The longer I practice law (or live life, for that matter), the more I know it’s the little things that count.
On the law side: Getting the paperwork right, not missing deadlines, making sure the client signs the proper forms, finding an obscure point of law that will win the case, and others more numerous to mention. The old saying that “the devil is in the details” is certainly applicable to the practice of law!
On the life side: A great meal, a beautiful sunset, a good dog, a faithful friend, a comfortable pair of shoes.
These small things can make or break you, in your career and in your life. And it’s the little things that can make or break you when it comes to getting clients to hire you. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible to do business with you, removing any obstacles in the way that could potentially cause prospects to pause or look elsewhere.
What kind of obstacles am I talking about? Here’s a list:
- You don’t have one.
- Your website Is slow to load
- Lacks a contact form on the home page
- The contact form requires too much information
- Email addresses or phone numbers are hard to find
- Doesn’t have attorney bios and photos
- No testimonials
- Lacks information a typical prospect would be looking for
- Looks old and outdated
- No mobile version
- You aren’t on social media
- You don’t have a blog
- They can’t find any reviews on you
- Google results are scarce
Your intake process:
- Takes a long time for someone to answer the phone
- Phone calls immediately go to voicemail
- Voicemails are not returned quickly
- Emails from your website are not responded to quickly
- You don’t respond to inquiries from social media
- The person who answers your phone doesn’t know your website address
- The person answering the phone can’t set up appointments
- The person answering the phone doesn’t have the answers to basic questions
- The prospect can’t book an immediate appointment
- You don’t do phone or video consultations
- The client has to fill out a lot of forms before meeting with an attorney
- You don’t send appointment reminder emails
- You don’t give driving or parking directions
- You don’t communicate via email or text
- You don’t offer online payments
- You don’t accept credit cards
- You keep the prospect waiting in the lobby
- Your receptionist is not expecting the prospect
- You don’t provide direct contact information (phone, email) during the consultation
- You don’t provide a welcome packet of necessary information at the consultation
- You don’t follow up after the consultation
- You require physical signatures on client agreements
- You neglect to schedule the next appointment
- You have no process for continuing to follow up if they don’t sign at the initial consult
How many of the obstacles above do you have standing in the way of getting clients to hire you? However many it is, removing them is not that difficult if you commit yourself to developing a comprehensive online presence and standardizing your intake process using the right people with the right training and the right systems to automate your follow-up.
Your online presence starts with a website that utilizes responsive design so that your content is served up correctly whether the user is on a desktop, tablet or smartphone. It needs to include a Google map of your office locations and incorporate local search terms on the site so search engines can quickly peg your location and visitors can find you quickly and easily. All your content needs to be optimized to maximize page speed. Incorporate a pop-up chat box or slider that allows prospects to connect with you immediately and have contact forms on every page of your site.
Your intake process won’t improve until you have a system in place to take people from prospects to appointments to clients. It all starts with having the right personnel with a background in sales that can respond to leads quickly — leads can go from hot to cold in less than an hour! They need to be trained on every aspect of your intake process, which should include a system to automate a series of emails for appointment reminders, rescheduling if an appointment is missed, and a continued soft sell after the initial appointment if the prospect hasn’t made a decision yet to hire you.
Fixing the small things that create obstacles for clients to hire you will result in much bigger things, like your bottom line!