By Ally Kennedy, Founder of Amiga
As of the 19th of this month, I have had the most profitable month in the history of my entire firm. We are on track to have earned $14,000.00 more than our monthly average. When I saw the numbers on Wednesday, I immediately called a team meeting to try to figure out what it is that is different this month. We have been able to point to one major change: we have followed up with every single lead that has come into our office.
The word “lead” scared me the first time I heard it because I had no idea what it meant and no idea what it could mean for my law firm. Here’s my breakdown for you to make it less salesy and more relevant for your law firm.
What is a Lead?
A lead is every single person who is seeking your legal services. In the context of a law firm, whether a solo practice or a larger firm, a lead will consist of someone who contacts your firm by phone, email, or social media to ask about legal services.
In other words, every single phone call that you receive to your law firm is a lead. Every email that you receive asking for information is a lead. Every inbox that you receive on your firm’s Facebook page is a lead.
If someone contacts your law firm to ask a question, inquire about prices, or find out how to schedule a consultation, it is a lead.
Why Do Leads Matter?
If someone contacts your law firm it means that they are looking for a lawyer. Yes, it sounds simplistic enough, but let that sink it… whether they are looking for free information or looking to hire right away, what they want is legal advice from a lawyer.
Every single person who contacts your law firm has a high interest in hiring you, or at the very least a high interest in paying to talk to you for a consultation.
This means that every phone call, every Facebook inbox, every email, could turn into a paid consultation, which then could turn into a paying client. A paid consultation earns money for your law firm. A paying client is what pays your bills.
I know this sounds simplistic. I know that you know this. I knew this too. But I never gave it much thought or much importance. Failing to give this thought or importance resulted in losing tens of thousands of dollars for my law firm.
Why did we lose thousands of dollars? Because we DID NOT FOLLOW UP ON LEADS.
What Does it Mean to Follow Up On Leads?
Let me call myself and my firm out here because I have no doubt that almost every solo practitioner can relate: if we saw that we had a missed call by someone who did not leave a message with our law firm, WE DID NOT CALL THE PERSON BACK. Our reasoning was, “If they want to talk to us, they will leave a message.” We reasoned that we were too busy to follow up with people who aren’t interested enough to even leave a message. I know that you have said that same thing. It’s okay! (There’s no judgment here, and we are all on this journey to improve our businesses, which is why I am taking to the blog to share this with you.)
Following up on leads means this:
- Returning every single missed call
- Yes, even if they don’t leave a message
- Yes, even if they call on a weekend
- Yes, even if they call three times and don’t leave a message and you think that it’s really annoying
- Returning every text message
- Responding to every email
- Responding to every social media contact (i.e. Facebook inboxes)
If you are a solo, I get how tedious this sounds. If you have no staff, it feels impossible. It feels difficult enough to take and/or return client calls! However, doing this very small thing will do INCREDIBLE things to your bottom line.
How Can You Make this Work for You?
To follow up on leads, it requires someone who is 100% dedicated to doing so. If you won’t do it, can’t do it, or don’t want to do it, hire someone who WILL. Delegate it to someone in your firm to do. If you have only one staff member, make it part of his/her job and tie bonuses into it. Hire someone new to handle the phones and call every person back, even if it is part time.
The point is that every single contact in your firm MUST, MUST, MUST be followed up on. Every single call must be returned. Every single email must be returned. This is THE way to increase how much money you make in your firm.
How We Got This Right:
We had several different staff members who took turns answering the phone. Our senior paralegal is trained in customer service and is excellent at it, but she had other obligations that only she could do. However, with many staff changes, we ended up passing the phones off to her and while she did a great job answering the phones, she did not call anyone back who didn’t leave a message. And her response time to voicemails was slow. It wasn’t the right fit for her.
Almost four months ago, I hired a business manager. He decided to streamline the phones in a major way. Once he got all of that done, he said that absolutely no call would go unreturned, whether or not the caller left a message. He took it on himself to return every single call that came into the office. Every call is returned within 10 minutes or less, with the average being 3 minutes. (Keep in mind that many of the missed calls are just because of calls coming in while someone is already on the phone.)
Our number of consultations has increased. Our contracts have increased. Our current clients are incredibly happy because every single call is returned almost instantly. So far, it means a $14,000.00 monthly increase for our firm. And this increase is with less than one month of doing this consistently.
Yes, this sounds simple. Yet at the same time, for a solo practitioner, this sounds overwhelming, no matter if you are doing it completely alone or if you are doing it with a team. However, keep an open mind. Give this a try for just 30 days. Try to make it work for your firm for just 1 month and be consistent about it. You will see the results.
I want to hear about your successes! Please leave your comments below about how this practice is working for you. I am cheering for you!
About your Ally in Life, Business and Law:
Alexandra "Ally" Kennedy is a national award-winning attorney and the founder of AMIGA Lawyers and Alexandra Kennedy Immigration Law.. After becoming a mother, and in a matter of 3 months, Ally transformed her practice from earning in pesos to earning 6-figures and she is passionate about teaching attorneys how they can do the same. Ally empowers lawyers to be the CEOs of their law firms with her weekly blog, webinars, and conferences where she teaches step-by-step how to do the work they love while running a profitable legal business. Ally lives outside of Seattle with her partner and their 5 children.