You think you are doing everything right. Your phone is ringing off the hook but you are still not hired after the consultation. What could be the problem?
1. You Were Too Slow Responding To Their Initial Contact
This is the first reason you were not hired. When people call a lawyer they want an immediate response. If you don’t respond to a call or email within a few hours, the next lawyer they contact will.
2. You Were Late To the Consultation
Things happen and sometimes tardiness can’t be avoided. But leaving a potential client in your waiting room long past their appointment time does not make a good first impression and you should not be surprised if you are not hired.
If you don’t respect their time before they retain you, they can only imagine how it will be once you have their money.
Often potential clients arrive early to their appointments because the meeting is so important to them. Upon their arrival you should stop what you are doing, greet them and let them know you will be with them shortly.
And if you are going to be late be sure to call them and let them know how long you will be. Apologize for keeping them waiting and get the meeting started as quickly as possible.
3. The Consultation Experience Was Lacking
Hiring a lawyer is expensive and client will expect a certain level of service based on how much they are paying. Value is important and the most cost effective way to add value is to provide an excellent client experience.
Systems are needed to efficiently and effectively move prospects through the process of lead to retained client.
The use of scripts, checklist and the handy downloadable flowchart at the end of this post, can help make the consultation experience consistently excellent.
The first thing a potential client will do, usually before making contact, is googling you or your firm. If your website is outdated or worse you don’t have a website and your social media profiles are nonexistent or incomplete, out of date, or inactive, you lose credibility.
There is so much information online and if you don’t put your best face forward you won’t stand out among the crowd.
4. Not Qualifying Leads in Advance
If you fail to do an initial intake conversation over the phone before you meet, everyone will be wasting their time. Figure out who your ideal client is and determine criteria that the client must meet before you’ll meet with them.
For example, in the first month of my practice I had a last minute consultation without doing an initial intake phone call and found out 20 minutes in that the prospect lived out of state. If I would have qualified the lead before making the appointment we would not have wasted our time.
I’ve made improvements over the years. Custody litigation will be expensive so I ask a few qualifying questions to determine if they will be able to afford my retainer for that type of representation.
I also provide a range of fees for my services so the prospect can be better prepared to pay if they need to move forward quickly and so they don’t experience sticker shock during the consult.
Qualifying weeds out the people who can’t actually afford my services or who are not a good fit for my practice.
5. They Are Simply Not Ready
No matter how great your consultation process is, you still may not be hired. People often see lawyer before they are ready for various reasons. Maybe they just want information or maybe once they learn more about the process they’ll realize they are not ready.
And that’s ok. The process will be much easier for both you and the client when they are ready. And if you have done a good job of selling them on your services, they will return when they are ready.
These tips have worked well for my practice so far. Over 75% of my consultations result in my office being retained within the week. When I’m not retained it’s because the client is not a god fit for my practice and I declined to represent them or the client is not ready. And about 80% of the prospects who were not ready return within the year.
Implement a few of these tips in your practice and watch more of your consults turn into retainers. To help you get started, download my convenient Consultation Experience flowchart to help take your prospect from lead to retained client.
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