Busy or Not, Attorneys Need Help Closing the Sale

Our recent webcast outlined why today’s legal consumer is highly motivated to hire an attorney, and to do it as quickly as possible. During the Q & A section, two related questions were submitted that I wanted to answer publicly.

Q. Do you think it makes a difference if a lawyer answers the intake calls as opposed to a legal assistant?

A. My short answer is no. The goal of responsive intake is to create a relationship between your firm and the prospective client as quickly and meaningfully as possible. Remember, if a legal consumer successfully makes contact with your firm, there is an 87 percent chance they will hire you.

I do want to add two caveats to this answer, however. First, understand that consumers are in “get it done” mode by the time they contact your firm. If you have a legal assistant or general receptionist answering your phones, this person needs to be prepared to respond to questions that might be outside of their expertise. A solution to that challenge is to make your staff training ironclad – drawing a clear line between which information comes from attorneys and which comes from support staff.

The second point to remember is that not taking all calls personally doesn’t necessarily let you off the hook. You still have to respond to your clients quickly – the same day if not sooner. Think of it this way: If you must place a barrier between you and your clients, make it a white picket fence rather than a brick wall.

Q. Do you have any suggestions for closing a client once they come into the office for a consultation?

A. Like I mentioned above, once you have a potential client in your office the sale is basically yours to lose. If you suspect you aren’t “closing” the number of sales you should be, remember that legal consumers are often completely out of their element. Most people only rarely face legal issues and truly don’t know how to react.

With that in mind, try a variation on the presumptive close by guiding your prospects on what steps they should take next. Of course you should be clear and ethical in explaining at what point they’re electing to become a paying client. But the reality is that many of these lost opportunities simply don’t know what to do or understand the urgency of their situation. A trustworthy authority with a concrete plan of action might be all they need to sign on the dotted line.

Now as nice as that sounds, any attorney with experience will tell you that some potential clients just disappear or become inexplicably unresponsive. I won’t disagree with their first-hand knowledge. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that I’ve heard story after story of attorneys who simply gave up far too soon. If you haven’t read “Failing At The Finish Line” – our white paper on client intake – download your free copy today and pay special attention to the section discussing tenacity.

If you weren’t able to attend the webcast during it’s original broadcast, you can click here to view it and previous webcasts on-demand.

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