In my last article, I discussed the challenges of email-lead generation. With email leads, there is a possibility that you will have no opportunity to actually speak to the potential client, who might be receiving calls and emails from other attorneys.
The email leads also create a marketplace and incentivize attorneys to try to underbid colleagues in an effort to secure a client. The problem with trying to be the lowest bidder is that you undervalue your services and create a perception that you may be desperate for work. Additionally, email leads create instances where lawyers are chasing after potential clients. Simply put, I am just not a fan of that business model.
But what about phone-call-lead generation? I much prefer phone call leads to email leads. Generally, potential clients will call an attorney in a heightened state of concern or anxiety about a particular situation, which is why the best time to speak to the potential client is when they call. The attorney has a captive audience of one and has the ability to gather the information he or she needs to begin evaluating the case. The attorney also has an opportunity to set the caller more at ease and increase the likelihood that the potential client will retain his or her services.
While I do prefer phone-call leads to email leads, phone-call leads are not without their challenges. If someone the caller knows did not specifically refer the caller to you, the lead is likely generated through a firm’s marketing and advertising efforts. If a call is made and no one is available to take the call, more than likely the caller will call the other numbers they found on the Internet until they are able to speak to a live person. Typically, the caller is in a heightened state of concern and is looking to speak to a live person, not leave a message and wait for a return call that may or may not happen.
The other issue with phone-call leads is the callers who are shopping around for attorneys. The caller may be shopping around for free advice and have no intention of hiring an attorney. Unless you have the structure in place to field these calls, the time you spend — however little — will still add up depending on the volume of calls you receive.
Phone-call leads are much better than email leads, but you may still be wasting money if you don’t have someone to answer those calls. While it is always best to speak to the potential clients when they call, the second best option if you can’t is to have someone available to answer the call. Sometimes, answering services can provide the live person you need if you are unable to afford a full-time office receptionist in the office. If you are going to spend the money for the leads, you should be available to answer those calls or spend the money to have someone available to answer them for you.