8 Tips Lawyers Can Use to Retain More Clients

Client acquisition in the legal field has fundamentally changed, and the expectations of clients have changed with it.  The concept of the networking luncheons is waning, the probability of receiving a walk-in to your law office has diminished, and let’s be realistic, measuring the return on ad spend for a billboard or magazine article is unclear at best. 

Maybe you know this instinctually, and have already adapted to digital lead generation, but take it a step further, and deep down you also know it’s more than just a numbers game.  If you’re receiving leads but getting poor results, doing more of the same won’t improve the situation.  Sure you can return the leads to your lead generation partner, cancel the service, switch to another, repeat, but this won’t help you achieve your ultimate goal of earning more money. 

You need sales strategy, and you need your whole team on-board.  We’re Grow My Firm, and specialize in digital lead generation.  We work with hundreds of lawyers and legal associations generating traffic online.  We also have a call center team to help.  Over the years, we have spent countless hours listening to clients and lawyers negotiate over the phone.  Below are a few insider tips which can give you the edge, and make you an expert digital lead closer.

1. Work with a marketing specialist and craft your digital lead-gen campaign

The number one mistake that I see lawyers make when they launch a digital lead generation campaign is they sign-up, try it out, and immediately cancel.  This will not produce results, and it doesn’t matter how many lead generation companies you use, it’s unlikely that this will long-term provide you the sustaining income you’re looking for.  This practice is for people who are playing a numbers game, and not for people who are strategically adapting their digital campaigns to be high performing.  If you want to be successful at monetizing digital legal leads, communicate! Expert legal lead specialists are working with publishers and web traffic sources from all over the internet.  They can fine tune your campaign with unique sources of web traffic, additional filters, and qualifying parameters.  Seeing your lead generation representative as a partner in refining your campaign will give you long-term results.  

2. Refine your In-Take Strategy

Law firms should consider the customer journey, when they craft the customer’s initial experience with your company.  Some potential clients were referred to you because they filled out a questionnaire online.  Others may have been referred to you after speaking with a qualifying agent.  Avoid asking questions that you already have the information for.  When obtaining a qualified lead, properly brief the lawyer on the details of the case and client before transferring the call.  Many clients become frustrated and exasperated when they have participating in a lengthy and structured pre-qualifying process, only to be asked by the lawyer, “ok so what is your name, and what happed to you?”.  Make sure the handover is complete from the In-take specialist (your receptionist) to the lawyer, or all will be lost in the transfer.  The final transfer from in-take specialist to lawyer is so important.  It is not unusual, for a client to become tense, and make the wrong impression on the lawyer, only to be quickly dismissed.  Consider the customer journey, and ask how can we make this the best possible experience.

3. Optimize your Phone Lines

Working with call centers, and lead generation companies we are innately aware of the need to optimize our phone lines.  However, many lawyers may not be aware of all the changes that have taken place in recent years by telecom companies. If a client receives a message that says “Most Likely Spam” when you’re calling, there is a high probability that call will go to voicemail, over and over again.  You may believe it’s the lead, but more times than not, it’s a phone application that is blocking you.  While there is no easy way to tell if a client’s phone applications are affecting you, there are a few best practices you can use to have your law firm performing its best.  The first is to select a Caller-ID rather than leaving the default.  If a disproportionate amount of calls are automatically going to voicemail you may be flagged with one, or more telephone companies.  Have your team work smarter, by understanding this technical aspect.

4. Double check your Value Proposition, then record it

Society, the economy, and the competition are in constant flux. You have to double-check your value proposition, to make sure your law firm is competitive with others in the field.  Do a market analysis, and find our what benefits your competitors are offering. Read and listen to the marketing materials for other law firms in your geographic region or area of practice. Are you the economical and effective choice, or are you the premium law firm with highest level of customer care?

 Once you are confident about your value proposition and sales pitch, make a recording and add it to your phone system.  This is a big deal.  There is a critical moment between when your in-take specialist transfers the call to you, and when the client is holding.  During these few minutes, playing a recording with your value proposition is much more effective, then listening to the beeps of a holding phone line.  In fact, those tense beeps of a holding phone line, are nerve racking.  By making a friendly recording, and playing it for waiting clients, you are preparing for the close.  Make sure your in-take specialist fully briefs you on the details obtained, as to sound profession when you finally pick-up the phone. 

5. Do your homework

If your receptionist is not transferring a live call, but scheduling an appointment, make sure to do your homework.  You should have the retainer contract, and any other materials available for the call, in digital format with a docu-sign application.  If you are able to close in the meeting, do so.  If you have to get back to them with the information, retainer, or other documents you may have lost the opportunity.  Come prepared when you finally take the call.

6. Make the Most of your CRM system

Many law firms, are implementing customer relation management systems (CRM) into their practices.  These systems create a databank for your staff to retrieve client information, and schedule follow-up communications.  However, like most software programs, the question remains are you maximizing the use of this system.  If you are receiving your digital leads via email, this may already be a sign that you are not maximizing the power of your CRM system.  Look at which processes can be automated.  Data entry is not necessary any more, and may create errors or omissions in your database of contacts.  Most CRM systems can be integrated with your digital lead generation campaigns, if you ask your lead generation specialist.  These programs can remind you of a follow-up date with a client, store documents related with the client, and even notes about the clients preferences or unique circumstances.  Perhaps the most underutilized aspect of a law firms use of CRM systems is the data analytics.  When scheduling a meeting to review your digital lead campaigns with your lead generation account manager, have the right information ready.  Reports about conversions (are lack thereof) can be really helpful in improving your success rate.  With the proper use of a CRM system you can alleviate menial and time-consuming data-entry, scheduling, and routine emails.  Proper use can also result in better contact rate, higher client personalization of service, and reports ready for your lead-gen expert to improve upon.  Ask yourself, if you are truly using your CRM to it’s full potential, as this can be a critical tool in converting more clients.

7. Review and Refine your Campaigns

Once you have optimized your firm’s customer journey, review the results.  Just like in the physical world, not every lead that you get in going to be converted to a sale.  It is unrealistic to expect a 100% conversion rate.  Research shows 10-20% to be the average range of conversions.  So be patient, and grow your firm steadily and consistently for results. Schedule appointments with your digital marketing specialist, and review the results of the Sub-IDs in your campaigns.  These are the different channels of web traffic that make up your lead generation campaign.  Make a log (or use your CRM tools to develop a report) with the results of the calls you receive.  Then provide this log to your specialist.  They can dial up or down the channels of web traffic to get more of what you like, and less of what you don’t like.  Try to look for trends of why the leads didn’t qualify or convert.  There are many touch points in the customer journey and by making refinements every step of the way, you can begin to convert more.  Your feedback, is important.  By listening and reviewing the results, your lead generation partner can phase out traffic sources which are not providing desirable results, and refine, invest, and amplify campaigns that are getting valuable results.

8. Learn how to Scale your Business

When your law firm grows you can better provide for the business.  As a marketing partner, we’re here to cultivate that growth.  Make sure your foundation is solid before you launch a growth campaign.  Do you have the capacity from a human resource stand point to handle more volume? Have you trained your staff on the proper scripts, handover protocols, and customer relation management processes?  Have you solidified your competitive market offer?  Once all of these elements are in place, you’re ready to scale. 

Speak with your digital marketing specialist to get more volume, and see what new campaigns are being invested in.  We’re busy publishing online, and bidding on search engine keywords, calling, qualifying, and filtering.  Try to work with a lead generation company that sells exclusive leads only.  This feature alone will greatly improve your conversion rate. 

I work with hundreds of law firms, and there is no perfect digital lead generation campaign.  However, you can turn the dials on volume, conversion rate, best in-take practices, traffic sources, and competitive value proposition to retain more clients, and be a legal super star. 

Good luck!

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