When I was learning to engage clients, I thought it would be as simple as doing some speaking engagements in my local community, talking to my friends and letting them know I was now an estate planning attorney and clients would come rolling in the door.
But, no, it wasn’t quite like that. Not at all, in fact.
You know that though, right? You are likely facing the same thing.
Maybe your phone is ringing, but you are not engaging the prospects who are calling. Maybe your phone isn’t ringing enough or at all.
Either way, you have a solvable problem that you must solve if you want to get regular, consistent cash flow going in your business.
So, let’s do that.
Mistake #1: Offering Free Initial Consults Instead of a Meeting with Value
Most lawyers offer free initial consultations as a way to enroll clients, but it’s really not the best for you or your prospects.
Solution: Start Offering Something People Want
I’m not saying don’t meet with people for free, but if you want to get your phone ringing with qualified prospects, it’s time to make a shift and instead of offering a free initial consult, like everyone else in town, offer a meeting that has a name, a purpose and a value to your prospects.
Our Personal Family Lawyer® members offer a Family Wealth Planning Session. The purpose of it is to review what would happen to your family and your assets if anything happens to you and design a plan that would go the way you want it to go. The value of it is $750.
Can you see how much more valuable this is to your prospects than a free initial consultation? How could you offer something similar in your own practice and shift from free initial consultations to something valuable to your prospects?
Mistake #2: No Shock & Awe Package
What happens when someone books an appointment with you for an initial consultation? What do they receive in the mail afterward? What about by email?
Most lawyers, send nothing. Or a curt confirmation of appointment.
Solution: Pre-Educate Your Prospects
Want to significantly increase your engagement rate?
Send a “shock and awe” package that pre-educates your prospects on you, your firm, the way you work, and what they can expect. Include homework for them to do before coming in so they begin the process of working with you immediately upon making their appointment.
[Note: We give you a complete template to model for this shock and awe package plus support around creating that homework in our Client Engagement System program.]
When we did this in my office, we increased our show up rate and the fees our prospects were happy to pay substantially.
This shock and awe package is one of the big secrets of the lawyers who are experiencing 100% engagement rates at fees higher than they ever have before.
Mistake #3: Holding Back Value Until Engagement
Many lawyers make a big mistake of waiting until they are formally engaged by a client to provide value, holding back in many little ways (that your prospects can feel) until payment is received.
I invite you to try something different.
Solution: Provide Value, No Matter What
What would it look like for you to provide value right from the very first phone call, helping your prospects to make great decisions throughout the whole process of engagement?
How could you provide this value? It all begins with the first phone call and helping your prospects really understand what they are looking for and how to find it. Then, the value continues in the “shock and awe” package you send and the homework, so that whether you get engaged or not, your prospects get educated. Finally, you can provide tremendous value in the initial meeting itself.
Let’s talk about that more, next.
Mistake #4: Telling Instead of Recommending
Too many lawyers steam into meetings with clients with either their own agenda, or at minimum an attitude of educating them; telling them what they “should” do.
Solution: Be a Trusted Advisor, Not a Salesman
When you meet with prospects, think of yourself as becoming their trusted advisor and that that task (and accompanying attitude) starts immediately.
We have our initial client meeting tightly scripted to help our prospects make their own decisions about everything from why working with us is the right answer to how to choose their own fee.
When you put the ball in their court and guide them to make smart decisions instead of telling them what to do, they trust you more and want to work with you long-term.
The key is to help your prospects internalize the impact of not working with you. But the secret is that you can’t tell them. Instead, you need to ask them a series of questions that inspire them to tell themselves why they need to hire you.
Mistake #5: Letting Prospects Control the Meeting Structure
Far too many lawyers make the mistake of letting their prospects take control of the initial meeting. You know this has happened in your meeting if you find yourself going “off script”, not knowing what to say or how to lead your prospects into telling themselves why they need to hire you.
Solution: Always Be Confident and Have a Clear Script
When you have a script and you are following that script, you are in the driver’s seat..
It can be boring at times to use a script, but the relief and confidence it brings more than make up for the routine nature of it. And the most important thing to remember when it comes to scripting your initial meeting is that it’s not boring or routine to the people sitting across from you. To them, it’s all new, fresh, interesting and important.
Scripting your initial meeting just may be the very best thing you can do for your practice and your life.
To listen in on a recent coaching call I hosted for our Personal Family Lawyer® members on the scripted structure of their client engagement meeting, watch here.