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The Fortune Is in the Follow-Up

Christopher Earley


  • A lawyer’s chances of converting the caller into a client increase substantially when a follow-up marketing sequence is used.
  • An underutilized tool in a firm’s marketing is helpful resources such as answers to frequently asked questions, a free report pertaining to the potential client’s legal issue, and various merchandise adorned with the law firm’s name.
  • The lawyer or another employee should call the potential client from time to time to be in contact with the prospect.
  • It is important to avoid annoying potential clients with too much contact.
The Fortune Is in the Follow-Up
Laurence Mouton via Getty Images

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Tell me if this has happened to you: A potential client calls your office and describes his legal problem. You decide after hearing him describe the problem that you want to take on his case. But the caller says, “Let me think it over before I commit to anything. I will call you back, okay?” Or you may hear, “I need to talk it over with my wife.” You respond with, “Of course, no problem. I understand completely. Call us back because we would love to help you.” The second that phone call ends, your chances of signing this client plummet dramatically.

In such situations, lawyers have two options at that point: (1) hope the potential clients call back (such clients almost never do, assuming, of course, they even kept your name and contact information in the first place), or (2) follow up with the potential clients through an intentional, well-designed, and well-executed follow-up marketing sequence that revolves around educating such clients, so they are in a position to make the very best decision for their case.

I have found that the vast, vast majority of firms rely on option one. However, that strategy does not work. The much more effective strategy is option two. Unless you follow up with potential clients, they will almost certainly forget your name and will end up calling another lawyer to help them once they decide they are ready to hire a lawyer.

In such a highly competitive field, follow-up marketing for a law practice is absolutely vital. When the hypothetical caller contacted the lawyer in the example above, the lawyer’s chances of converting that caller into a client would have increased substantially if the lawyer had done a few simple things to engage the caller with a follow-up marketing sequence after the phone call ended.

A lawyer in such situations needs to get from these callers their email address to nurture them by dropping them into an automated email sequence that provides valuable content. In addition, if the lawyer had obtained a mailing address from the caller, the lawyer could have sent out a “shock-and-awe” package in the mail that same day, providing additional helpful content for the potential client.

A good shock-and-awe package contains helpful resources such as answers to frequently asked questions, a free report pertaining to the potential client’s legal issue, and various merchandise adorned with your law firm’s name. This is a sorely underutilized tool in an attorney’s marketing arsenal.

Additionally, the lawyer (or, ideally, a team member) should call the potential client from time to time to touch base with the prospect. At our firm, we follow up with potential clients through phone and automated emails until the potential clients either sign or tell us they are not interested. Until then, we continue the conversation and provide value to them as they weigh their options.

The really important key, though, is not to annoy potential clients. Rather, you want to continue the dialogue, periodically “touching” them by providing valuable educational resources designed to educate them rather than sell to them.

A great way to avoid the need to do follow-marketing in the first place is to sign the case on that first call. A great way to do that is to know how to handle common objections that many potential clients raise that prevent them from signing right away. Attorneys (and their staff) should always have at their desks an easily accessible list of responses to common objections that can be quickly and easily deployed. Sometimes, though, the client just needs time to think about the decision, and that, of course, is completely understandable.

When the necessary follow-up marketing is done correctly, it can bring in a great number of fence-sitting potential clients. That influx of cases can have a profound impact on the growth of a practice. Rather than giving up on these prospects (which is what the vast, vast majority of firms do), you can continue the conversation. This puts you at a competitive advantage, so if they do decide to hire an attorney, they will choose you because you showed up differently. Your office stayed in touch and provided them with valuable content that helped them decide that they needed to hire a lawyer for their legal problem.

Always seek ways to improve your follow-up marketing so that you do it better than the next firm. By doing so, you will separate yourself from the pack, and this will result in more retained clients for your practice.

The fortune, indeed, is in the follow-up.