13 Mar 5 Steps to Have More Effective Consultations
A simple process to follow to increase your close rate on free consultations
Not all Free consultations are created equal. While nearly every attorney on earth offers them as a marketing tool, attorneys vary greatly in their ability to effectively present their services and persuade potential clients to become paying clients. Some can close upwards of 30-40% over time, while others close as low as 5%. The higher the close rate of the attorney, the more profitable their marketing and law firm as a whole become.
While there is no set-in-stone method for a perfect consultation, there are 5 general steps that you can follow to increase your close rate.
Step 1: The Introduction
First impressions are very important in consultations. Within a few minutes, the person you are consulting will establish an opinion about whether they like you as a person and whether or not you are skilled enough to help them.
Too often attorneys jump right in and start talking about bankruptcy. Instead, introduce yourself and your law firm briefly. This should take around 30-45 seconds and can include:
- Who you are
- What you do
- What makes your firm unique from other law firms
- A personal touch, such as why you enjoy helping people overcome debt challenges
Step 2: Uncover their Needs
Attorneys often rush into talking about their services and bankruptcy jargon before adequately understanding the client’s needs. By taking time to ask questions, listen, and take notes, you will establish trust and credibility. The information you learn through questions will help you as you present your services later on.
Some questions you can ask include:
- Situation Questions: questions that relate to facts or details, such as monthly income, number of people in their household, assets, debt, etc. Ex: “Has your income decreased in the last 6 months?”
- Problem Questions: questions that uncover the person’s difficulties or issues, such as their garnishments, levies, repos, etc. Ex: “Why are you considering filing bankruptcy?”
- Opportunity Questions: questions that show what could happen if they overcome their problems. Ex: “If you could eliminate your garnishment with bankruptcy, how would that help your financial situation”
Step 3: Solution Presentation
Once you thoroughly understand the person’s situation and needs, you can proceed to explain how you can help them. This part of the sales process requires you to talk more, but you still remain customer focused in your presentation.
You can effectively present your services by clearly explaining:
- The features of your service (how it works)
- The benefits that the person will receive of your service (how it helps)
- The advantages of working with you instead of your competitors (how you are unique or better)
- Past cases to show proof of your past success (establishes credibility)
- Overcome any objections that they have expressed
- How your service relates to specific needs that they mentioned
Step 4: Close the Sale
After the person clearly understands how working with you will help them, it is time to close the consultation. Depending on how the consultation went, you have several options for closing. You should choose the option most appropriate for the person you are consulting.
- If they seem ready to start the filing process, simply ask them if they are ready to hire you and start.
- If they are hesitant, have many objections, or are not ready to file yet, ask them if you can send them helpful resources and maintain further communication. You may decide to schedule a follow-up discussion in the future.
- If they do not quality for bankruptcy or are very unprepared to file, you can offer to send them helpful materials and have them contact you when they are ready.
Step 5: Follow Up
Once they have accepted the call to action that you offered, you should scheduled follow-ups with the person to touch base, overcome objections, and follow up on your commitments. You may do so through email, by phone, or in person. These short follow ups will maintain the goodwill that you have established and will lead you smoothly through the filing process.
If you want to improve your consultation skills, here are a few ideas:
- Do role-plays with another person and practice various strategies. You will work out the kinks and improve your process
- Create a script outline with bullet points that you can use as a crutch in consultations to make sure you include all necessary steps
- Record your consultations, evaluate them, and make a plan to improve