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It’s time to continue the conversation on how attorneys can build multi-million dollar practices.

Last time, we covered the need to ditch the flawed law firm business model. Instead of trying to get those “big” clients for more work, we’ve got to focus on the activities that yield the most profit per hour.

Taking this approach is critical if you want to scale your business. (and who doesn’t?)

But today, we’ll be covering a subject that most attorneys get wrong:

The most cost-effective, efficient way to bring in more business.

So let’s get to it.

The Common (and Flawed) Approach

I often hear the same thing from various attorneys. 

They get phone calls, but they’re from leads who’re “just calling around, don’t have any money, or aren’t serious.” 

So what do those lawyers do about it? They spend more money to get more phone calls when they’ve already got all the calls they need right in front of them. This approach is a one-way ticket to the bankruptcy court.

Instead of focusing on more calls, these attorneys need to focus on higher conversions and then turning each of those conversions into multiple clients.

It may sound like a fairy tale right now, but by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how you can do just that.

The Secret of Multi-Million Firms: Converting Marginal Calls into High-Paying Clients

I’ve written before on how attorneys can rapidly increase business by focusing on conversions

However, many firms think the problem is in the “quality” of the calls they get and not how they handle those phone calls. 

The truth of the matter is that successful lawyers do not get more calls from people saying, “I would like to schedule a consultation and money is no object.” No one is quite that lucky.

The genuinely successful firms are just much better at turning those marginal leads into consultations and retainers. To put it simply, the good firms don’t get better calls; they get more out of the phone calls they’re already receiving.

A Personal Anecdote on Conversions

I’ve written a lot on the idea of conversions. A recent experience really put this in perspective, though. (It’s very seldom that I mention something personal in my writing – but this drives the point home.)

My wife (who still laughs at just under fifty percent of my jokes) has a doctorate in clinical psychology. She decided that therapy wasn’t her bag. So she got licensed as a real estate agent. (and is still quite enjoying it, by the way) 

The story of her first sale may be the ultimate example of turning marginal calls into clients. As you probably know, agents work off of commissions. She received a call from someone (we’ll call her Sarah).

Sarah asked if my wife could show her a house, so Sarah’s friend could write an offer on it. (apparently, the friend didn’t want to take the time to show it)

In other words, Sarah asked my wife to help sell a house for which someone else would get the commission.  Instead of shutting it down immediately, my wife said she was happy to do it. 

When she left, she took printouts for other similar homes, just in case Sarah didn’t like the first one. The short and skinny is that my wife wound up selling Sarah a house and making a commission off of it.

I’ve told this story to a few different attorneys, each of whom responded, “I probably wouldn’t have even called someone back if they called me with something like that.” Several other realtors had already rejected Sarah at that point too.

Stellar Service = More Revenue

My wife took a marginal phone call, provided above-average service, and turned it into a sale.

I can cite many examples where attorneys quickly grow only by changing how they handle calls they’re already receiving. But to keep this article from becoming War and Peace, I’ll spare you from repeated storytelling. 

In my “30 days to a better law firm” series, I spent a significant amount of time discussing how lawyers can convert more of the calls which they already receive into clients. A few of those articles are linked here:

Just remember: Many of the clients who are “calling around” are doing so because they haven’t spoken with a firm who was able to get them in the door. 

Also, surprisingly often, people will say they don’t have the moneywhen in reality, they’re just waiting for the right firm to come up. The multi-million dollar firms understand this, and they do a better job of converting those marginal leads.

Converting One Phone Call into Multiple Clients

There’s another key area where multi-million firms exceed their competitors — they’re great at turning one phone call into multiple clients. 

And the way they do this is simple. They provide their current clients with the highest level of service. They then ask those clients to leave positive online reviews. This, in two ways, leads to more clients. Let’s look at each of these two ways:

First, providing your client with the highest level of service turns them into a referral source. Do an excellent job for client “A,” and they will refer you “B.” Do an excellent job for B, and now A and B are both referral sources. And the cycle continues.

Ask yourself this simple question: How many attorneys do you know who spend more marketing themselves than they do providing better service to their clients? 

Successful firms don’t focus on getting as many phone calls as possible; their first focus is on existing clients. Marketing comes after that.

The best source of other referrals isn’t other professionals (such as a bail bondsman who may refer someone to a criminal attorney), it’s your former clients. And there’s a simple test to see how well you’re doing on this aspect.

If your referrals from clients aren’t increasing every year, you’re probably not providing the level of service you should be.

I recently corresponded with a criminal defense attorney who has built up a substantial record expungement practice. He said about twenty-five percent of cases coming in the door are referrals from former clients. That shows the importance of quality service. 

Take a look at these articles if you want to revamp your client experience:

And the second way that top-notch services leads to more clients?

I’ll explain it in two simple words:

Positive reviews.

It amazes me that so many attorneys don’t recognize the need for good online reviews. But take a look at the two profiles below. Which attorney would you go with?


Notice two things about the top profile.

First, notice the number of positive reviews he has. Each of those reviews will very likely lead to even more business, which, in turn, leads to more reviews.

And second, even his client recognizes how great our example attorney’s service is. Going as far as to say, “He treated me just like a friend.”

The attorneys who do recognize the need for reviews are raking in plenty of clients just from their online reputations alone. But the first step to those excellent reviews is offering amazing services for your clients. 

Here are some more tips on how attorneys can get more online reviews.

To sum it up, high-quality service leads to exponential growth in your referral business and improved conversions of the web traffic you already get. 

This is how firms get to the next level. And in my next article, I’ll touch on another crucial point that most firms miss — the need to leverage technology.

Why do you feel that so many firms fail to focus on conversions and provide quality service to their clients? Please let us know in the comments below!

Reviews & referrals are just two of many ways that lawyers can increase their revenue. Check out how personal injury attorneys can get more clients here.