Clock saying it's time to impressWelcome to day 19 of our 30 day challenge. Today we’re going to expand the point of converting the phone calls you’re already getting. We last discussed this on day 11 when we talked about why attorneys must make it easy for people to retain them. Today we’ll look at something which, surprisingly, is an issue for many lawyers – making a good first impression.

Most attorneys think the sole problem is that their phone doesn’t ring enough. As someone who’s consulted with many law firms and has helped them increase profits, I find this usually isn’t the case. If you’re like most attorneys then you can dramatically boost revenue by converting the calls you’re already getting. A key part of that is considering someone’s experience when they are coming to your office for an initial consultation. Let’s make sure that experience is what you need it to be.

Making a good first impression with potential clients will increase your conversion rates dramatically

The first step of making sure you get off to a good start with a potential client is making your office easy to find. I’ve previously mentioned an attorney for whom we helped grow revenue by over 300 percent in three months. One of the first things I discovered at his firm was that the various mapping services (Google Maps, Apple Maps, etc.) had his office listed at the correct address but were in error about where that address actually was. If you put in his office address into one’s navigation program it would take you to a place roughly one block away from his office and tell one that they’d arrived. I’ve seen many lawyers with incorrect address/direction information in mapping services. It goes without saying that if a client is frustrated in trying to find your office then the chances of them retaining you will be reduced. A big step for today is ensuring that the various mapping services have your correct address and that they will accurately lead someone to that address. Also, if you’re in an office suite then make sure the potential client can locate your office easily.

The second step of getting off to a good start is to step back and consider the potential client’s perspective upon arriving at your office. I’ve consulted with many lawyers who, to be blunt, have a waiting area that made me think I was waiting at the local welfare office. My office was furnished in a way that made potential clients feel like they were in a family law firm requiring a $10,000 retainer even though I charged very affordable flat fees. Providing a good client experience, a concept which we’ll expand upon in future posts, was a key reason why I started in my living room in ’06 and generated seven figures of revenue in ’10. While my firm was quite “posh,” it did not cost much to furnish. For example, the nice leather couch in my reception area would retail new for around $2,500 but I found it second-hand, in new condition, for $300 online. In other words, the cost of furnishing the office was about 10 percent of what clients probably perceived it to be. If you don’t have nice office furniture, or if you have problems such as broken chairs, etc., then you are making a big error and there is nothing preventing you from upgrading.

The third step in achieving a good first impression is to look at how people are greeted in your office. Do you ensure that your staff looks presentable when a potential client arrives (you’d be surprised how many law firms strike out on this one)? Are they offered something to drink such as coffee or water? If you’re not “on it” in this area then you need to correct things immediately.

I hear a million excuses from lawyers as to why they haven’t focused on presentation. These include things such as “I don’t charge high rates so it doesn’t matter,” or “that’s not what clients come here for.” If you honestly think that your office doesn’t need to look nice and present as good of an experience as possible, regardless of your rates or practice area, then I’m sure your competition appreciates you. The reason you’re appreciated is that consults telling you “I don’t have the money” or “I’m just looking around” walk out your door and retain your competition because they made a better impression. The bottom line is that if you don’t think these things matter then you’re missing the fact that you’re firm is a business and it needs to make a good impression to close the deal.

Day 19 action items for attorneys wanting to grow their practice

I will admit it surprises me at how often the “first impression” issue comes up in law firms. If you’re not working to ensure a quality client experience then you’re letting a substantial amount of revenue slip through your fingers.

Today’s action items are straight-forward:

  • Make sure the various mapping services (Google Maps, Apple Maps, etc.) have the correct address for your office and that people are actually taken to the correct location.
  • If your office is in a suite, make sure potential clients are given specific directions on how to find you.
  • Invest a few bucks and “spruce up” your office. It’s easy to say you’ll invest in that later, but ask yourself how many retainers you are willing to lose to save a few thousand dollars on office furniture.
  • Make sure people are met in a warm and inviting way and that they are offered something to drink.

Tomorrow we’ll focus on a step that will simultaneously make a better impression while increasing your phone volume.