Are You Alienating Prospective Clients With Your Words?
A critical, yet common error that many divorce professionals make is to alienate the very prospective clients that they’re trying to attract by focusing too much on the law or themselves, instead of focusing on the prospective clients. Obviously, this is 100% unintentional — but it happens, and when it does, opportunities are missed and business is lost.
Fortunately, turning things around isn’t hard; in fact, it’s clear and logical when you become “client-centric.” That is, when you start to see the world through your prospective clients’ eyes, and appreciate their needs, aspirations, desires and tolerances.
Here are some practical strategies and tips to avoid alienating your prospective clients:
- Ensure that your website is free of jargon. Few things alienate prospective clients as much as confusing, technical terminology. Yes, they want to know that you’re professional and credible. Yes, they want to know that you’re experienced and compassionate. But you shouldn’t use legalese to convey that. Use the language of your prospective clients. Find a way of explaining the law or the situation in lay terms.
- Go through ALL of your marketing materials (e.g. brochures, even your business cards) and ensure that they focus on all of your prospective client’s needs. Your client may need you to draft a settlement agreement but his divorce is impacting him financially and emotionally. If your materials are focusing only on the legal or technical aspects of a divorce and not on the “whole person” — then chances are they are alienating, rather than attracting your prospects closer to you.
- Everyone in your firm who speaks to prospective clients — whether that’s the receptionist, the junior lawyers, the senior lawyers and everyone else — should avoid language that reduces clients into “things.” For example, avoid at all costs referring to prospective clients as “cases,” “files,” “parties” or “matters.” This is especially important when you explain your billing procedures, because there is a temptation to become very matter-of-fact and technical. So avoid saying “we bill at a rate of $$$/hour” and instead say “our professional services to you include A, B and C, plus X. Y, and Z. Our fee for providing you with this personalized, dedicated service is $$$/hour.” As you can see, it’s not a matter of saying something new; it’s just a matter of saying something old in a new, more effective, more client-focused way.
- It can also be a helpful habit to try and “weed out” jargon and alienating language in your internal peer-to-peer discussions, too. For example, when your team gathers for internal meetings, practice using client-friendly language. By doing this, you start to form a new habit of communicating clearly and in a client-friendly manner. This will help in both your face-to-face client discussions, as well as your ability to develop effective marketing communications (e.g. website, newsletters, brochures, client information package, and so on).
Ultimately, all of the above helps you become client-centric in all of your communications. And indeed, while it may be a challenge at first to adopt this new approach, be assured that the rewards will be measurable: you’ll attract more quality clients, and you’ll serve them better.
You can learn more about “customer-centric marketing” by reading this excellent excerpt here.
This article was written by Dan Couvrette and Martha Chan, Co-Owners of Divorce Marketing Group, Divorce Magazine, and www.DivorceMagazine.com. Divorce Marketing Group is the only marketing agency dedicated to helping divorce lawyers and divorce professionals grow their practices. Divorce Marketing Group offers a wide range of marketing services, including website design, hosting and promotion, social media marketing, press releases, video production and promotion, print advertising, advertising on multiple divorce websites, electronic promotions, and providing content to divorce professionals with websites.
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