By Guest Blogger, Liz Wendling
Law firms are always looking for ways to attract more prospects through lead generation and marketing. The next, and most important, step is to convert these prospects into invested clients through lead conversion and sales. Unfortunately, many firms are not raining the profits that they could be because of one frequently neglected skill: lead conversion. Lead conversion (aka sales) skills are the most overlooked tool in many firms’ marketing arsenals, but they pack the potential to be the most lucrative skills of all. Every law practice should have a continuous stream of qualified prospects, but if attorneys cannot convert leads into clients with some degree of consistency, they will not be rainmakers.
The method by which lead conversion is utilized today simply isn’t working well enough. Too much effort is being put in for too few results. Fix the conversion process once and reap the rewards over and over. It is senseless to spend money on marketing leads that produce phone calls and not to invest in the skills that convert leads into paying clients. Converting interested prospects into invested clients requires strategic processes and systems. Doing the right things in the right way at the right time augments the effectiveness of any client meeting, consultation or conversation.
You might have a nagging suspicion that somewhere, lurking under the surface of your thriving practice, are inefficiencies related to lead conversion that are dragging down profits. Deep down you know that your firm is losing more business than it should, but you don’t know exactly why.
Ideal prospects are slipping through the cracks because attorneys have not mastered how to sell their expertise and legal services in a way that feels good to themselves and the potential client. They have not learned the art of conducting highly-effective and value-filled client consultations that influence and inspire prospects to hire them.
Many attorneys are nowhere near as confident and comfortable with selling their services as they are delivering them. They went to law school to practice law — not to have to sell their firm and their services. Some attorneys scoff and turn their noses up at the thought of having to sell their expertise, so they never develop that skill. This damaging mindset makes their lead conversion foundation weak and unstable and is the main cause of generating profits sporadically versus consistently.
Before you can serve clients, you must get them to hire you, and this starts with a fully functioning lead conversion process. Imagine if you could convert just one more lead into a paying client each week. What would this mean to your bottom line? I would wager that it would mean thousands of dollars of additional revenue for your firm.
So how can law firms be more competent at lead conversion? How can attorneys stop leaving enormous amounts of money on the table? Start by participating in and enhancing lead conversion skills and targeted networking skills, skills that are not taught in law school. Next, discard the archaic model and outdated process of finding clients or assuming that clients will just flock to you. This way of doing business may have worked in the past, but it is now on life support.
Another reason why lead conversion rates are low is that many firms misdiagnose their conversion challenges by believing that the only skill attorneys need to know is how to close. Some allege that they are losing clients and opportunities because they have super-sharp attorneys who are bad closers. They assume that they are losing business because attorneys lack fresh closing phrases or modern closing techniques that will instantly turn them into rock-star rainmakers.
Working on closing skills alone is repairing the wrong end of the problem. It is like going to the podiatrist to treat a sinus infection. The close is never the problem. The close is the easiest part of the equation. The close is the culmination of a well-managed and thorough execution of the entire lead conversion process. The most potent way to convert leads into clients and closed business is to recognize that closing is a process, not an event.
One of the most immediate ways to increase conversion rates is to educate attorneys in the updated strategic principles and enhanced methods that lead to more closed business. It is far less expensive to teach attorneys how to become more successful at converting the leads that they already have than it is to waste money purchasing more. Profitable lead conversion requires clarity, flexibility, adaptability and a solid understanding of how today’s consumers make buying decisions. Attorneys need to know that the methodology for successfully selling legal services has evolved.
Law practices that refuse to update and refine their lead conversion process will have to get used to seeing ideal clients take their money and their business to the competition. They will have to get accustomed to hearing prospects say, “I need to think about it. Your fees are a bit high. We will let you know. I will get back to you.” Law firms must progress or face extinction in an era empowering Artificial Intelligence.
Your firm’s growth and profitability depend on increasing lead conversion. By training every attorney in the essentials of lead conversion, you will be amazed at the colossal impact that this will have on your practice. Once every attorney is armed with updated skills, you’ll find that you no longer have a lead conversion conundrum.
Liz Wendling is the Rainmaking Attorney Coach. She specializes in showing attorneys how to successfully convert interested prospects into invested clients. Visit therainmakingcoach.com to get in touch. This post originally appeared in The Docket.