13 Mar The 8 Biggest Mistakes Attorneys Make in Free Consultations
Why many Free consultations fail to turn leads into clients
Finally, after all of your marketing efforts, you finally have people coming to you requesting a Free consultation for help with their legal and financial situation. Now what?
Understandably, most attorneys are much better at practicing law than they are selling and closing potential clients. With an often shallow background in sales, attorneys often make mistakes in phone and in-person consultations that lead to not closing leads and turning them into clients.
Here are the top mistakes that attorneys make during their consultations and how to avoid them:
1. Insisting on an in-person consultation
When an individual calls, many attorneys refuse a phone consultation and insist on an in-person one. This creates an inconvenient step for the caller and makes the caller feel pressure too early in the sales cycle.
A better method is to offer them both a phone and in-person consultation and have them choose which one (or both), they prefer. You could do a shorter, initial consultation by phone and then schedule an in-person consultation after they establish a good vibe with you.
2. Rushing the consultation
Attorneys are notoriously busy. However, when this rushed pace enters consultation, it makes the caller feel pressured and uncomfortable.
Make sure that your tone is calm and that you temporarily zone out all other things that you have going during the day to focus on the present call. Your tone will improve the confidence in the person you are consulting.
3. Talk too much, listen too little
Many attorneys are anxious to sell the client. This excitement leads the attorneys to talk too much and listen too little. This translates into having the person feel that they are being “sold to” instead of helped. The sales friction that is created can deter many people from wanting to hire you.
Instead, try asking more questions and taking notes on the person’s answers. The person will gain confidence in your ability to demonstrate compassion and knowledge. Your notes will help you relate to them better as well.
4. Choose the wrong call to action
Not all people are ready to hire an attorney on the spot. While some are, some may take months before they are ready to take the final step and become a paying client. Attorneys often try and close potential clients before they are ready. This pressure leads many would-be clients to not sign a contract.
A better method is to analyze the person’s situation through effective questions. These question will help you understand if they are still in the information-gathering mode, the ready-to-hire mode, or the ready-in-the-future mode. You can adapt your offer to them by giving them information, a road map for the next few months, or a contract offer depending on their state in the buying cycle.
5. Don’t have effective discussions on price
When people ask about the price of your services, many attorneys stress and either give an ambiguous response that doesn’t answer the question or give a price and then stop there. This can lead price shoppers to not understand why your price is what it is and can lead others to feel that they are going to get “sticker shock” when you eventually tell them the price.
While price is a sensitive issue, remember to always state your prices in a clear, direct way. Avoid ambiguity. Then, explain why your prices are the way they are. Explain the benefits of your services and show how paying your price is justified by the quality of service that you offer.
6. Become a psychologist, not an attorney
On the other extreme of not listening enough is the extreme of listening too much. Many people who file bankruptcy have many problems (as you already know). Some may want to vent about their life, which will waste your time.
By using effective questions, you can control the direction of the conversation. When the person begins to vent, try and respectfully redirect the conversation towards the things that are related to bankruptcy and how you can help them.
7. Fail to clearly explain the bankruptcy process
Few people that need to file bankruptcy thoroughly understand the process involved. This lack of understanding leaves many doubts and fears that prevent them from wanting to move forward and file.
Once you understand the person’s situation and needs, you should spend some time giving them an overview of the entire bankruptcy process. This will clarify their expectations, overcome many of their anxieties, and give them an opportunity to ask you clarifying questions. You can offer them materials via email or on your website to help them after the consultation has concluded.
8. Fail to differentiate their firm from other firms
Because most people are inexperienced with law, they don’t see much difference in hiring one firm verses another firm. When attorneys fail to show what makes them unique and better than other firms, some people will continue to search for other attorneys (and often settle for the lowest priced attorney).
Make sure to explain to the potential client what makes you unique as a law firm. Are you faster? Better? Have more experience? Give excellent results? Are easier to work with? Clearly portray your unique value propositions and the person will understand why you are a better option than other firms.
If you want to improve your phone or in-person consultations, consider recording your consultations, analyzing them, and finding ways to improve. Your time spent improving your consultation and sales skills can have a big impact on your close ratio and profitability.[fe_box]