Do you feel like you’re spending too much of your day tracking and responding to leads coming into your law firm? It can be extremely time-consuming to make sure you’re getting back to prospective clients quickly and getting them all the information they need.
When you have many different people contacting your firm, it can literally take half a day, or even a full day to respond to them all. As we all know, as attorneys, we are already pressed for time. So, the idea of taking hours every day to respond to leads can be daunting.
3 Tips for Managing Law Firm Leads
Here are three tips on how you can keep your time down when responding to leads and still do it effectively.
1. Dedicate a paralegal to contacting and responding to leads.
The first is an extraordinarily difficult thing to put in place, but if you can do it, it’s going to save you a ton of time. So, we have trained a paralegal who has worked with us for over a decade, that when we get an inquiry, this individual can call or email the inquiry back within an hour or two.
This paralegal is knowledgeable enough to be able to answer a lot of the frequently asked questions we get. So, questions can range from what happens if a trademark search finds a problem, with my trademark, how does that affect my fee? How do your fees work? Can I trademark this? All these different things that people ask us on a day-to-day basis, our paralegal that takes these calls can pretty much answer.
I know a lot of people think of things like Ruby Receptionist. Where you can have an outside company basically answer your phone. So they get a live person, but if someone’s calling your law firm, and they get a live person, and all that person can do is take a message, you’re still not moving that lead along the sales funnel at all. You’re just basically taking a message and punting it to an attorney. You have not stopped that person’s search for an attorney at this point. What a good paralegal can do, that can take a call and answer legitimate questions a client has, is you can stop that person search. So if somebody calls your firm and they get somebody that can answer questions immediately and not have to be passed around and leave messages and wait for phone calls to be made to them, they can get initial questions answered, see if the firm is extremely competent. Then, when they have something very specific that the paralegal may not be able to answer or is uncomfortable answering, would be willing to wait for the attorney to give them a call.
Again, this is such a different thing than just talking to a receptionist and letting the receptionist take a message. By providing good information for people, you can stop their search, buy you a little time and then once you get on the phone with them, as the attorney, you’re only answering questions that are highly specific to that case, and not dealing with the same general question you hear 100 times a day, which admittedly can get a little difficult to answer. And you may mail it in a little too much sometimes. You may not give someone your best answer. Whereas, with a paralegal, this is what they’re doing, this is what their job is. They’re going to be more enthusiastic, hopefully, with the person in answering these more frequently asked questions.
But again, once you get on the phone with them, now all of a sudden, you can focus on a very specific question. And maybe you only must spend 10 or 15 minutes, as opposed to 20, 30 minutes or more on the consult yourself.
So, you may be saying, “Oh, Josh, that’s a great idea in theory, but I mean, how do I even train somebody to do that?” You must hire somebody that’s good at customer service, someone that understands how to talk to people and just be a real person. And then you can let them listen in to all your sales calls that you do, the calls you’re taking with leads, and you come up with all the answers you want them to give to the various different questions you get on a daily basis, and over time, you basically train this person into being able to answer these questions and handle the calls as you want them handled. It takes a lot of hard work, don’t get me wrong, this is not something you’re going to hire someone, and a week later, they’re going to be able to do it. But if you spend several months training somebody, at the end of that time, suddenly, the time savings are going to be huge for you, and you’re really going to have something in place.
Once we started doing this, I think I probably saved an hour and a half to two hours a day in the amount of time I was spending on the phone with prospective clients. That’s huge, because now that’s time I can go out and do other marketing activities to grow the firm.
2. Don’t try to sell the unsellable.
The second point and rule that I have when we’re responding to leads is, we don’t try to sell the unsellable.
If we have people call up and start complaining about how much it costs to hire a lawyer or that they think they can do it on their own- major red flags.
You’re just wasting your time, because maybe you close 5% or 10% of those leads, but you spend an enormous amount of time trying to do so, and most of them will walk out the door.
There’s a really good episode of Seinfeld, for any of you that are Seinfeld fans, and it was the Soup Nazi episode. And they come into the soup store and if you don’t know your order, and you can’t place it right away, then “No soup for you,” right? It’s one of my favorite episodes of all time. I will be on the phone with people and it’ll just be an extraordinarily difficult call, and I’m thinking, “No. Next. My store is not for you,” right?
I’m only here to help people that really want a high level service and appreciate what an attorney can bring to a trademark application or to a trademark search. I don’t need to hear, “Why should I hire you over Legal Zoom?” If you haven’t figured that out yet, we should not be talking. So, don’t try to sell the unsellable.
If somebody comes to you, and you know that it’s not a great lead, you have to have a polite decline. You can say, “I’m so sorry, this is not a good match for our firm. It’s not something we typically handle.” If it’s not, you’ll be honest. “Please contact a few other law firms and maybe you’ll find someone that’s able to handle this kind of case better than I could.” I find that nobody’s really upset with that. And you will be surprised how much time that will save you.
3. Publish valuable content to shortcut the sales process.
The final point I have is that your leads should be contacting you essentially ready to hire you, because they’ve read about you and you’ve provided enough information for them to understand why they need to hire you.
In our case, we have a lot of content about trademarks circulating around the internet. Typically, if somebody finds us, they can very easily see a lot of the content we’ve produced, and they can see a lot of information about our fees.
We will get leads that call us and say, “Hey, I saw your fee is this. I really like what I’ve seen, I just want to confirm a few things.” You’re talking about a 5 or 10-minute conversation and not a 40-minute conversation to explain fees, to explain why they should hire you, and all these other things.
People see that we are good at handling trademark searches and trademark filings, and all the things associated with it. So, they have no doubt in their mind that we’re the firm they’d like to hire. So long as we are responsive from a customer service perspective, so long as we do sound competent once we get on the phone, and so long as our fees match up what they’re seeing online.
But a lot of law firms, don’t put a lot of information up. Somebody’s only really going to want to hire you if they feel they connect with you, or you connect with them on their particular issue. And you’re only really going to do that by putting out a lot of content. This is an investment. We probably spent five years to get to a place where we were getting leads like this, just to get enough content out there so that people would see it in various different searches and things that they’re looking for.
You must invest the time, the energy on a daily if not weekly basis, to just go through and make content. This could be video content or written content, like blogs, LinkedIn articles, things like that. This could be just getting into the press and getting your name mentioned by media as in providing analysis on stories in your particular area of law. It could be about getting on Facebook and developing business in your community.
Being all over social media and things like that, is very easy to do in today’s world. But putting out that content and being top of the line in your area of law, when somebody needs you, they’re going to come to you, and it’s not going to be a huge sales process. It’s just going to be, “Hey, as long as your fees match up, as long as you can take this case, as long as you seem like a nice guy when I talk to you, the deal is done.”
Now, if that’s not as possible for your firm initially, the next thing you can do just to kind of triage this issue is once people contact, you have all the content you can give them. So, if somebody comes to you and says, “Hey, I have this problem.” Share some videos and articles you have done with them prior to your consultation. They’ll know that you know your stuff before they even come in for their initial consult.
Most importantly, you’re helping the consumer make up their mind that you’re the one they want to hire.