Generally, when I write about generating new clients, I focus on the types of clients attorneys want to target, but there is another factor that comes into play before the attorney-client relationship begins: the client has to choose a particular lawyer.
In many ads and marketing campaigns, attorneys focus on quantifiable characteristics to attract clients: board certifications, specific areas of expertise, Avvo ratings, success ratings, years of experience or prices. Most decisions, however, are made for non-rational reasons. The rational reasons, such as evidence based on quantifiable characteristics, are then used to support the decision.
That means that clients are more likely to choose a specific attorney based on emotional or social factors. When you market your firm to potential clients, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you seem sympathetic to the needs of your clients?
- Does your value system match up with the value systems of the types of clients you want to attract?
- Does your law firm have an image of prestige in your community?
- Do your office, website and personal appearance make clients feel comfortable and at home with your firm?
While your clients may also rely on other emotional and social factors, such as religion, politics, social circles, personal interests, or even shared alma maters, these questions can help you tap into potential clients’ non-rational perspectives before they ever contact your law firm.
By learning to balance both rational and non-rational buying criteria early on in the game, you are more likely to become your preferred clients’ attorney of choice. Then you may not have to ask, “Why did that client choose another, less-qualified attorney to do the job?”