Lead management, the process of determining whether phone calls or emails are viable cases, isn’t something law schools teach. It’s why many attorneys take a trial-and-error approach to lead management once they start practicing—which includes trying to handle this task on their own. This causes many attorneys to questions why other attorneys in their legal area are getting more clients.
Lead Management is about Identifying, Educating, Engaging and Qualifying Potential Clients
Engaging in lead conversation takes a marketing mindset. The first step is identifying a potential client’s interest in hiring a particular law firm. Chances are the individual hasn’t contacted one, but many different firms in the area. This is a critical time in lead generation. An individual completes a contact form or Legal Match referral form because he wants help immediately.
Some kind of response is necessary to convert the lead within the first hour of receiving a person’s information. According to the National Law Review, after the first hour passes without hearing from a law firm, the chances of turning that potential client into a client decreases by 10 percent. The person will move on to the next law firm on the list.
Response time involves the moment between a potential client completes a contact form until a firm’s representative contacts him. A simple auto response will provide the “I care” reassurance a potential client needs until the contacted by a firm’s representative. The auto response should be made within a couple of seconds of receiving the contact form.
A representative usually has five minutes to contact the individual. This is the “get them while they are hot” approach. The rate of lead conversation decreases dramatically as time passes.
The Art of Making the Initial Call
The second step is making the initial contact. Contact can made at any time, right? Wrong. Think of potential clients as judges with specific tee times. Interrupt their golf game and an attorney may be permanently blacklisted. Clients are just like that. There are times they aren’t available or aren’t interested in talking with a firm regardless of whether they need help immediately.
Research shows that following a firm should make initial contact during these times:
- Tuesdays and Wednesdays
- Between 1 pm to 2 pm and 4 pm to 5 pm
It’s possible that 4 pm to 6 pm is a good time to reach a potential client. The worst times to make contact are early in the morning.
Many Representatives Give up Too Soon
Let’s say the unfortunate occurs. The firm’s representative calls and doesn’t get an answer or the client wants a call back later. Many representatives will make an attempt to contact one or two additional times. Then they give up on the individual altogether. Studies show persistence is key to converting an interested client into a real client.
In lead management, persistence means making multiple calls. A representative should always make at least six attempts to contact the individual.
Make the Conversation about the Lead, not the Firm
Sure, the potential client wants to know about what the firm can do for him. However, the representative must make the call about the individual by:
- Asking the right questions
- Recording the information in a central location. This prevents the individual having explain circumstances again when receiving another firm call.
- Finding the right time for him to meet for an initial consultation
Keep in mind, the lead may not be ready to commit. Maybe he’s waiting on another law firm or just wants to weight his options before hiring an attorney. Lead conversation may require nurturing. Nurturing means to send pre-program emails or frequently calling to convert the lead into a client. This may need to be done multiple times to ensure successful lead management.
Lead management doesn’t have to feel like studying for the bar examination. The best practices includes response time and persistence. When done right, it will convert a lead into a client.
Authored by Taelonnda Sewell, LegalMatch Legal Writer