Archive for the ‘Conversion Tracking’ Category
The more marketing strategies a law firm implements, the more difficult it is to determine the success of individual campaigns. For example, a firm that has strong organic search engine rankings, runs a paid ad program, and utilizes lawyer directory top spots will find it challenging to determine the true source of an “internet client.”
Skilled intake personnel can certainly add a layer of accuracy uncommon is most firms, but lead tracking is never an exact science. There are, however, some mistakes to avoid. One is using incomplete data to assess ROI.
A short story will illustrate.
A long-time client of mine was recently reviewing dashboard statistics from one of the top 4 lawyer directories. This included a list of phone calls via a call tracking number as well as emails that came directly from the directory website. Unfortunately, only a portion of the phone calls included the caller’s name. My client said, “looking through here, I haven’t gotten anything and want to cancel.”
His analysis missed the mark in two ways. First, he did not consider that the calls without identification info could have produced a client. More importantly however, he failed to consider the hundreds of visitors that the vendor’s directory was sending to his website, a number we could verify independently through Google Analytics. i.e. a potential client who started on the vendor’s website but ended up calling from the firm’s website would not be included in the vendor’s caller data. (The number of visitors in this case was 1,200+ for the year… very significant.)
Rather than assume a program is under-performing based on some data, it’s important to recognize where tracking tools fall short. In this instance, the client was receiving a high enough volume of visitors from the third party web property to conclude that some would result in new clients for the firm.
If you aren’t asking “What are you trying to achieve?” very early in your initial consultation with a prospective client, you’re hurting your chances of converting that opportunity into revenue. A quick story.
Years ago, I did quite a bit of work for one of the top DUI attorneys in a major market. The results she had achieved on behalf of clients was nothing short of extraordinary, and her reputation was excellent in the legal community. She did, however, have an incredibly difficult time converting prospects into clients. One reason for this was her inability to identify what was most important to a prospective client early in the initial consultation. Because she did not have that valuable information, she was unable to effectively close the loop on how she could help before she was forced to discuss fees.
(Like many experienced attorneys, she felt that after 35 years of practice she knew what clients wanted when they came to her office. After all, what does anyone want after being arrested for DUI? To “get out of it” of course! Well… maybe.)
Every person who gets arrested for DUI has different things that worry them the most. One person may be very concerned about the financial implications. Another may need to avoid a conviction to keep their current job. A spouse or parent may be afraid that their loved ones will find out. Someone who believes they have been falsely accused may want to clear their name. Another person may be claustrophobic and fears more time in jail than anything else. If you doubt the spectrum of concerns a client may have, consider that in 2015, a well-known entertainer chose 90 days in jail over 3 years of probation. Priorities vary!
While this example involves a criminal defense attorney, the same concepts apply in any sales process. Knowing your prospective client’s goals gives you an incredibly powerful advantage in their decision-making process. It’s one thing to say, “I will be happy to take your case. My fee is $9,000.” It’s another to say “Tom, I know how important it is for you to be able to drive your students to their mission projects during the summer months. I’ve handled cases in the past for clients with similarly important goals, and to give you the best opportunity for success, the fee would be $9,000.”
On most days, I will receive at least one email from a client that asks, “Is this worth it?” Following their question is an offer they’ve received from a law firm marketing vendor. The answer is always yes… and no. All marketing has value. Even that billboard in the desert you’ve heard so many SEO salesreps talk about is valuable, because someone will eventually drive down that road. And when you have an unlimited marketing budget, you do it all. Unfortunately, all but a very small group of firms are in that position.
The real question that needs to be asked when evaluating any client development investment is: “Is this the best place to spend the next available marketing dollar?” In other words, the most effective law firm marketing strategies are those that are prioritized. The key is to identify the products and services that will provide the best ROI for your law firm at that moment in time. For one law firm this may be a Google paid ad campaign. For another, it may mean top spots in one or more of the big 3 law firm directories. And for a third, an ad in the local high school football program may be the best option for getting more clients in the door. Each of these investments, and an infinite number of others, could be the opportunity that makes the most sense from a marketing perspective.
The key to knowing if an offer is “worth it” is information. A law firm has to always know how its current investments are producing, as well as all the available options that exist for the next dollar. Of course, that’s not an easy thing to achieve when you’re busy handling client matters and running the business. But it is the only way to make consistently smart marketing investments for your law firm.
Every member of a law firm team plays a significant role in the business’ success… at least they should. But there is one position that is most important, and that is the one that handles new client phone calls and emails. I say this for 2 reasons. First, every piece of revenue comes through this person. If they aren’t doing a good job, it’s costing your firm revenue. Second, the way this person interacts with a potential client is the first impression that prospect gets of how they can expect to be treated by your firm. And regardless of how impressive an attorney’s track record of success may be, it’s very difficult to convert a client who doesn’t feel welcome.
Below are some recommendations for hiring and keeping the best client intake personnel, as well as continually improving this key component of success:
- Pay them well. I once worked with a firm that generated roughly $1M in new client revenue each year. They had one intake person and paid her less than $20,000 annually. That’s a bad recipe.
- Regularly emphasize to your intake person how important his or her job is to firm’s success. Everyone does a better job when they feel important and valued.
- Secret shop your intake personnel, and analyze the call recordings to ensure the highest levels of quality and service are being attained.
- Expect consistent improvement. Regardless of how experienced and proficient your intake person is, there is always room for improvement. Make regular training to enhance skills a priority, and convey the message that everyone at the firm, including partners, are expected to improve their job performance.
- Don’t overload them. When your phone rings with a new client, your intake personnel needs to be on their game. It’s very hard for even the best employee to switch gears from a huge stack of work to effectively communicating with a prospect.
- Provide an incentive. Law firm staff is very perceptive when it comes to what certain cases are worth to the firm. If an intake person does a nice job on a case that pays well, give that person a bonus. It doesn’t have to be much. Sometimes a couple hundred dollars that’s unexpected can make a huge impact.
There are many law firms spending tens of thousands of dollars each year on client development, but paying no attention to the most important link in the client conversion chain. Avoid that mistake by paying close attention to who is doing client intake, and how well they are doing it.