Lawyers never want to be lumped together in the same bracket as sales people. Almost all would rather not have any sales conversations with prospects if they could avoid it, and rather have them come in via referrals.
Many lawyers don’t differentiate between marketing and sales, and hence expect (or hope) that any marketing they do will result in prospects signing on the dotted line. If prospects don’t convert into clients, then marketing is seen as a failure and no effort or money is set aside for it.
One of the fundamental mistakes lawyers make is to confuse lead generation (which marketing aims to do) with sales conversion (which sales typically does), and not have clear steps for each.
While I am talking about two different things here, succesful lawyers that appear to get an endless stream of clients have managed to merge the two so it appears that they just have one excellent outreach programme.
The key goal for marketing is to identify prospects that are actively looking for legal services, but can’t make their minds up who to go to.
Excellent marketing goes further and gets prospects to self-select themselves and get them to take specific steps to make themselves known to you.
The reason I mention self-selection is because prospects that take the initiative to contact you to help them, based on the information you have already provided and which gives them the confidence to make an educated decision about the value you provide, are better to have than those who then have to be convinced it is worth talking to you.
So marketing is not just about creating awareness. Many law firms, and other businesses, that simply want to create awareness campaigns tend do so because they have poor lead generation campaigns.
Marketing is knowing what people are actively searching for, providing content that educates them on how to solve their problems, using multiple communication channels to drive people to the content and, crucially, eventually getting prospects to provide their contact details for permission-based follow ups.
This forms the top of your sales funnel.
Once the prospects have put their hands up, then sales conversion kicks in. This requires lawyers to consider:
- Step-by-step interactions to find out more about the specific problems prospects have, what they have done to solve these, and what they want once the problems are solved;
- Changing the content they provide to help prospects in their decision-making process – i.e. adding proof points, third party recommendations, etc;
- Articulating what prospects would specifically get if they selected you so that there are no surprises later on. This could be from the basic communications they get, to how they get charged and how quickly you will respond to requests;
- The fact that it typically takes 7 touch points before prospects sign up for services, but they will only do so if each one is relevant and adds value to the relationship. This means thinking about creating various stages in the sales funnel which aim to drive prospects to make that big decision to pick up the phone and say yes.
The sales conversion mind-set is all about getting to the sale without being overly pushy. You have to map this out and have clear metrics for every single stage so that you can see what tends to work better in terms of getting clients to the final sale.
More importantly, you have to remember that if you manage to get a prospect into your sales funnel because of an excellent authority marketing strategy, you should not destroy the relationship by having a really poor sales conversion strategy. No room for dodgy sales techniques here!
By being clear about the differences between lead generation and sales conversion, which have to take place at the same time by the way, lawyers can plan their marketing and sales efforts much more effectively and will be more succesful at getting clients.