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From Consult To Client: The Steps You’ll Need To Increase Law Firm Conversions

In 2018, I stopped taking clients. I hired a managing attorney. I wanted to disengage from the practice of law in order to focus on rapidly scaling the firm while working on the plug-and-play concept of Modern Law Practice. It turns out that spending time growing other people’s law firms takes a lot of time, and provides momentum and synergy that propels my own firm, Modern Law. The last step to give was initial consultations.

I really like initial consultations and have studied both the psychology of buying and listening, to maximize my conversion rate, client satisfaction, and bonding that lasts well throughout the case. Typically, I would have attorneys sit in on a few consultations of mine, talk about my theory and philosophies and then let them loose. My conversion rate was always higher, but it didn’t really matter; until I stopped doing them.

We track conversion rate closely and our rate dropped from 50% to 40% when I stopped taking initial consultations, doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is. Our firm sees 45 consultations each month. At a 40% conversion rate, we add 18 clients per month. At a 50% conversion rate we add 22.5 clients per month. Each client is worth $6,500 to the firm, so the monthly difference between the 40% rate and the 50% rate is over $29,000 per month!

So, we did a training work shop. The consultation can be broken down into three phases, your initial greeting, the meat of the consultation, which is listening and bonding, and the final piece, the closing. During the workshop we went through the phases of the consultation and strategies for each phase, then we role played. The role playing was absolutely critical, and lead to great discussions on common problems faced during consultations.

Here is the real magic: the month following the workshop our firm conversion rate jumped to 76%! That means $222,000 for the firm in future revenue. The moral of the story is three-fold.

  1. Do not underestimate the importance of consultations. Once you fix intake and get people into your office, you need to focus on conversion.
  2. Initial consultations are a completely different skill from lawyering and you need to focus on the skills and practice them for maximum success.
  3. Train your employees and never stop. It’s never too late to start investing in education within your firm. My team loved it, and it made a tremendous difference in our bottom line.

Here are a few concepts that attorneys can put to work today to increase your conversion rate and get more clients.

Reciprocity

When someone does something for you you feel indebted to them.  If you can show that you’re doing them a favor, they will be more inclined to reciprocate.

A good starting point to get some insight on the power of reciprocity is the book Influence, by Robert Cialdini PH.D.  At its core, it covers behavior hacks you can use for a favorable outcome based on 6 principles.

Commitment and Consistency

Ask your clients for commitments.  When can I call you back?  Can we schedule a meeting now?  When people finish the conversation, they don’t want to think about what they still have to do.  If you can get something set in stone, they are more likely to follow up.

Social proof

If you saw an empty parking lot at a restaurant on a Saturday night, would you eat there?  This is a question of how many other people have tested your services as worthy. People want to know what your reputation is before they spend time and money on you.  The awards in your office are reviews by people we consider to be authorities in education.  In a world with Yelp reviews, you want to make sure a strong majority are satisfied with your work.

Liking

We trust people we like.  It’s when someone that has influence over you can grab you by the shoulder, and in a quiet voice, tell you something you need to know.  You will likely accept what they have to say.  On the other hand, people you are skeptical about may tell you exactly the same thing, but you’ll blow them off as a, “just being them.”

It is critical that a client likes you, and you can scientifically make that happen if you understand how.

Authority

It is important to make sure that your clients know that you have authority.  It is also walking a tight rope keeping them from feeling that they’re being treated as inferior.

One easy method is to listen more and talk less.  How do you convey your authority without speaking?  It’s all in how you present yourself.  How you physically look makes a big impression.  If you dress like you don’t care what people think, then people won’t care what you think. The way you talk when you do talk, the way you slouch in your seat, and the personal effects you have strewn about will all leave clues to your potential client about how you should be viewed.

It may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often a poster on the wall that seemed like a good idea at the time, is actually a detriment to your authority.  In a market where people always question the competence of a young attorney, you’ll want to make sure you have this part down.

Scarcity

Arnold Schwarzenegger made a movie entirely about scarcity.  It tells the tale of a parent trying to secure a toy that’s sold out everywhere, so he can give it to his son for Christmas.  This movie, Jingle All the Way, works because everyone can relate to the feeling of having been too late pulling the trigger on a sale.  That reinforcement makes scarcity a very powerful ally to have on your side.

When you can find ways to put these elements to work in advance of your consultations, and your entire team has been trained to work together, you’ll find your conversions going up, and your bottom line will as well.

Need help? Let’s talk about that. Modern Law Practice offers attorneys and their staff training in successful office systems. Get in touch with us here.