Calendar showing April 2We talked yesterday about how attorneys can instantly increase business by focusing on conversions. Day 2 of our 30 day challenge extends this by focusing on an area where many attorneys struggle and don’t realize it – the “pitch” their firm uses with potential clients.

Most lawyers we speak with say that they’re good at turning phone calls into consults. The attorney we mentioned in the last article, for whom income doubled in 30 days, said the same thing. When I ask these same attorneys if their assistants use a standardized phone approach they say “no.” They also lack a standardized approach to email inquiries. Finally, they say that their problem is that the phone doesn’t ring enough. Hmmmmmmmmm.

If you find yourself saying the following then chances are your firm needs to work on its pitch:

  • My phone rings but the people calling aren’t “good leads.”
  • The people who call my office tend to be “calling around to lawyers” and aren’t serious about setting up a consultation.
  • Most callers “don’t have any money.”

Most people calling attorneys are good leads because they wouldn’t be calling in the first place if they didn’t require representation. At the same time they are looking for the best representation and their initial opinion is shaped in the first few seconds of that phone call. The “calling around” comment is one of my favorites. The truth is that callers want to schedule an appointment; they are just put off by law firms that don’t handle their call right. They’ll schedule an appointment with another attorney, who got it right, almost right after they get off the phone with your office. Finally, you’d be surprised how many people have the money, or can come up with it. They just won’t give it to an office that they don’t think is right for them. Let’s look at how you can convert these calls that you’re missing out on into consults.

Law firms can convert more phone calls and emails into clients by taking control of the conversation

Most law firms don’t have a standardized approach to how they answer the phone. This fails to consider what most potential clients are looking for. People want their legal problem fixed and they want someone to fix it for them. They also don’t know anything about the law and want an attorney who’s going to be “in control” of things. You have seconds to show the caller how in control your office is and that nets the fish.

I spent extensive time training my receptionist on taking phone calls. When the phone rang she would quickly take control. The caller would start off by stating that they were calling regarding a divorce (or whatever area). My staff would quickly, and politely, tell them:

I understand you’re calling about a divorce. That’s certainly something we can help you with. Let me ask you a few questions so we can ensure that your case is one our office can handle.

Hand picking up a telephone She would then run through a few quick questions to ensure we could take the case because of jurisdiction, etc. Assuming we could take the case she would tell them that we could handle it, that the first step is to schedule a consultation, what the benefits of the consultation are, and schedule them to come in. The last part was important. Once you tell them the benefits of a consult, end with “when would you like to come in” and not “would you like to schedule a consult?” You may be shocked at how well this approach works. You’ll suddenly stop hearing as many of the “calling around” and “don’t have money” type excuses.

You’ll also receive inquiries through email. Lawyers err by not responding to these immediately. Keep in mind that people looking online aren’t emailing one attorney. They’re emailing several and the first to respond often wins the race. Your response really shouldn’t be to engage in extensive dialogue. Shoot them a fast response letting them know that you handle cases of their type. Include a sentence which indicates that you actually read their message (people aren’t going to be interested in a response that looks canned). And tell them that you “need to discuss several specifics so you can evaluate their options” and that your assistant will call them (if they left a phone number) or email them to get them scheduled. Copy your assistant on that email and your staff needs to initiate that process immediately (using the phone pitch above if they left a number).

The approach above is what I followed at my firm, which started in my living room in 2006 and was generating seven figures of revenue by 2010. We’ve followed this approach at different firms I’ve consulted with and they’ve seen great results.  Obviously I’m not suggesting this is the only approach. I believe in not re-inventing the wheel, however, and implementing things proven to work. One of the biggest parts of being successful in any business is recognizing when you need to improve on something. If you find yourself regularly facing the three excuses regarding phone calls listed above, then it’s time to challenge your beliefs and consider a change.

Day 2 action items for attorneys wanting more business

Do the following to start getting more clients instantly:

  1. Develop a standardized approach to telephone calls from potential clients. Make sure this includes taking control of the call, explaining the benefits of a consultation, and end with “when is a good time for you to come in?”
  2. Put procedures in place for making sure email inquiries are responded to immediately by the person receiving the email and that you or your staff immediately takes action to the person in the door.

Tomorrow we’ll be taking a look at low cost things you can do to immediately start increasing your call volume, now that you’re going to be converting those phone calls.