A funny thing happens when you really start marketing your law firm. Suddenly, there are a lot more people coming in for initial consultations, and they don’t automatically hire you. They’re sizing you up and interviewing you.
Two Ears, One Mouth
It’s at this point that we as estate planning attorneys might want to heed the words of Greek philosopher Epictetus, who said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
Perhaps more than other people, lawyers like to hear themselves talk and it’s a problem when the lawyer talks more than the client in an initial consult. Yet that’s what usually happens. We’re so used to being the “answer man or woman” that it requires a whole new skill to stifle ourselves long enough to really hear about the client’s needs.
The secret to converting a prospect into a client is to use the initial consult to show off your skills as a great counselor. You cannot – I repeat cannot– effectively counsel someone until you understand what their problems, concerns, and issues are.
We’ve found that attorneys tend to have trouble converting prospects to clients because of how they handle client meetings. Doing things like talking too much, talking about things that are really of no interest to the clients, and not asking great questions are ways to guarantee your first meeting will also be your last.
Know What to Listen For
Just as important as asking great questions is listening carefully to the answers. That’s how you find out where the problems and issues are and delve into them. Learn what the impact is if those issues aren’t handled in a timely manner. What are your clients’ fears and concerns? How important is it for them to handle their issues right now? Where do these issues rank on their priority list?
Your job is to help families make decisions that are in their best interests. Discussing things in this manner gets results because it leaves clients feeling like you really heard them and like you really understand what matters to them.
Try this approach and you’ll become a trusted advisor, and you’ll have a client for life.
President & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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