for an online review, do something while they’re still in your office.
Just like Melissa, get your clients to post a review on their phone, while you leave them alone for a few minutes to take care of some business, whether real or imaginary.
Do not chase the review. It means you moved too late. Remember, I said to start with the end goal in mind and work backwards.
If your end goal is for your client to post an online review, then it does not make sense to let them drive out of your parking lot first.
Make it easy for them to do it while they’re still with you. Do it while they still need and want you – because you haven’t brought them their check yet.
It’s just thinking about the choreography you need to have happen.
But what if you knew that doing a little more would yield massive results for your law practice? What if investing a little more time and money had a dramatic effect on your ability to get new 5-star reviews for your law practice – like clockwork?
So here’s what I suggested to Melissa.
Solution #2 – No More Review Removals
Those reviews that get moderated and removed as possible ‘SPAM’ by Google, because they’re the client’s first review from a brand new account – that is in your power to fix.
If the review for your law practice was your client’s second Google review, rather than their first, it’s much more likely to stick. And even more so if the account wasn’t brand new when they reviewed your law firm.
So here’s the advice: Help your client review another business, and even help them set up their Google account – during the intake process.
Paying It Forward
You can explain it to your clients as “paying it forward”. They’re going to help other people, just like them, to find great legal representation. All they have to do is post an online review when you’ve got a positive result in their case.
That helps them understand the value of a review, and not just to you. It helps other people, and enables your client to be a problem-solver.
Then by helping them set up their account and review a different business, they’re paying it forward right there, by posting a 5-star review for their favorite restaurant, craft store, local plumber or lawn guy.
But it helps you and your law firm.
Start The Conversation During Intake
By getting your client to review a different business during intake, it means that when your client comes to review your firm in six months or two years time, it won’t be their first online review. And it won’t be a brand new account.
This does something else: It changes the topic of the conversation to online reviews. Starting the conversation during intake is what sets you up for success.
Don’t just go through the motions. Instead, have a conversation with your client about what you want from them at the end. Explain to them what they and their online review mean to your practice and how it helps potential clients. Get their buy-in and commitment.
Do that when you’re opening their case, and your request for an online review won’t be a surprise when you close their case.
As far as helping your clients set up their Google account and review a different business, maybe you don’t like the sound of that. Maybe you think that’s too complicated to get involved with and not worth the time of anybody in your law practice.
Melissa thinks it’s worth it.
I asked her if she thought an online review was worth as much as $500 to her law firm.
“A review is worth more than $500. It’s worth one case,” said Melissa. “So of course it’s worth 15 minutes of an admin assistant or paralegal’s time to make sure it happens.”
Those Two Tips Again
To summarize what I’ve written above, those two tips are:
- Get your client to post an online review for a different business during the intake process.
- Get your client to post an online review for your law firm using their phone – while they are still in your office, and before you give them their check.
Honestly, if you don’t think that’s worth doing, that’s great for law firm owners like Melissa. The law firms that will do this will reap the rewards and leave the nay-sayers behind.
If you’re serious about getting 5-star online reviews and testimonials for your law firm, then you should sign up for a PILMMA Gold membership to get access to our “Fast Start Program”. It includes the ultimate step-by-step guide to getting testimonials and online reviews for your law firm – like clockwork
For more information and to get 3 months of PILMMA membership for the price of a single month, go to http://TryPILMMA.com
About the Author
Simon Aronowitz is known as the “Testimonial Guru”. He literally wrote the book on getting and using testimonials and online reviews, which legendary copywriter, Dan Kennedy, described as “Clever, thorough, well done.” Simon has been involved with PILMMA, off-and-on, since 2011 and has spoken at several PILMMA events. Recently, Simon worked with Ken on the social proof section of the PILMMA “Fast Start” Program.
Simon lives in London, England. You can find him online at Simon Says Marketing.