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Does this sound like your firm?
● Inbound calls are given to a member of the admin team and their primary focus is either passing the call on (or worse), screening calls that make it to fee earners?● If asked, would any of your call handlers profess an aptitude (or willingness) to deal with enquiries on the phone?● Your call handlers make no effort to differentiate your firm from others, often simply rhyming off numbers.● You’ve never invested in any formal sales training.● There’s an inherent reluctance to sell or to answer calls.● There’s no central database of call handing data (i.e. priceless marketing information!) including things like name, address, email, telephone and so on.● When a call is handled properly, it is more a deluge of information than a coherent sales experience.
A 2016 report by Professor Ian Cooper on the conversion of conveyancing enquiries into new files found some damning statistics.
In more than 90% of all calls, the call handler failed to attempt to build a rapport with the caller. The discussion was entirely factual, transactional, formal and administrative. In many cases, callers are made to feel like they are a nuisance to the firm. In more than 1/3rd of all calls, neither the caller or the call handler knew who they were talking to – there was no introduction or asking for a name. Almost NO law firms ask for the business. In fairness, this is done badly across all organisations and at all levels.Most damningly of all, 97% of call handlers failed to ask for the business when they had the chance.
Some more sobering stats:
● The typical law firms lose 90-95% of potential leads.● Most potential clients will contact on average 5 different firms● People who call are between 5-10x more likely to convert than those who email or fill in forms● Properly nurturing prospects increases conversion rates by 50% and reduces ‘cost per lead’ by 33%● It’s anywhere from 4-10x more expensive to attract new client rather than keep an existing one
A little bit of qualifying goes a long way. Again, the extent to which you qualify leads is dependant to a huge extent on your firm’s culture and client base. You can quickly qualify leads where there is a time-bar (mainly personal injury cases) or where the client may be seeking legal aid. In other situations, a little bit of digging might need to be done. While excessive questioning might seem intrusive, the reality is that most potential clients will be happy to share details and information in order to give you the tools to handle their unique situation (in point of fact, there’s a well-known and well-regarded sales system built on the principle of asking the right type of questions.
Properly qualifying leads will save a huge amount of your fee-earners valuable time and effort.
Answers to the most frequently asked questions prospects call about
Again, this can save valuable time and effort on the part of your fee-earners. This works not just for prospects, but for existing clients too. Having ready answers to frequent questions improves your customer service and streamlines your efficiency. It goes without saying that information like your address, telephone numbers, email addresses and driving directions to your office should trip off the tongue!
In many firms, reception staff are given carte blanche to answer telephones and deal with clients howsoever they choose. One of the best ways to deal with this is to implement a ‘Culture Code’. This gives staff the answer to most of the ‘questions’ that arise on a day-to-day basis and will help with your recruiting and retention of staff.
The handling of incoming calls should not be viewed as a purely administrative task. It’s often given to the lowest-paid and least-engaged employees. If there’s one thing that would improve most law firms’ profitability overnight, it’s switching away from this mindset and towards one that regards this as the most important frontline business development task!
Your firm’s culture
While you could give detailed scripts and processes to call handlers, it’s easier and preferable to give a set of principles to call handlers. At Moore Legal Technology we use our culture code to give our staff the means to handle queries, questions and situations as they arise. As Mark Fields, President of Ford said, “Culture eats strategy for Breakfast”.
Instead of trying to break free from the price-driven race-to-the-bottom, most firms are simply sucked into it.
Sorting by price is the main way for clients to differentiate between lawyers during what is already an expensive transaction. We live in a world of price-comparison sites and we’re used to purchasing insurance, flight tickets, holidays, and gas, electricity and broadband in this way so why should legal services be different? Well, the answer as we know is that most of the things listed are ‘must haves’ – with the exception of holidays and flights (and you could argue that point, I suppose), we need the other things – just like we often need legal services.
Just as the client is able to intuitively understand price, so are search engines, comparison sites and other algorithms. Numbers are just data and area easy to sort. The other elements of a successful legal transaction are much more difficult to compare – strategic advice, help avoiding pitfalls, additional services and access to a greater spread of expertise are all essential elements that a single number cannot convey.
A price-driven “race-to-the-bottom” suits low-quality, lazy firms and suits the busy client – they don’t have to wade through swathes of information and compare all sorts of information. Simple arithmetic is sufficient. After all, don’t all lawyers provide the same service anyway?
When confronted with this situation, most firms are sucked into a price war. After all, it’s easier to change price than anything else. Branding, market position, value propositions etc all require considerable time and thought. Changing a number doesn’t.
Clients who begin their relationship with you based on price will simply switch when a cheaper alternative is available, harming the long-term profitability of your firm. They simply don’t place a high value on your service –do you really want that type of client?
If you are a conveyancing ‘bucket-shop’, then this situation very probably suits you. You can win on price by cutting corners, employing inexperienced, poorly trained staff and simply produce in volume. There’s no need to be overly worried about client care or the client’s needs outside of (what is hopefully) a relatively straightforward transaction.
If, on the other hand, you are a reputable firm with expert staff (paid accordingly), then a price war doesn’t suit you. For one, you know it won’t give you the opportunity to properly deal with the client and any issues that may arise. You know you probably won’t be able to do your very best.
That said, not every decision is made on price alone. How often do we pick the cheapest available option?
When following up with prospects & enquiries, make sure you do it:
We’ve been working with law firms for over 15 years, helping them to generate more profitable business through the internet to help them grow.
Our Client Intake Software provides you with a state-of-the-art system to help grow your practice. This gives you an overview of all outstanding enquiries and a system for monitoring and following up on such enquiries to convert as many as possible into new business. And additionally it provides greater transparency around conversion rates and the most lucrative sources of new business for you.
Given our experience regarding average enquiry rates and conversion rates, it also allows us to analyse and help you improve the sales performance of each of your main practice areas.