Anytime you’re buying personal injury leads, or doing any kind of lead generation from your own internal marketing campaigns or television or anything, follow-up is going to be an incredibly important part of the equation, no matter how good your marketing is, no matter how good your targeting it is, no matter how good your demographics, your message, your brand etc. if you don’t follow up with the leads the right way, you’re probably wasting your money.
Having been doing this for a number of years, we’ve seen a lot of firms with good follow up protocol in place, and we’ve seen a lot of bad practices. So today let’s talk a little bit about how NOT to follow up with personal injury leads.
Here’s the big five DON’T do’s on following up with personal injury leads:
Rule #1: Don’t Wait
First, and most importantly, don’t wait! This holds true from the beginning when you get the lead through following up, if you don’t get a hold of them the first couple of times. Being quick and being persistent is the number one most important thing, any PI firm can do when following up with personal injury leads that have been generated on their website or from the lead gen company or wherever.
Number one as soon as you get that lead call as soon as possible, if you don’t get them on the phone in that initial phone call make sure to send the text message right behind it, an email certainly isn’t going to hurt although we haven’t seen a ton of success and a ton of response coming from email. Obviously, there’s not a whole lot of cost built in to doing it, so it certainly doesn’t hurt (and we’ll talk about a kind of drip campaigns and ways to try to maximize your branding potential and your follow up on these and a little bit). So I’m not against email, but a phone call and a text message are definitely paramount, so do them as quickly as you possibly can.
Obviously if the lead comes in in the middle of the night you’re not going to pick up the phone and call somebody 11:30 at night or one o’clock in the morning. But as soon as you get there even if it’s early in the morning, I’m an early riser now I’ll get up if it’s 5:30 or something like that, send text messages at least that way they can get back to you as needed. Then if you haven’t heard from them by the time it’s a more civilized of the day, you can always go give them a call and at least they know who you are and hopefully they’ve seen your text and they’ll be expecting your call.
One thing to really keep in mind, especially when you’re buying personal injury leads from a lead generation company, that these people generally speaking are not the people who have asked their friends for referral, they haven’t called the state bar, they haven’t gone online and read reviews, nothing. Which means that off the bat they’re probably not going to be the most bought in people, usually if you’ve bought the lead through a lead gen company, they’ve done some search on Google and they’ve looked for some information about their car accident, their personal injury claim whatever their situation may be. Then they click on their first ad and they see “get a free consultation with a local PI lawyer”, and so they do, and they fill out their information and they click send and they’re just waiting for a lawyer to call them back. They don’t know who you are, they’re not especially bought in, they haven’t heard good things, and they don’t know anything about you. Which means that they’re way more likely to click on another ad, call another attorney, etc.
So by definition they’re going to be a little bit flaky than say somebody who took the time to go to your website, read your bio, look at where your office is located and really kind of be pre-sold on who you are as a person as an attorney etc. So calling early is definitely a good idea, and keeping in mind that they don’t know who you are immediately. Now a lot of times you’re not going to get people on the phone on that first try, so again leaving a voicemail letting them know who you are, why you’re calling, sending them a text message that essentially says the same.
If they don’t get back to you within that first 24 to 48 hours, be persistent. Obviously this is a thin line and please don’t get stalker-ish, but if people are busy and sometimes they will do something at night and they’ll forget about it the next day when the wheels start spinning on their lives. People are forgetful, and we’re all going in a million directions all the time. And so try them in a couple different times per day of the day in that first day, try them in a few different methods try a text at noon and then if you haven’t heard back try a call before the end of the day.
And do that for the first probably two to three days, generally what we tell our clients is be the most persistent on day one, a little less persistent on day two, a little less so on day three and after that just sort of put it on a back burner and into a drip campaign of some sort which we’ll talk about later. So don’t wait to call initially, don’t wait to follow-up, don’t wait, don’t wait, and don’t wait.
Rule #2: Don’t Write Texts and Emails in a Rush
A lot of times we’ll see our attorneys’ responses to the leads that we send. And I’m amazed constantly at how many typos and misspellings, general abbreviations, bad grammar, not intelligently written, not clear, not concise. I get it, you’re busy, I’m busy, everybody’s busy, but at the same time this is the first anybody has heard from you in most cases, and you’re trying to sell them on why you’re a good attorney to handle their case, people are expecting attorneys to be crossing their T’s dotting their I’s, and generally just writing concisely & intelligently.
A good practice is definitely to have a couple of different let’s say email templates and text message templates that maybe on the notepad or on your cell phone or just saved in either if you have a CRM or just saving a word doc on your computer, but it’s just a quick concise that just says:
“Hello, this is attorney _____, I was calling in regard to the online inquiry that you made about your auto accidents, I am an attorney here in San Diego and I just wanted to call and get some information about the accident and see if we could help. The consultation is completely free, and if we do take your case on it would be on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket. Please give me a call back at your convenience, thank you.”
It’s simple, it gets the point across, and it lets them know who you are and why you’ve been calling. Also not a bad idea to maybe put something in your email that says I will try calling you later at the number you provided but in the meantime feel free to call us at…
Rule #3 – Don’t Expect them to Know Who You Are
Again, its good to remember that when you’re buying personal injury leads from a 3rd party lead generation company, the person you’re calling has no idea who will be calling them, they just filled out a form stating that they can get a free consultation with a local personal injury attorney to discuss their potential claim. So be friendly, introduce yourself, and keep in mind the fact that in most cases people don’t know who you are, they’ve clicked on an ad they were searching around on google most likely about information about settling a car accident claim or something to that effect, and they saw get a free consultation with a local attorney and they clicked on that and it says get a free consultation and they filled out their information. However, they don’t know who’s calling… they’re just expecting a call from a lawyer. So when you call it’s important to let them know who you are, let them know why you’re calling and again just be clear, be intelligent and be concise, very similar to the email template just do a quick hey so-and-so my name is blah I’m an attorney here in town, you have filled out some information online in regards to a personal injury claim, I just wanted to give you a call back and find out a little bit more about your situation and see if I could help and then just kind of just go right into it.
Keep in mind that these guys don’t know who you are, they’re not a referral, they’ve never visited your website and in general, know nothing about you. A lot of firms that we’ve worked with that haven’t done a lot of personal injury lead generation in the past will be expecting that the leads that we generate and send are the exact same as somebody who was referred by another attorney or former client, and it’s just not the case. Those people are going to be sort of pre-sold and already bought into who you are, and therefore they’re probably going to be more responsive and more apt to call you back and things like that. With these guys they just know a lawyer is going to call, so again calling quickly and just being intelligent, concise and persuasive can go a really long way to converting more leads into cases.
Rule #4: Don’t Expect them to be Ready to Sign Up Immediately (But be ready just in case)
Don’t expect them to be ready to hire an attorney right on the spot, a lot of times these folks are just looking for information online, have a lot of questions, and they want to talk to an attorney. It’s a big unknown and a scary time for them, and they’re not sure if they need to file a claim or if they should or if they should give a third of their potential settlement away to an attorney to handle it for them.
So don’t expect that they’re ready to just sign on the dotted line, a lot of these guys are going to ask questions, a lot of them are going to need to go back and talk things out with family and think things through before making any sort of a decision. That being said, definitely don’t be shy about going for the close and saying something to the effect of “If you would like me to represent you this is the case I certainly would like to take, if you’d like to do so here are the next steps”.
From here, it’s just sales 101… be clear about what you want, take control of the conversation and steer things the way you want it to go, assuming it’s a case that you want, try to make it very easy for them to sign up with you.
A lot of our clients have had a lot of success with DocuSign and just saying, “while I’m on the phone with you I’m just going to send this over, what’s your email address? I’m going to send our retainer agreement over to you via DocuSign, just sign here and here and then we can we can get everything started”.
So again, take the call understanding that they’re expecting a free consultation and they’re expecting to get their questions answered by somebody who’s knowledgeable, and is willing to help them if needed and do so. But if it’s a case that you want and you think they would benefit from your services, definitely don’t be shy about taking control of the conversation and telling them what the next steps are, should they want to move forward and entertain your services.
Rule #5: Don’t Let them Disappear
The last one, and I mentioned this earlier, is don’t let them disappear. You’ve bought the lead, you’ve probably had a conversation with these people and frankly, a lot of them aren’t going to turn into cases for a number of reasons, and that’s just the nature of personal injury lead generation.
But let’s say you’ve got these few hundred leads over the course of a year that you talked to, and ultimately they decided that they were going to handle their case themselves, or you decided that maybe it wasn’t a big enough case for your firm to want to take on, given its current caseload. Those people still live in your community, those people are still part of your target demographics, and those people still have friends and relatives and co-workers that may need the services of a personal injury attorney one day.
So just a good marketing practice in general is to have some sort of an email drip campaign like a constant contact or Mail Chimp or something to that effect that you can just put people into a targeted list. You can even call it personal injury leads or something that or even do it by marketing company you’re working with, you track what the responsiveness rate is that’s probably getting a little bit convoluted and complex. And put them in a drip campaign and yes every month, every holiday just shoot-’em a happy whatever, hope you’re doing well here’s something that we’re doing over here, if you ever need the services of a good personal injury attorney, you know where to find one. And just sort of stay top of mind and that should boost your referral base over time, which it’s not a whole lot of additional work and builds on itself and just become sort of a fringe benefit of doing personal injury leads.
These are the five big things not to do when following up with personal injury leads, by implementing these into your firm’s intake process, you should start seeing a better conversion rate on all your lead generation efforts. Good luck!