Hidden Persuaders: Keep These in Your
Desk Drawer for Use on a Moment’s Notice
by Trey Ryder
Your law firm marketing effort is in high gear. Your prospect is in your office.
You’ve explained everything in detail. You don’t know one lawyer who puts as
much energy into marketing legal services as you do. Yet for some reason, your
law marketing effort is sputtering -- and your prospect hasn’t said yes.
Here are tools you can use to turn your prospect’s hesitation into
an enthusiastic Yes!
ATTORNEY MARKETING: CREDIBILITY.
These tools help overcome your prospect’s hesitancy if it’s due to
his lack of trust in you or your ability to solve his problem or achieve his
Written Schedule of Fees. Prospects feel more
comfortable when they see your fees in writing. Some prospects assume lawyers
set their fees based on what they think the prospect can afford. Handing your
prospect a schedule of fees on paper helps overcome this suspicion.
Reprints of Articles You Wrote. Few things boost
credibility as quickly as seeing published articles with your name in the by-line.
Prospects immediately conclude you’re an expert when they see that editors have
published your writings. And the more well known and respected the publication,
the more credibility they attach to it -- and the more it helps your attorney
Testimonials From Past Clients. Like published
articles, comments from clients, colleagues and referral sources cause your
credibility to soar. The more testimonials you have, the better. If a prospect
is in doubt about hiring you, show him 10, 20 or 50 testimonials and you’ll
see his skepticism melt. (Check your rules of professional conduct. Not all
bar associations allow lawyers to use testimonials.)
Service Guarantee. Show your client the guarantees
you make in writing. You might guarantee to return phone calls promptly, meet
all deadlines, always have a lawyer available, not exceed a quoted fee, and
Overview of Services. In some cases, prospects
aren’t entirely sure what you plan to do for them. By having a written overview
of what you do for clients -- and a breakdown of the major steps under each
service, you help your prospects see on paper the many things you do in exchange
for your fee. Also, by having these services in writing, you reinforce that
what your prospect is asking you to do is consistent with what you do for many
ATTORNEY MARKETING: URGENCY. These tools help overcome your prospect’s
hesitancy if he knows he should take action, but his desire to delay outweighs
his desire to move forward.
Actual Case Histories. Prospects are persuaded
when they see that you have helped other clients in situations like theirs.
The more similar the case history is to your prospect’s circumstances, the more
persuasive it will be. Also, the more similar the client is to your prospect,
the more your prospect will be swayed.
What Your Prospect Gains From Acting Now. List
the many ways your prospect benefits from hiring your services today. You might
call the document: How you benefit from retaining (your name) (or your firm
name). Then recite a case history about someone who took action immediately
-- and the ways he and his family (or firm) benefited.
What Your Prospect Risks or Loses by Not Hiring You Today.
List the many ways your prospect’s situation can deteriorate and what he loses
or risks by not acting now. Recount a case history about someone who chose not
to act -- and the terrible consequences that person paid. Emphasize the unpredictability
of your prospect’s situation and your sincere desire to minimize or eliminate
ATTORNEY MARKETING: UNDERSTANDING. These tools help overcome your prospect’s
hesitancy if his reluctance is due to his lack of understanding about what you’ll
do or what outcome you can achieve.
Frequently Asked Questions. You help your client
when you have a document that answers questions prospects ask. The more questions
you answer -- before your prospect raises the issues -- the more your prospect
trusts that you are forthcoming with information. If your prospect has to draw
information from you, you risk his concluding that you would not have disclosed
these facts had he not asked.
Glossary. If your prospect doesn’t understand
the terms you use, he might be happy to receive a glossary of relevant terms.
Often, prospects won’t admit when they don’t understand. The more you help them
understand, the better they feel.
Outcomes. List on a sheet the various outcomes
that could result from your efforts. Ask your prospect to assume that you will
get a positive result, and then ask your prospect to identify whatever choices
he will make at that point. By helping your prospect see past your efforts to
future decisions he will face, he assumes you have already succeeded and is
thinking far into the future.
ATTORNEY MARKETING: UNINVOLVED.
These tools help overcome your prospect’s hesitancy if he feels distant
or uninvolved in the process. In some cases, getting your prospect involved
or making small decisions calms his nerves and helps him move forward.
Objectives. Hand your prospect a form that includes
a list of the objectives typical prospects want to achieve. Ask him to identify
the goals that are most important to him. This helps clarify to him what you’ll
do -- and helps him see that you understand what he wants to achieve.
Contact Information. Asking your prospect to
provide you with his contact information gives him something easy to write down.
Other Facts You Need. Regardless of your area
of law, you probably need information from your prospect before you proceed.
The easier it is for your prospect to provide this information, the more helpful
it will be in calming his nerves and helping him move forward.
Minor Decisions. If you’ve read sales books,
you may know the story of the car buyer who was afraid to make the major decision
to buy a Mercedes. The salesperson asked, “What initials do you want me
to put on the driver’s door?” The man responded by giving his initials
and, at that point, agreed to the major purchase. By asking the buyer to make
a minor decision, which he perceived as no big deal, the salesperson effectively
sold the car.
When you educate your prospect -- when he trusts you -- when he understands
what you’ll do -- when he knows what you’ll charge -- your prospect has no reason
not to move forward.
When you use education-based marketing, you don’t need to “close
the sale.” The “sale” closes itself through your process of answering
your prospect’s questions. Eventually, your prospect says, “What do I need
to do to hire you?” You show your prospect your agreement, explain it to
him, ask for his signature and a check -- and you’ve won a new client.
Yes, in many cases, it really is that easy.
Marketing legal services is much easier when you keep hidden persuaders
at your fingertips. They increase credibility, urgency, understanding and involvement
-- powerful tools that help every attorney marketing effort.
“7 Secrets of Dignified Marketing”
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