Marketing is unquestionably important to a firm’s success. Potential clients must be educated and then reminded of our existence and our ability to provide them with the services that they need and want. Marketing is about being in the right place at the right time – in the mind of the person who is contemplating a purchase at the time they are making that decision. But true long-term success necessarily requires much more.
If we cannot effectively convert a lead – a potential client – into an actual client, then our marketing was for naught.
Marketing is about getting the lead to the door. Conversion is bringing them in. Many website purveyors tout (and some even promise) increasing your website visitors. Sure, the more visitors your website has, the greater your chance of landing a new client. There are various ways to drive web traffic. But, if those visitors aren’t truly potential clients, their visits do not really matter. Likewise, if the visitors don’t engage with you, then they are not likely to become clients.
Converting leads to clients is just as important to generating new clients as obtaining the leads. So how do we do that?
First, the process must be easy. If you want to sell something to someone, don’t make it a challenge for them. Don’t create unnecessary roadblocks or hurdles. Few people need to actually meet face-to-face for their first engagement. Not many have the time or feel comfortable doing that, but many like to talk on the phone. Though their number is dropping, those individuals want to easily make a human connection verbally with someone who can help them. Most law firms are missing one or more of these key elements in their intake process. It must be easy, simple, efficient, and quick. Long hold times won’t work. Meaningless and frustrating transfers won’t either. Nor will a lengthy auto-attendant (“Press 1 for …; press 2 for…”). The faster that this potential customer can actually speak to someone who sounds remotely interested in what they have to say the better. Others would rather drink sour milk than actually have to speak to someone on the telephone. They would rather communicate via their keyboard, smartphone, or tablet. But they still require the interchange to be quick, efficient, informative, and responsive.
It’s about customer service.
But the story doesn’t end with marketing and lead conversion. We must be able to deliver what the client wants and needs. We must be able to meet their expectations.
Over 65% of people seeking a lawyer first ask friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations. If you can’t deliver, you will not find long term success. Merely getting people in the door and converting them to clients without meeting their needs will just amp up the pressure on your need for new clients. And ultimately those efforts will yield diminishing returns. The ease with which clients can post reviews on the same medium that virtually every potential client visits before even reaching out (the internet), means the survival rate for ineffective counsel is much shorter than it used to be. Meeting a client’s needs means listening, being attentive, and managing expectations. Yes, even lawyers must focus on customer satisfaction. We can’t underestimate its importance.