doctor questionnaire

By michelle_pgs | March 27, 2024

doctor questionnaire

Many lawyers tell me they find it hard to control the amount of time it takes to have a conversation with a prospective client (or even a paying client).

Maybe the client ‘waffles’, is unclear about what they want, or wants to tell you their life story even though you don’t need to hear it.

Do you ever have that situation?

These conversations don’t just take a lot longer than expected, they impact your ability to get through everything else on that day’s ‘to-do’ list without working longer hours.

Lawyers often say they don’t like to interrupt the client or feel they need to listen to the client’s story, to build rapport and be able to win the new instruction.


…the kind of rapport needed to win instructions isn’t the same as the kind needed to win a friend.

Imagine you went to see a surgeon – as I did last year to get help with my frozen shoulder – would you expect the surgeon to listen to everything you wanted to tell them about your life? Or would you expect them to ask some very focused questions so they could quickly get to the crux of the matter?

Even if you might hope for the former, you’ll likely get the latter.

That’s certainly what I experienced when I started to give too much detail in my answers to the orthopaedic surgeon – he gently but firmly interrupted me to ask me the next question. Within 15 minutes he’d been able to get all the information he needed to recommend the next step (an MRI scan and then an injection into the shoulder if the MRI showed what he expected).

He was friendly and charming, but he was 100% in control of the conversation and very efficient and getting the information he wanted.

As a result, I felt confident he knew what he was talking about and I could trust his advice, even though we only had a short time together. So I went ahead with his recommendations – which fixed my frozen shoulder.

This was a good reminder that building rapport in an ‘expert’ environment isn’t about letting the client control the conversation and telling you anything and everything they want to tell you.

Instead, it’s about demonstrating your expertise through expert questioning, and controlling the conversation so you get the information you need to advise about the next step.

This will give your clients confidence to follow your advice.

It will also cut down the length of the conversations, giving you more time to get on with the fee-paying work that comes from those conversations – so you can create more fee income without working more hours.

Take action

‘Be More Surgeon’ in future conversations with prospective (or existing) clients.

This is just one of many strategies for getting more clients and increasing your profits without working more hours. To find out exactly which strategies will work best for your specific law firm or practice area, and the kinds of clients you most want to work with, you need to be at my next online workshop for lawyers.


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