By Professor Ian Cooper, law firm skills trainer / consultant, author of the ‘Financial Times Guide To Business Development’ and co-creator of Converting Enquiries – Residential Conveyancing, on behalf of Legal Futures Associate Solve Legal Marketing 
In this article, I summarise the 7 key strategic issues that all firms should discuss and debate in their next departmental meeting, if they would like to increase their conversion rates success.
1. Understand that 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. This might seem like a statement of the obvious, but all too often, callers are simply ‘processed’ as a matter of 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. This common method is simply ineffective.
2. 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.
3. Have the 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 deal with the most calls is a simple but vitally important piece of strategic jigsaw.
This is so important, that I will be devoting an entire article to this subject in a future issue.
4. Differentiate – Why should someone choose you?
Why should a potential client who telephones for a conveyancing quote choose your firm … particularly if you are more expensive?
The fact is, that our research based on a huge number of mystery calls, indicates that 91% of firms make no attempt to differentiate themselves from competitors, either during the telephone enquiry, or in any follow up email.
Write down right now why someone should go with you? Now, ask yourself how you communicate those attributes when you are on the phone to them?!
If you aren’t communicating, or demonstrating these positives to your callers, you are almost certainly leaving cash on the table!
5. 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 largely 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 you who actually forces them to go to the cheapest.
6. Understand the benefits of getting good at dealing with quotes calls.
Of course, there is the obvious benefit that more conversions equals more revenue, however there are three other tangible benefits to be aware of:
– Increased fees – We have found that once a firm has mastered the techniques of getting people to really ‘want you’, it is relatively easy to increase the fees as well. Thus, not only do you convert more, but you convert more at higher rates.
– More repeat business and recommendations – Is it not the case that you get a significant amount of business from clients returning and them recommending you to others? Bearing that it mind, it clearly follows that the more clients you have, the more repeat work you will also get in the future.
– Less abortive time on the phone – How much time is wasted on the phone giving and emailing quotes to people who never become clients? Consider this. If as a firm you merely handle 4 quotes calls across your practice per day, you are spending at least 166 hours per year dealing with quotes. This is a significant and pointlessly expensive use of resources, if you have a poor conversion rate. If you are going to spend that time, you may as well get the business!
7. Skills training is the key.
85% of firms provide no ‘proper’ training for their call handlers on ‘soft conversational’ sales skills and how to engage and influence those who call for a quote, to actively want them.
What training does take place is usually 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.
To find out more about the online video training system we have created – Converting Enquiries – Residential Conveyancing click here .