“If you just communicate you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully you can create miracles”
Emanuel James “Jim” Rohn (1930-2009) American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker.
A few months ago I had an attorney call me up – and she was furious.
I recognized the number. It was a client of ours.
At first, I thought she was joking. I thought she was about to tell me that she cannot believe how much her law firm has grown in just 30 short days.
She called to yell at me. And when I say ‘yell’ I mean it.
She said, “You don’t know what you are doing and this whole thing was a waste of time and money”.
I was shocked.
I said, “hold on a minute, I don’t understand. You’ve had 28 inbound calls from people who are actively looking for a lawyer like you, in just the last 30 days.”
She quickly cut me off, “They’re all useless. None of them were serious prospects”.
I told her that I would look into it.
At first I was perplexed. I had successfully tripled an attorney’s business (who was in the same area of law) just the month before.
How could it be so different?
So I did some digging and what I found shocked me.
Luckily, we recorded every inbound call.
This helps us to track whether or not the advertising works. It is also a great exercise to help improve your staff (more about that in a minute).
It also helps us to pinpoint what the quality of the prospects are. Some campaigns yield better customers than others.
This is an example of one client’s campaign (not the one I am referring to now):
So I started listening the very first call.
In this case we could see that a prospect went to Google and typed in “divorce lawyer quick”.
Based on what they were searching one would assume they needed a divorce attorney, and they needed one quickly.
As expected, the prospect saw our attorney’s ad and dialed the number on the landing page.
Here’s a quick transcript from that call.
That was the very first conversation. It lasted about 20 seconds.
I couldn’t believe it.
She had to realize that she was not the only attorney around. That prospect is going straight to another Google search and finding different attorney. She just handed her competition a big wad of cash.
I then went ahead and listened to another call.
The tone of voice, the interruptions, and the contempt for the prospect was clear as day.
Again, I was shocked. It was as if this law office were irritated that people were inquiring about hiring them.
Each one of those two conversations could have resulted in multiple thousands of dollars for the attorney.
Any single one of those cases could have paid for one to two month’s worth of advertising.
I’ll give you an exact script of what your staff should be saying in a minute.
And don’t worry – it is dead simple. Anyone could do this.
I went through all 28 calls. There were 8 people who actually ASKED to hire the attorney and somehow the person on the phone managed to repel them.
Another 11 people could have been booked in for 1-1 appointments.
4 more could have been persuaded if the person on the phone was just a little persistent.
The remaining 5 were timewasters. So out of 28 calls you could imagine that they’d get at least 5-10 cases out of it.
That’s at least $15,000 worth of business right there, and it might even have been $50,000.
A few months ago, a client of mine got a case from his online advertising that netted him $89,000.
If his staff didn’t answer the phone correctly that case could have gone to his competitor. And since we’re talking about inbound calls, the prospects on the phone are desperate for you to help them. All you need to do is nudge them in the right direction.
Now let us have a look at an actual transcript from one of our more successful attorneys. Of course, all of the names have been removed for privacy reasons.
Can you see the difference?
A simple divorce case can bring in about $2,500 in quick cash.
Some of the more complicated cases can bring in $10,000, $30,000, and even $1 million (on rare occasions).
So by messing up just one phone call, you could be missing out on tens of thousands of dollars.
You are basically giving that money away to your competitors.
The second transcript shows how a pro does it.
And it isn’t difficult.
Anyone can be taught to close on the phone like that with simple training. I’ll give you the exact blueprint for closing sales in a minute.
First, let me give you an exact breakdown of what is going through your prospect’s mind when they are calling you. Knowing this is the key to getting more clients from your existing leads.
Your potential client is in pain.
So much so that they decided to go over to Google to search for an attorney
That might not seem like a big deal, but trust me, it is.
Nobody looks for a lawyer until they absolutely HAVE TO.
It isn’t like going out to dinner. They understand that the process is complex, the believe it is expensive, and they feel like it will be difficult. The longer they can postpone it, the longer they can avoid the pain.
However, they have a huge problem to solve, and they are hoping to find someone to solve it for them.
Finally, they pluck up the courage and do a Google search.
They find you and your landing page or website.
Now they have to make a decision.
Do they postpone it by one more day, or do they finally take action?
A recent Harvard Study showed how the majority of humans always postpone difficult decisions if they can. And countless other studies have proven the same.
However, the prospect manages to fight their own human nature to seek help with their problem.
So, they pick up the phone to call you.
Now imagine someone answers the phone who doesn’t care. The person who answers the phone deals with people like this every single day. To them it is boring and monotonous.
Not to your prospect. It is the exact opposite. In some cases, they would never deal with a situation like this.
This one problem that your prospect is facing is the BIGGEST thing in their lives right now.
And the person on the other side of the phone (at your firm) could be making your prospect feel awful without them even knowing it. Even if they are polite, the prospect is quick to find reasons not to hire you.
They are constantly second guessing everything. They are evaluating your every word and certain things will trigger them to leave without hiring you.
Most people don’t tend to call back once they have decided against hiring you.
Most people will go somewhere else where they feel assured and wanted.
Great attorneys are aware of this. Zaid Abdullah had this to say on the matter.
“If you’ve gotten 100 phone calls but you’ve only retained one client. Well, then maybe it’s something in my office that’s not working. And when you can go ahead and pinpoint every point of the client acquisition process, and you can fine tune every part of it, your conversion is going to go through the roof, and in turn, your rate of return is going to go through the roof.”
The sad truth is, most law offices in America have good quality staff. They are polite and professional. Yet, they still do and say things that turn people away. It isn’t your fault or your staff. There is no way to know unless you have recorded and studied hundreds of calls.
That’s what we did.
My team and I made a list of calls.
There were two columns. One was a successful call where the prospect became a client.
The other column was a failed call, where the prospect did not become a client.
Out of the 42 law firms we found 4 who had a much higher success rate than the others.
In fact, they would get 3-4 times the number of clients.
After careful study we found that there is a pattern, a simple blueprint for answering the phone that drastically improves the success rate.
Without changing anything in your firm, without spending any more money on marketing, and without needing to spend weeks training your staff, you could see a vast improvement by simply following this simple blueprint.
Step #1: Make them feel like they made the right decision
Remember, these prospects feel like they have a huge problem, bigger than most things in their lives, and they constantly second guess their decisions.
So the very first thing you need to do is make them feel like they made the right decision. This simple act will boost their confidence level in you.
You achieve that by doing the following:
Answer the phone professionally: “[Attorney name] Law Office, this is [name] how can I help you?”
They will tell you what they want.
Let them know they are in the right place: “OK, well you’ve come to the right place. We’ll take really good care of you. May I take your name?”
I told you it was simple. You do not have to be a genius sales person to do this.
Step #2: Prove that you’ll take care of them
Try and get them to commit to a time to come in for a face-to-face. It’ll make them feel important AND it makes the sale easier.
Your office is the expert, the authority, the one thing that is going to solve their problem. You need to guide them, don’t let them guide you.
You have to position it correctly though. Give them a free consultation and reinforce how good the attorney is at dealing with their particular situation.
“OK [prospect name]. How about I schedule you a free 1-1 appointment with our attorney Mrs [Attorney Name]. She’ll be able to answer all of your questions in detail. She’s incredibly good at divorce cases. Do you have time to come in on Tuesday?”
Did you notice how simple and direct it is?
Your staff took control of the situation and suggested a day for the prospect to come in.
Do not ask them if they would like to come to talk to the attorney, simply assume that they do. Remember, your office is the authority and the expert, not the prospect. They want you to lead them and guide them.
Step #3: Be clear on the benefits of a 1-1 appointment
A lot of times prospects are just going to want advice over the phone. And that’s fine.
However, you can always give them a nudge to come in and become a client – especially if it is the secretary answering the phone.
Do that by emphasizing the benefits of a 1-1 appointment, and the consequences of NOT hiring you.
“The best thing would really be for you to talk to the attorney face to face, because the quicker you get advice the more prepared you will be. The more prepared you are the better the outcome for you.
“You could quickly gain the upper hand here if you choose to. Plus, the consultation is free. You literally have nothing to lose. I see that [attorney name] has availability on [day] at [time], shall I book you in for that time?”
That can literally work for almost any kind of law.
Here’s an example of a DUI case.
“Remember I said that you are in good hands here? Well, [attorney name] has done hundreds of these cases, and his clients who get the best outcome are the ones that act quickly.
“Only then is it possible to gain the upper hand and perhaps get you off the charges completely. There are no guarantees, but the quicker you move the easier it is. Can I book you in for [day] at [give time]?”
Notice how these simple statements take control of the conversation.
And if the prospect says “no” after this point then let them go. They weren’t ready to hire an attorney yet.
Step #4: Handling questions about price
By now you have them hooked. However, some people still want to know about the huge price tag.
Luckily, movies and TV series have already portrayed the best lawyers to be the expensive ones.
This gives you a decided advantage over other professions.
Whatever you say, remember to start with this:
“It really depends on how big the caseload is. I’ve done cases that were $100,000 and others that were $1,000 [mention lowest price last]
The biggest thing that determines the case load is how quickly you tackle the problem”.
This creates urgency. Now they HAVE to come in as quickly as possible because it’ll save them money.
If you offer financing, this question becomes even easier to answer.
“And sir, we have financing options available so you could be looking at small monthly payments. We’ll be able to determine everything if you come in and talk to us.”
Don’t forget to ask them for the appointment again.
“So Mr [prospect surname] how about we do this. I’ll book you in for [day] at [time] and the attorney will be able to explain everything to you.
Like I said before, it doesn’t cost you anything. Do you have availability at that time?”.
Notice how hard it is to fight the logic? By following this meticulously you’d be able to fill up the appointment book with new cases pretty easily.
These are only examples. Your staff will need to find their own voice when it comes to this. Understanding the concepts behind these steps is almost more important than the scripts I am giving you.
The first time I consulted with a law firm about handling their inbound calls I used a simple method to train their staff.
First, I took all of the calls and transcribed them.
I took out the names of the clients and the staff who answered the calls.
I then compared each call next to a checklist.
Did they make the client feel like they were taken care of?
Were they clear on the benefits of a 1-1 appointment?
Did they take control of the conversation?
Did they handle questions and objections by pushing the 1-1 consult?
Were they professional and polite?
Each call would get a rating and we’d simply have a quick recap on what they should have said.
Since everything is anonymous the staff aren’t embarrassed about getting something wrong.
These exercises have worked miracles in once struggling law firms. Firms that are already doing pretty well seem to soar to the heavens after these simple changes are made to the way to talk to prospects.
Over the past few weeks I’ve released a number of articles that can help you grow your law firm.
Using a simple script to get more clients who have called in (the article you are reading now).
If each of these four things improve your results by just 20% you would have doubled your law firm.
Here’s a quick illustration.
Let’s say you usually get 20 clients per year.
After becoming more affordable via financing you get a 20% increase clients saying yes.
This brings your total to 24 clients per year.
Then, by using case studies and reviews you increase the clients who say yes by another 20%.
This gives you 28.8 clients per year.
The same happens by using the follow up series, and the number of clients you get increases to 34.6 per year.
Once you implement the phone scripts discussed in this chapter, the last 20% increase takes you to just over 40 clients per year.
This is, of course, just a hypothetical scenario.
It doesn’t tend to work out this smoothly in real life.
Each law firm is at slightly different points on the scale.
However, hopefully this has demonstrated how you can make a few little tweaks to the way your firm operates to see huge growth.
By simply improving each stage of the client acquisition process you suddenly find yourself with more clients, more cash, and a better running law firm. All without spending another dime on marketing and advertising.
Every ounce of growth has come from the potential you already had locked up in your firm.
All you need to do is use the keys I have given you to unlock those doors.