New leads can generate real and understandable excitement in a law firm. But when it comes to converting those leads or prospects into actual clients, there’s often still work to be done—and sometimes in a different vein than lawyers realize.
In converting a lead, you’re not just trying to convince them you could offer quality legal support. You’re trying to convince them to put in the work of switching counsel. For most people, making that switch can be a mental hurdle that takes significant energy—and therefore a really good reason—to overcome.
If you want to bring in their business, you need to help them past that barrier.
1. Be professional with all of your clients
Yes, we just said converting a lead into a client is more than a matter of showing your professionalism, but that’s still a good place to start.
Come prepared to meetings and respond swiftly to your lead’s communications, especially initial inquiries. They may be reaching out on an issue that feels critical and time-sensitive to them.
2. Show your value to prospective clients
Help your prospective client imagine what it would be like to work with you. If they can picture the relationship, it’ll be easier for them to make the switch.
Don’t simply share more information about your firm or respond to their questions. Instead, try to learn more about their vision and business so that you can offer relevant tips. Proactively offering information that is meaningful to their situation will help them feel understood and heard.
3. Get your foot in the door
While your firm’s goal in working with the lead may extend far beyond any single matter, try to start with a tangible focus on what’s currently available and realistic.
Putting a lot of time and energy into wooing a new lead for all their potential future business may feel productive, but ultimately, getting your foot in the door with one specific case may be a more effective use of your time.
It gives the client a chance to experience working with your firm—and lowers the hurdle to imagining working with you more in the future. For now, target their specific need. Other opportunities may grow organically from that.
4. Help new clients make the switch
In the same way that switching practice management systems or moving to an entirely new office building can feel daunting to you, switching legal counsel feels daunting to your clients.
Do what you can to help make the shift easier. Consider offering to put in some free time toward learning more about their legal needs and situation. Review files and meet with their team members. Draft an engagement letter that’s concise, readable, and free of jargon.
In other words, do what you can to reduce their concerns and guide their first steps in onboarding new legal counsel.
5. Follow up with prospective clients
Needs and situations change. Even if your initial conversations don’t yield results, keep up the communication—by which we mean personal communication, not just marketing emails. Share information and ideas when you have them.
Staying in touch like this is a key part of relationship-building. In fact, it’s all too easy for missed connections to result in feelings of awkwardness and avoidance. Instead, let your lead know that even if they didn’t feel ready to make the switch this time, you’re still interested in their business. An established rapport makes it much easier to reach back out if things change later.
Bring in new business and help leads feel comfortable in switching to your firm by demonstrating your professionalism, sharing helpful insights, smoothing the transition in counsel to make it more feasible, and maintaining personal contact to keep the relationship healthy.