The great thing about free consultations is that potential clients are able to meet with lawyers they might want to work with without signing over large chunks of money to someone they haven’t even met yet. It’s a good thing to offer the free consultations for that reason, but they aren’t what sell the law firm.
Take a look in the Yellow Pages or online for a law firm with similar practice areas to those you rely on. How many ads have an offer for free consultations next to a picture of an eagle or a gavel or some smiling family running through a field? A lot of them probably do. They might even have a picture of lawyers looking tough, showing that they don’t mess around. Is the offer of a free consultation going to bring clients to your office over the others, or will they play roulette with all the law firm clones?
This is not to say you shouldn’t offer a free consultation. They are important in getting to know potential clients who might want to hire you, and clients who you might want to work with—which isn’t always the same people. But start with a teaser of information to get their attention on your ad and away from the others. Give them the opportunity to order a book or receive an informational packet. After that, you have their contact information and can stay in touch through their whole legal process. As you’re keeping in touch, then you can remind them that you do offer free consultations (if you want to).
While free consultations are good for building a trusting relationship, they shouldn’t be the bread and butter of a successful marketing campaign. For more tips and dos and don’ts of law firm marketing, contact Ben Glass at Great Legal Marketing and order a free chapter from his book. And when you’re ready for advanced attorney marketing strategies, toll-free at 888-791-2150 to get up-to-the-minute advice.