Just because a prospective client is not ready to engage you and your law firm today does not mean all hope is lost.
I was recently speaking with a well-known local lawyer who practices family law.
He has a small but profitable law practice that targets affluent clients.
We were talking about how his clients found him. He surprised me.
Even though he is active in the local bar association, it turns out the majority of his new clients find him through the internet.
“That’s great,” I said. “So would you say the money you spend on digital marketing is money well spent?”
“Eh,” he said. “I tend to get a lot of tire kickers. They contact us but they’re not ready to move forward or they just want information about how much a divorce would cost.”
“Today’s tire kickers can be tomorrow’s clients if you engage them effectively,” I said. “What are you doing to engage your tire kickers?”
“Nothing really,” he replied.
“In that case, you’re just flushing your digital marketing dollars down the drain,” I said. “You already paid for these tire kickers to find you and visit your website. Now you’ve got to keep them engaged until they hire you or tell you they’re not interested.”
This particular family lawyer is doing something many owners of law firms do, regardless of the size of their firms or their practices.
They focus on the warm leads, the people who appear to be ready to hire them. They often ignore the fact that just because someone doesn’t hire them this week, this month, or even this quarter, it doesn’t mean they never will.
I came across a stat a while ago that, while I can’t for the life of me remember the organization that published it, has been etched in my mind ever since.
According to a direct marketing survey, 50% of people who asked for more information about a product or service ended up buying that product or service.
Only 15% of the 50% of people who bought the product or service did so within 90 days of requesting information.
The remaining 85% purchased the product or service BETWEEN 91 DAYS and 18 MONTHS after requesting information.
That means, if this statistic still holds true today and applies to your firm, for every 100 prospective clients you encountered, between 7 and 8 would retain you within 90 days, while between 42 and 43 would do so between 91 days and 18 months after first reaching out to you.
When it comes to law firms, I would think this 15% / 85% ratio holds true—if it doesn’t expand to include more people in the 91-days-to-18-months category.
After all, with the exception of criminal law and maybe one or two other areas of the law, most legal problems are problems people are not in a rush to address.
For example, if someone’s family member was in a serious accident, they might spend weeks off and on researching a personal injury lawyer.
A small business owner looking for a franchise lawyer but who’s distracted by running their business could spend weeks researching lawyers and reading their website content and blogs, perhaps even signing up for a free consultation, but still drag their feet before retaining a lawyer.
A family seeking a special education lawyer for their school-aged child might contact a few lawyers early in their research process but continue to read up on the problems their child is having at school and what additional services should be available to the child before they finally retain one of those lawyers.
An in-house corporate counsel in the market for new outside employment counsel might spend weeks researching lawyers and law firms and reading their online content after meeting a few of those lawyers at a conference before making a final decision and being ready for a serious conversation with a lawyer about what they’re looking for.
And for those people contemplating a divorce, you better believe they’re going to be researching the divorce process in their state, learning about spousal or child support and visitation, and generally educating themselves about what they’re about to do and how it will impact their families before they make a final decision about retaining a lawyer — even if they’ve attended a handful of free consultations with various lawyers.
The tire kickers that my family lawyer friend was complaining about were tire kickers at the moment they first reached out to him.
But they might not stay tire kickers for long. They might be weeks away from deciding to retain a lawyer. Or merely days away.
Once you realize tire kickers could be clients down the road but they’re just not yet ready to take that plunge, the question becomes how do you help them get ready to take that plunge and guide them to the conclusion that they should do so by retaining YOU?
You engage them with educational content.
I’ll tackle that topic in an upcoming blog post.
Bottom line: Just because a prospective client is not ready to engage you and your law firm today does not mean all hope is lost.
Wayne Pollock, a former Am Law 50 senior litigation associate, is the founder of Copo Strategies, a legal services and communications firm, and the Law Firm Editorial Service, a content strategy and ghostwriting service for lawyers and their law firms. The Law Firm Editorial Service collaborates with today’s and tomorrow’s rainmaking BigLaw and boutique partners to ethically craft knowledge-conveying, book-of-business-building marketing and business development content.
Thinking about bringing on an outside writer to help you engage your law firm’s tire kickers? Click here to schedule a 30-minute Content Strategy Audit to learn if collaborating with an outside writer is the right move for you and your firm.