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Ongoing Follow-Up Is the Key to Turning Prospects into Clients

Follow-up is critical to good marketing. Why? Because prospects may not be ready to hire you the moment they discover you.

Prospects may need time to get to know you. They may need time to evaluate whether they can trust you. They may need more facts to make their decision. Or they may not want to hire you until their circumstances change.

Whatever the reason, prospects may need time. And with time comes the opportunity for your prospect to contact other lawyers—and for other lawyers’ marketing efforts to get in your way.

To remain in the strongest competitive position, you need to stay in touch with prospects—in an education-based way—so when they decide to hire legal services, the lawyer they choose is you. Therefore, it’s important that you identify your prospects and capture their names and addresses for your mailing list. (If your prospect does not want his partners, co-workers or spouse to know he has contacted you, ask him to get a post office box or email address that is not known to the other parties.)

You want your first communication with a new prospect to be neutral and non-threatening. This is one reason your offer to mail an information packet can be so attractive. In addition, when you offer your packet by mail, you (obviously) ask for your prospect’s name and mailing address. And your prospect (naturally) gives it to you, without raising his defenses as he would if he thought he would soon become the target of a sales pitch.

During the follow-up process, you strive for the highest level of personal interaction with your prospect—hopefully, a personal conversation. When you speak with your prospect, you help your prospect feel at ease, you respond to your prospect’s questions, and you help move the process forward so your prospect hires your services.

Make sure you build your follow-up efforts on answering questions and providing information. When your follow-ups focus on offering facts and advice, every time your prospect interacts with you, you reinforce the depth of your knowledge, skill and experience.

To stimulate a second contact from your prospect:

  • Invite your prospect to a seminar or roundtable. This gives him the opportunity to talk with you and ask questions in a non-threatening setting.
  • Offer to speak with your prospect over the telephone to answer questions or provide further information and advice.
  • Offer to meet with your prospect in your office or his, so you can discuss his situation in more detail.
  • In your information packet, and on your website, provide a form on which your prospect can list his objectives. Ask him to fill out the form and send it to you—or bring it to his first appointment with you.
  • In your information packet, provide an intake or evaluation form. Ask your prospect to provide basic facts and then return the form for your review, in advance of your first conversation. Or he can bring it to your first meeting.
  • Offer additional articles and educational handouts. While sending an article is not as personal as speaking with your prospect, if your prospect isn’t ready to talk with you, his requesting an article is at least a cordial and educational contact. Plus, it keeps the flow of information going from you to your prospect.

You can extend all of these offers by mail or email (through letters and newsletters)—and on your website.

I caution you NOT to conduct your follow-up effort by calling your prospect on the phone. An unwanted phone call labels you as a telephone solicitor and could cause your prospect to respond to you the same way he responds to other telemarketers. In a few seconds, an uninvited phone call can destroy the credibility you’ve worked weeks or months to build.

How often should you follow up?

Frequency is more important than the amount of information you provide. For maximum impact, send your prospect something by mail (or email) every week for the first three weeks. Make sure whatever you send is designed to educate your prospect and help him make an informed decision.

After the first three weeks, follow up at least monthly. If you can send something twice monthly or weekly, that’s even better.

You work hard to identify new prospects and add them to your mailing list. Now make sure you provide ongoing follow-up and take good care of your prospects. If you don’t, hundreds of other lawyers will.

Trey Ryder

Trey Ryder specializes in Education-Based Marketing for lawyers. He offers three free articles by e-mail: 11 Brochure Mistakes Lawyers Make, Marketing Moves Most Lawyers Miss, and 13 Marketing Misconceptions That Cost Lawyers a Fortune. To receive these articles, send your name and e-mail address to trey@treyryder.com and ask for his free packet of marketing articles.

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Filed Under: Featured StoriesPractice Management

About the Author: Trey Ryder specializes in Education-Based Marketing for lawyers. He offers three free articles by e-mail: 11 Brochure Mistakes Lawyers Make, Marketing Moves Most Lawyers Miss, and 13 Marketing Misconceptions That Cost Lawyers a Fortune. To receive these articles, send your name and e-mail address to trey@treyryder.com and ask for his free packet of marketing articles.

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