by Ian Cooper, Britain’s most experienced law firm skills trainer, consultant and author of the new book ‘Lawyers: Win New Business Immediately, Without Any Marketing Costs’.
What if there was a way to increase your ‘conveyancing quotes’ fees and still get potential clients to say yes? What if this was the case, even if you were more expensive than your competitors?
After months of ‘lockdown’, tough restrictions and pretending to be busy from our kitchen tables with virtually no business around, at last residential conveyancing has made a comeback. As efforts to stimulate business and the economy ‘kick in’, including the Stamp Duty relaxations until next March, property departments in many firms, are reporting a significant upturn in market demand. Unless we are all forced into hibernation again, the volume of work is likely to continue to increase. With this in mind, simply winning the work ought not now to be the sole aim, but doing so at really ‘profitable’ fees should be the name of the game. So, as more and more potential clients get in touch and ask for ‘quotes’, now is the time to be brave and look for ways to maximise your fees. If you don’t do this you may end being swamped with business, compromising quality in order to cope and inhibiting your potential profits.
So, my message is simple. Never before has it been more important to capitalise on the current opportunity the market offers to re-invigorate your business quickly and ‘find your missing millions’. What then is the fastest way to guarantee lots of new business at the fees you would like to get? The simple answer and the number one priority, is by learning how to successfully convert the potential client telephone ‘quotes’, that you are already receiving, at the most profitable levels. If someone has called you, then they are well on the way to becoming a client. All you have to do is to master the art of getting them to ‘feel’ good about actively wanting to instruct you, even when you are more expensive than your competition.
So how do you do this? Well … I need to share the fact that over the last 36 years, I have helped around 900 firms learn how to increase their ‘quotes’ conversion rates, at really profitable fee levels. This article sets out in brief, the seven key general adjustments to your approach and strategic thinking, that you must absolutely keep in mind, in order to begin to make this possible.
- When dealing with enquiries for quotes, nothing trumps personal rapport building, great service and treating people as if they were friends or family!
I have a piece of bad news for you. Your potential clients don’t really want you at all. To most of your callers and those requesting a ‘quote’, residential conveyancing is merely an unwelcome and expensive ‘formal legal hoop’, that they have to jump through. For most, this isn’t about conveyancing, or you at all. The majority of people are simply focused on ‘moving home’, and that is the single biggest thing in their lives at that time. In truth they would much rather spend their £1,500 on a new TV, or carpet than on a bunch of solicitors!
With this in mind, in all your dealings with them, including trying to win them as a client, you need to demonstrate great client care and service and the best way is simply to share in their personal excitement over their move. To do this, you need to do more than interrogate them about the facts of the transaction. You need to show some empathy and human interest in them, through gentle conversation. Think of it this way. If you had friends or family that contacted you about their move, how would you talk to them? You would chat on a personal level and ask them questions. It is this level of rapport building that will get more people to say ‘yes’ to you at the fees you want to charge them.
- Understand that your ‘quotes’ call handlers are in ‘sales’.
When it comes to dealing with quotes calls it is vital for your call handlers to understand that they have a ‘sales’ role. By the way, I am not referring here to hard pushy sales techniques. Conversational rapport building, as indicated above is what is required, but it is important that your ‘quotes handlers’ are clear that their objective is to win the work, and not simply to give a price!
This might seem like a statement of the obvious, but all too often, callers are simply ‘processed’ as a matter of low-level administration. “Give me the details of what you are doing and I’ll email you a quote”. Job done.
Yes, it might mean that calls get dealt with quickly, but what matters most is whether the caller ever becomes a paying client at the fee level you want. I call this the ‘quotes email trap’. It is simply ineffective in terms of converting as often as you really want, because the only deciding factor becomes one of price. Thus, by handling your quotes this way, you are drastically reducing your chances of winning the work at all and as price becomes the only factor, you will have zero chances of getting the higher and most profitable fee you want.
- Differentiate – Why should someone choose you?
You must be able to differentiate your firm. This doesn’t mean just when you are doing the job, assuming you win it, but during the call or the interactions you have with the potential client during the ‘sales’ process. They must ‘feel’ that they really want you and actually that you really want them.
So why should a potential client who telephones you for a conveyancing quote choose your firm … particularly if you are more expensive?
The research I have carried out by continuous mystery calling over many years, indicates that 91% of firms make no attempt to differentiate themselves from competitors, either during the telephone enquiry, or in any follow up email.
Let me prove it to you. Write down now why someone should go with you? Then, ask yourself how you communicate those attributes when you are on the phone, or emailing a potential client?!
If you aren’t communicating, or demonstrating these positives to your callers, you are almost certainly leaving cash on the table!
- Challenge and question current methods and track results
One of the most common problems I find in firms of all sizes is that they rarely take time out to stop, really review their existing methods of dealing with quotes calls, challenge what they are doing and look at conversion results strategically.
Given the need for this, it is vital for you to have reasonably precise statistical tracking information on the telephone quotes that are being given and your current conversion rates.
There are four basic pieces of information that you should track and gather, in order to be able to monitor this area effectively.
- How many quotes enquiries do you get per day/week?
- What are your cumulative quotes worth in average revenue terms?
- Volume of quotes calls handled by specific people?
- What are their personal conversion rates?
Once you have this information, you will be in a much stronger position to make decisions about new strategies, structures and techniques and of course to measure future improvements.
- Have your quotes calls handled by the right people.
It is a fact, all too often overlooked, that some quotes call handlers consistently get better results than others. So, making sure you have your best quotes handlers … the ones that get the best conversion rates … deal with the most calls is a simple but vitally important piece of the strategic jigsaw. Would a football team let their least effective penalty takers take their penalties?
- Don’t fall into the price trap
The price trap is the automatic assumption that everybody who calls and asks for a quote will only ever choose the cheapest. This is simply not the case. If that is your perception and experience, then I invite you to consider that this is because you are either not doing anything else other than giving a price, or you are generally not handling the enquiry as well as you could.
If you only give the price to those who ask, then it is you who reduces the issue to one of price and again you who actually forces them to go to the cheapest.
- Skills training is the key.
85% of firms provide no ‘proper’ interpersonal training for their call handlers on ‘soft conversational’ sales skills and how to differentiate their firm, engage, build rapport with callers and influence those who call for a quote to actively want them.
What training does take place is usually just around administrative tasks, such as how to calculate the fee, Stamp Duty and get an email quotes letter out. This is very different from ensuring that call handlers have the right techniques, personal skills and confidence to engage a caller and get the business.
The majority of firms who learn my ‘5 Step System’ for dealing with quotes see at least a 10%-20% higher conversion rate very quickly and often at higher fee rates too. It is a double win.
Ian have a new book out on this topic: ‘Lawyers: Win New Business Immediately … Without Marketing Costs’. (Available on Kindle or in paperback).The book contains step by step instructions on the special techniques to increasing ‘quotes’ success, that Ian Cooper has developed and taught over the years.
‘Zoom’ training sessions – Ian Cooper, also provides bespoke Zoom sessions as ‘in house’ training, to give conveyancing quotes handlers, his special ‘5 Step System’ and techniques. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 07885 280371.