We spend a lot of time with members looking at the results of the marketing that filled the law firm’s calendar. What we find is not surprising – during the hustle and bustle of getting marketing efforts bundled together and having a successful presentation that attracts a potential customer – often the energy and focus is filling the presentation seats or making the calendar full another type of presentation solution.
A responsible attorney often has countless responsibilities in his or her schedule, hiring, training, work production, decisions about upcoming marketing efforts, legal decisions to solve specific client problems, recruitment challenges and the list goes on. If the quality of the consultation isn’t a focus, it doesn’t really matter how great the marketing is. One of the many areas not covered by law school is training in effective counseling that leads clients to make decisions that are in their best interest. Once you’ve spent the time and money attracting potential clients – why spend so little or no time studying and learning the best ways to handle those meetings more effectively and productively?
One of the very common death traps for lawyers is that they have a tendency to go into presentation mode in consultations to subconsciously increase their credibility or prove that they know how to solve the problems a potential client is facing – as if it was a closing statement in court, because that’s what the law school prepared them for! but, Listening and building relationships Skills need honing over talking points. The best and most effective meetings are when the client is speaking. The lawyer, of course, leads the meeting with the right questions – but most things come out of the lawyer“The mouth should end in a question mark, not a period. The client will likely already assume that the attorney knows the law or that he or she won’t be sitting in that counseling – they just need to determine if that attorney is someone they can trust to secure their future and that of their family. What better way for a lawyer to show a client that they can solve their problems than to ask the right questions that delve into their goals, concerns, and future – making the client feel understood and listened to.
Next time you have a consultation – don’t change anything, just listen to yourself. Are you talking or asking?
Chief Operating Officer
American Academy of Estate Planning Lawyers, Inc.
9444 Balboa Street, Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128