My first website as a lawyer sucked. And I’m probably being charitable saying that.
It was awful because it was all about me. And this is the same mistake most lawyers make. Their websites are equally awful because they’re oh-so self-absorbed.
Aren’t you impressed that I graduated from this law school?
Look at my fancy diploma!
By the way, I graduated with honors!
I’m a member of all these professional associations with other big shot lawyers!
Don’t you wish you could work in an office as fancy as mine?
News flash… nobody outside of your practice or your parents’ house cares about your resume. They don’t care about how awesome you think you are.
They only care about finding a solution to their problem.
Your website has one purpose – to bring a prospect one step closer to becoming a client. A self-indulgent website fails at its only function.
Sure, it can be beneficial to have some biographical information on your website. But that doesn’t position you as a problem solver – and you certainly won’t motivate someone to hire you – if you only talk about yourself.
Ever been to a party and met someone who wouldn’t stop talking about themselves? Ugh. Oh, wait, is that you on your website?
How do you create the perception that you’re in the business of solving problems for your clients?
Start by creating a Prospect Experience Timeline.
Take a blank piece of paper and turn it horizontally. Draw a line across the middle of the paper, from the left side to the right. This will be the timeline that illustrates the order of events that occur from the time someone first comes in contact with you until they become a client.
What kind of information were they looking for when they came across you? How did they find that information? How many times did you email or speak with them by phone before scheduling an in-person meeting?
Above the timeline, write everything a person must believe at each stage of the process if they’re going to choose you as their lawyer. Belief is essential. They must believe in you as someone they can trust and an expert capable of solving their problem.
But (and it’s a big ‘but’) they won’t believe all these things right away. At first, they’re just gathering information, and before they even get to believe in you as a person, they need to believe that you understand their problem.
Then, as they proceed along this timeline, their belief in you should steadily grow. From understanding their real world problem, to translating that to the legal problem, to the process (the journey) they’ll take with you to solving that problem, and then finally – at the end – you. You aren’t before all that. You’re after it.
So write all this down, with their first contact with your practice (on the web, or wherever) on the left; all the way through to being a client at the right side.
Now, beneath the line, write all touch points that you can have with a prospect to move them through each stage. Emails, phone conversations, a video on your website, or interactions with your office staff.
For example, if in the middle of the timeone someone needs to believe that there is a clear process for handling their matter, how could you accomplish this? A video on your site? A downloadable PDF? [Note to Practice Alchemy members: for a shortcut to creating this timeline this see Your Unique Practice Process in the members area]
Once you’ve established your Prospect Experience Timeline, it’s time to assess your marketing and sales process.
How effectively are you moving people through this journey? Is the quality of the content and communication at each touch point building their belief in your solution? Is it leading them to the finish line? Or are you pushing for too much, too fast?
The big mistake is too much, too soon. Lawyers who ask for a meeting too close to the beginning of the relationship (on our timeline, the left side of the page) are like teenagers who are thinking about getting to second base before even saying hello.
Get to know each other first, for goodness sake.
Earn their trust - and their business - by showing a genuine interest in solving their problem, instead of wearing them down with a high-pressure sales pitch.
Do this right and by the time you sit down across the table from this person, the question is no longer, “Do I want to hire this lawyer?” The question becomes “When do we get started?”