Following Up is Necessary
Are You Missing Clients?
There are clients contacting you and, for one reason or another, not getting you on the phone. It may be they called when the office was closed, or you were on another line. You might have been in court or a mediation. Whatever the reason, your missing potential clients that need you and want to hear from you.
Did you know that 85% of clients’ initial contacts go unanswered?* That means that they move on and either hire another attorney, or worse, try to handle their legal issue on their own. As an attorney, you know that neither of those is a good option.
No one should be handling their legal issues without an attorney, and no one should be calling an attorney who isn’t you. So what can you do to make sure those clients who need your services get in touch with you even if you miss the call?
Follow-Up Options You Should Be Using:
First things first, you need to have a client relationship management system. It can be as simple as nested folders on your computer, or as complex as custom built software that you had built to your specifications.
Whatever system you choose to help you from missing potential clients who contact you, make sure that it has the ability to keep your clients’ main contact information (name, email, phone, etc.) in a single, easily accessible place.
Using a program like Lawmatics or Clio Grow that you can directly enter your clients’ information and integrates with your email and phone systems as well as many other client relationship management programs is an option we often recommend. Both allow you to set automations that will save you time and cost, though any system will work if you’re willing to put the time and work into utilizing it well.
Calling back is the minimum that people expect, and it doesn’t matter whether they’re a client that needs your help or the assistance of another lawyer, you need to take the time and make the effort to stay in touch with them.
Every phone call should receive a callback as soon as possible. If you can’t do that, then you need an associate, receptionist, or intern who can make those calls and take down the pertinent information. If those aren’t options, then consider using a company like Smith to manage your incoming calls.
Set up a system for you and your people to react to any calls that is missed when it comes in. Immediately calling back is best if possible, but outreach through text or email is acceptable if necessary. Whatever you choose that’s best for you, make sure you have a policy and make those calls.
Online form follow-ups should happen automativally. If you’re using Lawmatics, Clio Grow, or something similar, then you’ll be able to set and schedule those follow-up emails directly. You can also set up text follow-ups and set tasks to call potential clients as well.
Beyond that, you should have a schedule of outreach attempts for anyone who filled out a form on your website. Different law types have different sales cycles, so these schedules should be customized to your typical client life cycle.
You should never stop trying to reach out to a client that might hire your firm, but you shouldn’t be too pushy in your outreach either. There are several ways to acheive this and leave a positive impression on everyone including those who choose not to use your firm for their legal needs.
It’s probably a rarity, but random clients can and will sometimes email you about a legal issue they need assistance with. You need to make sure you have a system to follow up with them in place. If you need to hand them off to another person to follow up and address their need, that’s always an option, just make sure you have a procedure to get them into your Client System.
Optimally, you would be able to send out an intake form to those who contact you in this way. If you don’t have a program that allows you to do it, consider creating a custom form for your website, or have us do it for you. Again, whatever the best option is for you to get clients into your system, whatever it is, make sure you do it!
Whatever you do, follow up!
To round this all out, you don’t have to continue missing potential clients. All you need is to have a system in place to follow up on the clients who attempt to contact you. Even if you never hear from them again, or they’ve already hired another attorney bu the time you do get back to them, you HAVE to follow up.
First, there are those who you missed talking to that still need a lawyer, and by calling them back, you could be it. Even those who no longer need you will have a positive feeling about you because you did reach back out.
I would bet that some of them are going to ask you about the attorney they did hire. This is when you can give your positive opinion about that lawyer (we don’t speak bad about other attorneys when we can avoid it) and you can find out more about your competition and see what they did that you can do to ensure you’re the one they hire next time.
If you don’t have a procedure in place to follow up with potential clients who reach out to you, now is the time to start creating one. Clients want a law firm who is available to them. Being the one who reaches back out to them gives them that security that you are available to them, making them more likely to hire you over your competition.