Marketing Your Law Firm in 2018, Part Two: Best Practices for Following Up on Leads
*This article is the second in a three-part series in which we will examine lead tracking systems, best practices for following up with leads, and how to make sure that your intake team is handling leads correctly and professionally.
Whether you are a small law firm or a solo practitioner, following up on leads that you receive is the most important task you can do to gain clients and attract new business. When you have an effective lead management and response process in place, you will be able to process leads, follow up with them efficiently, and check back in on them frequently. Without an established system in place, your law firm is banking on good luck and fortune to generate more business.
Your firm must have a strategy following up on leads to maximize the efficiency of the interaction and generate new business. For this reason, it is important to consider best practices when you are interacting with potential clients.
The Importance of Time
When you are following up on leads, time is of the essence. A prospective client is actively engaged when they reach out to you. The sooner the response, the more likely you will be to earn their business. If you wait too long to follow up on a lead, your prospective customer may decide to hire someone else.
Dedicated Staff and Services
To ensure that leads are responded to in a timely manner, you need a dedicated staff in place to handle leads and for effective lead follow up.
- Phone lines: You must determine who will answer initial and overflow calls to keep them from going to voicemail. A receptionist that can answer phones is essential, but you will need a backup person for when the receptionist is at lunch or on another call.
- After hours answering service: While your firm likely keeps business hours, a potential client may need assistance after business hours. By hiring an answering service, you can establish first contact with a client right away.
- Form submissions: Any online form submissions need to have a member of your staff responding to these leads. You may need a backup and follow-up system is in place so that you don’t lose prospective clients.
- Determine a follow-up schedule: You may not reach a lead after the first contact, but with repeated attempts you may find success. It’s a good idea to have a designated follow up schedule to contact leads.
Pre-Qualify Your Leads
Scheduling a consultation for every potential client right away may be a misuse of your valuable time. Depending on your law firm’s area of practice, not every lead is the right client or a good case for you. To ensure that you are engaging the right clientele, it may be useful to have them fill out an intake form, either online or by email, to make sure it is a good fit.
Simply inform prospective clients that the intake form is the first step of the process that will help them assess their legal needs and options. This intake process will also assist you with screening out inappropriate clients. Once you have a scheduled consultation with a potential client, you will already have a better idea of what issues need to be addressed, so you can help them in a more productive manner.
The Importance of Nurturing
Once you have established contact, it is important to nurture your leads. You need to establish what prospective clients want or need when they call you or send a request. The best thing to do after a call is to email them immediately with critical information that pertains to their legal matter. For example, if you are bankruptcy or divorce attorney, the client’s need may not be urgent, but you need to let the lead know that you received their inquiry and you are qualified to handle to their case.
Use an Automated Process
Following up on leads is ongoing and a time-consuming process. If your law firm already has a CRM software system, such as LeadDocket or SalesForce, you already have access to email and tracking capabilities. However, if you don’t have this type of system, you’ll want to make sure that you remain in contact with prospects so that they don’t decide to look at another attorney.
Automating the lead follow-up process is an important tool to keep continuous contact with leads. Investing in software such as MailChimp or ConstantContact will help you capture information about your leads, generate email templates and assist you with scheduling these emails ahead of time.
This type of software will facilitate the creation of emails and help automate the distribution and tracking of your leads. It will also provide a way to maintain and grow different lists of prospective clients. You can set up a professional introduction email and send it out to hundreds of people within 30 minutes. This software is a great way of marketing your business without losing potential clientele.
Consider an Outside Resource
Sometimes it’s more efficient to let someone else do the marketing and lead generation for you. There are outside resources available that combine marketing efforts with lead nurturing. You may need the expertise of an outside resource to accomplish lead follow up tasks that you do not have time for or feel you can’t handle due to staff constraints.
The size of your law firm and what you hope to accomplish will determine the amount of marketing support that is necessary to handle leads. Managing leads is a full-time job, and it may be a job that you don’t have the time or expertise to manage on your own.