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Attorney Marketing Requires Handling Prospective Client “Objections” Part 1
Elder law is probably not your practice area, however, you do have objections from prospective clients and you do need to figure out how to deal with them in a way that maximizes conversion. You know, those things prospective clients say around “money issues” or needing to “think about it” when you finish “your pitch”. I am writing this article on the topic of “objections” to help you think through how you will deal with your prospective client objections regardless of your practice area.
One thing to pay attention to with objections is the “manager’s mantra” in attorney marketing. The mantra is: “If you can’t measure it. You can’t manage it.” Thinking through what you will say when objections occur and scripting out the responses (without memorizing them though) allows you to not be surprised or maybe anxious while having to figure out on the fly how to respond. You need to have a plan in advance with attorney marketing conversion skill sets.
Having a script (your plan) also enables you to test for scripts that are working versus those that are not working as you hone the script to the best it can be in order to maximize the number of times a client says “your hired” (even though you might say the words slightly differently each time you use the script). After all, if you are excellent at attorney marketing in general but poor at conversion skills you will have to work a lot harder. Finally, if you have a lot of unconscious competence in “handling objections” in your practice now, if you put that on paper it becomes valuable attorney marketing intellectual property that becomes an element of what you sell one day when you sell your practice. Also now it can be taught to others in your practice that then can become competent like you.
First let us talk a little about “context” or overall attitude to objections in attorney marketing. In classical selling the term is “overcoming” objections. We don’t want to “overcome” anyone really. The last thing we want to do is back someone into a corner and “overcome” him or her. People don’t like to be pressured and you don’t want to look like a salesman. So don’t approach dealing with objections in attorney marketing from a win/lose, right/wrong, or dominate/be-dominated perspective. This “overcoming” or “pushy” attitude can ruin your relationship and give the prospective client the impression you only care about making the sale instead of caring about them.
The attorney marketing attitude we need is one of not really caring if the person hires you or not. Sort of “Buddha like” in the sense you are not attached to what the client decides, however you are committed to them making a decision that is educated, well facilitated and right for them in their view even if the decision is “no thanks”. Thus no sales pressure ever is allowed in words or in attitude. If you find yourself wanting to convince the person then you are off track with attorney marketing conversion success.
Another key attorney marketing attitude is “permission”. You always need to get permission in attorney marketing from the prospective client if you decide to ask questions or make guesses that might make the client a little uncomfortable. Prospective clients indeed have concerns about moving forward and we want to help them explore those concerns if they give us the permission to do so. If not, then we don’t want to “go there” as they say these days. You certainly don’t want to get into a position where you are chasing the client to get the business either. If they don’t want to go there then let it drop with respect for their position in the matter. Even if it looks misguided to you (more detail on this later). You can’t win them all in attorney marketing for sure.
Well, enough for the context or attitudinal aspects of attorney marketing and lets move on to the draft scripts I made for my current elder care attorney to start his process and give you some food for thought. Note that we are still perfecting these scripts and these were just my initial input designed for him. Here you go:
Money Type Objections:
Note: Your attorney marketing sales script needs to be created as well – sometimes called “the pitch”. If you craft that well, it will minimize the chance for objections or at least “inoculate” the prospective client to any objections that arise later. Thus the objections will be easily handled in a positive way. This article does not address this “sales script” attorney marketing skill set, only the objections skill set.
First response always: I can understand the fee could show up as a concern to you. Few people have unlimited funds who come to our practice with problems like yours. Would it be OK if I talked a little about your concerns around the fee? (Here the attorney marketing principle is “agree, permission and then re-direct”. First do the “agree statement” part and then the “permission question” part. The “ possible re-direct options” comes next and start below.)
Possible re-direct: It is often useful to think of the fee more like an investment. The average cost of a nursing home per month in Florida is between $5,000.00 and $6,000.00. With the price of private pay incidentals, it is not uncommon to see the total monthly bill in excess of $7,000.00 or over $84,000 per year. For the investment of XXXX you will save about $XXXXX. Thinking of it that way the investment in our services is a really a great return?
Possible re-direct: By way of an example. If I were to offer to give you or save you $1,000 that you never would have had without me, would you give me $100? We are in a similar situation here don’t you think? (Pause here for a beat or two for emphasis) At least that is one way to think about it.
Possible re-direct: If this fee is outside of your range, I will refer you to a financial planner – not an attorney – who may be able to accommodate the fee range you are looking for, however, using a financial planner has some distinct disadvantages you probably have read about in the material we gave you earlier. If you have not been able to read it as yet I would be happy to tell you about those disadvantages. If you do decide to go that route you need to be aware of the ways you could be harmed and maybe avoid them. I am not referring you to another attorney because from my research I know my fees are the lowest in the area for this practice area and that has been our firm’s policy by design to be the low cost provider (this one may be better in the “pitch” section than in the objections section – also I don’t recommend one deliberately be the low cost provider in a market but this client was at least currently).
Possible re-direct: In making the decision to do this, is the price you have to pay the only consideration for you? (This will get the focus off of just the price and on to quality and value for the price.)
Possible re-direct: Could the fee seem too high to you or is it that you just don’t have a way to pay the fee right now and are wondering how to raise that kind of money now?
Possible re-direct: I certainly do understand. You don’t go looking for the cheapest price when you need brain surgery and this is not exactly brain surgery. At the same time it is not like you are buying something you can find anywhere like a can of soup either.
Possible re-direct: I certainly do understand. Often people sort of automatically are thinking the price is too high. I do it too. Did you know that even people who sell parachutes to skydivers hear “the cost is too much”? So I understand. I am curious though. Could you tell me more about your concerns around the fee so I can understand better what your concerns are?
Possible re-direct: “your price is too high” – say: You may be right. I am a bit curious though. Do you mind if I ask you a question? If you think our fee is too high, you must be comparing it to something. Do you mind me asking what is it that you are comparing it to? Or “Can you tell me a bit more about what makes you think our fee is too high?”
In Objections Part 2, I will give you the drafts for “I want to think about it.” If you go to my website and sign up for my free 7-part eCourse on Client Development you will find more on the general subject of attorney marketing scripts that includes the area of “objections” in the 6th lesson. You will also find sample scripts for “the pitch” that precedes any objections.
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