Four PILMMA members who have experienced recent social outreach and marketing successes for their firms join President Ken Hardison to share their ideas.
The broadcast is now starting. All attendees are in listen only mode. Good afternoon folks, and welcome to today’s<inaudible> webinar. Our guest today is Liz Wendling and she will be talking to us about resetting our consultation approach. A couple of things before I turn the meeting over to Liz, everyone today is in listen only mode. That means that if you have a question,
please use the questions tab on your go to webinar software. At the end of Liz’s presentation, she will ask for questions. I will feel those questions and Liz will be providing an answer. A recording of today’s webinar is available on the<inaudible> website for all Hilma members it’s available at<inaudible> dot org. That’s P I L M M a.org. If you are not a member of Helma,
this same webinar will be available on our Corona virus, survival kit page, and that is available from the front of our website as well. That’s it for me? I’m going to turn over the presentation to Liz here. Just a second. There we go. Liz, I have made you the presenter. Okay. And it looks like I just have to click one thing.
Can you see my screen? Yes, I can. And we’re on our way. Alright. Okay. Well hello and welcome to the webinar on reset your intake and consultation approach and win more business. How COVID-19 changed the way the legal consumer buys legal services and retains attorneys. I’m going to try to move my screen. All right. Oh, there it is.
We’re doing it. Okay. Sorry about that. All right. So these types of challenges that we’re facing today, always, always, always give rise to opportunities and those who make smart, strategic and intentional decisions now will emerge stronger. On the other side of this crisis. Success in the future is always determined by the actions you take today. There is no better opportunity than right now.
COVID-19 is what’s been called the global reset button and a shakeup as big as this one presents the perfect time to shop in your skills, to be more innovative and put your practice and your processes under the microscope to discover more impactful ways to build a value, credibility, and trust and align with the new legal consumer. So over our time together today, my goal is to shine the light on why some of the things that you’re doing in your current intake or your consultation process may be costing you clients opportunities and profits.
Some have no place in the intake process or consultation process any more. They actually didn’t even belong there five years ago and they don’t belong there now. So we’re going to talk about why some of the methods that you’re currently using for connecting and communicating and engaging with potential clients may actually be repelling them versus attracting them. And I will give you some specific examples and phrases that are actually outdated and old school,
and tend to decrease your trust and credibility. So we can fix that today. And then finally, we’re going to discuss why your intake process and consultation approach no longer aligns with the way people hire attorneys and by legal services. So again, I am Liz<inaudible> and I’m the rainmaking coach for attorneys, and I’m the author of the rainmaking mindset for attorneys and consultations that convert.
I work with attorneys and law firms nationwide on helping them to modernize their lead conversion approach, language and process. So they can maximize their marketing dollars and align with the savvy legal consumer. And I teach them the updated and modern skills and the framework around how to convert expensive marketing leads into happy clients who give lots of referrals. I understand how people make decisions and what your potential clients need and want in a conversation or a consultation in order for them to feel comfortable and confident in their decision to retain you.
And I just don’t teach attorneys what to say and how to say it. I teach them why it matters, why it matters more today than ever before. It matters that you are having strong, purposeful, intentional conversations and consultations that today’s legal consumers, not only appreciate they notice. And there’s another side to my consulting practice. That is what I called my fun side of my practice.
And I’m a law firm, secret shopper and law firms hire me to go undercover, to pose as an ideal client and give them an honest and in depth, look at their practice through the eyes of a potential client in real time. And I give them the good, the bad, and the very interesting, and these firms want to know what’s causing ideal clients from not retaining that they want to know why ideal clients are leaving their firm without retaining them.
And they hire me to find out why their dollar spent in marketing are not coming back to them in the form of clients and new business or showing up in their bottom line. They’re looking for the evidence of where the breakdown is occurring in their consultation and their intake process. And then once it’s uncovered and brought to the surface, they hire me to fix it and,
and they want to fix it on the deepest level. They want to fix it for good. They don’t want to put a patch, a bandaid on it. They want to fix it. So they are a firm of the future, not a, from stuck in the past. So posing as an ideal client, I will call their for, I will talk to an intake professional,
or schedule a face to face or phone consultation with an attorney. And I go to work. I take on the persona, the mindset and the emotion of an ideal client who is ready to retain and I’ve secret shopped, uh, industries, or, or, uh, practice areas of personal injury, bankruptcy, family, law, estate, planning, and DUI.
And what I do is when I’m on these calls or, or face to face in person meetings, I’m assessing everything from the opening to the closing, from the hello to the goodbye and everything in between I’m scrutinizing what their team does well, and also evaluating what they’re doing that is clashing with the legal consumer and causing enormous amounts of money. Sometimes five figures up to six figures to leave their firm and benefit the competition.
Because the reality is, if someone doesn’t hire you, they’re likely retaining your competition. That means your marketing dollars are feeding the competition’s bottom line and all the potential for referrals, wind up going to them. So today is about giving yourself the best opportunity to be perceived as a trusted, invaluable resource by your potential client and be their first choice. Because coming in second is very costly.
Your intake calls and your consultations make or break everything in your practice. Every call, every consultation presents an opportunity to win business or send it somewhere else. And you are the only one that can stop that from happening. So let’s dive in and talk about the areas in a law firm that I often see out of balance when it comes to lead generation and lead conversion marketing and sales marketing is lead generation sales is lead conversion.
Can’t get around that marketing and lead generation gets you known, and it gets the phone to ring. That’s it? That is the purpose of your marketing is to get your phone to ring and get you noticed. Now, once that works, your sales and your lead conversion skills kick in, and that’s what helps you convert marketing leads into clients and close business.
You need leads and they come from marketing and you need someone to hire you. And that happens when you have a fully functioning lead conversion process, a process with no holes, no blind spots and no missing steps. The, uh, the friends that I’m working with right now have told me, they knew they had a sneaking suspicion that their intake process wasn’t perfect,
but it was doing okay. They knew that they were likely losing some business to some inferior intake calls. And they also knew that their attorneys were likely doing a mediocre job in their initial consultations, because attorneys would keep hearing objections such as, uh, depending on your practice area. I can’t afford it. Your fees are too high. I’m still meeting with other firms or I’ll get back to you.
I’m not ready to retain yet. And to them that wasn’t good enough anymore. Those objections meant something was happening in the consultation room that was causing someone to not leap over the desk and want to sign a retainer. They wanted their team to be at their highest and best self. Every time that phone call came in, and every time they met with a potential client,
they wanted their team on their a game every single time, because when they aren’t, it results in more lost business and let’s face it. It’s always easier to close business in times of abundance when things are good, it’s easy to have an attitude event. You win some, you lose some, and you may get a little sloppy or lacks in your skills,
but with a wider margin forever and ever in the past, your skills didn’t need to be as sharp. Not anymore, not anymore. They have to be sharp now because when the Gates of freedom open up again, you cannot drag your old skills into the new world with a new consumer. And just for a moment, imagine if you can convert just one or two more leads into clients each week,
what would that mean for your bottom line? If you did that math in your head, what would that mean? And I would wager it’s usually about tens of thousands of dollars of additional revenue to your firm, and that is possible. So we’re going to dive in and now talk about how to reset your process so that it aligns with the legal consumer and the way that they hire attorneys and bilingual services.
And how can you convert more of your marketing leads into happy invested clients. One of the ways to achieve this is to scrutinize what happens in the first few moments, sometimes seconds of an intake call into your firm. And I call that opening is the new closing. There is something happening in the first few seconds of a phone call that cannot be ignored and it’s happening with,
you know, it or not, or like it or not. The brain of the color, the brain of your potential client is scanning and thinking as you’re interacting with them, do I like the way this person is treating me? Do I like the way they’re engaging with me? Is this person someone I can trust? Are they listening to me? Do I believe them?
Do you like get a good feeling when I’m talking to them? Do they make me feel important? Can I see myself working with this firm? And the most important is this, do I get a sense that this firm actually cares about me? Or are they just going through the motions? Now this is happening. Every single time you’re interacting with a potential client.
This is happening. Every time we are interacting with someone who may, we may be buying something from. So get used to the fact that this is happening. And if what you’re doing when you’re showing up, or the way that your phone is being picked up, this can be a big blind spot for a lot of firms, because a lot of times people are picking up the phone going right into autopilot.
And I’ll give you some examples of that. When prospects don’t get a good feeling about you and your firm, they disconnect from you. They actually just disconnect and they go down to the next attorney on the list and in an instant business is lost. So have you given much thought to how people feel when they contact your firm? What’s the first impression a potential client gets when they contact you or your firm?
Have you considered, if your intake team is truly connecting and making a positive impression, or are they going through the motions? Because here’s what happens when I’m secret shopping? Uh, about 60% of the time, maybe a little bit higher. Sometimes when I’m secret shopping, I experience a busy intake professional answering the phone in a very rushed manner. And they’ll say,
XYZ law firm, please hold it’s quick. And it’s rude. They XYZ law firm. And I can tell they’re in the middle of doing something else, but they didn’t take an extra three seconds to answer the phone in a way that made me feel warm and welcome. And I hold and I hold. And when they come back, all they say to me,
is this, how can I help you quick and rude, not, Oh, I’m sorry you were on hold or sorry. I had to do that to put you on hold for a few minutes. How can I help you now, if I was a real client, I would have hung up immediately because I would have felt snugged and not treated like I was a human being on the other end.
It wasn’t ORM and it wasn’t welcoming. And it sounded like the firms that I’m calling are too busy to be nice and too busy to take the time, to truly take a pause, connect with me and make me feel important. And we’ve all experienced someone who didn’t take the time to make us feel welcomed or in that, in that way, where we were the only person that mattered to them.
And in a few short seconds, thousands or tens of thousand dollars are lost because the intake call is what starts at all the intake. Tall sets the tone of what that potential client is thinking. And right away, they’re thinking, well, if that’s the way they answer the phone, then who knows what they’re like. If I decided to work with them.
And a lot of times they’ll just disconnect. And when that intake professional comes back on the phone, that person is gone and that’s because of how they answered the phone in that rush manner. So I always tell people, call you from a couple of times and see how people are lead. Your intake are answering the phone. And remember this, your intake person is not just taking calls.
They are starting and having conversations with prospective clients who are making a snap decision about your firm in an instant. Again, they are quickly deciding do I like this firm or not? Should I just go down the list and call someone else? Top notch? Initial client contact is your best marketing tool, a knockout client experience. Isn’t just about being friendly and courteous.
It’s about swiftly impressing your clients with an efficient process and exceptional communication. And in those rare times where someone is answering the phone in a rushed manner, having a process that allows that person, yes, I just rushed you, but now you have my full intention. That’s enough to make somebody lean in and listen to you. If you acknowledge that, that just happened because every time your firm receives,
whether it’s a contact, Warren takes a phone call or greets a prospective client in the lobby, your staff has an opportunity to form either a memorable high impact event or a lackluster forgettable one again, within seconds. And that’s happening on the phone call that very first initial phone call, but here’s, what’s happening inside the consultation room. And I’m going to go a little bit deeper into that a little bit later,
but when I’m doing a secret shopping in person consultation, I may enter the consultation room. And the attorney is either in there comes in after I’ve already been seated, tourney shakes. My hand introduces themselves, and maybe we chat for 20 or 30 seconds. And then they go right into this question or a variation of this. So what brings you in today?
And when I hear that unusually floored, because I think to myself, don’t, you know, I am here. I filled out a form, or I talked to your intake professional. I’ve already told somebody why I’m here. This is no way to make someone feel warm and welcomed at your firm. And this is one more instance where business can be lost in the first few moments,
I’ve made it into your consultation room. And in the first few moments, it could be blown by the attorney, not knowing why I’m there. And another client leaves because of the way they’re treated. So, like I said, we’ll talk about this a little bit, a little bit more first impressions matter. And there are many firms and attorneys who know this and they preach this,
but they have not checked to see if they’re creating a first impression that creates that wow factor. They don’t even take the time and call their own firm to get a sense of what does that first impression feel like because of bad impression will result in, and I’ve done the math, a five and 10, 15,000, sometimes up to a hundred thousand dollar client taking their case and their dollars elsewhere.
So I take a chance when it is so easy to fix. Now, let’s get into some of the fix. And some of the language that I know is happening on intake calls, like I said, I’m secret shopping, but I’m also working with firms right now who that’s what I do. We, I work with their intake professionals, and I know what they’re saying because I’m doing mock calls with them.
So some of the words and phrases that I often hear in secret shopping come across very outdated and very old school. So does your intake team, or the person answering your phone sound like this? The phone rings and someone picks up and I say, I would like to see if I can schedule a consultation or a talk to someone about my case, something that variation.
And here’s what I get about 97% of the time. Yes. 97% of the time, which means almost every law firm on the planet is doing this. They say, sure, can I get your, your name and your phone number in case we get disconnected? Sometimes I asked for my email and they will most always ask, how did you hear about us?
These questions actually close people down, not open them up. And the reason why is because you’re asking questions that don’t quite matter yet. They may matter for you, but they don’t matter for the color. So think about this. Yes. They need a name right out of the gate. That first question is exactly what I want you to do. You must get someone’s name out of the gate,
but then saying for now saying, can I get your phone number in case we get disconnected screams 1990? Yeah, 1990. That’s how long it’s been around. And first of all, how often does someone really get disconnected? And if you do, or if they do you call back, we also have caller ID. So I teach people that you do not need to say,
can I get your number in case we get disconnected? You don’t have to qualify why you’re asking for someone’s phone number. You can just ask, can I get your phone number? And almost every firm on the planet S ask these exact questions sometimes in the exact order. And it turns people off. I was on the phone with geek squad the other day,
and the cable company just yesterday. And both of these companies asked me that same question. Can I get your phone number in case we get disconnected? And this does nothing to make you stand out. So I always tell people, you may not even need their phone number right away. Move that into a different part of the consultation. I can’t tell you exactly where to put that,
but what you need right out of the gate is their name. Because people want to talk first. They don’t want to give you information right out of the gate. And sometimes that can be very aggravating and irritating to someone who is wanting to talk to someone because they have a pain problem or a challenge, and then asking someone how’d you hear about us.
And here’s what the caller is thinking. When you are asking, how did you hear about us so early in the conversation, first of all, they’re rolling their eyes simultaneously while they’re thinking to themselves, how did you hear about us? Sends a message that you care more about tracking where your leads come from, then helping them in their current issue. The super savvy new legal consumer knows exactly why you’re asking for that information,
because it’s been asked of them for the last couple of decades. And they know it means this. How did you hear about us? So we know which part of our marketing is getting the phone to ring. I tell every one of my clients, it is way too soon in a conversation to ask that question, because it comes across self serving and it does nothing to build trust.
And again, every other firm on the planet is saying the same thing, giving you no opportunity to stand out. So again, I know you need to get information, but you most, you have to focus on what they need. You have to focus on their issue and make them feel like a human being first, not a transaction or that you’re running down a checklist to gather their information.
You can get any information you want from someone you make a connection with first, they may give you the information, but sometimes they lie and lie. And we’ll give you a fake email address, sometimes even a fake phone phone number, because it’s too early to be gathering that. So I say there’s different places in that call that are more natural, that feel like they just fit in seamlessly and more natural and less old school and self serving.
And they sound radically different than every other firm that they will call. Think about. How can someone tell the difference in your firm when they call you and then call the next firm and the next firm, and everyone is asking them the same questions. They can’t. Everyone starts to blend in and to them, they think, Oh, well, every personal injury firm sounds the same.
Every family law for must be the same. They must do the same thing and have the same value. And probably all should be the same fees that are involved. So first is, this is what you need to do out of the gate. Stop asking these questions in this order. And you need to make them feel like they are the most important person that you will talk to all day.
They need to feel like calling your firm was the smartest thing they did all day. You want them to feel good about picking up the phone and calling your affirm. It would be the equivalent of, let’s say you woke up and you had a flood in your basement. You noticed five inches of water in your basement and you called the plumbing company. And they said to you,
well, yes, thank you for calling. Can I get your name and your email address? And what’s the phone number. If we get disconnected and Oh, by the way, how did you hear about us? That person is thinking, what is filling up my basement? Why do you need that? Now they’re calling it in a frantic frazzled situation.
And very much like the colors that are calling your firm, they may not night might not be in that level 10 situation, but they are calling and thinking that that problem is important. And when you send a message to them, that they are stuff is more important than you and your situation. It just causes them to disconnect. So remember that plumbing analogy,
because when that person answers the phone, you have to remember, they have a problem, they have a challenge and they have an issue. And how quickly can I could connect with them and listen to them, to make them feel important. And then I can get the rest of the information later. People will give you all the information you need. And I joke around and say,
they’ll probably tell you how much they weigh the cause of the way you communicated with them right out of the gate. And earlier I said, I don’t just teach people what to say and how to say it. I teach people why it matters. And here is why it matters so much more today than ever before the phrases, the questions and the language choices you make.
When you’re talking to a potential client reveal, how updated or outdated you are, thing expose how client centered your firm is, or are you from centered? So there’s a difference between client centered and being friend centered. And this part of the intake is critical that you do not sound foam centered old-school and focused on you. Lots of firms have gotten away with this for decades,
and now it has become a practice killer and a business destroyer. And it sends people to your con competition. And although I can’t tell you on a webinar exactly what to say, where to say it, because I don’t know your practice, your personality, you’re affirming your processes. I can tell you that you should rate your intake process from a one to 10 and find out precisely what may need a transformation call your firm.
Have somebody call your firm, do a mock consultation, mock intake consultation with someone and get a feel of what you feel when you call in. But I can tell you that moving around some of those questions in that intake call will do wonders for what happens on that call. So that’s your intake. Now let’s head in to the consultation room. And like I said earlier,
many of my consultations start out with two similar questions. What brings you in today? What can I help you with? So after I’m welcomed and we spend 20 or 30 seconds getting settled in, and an attorney asks me that I call these the home Depot question. What brings you in today? And what can I help you with sound like what? They asked me when I walk into home Depot or any store,
why would you want to sound like that? When there’s some great opportunity to sound completely different? And first of all, you should have some idea why I’m sitting in your consultation room. I just didn’t walk off the street and wind up in that room by not sharing some of my personal information with someone at your firm. And when this happens, it feels like I don’t matter.
You’re sending a message to someone that I didn’t even take the time to figure out why you’re here and why you’re going to spend 45 minutes with me. I was not important enough or that my situation was not significant to them. And another client in that moment can check out because of the way they’re treated. And this is happening on the unconscious level. Nobody will stop you in the consultation and say,
Hey, wait a second. Don’t you know why I’m here? They will feel it, but they won’t say anything. And it just becomes something that aggravated them and irritated them. And you’re starting behind the eight ball because of this kind of language. What brings you in today? And what can I help you with scream 1990 all over again. And it shows that the person sitting in front of you,
doesn’t ha isn’t the most important person that you’re talking to all day. Today’s current legal consumer, your potential clients are dying for more than just a transaction. They truly want to have a personal and memorable experience. And it’s one of the few things left that you have complete control over today’s prospects and clients want you to have their have some compassion and empathy for their situation.
They, they want to feel like you have their best interest in mind and have an intention that’s aligned with theirs and become that trusted resource. And when you do an I need, when you do, you will look, you will sound and you will feel different, radically different from anyone else they talk to. And some of you may be saying, but I am all about my clients.
Of course I take, I care about them. I always have their best interest in mind. And I bet you do. You may be the sharpest attorney on the planet or the best firm in the world. But if what you’re saying is in congruent with that, that’s what causes that disconnect. And that’s what that client feels. So your website might say,
we care about our clients and we treat them like family, but you sit down and say something different to them. There’s a disconnect. Something is off and they absolutely feel it. So your homework is to put your intake and consultation process under a microscope and take a hard look at what may be causing a disconnect early on. Not giving you an opportunity to get a few more minutes into a consultation or an opportunity to wow.
Someone, what is causing opportunities, clients, and income to leave with, leave without retaining you. And don’t forget to call your firm or have someone call in and have them report back to you, how it feels, what did they truly experience and have them be honest with you. So that is your intake and consultation process. And now we’re going to hop into blending in or standing out,
like I said earlier, this is a perfect opportunity right now to see if you’re using the exact same language or similar language to your competition. And are you blending in, or are you standing out your potential clients need your help to see why you’re different than their competitors? Because in the mind of the potential client, they think you’re the same. They actually think you do the exact same thing as the firm down the street.
And the challenge that many attorneys have when attempting to communicate how different they are is that to potential clients. They S they really do sound like the competition. When the legal consumer asks you how you’re different, or maybe why should they retain your services? They don’t want you to launch in to a canned answer. So whenever I’m secret shopping, I will always always ask these questions either.
How are you different? Or why should I retain your firm? Or I’m talking to a couple of other firms. Is there something that your firm does a little different? And I almost always exclusively get some version of this answer. I’ve been an attorney for over 22 years, and I have a stellar reputation in insert your industry. Very proud of my practice and the outstanding service we provide to all of our clients and take a client centered approach.
And I walk each person through each step of the process as cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And it sounds something like this. It goes into a justification of why someone would hire you. Now, this is, this is going to be something that you can fix pretty quickly, but it’s going to cause you to have to radically shift your language.
When you launch into something like this, when someone says, how are you different? This example that I here have here does nothing to differentiate you. It actually is a baseline expectation. The consumer is thinking, well, of course you should be proud of your practice. Of course you should help me. You should walk me through the process. And I would hope that you’d be client centered.
That’s a baseline expectation for them. You’re not telling them anything different. So what they’re thinking is, tell me something I can’t get off your website website, give me something that I can’t read in your bio. Tell me something that makes me understand that you understand my situation. You must articulate and connect the dots of why you are different and how that difference.
We laid out to them. And your situation differentiation is client specific. Think about this. Differentiation is not about what you tell the client. Your differentiation is. It’s what the client thinks the differences are. And I’m going to give a couple of examples. So let’s imagine that you have a potential client. Her name is Denise and she at the end of a consultation says,
uh, can I ask why is your firm different? Or why, why are you different? And Denise is not asking for the answers that you would typically give and go into a justification. And it’s a bit of a trick question. Although Denise doesn’t come across as it’s a trick question, she’s not trying to trick you. She’s actually asking a question and how it relates to her.
Denise is looking for how, what you do affects her. She wants to know how it relates and adds value to her what it means to her personally. So what I teach is to say something that relates back to her and what she told you. So it may sound something like this. If I said, mom, could you tell me how you’re different from some of the other firms that I’m going to be meeting with now,
after today, you can know launch or lo no longer launch into the example I shared. You now have to refine your answer and say something like this, Denise earlier, you mentioned that one of the biggest factors you were worried about was how our firm helps you with that concern is, and what this does is connect the dots for Denise. So it sends a message.
Denise, earlier, you mentioned that one of the biggest factors you were worried about is which says, aye, you mentioned something to me and caused me to remember it and know it was a concern. Now, let me tell you how our firm would walk you through that. So if you tell people, you walk, you walk them through the process,
explain how you do that. Make connect the dots from when Denise told you into how your firm helps to do that. Now Denise goes to the next firm and asks the same question. And that attorney says, well, I’ve been an attorney for 22 years. Can you hear the radical difference in the answer? Denise is going to remember how you handled that question and the attorney who answers it in the typical generic way,
the, the expected way will not stand out. And here’s another example, um, why should I retain your firm? And let’s say the attorney says, you know, Dean Denise, that’s a smart question. And you do have many options to choose from when hiring a family law attorney, and many of them can help you get divert divorced. However,
we don’t all do things in the same way. When you say that, that causes someone to listen deeper because you didn’t a launch into a canned answer. And now you’re saying something specific to them, you’re responding in a way that relates to them. So gimme Spencer smarter question. You have many options to choose from when hiring a family law attorney, and many of them can help you get divorced.
However, we all don’t do things in the exact same way, early, where you shared with me that one of your biggest concerns or something that you were concerned about was X, Y, and Z. While that is a common concern. And one, we see all the time when dealing with divorce or bankruptcy or personal injury, your DUI, how our firm handles that differently is this or how our firm helps you with that is,
and that’s where the dots get connected. You took something that was a concern of mine or Denise’s or anyone else’s. And you connected the dots back to your firm, which helps the client make a decision to lean toward you to become your first choice, because you’re showing them that you understand their situation and that they have something that’s important, and you are going to fix that.
So if you answer in that very generic way, it’s not enough for the client to connect the dots for themselves. They can’t do that. And it’s not their job. It isn’t their job to connect the dots. It’s your job. So again, I wish I could tell you that there was one or two ways that you can insert this into your consultation.
I can’t, because I don’t know you, your personality, your style, your firm. I don’t know what, who you are and your, the way that you communicate with clients. And I believe you are smart, and you can take these examples, think about them and have them fit into your world. You could listen deeply. You’re in that consultation,
listening to a client and you know, their concerns. You know what they’re worried about, jot that down. And then at the end, or when you’re talking about how your firm works, weave those in, because remember it is up to you to articulate and connect the dots about why you are different and how that different relates to them in their situation.
Because there are no dots equals no deal. If you can’t connect the dots, they won’t be able to connect to you. Prospective clients are filtering your words through their perspective, and you don’t want to sound like every other attorney. So take the time to drill down and develop this message that sets you apart. Now, earlier I mentioned, I wrote two books.
I go into a little deeper, a little more deeper and, and some more examples in the books. So I know that this is one of those things to talk about for 10 minutes on a webinar, doesn’t quite hit the target and go deep enough, but there are great examples there. And this gives you at least an opportunity to start thinking about,
huh? I don’t do this. Or when somebody asks me that I do go into a canned answer. And after today, you don’t have to do that. So let’s talk quickly about one last opportunity. What does one last opportunity cost? You let’s use the example of $5,000. One client, one new client to you is $5,000 to your practice. And two additional clients,
let’s say two a month, choose you. Instead of hiring the competition. That’s $10,000 a month and $120,000 a year of pure profit, because you would not have to do any more advertising or increase any of your marketing costs. You wouldn’t have to because people are still coming to your meeting with the same number of clients. But I would say yes to you because of the subtle but powerful differences.
They see the way that you connect, the way that you communicate with them makes you their first choice. It’s very difficult for people to see you’re different when you sound like the competition. And this is where language matters and little tweaks in your message and little tweaks in the way that you connect with someone in the first few moments of a consultation, or the first few seconds of an intake call can actually start tipping the scales in your favor,
in this fiercely competitive economy, every meeting, every call in every interaction you have with a potential client. And I mean, every time that phone rings it, every time you shake someone’s hand and have a consultation is critical to the sobriety of your practice. You won’t win or lose clients or business because of how well you can successfully navigate those all important intake calls and those profitable client consultations.
And when you invest in new and modern and updated skills, those are, they’re not cost to your practice down investment, because it always pays you back in dividends over and over in the form of new clients and new business. And I watched so many firms invest so much money into marketing, which they have to, but they neglect to invest in the skills that make it all possible.
They neglect to make sure that every time their marketing works and the phone rings, and someone makes an appointment to come in, they neglect those little extra pieces that make all those marketing dollars worth it. If your marketing dollars are in shape, aren’t showing up in your bottom line. These are two opportunities, two areas, intake and consultations that can have a huge impact on your practice,
120,000 and more think about your practice area. Maybe you, if you closed a hundred new clients a month, what would that look like to your practice? And it is possible. I see it. And I see it happening with my clients. And I know we all want quick results and everything that we do, but for any results to show up,
you will have to do some work to make some of those changes you just do. And frequently I’ll hear attorneys say, I’m just too busy. I don’t have the time to take a look at that intake process now, or our firm is just way too busy. And now I say, because a lot of firms, aren’t, there’s a bit of a Paula’s going on now is the,
to lean in and put that. But your process and your intake calls under the microscope, you can continue down the path you’ve been on and possibly watching your marketing dollars go out the window. Or you can view this as an opportunity to raise the bar on yourself and set a different standards and a higher standards. So if you’re struggling to close business and you really feel like some of the stuff that we talked about is getting in the way you have three opportunities to have,
we can have a conversation. I do what I call a consultation CPR, where we breathe life back into your consultations. And what it is is we actually go through your consultation and figure out what are the holes? What are the gaps are to why people might be leaving without hiring you? And then of course, one of my favorite parts of my business is my secret shopping.
I take on that persona and the mindset and the emotion of someone who’s ready to retain. And I could see where the holes are, where the gaps are and what might be missing for people to feel like you’re the first choice, not the second choice. And then always, I’m always open to a phone conversation to talk to anybody who has any questions or is concerned about some of the areas in their practice.
These are options for you, links to them. And these are the book, my books as well, and they’re available on Amazon and there is going to be time for questions and I’m ready for those Eric, when you are, Thank you for that presentation. Does anyone have a question for Liz? If you do, please use the questions tab on the go to webinar control panel While we’re waiting for those questions to come in Liz,
any parting thoughts, any suggestions I would suggest again, that either have somebody in your firm act as a potential client and go through the process, start to finish, go pick up the phone, make the appointment and sit down and have a consultation with an attorney all the way from that intake to that consultation and have them truly get a feel of a rating scale,
whether it’s a one or a 10 and anything in between and jot down what they felt or where they could have used some more value or some more connection, or said some things differently. Sometimes an outsider’s view, somebody a completely impartial is the best way to do that is to have someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about your business to come in and pretend like they’re going through a divorce or fell in home Depot and needs your help.
Very good. We have a question for, uh, from Aaron and Aaron, this is a, this is an interesting, so thank you for it. He asks, how do we overcome the objection in family law that the prospective client is not so sure they should move forward with the divorce because of the COVID environment and all the stability instability that’s out there.
Well, right now I’m assuming courts are still closed and what, whatever an objection comes up. Anytime, whether it’s, I don’t have the money, I’m not ready. An objection typically means I have some doubt or you haven’t done, and this may not be you Aaron, but I, you haven’t given me enough to see the value of me moving forward.
So there’s, there’s a lot of things that can be causing this, but I teach this. Anytime someone says, I’m a little concerned about X or in this case, I’m concerned about moving forward with COVID-19 what the potential client doesn’t want is for you to just launch into, well, you know, you really, you shared with me that your situation is XYZ and we think you should move forward.
They don’t want you to step on the gas. What they’re likely looking for is to take a step back and say to them, you know what, Mary, that is a really good question. And we are in a really challenging, very difficult time. Let’s talk through that. Let’s, what’s some of the concerns that you’re having. And I teach people to go back into that,
to uncover a little bit more, because what they don’t want you to do is justify it by saying, well, this is the perfect time to move forward, or you won’t find a better time to do this. And then you just go into a justification versus a conversation. So I would say, pump the brake step back, and maybe even say,
Mary, you know what, why don’t we take a step back? Let’s address that because this is truly a time that we have not seen before. And let’s talk about some of those options that you have to be able to move forward or, or potentially put it on hold for now, but that’s what they want and need there. What they’re really saying is I’m nervous.
I’m scared. I don’t know how to move forward. I’m a little unsure. And they’re looking for you to give them that. So remember no canned answers here. This is where you go back in and actually have a conversation around that. Alright, we have another question from a listener. And the question is, and I’m assuming this might be aimed at pilama,
uh, not necessarily you Liz. The question is, do we have archives of teleseminars for folks? And, uh, my answer is yes, pillow members, um, have at their disposal, through our members resources, section of the site, replays of all webinars going back several years. Now, all of our COVID related webinars and content are available free of to the entire law community.
And that is available on our survival kit page that you can find right off the front of our website. Is there any more questions? Okay, go ahead. Question is any suggestions as to follow up with quantity, the methods of follow ups calls versus texts versus emails? Oh my gosh, I do a whole three hour webinar on this. Um, I will say this,
if you can. And again, this is in my books, but using the term follow up, touching base, reaching out and checking in that’s another 1990 old school technique. Anytime you’re saying, we just want to follow up. We just want to check in and touch base and reach out that sends that message that you’re trying to push them into a decision.
There’s a little heaviness in followup. So I would first suggest to not use that language, but as far as frequency, as far as how to follow up, this is what I teach my clients in the consultation. Before someone even leaves your presence is to ask Diane, how would you like our firm to stay in contact with you? How would you like us to reconnect with you through your decision making process,
make it collaborative, send the message to that person. Then we’re just not going to harass you with a generic followups that are meant for everyone. They sound the same as other firms. And they’re not specifically geared toward that particular individual. I would say first talk about followup and how you want to do that. Maybe even say that you don’t want to drop the ball on the conversation.
How would you like us to stay in communication? I may be the one following up with you or getting back to you or someone from my staff may be reconnecting with you, but how would you like that email phone call text? What’s your preference? When are you making a decision, but I don’t want to keep bothering you if you’re still meeting with other attorneys.
When’s the next, when’s a good time to reconnect with you. So follow up. Is there an ideal frequency in that followup? That’s an excellent question. And I always say that if you’ve done an awesome job in the consultation, then you should have no, no need to do more than two tops, tops, tops, three followups. If you’ve talked about it and you’ve done a great job and wow them and blew their hair back and knocked their socks off.
If you are following up with them, three, four, five, seven, 10 times, that’s a big red flag that something is off in the process. If you have to follow up that many times, they’re not connected or invested enough to have the dignity or the decency to get back to you, something is off in the process and it could be just something subtle,
but it’s enough. That’s causing them to not get back to you. So I tell people three, especially when you’re doing it in a way where the language is different. And you’re not just saying, I’m just touching base to see if you’re ready to get started. We’re following up to see if you’re ready to get divorced or move forward with your case.
That just, that’s not enough anymore. People want to feel like that email was directly written for them and feels personalized to them. Very good. What is, when it comes to initial consultation calls, do you have any opinion about the ideal length for that meeting The initial when someone’s meeting with, uh, with an attorney? Right. Well, I have seen some attorneys have on their website 20 to 30 minute consultations,
and I think you’re just getting started at the 20 minute Mark where the connection and the engagement is happening then between 30 to 40 minutes is a really good range to be able to do a fantastic job and stay on task. If you’re going longer than that. And it’s an hour, maybe it’s a much more difficult situation or difficult case, but sometimes attorneys let the consultation go off the rails and they let somebody talk and talk and talk and talk,
and then they can’t, they don’t know how to reel that person in to get back on track. And all of that is what I teach in my, in my workshops, in my trainings is to how to come back from a derail consultation or how to keep the client on track so that it doesn’t go off into the gutters. I use the bowling alley and bowling alley analogy where you want the conversation to go straight down the middle and,
and it may move from side to side, but it never goes in the gutter. And we’ve all had those conversations where they have fallen off the rails. And it’s very difficult to come back. And a lot of times those are the people that don’t retain For one of our listeners. Could you do a quick rundown again, of some of those outdated words that you said we should never be using anymore?
And I assume you address this in your, uh, in your book as well. Correct. So the ones I talk about a lot, I call it the other F word and that is follow up, but it’s follow up touching base, reaching out and checking in. And the reason why is because we have been following up touching base, reaching out and checking in for 30 years,
it no longer moves anybody into action because almost every other email or voicemail or texts they get is similar language. I’m following up for you to move forward. I’m following up to see if you want to get your home remodeled. I’m following up to see if you’re ready to get your landscaping done and everyone is following up and it, and it has a little force behind that.
So there’s a lot of other ways for you to say that. So what I tell people is why do you have to announce your following up? If you, to someone I’m just following up, leave that out and go to the reason why you’re connecting with them. So instead of saying, I’m just following up to see if you’re ready to get started,
or I’m following up or reaching out to see if you’ve made a decision. I would go right into the conversation and say, Mary, in our last conversation, or when we met last Tuesday, you mentioned this go right into it. Why announce it like everyone else is doing? And it doesn’t do anything. And remember when you start an email out with just wanted to follow up or following up a lot of times,
people don’t read it because they know exactly why you’re following up and they could see that on their phone or their email. They can see those first few words and it sends a message to them. This is just a followup. I don’t even need to open it up. You want your emails, your voicemails, or your texts to be read, and then have somebody act on them.
And the only way to do that is to change your language. If you want different results. Aaron asks, if you believe we should continue to do phone and zoom consults after we’re all not remote anymore. Oh yes, because now people don’t want it. They don’t want to drive. If they don’t have to this, this becomes another option for them.
And you can still do the same fantastic job. You can still read body language. You can still see their eyes and their, and their facial expressions and their, and their tone and intention in their words. But it’s, it’s another layer to being a full service law firm. And, and you can give people the option and say where we are.
We’re now doing our consultations. And in a few different ways, you can do this or this potential clients like options. And a lot of times, if they don’t want to drive 30 minutes each way for a consultation, but can have a great consultation with someone for 40 minutes over a zoom call. Absolutely. But I would give them the option, but I would also phrase it as most of our clients like to come in and meet face to face with an attorney.
When you say the word, most of our clients in the, in their mind, they’re like, well, I should probably do that too. If, if you want to do more zoom calls, you can say a lot of our clients. Now our potential clients are choosing to do zoom calls. You still have the choice to come in and meet with one of us face to face,
which do you prefer? So it depends on your goal. If you want to do zoom, then lean on the zoom horn. Or if you really do want people to come in to your office to get a feel of your office, then I would suggest saying many of our clients still appreciate a face to face consultation. Very good. And, uh,
our last question of the afternoon, do you have any opinion around the, uh, effectiveness of virtual receptionist services? I don’t have a nice, a good opinion. I’ve seen them, I’ve called them. I’ve listened to them. And I’ve th the, the ability to be, to create that deep connection and that you are important to us is lost for me.
It can help in maybe if your infants, a small amount of time you’re using it. If you’re maybe having an all staff meeting and you do a virtual receptionist for 30 minutes, or if you’re on vacation or something like that. But I personally don’t like them. That’s just my, my personal feeling, alive person. And I’m assuming this is a,
is it’s either a chat or this is someone that’s answering your phone that is answering phones from a hundred other law firms. It just don’t have that personal touch. Something is flat. And the, the mess, the conversation even feels flat. It just feels like I’m going through the motions. I have the script. It was supposed to ask you these questions and it doesn’t feel very personalized.
So that’s, I’m all into personalized because now that’s what the consumer wants. They want to be. They’re tired of being treated like a number and somebody just run through a process. They want the human interaction and they want to another human being to treat them like a human being. All right, we’re going to sneak one more question under the wire Danny asks,
um, at what point should he just quote unquote, let it go, uh, or consider the perspective of the client as a no hire, especially when they’ve used the objection that they have no money. Um, are they expected to just sit around and wait until they believe they have money? At what point is it okay to let go? Well,
it really, again, it only knowing a little bit of information. Sometimes I will help my clients craft that final email, which may sound like, and I’m just riffing here. Um, Diane, I know in our consultation, you mentioned that you were not ready to make a decision and or that you didn’t have an aid. You didn’t have the funds right now.
Please know our firm is here for us, uh, when you are at that, at that point, but ask him question, is this off the radar? Or is this something that you’ve decided to put on hold? Is this something that you’re going to do down those later, rather than sooner, I would put some sort of a question in there so that they’re forced to give you something.
Did you change your mind? Did you stay with your spouse? Are you going with another firm? Just something that would make them have the decency to respond to you. If you’ve gone in a different direction or hired another attorney, please let me know and I’ll pause my communication, give them something that makes them want to at least give you the decency of a response.
I hope that helped Very good, Liz, thanks for joining us listeners. If you’ve enjoyed listening to lose today, like I have, uh, please check out our website for information pertaining to our annual summit. This year’s summit will be held in late October in new Orleans. And before them, please visit our website for information pertaining to the internet domination bootcamp.
This is a virtual event happening in two weeks at the end of may, Liz, once again, thank you for joining us folks. Join us next time. I’ll be speaking at the conference in new Orleans as well. That’s right. She will be. So if you’ve liked what you’ve heard today, join us in new Orleans. It’s a great time folks.
Goodbye. And we’ll see you next time.
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