While most attorneys understand that the first conversation with a potential client is one of the most critical steps to a successful sign-up, many approach these conversations with apprehension, nervousness, or even dread. The skills that you’ve developed in law school don’t always include sales and business development, and many lawyers would prefer to be working on their caseload than initiating conversations with clients or prospective clients.
By changing your outlook and developing the skills necessary for these conversations, you can make sure that you are nurturing prospective leads through the sales process, and that communication with your existing clientele is constant.
As an attorney, you always want to make clients and potential clients feel at ease and confident in your ability to represent them. These tactics will help you feel more comfortable speaking with them, whether it is your first meeting or a follow-up call.
Discuss “Next Steps” with Clients and Potential Clients
One easy technique is to discuss the next steps that will happen once someone retains your services. “If you want to move forward with us, our next steps will be…” allows clients to visualize their future with you without the pressure of making a decision.
This approach also builds confidence in their decision, as you demonstrate that you have a plan of action that is tailored to their needs. This approach doesn’t demand an ultimatum, which is a good thing. Ultimatums put pressure on someone who’s likely already dealing with an emotional and stressful situation. Try this approach, and you will be pleased with how often clients respond when they can visualize working with you.
Most clients want to work with attorneys whom they connect with and who make them feel genuinely cared for. People tend to be on guard when they feel like they are being sold a service rather than listened to. When potential clients come to you, the best thing to do is have a natural conversation with them. Asking follow-up questions gives you insight into their situation and also shows that you care about what happened.
Avoid talking too much about yourself and your experience. This information is essential, but there is a right time to discuss what sets you apart. First, get to know the person who called you or scheduled a consultation, and find out more about them.
Ask About Their Needs
Getting clients to talk about their needs shifts the focus onto them and away from yourself. When clients vocalize their needs out loud, they can begin to understand how you fit into that picture without you having to explain anything at all.
However, this assumes that they have an understanding of your profession and your work—which is not always the case. If a client expresses a need for your specific services, take the opportunity to discuss how you fit into that picture.
Know Your Target Audience
If you’ve been practicing for a while, you likely have specific cases you prefer to handle and cases that interest you the most. By focusing on the types of cases you have had previous success with, you will feel more at ease reaching out to them and initiating the conversation.
One way to zero in on these specific clients and cases is to collect data and analyze what works. Which pages on your site receive the most traffic? Which ones seem to drive the cases you like? Do people read your blog posts? Do they seem to react to certain ones more than others? Is this topic being discussed on social media, and could you join the conversation?
By analyzing the data that your marketing efforts collect, and by looking to social platforms and the web to further the discussion, you could be able to spark more conversations and potentially generate more business for your firm.