Your family law firm marketing strategy may generate lots of leads. But your strategy is only as strong as your ability to turn those leads into clients. Here are some tips to not lose another lead and make more sales.
By Ronnie Deaver, Family Lawyer Marketing and Sales Expert
Marketing and sales go hand-in-hand, especially for family law firms and lawyers. First, you need a marketing strategy that generates leads. Then, you need a sales strategy that turns prospective clients into paying customers.
Often, divorce and family lawyers shy away from sales. No honest lawyer can promise outcomes with certainty. Yet turning an initial consultation into a paying client need not rely on promises. Closing leads relies on your ability to show two things to potential clients:
1) You will fight for their desired outcome, and
2) You will provide value from start to finish.
In this article, I will break down six guidelines to win over prospective clients and master sales in family law. Stop sitting on your firm’s hard-won leads – start earning and growing your practice today by following these tips!
6 Tips to Convert More Leads Into Clients at Your Family Law Firm
1. Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your firm
A KPI is a way to measure how successful your business is in whatever it is you set out to do. For family law firms, that is growing your client base and keeping clients happy. Set these three KPIs that determine firm profitability. Only then are you ready to embark on a marketing or sales campaign.
- Average client value: Determine the average client value you need to sustain operations. Consider how many clients you would have to serve at that average value to make your desired income. Do not be afraid of higher sticker prices. The most successful lawyers I work with have an average client value of at least $3,000. $5,000 or more is ideal.
- Intake call to consultation conversion rate: The first personal interaction a lead has with a family law firm is usually a phone call. Set a goal for the percentage of first-time callers that you would like to convert to attorney-led consultations. Successful lawyers have a call-to-consultation conversion rate of approximately 35%.
- Consultation-to-client conversion rate: Set another goal for the percentage of consultations that result in a new client. I also recommend a consultation-to-client conversion rate of 35% for the greatest results.
These KPIs are crucial to keeping your firm on track to closing more leads and making more new client sales. It’s difficult to make improvements without knowing what you’re working towards. And, of course, it’s always best practice to check your KPIs. If you’re not coming close to achieving them – or if you’re exceeding them – then it might be time to reassess.
2. Conduct fruitful client intake calls
When potential clients first call your firm, it’s important to make a great impression. It’s just as important to determine whether your firm and the lead are the right fit for each other. To confirm you are a good fit, conduct client intake calls before a consultation with an attorney. A staff member can hold these calls, or they can easily be outsourced. Use a script to filter leads with questions about practice areas, timelines and costs. If you only offer paid consultations, you may want to frame this initial call as a free case evaluation.
Keep in mind the KPI that you set for your ideal intake calls to consultations conversion rate. Be enthusiastic and helpful in all interactions with potential clients. Even if you come to realize you’re not the best fit, your reputation is still on the line. Reiterate how your firm will provide value as soon as the consultation. Have a system in place to schedule the consultation right then and there on the phone if the lead agrees. Finally, send a follow-up reminder about the scheduled consultation immediately after the call. Time is of the essence in sales!
3. Offer immediate value from paid consultations
Let’s face it, a paid consultation can be a harder sell than an unpaid consultation. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them. You do need to make it crystal clear to leads how you will provide them value through the paid consultation. Make your client intake call a free case evaluation if you have paid consultations. That way, leads will know whether your firm is the right fit for their needs before the consultation. They will feel more comfortable and inclined to pay for a consultation.
Emphasize how a paid consultation will immediately benefit leads. Offer a discount if the lead books a consultation during the free case evaluation. Remember how time is of the essence in sales? Guide leads to book consultation with your firm in the first interaction. Otherwise you risk them moving onto someone else. Besides a discount, offer to credit the consultation fee to the retainer. If your lead does not move forward with you, let them know you will still provide value. Refer them to another lawyer or resources that could help their case.
Show how you always provide value in paid consultations, and leads will trust you. When leads trust you, they start to feel invested in a relationship with you. Then, they are more likely to move forward with a retainer.
4. Follow the “Heaven, Hell, Bridge” Framework
You might be wondering what on Earth (or above, or below) the Heaven, Hell, Bridge framework is. Well, it’s a way of approaching conversations with would-be clients even if you’re not a sales expert. When someone seeks out a lawyer, something has probably gone wrong. Open your consultation by allowing the lead to vent to you about their “Hell.” Understand why they’re searching for a lawyer. Be sympathetic, actively listen, and reaffirm their frustrations. But don’t let the discussion of Hell consume the whole consultation. Spend 10%-20% on this part of the conversation.
Then, move on to discussing the client’s “Heaven.” Ask the potential client what their ideal set of circumstances and world would be. In a divorce, this may be keeping the house or remaining a stay-at-home mom. Again, ensure you repeat back to the lead what you hear their goals are. Spend the majority of the consultation, about 50%-60% of the time, discussing the lead’s Heaven. Finally, explain how your family law services are the bridge between both worlds. Your services do not equate to a guaranteed outcome. Rather they are the best tool to help your client reach their desired outcome.
End the consultation by asking the would-be client if they would like to move forward. Often, family lawyers are not upfront about next steps. Don’t let leads leave confused about what they should do after a consultation. Provide them a clear call-to-action (CTA). That CTA is the bridge you described. Ask the lead to buy your legal services and work toward their Heaven.
5. Know your worth and ask for it, confidently
I get it; it can feel awkward to ask for money. But it doesn’t have to be. Lean into the KPI you set earlier of your ideal average client value. You need to have the money mindset that you deserve what you are worth to be profitable. Start by practicing asking leads if they would like to move forward with your legal services. When they say yes, confidently state your price. Practice this type of conversation with a team member or another trusted person. Then get comfortable doing it in real life (IRL).
Having the courage to ask for your worth, whether that is $3,000, $5,000 or more from everyone is hard. Once you feel comfortable asking, you’ll convert leads at a much higher rate. That will go a long way. Remember, the lead does not determine the price. You do, when you’re willing to ask for a specific price and sell your services as worthy of that price. Be confident and courageous in asking for what you’re worth and making sales.
6. Build a positive feedback loop
Positive Google reviews are money-makers for family law firms. Use every step of your sales process to ask your leads and, soon, clients to leave your firm a 5-star Google review. After an initial client intake call, follow up with a message requesting a Google review. Provide a link to your Google Business profile where they can leave a review. Upon a successful consultation, send a follow-up email about next steps in your client’s case. And you guessed it, include a short message requesting a 5-star Google review and a simple link to follow too.
Every lead that enters your sales funnel poses an opportunity for a positive review. This positive review accumulation will create a beneficial, self-sustaining feedback loop. More leads come across your firm, enter your sales funnel, and drive more Google reviews. That means business!
2 FAQs about Sales for Family Lawyers
How do I know if leads are qualified?
There are many strategies you can take to ensure that the leads you receive are qualified. You can work with Google Ads and paid social media posts to reach the best prospective clients. Once leads reach out, it’s essential for a member of your team to conduct client intake calls. Ask callers a few questions to determine if they’re a good fit for your firm. Then, put them in touch with the attorney. If your firm does not have staff available for these calls, this is a task that can be outsourced.
Should I offer paid or unpaid consultations?
Both paid and unpaid consultations are valid options. Unpaid consultations may receive more initial interest. Lean into your client intake protocol. That protocol ensures the attorney speaks with qualified leads. For paid consultations, make leads believe the consultation is a good offer. A good offer entails three core components: deliverability, timeframe, and risk reversal. The deliverable is leaving the consultation with a game plan to pursue their case. The timeframe is the speed with which you can make yourself available for a conversation. People don’t want to wait! Reverse risk by guaranteeing to roll their consultation fee into their retainer.
Ronnie Deaver has been marketing family lawyers for over a decade, generating over 500,000 leads and $100 million in new client revenue. He is the founder and CEO of NoBull Marketing, the only legal marketing agency with a profitability guarantee, and is a frequent guest speaker at industry events and podcasts. www.nobullmarketing.co
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