I was recently chatting with a couple of new solo’s and they both had the same issue: they were getting consultations but would not hear back from the prospects a.k.a getting ghosted. Ghosted is the act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone, which is exactly what was happening to my friends.
I’ve helped a lot of solos improve their consultation process and these are some of the common reasons prospective clients won’t hire you:
They just want free advice.
One of the solo’s was offering free consultations. She would often spend over an hour with people that she never heard from again.
Solution: One of the easiest ways to cut down on consultations that do not end with you being retained is to charge at least a nominal fee for consults deter the tire kickers.
You don’t qualify leads
A mistake my friends were making was meeting with prospective clients without any screening process. Some of the people they were meeting with were just a bad fit for their practice, so of course, they don’t hire them.
Solution: Have a script or list of questions for prospects who inquire about a consultation. That way you (or your assistant) can get a feel for if you can help with their problem and if you should go forward with a consultation.
There is no urgency to hire you
Another reason potential clients won’t hire you is that their problem is not yet painful enough.
Solution: Part of the consultation should be you showing them why they need to deal with their problem sooner rather than later. You are the professional – if you don’t tell them they why they should deal with it now, they may put the problem on the backburner. You don’t have to be pushy about it, but you should tell them the pros and cons of proceeding now versus later.
You can also deal with this during the screening process. Before scheduling the consult see if they are ready to hire an attorney or just gathering information.
They don’t trust you
Another reason you may be ghosted by a potential client is that they don’t trust you. They may not believe you can and will deliver what you promised. Maybe you don’t sound credible or you can’t seem to answer their questions in a way to show you are competent in the practice area.
Solution: Practice your delivery with a friend or family member or even record yourself. Make sure the entire consultation experience inspires confidence in your prospective client. Is every step in the process smooth and professional? Are you competent enough in the practice area to answer questions and explain the process sufficiently?
They don’t like you
Sometimes you get ghosted because the client just doesn’t like you. Chemistry matters, and if it’s not there they probably won’t call you back.
Solution: Make sure prospects can get to know you before actually meeting you. Use social media and video on your site to show a bit of your personality and lawyering style so people can get an idea of who you are before they come in.
They can’t afford you
The main reason you are being ghosted by clients is probably the fact that they can’t afford you. Many lawyers are against sharing their fees over the phone so the prospect has no idea what they charge until they get to the consultation. This can result in you being way out of someone’s budget so they never contact you again.
Solution: If people ask, at least give them a range of your fee’s before the consultation. A potential client could think you are the most amazing lawyer in the world, but if your fee is more than they could ever possibly afford they will not hire you. And you wasted both your time and theirs by making them come in to see you before letting them know you are out of their budget.
Over half the clients who consult with me come prepared to pay that day because they already have at least an idea of what it will cost.
You don’t tell them what to do next
The last reason clients may not hire you is that you don’t make it easy for them to do so.
Solution: Tell them exactly what to do next. Give them the exact steps to take when they are ready to proceed. Do they call you? Will you send an invoice after the meeting or will they come back in? Follow up every appointment with an email with detailed instruction on next steps (if you want to take the case).
Like anything else you do when running a business, you have to review and adjust until you get your consultations just right. But having the right systems in place and knowing what to avoid can keep you from being ghosted by clients.
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