8 Proven Techniques to Convert Prospects at the Initial ConsultationMost attorneys I know have a pretty healthy opinion of their ability to close the sale at the initial consultation.  Yet they are always looking for ways to improve their conversion rate — which tells me that maybe they’re not as confident as they appear.

If you’ve gone to the trouble and expense to get prospects in your door, you naturally want to close as many as possible at or immediately after the initial consultation. Here are some techniques we have taught our clients:

Step 1: Create the right environment.

The impression you want to give is one of professionalism, courtesy and comfort. Your front office and the conference space where you meet prospects will form their first impressions of you and your competency. If you have a conference room, then it should be staged for consultations. Create the environment that best reflects how you want prospects to feel about you. Put a sign on the door welcoming them, using their name or their company name if your firm focuses on business law. Keep it meticulously clean – no clutter! Set up a Keurig machine with a wide variety of choices for them to choose from and a mini-fridge with soft drinks and water.

Step 2: Make the right greeting.

Make sure prospects are greeted immediately by name. Establish a five-minute wait rule for all attorneys and paralegals – no prospect or client waits more than five minutes for an appointment (unless they show up really early). Greet them with a warm hello and a handshake and eye contact. Make them feel that you are truly glad to see them.

Step 3: Never have them fill out forms.

No one enjoys filling out forms. We’ve all been to the doctors and been given a wad of papers to fill out before the doctor will see us. It’s very off-putting. Never have prospects fill out forms at your office (unless it’s only one or two pages long) and never send them a detailed questionnaire ahead of time. Instead, have them meet with an intake specialist who is trained to establish rapport, ask qualifying questions, position the attorney or the firm as the best place to get their problem solved, share a few success stories or testimonials with the prospect, and set up the attorney for a quick win. The intake specialist can also fill out the necessary information to give to the attorney when they meet with them. While this technique may not work for a few practice areas (intellectual property and commercial litigation), the vast majority of consumer law firms could easily benefit from this kind of set-up.

Step 4: Provide a road map.

After you’re seated and they have been given a refreshment, briefly explain to them how the consultation works: “Let’s talk first about what brought you here today and then we can discuss how we’ll be able to help you solve your problem. I’m here to answer your questions, so please don’t hesitate to ask and be sure to let me know if you need clarification on any issues.” Remember, even though you do this every day, for most people this is the first attorney they’ve ever hired. Make it easy on them by providing some structure.

Step 5: Ask clarifying questions to control the conversation.

Be sure you listen more than you talk during the initial consult. Far too many attorneys try to talk their way into a new client. That’s a rookie mistake. You “listen your way” into a new client. They are coming to you with a serious problem that is rocking their world and they want a sympathetic ear more than anything else. Don’t jump in too early with your advice or thoughts – let them talk everything out first. If possible, don’t give any legal advice during the consult. Why? Because you don’t know the whole story. Clients never tell you the whole story until sometime down the road. Don’t be too quick to jump on a solution.

Some clients talk too much. Use clarifying questions to control the conversation (“So what you’re saying is … ” “Let me make sure I understand, you said … did I get that right?”). Don’t focus too much on taking notes. If they hire you, they’ll be happy to repeat anything you need to know. Give them lots of eye contact and make the appropriate comments that demonstrate empathy along the way. It may seem contrived at first, but trust me, it is important to the client that you can empathize with them. Remember, most buying decisions are made emotionally, then justified rationally. Not the other way around. Connect emotionally with prospects and more of them will hire you.

Step 6: Tell them only what they need to know.

One of the biggest reasons attorneys don’t convert more prospects into paying clients is because they over-educate them. Do not be overly concerned about educating prospects all at once about the process used to solve their specific problem. Just tell them the basics of what they need to know right now. Instead, focus on building a relationship with them and asking the questions you need to qualify them as a good client.

Step 7: Ask for the business.

Once you have identified a good case, never let them walk out the door without directly asking them to sign up at least twice – on the spot! Ask them closing questions like, do you have any other questions I haven’t answered today that would keep you from signing up? If they say yes, answer the question and then ask them if there’s anything else. Always bring in a retainer agreement ready to go. Make the sign-up process easy. “So all I need to move forward is for you to sign these three forms and then we can get started right away.” Assume they want to sign up. Never tell them to go home and think about it! If they agree to hire you on the spot, then stay with them through your client intake process. Don’t just leave them in the room – or worse, put them back in the lobby – with a bunch of paperwork where they can get distracted. If they say they have to think about it, then be sure to set a firm day and time for a follow-up call or visit when they will decide. Be sure to walk them out, shake their hand, and let them know you would be honored to represent them and your team is ready to get started as soon as possible.

Step 8: Follow up.

If they do not sign up at the consultation, send them an immediate email and have a staff member call them the next day to see if they have any questions you didn’t have a chance to answer during the consult. Keep following up with a series of emails and phone calls that gently remind them you care and that you are ready to move forward with solving their problem.

If you take these specific steps to properly structure your initial consultation, you will find yourself with a lot more new clients than you ever expected.


Tips for Law Firms on Marketing to MillennialsThose of us in the Gen X or Baby Boomer demographic sometimes enjoy poking fun at Millennials as entitled little snowflakes who grew up receiving participation trophies, have no idea how people got coffee before Starbucks, and popularized the man-bun.

But while we were all laughing, they were growing to become the largest demographic, overtaking the Baby Boomers in 2016. Millennials — those aged 19-39 — number more than 83 million today and represent 35% of this country’s workforce.

According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are:

  • More attached to networks of friends and colleagues through social media rather than through traditional religious or political institutions.
  • More burdened by financial hardship than previous generations, but still optimistic about the future.
  • Staying single much longer — only 26% are married.
  • Are the most racially diverse generation in history.
  • Are less trusting of others than older Americans.

If this demographic includes your target market, here are some tips for reaching this diverse demographic:

Up your social media game. Millennials do not respond to traditional modes of marketing. They like to have a conversation. They do not like to be “sold.” This generation lives on social media — they literally invented it — and it’s what they know and trust. They are much more likely to use the Internet to find an attorney — 63% do so vs. 33% of all consumers. But they don’t really trust your website as a good source to make a decision; rather, they look for you on social media and read legal blogs. In fact, 43% of millennials say blogs are an important source of essential information when choosing an attorney vs. just 19% of all legal consumers.

Have online reviews. According to FindLaw, millennials look for online reviews of attorneys twice as much as legal consumers in general (23% vs. 12%). They consider online reviews to be independent of marketers’ influences and trust a stranger’s experience of your law firm rather than trying it out for themselves before making a decision.

Embrace DIY. This may sound like heresy to many attorneys, but millennials are big DIYers and often wait until they have exhausted their DIY options before turning to an attorney. Offering legal services with a flat fee, enabling them to do some of the initial groundwork, and providing lower cost service options will make your firm appealing to millennials. It is interesting to note that while millennials like to do as much as possible for themselves, they are also risk-adverse. Educating them on what could go wrong if they attempt to “be their own lawyer” will be beneficial in getting them to engage you, even if it is only for a review of what they’ve already done online.

Make the world a better place.  Millennials are not only more willing to patronize companies dedicated to social and environmental change, they will pay more to do so. Embrace a cause and make it visible on your website, social media, and blog.


7 Questions to Ask Before You Outsource Your Law Firm MarketingWhen I started out in law firm marketing some 20 years ago, it was a lonely profession. Today, the law firm marketing landscape is covered with so-called “experts” in SEO, social media, digital marketing, you name it. Some are good at what they do, but most have no business calling themselves an expert at anything but obfuscation.

Today, very few of the top producing law firms rely on just “word-of-mouth marketing” or random referrals. They actively promote their legal solutions to a specific target market using a number of best practices. They have either made the commitment to assemble an in-house team, or they work with an established legal marketing firm to implement their law firm marketing.

Here are 7 questions attorneys should use to vet any individual or company they are thinking of entrusting with their law firm marketing:

  1. Do they specialize in working with attorneys? Attorneys have legal and ethical rules they must follow. If you hire someone who doesn’t know those rules and ethical boundaries, it can get you into big trouble!
  2. How many attorneys have they worked with? Over the past two decades, we have worked with more than 18,000 attorneys. That is a quantifiable number and one you should solicit from any person or company that you are considering to help market your firm.
  3. How big is their digital footprint? We have been active on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter since their inception and have been blogging about law firm marketing since 2007.  On behalf of our clients, we have managed more than 5,200 social media profiles and authored over 150,000 blog posts in just about every conceivable practice area.
  4. Do they have a successful track record? We have helped over 18,000 attorneys learn how to double their revenues and increase their referrals. We have probably helped more attorneys break the 7-figure barrier than anyone else in the nation. Ask your candidates to show you specifically what they have done for other law firms and ask to speak to a few attorneys they have represented so you can get a true picture of their capabilities and ability to deliver.
  5. Do they have a blueprint plan or is it just hit or miss? We have the Rainmaker Social Media blueprint that helps guide our clients to success. It is in writing and taught every month at our Rainmaker Retreats, where attendees also use the Rainmaker MAP (Marketing Action Plan) to create their own marketing plans. Ask your candidates to show you their plan and some real-world results that have come from attorneys who implemented it.
  6. How big is their team? Is it just them? What happens if they go on vacation or get hit by a bus? At The Rainmaker Institute, we have a team of 60 law firm marketing specialists who are true experts in the industry.
  7. How do they measure results? How will you know if they are successful? How long will it take before you start to see results? We provide our clients with monthly statistical reports so they know exactly what kind of results their marketing plan is delivering.

They say you get what you pay for, but we all know that is not always true, especially when it comes to marketing. Be sure you know exactly what you will be getting before you hire your next “expert.”

How to Face Your Social Media FearsFear of the unknown is a basic human instinct, and we see it every day when it comes to attorneys and social media.  But with 77% of Americans using social media, it’s time to face your fears!

One way to face your fear is to learn all about proven social media marketing strategies attorneys have used to build their practices at a Rainmaker Retreat, our two-day law firm marketing program.

Here are four of the most common fears I hear from attorneys at our Rainmaker Retreats:

“I don’t have enough time.”

You don’t have to spend a lot of time on social media for it to benefit your firm. Choose the one social media network where your target market is most likely to be found — for B2C attorneys, the #1 network is Facebook; for B2B attorneys, it’s LinkedIn. Then spend about 30 minutes a day — first thing is best — on creating a post about something of interest to your target market. If that still doesn’t work for you, you can engage a law firm marketing company like ours to help you.

“I don’t know what my ‘voice’ should be.”

The voice in your posts should be yours. It should sound human, not corporate. Have your personality and opinions reflect your firm’s marketing strategy and values.

“I don’t know what to post.”

Think about the top 10 problems clients have that you solve, and create posts with solutions to those problems. You can then turn those posts into a free report. How-to articles and FAQs are great ways to showcase your expertise as well — FAQs are especially useful for SEO and voice search. Share interesting and informative articles you’ve found that your audience can relate to, and ask questions to start conversations.

“I’m worried about negative comments.”

The question is not IF you will get a negative review, but WHEN.  And the best way to successfully offset a negative review is to have as many positive reviews as possible. Think about it: the last time you went to order something on Amazon, did the product have both positive and negative reviews? Of course! But you still purchased it, right? Why? Because innately we all know that no matter what the product or service, there will always be someone who is unhappy.  As long as we see more positive than negative reviews, chances are we still invest in that product or service.

There’s also a positive side to a negative review: if it has merit, then you’ve just learned something about how you can improve your service. If it doesn’t have merit, don’t worry — it’s still an opportunity to respond professionally to show you care enough to engage. And if it’s just off the wall, no one will pay attention to it.

At every Rainmaker Retreat, we focus on providing advanced hands-on training for lead generation, lead conversion, legal marketing automation, and Internet and social media marketing strategies specifically designed to help attorneys generate more and better referrals for their law firm, and convert more prospects into paying clients.

Upcoming Rainmaker Retreat dates include:

  • April 27-28, 2019Dallas, TX/The Highland Dallas
  • May 31-June 1, 2019 — San Francisco, CA/Hilton Garden Inn San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge
  • June 21-22, 2019 — Boston, MA/Hyatt Regency Boston
  • August 16-17, 2019 — Las Vegas, NV/Aria Resort & Casino
  • November 8-9, 2019 — New Orleans, LA/International House Hotel
  • December 6-7, 2019 — Los Angeles, CA/The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey

Plan ahead and take advantage of the Early Bird pricing, where you can save 30% off the regular price.

You can register online for a Rainmaker Retreat or call 888-588-5891 for more information.

3 Ways Lawyers Can Improve Client CommunicationThe #1 complaint clients make to bar associations is about their attorney’s failure to communicate. Communication is fundamental to building a strong, lasting relationship with clients. You must stay on top of your email and phone messages.

If you spend a lot of time in court, then you need to (1) better set and manage client expectations as to when they can expect a response to their email or phone call, or (2) assign someone on your staff who is trustworthy and reliable to return those calls for you and set up an appointment to speak with you when you are available. Be sure you have a staffer scouring your email for client requests that can be handled without your intervention, like inquiring about when their court date is or how to dress for an upcoming appearance or to remind them of the address for their deposition.

Beyond the everyday communication, there are three other areas most lawyers can work on to improve their client communication:

Keep clients informed about the progress of their cases.

I strongly recommend you have someone (not an attorney) call and email every single client to update them on their case every month – even if there is no update, We are still waiting to hear back from the insurance company. We are still waiting on the judge to issue a ruling on our motion. We haven’t heard back yet from opposing counsel and we are emailing them every week asking for a response. In most cases, there can be weeks or even months that go by with no movement. During this time, clients can think you have forgotten about them.

To retain client loyalty and satisfaction, you need to gently remind them that you are still “on the case” and haven’t forgotten about them. This person can be your legal assistant or even a paralegal, but we don’t recommend it be you or an associate unless absolutely necessary.

Proactively educate clients on events or changes in the law that could affect them.

Sending out regular client communiqués or newsletters is a very cost-effective way to educate former clients and referral partners of changes in the law that could affect them or simply remind them of their legal rights and responsibilities.

Inform them of other ways you can help them and other areas of practice in your law firm. It’s your responsibility to educate and inform clients of other ways you can add value. If there are other services you provide that they could benefit from but are not currently using, let them know what benefits they could get from using those other services. In addition to telling them over lunch and sending out monthly newsletters, you can also hold seminars or webinars on relevant topics of interest. Find every opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and your usefulness.

Remind your clients regularly of the results they are getting from working with you.

Clients are likely as busy as you are and your great work is not always on their radar. Law can be a thankless profession. Far too often clients expect you to move heaven and earth and never even offer a simple thank you in return. If you’re getting good results for your clients, remind them on a regular basis. Don’t wait until the end of the case and the final bill. Casually mention it along the way. As Muhammad Ali said, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”

7 Tips to Popularize Your Law Firm BlogThere are lots of legal blogs out there. Many of them may be by your competitors. So how do you ensure that your law firm blog will find a good following when there are so many choices? Here are 7 ways to gain readers for your law firm blog:

Take a stand.  It’s human nature to follow the leader, and a leader always has a strong opinion on the things that matter.  Don’t be afraid to let your readers know what you stand for — it will give your law firm blog a refreshing voice and will attract the people you want to do business with in the first place.

Add value.  It’s always tempting to do a “me too” post, especially when you’re in a time crunch.  However, if you’re not adding something of value to someone’s knowledge base with every post, you are wasting your time and theirs.

Give it away.  Many attorneys are concerned about revealing too much about their area of practice, thinking that if they “give it away” they won’t be hired.  But you don’t want any do-it-yourselfers anyway — they make horrible clients.  And most people will be pulled in and impressed by the depth of your knowledge.  Plus, giving a free report in exchange for an email address is a superb way to get leads.

Leverage experts you know.  Including quotes and even allowing expert guest bloggers to add to your content will transfer their expertise to you in the minds of your readers.

Keep it simple.  Unless you’re writing specifically for other lawyers, legal jargon is a big turnoff for most readers.  You want to make your reader feel comfortable with you, not like you are always talking over their heads. Remember, your prospects are coming to you for insights on problems they have that they don’t really understand — make it clear that you do understand their pain.

Use stories.  Everyone likes to read a story with a hero, a villain and a good ending.  Use stories (with the real names omitted) to illustrate your points and demonstrate that you have an in-depth knowledge of and experience with your topic.

Keep posting.  The most-followed blogs are those that post regularly. You should be adding new content to your blog several times a week to satisfy your readers as well as Google, since search engines rely on fresh content to rank the relevance of websites.



The Client Exit Interview Script That Leads to Retention & ReferralsConducting exit interviews with a client after their legal matter has been concluded is essential. Yes, it can sometimes be uncomfortable. But it is almost always beneficial, since the insights you gain can be used to improve your firm in ways that will eventually lead to more business and happier clients.

Here are 6 critical questions you need to ask each client after the case is closed:

  1.  Are we easy to do business with?

The reason that this is the first question is simple: clients who find you easy to work with are much more likely to retain you in the future and refer you to people they know.  The answers to this question will give you important insights into how your operational system is working to increase client satisfaction — and if your system is flawed, you can learn how and fix it.

  1.  What did you like about our services?

This answer will not only provide you with information on what your client found most important, but also what they wish you offered that you currently do not. There may be some opportunities for new services you could provide that would mean incremental income for your firm.

  1.  What could we have done differently?

Clients usually let small annoyances slide, but those can build up over time. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what is lacking that you can easily fix so you can rid your firm of irritating or unproductive practices?

  1.  Did our team communicate effectively with you?

The #1 complaint bar associations get from clients is that their attorneys do a poor job of communicating with them. If your team is not doing what they should to keep clients up to date on their legal matters, you need to know it and fix it.

  1.  Did we meet expectations?

A negative answer to this question can tell you if your firm is doing a poor job of either setting or managing client expectations, or if you are failing to meet them altogether. Then you can work to prevent similar failures in the future.

  1. Would you refer us to friends and family?

Most people believe lawyers don’t want or need referrals or they get all their clients from their own advertising efforts. Help them understand that your business is just like any other profession and relies on referrals to friends, family members, colleagues, business associates, etc. If you’re a multi-discipline firm, educate them on the scope of your firm’s services. Tell them what a good referral looks like to you by explaining the profile of your ideal client. Instruct them on the best way to make a referral to you — if you prefer an email introduction or a phone call.

Asking these six simple questions can go a long way toward providing you with a more productive law firm and new referral sources that bring you more clients.


How to Grow Your Law Firm by Hiring the Right People [Free Webinar]

The nation’s unemployment rate is at the lowest it’s been in almost 20 years — 3.8% in February — and still trending downward. In real estate parlance, this means it’s a seller’s market and buyers (employers) are finding it harder to recruit and retain top talent in almost every field, including legal.

I’m not talking about lawyers here; as far as I know, there’s no shortage of those. I am talking about the people who make your law firm run — receptionists, assistants, sales and marketing people, etc. — all of whom are critical to a service-based business.

So how can you find and keep the best possible talent for your law firm? People who can add value right out of the box and make a real difference in your bottom line? Our free webinar on How to Find, Train and Retain the Best Talent can get you on your way.  You can access it for free and watch it at your convenience.

The webinar is led by Jay Henderson, founder of Real Talent Hiring, and one of the nation’s leading authorities on how to find and hire the right talent to grow your business. Having good people is what separates good law firms from great law firms. If you want to hire better, more productive people, you cannot afford to miss this webinar.

Some of the topics Jay covers include:

  • The 3 P’s of hiring and driving performance
  • The Superstar Profile
  • The Superstar Magnet for attracting talent
  • Best interviewing strategies
  • Testing: Should you test candidates and what to be aware of

Studies show that companies with happy employees are 12% more productive and 20% more profitable than those with unhappy employees.  Once you have a group of Superstars working for you, you will never want to settle for anything less.

Sign up online now for the free webinar, How to Find, Train and Retain the Best Talent, and start hiring the people you need to succeed!

Time for Lawyers to Review Their Social Media Marketing TacticsIn January 2018, Facebook announced that it was changing its algorithm to prioritize posts from friends and family over business posts. By August 2018, the News Feed algorithm change had resulted in a drop in engagement for business pages — by as much as 50% for some categories.

Although there are a few reports of a rebound, being able to count on organic reach via social media alone to reach your potential clients is pretty much over.

This means it is imperative for lawyers to change what you’re doing — not only because the world has changed, but also because what consumers used to read on social media they now want to watch, primarily on their phones. Here are 3 of the best tactics you should be deploying for social media marketing:


Social networks not only allow you to post a produced video, but you can live stream as well. All this is happening because of demand. People want video. According to Hubspot, 55% of Internet users view video online every day and 78% view it every week — and 85% view video on Facebook.

So if you are lagging behind on video content, it’s time to catch up. Video is a key element in getting attention for your law firm on social media. Talk about the things that are plaguing your target audience on video and post them. Share videos of interest to your prospects that someone else has produced (obviously not a competitor). Get in the game, either by doing it yourself or finding someone who can help.


According to comScore, 80% of social media usage is from mobile devices. Most people prefer using a mobile device for content consumption, as long as the experience is a good one.   Some people only use mobile, having abandoned their laptops and desktops long ago.

Facebook recognized the shift to mobile marketing with Lead Ads, which is perfect for your free ebook, newsletter or webinar signup offers. With Lead Ads, users are taken to a form that is automatically populated with their contact information after they click on your ad’s call-to-action. Lead Ads can greatly increase your mobile campaign conversion rate.

Social Ads

Social media advertising is no longer a want, it’s a need. You need to use paid media to support your organic social media marketing campaigns. People no longer want to be pushed off their Facebook or LinkedIn page to your website. They want to engage with you on their platform of choice.

Luckily, social media advertising is fairly cheap so you don’t need a big budget to be successful. You can scale your buy up or down, depending on your conversion rate. Driven by a need to monetize their platforms, social media networks have made advertising extremely affordable with some exciting solutions that allow you to really zero in on your target market.

Today’s social media is yesterday’s Yellow Pages — it’s where your prospects are going to find you. Be there — on mobile, on video, with ads that forge a direct connection with your clients and prospects.


Don’t Be Misled by These 8 Email Marketing “Alternative Facts” Not only is email marketing NOT dying, it is still the most trusted form of communication. Combine that fact with the reality that it is also the most cost effective way to market to clients and prospects and you have a real winning proposition!

Since email marketing has been around since the advent of email, there are some myths that persist about the practice. Here are 8 of them and the research-backed reasons why they are untrue:

  1. You annoy your clients when you send frequent emails. Research shows that if you are sending relevant content, readers are happy to read them and take action. Just one extra email campaign a month can net you significantly greater opens and clicks.
  2. Timing isn’t everything. 85% of email opens occur within two days of receiving an email, so don’t get caught up in thinking your email needs to be sent on a certain day at a certain time.
  3. “Inactive users” should be culled from your list after six months. Actually, 20% of your annual openers do so after being inactive for six months.
  4. Consumers mark most branded emails as spam.  Less than one subscriber in every 2,000 will mark an email as spam.
  5. The more email a brand sends, the more they are ignored. Actually, if you send four emails a month instead of just one, this actually doubles the number of readers who will open one or more of your emails.
  6. You get better results with short subject lines. It depends on how you define results.  Research shows that email subject lines with under 60 characters increases opens, but subject lines of more than 70 characters increases the number of clicks received. Actually, readers are much more likely to read an email because of who it’s from than the subject line.
  7. Email goes to a spam folder because of subject lines. According to an analysis of 540 billion emails, spam keywords like “free” have little or no effect on whether they will end up in the junk folder. Spam filters are much more sophisticated these days and are more likely to use reputation rather than certain keywords in identifying spam.
  8. Never send the same email twice. In 2018, the average open rate for legal email marketing campaigns was 21%. That means 79% or more may have never read your email. If you’ve sent an important email, don’t fret about sending it again — just be sure you send it only to those who didn’t open it the first time or use a different template and images with the same copy.