Marketing Your Law Firm in 2018, Part Three: Quality Control
Making Sure Lead Generation, Follow-up, and Sign-ups Are Done Right
*This article is the third 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.
Few interactions are as critical to the client sign-up process as the initial conversations with a potential client. In an increasingly crowded legal marketplace, successful lawyers understand the importance of not only immediately making a good first impression but following up with potential clients—especially when they have yet to sign a retainer.
Many larger firms are able to outsource assistance with legal intake, but solo practitioners and small firms are sometimes unable to afford such luxuries. As a result, these attorneys and firms must make certain extra efforts to ensure their legal intake processes are as productive as possible.
Don't Overlook Pre-Screening
Experienced lawyers know which types of cases they would like to handle, and which type(s) of clients they would ideally like to work with. For this reason, it is important to make sure numerous pre-screening measures are taken before the first in-person meeting.
For example, has the prospective client ever worked with an attorney before? What was the outcome of the case? Have they spoken with other lawyers about this claim and have been turned away? If so, why was that?
Beyond the specifics of their case, what is this person expecting for their case outcome? What will they be like to work with? While it isn’t possible to get all of this information from the live chats, contact forms, or initial phone calls, the intake team should try to get as full of a picture as possible as early in the process as possible.
You should avoid making the pre-screening process too cumbersome, however, as lengthy questionnaires can be frustrating and could be a deterrent for potential clients to sign with you.
Assign Lead Follow-Up Responsibilities
While larger firms with dedicated intake departments usually have multiple staff members to follow up on leads, it is much more difficult for sole practitioners and small firms to manage lead follow-up.
Wherever possible, smaller firms should still create a workflow for following up on leads. Establishing a system for tracking leads, when potential clients have been contacted, and making sure to follow up is critical. Boutique firms should have people assigned as backups if the person primarily responsible for lead-follow up is out of the office for any reason.
Take Advantage of Drip Marketing
Drip marketing refers to a series of messages that a firm sends to a potential client. Perhaps the most common form of drip marketing is a series of email campaigns introducing your firm and clearly expressing the reasons a candidate might want to hire you.
With little more than a potential client's email address—and permission to contact them with marketing messages—an attorney or law firm can easily send the potential client an automated series of emails, using even the most basic email marketing platforms.
Incorporate E-Signatures to Speed Up Conversion
Another effective way to streamline the sign-up process for prospective clients is to use electronic signatures, or e-signatures.
An e-signature provides the same legal standing as a handwritten signature so long as it adheres to the requirements of the Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA), the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) designed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
A simple e-signature is far easier for a person to complete within a matter of seconds rather than the several minutes or possibly even hours that can be involved in physically signing and scanning or faxing such documents.
By making every aspect of the intake process easier for a potential client, you can increase the likelihood of them signing up with you and can start the working relationship off on the right foot. It is crucial to have the right tracking systems in place, to train your team to follow-up on leads, and to ensure quality of the process overall.