In my National Law Review column, I talk a lot about how to market your law firm to attract more traffic and leads. And while there are many ways to market a law firm, few articles go into how to close the deal once a new lead lands.
What every lawyer needs is a playbook of closing strategies. Closing strategies help you win more law firm clients and make the best return on your marketing spend.
Don’t let your leads run cold - use these law firm closing strategies to seal the deal.
Effective Closing Strategies for Law Firms
You get a new phone call… or email… or contact form fill… but what’s your next move? Do you have a strategy for closing new contracts? Or do you just cross your fingers hoping it’s a good fit?
Believe it or not, there is more to closing clients than simply knowing whether they have a case. You’ll need to put your best salesperson hat on so you win over your client before they go price shopping with the competition.
These strategies will help:
1. The Consultation Close
Most lawyers are familiar with the concept of using free consultations to get their foot in the door with a potential client. But how much of this conversation is spent building a relationship with the prospect so they’re itching to work with you? You want to assess whether they have a case, but you also want to sell your skills on the call.
The key to mastering The Consultation Close is to ask the prospect a lot of questions.
What is the history of your issue?
What legal services have you looked into so far?
How did you come across our law firm?
Who are all the parties involved?
What type of outcome are you looking for?
What are you looking for in regards to legal services?
This is not only an opportunity to be briefed on the details of their situation but also to uncover what they are looking for in a lawyer. By asking these questions, you already have the prospect envisioning what it would be like to vet a legal service. While many go into these conversations looking for free advice, your prospects will already be prepped for the sale.
Further, you’ll gain valuable information on what they are looking for in an engagement so you can speak directly to their needs.
Do they want a lawyer who will help relieve the stress of the legal process? Maybe you can speak to that. Do they want someone with a lot of experience in litigation? Maybe your track record makes you a good fit.
2. The Follow-Up Close
Sometimes you won’t close directly on the call and that’s okay. After going into their (often, emotional) situation, the prospect may need some time to think about next steps.
After your initial call, don’t let the prospect go without a follow-up. You can send this as a quick email after your call and then again in a week or so. I recommend not following up more than twice or else you risk deterring the prospect.
In your follow-up email or call, you might say something like:
“Hey, Jane Doe - Thanks again for meeting with [ attorney ] at [ firm name ] Law Firm for your free consultation call. We were happy you chose to reach out and share the details of your situation. As a follow-up, we would like to confirm that the next steps for working with us are X, Y, and Z. Please send us an email or give us a call if you would like to initiate [ step X ]. Thank You!”
3. The Question Close
“Effective salespeople focus on closing a sale as soon as a conversation with a prospect begins.” (Source)
This is a concept that applies not only to the legal field but to selling in general. In order to develop desire in the client, you need to ask them probing questions that feel out their objections.
For example, one way to gauge a prospect’s objections and to inspire a commitment at the same time is to ask this question:
“In your opinion, what would hiring our law office help you achieve in this case?”
This question allows you to sense whether a prospect is sold on hiring you or if they are still feeling out your skills. But, it also keeps the door open for you to address any concerns directly on the call. Otherwise, they may never voice them and you may be left wondering why they never hired your firm.
Another good question to ask is:
“Is there any reason you might not be ready to hire an attorney?”
This also helps you surface any of their concerns - whether it be about experience, cost, etc. - and address them during the call. This question can either lead to closure (as in, “None! Let’s get started!”) or more discussion (as in, “I’m not sure I can afford it”).
4. The Sharp Angle Close
It’s no secret to the general public that hiring a lawyer ain’t cheap. That’s why the most common question attorneys face at the end of a consultation call is usually, “How much do you cost?”
Prospects ask this question to help set their own expectations. And even though it is a straightforward ask, it’s important not to get caught off guard.
The key to mastering The Sharp Angle Close is to always know your numbers; that is, if someone asks how much you cost, be sure to have your retainer and/or hourly rate in mind.
The second secret is to have a backup response if they counter. Prospects often ask for a price reduction because they want to own the conversation. But a conversation is a two-way street, so try The Sharp Angle Close to further the negotiation:
If a prospect asks, "Is it possible to work within $1500 per month instead of $2500?” reply, “Sure! I think we can make that work if you’re able to sign the contract today!” They probably aren’t expecting this response, but they are more likely to pull the trigger because you are meeting their demand for a lower rate.
5. The Deposit Close
You feel the conversation is going well and have determined that the client is a good fit. However, both of you have been avoiding the “What’s the cost?” question and it’s time to make a move. How do you do this with finesse?
One option is to not go in for the big bucks and instead get the prospect to sign on for a commitment with an initial deposit. That way, if there is a bit of price shock with your retainer cost, you can give them some time to “warm up” to the engagement by paying essentially an onboarding fee.
The goal here is to get them to commit to the deposit right on the call. Tell them you will send through the contract and invoice within 1 business day. Their deposit holds their spot on your calendar for a determined length of time. Then, the first full invoice will be due after your first month of working together.
6. The Contract Close
Many prospects want to know exactly what they are getting before they hire an attorney. For those hunting for this information, sending them your contract ASAP may be the key to convincing them to hire you on.
You can break down the terms of your agreement, the billing details, how communication will work, client expectations, and more. Providing a professional contract upfront will show you are serious, legitimate, and organized. And, they are unlikely to find this information by simply looking at other lawyers’ websites.
You may choose to take a deposit with the contract or not. The point is that the client knows the contract is binding and is their commitment to working with you. Clean and straightforward, The Contract Close is how many law firms get their clients in the door.
Win More Clients by Becoming a Closing Pro
You don’t need to be an expert salesperson to close more clients. All you need are some expert-level closing strategies used by the pros. Use the above methods to turn more of your marketing leads into actual clients for your firm.
Want to get more traffic and leads as well? Try implementing a content marketing plan to attract more prospects to your law firm with online content.