Original Post by Richard James

customer-magnetWhen attorneys first begin investigating improvements to their firm's marketing and management, a few topics are always first on the agenda for exploration.

Undoubtedly, the first topic is answering the question of what key frustration the firm's owner is experiencing that led them to reflect on the firm's operations. And, naturally, the second topic revolves around exactly what is envisioned for the firm as their dream law practice.

Drilling down into these topics can be challenging. First, the law firm owner's bias must be avoided (and this can be difficult when it's their baby) and second, responses are usually anecdotal rather than data-based. In either scenario, taking the first swing at analyzing these topics yields these known facts:  I can never leave my firm. I can’t take a vacation for more than a few days, and when I do, I have to have my cell phone and laptop attached to me. I don’t trust my staff to run the office in my absence. I am the only one I can count on.

The first “teaching moment” is found back in the data. Few law firm owners are able to really produce data from which they may draw true conclusions because few law firms have correct systems in place to first gather the data that tells the story.

The second lesson arrives when the law firm owner announces: the firm needs clients.

No one will argue this, but a disconnect is that usually the law firm owner believes more leads is the solution.

Generally, when the firm’s processes are analyzed, it’s not more leads the firm needs. Quite frankly, giving these practices more leads would be a sin! The true solution is the firm really needs a better way to convert the leads they already have.

In one case study, a law firm owner has so many new leads that a shortage of new clients is not his problem. The appetite for more leads still exists with this law firm owner: More leads please. His firm fails to focus on the unconverted leads he already has and prefers to focus on driving more instead.

Until . . .

Unexpectedly, the firm’s primary lead source dries up.  The slow season arrived, and all of a sudden a 30-day back log suddenly had the firm owner wondering if they could fill the next day’s appointment calendar.

At this point, the client was ready to listen. The firm shifted its focus with a plan to begin working the old unconverted leads, and like Lazarus from the grave, new business started coming in.  They put in place a lead conversion process so each unconverted lead could be followed up until they bought, died or unsubscribed.

Once this was in place and working well, then it was time to look for new ways to make the phone ring.  The good news is, they were successful.  Today, the firm is booked for more than 30 days out again and confident that not another single lead will ever slip through their fingers.

Three Steps towards Converting the Unconverted Lead:

  1. Employ a process that requires your staff to note each call that comes into the firm. If the caller does NOT set an appointment, utilize a system to capture that caller's phone number and email address in order to contact again.
  2. When prospects set an appointment but do not show, train your staff to tag that prospect for a call to reschedule. Create an email that acknowledges they missed the appointment and follow it up with a phone call.
  3. If you have a consultation with a client and they do not hire, be sure to send a thank you email; and for even more impact, use a mailed piece thanking them for their visit, includes your phone number and website. Follow this prospect up with a phone call.

In small single proprietor firms, keeping track of these leads and communicating with them is not a challenge to do manually. However, growth predicates on taking individual staff OUT of the equation with use of an automation marketing software similar to Infusionsoft™.

A business should always have a diverse waterfall of new leads—from a number of sources. The caveat is that the firm must also have a system in place to make the most of each lead and maximize conversion.

Building a better business, one converted lead at a time . . .

RichardJamesAbout the Author: Richard James, Founder and President of Automated Business Results, has earned a reputation as a national “Legal Systems Expert.” He built a consumer law firm in Arizona from zero to over $3.5 million in annual sales in just over two years.  His legacy also includes a career of building businesses in five different industries bringing his proven formula to each to achieve success. His success ingredient is simple: systems. Richard believes that systems should run your law firm and people should run your systems.