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Although you may get excited about all the leads coming in from your latest law firm marketing efforts, it’s not the number of leads that counts — it’s your conversion rate. After all, an unconverted lead is just money left on the table. If you don’t pick it up and pocket it, it does nothing for you.

If your intake team is having problems converting leads into appointments — or you and your associates are having trouble closing the deal — you need to hone these three sales skills to boost your conversion rate:

#1: Ability to establish a rapport with potential clients.

You’re not going to get anyone to agree to meet with you or hire you if you don’t establish a rapport with him or her. Psychology teaches us that one of the easiest ways to do this is to mirror your prospect’s communication style. This is because people want to do business with people who are just like them. To build rapport, you need to listen and use the same language (not legalese), pace, and tempo they use in conversation. Pay attention to their words and use some of the same words in your replies.

#2: Ask the right questions to qualify prospects.

Not every lead is a good prospect for your firm. You need to quickly discover a lead’s motivation for seeking an attorney, their timing, and their financial situation. This allows you to quickly discover if the lead would be a good fit for your firm — if you can help them and if they can pay for that help.

Some of the questions you should ask include:

  • Why are you looking for an attorney at this time?
  • What is your motivation? (“I need a prenup to protect my business” or “I want an estate plan so I can provide for my special needs child” etc.)
  • What is your timing?
  • Have you met/are you meeting with other law firms?
  • What is important to you in the attorney you choose to represent you?
  • Is there anyone else involved in your decision-making process?
  • What are you expecting to pay for your legal action?

Be sure to space these questions out evenly throughout your call or meeting so it feels more like a conversation and less like a survey.

#3: Keep following up on qualified leads.

Research has shown us time and again that it takes a lot of follow-up to convert a lead. In fact, 80% of sales require five follow-up calls after the first meeting, yet 44% of salespeople will give up after just one follow-up attempt and 92% give up after the fourth attempt.

Remember that at any given time, only about 3% of your target market is actively looking to hire an attorney right away. Persistent follow-up ensures that you will be there when they are ready to make a decision to proceed with a legal matter.