One of the problems you may face as a lawyer is getting prospects to eliminate all other options available and select you to provide the legal services they are looking for.
Given this pressure, you may be tempted to try and get an immediate sale so that you then have the chance to ‘WOW’ them with your legal expertise and results that you can deliver.
The problem with this approach is that it tends to ignore buying cycles and means you are always in a ‘pitch and proposal’ mode, instead of being in the position where prospects have made their minds up already that they want you to be their lawyer.
There are 3 key factors that lawyers should be aware of when trying to get into a buyer’s mind?
- On average, it takes 7 touch points with a prospect before a sale is made;
- When prospects are looking for legal services, there are typical phases they go through before they make a purchase decision;
- Prospects need different content depending on the stage of the buying cycle they are in.
What does this mean for you as you look to get more clients to your legal firm?
First of all, it means you have to consider designing different engagement models and interactions with prospects to match whatever stage they are in within the buying cycle. A simple ‘contact us’ where you immediately list off what legal services you have or try and get a proposal out means you risk losing a prospect that simply needs to be directed to useful content that educates them on how they can solve their problems. I would argue that if you are sending proposals out to prospects after meeting them the very first time, then you have placed yourself in the unfortunate position of simply being just another provider of legal services.
This is where the design of a good sales funnel comes into play. If you can map out the various interactions you will have with prospects and, more importantly, the steps you want them to make at each interaction, then you can guide prospects to the ideal position where they have been informed enough to want to select you as their lawyer.
This does not mean you don’t respond to specific requests that don’t sit nicely in your interaction map, but id does mean you start to have a measurable and manageabe process to give prospects what they want, allow them to respond, and not try and sell services before you have gained their trust.
Secondly, matching content to the different stages of the buying cycle is something many lawyers don’t do, either because of a lack of time or expertise. A very simple way of doing this is as follows:
- Inventor looking to protect his IP but doesn’t know where to start: The first step might be to provide a free report entitled ‘The 5 Major IP Mistakes Inventors Make That Make Them Lose What They Have Developed';
- Inventor who now needs more information on how to solve IP protection problems: The report (and follow up communications) will have a call to action directing readers to a seminar or webinar entitled ‘The Specific Steps Inventors Should Take To Protect Their IP And Make Money’ and to further content on a blog or forum;
- Inventor who now needs to find out how their specific IP problems can be solved: The webinar (and follow up communications) will now invite prospects to self-select themselves to a free consulation in which you can find out more about their specific IP issues and give guidance on what they can do to get the specific end result they are looking for (without breaking any regulatory laws that govern the advice you can give non-clients);
- Inventor who now needs to make a final decision: Follow up communications directing the prospect to a further reports, videos, blog posts etc to support any specific proposals you have been asked to provide (which is much better at this stage of the relationship). If prospects follow you via any social media channels, these should be used to direct the prospects appropriately.
This, albeit simple, example is a much more powerful engagement model than simply trying to provide a proposal right at the start of a relationship with a prospect. Though it takes more time, and perhaps more effort, you need to think about the amount of time you have spent on proposals that led to nothing, simply because you did not differentiate yourself and often lost due to price.
The latter point is crucial – when prospects have nothing else to help them compare lawyers, their decision will be influenced by price. If they see what value you provide and what you have invested to gain their trust, then you will not have to keep dropping prices in order to compete.
The information that someone needs at the start of the buying cycle should not be the same they get when they are trying to make a final decision. Lawyers need to manage interactions with prospects so that latter’s experience as they get to a position when they can make informed choices is totally different and better than they would get from another lawyer.
Given the lack of trust people have of lawyers, this management of information provided to match decision-making and purchase cycles will be another driver that seperates out thoose lawyers that succeed and grow from those that stagnate or die.