At the Rainmaker Institute, we have established a working process for lead conversion that is being used successfully by thousands of attorneys across the country. It begins with understanding the five stages of lead conversion:
- The number of leads that come into your firm.
- The number of leads that make appointments.
- The number of appointments who actually show up for a consultation.
- The number of appointments who sign up for your legal services at the initial consultation.
- The number of appointments who sign up at some later time after the initial consultation.
To be effective at lead conversion requires intervention and follow-up at every stage. The way you follow up during each stage will determine how quickly and effectively you are able to move someone along from becoming a lead to a paying client.
The most effective follow-up tools include phone calls, a regular schedule of emails that help move them along the decision-making process, and e-newsletters that keep you top-of-mind. Here are some specific strategies you should implement to improve your conversion rate at every stage of the process:
Stage 1 - Stage 2: 7 Ways to Triple Your Appointments
- Institute a “5 Minute Follow-up Rule.”
- Never make an attorney responsible for follow up!
- Train a staff person at first. When you get over 30-50 leads per month, hire a dedicated intake specialist.
- Give staff person a performance bonus to set appointments who show up.
- Call a minimum of 5-7 times before giving up.
- Script every voicemail, test results and verify calls are being made.
- Send 4-5 educational emails via autoresponder, in addition to the calls.
Stage 2 - Stage 3: 8 Ways to Improve “Show Ups”
- Send an immediate email confirmation with the details.
- Include a map, driving directions and photo of your building in your email.
- Send a “shock and awe package” in the mail.
- Have a staff person call them the day before and the day of the appointment.
- Call them 10 minutes after they don’t show up to reschedule.
- Never be rude or mean if they don’t show. Assume something happened in their life that prevented them from coming.
- Call a minimum of 5-7 times after missed appointment before giving up.
- Send 4-5 autoresponder emails in addition to calls.
Stage 3 - Stage 4: 6 Ways to Sign Up More People at the Initial Consult
- Ensure quality control during the initial consult.
- Role-play with staff and train them how to overcome objections.
- Consider not having attorneys do the initial consults.
- Emphasize how you are different from your competitors.
- Empathize over their situation! Pay attention to their emotions.
- Directly ask for the business. Make it clear you want their business.
Stage 4 - Stage 5: 4 Ways to Convert More Prospects After the Initial Consult
- Send an email immediately after the “No Hire” event asking them why they didn’t buy.
- Have a staff person call the day after the “No Hire.”
- Have a staff person call 4-5 more times afterwards to encourage them to come back into the office.
- Send 4-5 autoresponder emails in addition to calls.
If you really want to make your lead generation efforts pay dividends, you simply must become better at lead conversion. It is probably one of the least expensive yet most financially rewarding things you can do to boost your revenues.
FREE Law Firm Marketing Strategy Session with a Rainmaker Advisor
Having an Internet presence is a must for attorneys who want to effectively market and grow their firms.
It should be no secret that the Internet is one of the most cost effective lead sources for attorneys today. Even if a portion of your client base includes referrals, you can be sure that they are checking you out on the Web before they give you a call.
But how do you know you are going about it the right way?
Please give us a call at 888-588-5891 or click here to sign up for a free one-on-one Strategy Session with a Rainmaker Advisor who will listen to your specific marketing challenges. The Rainmaker Advisors are hand-picked and trained to identify marketing strategies that you can implement to grow your practice.
Hinge Marketing, which provides marketing expertise for professional services firms, has just released a new book entitled The Visible Expert, which is based on their research into how reputations are built and what they contribute to a firm’s bottom line.
Their extensive research has shown that thought leadership -- i.e., visible expertise -- is a significant driver for business development in professional services firms. Hinge conducted an exhaustive survey of more than 1,000 purchasers of professional services as well as 130 thought leaders.
When it comes to the impact of thought leadership on firms, 66% of respondents said that firm leaders who were highly visible had a measurable impact on business development and firm growth:
The research broke visible experts into five levels, with Level 1 being a local expert and Level 5 being a globally recognized authority. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that Level 5’s command a much higher hourly rate than Level 1’s, but the difference is still pretty staggering:
Hinge also looked at how buyers of professional services evaluate providers. The top source is your firm website, followed by an online search, personal referrals and social media:
The Hinge research also found that the marketing tools and techniques with the greatest impact -- those that deliver the highest ROI -- include (in order of importance):
- Speaking engagements
- Firm website
- Email marketing
The good news is that if you are not already on a path to becoming a thought leader, this is a skill that can be learned. We teach it every month at our Rainmaker Retreat, the popular two-day legal marketing seminar. Here are dates for upcoming sessions:
September 19-20, 2014 -- Miami, FL
October 17-18, 2014 -- Las Vegas, NV
November 14-15, 2014 -- New York, NY
December 5-6, 2014 -- Los Angeles, CA
You can register online for a Rainmaker Retreat or call 888-588-5891 for more information. National Trial Lawyers members receive a discount. Please contact National Trial Lawyers at 866-665-2852 to receive the discount code.
Every lawyer I know would love to be quoted in the media on an important topic for their practice area. And why not? It usually costs you nothing but a little time, and you get viewed as the expert in your field, in your town.
So how can you become that go-to person for the media?
Learn tips and tricks of the trade from 30-year PR veteran Jana Schilder, who is co-founder of The Legal A Team specializing in public relations for the legal profession, at a free webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT on How to Get Quoted in the Media on a Shoestring Budget.
Jana was director of marketing and communications at McCarthy Tetrault, Canada’s largest national law firm with 640 lawyers in six offices. She established her own PR consultancy in 2004 and has a proven track record of working with and delivering results to lawyers and law firms.
Sponsored by LawMarketing.com, this one-hour webinar will provide you with tips and strategies that cost little or nothing, and will help you get quoted regularly in the media. You’ll learn how to:
- Understand how reporters, editors and producers think—and how to take advantage of it.
- Introduce yourself to media to start a strong and long-lasting relationship
- Easily find publications that accept an article that you wrote
- Write Op-Ed articles. What are they and how can you write one?
- Write Letters to the Editor that get published
- Leverage community access television
- Leverage satellite radio: hundreds of shows need guest experts
- Come up with the sound bites that editors and producers love
- Network with reporters to cultivate the relationship (Media relations is NOT speed dating!)
- When you get quoted/interviewed, what to do with the clipping/video link
You can register online now for the How to Get Quoted in the Media on a Shoestring Budget webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. If you cannot attend, register anyway to receive the free recording of the webinar in its entirety.
An article at WSJ.com yesterday pointed up a growing source of competition for many law firms: their own clients.
There are probably some of you reading this right now who have already experienced this shift, which started during the recession and now appears to be sticking. According to an analysis of 300 corporate counsels by BTI Consulting Group, 58% of larger companies are sending more of their legal work to in-house attorneys.
In-house counsel is now increasingly performing the work that junior attorneys at law firms used to cut their teeth on like contracts and real estate deals. A report by the Association of Corporate Counsel released earlier this year found that 63% of chief legal officers surveyed said they are now keeping work in-house that they used to send out to law firms.
If there is a bright spot in this news, it’s that the more specialized work is still being farmed out and law firms have started migrate to more specialty practice areas where legal expertise is more difficult to duplicate in-house.
Clearly what has happened in the consumer legal services arena with online legal services providers is making headway into the C-suite. Which makes it even more important than ever for solos and small firms to target and own a niche where you can command a reasonable fee for your services and increase your opportunities for referrals because you are no longer seen as a competitor.
One of the biggest misconceptions is if you market like a specialist and niche your legal practice, your business is going to diminish. The truth is, when you niche your legal practice you can communicate more powerfully to your ideal market than if you say you can help anyone and everyone.
Of course, there may be a few prospects you will no longer reach…but because you are stating a compelling reason why your ideal target should do business with you, the firm will begin to attract your ideal target market more powerfully.
This is exactly what you want. You want to attract the people or companies that are most likely to do business with you initially, repeatedly and at the highest profit margin.
FREE REPORT: How to Position Yourself as A Specialist, Not a Generalist
If you are taking every piece of legal business that comes your way with no regard for developing a specialization, you are killing your business.
Being a generalist makes it much harder to get referrals. If you are a generalist, other attorneys who might otherwise send referrals your way see you as a competitor!
When someone has a referral to give, they want to give it to someone who specializes in the kind of problem or situation that the referral needs. You want to specialize because it creates more credibility and more loyalty.
Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:
- 4 ways to position yourself as a specialist
- Benefits of specializing
- What to do about cases that don’t fit in your specialty
- How other attorneys have successfully specialized
- …And much, much more!
Click here now to receive the free report on How to Position Yourself as A Specialist, Not a Generalist.
I’m in San Diego today getting ready to speak before The State Bar of California Annual Meeting general assembly on how to use social media to build referrals.
It’s no secret that many attorneys are reluctant to engage on social media because they may view it as an enormous time-suck. If that’s your attitude, then may I suggest you are looking at it the wrong way? Instead of viewing social media as just another demand on your time, you should be looking at it as a highly effective, low-cost way to beef up your referral network.
Here’s how social media can help you generate referrals:
Social media builds connections. Humans are programmed to connect with other humans, and is the underlying reason why social networks as so ubiquitous today. Even the busiest person has a desire to connect with others. Posting content that drives a conversation is a way for attorneys to connect continuously with their referral base, and keeps you in front of contacts who may not have ever thought of sending you business.
Social media provides greater reach for your message. If your post is interesting or entertaining, it will go far beyond your established network as those people share it with others in their networks. Not only is your reach extended, it also carries the implied recommendation of the person who shared it, which helps you build trust.
Social media builds relationships. By using social media on a regular basis, you strengthen your relationships with people you already know and start building new relationships with people you don’t know -- your friends’ friends and followers. LinkedIn is a particularly powerful platform for networking with referral sources if you take a little time to do it right (to find out how, watch our webinar on How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on Linkedin -- see below for details).
Social media builds a solid reputation. As you continue to feed good, original and helpful content to your audiences on social media, you enhance your reputation as a knowledgeable expert in your field of practice. That reputation creates a positive ripple effect, going from your connections to their connections and so on.
New On Demand Webinar: How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn
The Rainmaker Institute’s business development specialist Alec Borenstein is featured on this online webinar that is now available on demand: From LinkedIn to Lunch: How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn.
Most attorneys already have a profile on LinkedIn, but very few know how to effectively use it to build a powerful referral network. With over 238 million professionals on LinkedIn, it has become one of the easiest ways to rapidly identify strategic contacts and build relationships with them!
In this advanced, information-packed 60-minute webinar you’ll learn:
- How to generate targeted connections using LinkedIn
- How to join and create LinkedIn groups to target your key referral sources and clients
- Tools to land 2-4 lunches every month with your connections and referral partners
- What to say during these meetings to ensure prospects remember you
- How to follow up after your LinkedIn lunch
All you have to do is troll your own Facebook or LinkedIn account to know that there is LOTS of content online.
In fact, a recent post at Buffer.com noted that more content is published every day on Facebook than is found in every book published in human history!
So how do you stand out from that enormous crowd and earn the trust you need to succeed with your social media marketing program? Buffer provides these tips:
Use personal pronouns. Using personal pronouns in your posts -- I, we, you, me, etc. -- and being more conversational elicits empathy from an audience, getting you a better response.
Use simple words. By using simple words, you can convey your idea in a way that people don’t have to think about before understanding it. Big words and legalese will tend to alienate people, not draw them in.
Use stories. Since the beginning of time, humans have communicated by telling stories and the propensity to listen to a story is ingrained in our DNA. A Buffer study showed that adding a story to your blog post can increase readership by 300%.
Use contemporary culture references. Weaving a pop culture reference or two into your post, especially if you’re able to add a celebrity name or two like Beyoncéor George Clooney (see how I did that?), helps boost readership and interest.
Use the Shaq Rule. Shaquille O’Neal is a social media powerhouse, with a Twitter following of 8.5 million and 4.7 million Facebook fans. His rule for posting is that 80% of his posts must be entertaining, 15% must be informative and only 5% should sell something. People can sniff out a sales pitch online immediately, and just as quickly they are on to the next thing.
FREE REPORT: How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought Leader
One of the secret tools of Internet marketing for attorneys is the power of having a targeted blog. In 2013, inbound marketing firm Hubspot released a report based on a marketing benchmark study of 7,000 companies and found that when it comes to blogging:
Companies that blog 15+ times per month get five times more traffic than firms with no blog.
B2B companies that blog at least twice a month get 70% more leads from their websites than firms with no blog.
Companies that increase their blogging from 3-5 times per month to 5-8 times per month almost double their leads.
Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:
- 7 ways that blogging can help your law practice
- How to create your blog strategy
- 10 ways to build an audience for your blog
- 4 sources of information for writing blog posts
- And much more!
Whether you know it or not, the legal marketing landscape is shifting below your feet if you are a B2C attorney. The evidence for this can be found in these recent developments:
On August 8, the ABA announced that it is launching a pilot program in partnership with online legal services provider Rocket Lawyer in an attempt to reach what the ABA calls a “horribly underserved market” -- i.e., consumers and small business owners who otherwise would not be using an attorney. For this pilot program, ABA members in select states will provide legal services through Rocket Lawyer and report back their experiences.
Also in early August, Martindale-Hubbell relaunched as MartindaleNolo.com, a new website that offers lead generation, directory listings and web hosting solutions for attorneys. The site’s goal is to “help law firms expand their practices through online channels.”
In addition, a recent ABA Journal blog highlighted the fact that LegalZoom’s recent victories in several state courts on UPL charges is clearing the way for future growth for that online legal services provider.
The ABA pilot program demonstrates what consumers have been trying to tell the legal profession for years: they want choices and they are going online to find them.
Two years ago, a LexisNexis research report found that 76% of consumers use the Internet to search for an attorney. It also identified a four-stage process consumers use in their search for an attorney: gather information about a legal issue/case, find a lawyer, validate a lawyer and select a lawyer.
In order to be relevant (and found) today, B2C attorneys need:
- A website that uses responsive design, so your content is displayed appropriately no matter what device a consumer is using (desktop, laptop, tablet, phone).
- Content that is unique and highly relevant for your area of practice.
- A blog that allows consumers to hear your authentic voice and establishes you as an authority in your field of practice.
- Complete profiles on directory sites like Avvo, along with peer and client reviews so clients know what it’s like to work with you.
- Social media participation, particularly on Facebook.
Technology and consumer preference are the powerful forces that are at the heart of the changes in the legal marketing landscape today. Ignore either at your own peril.
NEW Free Report: How Attorneys Can Make the Most of LinkedIn
With over 300 million members in over 200 countries (100+ million in the U.S.), LinkedIn has quickly become THE ‘go to’ business-to-business directory and the most popular social networking platform dedicated to professional business development.
To ignore it is the proverbial equivalent of sticking your head in the sand.
Learning how to use LinkedIn to your biggest advantage takes time and effort, but it is time well spent.
If you are new to LinkedIn, it can be confusing, much like any new software that you need to learn to grow your business.
Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:
- What LinkedIn can help you accomplish
- Valuable LinkedIn features that can increase the power of your network
- Smart ways top attorneys use LinkedIn
- What your profile needs in order to be effective
- How to make people want to know more about you
- And much, much more!
To improve your lead conversion process you not only have to have the right people, but you also have to have the right system.
A lot of law firms don’t use a system. They don’t have protocols, they don’t have checklists, they don’t have step one/step two/step three, and they don’t have software. You need all of that if you’re really going to have a well-oiled machine that is going to convert the maximum number of leads possible.
And it’s software that drives all of this. By the way, Excel is not a system; Outlook is not a system. They may be great for managing and manipulating data and spreadsheets, but that’s not a system. You need a system that actually helps you track and convert more of those leads into retained or paying clients.
That’s why we developed the Rainmaker Lead Conversion System early on. It’s a software-generated approach that includes training and consulting with a firm’s staff on best practices, but at the heart of it is a software-driven system that tracks where all your leads are coming from.
It tracks what your conversion rate is by office location if you have multiple offices, by attorney, how many of those appointments actually show up, how many convert to retained clients, and more. After the initial consultation, it sends out auto responder e-mails that follow up and track every single lead. It has a series of action-trigger sequences. It’s a very, very comprehensive system, and if you want to run an effective lead conversion program, you can’t just use Excel.
Most of the time, in order for your lead conversion system to really be effective, you need to have a minimum of 30 to 50 leads per month. If you’re getting fewer than 30 leads per month consistently, you really need to work more on lead generation.
But for those law firms that are getting 30 to 50 or more leads per month, lead conversion is a huge opportunity, and the closer you get to 100 – and I know some of the people reading this are probably getting several hundred leads per month – you’re absolutely leaving money on the table if you don’t have a software-driven system in addition to sales training for your people.
On-Demand Seminar: Knowing the Numbers That Run Your Law Firm
We are now providing one of our most popular seminars – Knowing the Numbers That Run Your Law Firm – in an on-demand format, so you can watch and learn at your convenience, as many times as you wish.
Over the last decade we have helped over 10,000 attorneys market and grow their business. During this time we have identified many of the key characteristics of highly successful law firms.
One of the more consistent ones is that they track specific numbers and key indicators that give them instant insight into how their law firm is performing on a weekly and monthly basis.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the numbers that make your law firm run. By analyzing these critical metrics, partners and owners of law firms can easily determine whether they are on track to achieve their goals or if they need to retool and refocus their marketing and business development efforts.
In this fast paced seminar, you learn:
- How to easily identify the 12 key metrics your law firm needs to track and measure
- How to set up a system to identify these numbers
- The 7 critical systems every law firm must have
- CPL and CPC: the 2 most important numbers every attorney must know in order to succeed
- How to avoid “paralysis by analysis” and being overwhelmed by too much data
- Delegating roles and responsibility to your staff
- Using software to track your KPIs
If you’re a spreadsheet and data driven individual then you will love this seminar! However, if numbers scare you or you tend to ignore them because you have a hard time making heads or tails of all the different data you see, then this seminar is a “can’t miss” event!
We cut through the clutter and give you clear and easy to understand guidance on which numbers really matter the most, how to track this information, and what to do with it once you have it!
To get this on-demand seminar, click on this link: Knowing the Numbers That Run Your Law Firm
I’ve found that most law firms don’t focus most of their resources and energy on lead generation; they focus all of their resources and energy on lead generation. Virtually no one talks about lead conversion and intake; they all talk about lead generation.
I never have attorneys come in to me and say, “Stephen, I need to improve my lead conversion.” Every single day I talk to attorneys who say, “I need more leads.”
At one of our recent Rainmaker Retreats, I said to a bankruptcy attorney, “Tell me why you’re here.”
He said, “Stephen, I need more leads.”
I said, “How many leads are you getting?”
He pulls out a spreadsheet, and I was amazed. His background was engineering; he just happened to be a bankruptcy attorney. He pulls out this Excel spreadsheet, which was fantastic, and he could list every single lead he’d gotten in the last six months.
He said, “Last month, I got 221 leads.”
I said, “Wow, that a lot of leads! But how many of them turned into clients?”
He looked at me sheepishly and said, “Ten.”
I said, “Ten? No offense, but you don’t need more leads. To give you more leads would be a sin. You need to convert more of the leads that you’re already getting into paying clients. I have clients that are running multi-million dollar law firms off 200 leads a month in bankruptcy. That’s a lot of leads; you don’t need more leads.”
I’m not saying that some law firms don’t need more leads, but they spend 95% to 99% of their time on lead generation. They need to bring that back down to about 60% to 70% of their time and focus the rest on lead conversation and client retention, i.e., getting repeat business and/or repeat referrals from their former clients.
Lead generation will not solve all your problems. If you don’t have a really tight, consistent system to convert that lead into a paying client, or retained client, then you’re flushing your money down the toilet.
7 Strategies for a 7-Figure Law Firm
If you’re like many of the attorneys I speak with every week:
You’ve been practicing over 10 years, you own a small firm with a handful of staff, you work hard month after month, but you never seem to get ahead.
You’ve tried all the traditional methods of marketing your law firm, but so far nothing seems to work very well.
You have goals, dreams and ambitions, but after all these years you’re still struggling to break or consistently break the million dollar mark…and every once in a while you wonder if it’s really worth it all.
I need to tell you from one business owner to another-the skills that helped you build a good 6-figure practice are not the same skills you will need to build a great 7-figure business.
So if you’re tired of beating your head against the wall and you’re ready to take a fresh look at how to break out of the negative cycle you’re stuck in then you really owe it to yourself to attend this webinar.
Join us and discover:
- What it really takes to build a 7-figure law firm -- no hype and no b.s.
- Insider tips from managing partners running multi-million dollar firms
- How to position yourself as a recognized expert and attract higher quality clients
- 3 biggest reasons why you’re not getting more referrals and how to overcome these hurdles
- The 2 things every Million Dollar Law Firm has in place (you will never achieve 7-figure revenues without both of these)
- 2 key metrics you must measure every month if you want to grow your law firm
One of my favorite bloggers in the legal space is attorney Lee Rosen. He always has great stuff to share over at his Divorce Discourse blog (don’t let the name fool you, it’s practical legal business marketing and management advice that can be applied to any practice).
Lee had a great post today about the rules you should be following to turn initial consultations into retainers. Our thought processes on this subject track completely; read his post in its entirety but I’m going to call out some of the most important practices that many attorneys neglect when they hold an initial consultation:
Create a comforting environment. No one wants to come into a messy office or conference room. Your space says something about you and no one wants a disorganized attorney! If you’re meeting in your office, make sure everything looks neat and tidy. If you meet in a conference room, clean up the dirty cups and donut crumbs from your last meeting.
Be welcoming. Do NOT make your prospect sit and wait for you! Greet them upon arrival with a smile and a firm handshake. Be glad to see them. Make eye contact. Put them at ease from the beginning so they feel comfortable around you from the get-go.
Listen. Many attorneys fall into the well-worn trap of trying to impress a prospect with the depth of their legal knowledge. Don’t make this mistake! You should be listening a lot more than talking at this stage of the game. Remember, your objective in this meeting is to get the prospect to retain you. There will be plenty of time later to share your legal knowhow. As they speak, don’t have your head down furiously scribbling notes. Practice good listening behavior by maintaining eye contact, listening and repeating a few of their words back to them. Draw them out when necessary with a few encouraging words.
Follow up! If they don’t sign up right away, call them the next morning and ask if they thought of any more questions for you. Then set another appointment so you can keep them moving forward with you.
On-Demand Seminar: How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients
After paying your employees, the most costly part of your law firm is Lead Generation.
This year your law firm will spend almost 10 times as much generating new leads as it does servicing existing clients!
Generating leads for your law firm is very expensive, yet a common complaint of many attorneys is that they “need more leads.”
Lead Conversion is the most overlooked area at most law firms and it has the potential to save you tens of thousands of dollars this year!
How? By helping you convert more of those costly leads into more paying clients!
Get this on-demand seminar to learn:
- 3 major areas to examine when analyzing your law firm
- 5 numbers every law firm must track to increase their conversion rates
- A simple diagnostic tool you can use to track your leads and fix your follow up
- A proven system for converting more leads into paying clients