In my time consulting with lawyers on AVVO, far too many of them are hyper-focused on their ratings.
And don’t get me wrong, the logic behind it is understandable. You might think that the key to getting more clients to retain them is with a high rating, but (perhaps counterintuitively), that’s far from the truth.
And the actual key to getting better results? Great reviews.
Great reviews are the secret to getting more potential clients to pick up that phone and give you a call; let’s look into why:
How to Increase AVVO Rating — Focus on Your Reviews Instead
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re familiar with AVVO’s rating number. You’re also likely familiar with the fact that former clients can review you on the service.
In calculating the numerical rating, the service doesn’t actually consider reviews of previous clients. Instead, they use factors such as work experience, publications, and endorsements from other attorneys.
Which means it’s entirely possible to have five-star ratings from former clients and have a relatively low AVVO numerical rating.
And in all of my time consulting with law firms, I’ve found that potential clients usually don’t care about your rating. Instead, they care about things like what your previous customers have to say about you.
It makes sense, after all. All of those rewards don’t mean much when your work can do the talking for your reputation.
Using Previous Work to Boost Your Firm’s Marketing
When I ran my law firm, I focused heavily on building up a good bank of reviews from former clients rather than my AVVO ranking. And judging by the firm’s success, I think it’s safe to say this approach worked.
To give a reference, I started my firm in my living room in 2006; in 2010, my office’s revenue was $1,046,695.
When consulting with clients, I usually suggest that clients put their energy into building up an ongoing (I stress the “ongoing” part) bank of client reviews and not even worry about the numerical rating.
As a result, we have clients with five-star ratings from many former clients while having AVVO ratings as low as the 6-7 range.
But the end result? Substantial increases in their revenues all around the board.
Compare this to many lawyers who spend time building up a “10” score but don’t build up reviews from former clients. In other words, potential clients ignore the average AVVO rating. They’re instead looking at what former consumers have to say.
An ongoing bank of AVVO, Google, and Facebook reviews are practically a must if you want to expand online. It’s been found that as many as 93% of people let reviews influence their buying decisions.
But getting reviews might not as straightforward as it initially seems, so let’s look into some examples of how you can get more of them. (and by extension, more clients)
The Two-Step Process To Quickly Build Reviews
I often see lawyers who ask for reviews and have clients that just don’t follow through. But I’ve got a two-step process that vastly improves your odds of getting the reviews you need to get more clients.
And before we get into, make sure you follow both steps of this process, don’t try and cut corners if you want this to work.
Right after a case is completed, call your client and thank them for allowing you to assist them. Tell them they can call you at any time if they need anything, and ask if they’d be kind enough to leave you a few good reviews if you email them the links.
If they agree, thank them again and get those links sent right away.
(Keep in mind that you should only do this if you think the clients’ going to leave a good review. You don’t want to push for more bad reviews after all.)
Second, once you end the phone call with the client, send them the following email:
Dear [name of client]
Thank you for saying that you will take the time to review my firm online. It is greatly appreciated. Should you ever require assistance in the future the please do not hesitate to contact me. Here are the website links I mentioned:
The links to AVVO, Google, and Facebook should go straight to the sections of those websites where the clients would leave you a review. The fewer times the client has to click around, the more likely they will leave the review.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to do both of these steps. If you email without calling, or vice versa, your chances go down the drain.
As you build up more reviews on those three websites (I would suggest only focusing on those three), you’ll see your phone volume increase.
You should make asking for reports of a never-ending process. Even if you have eleventy-billion good reviews, you should still be asking clients who you know are happy to chime in. This will allow you to convert more of the web traffic you are already getting, which, in turn, means you don’t have to spend more money to increase phone volume.
Do you agree with me that reviews are far more important than ratings on AVVO? Let us know why or why not in the comments below!
And if you’re looking for even more ways to increase your firm’s online presence, check out our guide on SEO here.