How to Run a Law Firm, Part I: Turning Prospects into Clients

Growing your law firm means bringing in clients. For some firms, this means bringing in more cases. For others, it means bringing in cases more closely aligned with their goals.

Turning prospects into clients is equal parts art, science, and craft. You’ll refine your process as you gain experience, but it’s crucial you have a process. You and your team can then revisit what works and what doesn’t, enhance correspondence with prospects, and collaborate on innovative ways to reach out to potential clients.

When you approach prospect outreach as seriously as you handle your current cases, you’ll notice exponential returns. So, let’s start at the beginning…

Finding Prospects – 7 Ways to Locate Your Next Client

Finding potential clients is a long-term campaign, and it’s all about making yourself visible. That means:

  • Having a website that showcases your firm’s services
  • Utilizing offline advertising, if your budget allows it
  • Getting involved in your community through volunteering, speaking at events, and attending social gatherings
  • Offering your expertise to local publications, radio stations, and TV networks
  • Listing your firm in high-quality online directories
  • Creating social media accounts for your firm and updating them frequently
  • Building a referral network with other firms

We’ll go into more detail about improving your online presence below. Starting out, however, you will need to focus on establishing yourself both online and offline.

Keep an Ongoing List of Prospects

An often-overlooked step of finding new clients is keeping track of your prospects. If you’re currently doing this on paper or (gasp) in your head, you could be missing valuable opportunities.

The best way to keep an ongoing list of your law firm’s prospects is to create a shareable, accessible list of names, contact information, and other relevant data.

When determining how many of your firm’s team members should have access to your prospect list, err on the side of more. For example, receptionists, paralegals, and attorneys could play unique roles in bringing in clients. Be sure that anyone who might need a prospect’s information has access to it and can view, edit, and update this list.

Pro Tip: Reassess your firm’s prospecting strategy every three months. The busier your staff is, the more selective you can be about potential clients. Too many firms maintain a feast-or-famine mentality even when they should be focusing on the quality of leads that they’re getting.

Touch Base with Prospects

Now that you have a centralized list of prospects, it’s time to start a dialogue. However, there’s a fine line between cultivating relationships and overcommunicating with prospects.

You don’t want a potential client to forget about you, so set reminders to reach out to your prospects at regular intervals.

To avoid annoying a prospect:

  • Choose the communication method (phone, email, text, social media) that the prospect used to inquire about your services.
  • Be concise when you reach out, especially when a prospect doesn’t seem interested in chit-chat.
  • Make sure team members aren’t doubling your outreach efforts. Limit interactions so that one staff member is in charge of reaching out to each prospect.

Though you’re obviously looking to sign a client, not every communication needs to be solely focused on legal services. Fortunately, you already know the problem your prospect is facing, whether it’s an injury, bankruptcy, or whatever challenge has prompted them to look for legal assistance. Focus on their problems when you check in, rather than simply offering your services.

Keep Thorough Notes of Interactions

How will you know what to say to a prospect? Be sure to keep extensive notes of your interactions, which will give you valuable topics of conversation. This information should be updated with every communication and entered into the prospect list you’re sharing with your team.

If a prospect gives you information about their life, it’s worth remembering and including in your notes. This includes information about:

  • Their personal life—children, work, and other interests
  • Their case—including experiences with other law firms or insurance companies
  • Why they need an attorney—such as injuries, financial problems, or other challenges

By having these insightful, easily accessible notes in front of you during your next interaction, you can better connect with your prospect by following up on the topics most important to them. You’ll show you’re genuinely listening to the things they say. This is a practice you can start using with your existing and former clients, too.

Frequently Revisit and Revise Your Online Presence

When a prospect is considering hiring you, they’re likely using all available information to make their decision. That means they’re not just relying on communication with you or your staff; they’re also visiting your website or reading online reviews of your firm.

You want to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward on all available platforms. Your website should include verdicts, settlements, and testimonials that your firm has achieved for clients. It should make a compelling case for hiring your firm.

Online reviews are equally important. If a prospect sees only negative reviews of your firm, they’ll believe them. The best approach to getting better reviews is to ask existing and former clients to give you a review on Google, Yelp, or other platforms. If this feels awkward at first, remember that your firm will benefit exponentially from positive online reviews, and many clients will likely be happy to give you a review.

Lastly, respond to all reviews you receive. Be respectful to anyone who took the time to offer their feedback, even (and especially) reviewers who aren’t kind to your firm. This is best practice for letting former clients know you hear their feedback, and it lets prospects know you care about everyone who comes to your firm for help.

Know When You’ve Lost a Prospect

To make sure your staff isn’t wasting time and energy, walk away from a prospect who is no longer interested. Once a prospect stops taking your calls or becomes short in their responses, the best thing to do is back off.

Even if a prospect doesn’t decide to hire you this time around, they might remember you when they need help down the road. But they won’t be eager to hire you if they had bad memories of their interaction with your firm.

Be respectful and gracious, even when you’re frustrated by an interaction with a prospect. Today’s missed opportunity could be tomorrow’s second chance, so always leave the door open for future interactions. Maintaining a positive line of communication could make a lost prospect more likely to recommend your firm to friends, family members, or coworkers in need of your services.

Convert More Prospects with backdocket

We’re here to help you grow your firm. Hopefully these tips will give you actionable steps to turn prospects into clients, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t take this opportunity to tell you how backdocket makes converting prospects even easier.

We’ve built our practice management software to help small- to mid-sized firms with all aspects of running their businesses. Our software makes it easy to not only track open cases, but also keeps all your prospects’ information in one centralized location where everyone on your team can access it. You can keep notes of your calls and set reminders to follow up with a prospect.

If you’ve been looking for a better way to run your firm, backdocket has the answers. Contact our team today for a free demonstration.

Back to Blog

Related Articles

Request A Free Demo