If you're a practicing lawyer with a minimal staff—or, even worse, no staff at all—you know how hard it can be to follow up with your existing clients, much less prospective clients who have already expressed their interest in your services. The fact is that engaging a potential client is only half the battle—you actually have to reach out and sign that person up, which can put significant pressure on your already-tight schedule. What are your options?
A Good Lawyer Always Needs to Be Closing
Have you ever seen the movie Glengarry Glen Ross? There's a famous scene in which arch-salesman Alec Baldwin harangues a roomful of real estate agents, and tell them the basic ABC of success in business: Always Be Closing. From a lawyer's perspective, “closing” means signing up that new client who replied to your newsletter or called your 800 number after he heard your radio spot. This can be done by:
- Inviting the prospective client into your office, or traveling to meet them. (which, for an overscheduled lawyer with a family and other obligations, will be practically impossible).
- Calling the client on the phone (which may well result in an endless game of phone tag) or engaging him in an email conversation, neither of which approach is likely to result in a firm deal and will further cut into your schedule.
- Hiring an assistant or paralegal who can follow up with prospective clients; this will entail a certain amount of trust and training, and will also affect your bottom line.
- Using an automated follow-up system to keep the client interested, without revealing that he's being treated according to a sophisticated computer algorithm and that you are not personally sending each message.
All else being equal, this last option is your best bet: it will make minimal demands on your time, with the maximum possibility of attracting and signing new clients.