Usually when a law firm approaches us, what they want is simple - more leads. Every business needs to create opportunities to win business and grow, but without the right approach that is easier said than done.
We all fall into the trap of chasing fresh new business, but at some point you will max out your potential channels. However, there are other ways of generating new business. In this article, we look at five means of generating leads, some of which you can put into action TODAY.
1) Maximise your existing lead sources
The first is the most obvious: maximise your existing channels. The first thing to do is find out where you get most of your existing leads and double-down on those channels.
If your website is generating leads, work at which sources are driving traffic to it and work at getting more. It may be search engines which are driving traffic, or it may be Pay Per Click Ads. Whichever it is, invest in more traffic and optimise your conversion rates.
Even a small increase in the percentage of web users who contact you can be significant.
If it’s not the website, it may be networking events, webinars, print ads or referrals. Whichever it is, review which channels work well (and find those which don’t!) and invest in those channels.
2) Be more targeted
One of the biggest mistakes any business can make is trying to be all things to all people. Targeting a specific audience segment lets you refine your branding, messaging, communication and product to deliver exactly what your audience needs in a way that resonates with them.
To do this, you can look at a specific sector or demographic with whom you have had success in the past. You can target people based on their specific needs, desires and pain points. Or, you can target geographic areas such as towns or suburbs.
The more specific you can be about where you work, who you work for and how you help them, the better the results. Not only that, but localised searches are one of the main drivers of online traffic. Type almost any type of business into Google and it will auto-suggest the suffix “near me” or even suggest your town if it knows where you are located (which it more often than not will!).
3) Ask for referrals
If you don’t ask, you don’t get as they say!
If you’ve done a great job for your client then they *might* recommend you of their own volition. If you ask them to, there’s much more chance of them doing so! Everyone likes to be ‘in the know’ and to be able to recommend a book, netflix series, tradesperson or, yes, even a solicitor!
We encourage our clients to get into this habit (and the habit of asking for Google reviews). It’s best done in person or over the phone, but here’s a short sample script you can add into an email to the client:
“Thank you for your business. We’re delighted you are happy with our service.
I hope you don’t mind, but our business thrives on referrals. If you have any contacts who could benefit from our assistance in the same way as you, we would very much appreciate a referral or introduction. Thank you.
4) Retain your existing clients
In our experience, most law firms don’t have in place a plan for marketing to their existing clients. Most leave it to chance, and a small proportion sporadically send a basic (often untracked) email newsletter.
Everyone loves the excitement of new business, but the reality is that it’s easier to sell to those with whom you have already worked - they know you, they trust you and they’ve already done business with you.
Re-engage past customers
There are any number of tools which let you send tracked, drip-feed emails which will score your customers to determine how interested they might be in instructing you again.
Certain types of legal services can be repeat purchases, for example, Wills & Conveyancing. Using email marketing to remain uppermost in clients’ minds means that when it’s time to move again or update their Will, you will be in pole position to win the work.
Bundle services, cross-sell & upsell
If you offer complementary services, you can ‘bundle’ or cross-sell these to make them more appealing to customers and more profitable for you.
Upselling is simply offering a superior or better value product at a higher rate. As we’ve written before, customers are driven by value more than price.
While it pays to be opportunistic in this area, a better long-term strategy is to build upselling and cross-selling into your processes.
Review your pricing
Changing your pricing can be a quick way to impact your bottom line, but it needs careful handling. Dropping or increasing prices can have powerful but often counterintuitive effects.
Increasing your prices
You CAN probably increase your prices without harming demand too much, for the reasons explained here.
Dropping prices might seem like a quick way to win business, but it can have a harmful effect on your bottom line. It can, for instance, attract the wrong type of work.
There’s a world of theory about the psychology of pricing. For present purposes, we need only look at price anchoring & tiered pricing.
Price anchoring is the use of pricing to make certain products seem more appealing. There’s a saying that the easiest way to sell a £2,000 watch is to put it next to a £10,000 watch.
The most common form of price anchoring is a sale or ‘reduced’ price. If you ‘normally’ provide a product for £500 and it’s ‘reduced’ to £400, you’re likely to sell more of it owing to the perception of value brought about by the reduction.
As you’ll note by the use of parentheses, these discounts are notional rather than real. Many retailers have more-or-less perpetual sales to drive business - more fool anyone who buys a sofa or kitchen at full price!
Price hierarchy is similar. This is essentially the act of splitting your product or service into ‘tiers’ - Basic, Standard and Pro, or Gold, Silver and Bronze being typical examples. In most cases, clients will opt for the middle tier.
5) Optimise your sales process
Does your firm have a sales process? The answer is probably not - at least not a documented, repeatable and scalable one.
Most firms, for example, couldn’t answer the following questions:
- How many enquiries become leads?
- How many leads become clients?
- How long do each of these stages take?
- How many times do you follow up at each stage?
Optimising your sales processes
Ideally, you should have a documented and repeatable plan in place for handling new enquiries - in a friendly and prompt fashion!
The aim should be to create a great first impression, qualify the lead, obtain all necessary information and convert them to a paying client as quickly as possible.
Delivering value at this stage doesn’t need to mean free legal advice - it can be in the form of sharing relevant content or information with them, or sending out slick, branded documentation. Little touches and exhibiting a keen-ness to work with them can make all the difference.