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The Biggest Reason Attorneys Are Not Converting More Law Firm Clients

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What’s the biggest reason you’re not turning more prospects into law firm clients?

Your lack of follow-up.

I’m sure this is no surprise—every lawyer knows the importance of follow-up. In fact, your law firm marketing plan may even include a strong, detailed follow-up plan. But the truth is most attorneys avoid follow up; they don’t make time to implement and manage follow-up strategies and therefore lose clients to their competition who do make follow-up a priority.

Just the other day, I was speaking with someone who was trying to remember the name of an attorney they had met several years ago. They couldn’t recall the lawyer’s name, location of the law office or any other details. As a result, this person was looking to hire a new lawyer to help them. If only the first attorney had followed up ...

Rebecca Wilson, managing director of Stretch Marketing, posted an article on MarketingProfs.com earlier this week that outlines six questions and five tips to help you make follow-up a priority in your law marketing plan. Many of the questions included in the article are ones you’ve likely asked yourself or others in your law firm when considering your own follow-up strategies.

I encourage you to read through this article, meet with your firm staff and make a point of assigning responsibility to members of your team to ensure your follow-up plan is implemented and managed as effectively as possible. Track your results ... you may be surprised at how many prospects do turn into clients (even after months and years) because of your follow-up activities.

1. What makes follow-up (in)effective?

The success or failure of your follow-up relies very much on how you go about it.

If you follow up reluctantly, avoid it altogether, or lack sincerity when you do follow up, people can sense it and will treat you accordingly. Whereas, when you follow up consistently, with confidence, respect, and a keen, honest desire to build an ongoing relationship with your target, people can tell... and they are often appreciative.

2. Who should I follow up with?

You should follow up with people who can say yes to you, or people who can direct you to people who can say yes to you.

The list includes all the people in your target market with whom you have had previous contact (at an event or in a network, or because someone initiated an conversation). To define your target market, ask yourself, Who are the people who are best positioned to say “YES” to me?

3. How often should I follow up?

Regularly. Following up is an ideal way to demonstrate the organized and high quality way you would work with a client after engagement.

We have a basic rule of thumb: All new contacts should have a second contact within three days of meeting them. After that, it depends how important they are to your business. You might follow up a cool prospect every second or third month, a warm prospect every month, and a hot prospect every week or two weeks.

Remember, the way you behave before the sale is usually a solid example of how you will behave after the sale. If you let contacts slip away, without follow-up, you probably didn’t deserve to win their work anyway.

4. What are the best ways to follow up?

The way you follow up usually depends on how you made initial contact with your target.

You can mix up the use of tactics, including the telephone, Linkedin, posted mail, invitation to an event, or even referring something that will generate goodwill. Some communications, like newsletters or publications, can be corporate and generic, but others should be personal and engaging.

If you invite someone somewhere and you want them to come, ALWAYS phone or invite them in person.

5. What can you say when you call or contact for follow-up?

One of my clients once said to me, “We only hear from Chris when he is looking for some work. He never calls us to share an idea or ask a question… He only calls when he wants something.”

It is easy to become known as this kind of person if you call people only to ask about selling your services. Instead, you could try adding value to your contacts by providing helpful advice, supportive information, or an ear for their challenges or opportunities rather than just sell, sell, sell.

How often do you call up your contacts and just check or ask how they are going? It is a good habit to get into so your clients don’t think you call only when you want something.

6. How do you know when to stop following up with someone?

You can consider the potential size of the opportunity that lies in front of the target and value your follow-up around it.

If it is a large, important, and prominent prospect for your business, don’t stop following it up until it is gone; just keep on following up indefinitely. If the opportunity is small, spend a small amount of time following up.

7. How do you track your follow-up?

Good professional services businesses and their consultants record their pipeline in a CRM system. Such systems trigger important milestone dates for follow-up, and allow you to track the success of your efforts.

Or you can keep a simple list on your desktop in a spreadsheet and check back against it weekly.

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