What clients want: A phone call that builds comfort

You can be excellent at what you do. The best even. You can have the best website around, advertise on TV, and have the strongest Avvo profile, but you still may not win clients. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad lawyer or a bad person. Every day strong businesses miss the mark on what their consumers want. The largest software manufacturer creates an operating system that’s a dud. A food manufacturer makes a potato chip with less calories but that tastes like paper. The best home improvement store doesn’t offer the right kind of help. These things happen every day.

Even the best businesses need to know what their consumers want in order to know how to meet their needs. That’s why they hire consumer researchers and analysts. Law practices are businesses too, and they could use a dose of consumer research to help them figure out how to win clients. Luckily, Avvo has a consumer insights team that talks to legal consumers regularly, to better understand how to meet peoples’ needs. We shared our #1 insight last week, read on for #2.

Consumer insight #2: Have them at “Hello”

In our second installment of What Clients Want, we offer you more tips on how to turn that lead into real business. We know from last week’s installment that consumers use consults to feel attorneys out, particularly their personalities. But we’re increasingly realizing is that this connection can be made (or broken) as early as the first phone call. Here are some ways to make sure that first phone call wins them over:

  1. Watch your PVT. When talking with you on the phone, consumers could be paying as much if not more attention to your “PVT” – pitch, volume, and tone – than what you are actually saying. Loud talkers are turn-offs to potential clients, and an obnoxious tone can end the relationship quickly. You may be an excellent lawyer, but talking about what you know with the wrong tone may mean no one gets to see what magic you can do.
  2. Don’t rush the call. Potential clients are coming to you because they believe their issue is important. Talking quickly, or trying to get the call over with quickly, could signal to them that you don’t find their problem as important as they think you should. Taking a little time away from your work to talk to a prospect could mean winning a case, a positive Avvo client review, and more business down the line.
  3. Smile before you get on the phone, and keep smiling. Consumers claim they can feel a smile over the phone. Sounds a little crazy, but scientific research actually backs this up: smiling releases endorphins, natural pain relievers associated with feeling good. Feeling good means sounding pleasant, which potential clients respond to.
  4. Don’t talk money until they ask. According to consumers, if a lawyer brings up the issue of their fee too early, that lawyer is perceived to be primarily after a client’s money. If a caller asks about fees, offer them up. If they don’t, save that conversation for the consult.

First impressions do matter, and sometimes they’re made over the phone. If you want a client to come to your office, exercise due diligence in making that phone call as appealing as possible. Comfort can come through over the phone.