“Grant… How do I get the phone to ring?”
This, or some close variant of it, is the question I hear most from solo and small local law firm attorneys.
They want the email submissions, the phone calls, the voicemails — the leads, in other words.
But for many of our clients leads is not their problem… our clients get a ton of them!
The problem I see which seems to be endemic across the whole legal profession is the equally important question of what you do with them when they arrive. Or better yet: when you deal with them?
To make the importance stand out to my clients of ‘when and how’ you respond to leads I share a study done by the Harvard Business Review.
The study points out that…
Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead….as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.
But the results of the study are a hell of a lot more far-reaching than that single stat — the most significant findings in the big infographic below are as follows…
Five Minutes or Less…!
The biggest insight, I share with my clients, is that the optimal time to respond is not an hour – it’s five minutes.
I also point out that this study is really old — nearly a decade old, in fact.
Since then, the smartphone revolution has taken hold and we’ve all gotten even more impatient.
By the time you wait an hour or two, that potential client has already called five other lawyers, working his way down the list until he finds a lawyer that fits his budget and answers the phone.
Our agency has seen this happen repeatedly, to hilarious effect, when a potential client has called a law firm by going through attorneys off of a big directory and ends up calling back five or six times as they work their way through a full roster, not realizing that they were all at the same firm (despite the profiles clearly indicating as much).
The Harvard study was not legal industry specific, but does provide a great model for our industry, as our potential clients often need responses even more quickly than, say, a potential home or insurance buyer. Too bad then, that we’re worse at responding in a timely manner.
Reality Check… The ABA Study
A recent study (two parts, both of which should be read by every small firm) on law firm intake by the ABA and Mockingbird Marketing’s Conrad Saam had this alarming finding:
42% of the time, law firms take three or more days to reply to a voicemail or web-generated form fill from a prospective client.
THREE OR MORE DAYS. Not hours, but days. And while this is understandable for solo attorneys with no support staff, understandable or not, it’s still going to have the same result: the client is going to sign with someone else while you are waiting to call them back.
So my question to you is would you like to know how we help our clients overcome it?