It always surprises me when I ask lawyers where their business comes from or what percentage of potential clients become actual clients and they don't know. Many lawyers say that their business comes from 'referrals,' but they have no idea where their referrals are coming from. They never analyze which referral sources are effective or why.
Even if you don't have a sophisticated case management system, you can keep track of client inquiries, appointments and conversions. Create a simple excel spreadsheet that includes:
- The name of the client;
- The date of the first contact with the client;
- The method of first contact (phone, email, etc.);
- How the client came to you (be specific - if a client saw a presentation or seminar you gave, which one was it? If they found you on the internet, did they find your website, your blog, or through an attorney directory? Who referred them to you)?
- If the client comes for an initial consultation, note the date of the consultation.
- If the potential client becomes a client, keep track of the date that they did so, the fee they're being charged, and the specific problem they needed you to address.
Review the spreadsheet at least monthly to determine which referral sources are most effective and to help you follow up with potential clients. The spreadsheet can help you focus on your best referral sources, improve your referrals from other sources, and keep in touch with potential clients that haven't yet become paying clients. It can also help you understand your sales cycle better so that you can plan better and improve cash flow.