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People hire attorneys out of necessity. They have a legal problem they can’t fix. They feel helpless — something no one likes — and are at their most vulnerable. When you realize this, you understand how important building trust is to getting and keeping clients.

Here are 10 ways for attorneys to build trust with prospects and clients:

  1. Respond quickly. This is especially critical if you are practicing personal injury, criminal, family, or other types of consumer law. If you don’t already have an intake process in place that handles your calls from prospects, can answer their questions and get them in for a consultation, you need that yesterday. Also, do NOT make attorneys responsible for following up with prospects! It just won’t get done.
  2. Have detailed messaging. If you have to take messages via voicemail or an answering service, be sure to include details like who will be returning the call, when it will be returned, and what happens after that.
  3. Be transparent about pricing. If you charge a flat fee, say what it is. If you don’t know, give the best and worst-case scenarios. Outline the factors that influence your pricing. Be as transparent as possible.
  4. Avoid any website trickery. Pop-up chat boxes can be very effective in generating leads for you on your website, but you have to be careful about your enticement. Don’t ask people to type in a legal question and then answer with a pitch to come in for a consultation. If you say you’re going to answer their question, you have to do it.
  5. Have a robust FAQ section on your website. You’ve probably been practicing law long enough to know what most of your prospects want to know. Make a list of their top 10 questions, write out comprehensive answers, and post these on your website. You’re giving them a sample, a taste of what you have to offer. It works at Costco and it can work for you! Plus, it can really help your SEO.
  6. Have staff bios and photos on your website. Post photos and bios of all your attorneys and other staff members on your website. Include personal details like hobbies, family, etc. Have photos or video of your office to make your prospects feel more comfortable before the initial consultation.
  7. Greet callers warmly. When a prospect calls for the first time, your intake person should answer the phone like they’ve been expecting the call, not like the caller is interrupting their day.
  8. Show empathy. It’s amazing how far a little empathy can go to getting someone to want to connect more with you. Let them tell their stories and share their pain, then express your concern. They want to be seen as a person, not as a fat fee.
  9. Explain your process. It’s very stressful for people to meet with a lawyer. Make it easier by going over your intake process (just don’t call it that!) so they know what to expect. Tell them where to park, how to find your office in that big building, etc. — whatever it takes to raise their comfort level.
  10. Confirm the appointment in writing. Send a confirmation email with all the appointment details, including a Google map to your office, parking instructions, etc. The day before the appointment, send a reminder with all the same details again.

You don’t create great client relationships without first building trust. Examine your current intake process and find the holes where trust can be lost.


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