A theory of relativity: Time and space and client capture
The relative speed with which you follow up with potential
clients goes a long way to determining what sort of conversion rate
you have. The faster you follow up, the better it is; the slower
you follow up, the worse it is. The reason for this is simple:
people like to feel that they are important, and they want others
working for them who are, or who appear to be, on top of
After you get a business card, or have an initial conversation
with a new prospect, when you get back to the office, or in front
of your computer, send them a follow-up e-mail (after you've told
them you will), with further information about what you do, and
about what you can do for them: make your initial formal contact as
personalized as possible, without letting such tailoring derail the
follow-up process you've created.
But, make that initial follow-up right away, because, if you
don't, you're far more likely to push it off longer than you
intended to. And, in the space of that time, your potential client,
if aggressive about getting legal help, may already have engaged a
more proactive attorney.
In addition to following up quickly, there are some other things
you should do to improve your chances of converting your potential
client into a kinetic one.
- Do what you say. If you've promised some specific
piece of information, or a resource, provide it. The most
convenient way to remember what you've promised is to write it on
the back of the potential client's business card; or, if the
potential client does not have a business card, you can write on
the back of one of your own, or send yourself a text message.
Clients want attorneys who are thorough and follow through, and who
pay attention to details. Show that you're capable of meeting
expectations from the jump.
- Conclude your follow-up with another action item.
You've derived your own 'action item' upon meeting your potential
client: letting them know you'll get them more information. Now
it's time to turn the tables. If you're following up via e-mail, as
you likely are, ask your potential client to do something: e-mail
you back with any questions; sign up for your eNewsletter; offer
availability for an initial consultation; etc. Whatever, something
to drive their action. While it's likely that your interest in
paying work will move the conversation forward in the beginning, at
some point, the potential client will need to take an actual step
in the direction of working with you. (Of course, you'll only
provide general information, and not legal advice, unless or until
you formalize an attorney-client relationship through the vehicle
of an executed, written fee agreement.)
- Offer the opportunity to subscribe to your information
portals. Provide a subscription link to your eNewsletter or
blog; if appropriate, ask the potential client to like your law
firm's Facebook page, or to follow you on Twitter. Do so within the
context of your e-mail signature, if you're looking for an
automated method. If you don't get them the first time, the
potential client may end up choosing to work with you later on, or
in the context of another matter; and, it's more likely that they
make that eventual decision if they receive regular updates on the
progress of your practice.
When you track your conversion rate of potential clients,
include within that analysis information related to how and how
quickly you followed up on your initial contact. You're likely to
find that this theory of relativity is in operation.
Tip courtesy of Jared Correia, Law Office
Management Assistance Program.
Published February 16, 2012
To learn more about the Law Practice Management
Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members,
contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice