During the crazy times we experienced, there has remained one consistent fact for small law firms: Salesmanship is king. Small law firms who understand this fact, win more often than law firms who do not. Now, more than ever, we must understand how to sell if we want to be successful in our business.
Personal Appointments. When prospective new clients take off work, find a babysitter for their kids, find the courage to realize they are going to see an attorney, get in their car, fight rain, snow and/or blazing heat to come to see you, they are vested. When they arrive at your office, often you don’t need any more marketing activities because the sale is already made. Nevertheless, some attorneys still manage to screw it up due to underdeveloped selling techniques or management skills.
Zoom Client Meetings. When you are meeting people on Zoom or on the phone, there are very few barriers. They can call you on their lunch break, they don’t have to take the kids to a babysitter, nor do they have to get in the car, and it takes very little courage to jump on a call. So, when they arrive at you, they are not vested, and because of that, these potential customers are much more difficult to convince to retain your firm.
Here’s the ugly truth. The cat’s now out of the bag. They know you can run a virtual meeting because they know you had to during COVID-19 – everyone did. So, there will be some potential new clients, likely more than there were in the past, who want to meet you virtually.
You’re going to need to do things and improve your sales skills to get them vested in your process, but that’s a different article for a different time. Today, we’re going to talk about sales. Now, more than ever, you must become a professional salesperson.
To understand why becoming a trained sales-rep with product knowledge and familiarity with the sales process is important, consider a real-life story I am sharing below. Partners Club Captain and past EAY Finalist, Howard Snader was experiencing a 70% decrease in his conversion rates during the initial consultation.
As his law firm consultant and analyst, I told him two things:
As a business management consultant and law firm expert, I submitted an email review to Howard outlining the sales tips he can follow to improve this process. Below are some of the general comments I shared with him:
In the Nurse/Doctor role, the nurse is the one who sets up the call, collects the facts, provides the Doctor with the facts (easily done via google sheets), processes the payment the Doctor harvested, and reviews the agreement. On the other hand, the doctor:
If you commit to being the Doctor, you’ll close more deals. On the other hand, if you choose to be the attorney you will:
Regardless of which role you choose, teamwork is essential here. The “Nurse” never interrupts nor corrects the Doctor. If they have something they want to say, they should use private chat, text messages or just hold the thought – your Nurse interrupted you twice during calls – it’s not acceptable and can be trained.
You should create choices for your clients and write these options on a small whiteboard the clients can see. For example:
A guarantee does not have to guarantee an outcome. You can simply tell them that if after seven days of working with our firm, you’re not completely satisfied with how we do business, you’ll give them 100% of the money they paid back.
If potential clients are too concerned about the future or the courts are closed, stop selling a complete case. Sell pre-filing, pre-planning, or some other advance service to hold their place. Also, ask them to apply the value of this investment (ROI) against the total of the future case. Make the client service agreement automatically convert to a full case after seven days so you don’t have to make another sale.
Make sure to collect something, even a small payment so they can call you their Attorney. This is where I see most fee-based attorneys fail. Rather than focusing on getting paid and having sales solutions, they are focused on engagement letters or fee agreements. None of that matters if the client doesn’t make a payment. The primary goal is to collect payment during this call, even a small payment.
Really well. Howard made changes to his initial consultations. Some of the changes I listed he followed, and others he figured out on his own to improve the customer journey. In a mere matter of days, clients started retaining his firm again. His conversion rate went back to normal, and he nearly broke a record for new clients retained in the month of April.
Howard is a committed entrepreneur, and he did what he had to do as a sales person. Next, we’re going to get him out of the consulting room again so he can work on the business. But for now, it was up to him to show his ‘sales team’ how to get it done.
If you want to have your best month ever, become a professional salesperson. The rewards are ongoing. If you want to know how to become good in sales, contact our legal management consultant Richard James or schedule a 1-on-1 consulting to get your customized practice growth plan.