The 5 Principles to Acquiring New Clients for Your Law Firm
When signing a contract to hire a new client, proper qualification plays a vital role in the decision-making process for the business and the customer. Either the customer qualifies you as their attorney, or you qualify them as your customer, many times, both. Many attorneys, just starting out, are excited about their new venture and will take on any client that comes through – you need to start building momentum somehow. The mistake that some new solo practitioners make when marketing themselves and bringing on new customers is not correctly pre-qualifying their leads.
It’s acceptable to open the doors to all potential customers, but it’s more important to diagnose a lead with the right questions to help determine if:
- They are a good fit for your law firm
- You’re the best attorney for their legal needs
How can attorneys properly diagnose and qualify a new lead to ensure that they’re not wasting their time taking on a case that will do more harm than good? By following the five principles or core, questions listed below:
- Why: This is the most important question of all because it determines your client’s motivation. It’s important to ask your questions strategically so that they are not just random questions.
- Why are they in the “market” for a lawyer?
- Why are they in the situation they are in?
- Why did they call you or respond to your email/ad?
- Why did you wait this long? This question is useful if a potential client of yours in a personal injury case decided to only contact an attorney after a long period after the incident occurred.
- What: This question can be asked to help you understand what your customer’s current “game plan” is.
- What have they done up until now to help them solve their issue?
- What will they do if they don’t end up hiring an attorney for their case?
- What options do they have on the table?
- Where: The question of “where” depends on the situation. Many cases require the lawyer to understand where an event occurred. I.e.
- Where were you when this happened? If you’re a personal injury attorney in a slip and fall case, asking where did the person slip is relevant.
- Where was this taken place?
- When: Finding out out the timeline of your customer is one of the most relevant things you can know. The when in different industries can vary, i.e., in software, “when are you looking to make the switch?” in real estate, “when will you like to move?” As an attorney, you can ask various forms of “when.”
- When did this occur?
- When was the last time you were in contact with that person?
- When were you looking to hire an attorney?
- How: Depending on the case, a “how” question can help you understand how a situation happened. Ask this question to identify the steps that were taken to reach the result.
- How did it happen?
- How did you hear about our law firm? This question is vital – understanding how a new lead heard about your law firm will help you measure your ROI and marketing efforts – do not let this question fool you, it’s very powerful. Many attorneys track this information by using some filing system like the tag feature in PracticePanther.
Prequalifying your customers will not only save you time but will also help you understand the market and what people are in need for. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, listening to your leads and clients by asking the right questions will give you a slight edge as a practicing attorney and business professional. Think about it, imagine you knew that all clients needed an attorney for a personal injury, litigation or estate planning case similarly answered a particular question (tone, body language, response, etc.). You can use that information to create targeted ads using the keywords in their responses which will strike a cord and help you connect with people who may need an attorney.