This following is a guest post by Richard Rosen, Founder of Red Zone Legal Marketing.
As an attorney, you’ve recognized that the internet represents both an opportunity and a requirement for your business.
It’s an opportunity to make potential clients aware of you as a potential solution to a legal problem.
It’s a requirement because some – if not most — prospective clients, no matter how they first heard about you, will take advantage of the ease of research to validate their decision to hire you.
In either case, you may have played your cards right, made good decisions and investments, and established a strategic flow of visitors to your virtual front door.
You’ve SEO’d, advertised, designed, purchased content, and paid attention to your online reputation and it’s working.
So, in my father’s terminology – “Why ain’t you rich?”
Let’s look at an example of how someone might find you:
Yesterday, a spouse finally was pushed beyond her limitations to seek an end to an unhappy marriage. She sat down in front of her computer, opened Google, and searched as follows: “Best divorce lawyer near Anytown, USA”. Your firm’s listing came up in the ads, on the map, and in the organic results. Along with 15 other choices. But she liked your ad, clicked on it, liked what she saw, and called you.
In the words of our 43rd President, “Mission Accomplished!!!”
Or so it would seem. A prospective client who calls your number still has several steps before they become a paying client. The growth and success of your law firm depends on how you respond to the call.
The prospective client was put on hold so long she hung up and called another lawyer;
Your receptionist had just been given an emergency priority to get a notice to the court. The caller got a hasty offer to take a message. The caller did not experience a great first impression. While waiting for a callback, she called other lawyers and found one who made a better first impression – Mission Accomplished, but not for you;
The prospective client was connected with you, the attorney. You were dealing with the same emergency your receptionist was: You spoke politely, answered a few questions, and asked the prospective client to call you back. She did not do so. She called a different firm and got a better first impression. Your hopes and dreams died on the 20-yard line.
You see the problem, right? Not only could you be answering calls more effectively, failing to do so, even occasionally, is a large drain on your profits.
How can you create a better first impression?
Every call might be from a prospective client, looking to solve a major problem and with the funds to pay. Whenever that call takes place, no matter the time of day or the day of the week, the new prospect must be greeted by your representative: a receptionist.
Your receptionist must be gracious, friendly, and determined to make a warm connection. They must be great listeners: Patient, helpful, and smart.
Recruiting and Hiring. Write a good job description and select a receptionist who has the potential to succeed.
Training. Give direction and information as needed to meet your requirements. Design daily job activities that directly relate to the job description.
Supervision. Test call responses occasionally, to see how they’re handled. Determine a course of action for calls that are handled badly.
If this seems like a lot of work and money, you’re right. But there is an alternate solution - outsource to a professional services company with an excellent track record of success.
After years of frustration, that’s what we did. We came across Smith.ai's virtual receptionists, and decided that outsourced receptionists are the right option for our firm. At Smith.ai, they don’t just answer the phone and take messages: They greet your callers with a smile and a commitment to make sure that this call meets the caller’s needs.
In short: they provide the greeting your prospective clients deserve — every time.
Test their capabilities:
I’ve been in the market, helping lawyers succeed in internet marketing. I generally got the lead generation step right - steadily increasing the flow of traffic to lawyers’ websites.
I founded Red Zone to help lawyers get more from their marketing. The goal line was not being crossed as much as it should be. We approach conversations with prospective clients as sales opportunities. As in, “Nothing happens until somebody sells something.”
Results were practically immediate. Our consulting customers increased their conversion from as little as 10% to over 50%.
When Red Zone met Smith.ai, another opportunity surfaced. All calls could be handled well, with strong introductions to our Intake Consultants. In addition to covering late-night callers, Smith.ai provides coverage for overflow calls, which had been going to voicemail.