If you’ve been in practice for a while – or even if you’ve only recently started – you’ve probably noticed that it’s getting harder and harder to attract and convert the right kinds of clients.
It’s a complaint I hear all the time from lawyers who are looking for ways to improve the quality and quantity of their clients.
I’m not surprised – right now, we’re in the middle of a perfect storm. And that storm is making it harder than ever to get clients.
The Perfect Storm
This storm is caused by three factors:
- advancements in technology (meaning in many cases clients can choose legal providers based virtually anywhere, and it’s easier than ever to ‘shop around’ or even to try DIY);
- changes in the legal marketplace (increased competition, downward pressure on legal fees, and it’s harder than ever to stand out from the other legal providers); and
- the traditional approach of law firms to attracting clients (too reliant on ‘build it and they will come’ or referrals or using up too much fee-earner time on efficient marketing methods like networking and writing articles).
3 Critical Shifts to attract more clients
To overcome these challenges, three critical shifts are needed.
1. Make sure your marketing stands out from your competitors and that it contains the right message to attract your ideal clients
To do this, you need to change the content of your marketing to help prospective clients know why they need your help and why they should choose you. This one simple change will be enough to set you streets ahead of your competitors.
Telling them why starts with explaining the benefits they’ll gain from using your services.
Once a prospective client is convinced of the benefits of your service, their next question will be “Are you the right person to provide it?”.
If you fail to explain why a prospective client should choose you (rather than one of your competitors), the chances are that many of them won’t.
Let’s face it, if you don’t know the answer to this question – or simply forget to mention it – why should they put their trust in you in the first place?
2. Understand that gaining clients is about attracting more enquiries and converting these into paying clients
Many of the law firms I work with are already spending a lot of time and money on marketing. But attracting more enquiries is only one element of winning clients. The other – equally important – element is being able to convert those enquiries into paying clients at the minimum cost.
It costs time and money to attract new enquiries, so how successful you are at converting enquiries into paying clients will have a direct impact on your profitability.
If, for example, your current success rate is 1 in 3 but you increase that to 2 in 3, your number of new clients will double without any additional marketing or time spent on meeting prospective clients.
What would that mean for your practice?
A word of warning here: although many firms proudly tell me that their conversion rate is very high, a measurement of (say) 90% is often not the real picture because they may be lowering their fees to get a ‘yes’ from clients or only calculating conversion rate based on percentage of initial consultations converted into clients (not percentage of enquiries converted into clients).
3. Be clear about your area of expertise – where it is, and where it isn’t
As a lawyer, you probably have a specific area of expertise; or maybe you have several. But are you a specialist in all areas of law – from matrimonial to commercial property? Or from business sales to employment tribunal cases?
In my case, I specialised in intellectual property for seven years. I didn’t have the same level of knowledge in other areas, like employment or corporate, because I hadn’t had the same level of training or experience.
So why do some lawyers feel they should be experts in practice growth strategies and skills – particularly without any training or help?
If you want to attract more clients and grow your practice, then it’s important to accept that you’ll probably need help to improve your skills in areas such as attracting enquiries and converting more of these into paying clients.
The good news is that you’re already an expert in one critical area: that of understanding what prospective clients need to know in order to choose your services. This means that you also know – even if you don’t realise it yet – what they need to see or hear in your marketing, and in your initial conversations with them.
You can discover more about the secrets and skills to attracting and converting more of your ideal clients, and get step-by-step worksheets to help you take action, in my book ‘The Client Magnet Strategy for Lawyers’. Download the first four chapters for FREE