Legal leads provide a powerful opportunity for law firms to overcome the challenges of online advertising and fill their sales pipeline with leads in a way that saves money and time. Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many attorneys give up on this powerful growth strategy prematurely. They feel unsuccessful when legal leads don’t work for them immediately, and it’s understandable. It’s frustrating to feel like other law firms have access to some sort of “secret sauce” that’s unlocking the potential of their leads.
Well, they might. The truth is that a few powerful, pro tips can transform a law firm’s experience with a lead, and attorneys deserve to have this information. They’ve paid for the opportunity to win a new client, and they should be able to make the most of it.
After 20 years of experience in providing legal leads to attorneys nationwide in nearly every category of law, we’ve observed five best practices that dramatically increase a law firm’s success rate in converting leads into clients.
These five tactics all revolve around the client intake process. A legal lead provider has a responsibility to provide quality leads. Then, when that lead arrives in a law firm’s inbox or says hello live on the phone, the technical process that ferried them there has to transform into a human one. The law firms who have mastered this moment are the ones who get the greatest ROI from their legal leads and emerge as the advanced pros in using them to drive growth for their firms.
The good news is that you can implement these best practices quickly, so don’t give up on legal leads yet! Like any good discipline or skill, these simple, foundational techniques can dramatically improve performance once they are put into play.
Tactic #1: Be Quick!
If there’s a Golden Rule of legal leads, this is it. A fast response is everything when it comes to success in converting leads into clients.
There’s a classic study on this issue conducted by Dr. James B. Oldroyd of MIT in 2007 for a company called Inside Sales. It offered some statistical wake-up calls about the need to respond quickly to sales leads. Oldroyd found that from a 30-minute response time to a 5-minute response time, the odds of contacting a lead went up 100-fold. At this point, we’ve had 13 years for our attention spans to shorten, so one can only imagine what these stats would look like today.
Add to that, a recent legal marketing study showed that 72% of clients hire the first attorney they speak with.
That’s why 4LegalLeads offers two key advantages to attorneys.
- First, our leads are delivered in real-time. The moment a lead makes a request, it’s routed to the attorney who matches its legal category and location. In the case of live calls, the connection is even more immediate. Not only is this a statistical advantage, but it’s also emotional. People are most open to signing with an attorney in the moment they’ve reached out for help.
- To address the second statistic, we deliver exclusive leads. Our leads are only sold once. This might seem like an odd thing to point out, but some lead providers sell leads to multiple attorneys, pitting them in a race against one another to be the first to reach the potential client. You shouldn’t have to do that.
Between the real-time delivery and exclusivity of the lead, an attorney is placed in the best possible position to make a rapid response and a meaningful connection with the lead.
Even with those advantages, the quick response is still essential for a very human reason. If a lead has an urgent need and doesn’t hear from an attorney quickly, they’re likely to continue searching online and end up contacting a different law firm.
Tactic #2: Be Agile!
This is a simple tactic, easy to execute, but it’s shocking how often it’s overlooked. At the fingertips of any attorney are multiple ways to contact a lead: phone, email, and if they’ve given permission under TCPA guidelines, text.
Yet rather than remaining agile in their approach, many law firms will hammer away at one pathway. We sometimes hear from attorneys, “I called them 12 times and got nothing!” Well, that’s actually the problem.
Agility in reaching out to leads is both necessary and effective, and the reasons why are very human.
- First, people simply have communication preferences. It’s true that not many people answer phones from strange numbers these days, but some people simply prefer to email or text.
- More importantly, when a law firm attempts to contact a lead, they have no way of understanding the situation that lead is in. They may have submitted their request right before heading into work and be unable to respond. They may be in a location that doesn’t feel private enough to discuss their situation. It might be too loud to talk. It might be too quiet.
Here’s an extra pro tip that’s very effective: If you have TCPA permission to use text, try following up a phone call and email with a very brief text that asks for a simple “Yes or No” response. “Hi! This is X Law Firm. We received your request. Are you still looking for an attorney?” People can respond quickly and easily, and you’ll soon know whether to keep pursuing the lead.
Tactic #3: Be Empathetic!
In the first two tactics, there’s a clear pattern at play. They require the attorney to be empathetic and see the situation from the lead’s point of view. Law firms succeed in their client intake process when they prioritize the lead’s viewpoint and priorities over their own.
Consider the mindset of a lead when they reach out for help. They’re vulnerable, a state which few of us enjoy, but worse yet they’re feeling a sense of helplessness.
An easy way to understand their state of mind at this moment is to consider how it feels when you bring a car to a mechanic or see a medical specialist about a potentially frightening diagnosis. No one likes to feel at the mercy of another person who holds specialized knowledge during a critical moment in their life, and child custody, bankruptcy, criminal charges, and life-changing injuries are just a few of the issues that come across an attorney’s desk.
The attorney or anyone on staff responsible for client intake has one, primary task when connecting with a lead for the first time: to earn their trust.
It’s important that a law firm has a standard approach in place that ensures a lead feels welcomed and heard. The good news is there are ways to do that which still protect an attorney’s valuable time. We suggest an approach like this.
- Step 1: “I’m glad you reached out to us. Before we move forward, I’d love to confirm your contact information in case we get disconnected.” This is a double-win. With this statement, the lead is feeling cared for while the attorney gets some critical info in hand right away.
- Step 2: “Great, and let’s make sure we’ve gotten you to the right place. Do you need help with [your category of law]?” Now you can be sure the case is relevant while still tending to the lead’s best interests.
- Step 3: “Ok, and finally, are you currently being represented by an attorney?” With that out of the way, the three biggest problem issues that come up are cleared, and whoever’s running intake can now step back for the most critical moment of earning trust, listening to the lead’s problem.
This is common sense, practical stuff, but we all know that when attorneys and staff are under the gun of the day-to-day, empathy can find itself taking a backseat unless there are values and procedures embedded in the intake process.
Tactic #4: Track Your Progress!
With this tactic, we begin to shift to the more practical elements of the client intake process. “Tracking” can sound like a lot of procedure to implement, but it doesn’t take much to be effective. Attorneys who avoid tracking their progress are missing out on tremendous benefits and opportunities to maximize their ROI on leads. There are two parts to tracking your progress.
Track Your Efforts
Attorneys should keep a simple log of when and how they’ve reached out to a lead. With this information, they can see two things.
- They can see if there are paths of communication that haven’t been tried yet.
- They can also see if there are patterns that should be broken. For instance, if a lead has been called at roughly the same time every day, a different time should be attempted.
Tracking efforts helps a law firm stay accountable for the process of reaching a lead. It’s not uncommon or unexpected to need to reach out to a lead several times. Even when a lead has demonstrated a clear interest in hiring an attorney, three to five attempts at reaching them with any given communication method isn’t unreasonable in today’s over-messaged world.
At 4LegalLeads, there’s another way an attorney can track efforts. All Live Calls are recorded, and attorneys can review the way their staff is handling intake or even contact our support staff for advice on how to improve initial interactions with leads.
Tracking your efforts will make sure you’re not missing out on opportunities. Many law firms will have a CRM system in place that makes this easier, but even the simplest of tracking forms or spreadsheets will make a big difference in increasing your ROI on leads.
And Track Your Results
Not every lead is going to convert, and living in a narrative based on individual results will skew your perspective of how successfully your leads are performing. Tracking your progress can help you to see both the big picture and the real picture of what’s going on. It might have taken several leads to sign a new client, but if that client’s case is lucrative, it may well have been worth it.
Though tracking may reveal that leads from a certain provider aren’t performing well, more often it gives you confidence that your lead strategy is getting a good ROI. Once you sample enough data, you can have realistic expectations about how many leads it takes on average to win a client in your specific market and category of law.
Tactic #5: Partner with Your Lead Provider
It’s tempting for attorneys to think of themselves as consumers when using legal leads. The leads can start to feel like a product that’s being purchased off of a digital shelf.
However, it’s most useful to think of the relationship between an attorney and a lead provider as a partnership, and a quality provider will welcome and support that idea.
Legal lead campaigns can be optimized, and ROI can be increased when there’s a spirit of partnership and a healthy exchange of information. There are two simple things you need to do on your end.
Tell Your Provider What Isn’t Working
The first way this happens is through the returns system. Providers source leads through several different channels and partnerships. When attorneys return a lead for a valid reason, it helps the provider evaluate how well individual channels are performing. Sometimes, adjustments are needed to ad campaigns to optimize performance, but without feedback, it’s nearly impossible for a provider to know how to help.
However, return systems don’t diminish the power of a simple conversation. At 4LegalLeads, for instance, attorneys are often surprised how a few tweaks suggested by our support team can transform a campaign’s results.
Communication is key. The systems that drive leads to attorneys are incredibly complex, and in the end, online advertising is a living, breathing, organic beast filled with changes in search behavior, bidding escalations, and many other factors. A strong feedback loop helps the system perform at peak efficiency.
And Tell Your Provider What Is Working
Equally as powerful—but far more overlooked—is the reporting of success! At 4LegalLeads.com, attorneys can mark and track success with leads in their account portal or contact us directly. This helps our team see what’s working, and if we know what’s working, we can turn up the heat! The same diagnostics that help us see what channels are underperforming help us identify the ones that are doing well.
Simply put, when attorneys tell us what IS working and what leads ARE performing well, we can focus on the tactics behind that success and increase their ROI on leads.
You’re So Close to Success with Legal Leads!
You probably noticed a few patterns in these pro-tips for legal lead success.
- They are human.
- They are practical.
- They are immensely do-able.
They simply require intentionality. Building some basic systems and instilling core values for your client intake process will help you get the most value from your legal leads.
You stand to gain so much. In the case of 4LegalLeads.com, you can engage one of the most experienced, expert providers in the legal lead generation industry to use their nationwide presence and massive resources to conquer the challenge of connecting with potential clients online.
You can avoid the wasted time and money that often comes from trying to do it yourself and instead pay a small fee per lead to essentially add an online advertising department to your law firm at a fraction of the overhead you would incur for doing everything internally.
There’s no other solution available that leverages today’s technology so effectively while offering you incredible flexibility in scaling your advertising efforts.
So don’t give up! The secret to success with legal leads is found largely in the process that begins the moment a lead is delivered to your firm. You’re just five simple tactics away from building an effective and successful client intake process for your leads.
How does a firm get started with 4LegalLeads?
It only takes a few moments to visit 4LegalLeads.com/lawyers and create your account, or you can speak to our team directly at (866) 473-0005. After you create your account, our support team (firstname.lastname@example.org) will customize and optimize your account for you. We look forward to enhancing your marketing strategy and relieving the stress of advertising your law firm online.